|Tuesday, July 1st, 2008|
7:52 pm - That's Our Maddy!
[Interior: The typical apartment, Mary Tyler Moore-esque.]|
[There is a knock on the door.]
[Door opens. Studio audience applauds.]
Jason: Hi, honey, I'm home!
Medea: You're late. [She inspects him.] Is that lipstick on your collar?
Jason: Oh, don't start, honey, you know how it gets at work.
Medea: I'm going to have to do something about your boss's daughter. She may be your client, but I'm still your wife!
Jason: Why don't we invite her over for dinner, and you can see that she's really not that bad?
Medea: Very well. We'll do it tomorrow.
[Star wipe, to the next day.]
Medea: We're so glad you could come to dinner.
Young woman: Me too. I hear so much about you at the office.
Medea: I certainly hope so. [Medea shoots daggers at Jason.] So what is it you do at the office?
Young woman: Oh, my father has me working very closely with Jason. We've struck up quite a friendship.
Medea: I'll bet. [Studio audience reacts.]
Young woman: So where are your kids? Jason tells me you have two lovely children.
Medea: Oh, I'm sure they're sleeping. They had a long day at school.
Jason: It's that bilingual education. I know that's the way they do things where Medea comes from, but this is America.
Young woman: Now, now. I'm sure Medea's perfectly right in teaching your children all about where she comes from. Where exactly is that?
[Star wipe to the characters sitting in the parlor after the meal.]
Young woman: I must say I adore your fashion sense, Medea. Where did you get that lovely blouse?
Medea: Oh, just a little something I picked up at Sun Coast. Would you like to borrow it?
Young woman: How sisterly of you! Yes, I would love to! Send it with Jason one of these mornings, will you?
[The evening wraps up. Star wipe to the next morning, children's bedrooms.]
Daughter: Mommy, I don't feel well.
Son: Me either. My tummy hurts and my skin itches.
Medea: I'll just have to call your father, he'll come home and take care of you.
Daughter: I like Daddy's new friend. She's a nice lady.
Medea: When did you ever meet her?
Daughter [cutesy, saccharine]: Uh, oh, I'm in twubble!
[Tagline, repeated] Medea: These kids of mine.
[Studio audience laughs uproariously.]
(comment on this)
|Friday, June 27th, 2008|
"The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed."|
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them ;-)
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (Sonnets, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, The Tempest)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
I just went through and bolded the ones I've read. Saying I intend to read a book seems to doom it to a literary purgatory.
I must say, if you've grown up under a predominantly white, Judeo-Christian culture, it is indeed troubling if you've only read 6 of these. However, I find it a bit disingenuous to condemn someone who's perhaps read 6 very, very good and well-crafted books on this list next to, say, someone who's read twice as many on the list - but only the light fiction. I'll defend Stephen King's literary prowess as the day is long, but damned if I'll argue that whether or not someone's read Yann Martel or Dan Brown makes for a literary mind. The former is a plagiarist, and the latter never met an ellipses he didn't like. For that matter, does it make me more literary that, of the French literature on the list, I've read most of them in French and not in English at all?
Consider the merits and lack thereof of basing a worthwhile literature list on popularity as opposed to the critical thinking involved in reading or just absorbing text. People fucking heat their homes with remaindered copies of Bridget Jones' Diary. While this list, as it was constructed, does indicate... something about our literary values, this includes the bad as well as the good.
This is a list of the 100 most worthwhile books you absolutely, positively must read. Some of these books are quite distasteful to read, but are nonetheless important. Some of these books may not appear on the surface to be philosophical or incredibly deep, but have moved people nonetheless. I haven't read all of these necessarily, but I have read the vast majority. Like any such list, this is entirely subjective - and the fun comes in debating the results!
