December 26, 2012
Perhaps about two decades ago, this problem would have been encountered less, with the difficulties of printing and availability of computer type processing. Today, at a time where one can live tweet and blog an entire day's worth of movies and what not from a cell phone, or wirelessly send documents to print at a touch of a button, certain things fall to the wayside and one of those things certainly are handwriting. The way we function and operate nowadays relies so little on the physical taking of notes in class, when we can digitally capture everything that is said, or quickly type it down. Heaven help the teacher or GSI when they have to grade hand written tests.
Handwriting somehow becomes one of those things easily ignored surpassed by more modern technology. Its understandable for technology to move beyond previous technology, but if anything, handwriting still is a necessary technology, surpassed in legibility, and distribution by typing and photocopying, there still is that necessary instant communication between two people. Just as well, say for instance, there are two people from different parts of the country, and between the two of them, comping up with a joint venture. No laptop, just a quick ideas brainstorm. Simple as that. Between the two of them, two young savvy professionals who spent an entire lifetime doing all work via computers, neither has a strict grasp over neat handwriting. Can you expect to see this venture lasting a bit if the ideas aren't clearly laid out?
You might say, well, maybe if they get their ideas out today, they can type it out tomorrow. Well, you can only pull out from your memory only so much, perhaps they'd forgotten a key component to their joint venture. In the immediacy of the events, there is a certain necessity that handwriting performs that it can capture quickly that you might lose in just typing.
If you look at a set of hand written notes of someone who does have fairly decent handwriting and compare it to a typeset of notes, notice a difference. A quick, neat scrawled out side note in the corner, ideas, relations of complexities, things of the like. A set of typed notes, and lets be honest. Parrots what the screen says. Students tend to write what they can see on the board, take in little to no aural response and add notes of their own. Facebook, twitter, youtube, email, all distract us. So that's one nail right there.
Teachers these days, I don't think they're helping all too much either. Albeit, when I attended elementary school in the late 90's, cursive and penmanship was still a very important. I can still recall writing on that thick, plush fiber paper, with the blue dotted lines and it had the texture of paper towel. Trying to write on it with a hard HB #2 pencil, made a light line and a deep crevice into it. I mean, it wasn't easy learning how to write on this swamp emulating paper, but over time, when we did graduate to wide ruled paper, suddenly, there was a world of things we could write, and even more so with college ruled paper.
There was however a wrong turn even I mistakenly had taken in my life. It was around sixth grade after four years of writing in cursive script and growing to resent having to connect my words, the teacher allowed us to print. By all means, my printing improved and eventually my script dwindled into nothing. Throughout high school, you could see my handwriting was fairly simple, not hurried, but in a way, lacking. It was plain, it was simple, and it looked childish. Unrefined for the use in a real world context, it had that charm of bent ascenders and sloping with a curlique descenders that allowed the illusion of childhood to be complete. This carried me through my first year of college when I made a major change in my writing.
My first year, I purchased with much pomp and circumstance a Koh-I-Noor rapidograph pen. Refillable. That of all the things was a new concept to me that I enjoyed. I did own my grandfather's Parker 51, but I ignored it for the most part. Now, my letters became increasingly technical. Resembling the sharp rakish lines of sans-serif fonts I had on my computer. I ran with it. On one occasion, I even wrote an entire month's worth of letters to my girlfriend at the time in Sweden using the rapidograph. It probably was the first pen I owned that, the ink changed the paper. When it dried, your fingertips could trace over the letterforms and feel literally what you had just written. She loved it so much at the time, she went out and bought pens as well just to write in a journal she was keeping for me.
My ex was one of those people who were very influential in my life. She made me appreciate the necessity of good type, good typesetting, good design, good work and good handwriting. Her letters always returned to me with her girlish squiggly scrawl, but it was readable. Just as she influenced me, I influenced her with my choice of excellent writing tools. I always kept on hand at my desk my Lamy fountain pen, a rotoring fountain pen and my Waterman which I kept on my person. These little hints thrown back and forth, we slowly improved each other's handwriting. Part of me wishes I could see the letters I sent her back then, but since then, we had long separated from each other not talking for four years now.
