Meh, I didn’t really have anything better then that title.
Anyway, seeing as our group is just about at crunch time, it would seem fair to post this blog. Our Dummies Packet is just about complete, although it could use further refining (to which I mean I will look through the pages and feel like something is off when really nothing is off but stupid me won’t know that and I will go and change something for no reason whatsoever and knowing my luck, that will piss someone off in our group to the point where I have to use a Marcusism to end the conversation), and our lesson plan has been laid out. However, after watching group one go, I feel like we are going to have to go back and revamp said plan, because if I’m being honest, the Gender group set the bar pretty damn high and for us to at least interest the rest of the group if not get a high grade, our plan needs to be more interactive. Or I’m just doing the same thing as with the Dummies Packet and making a big deal out of nothing. Regardless, even as much work as we have put in to this point, I can’t help but be nervous for not how our project will be graded, but rather, just how will it be received.
If there is at least one thing positive that we can take away from the Gender group, it would be this. Interactive activities work. And taking sides, if not painful, is a powerful and effective tool for forcing your viewers to not only pay attention, but also evaluate themselves and their stances. So why not just use the topic that is arguably the most polarizing debate of them all for this exact purpose? Politics offers numerous chances to get the class to decide, reflect, and debate over their opinions, and allows us to redirect attention away from the presenters and more to overall thought (which as someone who still isn’t comfortable to presenting even after all these years sounds great.)
Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to report on group banter. Shame, cause’ we always need more Marcusisms to go around… But in reality, nothing has really changed about our group. Liam and Grace survived band’s hell week, and Alex has mostly shown up, so life is good. Also, Liam forgot to tell me I’m beautiful today, so I’ll yell at him on Monday. Otherwise, that’s all I can really say. I think our minds are relatively made up about our subject, and we’ll review our understandings up until we have to present.
So now we’re staring down our Dummies Packet, and I guess it’s not that bad. I have to refine the sources that I found around 11:40 last night, but I’m pretty satisfied with how they and their explanations came out, so that should make things easier. Still, as I said in the document itself *and then would later remove*, I still am not fully sure about the connection of the Elephant Graph (as every source I’ve seen has called it) to our topic as a whole. While I feel like it made more sense then every other graphic I came across, I still felt like the connection to the topics of imperialism and isolationism is a bit vague, even in the economic sense. On the other hand, I’m really happy with the historical source on China. I wasn’t entirely sure that the era I was looking for even existed at first, but the funny thing is, it does exist. Better yet seems to be the number of historians who are still dumbfounded to this day about why China changed so dramatically in their foreign policy that it almost makes for a reading about a historical simulation and not actual history, which is usually much more boring and logical. My dad happened to find a book discussing this very topic, so I’ll try to make time for it to see if I can gain an even greater understanding of this source.
After finding these sources, my understanding between the relationship of politically influenced foreign policy and economics has been expanded a good deal, and more importantly, they have opened a door in my mind to even recognize this relationship and its far reaching effects in the first place. I’m really interested by the Chinese source, as that decision by the Chinese was so unpredictable and illogical as well as radical that it makes for a massive change in the international power chain at the time, and allows for Britain to even start its empire in the first place.
Now, for daily group reconnaissance:
“Marcus-isms” are now a thing. Courtesy of Grace, I am now a semi-communist and the next group meme for overreacting while in a discussion that occurred while we were working on our Dummies Packet. Let’s just say that I tend to use the work sheesh a bit when sarcastically overreacting to my group, and now I’m paying for it. But outside of making me a meme, my group has been working as diligently as ever, even Liam, who consistently reminds me that I’m beautiful in the middle of working. Not distracting in the slightest. Not at all…
Get hyped for blog V, the best number ever! Now for business. This blog should be dated around the view of 3/20/17.
Our dummies packet still hasn’t been really organized to this point, so I’m a bit worried. I honestly haven’t looked at the requirements of this packet for at least a week, so kinda scary. Our essantial question has undergone a slight revision to narrow the subject down more, changing from an unlabeled country and a world view to the United States being compared to the rest of the world. Otherwise, no major structural changes. I’m going to have to find a graphical and historical source to back up our thesis, so that will be fun. I have no idea how to look at this prompt from a numerical standpoint, so yay for an incoming late night struggle?
Again, no real changes to my understanding of politics… Yet. Expecting that to change with incoming sources.