1. Bold the ones you've read.
2. Of the ones you have not read, substitute five of them with books you feel need to be included.
3. Pass it on!
1. The Giver by Lois Lowry
2. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
3. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
4. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
5. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
6. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
7. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
8. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
9. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
10. The Bible, any translation
11. Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb
12. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
13. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
14. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
15. Cane by Jean Toomer
16. So Far from God by Ana Castillo
17. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
18. Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
19. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
20. Yama by Alexandre Kuprin
21. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
22. Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes
23. Family Ties by Clarice Lispector
24. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
25. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
26. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
27. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
28. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
29. Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
30. Barefoot Gen series by Keiji Nakazawa
31. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
32. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
33. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
34. The Woman Who Owned The Shadows by Paula Gunn Allen
35. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
36. Cruddy by Lynda Barry
37. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
38. The Qur'an
39. The Niebelungenlied
40. The Stranger by Albert Camus
41. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
42. The Shining by Stephen King
43. Weep Not, Child by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
44. Woman at Point Zero by Nawal el Saadawi
45. From Hell by Alan Moore
46. The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman
47. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
48. Kehinde by Buchi Emecheta
49. Naked by David Sedaris
50. This Bridge Called My Back by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua
51. Sus Majores Poemas by Ruben Dario
52. The poetry of Pablo Neruda
53. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
54. Bitter Grounds by Sandra Benitez
55. Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
56. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
57. The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber
58. Native Son by Richard Wright
59. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
60. Lysistrata by Aristophanes
61. Medea by Euripedes
62. Oedipus Cycle by Sophocles
63. Poems by Sappho
64. The Aeneid by Vergil
65. Paradise Lost by John Milton
66. The Heptameron by Marguerite de Navarre
67. Tartuffe by Moliere
68. Middlemarch by George Eliot
69. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
70. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
71. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
72. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
73. 1984 by George Orwell
74. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
75. Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
76. Harry Potter series by J. K. rowling
77. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
78. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
79. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
80. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
81. The Hours by Michael Cunningham
82. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
83. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
84. Tepper Isn't Going Out by Calvin Trillin
85. Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters
86. The works of Rainer Maria Rilke
88. Candide by Voltaire
89. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
90. Vilette by Charlotte Bronte
91. Stories by Saki
92. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
93. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
94. Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos
95. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore
96. The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
97. The Giver by Lois Lowry
98. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
99. Invisible Man by Harlan Ellison
100. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
I'm sure I forgot a ton or will remember, as soon as I post this, something I JUST HAD to include and didn't, but that's the fun of these lists
(comment on this)
|Sunday, March 30th, 2008|
|Sunday, March 16th, 2008|
In case anyone's looking to share the gift of comics, manga, and graphic novels with me, here's my wishlist:|
Barefoot Gen - all, but especially vol. 2 - current
Fables - all except vol. 1
Persepolis - 2
It's taken me a billion years, but I'm finally getting into this stuff.
(comment on this)
|Tuesday, March 11th, 2008|
|Monday, February 18th, 2008|
5:22 pm - Historiography
When taking an oral history, it is best not to start off with asking about the arrest records of the subject's children.|
Failing that, it went well.
Oh and for once I was not the one to bring up cannibalism.
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|Sunday, February 10th, 2008|
So I didn't get the Bessemer job and I have not yet heard back from DU on their position, but that's okay because on top of being a grader I got a job now that is so impossibly cool I can't hardly believe it.
(comment on this)
|Monday, February 4th, 2008|
|Sunday, February 3rd, 2008|
I got to touch a miohippus yesterday.|
And rare minerals including one that was just discovered called creedite, and some other fossils, and the skull of an ichthyosaur (?), and some other cool awesome stuff.
Every week it's like I get to live out the wildest dreams of a five-year-old boy. Which is weird. But it's hard not to slip into that mood, really, and instantly be reduced to saying "wow!" to yourself gape-mouthed because damn, we get to do some awesome shit in grad school. Who wouldn't kill to have some guy in a museum say "if you wanna see something just go ahead and slide out the drawer and hold it, just don't break it" when you're surrounded by entire epochs and billions of years of history?
(comment on this)
|Saturday, February 2nd, 2008|
12:39 am - Thundersnow
Our apartment complex and the immediate surrounding blocks were host tonight to an extremely rare meteorological phenomenon called thundersnow. It consisted of a small handful of intense, loud, and dangerous lightning strikes and thunder claps, and about an inch of snow in a very short time.|
Seeing it snow and then seeing the flash of lightning without the thunder clap, my first thought was in fact lightning since the computer speakers crackled and the hair on my arm stood on end - then confusion, because snowstorms don't have lightning. Then I thought maybe one of the hospital's helicopters had crashed nearby. A little bit after that, we heard the thunder clap, which was more like a percussive roar. Now, this may seem confusing. If the storm is directly overhead, shouldn't the thunderclap be right on top of the lightning? Not in thundersnow. The snow particles mess with the sound and contain it within a very small geographical area - one square mile, whereas you can hear a normal thunderstorm four to five miles away. It also delays the sound and muffles it, so if the thunderclap is as loud as it was (it set off car alarms here, made the dog nuts, and gave me a mild headache) it means get the fuck away from the windows.
