Friday, June 9, 2017
Wow the last few chapters are wonky. There is one aspect I absolutely love, and one that I absolutely hate. I love what the author did with the Major. This was fantastic irony. Each of the characters has been manipulated in this way now, and they all served as a foil for each other. However, my absolute favorite part was how Hilde literally stated that this was irony. I really like that kind of next-level references and meta comedy. This all seemed believable too, and the last chapters really illustrated the beautiful relationship between Hilde and her father. They play games like that and love each other. I am fairly confident that I could play that same trick on my father, and I appreciate that amount of believability after this whirlwind of a book. However much I liked the Major, I really hate how Sophie and Alberto are still being referenced. I was frustrated by the dumb fairy-tale things this entire book, and these last chapters were the culmination of everything I despised. I hate the narration of the spirit-Hilde and spirit-Alberto, and I wish they had simply ceased to exist when the story ended. However, I saw what the author was trying to do. I noticed his efforts for next-leveling the reader by having Sophie and Alberto switch roles with Hilde and the Major. Before, Sophie was always watched by Hilde, but couldn’t see Hilde in return. Now, Sophie watches Hilde, without Hilde knowing in return. Furthermore, the callback to the rowboat is nice. However smart those lines are, the setup is so bad that I don’t think it’s worth it. I think the author worked way too hard with the whole fairyland to set up that one scene. This is completely tangential, but I really don’t like the abrupt romance in the garden party. Maybe it’s just me, but the book seemed to imply some level of sexual contact, which I’m not a fan of. First of all, it didn’t add anything to the plot other than showing the sheer absurdity of the scene. Secondly, this is a book about thinking about the world and questioning everything and thought above all else. That action was pure impulse without any thought as to the consequences. Also, I’m not cool with how chill the parents were with their 15-year old children having intercorse.
I know that we haven’t talked about this in class yet, but I’ve been looking forwards to this. Is it okay to punch a nazi? I will argue that punching nazis is not okay by any stretch of the imagination. First of all, when, if ever, is it okay to punch anyone? I would argue that punching is never the preferred option, but it is acceptable in two scenarios. First, when you have already been attacked, and it is in self defense. Second, when somebody else has already been attacked and cannot defend themselves. This phrasing is crucial. It is not okay to attack somebody before they attack you, even if you see it coming. If you can see somebody aiming their gun at you, you are not allowed to shoot them first. What you can do, however, is get out of the way and avoid getting shot. When you utilize “pre-emptive self-defense”, which just sounds orwellian, you are actually the aggressor. There is a chance, no matter how small, that no violence or harm would come from the situation. By pre-emptively attacking, you are ensuring that there will be violence. Next, if somebody else is attacked, and they are able to defend themselves, you should not intervene. This simply causes an arms race where more and more people will get involved, maximizing the casualties and injuries. So let’s relate this back to Richard Spencer. In the video clip, Spencer was answering a question from a reporter when he is punched in the face. Spencer was not attacking anybody, especially not the man who assaulted him. There are some who argue that Spencer was peddling dangerous rhetoric, which will ultimately harm somebody. This fails my first condition, as Spencer has not committed any harm yet. Furthermore, it’s difficult to say what constitutes dangerous rhetoric, as it is the person who acts upon it rather than the rhetoric itself. Despite this entire blog, I still have way more to say in class. I can’t wait!
Thursday, June 1, 2017
I’d like to preface this by saying that I was not here for the in-class discussion on Freud, and I might be wrong on many things, but I am so confused. I don’t really understand the concept of a freudian slip. I don’t think I’ve ever Freudian slipped in my life, it seems unrealistic. It seems that a person would need to be barely functioning to allow for a slip of the tongue. You’d need to be really sleep-deprived or under the influence of some kind of mind-altering substance to allow your mind to lax enough to give up like that. The example mentioned in the book was a little girl asking if a person takes sugar in their nose, given that she was not supposed to mention the nose. This seems implausible, as that I’m guessing that the little girl in question is thinking about what she is saying and planning out her sentences. I do a lot of extemporaneous and impromptu speaking, and I’ll often slip up, but I’ll never do a Freudian slip. For example, I’ll accidentally say President Obama instead of President Trump, but that doesn’t say anything about my unconscious. Before walking into the round, I remind myself to not say the word “racist” or “racism”, but I don’t blurt those words out. However, when I was little, and I went out for ice cream with my aunt, she told me not to tell my mother. As soon as I got home, I told my mom that “we definitely didn’t go out for ice cream!” Even though I brought up ice cream when I was not supposed to, this seems less like a freudian slip and more like simple ignorance that stems from youth. I just don’t really understand how a grown adult could make a mistake enough to cuss out their boss or insult someone. It seems like they should have more of a filter and know what they are going to say.
