Blog Post #11 Does size really matter?

In this society size really does matter, according to “The Bully in the Mirror” by Stephen S. Hall. We cannot deny that we have preferences when it comes to attraction, but they seem to have taken a turn toward impossible as of late. Now, it is not only girls who go through the trouble of trying to live up to a body image that is unattainable for most, but guys as well. They struggle with their body image, too.

Instead of qualities such as intelligence, wit, humor, and kindness, we place importance on how big your chest and waist are. Guys now feel the pull that girls did to use drastic measures to achieve a look of perfection. We have created a society of mirror obsessed people, but when they look in the mirror it’s not to admire themselves; it’s to pick out their flaws. We use advertisements such as Abercrombie bags with headless, shirtless men and fashion campaigns using models with unrealistic body types to condition the masses. Dolls and action figures reflect society’s changing view. Action figures are now more beefy than ever. If you were to enlarge the figures to average human height, their biceps would be bigger than any bodybuilder in history. This causes boys to strive for unattainable measures. “No one’s looking for a natural look, of being thin and in shape. It’s more of looking toward a level beyond that.” They go to drugs, surgery, and as far as work out all day every day to achieve this new look. They push themselves harder and harder until they hurt themselves. But not everyone can look like that. This creates self-consciousness and a feeling of inadequacy.

Kids get teased and harassed for what clothes they wear, how they style their clothes, how tall they are, and how fat they are until they look in the mirror and all they see is their flaws. Men can look in the mirror and perceive themselves “as physically small and weak, even though they were in fact large and muscular.” It’s all about fitting in, fitting in to cliques and into molds. Physical stature seems to rule all. Even boy’s nicknames refer to a physical quality. “It creates a kind of social pecking order based on physical size and the appearance of toughness.”Boys are pressured to be this stereotypical male who doesn’t express emotion, whose muscles bulge, and who look rugged. If they are not the right kind of guy they are shunned, teased and ridiculed. The things they say don’t leave us. They stay, years later, even after we have outgrown our physical shortcomings. We can look in the mirror years later and still see that youth that was picked on. Kids are becoming increasingly cruel.

This idealized male figure is unrealistic. “They are treated as objects, getting judged not by who they are, but how they look.” People put emphasis on physical beauty, but the level of physical beauty isn’t realistic. Then kids are teased if they don’t look like Abercrombie models. Is it harmless teasing? I don’t think so. These words and images in ads leave a mark.

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The Speech the graduates Didn’t Hear (but professors should)

The essay, “The Speech the Graduates Didn’t Hear”, does not only suggest something professors should have told college students, it suggests their own mistakes along with the knowledge theyshould have taught us. Instead of telling us what you have done wrong and how you have not prepared us for the real life you, professors, should work to change this. Instead of complaining about the lack of work and imagination we put into our assignments, put forth some work and imaginationof your own in hopes to get some in return. Not all professors are like this, but even a few is too many. College should not mean going through the motions to get a certificate saying you got an education it should be knowledge you have earned, symbolic of work put in. Professors should not just push upon students a worn out curriculum, they should teach and, if it’s not too much to ask, enjoy it. I find classes more enjoyable when the professor actually smiles and shows that they hold dear this knowledge they are imparting upon us and if they try to relate to us, even better. Is it fear of rejection that has some cowering behind the outdated and rigid lesson plans coordinated by others before them? Students may appreciate if you stray from the path.