To give you some sense of how rare this is:
- Only 0.07% of snowstorms produce any sort of thunder or lightning.
- Most of these are technically sleet-based or sleet-and-snow mixed; at least on our block it was pure snow, and a couple other blocks are reporting pure snow as well.
- Most of these thundersnows occur directly in the mountains or very near large bodies of water. If they happen in the US it's likely to be in the Great Lakes region.
- Most of the meteorologists studying this phenomenon have not gotten the chance to experience it for themselves, but amateur meteorologists practically wet their pants over it.
- Because it is so rare, it is very understudied.
Our storm occurred far away from a large body of water, happened too far away from the mountains, and produced a legitimate strike to the ground. A house across the street from the apartment complex was hit (no injuries, nobody home).
(comment on this)
|Wednesday, January 30th, 2008|
|Monday, January 28th, 2008|
After the House applied censure to Douglas Bruce this week, God apparently felt the punishment was not... earth-shattering enough and showed his displeasure more directly. Hey, the county does bear [i]some[/i] of the blame for having that nozzle in a position of authority.
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|Friday, January 25th, 2008|
2:40 pm - Social Privilege
Beneath the cut is an exercise designed to facilitate sociological discussion. If you reproduce it for your own blog, be sure to include the discussion and copyright information.|
Americans are screwed up when it comes to class and privilege. We don't like to think of ourselves as having advantages that have nothing or little to do with hard work, or contemplate that a large part of our success and failure in life is due to our upbringing. The patronizing "bootstraps" plan of American success, wherein even the poorest crack-addicted baby can become a captain of industry if only he was willing to work for it like the rest of us upstanding citizens, necessarily includes the idea that the poor are not deserving of our help and charity Interestingly, politicians and leaders who claim to be the most religious are the biggest proponents of bootstraps; Christ's extensive ministry to the poor and message that all are deserving of our esteem and dignity are never part of the program for even "compassionate" conservatives. (Note: Not a Christian, but I think helping the poor is a terrific idea. It's why I want to teach at Metro, because I believe open admissions helps level the playing field.)
Paradoxically, "bootstraps" for the poor exists in the same mindset and is propogated by the exact same people who manipulate class sentiments and tell the middle class they are justified in feeling as though they deserve more breaks than other social classes. If the rich get breaks, it's because the system is designed for them; if the poor get breaks, it's because some pink bleeding heart liberal wants them to have a free ride. The middle class never get breaks, man. They work and slave all their lives (at companies making profit from outsourced and underpaid lower castes in other countries which also give them tax breaks and freedom from regulation) to get the house (financed by banking laws and regulations) in a suburb (constructed via a complex network of tax breaks to developers and infrastructure cost-shifting to inner cities), send their kids to a decent school (subsidized by yet another complex tax-shifting scheme to lower middle class property taxes), and afford basic medical care (insurance subsidized by negotiated cost breaks and employers at the expense of the uninsured and the hospitals that sometimes deign to serve them). They do this to get a better life for their children (which earns them tax credits) and send them to college (in large part subsidized by research grants and the federal government). Even though the mere existence of a middle class indicates that a United States citizen exists, in a global context, because of massive amounts of privilege. Almost everything I see when I look around my apartment is, in some small way, the economic result of pushing someone else's face in the mud.
And yet you might say I grew up poor. I know what it's like to sleep with roaches and go to school with trashy people, swinging from the poverty line like the the apes the Reagan administration said we all were. Yes, even the kids - Reagan Republicans extended being poor as a personal failing to even the children. I know that there are people who didn't start working until they were 15 or 16, but damned if they weren't lucky they never had to work under the table or get up at 4 am to finish a before-school job or shovel shit. Yes, shovel horseshit. And be happy to have the opportunity.
Part of this exercise in privilege is to take a detailed stock of how people have different kinds of privileges. It's as much mental and intellectual as it is financial, and none of these criteria are supposed to be cut-and-dried. For blog purposes, bold what applies to you, add comments where you wish, and add them all up.