The story is very nice and all, but there is one thing that keeps tripping me up. Alberto has one key phrase that he uses to dismiss all the outrageous ongoings: “A bagatelle”. This really caught my attention because it is used so many times, and I feel that there is an underlying message here. A bagatelle has many definitions, so we can go through them one by one. First, a bagatelle is a game in which small balls are hit and then allowed to roll down a sloping board on which there are holes, each numbered with the score achieved if a ball goes into it, with pins acting as obstructions. I’m imagining that this game is something similar to a cross between bowling and shuffleboard. In this case, Sophie and Alberto are the balls, and the Major is throwing them. All the chaos and random events are the pins that obstruct the ball. Next, a bagatelle is also a thing of little importance or a very easy task. This is probably what Alberto actually means, as these distractions are an easy task for the Major. They take very little effort on his behalf. Most commonly, a bagatelle means a trifle. This is almost the same as the last definition, as these actions are a mere trifle for the Major. Finally, there is the definition that my mind immediately jumped to. I play piano, so I recognized the word bagatelle as a musical piece. A bagatelle is a short literary or musical piece in light style. I’ve played a handful of bagatelles, and they have very unique characteristics. I hope this is what the author intended, as Sophie’s World can be described as a bagatelle, and the way the characters act is similar to that of an actual bagatelle. At any rate, this whole blog is but a bagatelle.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
I really want to like capitalism. I really want to. It’s so hard though. I have a job, I contribute to society. I take great pride in that, and those are the aspects of capitalism I love. I noticed how Target had gay-friendly ads, and I liked that, so I shopped at Target. I love that I, as the consumer, have the power. I noticed that Chick-fil-a was very anti-gay, so I opted to not give them my money. Once again, capitalism allows me, the consumer, to use my power to influence corporations and companies. These are the strengths of capitalism, and I love that aspect. However, I go to a public school. I would not be here without unions. Those are not capitalistic. They are the opposite of that. I want a society where everyone starts on an equal field, and then can work harder to achieve more. That is my dream. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Because of my region, my parents, my race, my sexuality, my gender, anything really, I am not on an equal level. In a capitalist society, you need money to make money. Because I can afford a laptop, I can do better in school than someone who cannot. Because I can afford to go to college, I will earn more than someone who couldn’t. I don’t necessarily advocate giving all the money to the poor, rather I advocate giving them a fair and proper chance, for the successful should be where they are as a result of their own success, not riding on the coattails of their parents or surroundings. I want free education for everyone, because that is the best way to ensure that you get a fair chance at success. Furthermore, more education leads to a better society, as we’d have the best of the best, not just the best of the privileged.
This book used to be clever, but now it’s kind of dull. I loved the first time Alberto referenced the fact that they were in a book, as it was very clever, but it has diminishing returns. When subtly referenced, it was extremely witty, and it allowed for fanciful mind games. However, it insults my intelligence by making it obvious. When Alberto literally says “next chapter”, I don’t like that. I really like subtle hints or easter eggs, so I can read into the book more and more and ponder whether there’s actually something there. I like little subtle hints, not overt flashing neons signs blaring “irony”. I acknowledge that this book may be written for younger audiences, but I still don’t like its simplicity. I can handle more vague references, I am willing to work harder to understand the whole that the book is saying. I like that kind of book. I don’t want the author to literally hand it to me. In a similar vein, I don’t like the way that the fictional characters are portrayed and handled. There is so much potential here, yet I feel like this was a misplay on the author’s behalf. The author’s attempt comes off as a sort of force-feeding, as he is shoving Winnie the Pooh or Scrooge down my throat. I feel as though a fleeting allusion would be more effective, make the reader wonder what the author meant. I don’t know the proper way to do that would be, but I feel that there was so much wasted potential here. Finally, I’ll end on a positive note. I really like the fact that Hilde goes to the encyclopedia and references what she just read. That is fantastic character building and also supplies the reader with more information.
Friday, May 5, 2017
As we began covering the Enlightenment means of thinking, our class began speaking of mathematics. It upset me that people thought math was only 2+2=4 and simple stuff like that. In reality, math is so much more. Since I am going to do math for the rest of my life, I’m going to go ahead on a rant and prove how math models our reality, and I will argue that higher understanding of math will improve morals and outlook on society. First of all, we will examine the ability to understand reality through math. We know that the earth, through gravity, has an inherent pull on on all objects, with an acceleration of 9.8 meters per second squared. Through calculus, we can integrate that and find that the velocity is equal to 9.8 times time, all that in meters per second. Integrating again, we can find that the position of the velocity is equal to 9.8 multiplied by the time squared, with other variables tossed in. This is obviously quite simplistic, but the general idea is there. We can model quite literally anything in the real world with math, so it does not seem like that much a leap to model things in the subjective world. Say, for example, emotions. There are ups and downs, so we could model them with a sin function, which is a trigonometric wave. This does make sense, as the time between highs and lows can be adjusted graphically. We could also use mathematical functions to determine one’s values, with variables such as role models and upbringing. In fact, we already have a similar function with determining one’s political ideology. We can determine ideology with variables like age, family, race, gender, class, education, and the like.