Why should we be taught things that should be “unlearned”? Why should we be “tolerated” and wished to “be rid of”? Why should we be asked to put effort into something and show enthusiasm for something that even the professor doesn’t value enough to act enthusiastically about? Jacob Neusner argues in this essay that “we have prepared you for a world that does not exist.” He says “With us you could argue about why your errors were not errors, why mediocre work really was excellent, why you could take pride in routine and slipshod presentation.” Professors most certainly should have leniency, but they should not “tolerate” this if it is not what they wish to imbue in us. Raise the standards if you think they are not high enough. If this “forgiving world” you have created is not realistic, make it realistic. I can’t say that I don’t like some if the lax approaches, but I also value a true education and if professors feel they are not giving this to us, things should change. Neusner says, “When you were boring, we acted as if you were saying something important. When you were dull, we pretended you were smart. When you were predictable, unimaginative, and routine, we listened as if to new and wonderful things.” If we are boring make us interesting. If we are dull make us smart. If we are unimaginative inspire us. Quit pretending, that is not your job. Your job is to impress upon us what we need to know.

If professors are unhappy with what they are doing, then change it. If they are not happy with the work we do, teach us otherwise. Instead of writing an essay about what you should have said, then say it. If professors feel like they are wasting their time, stop teaching us things we need to unlearn. I would like to learn things that are worthwhile also.

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Blog Post #9

Expanding on the blog on “Is Hunting Ethical?”

Thesis: Hunting for sport is unethical.

Introdution ideas: Hunting is subjective, but, by the definition of ethical, one could say it is not ethical. Hunting for sport, where one does not have a revernce for life, is even more atrocious. An animal is just a trophy for sport hunters. Hunting can be justified, but hunting for sport cannot, especially if taken to extremes.

Topic one: Advangtages

-ancient and beneficial knowledge

-vent aggressions

Topic two: disadvantages

-not necessary- for food

-irreverence for life


How is it beneficial knowledge?

-in survival instances, if one should arise.

-keeping primitive practices alive

What are the advantages?

-Know where food is coming form

-vent aggressions

-people can kill something legally- human life v. animal life

-populaion control

Wat are disadvantages?

-Pop. control views the whole species not reverence for individual life

-not necessary for food w/ market paces available

Why is it unethical?

-definition of ethical

-is it moral?- Killing for sport v. hunting-importance placed on animals?

                     – better way- how native american’s did (leads to..)

How did Native American’s Hunt? (outside source)

-their practices

-how is it better

-reverence for life/ truly itune with nature

-disagree with certain points in essay inbook and agree with certain points

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Blog #8 Similar Celebrity Profiles

There seems to be a similarity between all celebrity profiles. It is almost as though there is a template that the magazines use. In Profiles Encouraged, Katie Roiphe breaks down the parts that make up a celebrity profile, suggesting you can write a profile without even interviewing the person.

 In every profile there is a moment where “the movie star reveals himself to be just like us,” reveals that he or she was “funny looking and gawky as a child,” and the moment of intimacy between the interviewer and the interviewee. There is always an air of “disbelief on the part of both the celebrity and the author about how rich and famous and successful the movie star has become.” The celebrity always has a stripped down wardrobe suggesting accessibility. The celebrity’s vulnerability is usually revealed and they are portrayed as human, “without detracting from her glamour.” The writer’s job is to sell that celebrity’s stardom, so the celebrity is usually described as glowing. “It is rare that one reads about a moderately successful actress, or the second sexiest man in Hollywood.” There is usually a tone of worship “peppered with superlatives”, but hidden by a layer of irony “tinged with sexual attraction. It instills a “chic allure” that seems intelligent and makes reading about “the exact beige of the movie-star’s furniture.” Rhetorical tricks are employed to convey the glamour using a “Bright Lights, Big City second person voice.” It encourages the illusion that you are actually there with the celebrity. The writer always denounces the tabloid gossip and seems disgusted at the idea of following everything in a celebrity’s life. The interviewer always tries to prove they have formed a genuine connection with the interviewee. They try to “get beyond the routine and glitter and impress the real person”, but still try to showcase the glamour.

Why, if every profile is the same, do we buy them again and again? Perhaps we crave the cliché or need to feel like we are included in the celebrity world. For whatever reason we desire to read the profile one thing is certain, the writers are committed to giving us what we want. This must be why there is a template to writing a profile.