If your father went to college before you started
If your father finished college before you started
If your mother went to college before you started
If your mother finished college before you started
- My mother finished her master's degree before I started college. Consider that she was a teenage unwed mother, that she bounced from crap job to crap job between undergraduate and graduate school, and that she didn't go to grad school until I was a teenager and she'd had damn well enough of being poor. BUT consider also that the support of her family allowed her to complete her undergrad instead of having to drop out. And consider that even thinking that an undergrad degree and a master's degree for someone in her situation is usually wildly inappropriate. In this case, the privilege does not lie in having an easy road to college, but in being allowed the freedom to presume to go. Most people in her situation would be told, through a variety of lifelong ingrained social cues, that she fucked up and college was now out of the question for the rest of her life. Her privilege, and mine, is a supportive extended family. Edit: I don't agree with the mindset that teenage mothers should not go to college, of course, but tons of people do.
If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
If your family was the same or higher class than your high school teachers
If you had a computer at home when you were growing up
If you had your own computer at home when you were growing up
If you had more than 50 books at home when you were growing up
If you had more than 500 books at home when you were growing up
If were read children's books by a parent when you were growing up
- Starting with the questions about computers, here the lack of response is misleading. In this area I had an immense amount of privilege. As a teenager I did finally get an old hand-me-down Mac SE, but more importantly I had access to a school that also had computers and the resources to teach me how to use them. That's huge. Also, we may not have had a lot of books, but we had a large, well-staffed community library that had not been forced to close from lack of budget, been destroyed by a natural disaster, or forced to hire unqualified personnel because they're cheaper. I spent most of my afternoons there after school and read just about everything I could get my hands on. Also, I learned how to read at an early age. A shocking and depressing percentage of families are aliterate - they do not read, and they raise children who struggle with reading their entire lives. These children also struggle with reasoning and analytical skills. Why don't parents read to their children or take them to the library? Like most aspects of poverty (intellectual or economic) this is probably cyclical. Parents whose children struggle with reading usually struggle themselves. Their parents didn't read to them either. They attend overcrowded schools where teachers don't have the time to do anything except prepare them for the next standardized test. We tend to repeat the patterns we grow up with; rebellion against the things we didn't do as kids is an exceptional event, sociologically and educationally. For a child of a non-reader to become a reader is rare and usually the result of luck of geography or finding that one person who is willing to take the time.
If you ever had lessons of any kind as a child or a teen
- I had horseback riding lessons through 4-H and a private trainer. I cleaned stalls, groomed and exercised my trainer's horses, worked at horse shows, and helped teach beginners. I also entered horse shows to win tack and equipment as well as the occasional cash prizse. I had a job outside of horseback riding to afford these things. I didn't pay for it all myself, but on the surface even horse ownership looks like an immense amount of privilege - when in fact we did it on the cheap, and it was closer to subsistence ranching than the country club. Still, though, this was an option that was open to me. While it's not as much of a privilege as it may seem on the surface, often privilege exists in merely having the freedom to choose your hobbies and interests.
If you had more than two kinds of lessons as a child or a teen
If the people in the media who dress and talk like you were portrayed positively
I am a white person of Midwestern origin. The anchorpeople on the evening news look and talk like me. That's huge. This is a subtle, but very effective, way of teaching children to accept later roles of authority and expertise. People who do not look and talk like you delivering the news teaches you only to accept a hierarchy of authority that does not include you or people like you.
If you had a credit card with your name on it before college
If you had or will have less than $5000 in student loans when you graduate
If you had or will have no student loans when you graduate
If you went to a private high school
If you went to summer camp
- Girl Scout Camp. We learned how to survive in the wild and we milked goats and learned how to operate a farm from a bunch of butch lesbians. It was a weird camp for the '80s. My mother's car barely made it up the mountains every year to take me, but still - I got to go, and the lessons I learned there have gotten me out of many scrapes.
If you had a private tutor
(US students only) If you have been to Europe more than once as a child or teen
(International question) If you have been to the US more than once as a child or teen
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels rather than KOA or at relatives homes
If all of your clothing has been new
If your parents gave you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
- Still, I had a car. Not bad, even if it was falling apart. See, someone died, nobody wanted his shitty car, and I got it. It ran - just barely.
If there was original art in your house as a child or teen
- My grandmother paints, so of course we had her paintings. On another message board someone questioned the inclusion of "original art," specifically because art produced by family isn't in the same league as having an original Picasso hanging over the mantle. However, in thinking about this question family art should count, and count a lot. Seeing your family and other people you know as creative allows you to imagine yourself creating art or other types of media. Being a creator and not a drone is a form of privilege, often moreso than seeing yourself as an attorney or doctor because it involves risk with little hope of financial reward.