The group dynamic remains as giddy as ever with constant ripping of each other as we work. But, as I’ve said for probably a thousand times up to this point, the work gets done. Somehow. Someway. I can’t even explain it as this point, and worse yet, it seems like the work is falling on Grace and Liam who are going through their week of hell in music or play related shenanigans. In other words, I feel like I’m getting slightly carried and that’s not a good thing. I’m doing my part, but I still can’t but help and feel this way.
As of now (should be 3/17/17), we haven’t started our Dummies Packet, but we did just complete our synthesis question and organize a broad list of essantial questions. I’m really satisfied with how our central question turned out, even though it wasn’t what I was originally expecting. However, because we shifted towards looking at an international and historical view as our question, finding examples and times has become much easier, and for once, my social studies classes will come in handy. I still haven’t come to a full personal opinion on our question, which deals with the range in government interactions through history, but I can say that at first glance, I’m leaning heavily towards a globalist styled government that interacts heavily around the world, but doesn’t necessarily try to control or manipulate others. That probably seems a bit too idealistic and I’m not expecting any good examples, but that will be my preference that may let bias appear in my writing, if any.
I’m a bit worried because I haven’t really had my perspective change even with the arrival of our new synthesis prompt. I came into this project with a mixed opinion of wanting to jump into the world’s activities when need (interventionism) while also staying back and trying to avoid certain conflicts in the best interests of the citizens. After reading multiple sources and considering different societies throughout history, I can’t say that my opinion has changed as of now.
As for my group, well they are trash.
Wait, I can’t say that. Not directly at least. I mean, I can’t really say anything that hasn’t been said about my group, in that they are really holding their word on meeting due dates and turning high quality work. But they are bugging the heck out of me on our Facebook messenger, so clearly they must be a bad group for that reason. Those notifications must bother you right?
(Thoreau Onward) I can’t say that I’ve really had any epiphanies since the first blog, as my view on politics as a whole hasn’t really expanded much more after the first set of readings. Thoreau’s writing proposes several essential questions when it comes down to how much we should be invested into our government and to what extent we should reap the effects of our involvement. While I don’t agree with his ideas entirely, I do think that his writing leads to asking the right questions for anyone who is thinking about the relationship of politics to a government. Soyinka discusses the progression of rights and values throughout history, and how our it took Hitler slaughtering millions of people to bring our governments back to the issue of how people and humanity should be valued. She helps the reader to gain an understanding of the progression of politics throughout history and how the value of the self has changed over time. Orwell gives the reader a bit of insight into the view of politics from a ruling party (the British), and how they are restricted by the people they govern as much as they restrict them themselves. Achebe describes the idea of a country’s identity being represented through its literature, and how if this literature arises, a country can maintain and preserve its political identity as a result. Boland grants another view of politics from an indoctrinated and historical viewpoint by comparing how he looks at his home country to his ruling country, England. The Christensted Guide is a direct example of imperialism, and the Bombay Ad is a form of social influence that hides the real identity of Bombay behind an exotic mask to try and convince the readers to ‘find’ a bit of personality within them that they really didn’t have before, changing the political scene subtly through people’s wants and desires.
Outside of Thoreau, I really enjoyed these readings, especially Soyinka for this section. I’ve always found it interesting in my history classes when studying past cultures to see the progression and selection of rights and values that a society will choose to support and debate politically, and Soyinka compiles several examples of them and compares them with the constant political presence of authoritarian rulers who seek to remove these rights and freedoms. Watching the ever evolving scope of values and rulers’ attempts to snuff these values out in order to enforce complete control is a fascinating process, if not a scary one. I couldn’t really get a feel for O’Brien’s fictional piece however. I want to go back and reread this in hopes of better understanding what point O’Brien may be making. Rereading Orwell was a fun moment in this section, as his account of killing and politics is beautifully powerful and descriptive in my mind. And Achebe was a bit of a new perspective for this reading. I didn’t expect to see an argument for literature and story telling having such an impact on the visual aspect of a country’s politics, but I am more convinced of this after the fact.
As for my group dynamic and my own performance, well I don’t have much to say. We already received glowing remarks from the almighty Lobitz, so we must be doing something right. However, I must say that my timing is falling somewhat behind, and I’m going to have to adjust and get back on pace with the rhetorical precis if I want to keep contributing responsibly to this group. Not to mention that I thought this blog was due at midnight today, not at the end of the period… Why do we have alternating due dates when it comes down to time in your class? Why are some assignments due by the end of class and others by a time outside of school if all are electronic assignments that don’t physically need to be turned in? I know I should pay better attention to the calendar, but for future reference, wouldn’t it be easier for you to set a consistent time for certain parts to be due? Just curious.