Roiphe proves there is a set way that profiles are written. I agree that celebrity profiles seem to be very similar. I see this pattern, yet I am unwilling to give up reading such profiles. I much like the connection drawn between celebrities and the average person. I like that they get behind the glamour to show us the real person underneath.

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Blog #7 Eating Children

Satire is an effective way of getting a point across, but I had never heard of it before reading A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. He wrote this in 1729 so it is a bit hard to understand, but through the pieces of understandable paragraphs I only got that he wanted to eat children and not that this proposal was a mockery. It makes more sense now that I know what satire means. Satire is the use of irony or sarcasm to expose something.

Swift uses satire to comment on the public view of poor children being a burden. His proposal is to make these children “useful to the commonwealth” because they are a burden to their country and their parents. Instead of taking the money of the commonwealth by begging for charity because their parents can’t provide for them they could give back to society. They can “contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands.” It will “prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children.” He proposes that at one year old “be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom.” He advises the mothers to breast feed the children “plentifully” to make them “plump and fat for the table.” He states that the hindquarters seasoned with a little pepper or salt will make a good dish and that a “a child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends.” He suggests recipes and measures the possible weight of the child. He states what season infant’s flesh will be good in, what the costs will be, and how it will help the market. Along with food possibilities one can “flay the carcass; the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.” He compares children to cattle and recommends “buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.” He writes that a highly esteemed lover of his country would agree with this. He states that, except for some scrupulous people, everyone would accept this. He also makes fun of Americans, in a way, through this satire. He expresses the many advantages of this proposal. He says he has “no other motive than the public good of my country” and through this his satire is made on the opinions of society and the issue of beggars.

If you can imagine reading this without knowing this was a satire, you can imagine how revolting this seemed. But now that I can distinguish this as sarcasm I find it funny. Why don’t we just eat the children, if they are such a problem? This is the mentality of this satire. This is a very effective way of exposing something. I appreciate sarcasm and enjoy the wittiness of this form of passage. I think I will use this method in the future. Not only is it effective, it is fun. It is like saying “nanny boo boo” and doing a raspberry in their face.

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Blog #6 Is Huckleberry Finn Racist?

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: what do you think when you hear this title? Do you think of it as an American classic? An old book you’ve heard of? Many people think it is racist, a bigoted tale an outcast boy who says the N-word too much. But is it truly a racist story?

The story of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was not Mark Twain’s own opinion; it was just that, a story. There is a difference “between what writer’s believe and what their work conveys.” It was meant to send a message and write about an issue. Evidence of Twain’s mindset was a letter he wrote in 1885 “to provide financial support for a black student at Yale Law School.” He wrote, “we have ground the manhood out if… [black men] & the shame is ours, not theirs; and we should pay for it.” This suggests that he felt “anguish”, though maybe it also suggests pity, which may not help his case, but it does not suggest he thinks poorly of African-Americans. “The racial attitudes to which this novel lends overt expression are not Mark Twain’s; they are those of an ignorant adolescent boy.” But, as another source of evidence as to Twain making a point with his story, this adolescent boy befriends an escaped slave, a black man named Jim, and learns through his experience with him that the dominant belief of white racism was inhumane. This story about a boy with a missing mother and a father who is a drunk bigot overcoming immoral tradition without even knowing it reveals social injustices. Twain makes Jim admirable, with moments of dignity and loyalty. This story does have some racism, but it is not a racist story. It is a “satirical thrust directed against slavery and racial bigotry.

Huckleberry is just misguided. He is not driven by hatred or bigotry, he simply thinks this is what is expected, what is normal. He has no other behavior to compare this to. That does not mean it is right to make racist remarks because you don’t know better, but it is more understandable (not less hurtful, though). But he learns his mistakes. He is shown the error of his ways. It would be truly grotesque, like people say if he chooses, after shown his mistakes, to be the same racist boy.