If you had a phone in your room
If your parent owned their own house or apartment when you were a child or teen
- Thanks to HUD and the fact that nobody with any goddamn brains wants to live in Pleasant View. But it was a huge step up from where we were before. For one, nobody decapitated their significant others.
If you had your own room as a child or teen
- Only child. This is questioned, too, by people - what if you're an only child, and so had your own room by default? However, being an only child means that your mother had both access to and freedom to use contraceptives, that she was not forced to stay with men who would forego contraceptive use at her expense and have another child, and that she does not have multiple children in the hopes that one of them will be able to grow up and support her in old age. Family planning in an IMMENSE privilege, globally and nationally. Simply having enough private space in your house or apartment indicates that family planning was likely successful and allowed.
If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
If you had your own cell phone in High School
If you had your own TV as a child or teen
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline
- As cheap as commercial airfare is these days, can you think of many poor families who can afford to spend $150 on a place ticket for any reason?
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries as a child or teen
- Again, this is privilege of outlook and intellect. My mother took the time to make museums a priority, and I went to schools that could take us on field trips as well.
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family
- I was insulated (har!) from knowing the cost of energy bills, just not much else. Aside from being connected with the knowledge of what it takes to survive in the U.S. on a basic level, parents privilege their children by allowing them freedom from financial anxiety. Even though I grew up with plenty of financial anxiety, it wasn't as bad as many of my poorer friends.
My total is 14. So there you have it - I was privileged growing up. These exercises are important because we are not encouraged to think about our advantages, or the fact that some people don't have them. There are a million other things they could have included on this list that also indicate privilege - more about utilities, personal safety, victims of violent crimes - but I think this is meant to be more about subtle advantages and privileges we may not even pause to consider. And none of this is meant to indicate on a black-and-white level whether one person is quantifiably more privileged than another; there are plenty of people who have had all the advantages in the world and still can't seem to convert them to real-world success. But it never hurts to consider these issues every now and again, and there's nothing wrong with leaving the exercise feeling damn lucky.
I disagree with some statements in the exercise directions. The intent in saying that some people have had to work harder than others - that people with privilege have had to work less - is contradicted by the last part of the directions in exercise. Because this is meant to spark facilitated discussion, I wouldn't worry about it too much; however, I have been in classes in which the rich were automatically the devil because of their advantages. People sitting there, in college, white, wearing clothes likely made in south-of-the-border sweatshops, will stare at a depiction of life amongst the rich and just hate. Hate Paris Hilton all you want, but tarring the rich with the brush of callow uncaring does not make sense when people like Bill Gates or the recently-departed Astor matriarch use their money for the greater good. It makes no more sense to hate someone for being born rich than it does to hate someone for being born poor. Properly applied, I then hope that the examination of non-monetary privilege can show that finances can take a backseat to mindset and the availability of good upbringing regardless of money. While rich parents must carefully teach their children to not rely on their trust funds and treat people with kindness and dignity, poor parents must teach their children to create opportunities and take advantage of everything that can get. Simply because someone grows up not having to worry about food and shelter does not mean that they are happy or functioning human beings or have never faced hardship of any kind. Conversely, simply because someone grows up worrying about their personal safety and food supply does not mean that they cannot appreciate activities not directly central to daily survival. That is what it means to live in the American class system, which does exist but is not so rigid and immovable as a caste.
( The Social Privilege Exercise )
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|Thursday, January 24th, 2008|
6:09 pm - Watch the passive voice! C+.
Musings apropos of a first day as a fledgling - very fledgling - educator and the past few months of slavering for the slightest bit of professional mentoring and development I could lay my hands on. ... Teaching allows me to experience personal growth moreso than any other profession I've ever held. I don't mean that teaching limited to a college setting or even to the work I'm doing now, but any time I have had occasion to teach another being how to become something more, I feel like it's what I'm supposed to be doing.|
The first teaching I ever did was as a peer educator in elementary school. This sounds more formal than it is. I grew up a very advanced reader. In the third grade I had a teacher, Ms. Purcell. (Possibly Purcelli.) I became convinced that she hated me and was unnecessarily harsh on me. I know I complained to my mother about this a few times, but children aren't always the best judge of what is and is not harsh. In a public school, what was Ms. Purcell supposed to do with a child who far outstripped even the advanced reading and writing groups in her class, who finished books in a half hour that were supposed to last several months of education?
