(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.