Monday, March 31, 2014

English Majors, Teachers, Writers & Readers Are 'All Knowing' .. Obviously.

I've been in numerous English courses and have been around numerous English majors. We usually have a lot in common: Our interest in words, literature, writing, analyzing, and viewing the world a little differently. But one thing I have noticed is our tendency to be a little pretentious and our excessive usage of the word, "OBVIOUSLY."



So there I was, sitting in an English class and my Professor is throwing around the word "obviously" after every sentence.
Obviously Holden Caulfield is going through an obvious crisis in being afraid to grow up .. Obviously. But he obviously doesn't grow up as he runs away from all his obvious problems.
Really Professor? Is it really that 'obvious' that we should clearly understand where you are coming from? This is a vicious attack on those who haven't gotten it because they are 'obviously' too stupid to see what is so clearly in front of them.

Let me define OBVIOUSLY:
In a clearly perceptible manner, evidently, plainly, manifestly; naturally, as might be expected from the circumstances.
In other words:
Of course, duh, apparently.
It makes it seem that we are 'all knowing' and whatever we are saying should be 'obvious' because it is so 'clearly apparent' that they should know too. FALSE.

The word is so mis-used in an attempt to sound intellectual. It's not like the person you are saying it to is like,
I'm so foolish! You're right. It is so OBVIOUS!!!
But, I have fallen into the 'obvious' bandwagon and have been stinging people with the word since the day I was born with my 'obvious' presence.

People just don't like it. People don't like me for it. They think it's obnoxious. Because whatever seems so "obvious" clearly isn't.

This goes out to all those English majors, writers, readers, and analyzers .. What may be 'obvious' to us is not so 'obvious' to everyone else ...

...OBVIOUSLY...


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Americans": The True Immigrants

The Thanksgiving Story

The Pilgrims sailed all the way to Plymouth Rock and came across Native Americans. The Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn and other crops. Being inspired by the new harvest, both groups united together celebrating with a big feast to give thanks ... & history is born.

-THE END-




As children we are taught a false perception of history-- a clean, heroic, American way of history.
America the great, America the beautiful, but there lies a disturbing truth behind these stories that many people turn a blind eye to. Children are in a way brainwashed to believe history in the way that it has been molded to benefit the country. We live in a bubble where we do no wrong and figure that our interventions, past, present and future are always to better others and to help those in need. But what about the manipulation, the lies, the distortion of what we are taught throughout our whole lives? And for those who know the truth about the world, where does that leave us in raising children to, in a way, be against the educational system and what is taught? How can we tell them that what their teacher is saying is a semi-truth?

National Geographic Kids state,
"On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday honoring the early settlers and their harvest feast known as the first Thanksgiving ... They played ball games, sang, and danced."

But when do we ever learn about the Pequot War?

An alliance of English colonies attacked the Pequot tribe made up of 700 unarmed men, women, and children. Those who survived were shipped off and sold into slavery.

It was a massacre.

In the book, 'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,' written by Sherman Alexie, a Native American himself growing up in the Spokane Indian Reservation he states,
"I always think it's funny when Indians celebrate Thanksgiving. I mean, sure, the Indians and Pilgrims were best friends during that first Thanksgiving, but a few years later, the Pilgrims were shooting Indians ..."
"'Hey, Dad,' I said. 'What do Indians have to be so thankful for?'
'We should give thanks that they didn't kill all of us.'"
Our view of History is essentially formed by the perception of the hand that wrote it.

And as time progressed and Americans grasped the idea of 'Manifest Destiny,' Native Americans have been pushed and confined into these small and extremely poor Reservations. They have been tucked away and paid off to keep their brutal past hidden from the new 'civilizations' growing around them.


Native Americans in Today's Culture

Football-
  • Washington Redskins

Baseball-
  • Atlanta Braves
  • Cleveland Indians

Basketball-
  • Buffalo Braves
  • Golden State Warriors

Hockey-
  • Chicago Blackhawks

Isn't this a form of Racism?
Aren't 'we' mocking a 'type' of person-- a stereotype?
Wouldn't this be a false representation of what 'we' perceive a Native American looks like?