Ms. Purcell sacrificed my personal opinion of her in order to make sure I got an education. She recognized that regular public school was not the place for me, and it can't have been easy to deal with outliers of any degree in a classroom of so many students. In the third grade, though I hated going to her classroom, she suggested an alternative school that could better educate the gifted and talented. The next year, that's where I went. Somehow, I bypassed most of the extensive waitlist - and I don't doubt for a second, now, that she was a large part of making it happen.
She did another thing for me. As I said, I was an outlier, particularly in reading. Once or twice a week, she sent me out of the classroom and to an outbuilding that contained an overflow of kindergarteners. In those days kindergarten students were expected to have at least some grasp of reading. There was a group of more independent readers who needed less direction than those who were more beginners, and the school gave me the informal responsibility of helping these kids along. Ms. Purcell gave me some tips and told me about sounding it out and being patient with them, and I remember being glad to help out - and extremely gratified when one of the kids figured out a difficult word at my urging. Never had a clue the entire time that this was as much for me as it was for them.
Since then I've taught in a variety of settings. I've trained animals from various backgrounds and traumas, and each time one of them made an intellectual or psychological leap I was so proud I could bust. I helped my horse trainers teach beginning riders, particularly during warmups, and even though I've been dedicatedly childfree practically since birth, watching someone I'd helped win a ribbon at a show or master a concept they'd thought of as impossible was like a drug. I taught students from high school up to my peers about U.N. procedures and debate, and saw many of them outpace me in skill - it didn't occur to me to be jealous, just proud that this person would use their skills to make the world a better place and I had something to do with that. And then I wrote procedural and technical manuals for my co-workers, and though they took it the wrong way most of the time - shades of me and Ms. Purcell, really - teaching and training was not about having authority, but sharing knowledge and acknowledging the tremendous privilege of being in that position.
I have had a few professors over the years that I place in positions of reverence and awe. This is not the academic pedestal, but an acknowledgment that I would consider it an amazing accomplishment if I ever had one-tenth the impact on another student that they've had on me over the years. Even though I do know what it's like to enrich someone through teaching, it's difficult to look back on relationships with teachers and truly identify yourself with the skilled lecturers and instructors you admire. It seems too egotistical, but more than that, impossible for us to consider that as teachers we are consciously placing ourselves in a reversal of our previous roles as students.
I think teachers, and particularly beginning teachers, continue because they remember their time as students and in their work pay homage to those select few people who formed their outlook. Not just on education, but on life and in ways parents can never approach. Teachers are the first outside authority a child must accept, and the first non-relative who in the best of worlds is dedicated to the child's wellbeing. We owe our parents life and they are responsible for our shelter and love and safety, but it's taken for granted and even enforced by a considerable criminal justice system. A parent can be brought up on legal charges if they abdicate their responsibility. A teacher, recognizes the student, is under no such obligation - it's their job. If they don't want to do it, they can ignore your questions in class, treat you like a lesser student, grade you harshly, or just quit. Lord knows plenty of them do it to plenty of students, some of whom deserve it and most of whom do not. Just as we all have that teacher who's been special to us, we all have that teacher who behaved absolutely heinously with little to no recourse other than mustering through the year as unscathed as possible.
This is not to say that the work parents do is not special or vital or even less significant than the job of teaching (it's more significant and special, of course); but to children, accepting a non-familial authority is arguably the largest sociological leap they will make. To teachers, advocating for a student and accepting a huge amount of responsibility for them is done outside of the family bond as well. A parent gets to see the results of what they do as a child grows. They have reasonable hope and expectation that the child will, given time, recover from those turbulent periods of rebellion and sass and grow into a relationship of mutual respect and productivity. A teacher pours work and advocacy into a revolving door of students, 99.9% of whom they won't even see the next year let alone as adults with professions of their own. They have no assurance that their impact will be remembered, but they do it anyway.
It's easy for us, being practiced adults, to accept our role as students. We spend over 1/5th of our lives purely as students and learning to accept authority where it is deserved, not adopting it and wielding it ourselves. Once the veil of that role is lifted when we become teachers, we still hold on to the gratitude of having been taught. Considering ourselves as peers with the same educators we once revered is as alien to us as when, later in life, we may serve as caregivers to our own parents. The paradigm shift is radical and nearly inconceivable, as much as we know intellectually and rationally that we have adopted these roles of authority by degrees.
