Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Well i have so much that I'd like to say. I went out tonight with only the purchase of nasty cigarettes on my mind; I ended up spending the night in our favorite pool hall watching classic US war movies. IT WAS amazing.

Blog Link

Here's the link to my Unconventional Warfare class if anyone wishes to have a look at our discussions http://stauncon.blogspot.com/
Feel free to add your comments.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In interiore homine habitat veritas

Not to worry, I wont always bother you with my school readings, but I thought this one, which I am required to read before orientation, is especially relevant to this audience. Let me share a few excerpts from "On Democracy and Education" composed for the UChicago class of 2011:

"One week later, again in the fall of 2005, I keep a phone appointment to talk with the head of the committee that is searching for a new Dean for the School of Education in one of our nation's most prestigious universities. Hereafter I'll just refer to the university as X. They want my advice, or think that they want it. Since, as a result of the first two incidents and many others of a similar nature, I'm already alarmed about the future of the humanities and the arts in primary and secondary education, I lay out for this woman my views about education for democratic citizenship, stressing the crucial importance of critical thinking, knowledge about the many cultures and groups that make up one's nation and one's world, and the ability to imagine the situation of another person, abilities that I see as crucial for the very survival of democratic self-government in the modern world. To me it seemed that I was saying the same thing I talk about all the time, pretty familiar stuff. But to this woman it was utterly new. “How surprising,” says she, “no one else I've talked to has mentioned any of these things at all. We have been talking only about how X University can contribute to scientific and technical progress around the world, and that's the thing that our President is really interested in. But what you say is very interesting, and I really want to think about it.”

"Today, however, these insights of Tagore and Dewey are ignored, in favor of an education for economic success. Whether a nation is aspiring to a greater share of the market, like India, or struggling to protect jobs, like the U. S., the imagination and the critical faculties look like useless paraphernalia, and people even have increasing contempt for them.
Indeed, most outrageously and thoughtlessly, the U. S. is currently egging on other nations to emulate our worst, not best, traits. The two major universities I have mentioned are both very strongly concerned with educational initiatives abroad. Needless to say, given my examples, these initiatives do not focus on the creation of sympathy and the cultivation of critical thinking.
What will we have, if these trends continue? Nations of technically trained people who don't know how to criticize authority, useful profit-makers with obtuse imaginations. I believe that outrage is called for, on the part of every person who cares about the future of democracy in the world, and I think intellectuals should be leading the expression of outrage.


the rest found at: https://classof2011.uchicago.edu/orientation-reading.pdf

Monday, September 03, 2007

Burn Baby Burn

"Everything American will disappear one day, more completely
than that which was Greek, or Roman, or Egyptian. This is one
of the ideas which pushed me outside the warm, comfortable
bloodstream where, buffaloes all, we once grazed in peace. An
idea that has caused me infinite sorrow, for not to belong to
something enduring is the last agony."
Henry Miller, page 57, Tropic of Capricorn

Is Rome already burning (in an American context)? This passage was written in the 60's, about a guy in the 20's, and just like in Miller's day there seems no shortage of people today who feel like we Americans are nearing (or on) the brink of extinction (which in a nuclear era isn't too fantastical a worry...). Some think the sky is falling 'never mind losing world dominance---America will be a totally destroyed in 30 years time!!!!' But I wonder, and furthermore put to the readership as a question: Are we just a bunch of worry warts? Are we really about to lose it all (which in my opinion wouldn't be so bad) and go under like Rome did, or are we really just going through a lull? And if we actually are going under, why?
What worries me the most is the frenzy that is created by false media. Too much crap these days is being turned into an "end of days" type symbol for us to gawk at: Lindsey Lohan goes to rehab again, Michael Vick kills a bunch of dogs; and the reactions this stuff yields is so major (and glamorous) so as to make it seem absolutely cataclysmic, egging on the Rome is Burning sensation.
Maybe, if instead we unglued our heads from the TV screen, turned around and looked at all of the truly terrible shit going on, then we would stop fucking up so much. Maybe if people stopped thinking that America is going down the shitter because Lindsey likes to blow coke, and started to think that America is going down the shitter because of our GOD DAMN CORRUPT PRESIDENT then we wouldn't be in such a slump and we'd realize the sky isn't actually falling for the reason we think it is. Congress has spent DAYS addressing Michael Vick's dog fighting, meanwhile, oh you know: mass genocide is occuring, nuclear bombs are being built by men with the temperament of a 2 year old, America sinks further into debt! and the lifeblood of our country can't even get medical treatment never mind a roof to sleep under! you want to know whats barbaric, you fucking worthless shit, Byrd, its barbaric that you spend your time (or rather West Virginia's time) on such detritus as Michael Vick.
What I would give to just unplug CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and every single talking head who's pockets are getting lined by big business as we speak and to let people figure out what is really a problem, to stop the absolute deception that is going on right now, distracting us from the important and getting us all frenzied over some dumb girl's drug problems and guy who never learned that "dogs are people too"...
Maybe I'm over categorizing as to who is so sucked into the spell the media has cast, but it sure as shit doesn't seem like anyone's turning the crap off, and inaction in this case feels to me like treason in another guise. Support legitimate media sources, turn off the crap, and thereby do all of us a favor by diverting energy towards action that will keep us from going under.