Monday, March 21, 2016

To (learn how to) create
something from nothing
is a mystery and an art;
but to discover a new way to learn
is both a journey and a conquest.
Inventing and reinventing; 
discovery through confusion.
Disappointment, overwhelm, epiphany.

What’s In Your Bucket List?

Maybe not everybody has one, but we have all heard of them. A list of things we dream of doing before we die. In our young age, there are countless things that we have yet to do, but maybe as we get older the concept of a “bucket list” may become less appealing and concrete.

With age, people tend to see their goals and aspirations as things that will just fall into place over time; rather than things that are meant to be achieved in succession. They might see that their path has changed, or that their ambitions have evolved.

“I don’t really believe in bucket lists,” said Joe Monninger, an English professor, “I think life is about going along, and those things seem artificial.”

As young adults we are facing an increase in responsibilities, and we see all of the opportunities that lie ahead. We are eager for certain things to happen in our lives before they end. Whether these goals are likely or less likely to be reached, it is still important that we stay whimsical and optimistic.

When Ed Fleming was asked what was on his list, he was sincere and realistic in his answers. He said “Go to Lego Land, and eat the most chocolatey thing in the whole world.”

More often than not, individual’s goals reflect who they are and what they are interested in.  Cecil Smith’s response was very eccentric and illuminated his personality.  “LARP one of the battles from Lord of the Rings… yeah, I want do some LARPing.”

There are many people that see the concept of a bucket list as something frivolous and not so serious. Although it is important to have tangible and realistic long-term goals, it is fun to think of all of the possibilities. When Ebenezer Edwards was asked what is on his list, he said, “Own an island, and have sex with a princess.”

One of the things on Anthony Scolamiero’s list was more of a long-term goal rather than just a one-time experience or happening.  He said, “I want to be a teacher.” It is important to be able to see further ahead rather than just being impulsive; but spontaneity is also essential for diverse experiences. 


Virginity, in and of itself, is supposed to be a magical, sacred thing. This is what society has taught young people for many years.  Although the word can mean many different things to everyone, it is something that most people have to deal with at one point or another.

Religious backgrounds, familial morals and upbringings, and pressure from others can all be factors in the choices people make about losing their virginity. Today, many people seem to treat it as something they are absolutely driven to do, mainly because of the social pressures surrounding the matter; whereas, not even a couple hundred years ago, the opposite was true.

The idea of virginity as a social construct in generations past was viewed as a desirable trait for a woman to have until marriage. It was considered more important that women were virgins prior to marriage because it ensured that they came from a respectable family, and it solidified faithful paternity.

The myth of purity and the culture of virginity have both changed to become more lenient. Nowadays, there is less shame and guilt put upon people for losing their virginity prior to marriage. An anonymous quote that demonstrates people’s changing attitudes towards virginity: “Today people view it as a rite of passage.”

Heteronormative vaginal penetration is the main way that people describe virginity (or the loss of). Although there are people that lose their virginity in other ways, the masses view ‘sex’ as mainly this. Virginity is subjective, and it is up to the individual to define their own virginity.
“To be true to yourself, and not just what someone else wants is the most important.”

The socially acceptable age at which people generally lose their virginity has changed drastically over the course of time, although marriage may or may not be a variable. There are people that believe that it should be saved for marriage, although religious beliefs are not a factor.
For some, saving it for the correct person and keeping it private is enough. Although there are certain social norms instilled in our culture, it is vital to respect all people’s choices, regarding virginity, sexuality, and how much information they choose to disclose.

“Virginity is your own personal business; have as much sex as you want, or don’t.”

The Role of the Artist's Intent

W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley said in their novel The Intentional Fallacy that "intention is design or plan in the author's mind" (469). It suggests that the inclinations and preferences of the artist should have no bearing on what the viewer interprets the work as.
Although this theory seems like it may mostly be limited to literary art, we can apply this concept to all forms of art."The evaluation of the work of art remains public; the work is measured against something outside the author" (477).

Even if the objective or purpose of the work seems to be apparent or rather blatant, once the work is available to the masses, any artists thoughts and ideas about what their work is about should not have any effect on what the reader deems to be an appropriate interpretation for themselves."A poem should not mean but be(469). I interpreted the rest of this passage describing how poems, and everything for that matter is judged and tried to make sense of. 

These things do not lack meaning if they are being. Being is where meaning comes from and if something is, then it means something.

Electronic Reading and the Digital Fascination

     Konnikova’s article “Being a Better Online Reader” focuses on the decrease in comprehension when reading online and the way that reading has changed as a result of the increase in readily available information. Of course we do not use an online article the same way that we would use a book,as it is explained here.

     The physical process of reading online changes the way we manage and apply what we are learning. What is ironic about this assignment is that I am reading and annotating the article online, which is exactly what Konnikova is arguing against.

     She discusses skimming, scrolling, selectivity, distractions, boredom, and information overload and how these habits can be detrimental to our comprehension. When we read online, it is easy for us to move from page to page, and from source to source which can make us lose focus and cause us to not read or think as deeply. The decrease in deep reading is the larger issue. Wolf is concerned with the idea that as we increase the online and electronic reading methods, our ability to engage in deep thought will be sacrificed.

Paulo Friere's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed"

In Paulo Friere's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", he illustrates a method of teaching in which an individual learns to grow from their cumulative experiences. Justin Wyllie's review of this work discusses Friere's background as an educationalist, and how his South American roots influence his views on the oppressed. In the beginning, Wyllie says, "While the revolutionary theory is Marxist the context is unmistakably South American" (Wyllie 1). He discusses Friere's approach and who he aims his attention at. 

He outlines the argument by addressing the overarching themes of the four chapters right up front. Chapter one dealing with the revolutionary background, the oppressed in relation to those who oppress, as well as the the pursuit of the oppressed over time. The second chapter highlights the educational approach that many oppressors choose. The third describes Friere's experience with the "educational programs with the rural poor in various South American countries". Lastly, the fourth chapter compares the two theories of 'antidialogical' and 'dialogical'. Antidialogical aims to suppress the anxiety of reality, and dialogical aims to aid in "the discovery of reality through critical thought and free communication" (Wyllie 1).

Wyllie quotes Freire and says "oppression and its causes objects of reflection by the oppressed...from that reflection will come their necessary engagement in the struggle for liberation". Wyllie says that this is a  "pedagogy for the revolution" (Wyllie 1).

Would Friere consider conventional educational methods to be oppressive? How would he begin to educate oppressed people in urban areas to educate them about their own situation while still being sensitive? Clearly poverty influenced Friere in a negative way and helped him to develop this theory, but how would he think differently if he was raised in  a different environment with different living conditions?

Although the famous image of the fist is generally one that represents power to the working class, I thought it would be interesting if I used the image to represent the oppression that the proletariat is subjected to. 

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