I've spoken with many of my former professors about educational development and academia. By degrees, they have been pushing me into the role of teacher for several years now whether they realize it or not. Every time she attends the library book sale, my old history advisor Dr. McCall plucks books from the piles and tells me to read them. I always do. Curiously, I don't remember her doing this with a single history book. No, she recommends books on intellectual development and the art of education and where we are going as an educated society. I imagine she hands out these recommendations flippantly and because she enjoys the books in question, but the fact that these help with professional development adds something to the act. She goes outside her role as my professor and starts contributing to my development as a potential peer, a level of esteem unexpected in someone who is placed in the selective and holy pantheon of my lifelong instruction. Paradigm shift - there it is, subtle but effective. There are other professors, of course, whose roles in pushing me above a simple student role have had huge impacts; I could go on all day, but I already have. This is just one example of how a small action from a dedicated professor can have a big impact in how I see myself as a student and as someone capable of educating another person.
Rarely do professors say these things explicitly, but I imagine many of them are as affected by their relationships with us as we are. I want to teach at Metro because I owe it more than any other institution. As I drop in to talk to my former professors, I perceive a difference in how they relate to me and I to them. They are no longer responsible for my grades and under no obligation to talk to me. They're in my building, but I go to a different school so no longer is there an expectation of a professional wall, the boundaries professors carefully construct to maintain their classroom authority. No matter how advanced you are as a student or how beloved, even if you're convinced that the professor delights at seeing you on the enrollment list, the wall is there. And there is a noticeable difference when it's not. Sure, our professors are human and we know it - they have their flaws and frailties. But when we're their students, they're different. So when I find a professor has remembered, out of the thousands of assignments over the past few years they've had to grade and read, something I've written it's not because they have to any more. It's because teachers learn from what we write as students, they just can't (and shouldn't, while they're still teaching us and under the same department in any way) admit it. We have our own wisdom as students and our teachers help us develop it - but the good ones look for validation and even solace in us as much as we do from them. Or else, what would be the point in teaching through the revolving door?
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|Monday, January 14th, 2008|
5:29 pm - Avant-Garde Garfield/Billy Idol crossover.
|Wednesday, December 19th, 2007|
1:54 pm - Awwww.
It's Chibi Pennywise. He's soooo happy to see everybody. Click on him to see his facelift!|
From here. The entire point was to take scary pictures and make them happy, and it turns out normal Pennywise is in fact the least horrifying incarnation.
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|Thursday, December 13th, 2007|
My name is Yon Yonson, I come from Wisconsin. I work in a lumber mill there. The people I meet when I walk down the street, they ask me my name and I say my name is Yon Yonson, I come from Wisconsin. I work in a lumber mill there. The people I meet when I walk down the street, they ask me my name and I say my name is Yon Yonson, I come from Wisconsin. I work in a lumber mill there. The people I meet when I walk down the street, they ask me my name and I say my name is Yon Yonson, I come from Wisconsin. I work in a lumber mill there. The people I meet when I walk down the street, they ask me my name and I say....|
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|Monday, November 26th, 2007|
"You Can Beat The A-Bomb" is this awesome Cold War propaganda piece about how there's a lot of unnecessary fuss on nuclear fallout and radiation. It's really not that bad, folks. People in Hiroshima are back to normal, after all. (No really.) And did you know that the heat from a nuclear blast makes the radiation rise so high, nobody can be affected by it? And then it incinerates itself. Don't worry about fallout, The Authorities will tell you what to do - it'll be about 24 hours. After that, just stay away from puddles.
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|Friday, November 9th, 2007|
NO NO NO ZUBAZ CANNOT BE BACK GODDAMMMIT PEOPLE THEY EVEN MAKE FOOTBALL FANS LOOK INCREDIBLY STUPID DID YOU HEAR ME FOOTBALL FANS GODDAMMIT NO MORE ZUBAZ I SWEAR TO GOD SOCIETY
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|Friday, October 26th, 2007|
King of the Zombies was made in 1941. It's kinda racist. Okay, it's really racist.|
However zombie movies made before Romero RESPECT THE FUCKING DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ZOMBIES AND GHOULS LAKDF;LDSKFKALDKFAL;DKFL ARGH
This is an issue I feel strongly about
Next movie is Revenge of the Zombies which has John Carradine in it. Any movie with a Carradine is guaranteed to be entertaining, usually in a cheesy bad way.
SO. What happens in this movie? Three words:
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