Usually in sports a mascot is represented by an animal, then what does that make the representation of a Native American?

A kid in one of my classes says that it's okay for Americans to use these terms, even when the Washington Redskins received negative backlash for their name. He said,
"You just pay them off to shut them up."
Have we grown so ignorant and naive to believe that this is okay? America has grown to have this superior mindset, this 'we think we're so much better' mindset, this 'we live in America speak English' mindset, while the whole world sits back and laughs as we continue our lives living on lies upon lies upon lies.

Money.

You just give them what they need in order to conquer the land. Suffocate them in things until they say "YES." Use them then lose them. Come on guys this has happened time and time again.

So to sum up all this craziness .. America has deprived the Natives of their land and pushed them so far away. Their History isn't accurately taught, and their perception in today's culture isn't accurately portrayed. But there is a bigger picture here. One that cannot be written but processed in the mind.

I wouldn't be surprised if someone offered to pay me off to keep my mouth shut and delete this post.

{First Comic by Mike Luckovich}
{Second Comic by David Horsey 'The Truth of Thanksgiving'}

Monday, March 24, 2014

Can We Really Say What We Mean & Mean What We Say?


Suck was a queer word ... But the sound was ugly. Once he had washed his hands in the lavatory of the Wicklow Hotel and his father pulled the stopper up by the chain after and the dirty water went down through the hole in the basin. And when it had all gone down slowly the hole in the basin had made a sound like that: suck. Only louder. -James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)

What are words?

Words. Made up of letters. Made up of sounds. But what do they mean?
In 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man', James Joyce plays with the character, Stephen Dedalus, as he struggles through words and their meanings. Words are used in 2 ways:
  1. Actual Meaning: Let's use the word 'SUCK' for example. According to the Oxford Dictionary, suck means to draw into the mouth by contracting the muscles of the lip and mouth to make a partial vacuum.
  2. Figurative Meaning: As in to be a 'suck up', which means to pretty much kiss someones butt. 
The shift in words causes Stephen Dedalus to have a hard time understanding them. Does this possibly take away from their meaning?
Words are a funny thing. They are a way for people to communicate and a way for people to express
themselves. But we also use words and manipulate them & somehow lose their true meaning.

We give words so much power. Universally, everyone decided that the word 'FUCK' is a bad word. So we are left with the media censoring certain words that everyone agrees are bad. But we are forgetting that they are just words. Letters. Sounds. People are the cause of them being bad. We use them against others.

Humans are more complicated than words. Our feelings are this unknown, indescribable part of our lives and words restrict us to really express our thoughts, feelings, emotions as we are limited to happy, sad, love, hate and every synonym on top of that, that essentially mean the same thing. 

Let me create a scenario: Imagine a world with no words. We communicate visually. How would we think? What language would our thoughts be in? How does a person that is deaf hear his or her own thoughts?

The world is more complex than a 26-letter alphabet. Our emotions and our beings cannot be expressed with the simplicity of words. Such a mystifying thing holds no language, no definitions. It just is. No words can justify without the filtration. So can we really mean what we say and say what we mean as it had been processed and let out into the universe from our minds? 

And the next time you say "I love you," think about how meaningless those words mean. In writing we use the term, 'Show don't Tell'. So maybe take a step back and try to really capture your feelings even if the words you are saying do not make sense. Or better yet, use your actions to express what is happening on the inside.

 

Writing Tip: 

 

Use this in your writing and you'll see how you can make a paragraph from showing what a simple phrase as, "I was sad," can turn into a full paragraph or even a full story of what sits behind those 3 simple words.

The irony in all of this is that we are still using words to 'Show' & not 'Tell'. But, we are putting more meaning behind them and creating our own interpretive definition.

{Image by Alex Eylar}
{Comic by WatchersWeb.com}