And with that clickbait title, we conclude our final chapter of Uber Unit. I should make note of the fact that I missed the middle day of presentations (running at Franklin Field, good times!) and therefore, my analysis of the sixth group’s activities will be somewhat flawed or lacking. I did find the presentation and the first days activities very relevant and logical for the subject. However, I feel like this day wasn’t very deep in terms of content, and it is part of the reason why I wished I was there for the second day. The quizlet live was nice at determining the span of my pop culture knowledge, but it soon became very repetitive and easy to game.
Now, as for the discussion, I found the third day much more interesting. I felt like there were two parts of the discussion that really stood out, and I unfortunately was only able to comment on one of them. The first idea that came up revolved around the idea of different social complexes and groups, and how they were present all around Penncrest. A majority of people in the room seemed to be in a bit of a bubble, usually only interacting with those in the same high level classes as them with a couple of extra branches, including clubs like some of the science teams or those with artistic pursuits (your favorites!) like theatre. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t speak up in time, because I felt like I had a conflicting point that could have balanced this specific area in the discussion. This is because of the fact that while I spend most of my time with these exact same elite students, I’ve also consistently had at least one class a year with students of much lesser caliber, usually consisting of athletes and other goofballs. Combined with this is the fact that I’ve participated in athletic activities ever since my summer freshman year, where I first joined the cross country (and went on to continue running for the rest of the year), and you can see where my social bubbles might start to vary quite heavily from a majority of the other people in this class. I know what it’s like to be a top tier student, to have that focus and drive on academic pursuits, but at the exact same time, I know what it’s like to be a varsity athlete, and how that leads to a conflict of interests (and a loss of sleep, lots of it) with varying ideals and feelings. I know the people that are in both fields, and it’s enhanced my perspective of the world as well as broadened my understanding of different types of people overall. So, a bit of a missed opportunity there, but that happens when under time constraints.
As for the issue I did get to speak about, which happened to be the ever revolving issue of video games and the broad exposure to violence throughout all forms of media for multiple age groups, I was more than happy enough to provide my personal experience. So, I guess with that I can be considered the “gamer” of the AP Lang class, and all associated feelings and conceptions can be applied here (although a certain someone *cough Mark cough* has arguably spent more time overall playing video games and delaying classwork, but I digress.) That being said, I don’t feel like I got my full point across in my contribution, but I hopefully got enough out for others to understand my perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I may have an addiction to all sorts of games and virtual realities, but I don’t let that blind me nor weigh over my moral barriers. In the case of violent games, this is especially so. My first video games from the age of 5-6 were in order, a racing game, a first person shooter, and a strategy game. With this in mind, my father was the one to introduce me to the shooter genre, and he was extremely careful in that regard. I was always warned of the reality of the violence I enacted in these harmless simulations, and I respected that line from almost the moment it was instilled on me. My moral compass has been shaped the greatest from two influences in my life, my father, and my karate studio. Seeing as my dad is also a doctor, I quickly came to understand the human body and especially all of its most vulnerable locations, which was only reinforced by my karate instructors warnings about everything we could do to seriously injure and incapacitate another person. I’ll admit it, I’m quite squeemish, and generally, I don’t like to imagine the damage that I could inflict on another person. With that in mind, violence has always been a major subject where I firmly have drawn my moral lines upon. While I may have a bit of a temper, I should clarify that there is a major, major difference between me being angry, and me actively wanting to hurt another human being. There is nobody in our room that no matter how much they have pissed me off, has made me consciously want to injure them. So, considering this, my stance on video games and violent media comes down to this; it can be an influence towards those who might be the next school shooter, but, I do not think that it can ever be the singular influence that pushes someone over the edge, into a realm where they don’t see the issue in taking other people’s lives. That edge is one that can only be breached over time under multiple influences, including family interactions, social interactions, and the potential presence of a mental disorder.
That was a little horrifying that I just wrote that. Again, I only see this as my perspective, and I don’t consider this the end all be all for what composes a violent person’s actions. These are just my educated guesses on the idea.
Now, onward to the readings! (how about that turnaround huh?)
I’m not sure what to say here other than I guess I agree with the central ideas posed by Wiltz and Twain, and that the idea of defining yourself against or with social influences is one that I’ve thought about numerous times, considering how much I consider myself socially incompetent. I won’t rant about my thoughts on that, but let’s just say that it’s an idea that you tend to think about when you don’t text or spend all your time on Instagram. As for the Denby reading, I kinda agree with the criticism of all these teen movies having stereotypical characters and roles in hopes of attracting the sympathy of the audience, but even though it isn’t as black and white as the movies make it out to be, I do still think that something of similar nature goes on in many high schools, including Penncrest. I won’t name names, but especially in the athletics department, I do see some frightening similarities in social interactions and structures, and it worries me that people (more specifically, a good portion of the administration) just seem to accept it and let it happen, especially when some of these teams just cause more problems then they bring positive attention (again, *cough cough* the football team and the baseball team, and to an extent the basketball and lacrosse teams.) As a whole, the reading isn’t perfectly accurate, but I get the point that Denby makes, which is a fair one.
As for the synthesis prompt, I didn’t really understand how to interpret it. The Pop Culture group’s essential questions were all relatively spot on and were relevant points that correlated well with the readings and the discussion. They did seem a bit repetitive, but I thought that they covered the subject extensively enough to warrant their overlap. As for the synthesis introduction (what was I supposed to analyze here, this group was structured differently), I felt that the prompt was somewhat limited by just focusing on the presence of film and TV influence, but it was still broad enough to see why the group settled on it.
As for a connection to politics, well, I guess I should look at this past election and say no more. From a pop culture standpoint, Trump would have beaten Hillary in this regard almost every day of the week. Pop culture doesn’t exactly have it’s roots based in common logic, so that part is explained fairly easily. But simply looking at some of the common social preferences and norms present around the time of the election, it was clear that there was definitely a visual portion of voters who clearly had a set of anti-establishment values alongside values of economic grandeur or just a focus in general. While Hillary made more of an attempt to try and appeal on this front, her efforts were obvious and the effort was ruined, which only made her appear worse in public opinion, at least in my opinion. While I believe that pop culture should stay entirely out of politics, I feel that they are unfortunately entwined for the time being, as well as the upcoming future. Which is a shame, because generally those who have the greatest ideas and the most realistic and fair policies will probably never have the same shock and awe factor of those with superior social influence even if they are logically speaking a worse candidate in every way possible. Scientists and philosophers are relatively boring and inconsequential to the public, and until they are idolized or supported to the point of attaining publicity and power equivalent to celebrities, they will never stand a chance at winning public office.
So yeah, that’s my two (and a half) cents for you. Enjoy my greatest wall of text yet Lobitz!