The real issue, however, is should this novel be on the list of required reading for kids in school? The answer is no. Kids may not be able to distinguish the difference between what Twain is advocating and the irony he uses. The repeated use of the N-word is not suitable for children and it may teach bad behavior. If a child or teen would like to read this outside of required reading in class, a parent can decide if it is appropriate.

In conclusion, I agree with the author. This story is not racist, but it is not suitable for required reading in school. It overcomes cruelty and advocates equality, is this not a good message? The means justify the ends. Twain reaches this point through the experiences of Huckleberry Finn and through examples of such cruelty as is normal in that time period. He shows what not to do through what was done. If you are offended by some of what is written in the book, then it was successful. It evokes emotion. Through this he drives home a point, aiming to move the audience and endearing the audience to Huckleberry, while entertaining with a story.

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Blog #5 “Polygamy Now!”

Polygamy: what assumptions come to mind when you hear this word? Though I can see the author’s point of view I do not agree with it. I can’t help but find myself being slightly appalled by the whole thing.

Elizabeth Joseph, the author of this essay, is one of eight wives and is completely happy with her lifestyle. She thinks that it is “the one lifestyle that offers an independent woman a real chance to ‘have it all’.” She is a journalist and works a lot, often working late. She says if she is late she doesn’t have to call home and ask her husband to “pop something in the microwave and get [the kids] to be d on time”. She says, “because of my plural marriage arrangement, I don’t have to worry. I know that when I have to work late my daughter will be at home surrounded by loving adults with whom she is comfortable and who know her schedule without my telling them. My eight-year-old has never seen the inside of a day care center, and my husband has never eaten a TV dinner.” She can get home after a hard day and be alone without guilt. “It’s a rare day when all eight of my husband’s wives are tired and stressed at the same time.” She thinks that it is a “free market approach to marriage.” It creates the “opportunity to marry the best man available, regardless of his marital status.” Another point is that he husband has years of marital experience and is a skilled husband. She also understands why he loves all of his wives and even suggested one of his wives to him.

 I can understand some of these points she makes, but they do not sell me on the idea. Sure it frees up some time, lessens some of the responsibility, and creates a sort of community of love for your children, but there are drawbacks too. If it’s a community why didn’t she say fellow wives instead of my husband’s wives? And it would be complicated for the children to grow up with multiple parents, having to explain and reason everything out. As for her view of it being female empowerment that’s bologna. It’s all for the male. He get’s several wives to satisfy his sexual urges. He doesn’t have to choose one wife based on who he loves most; he gets to have his cake and eat it too. A polygamous marriage doesn’t create that intimate, one on one situation. It’s not as special if there is more than one partner. You have to share him with other women and know that he gets to go to bed with other women. It’s a cheater’s way out. In her case all of the wives like each other, but what if they didn’t. She seems to think that “if polygamy didn’t exist, the modern American career woman would have invented it.” It seems to me that it is devoid of love. It is a choice of convenience and practicality. Sure you may have love for all of them, but it just doesn’t seem right.

I do not agree with the author’s point of view. It may work for some women, but it is not for me. I am not trying to bash this life style or tell you how to live; “to each his own”. I am simply stating my opinion.

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Video to go along with blog # 3

This video is by College Humor.  I thought it would go along with “Is Hunting Ethical.”

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Blog # 4 “Spudding Out”

                 Why do we watch TV so much? Day in and day out we sit in front of that TV screen and zone out. When my father watches TV you practically have to yell at him if you want to ask a question because he won’t hear you; he is oblivious to the outside world. It’s similar to video games. We engage in a world where people’s lives are much more exciting. There’s car chases, bombs, fights, heroes, super powers, and love. People solve crime without getting hurt. There are whole lives going on that we live vicariously through that TV set. That is one reason why we watch television so much. Another is that we escape through it. We tune out to the drama and stress of our own world and tune into something that always works out well in the end and if it doesn’t it, doesn’t affect us. We watch to escape our own family, though watching TV actual dives us further apart. It makes you harder to reach; you are unconnected from the world. If we have family problems we should try to fix it, not sit there and do nothing about it. We also do it to relax. We sit down and “spud out”. We don’t move or think or talk, we just watch and listen. I’m sure there are many better ways to de-stress. They say that if you do more things that require you to use your brain you are at less of a risk for Alzheimer’s. I wonder if TV has a direct relationship to Alzheimer’s rates. I also wonder if it is related to poor vision. Staring at one spot for a long time can’t be good for us.