(Up to Thoreau) At this point, I’ve come to realize that the subject of politics isn’t just limited to political parties and the social manipulation that can accompany them. Instead, the subject can reference to the basic social interactions that the people have with each other on a daily basis that can be shaped through a set of subtle factors, most of which that can be traced back to the wants and desires of a government or central authority. Kincaid tells her readers of the subtle indoctrination that British occupied states undergo through a devaluation of their own culture in favor of Britain’s own, which makes holding indoctrination easier for the ruler. Swift satirically suggests a complete overhaul of society that revolves around sacrifice and population control under the guise of resource management. Hedges discusses the processes by which a government can shape and motivate its people to undertake massive and polarizing endeavors, like a war, even if a majority of people don’t support the act in the first place. Goldsmith offers a brief commentary about how some people can be blinded by the presence of nationalism and patriotism to value other cultures, which may have different motives than the natural government. Woolf discusses the elevation of people and their internal desires which can be shaped and melded by a government to fit its own wants and needs, looking at Hitler and Nazi Germany in specific.
I definitely enjoyed (reading at least) this set of writings, minus Kincaid. Swift was a hilarious yet terrifying read whose logical suggestions were heavily against moral and ethical concerns, but one that really could open up my mind to the social implications and overall effect on politics that such a radical suggestion would entail. I loved reading Hedges, as his discussion of war and the shaping of countries is a subject that I have read much about in the past, through war memoirs from WWII and Africa. But as much as I loved his reading, it terrified me nonetheless, as it was social manipulation and even dehumanization to almost an exact science. I didn’t really react as well to Goldsmith or Woolf, because even though both propose great ideas and ask relevant questions, their writing style just didn’t seem to inspire me. Goldsmith was very straightforward and didn’t really provoke me, while Woolf started strong then devolved (not in a bad way, but it de-escalated my emotion) into a set of scenes and images after getting the main point across. I straight up did not enjoy Kincaid as I felt like all she did was repeat her main point over and over again, and while her ideas are perfectly valid, I just felt like they were beaten into my head, which isn’t an effective way to convince someone to adopt a new style of thinking, even if I already agreed with her principles.
Overall, I must say that I am more than satisfied with my group. It’s really pleasant to be part of a group where everyone carries their own weight and the overall quality is very high for each portion of the work. It’s getting to the point where I start to wonder if my work becomes the weak link, which is good and bad for its own reasons, but I’ll take it. Although, if Liam tells me how much he adores me one more time, I think I might snap.
I picked the topic of politics because I’ve always been one to consider and mull over the ideas and perspectives of other people, and politics is just that combined with quite a bit of social manipulation, which simultaneously fascinates and disgusts me. I still don’t think that I have much knowledge in the world of politics, but that should be considered alongside the fact that I didn’t understand nor care about politics until the last year or so. However, what I read in the community unit only reinforced my understanding of the various extreme and moderate perspectives that can be found in political debate.
I’m really excited to be working with my group, as after seeing them in the community unit, I can reasonably say that they are an efficient and reliable group capable of turning out quality work at reliable deadlines while also communicating clearly. I can bring the aspect of playing devil’s advocate to my group, as well as be flexible enough to fill in and take roles where other people might struggle. My work schedule desperately needs to improve however, as I an inefficient with my time. I was expecting there to be hiccups or flaws in how my group interacted and divided work, especially considering how loose of a plan we had to start the community unit, but when deadlines came, we executed our parts and finished most things with ease.
As for the Uber Unit, I’m excited and quite terrified. On one hand, this unit will give us a chance to really open our eyes in a specific field of knowledge while giving us a unique view on multiple other subjects. But on the other hand, a great deal of this unit is independent. Which means that I’m going to be staying up past 12 for many more nights at this rate. While I do meet deadlines, I sacrifice time and sleep in the process, showing that I am not effective at using my time nor focusing when I have an excess of time. For once however, I’m not concerned about collaborative work, as my group (finally) is competent and extremely capable. So that’s nice.
But if WordPress decides to keep swallowing my blog attempts into the abyss, well, let’s just say that these blogs are going to go sarcastically downhill at breakneck speed.