                Watching TV is a vicious cycle. The more hours we spend watching TV the more we want to. It’s an addiction. It makes us lazy. The more lazy we act the more lazy we will be. We no longer play outside, play sports, ride bikes, exercise, or move for that matter. We don’t talk to our neighbors or our family. Relationships mean nothing to us anymore, all that matters is catching the next episode of our “favorite” show, though we say that about many shows. That little box that produces moving pictures, called the television, controls us. We are tethered to it. It has us in its grasp. We must break free. We must do something rewarding. We cannot procrastinate anymore. Get up and do the things you have been meaning to do. We need to get out there and have our own life. If there’s something lacking in your life, add it. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” There is another quote I found, that should in spire us all, at, “This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.” Unfortunately the author of this quote was unknown on this web site, but whoever wrote this is very wise. Get out and live, but you will never get this time back so spend it well. Be able to say you did everything you wanted in life, because you will not feel fulfilled watching other people accomplish these things. Don’t you want to look back on your life with no regrets?

                I agree with the author, watching TV excessively is not a good thing. The happiness achieved from it is temporary. In the long run your time could be spent differently. There are creative alternatives to this mind sapping activity. No, I should not call it an activity because activity implies something active. This is the new fad that I will call the Couch Potato Sport. Yeah, it had a nice ring to it. The participants can be called Tubers (because they are watching the tube and the part of the potato we eat is a tuber). Boycott this new Couch Potato Sport and engage in a real one. That is my new goal.

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Blog # 3 “Einstein Time”

               Have you ever thought about time, not about how it goes by, but about the method we use for tracking it? How do you feel about it? For me, I feel it’s complicated, but efficient. We are so used to using out method that it would be pointless to change it at this stage in the game. All of our devices are programmed this way. If you talk about it, people know what you are talking about; no one is confused about what you mean. It’s not perfect but we are accustomed to it. It would cause more confusion to change out method for telling time. Even military time causes trouble for a majority of people. It may not be hard to learn, but any new technique would have to be learned. Is the effort of leaning a new system worth it?

                Now think about the paradox of how we experience time. Think of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. We perceive time differently, depending on the situation. Say we were waiting for a loved one to get out of surgery, that hour would feel much longer. But if we were at an amusement park the hour would feel much shorter. We use time to describe things, too, such as, I had a hard time doing this activity. This may not be the Theory of Relativity, but it does have to do with how perceive time. It is an important component to our lives. We use it to wait for things, limit things, describe things, count things, and make sense of things. It seems quite complicated and complex so an already established and practiced system seems practical.

                Of course, if you analyze our time system, there are things that seem weird. For one, we count our time in intervals of 60. The military time counts out the 24 hours and other places use metric, but, for some reason, we count by 60’s. Like I said, though, we are accustomed to this process. Then there’s the concept of leap year. Sure, you can explain this; there is a reason for it. But, it still sounds weird. There are other anomalies, too.

                Overall, our time system works just fine. I do not agree with the author of “Einstein Time”. He believes our time system should be changed, I do not. I am quite content with the way things are. I am used to it and it makes sense to me, though maybe in a roundabout way. I can look at a clock and not be confused about what it says. If we were to change our system I would have to learn how to tell time again. Frankly, I have a hard enough time reading a clock with hands on it already, but that is because I grew up in a digital era. I am quite capable of telling time from either clock, though. It’s easy, really, why make it harder. and why fix something that isn’t broken. The author thinks our time system doesn’t work, but I beg to differ. How do you feel about our time system?

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