Perhaps its me, with my obsession with all things type and good handwriting when my friend came up to me at a dinner once asking me to do ten wedding invitations that were to be sent off to family. I could not say no, since this friend helped me in so many ways. When I started, I set down with several pieces of Crane & Co. stock and attempted to write in cursive. I could not. Baffled and panic stricken, I thought to myself: this can't be right. I love handwriting and stuff like this. Why can't I do it?
I had forgotten the cursive forms completely. I had lost track over the past eight years of how to write strictly in script. My daily scratch had evolved like some form of Frankenstein. I no longer adhered only to print or only to cursive. It was this god awful abomination, that utilized cursive f's a wide variety of cursive and print s's and a constantly changing lower case a. I realized, this would not do. As fast as I could write, as neatly as I could write (when I have to write neatly or engross I can) cursive script was what I needed most for this wedding invitation. So I sat down, read through Tamblyn's guide and Speedball's guides, and worked back up. It took awhile, but I realized the necessity of good handwriting.
Pedal forward to today. I had gone to visit the classroom of the teacher who allowed me to stop using cursive. It was not quite the classroom I had left. Hell, it wasn't even the same room as before. But she was still there, and still the same awesome teacher I remembered. But before I could even postulate the handwriting question to her, I noticed something incredibly shocking. There literally were no pads of paper or journals around at all. Every single one of these sixth graders were using a laptop or an iPad, to watch lectures, things like that. The only time I saw pencils and paper being pulled out were to answer math sheets, and quickly scribble down assignments. Defeated, I walked towards the door after dropping off my business card and watched as the next generation of students entered a new era of technology and would drive more nails into the coffin of handwriting.
October 16, 2012
A young, beautiful face stared down at the puzzle, her eyes scanning over the clues and blank squares in hopes of finding a new point of attack. Her long golden strands of blond hair cascaded down and the tips touched onto the newspaper and with a flick of her wrist, they sailed into the air and back over her shoulder where they would begin the slow descent down to the table again. Her right hand tapped nervously as she looked over this, her eyes darting from the clues to the coffee and then back again. She knew what this would be like. She would finish about three quarters of the puzzle, give up, toss it into the trash and then the next morning when the answers would be posted in the paper, she would feel an overwhelming desire to find the bin she threw it into and retrieve it.
Every morning, Lily went through this struggle and many more throughout the day. Jumping to quick conclusions and realizing her mistakes and trying her best to fix them or appease everyone, but mostly herself. When she finally reached the three quarters mark, she stuffed the paper into her leather side bag and continue onto work, leaving the cafe a faint memory until the next morning when she would struggle again.
Living and working in the city had always been a dream for her and when she finally got the chance to do so, she couldn't help but jump for joy, take a bunch of her girlfriends out for drinks and then question her choice in the morning while nursing her hangover. Lily had come from a small town on the outskirts of Sacramento, with not much to do with big city living and not much to do with small city living either. It was the sort of town where everyone knew each other by heart and where your personal affairs was everybody's business. The older ladies in the town were certainly more of the productive busybodies, spreading rumors around that Lily had met some rich executive and was taking her away to live in San Francisco. This she would not have. Out of sheer anger, she approached one group of them sitting on a porch and yelled at them: "I'M NOT A WHORE!"
That embarrassing fiasco certainly meant she wouldn't be able to return to town without coming upon the watchful eyes of the Cowden street old ladies. Her mother and father usually decided it was best to visit her in the city rather than she come out home. But it allowed her a new sense of freedom. One that she didn't have to deal with people anymore, or annoying busybodies around her. Now, she was a person living in the city! Now she was part of the many that would be sitting around in cafes drinking expensive coffee with laptops being watched as they wrote screenplays or created works of art.
Lily's job was personal assistant to Mr. Will Yeager. Will Yeager was the sort of man who had dropped out of college, but started his own business and pulled himself up by the bootstraps and through hard work made things happen. All by the age of 32. He was now 34 and running a successful design group in the SOMA district. She would manage all the papers for publication and under her careful and tedious scrutiny, edit them twice even after the editors have sent the papers her to be published in. Secretly, she would sneak in her own edits without telling Mr. Yeager.
It happened that morning, maybe about a half hour after the coffee shop and the crossword puzzle. She had just gotten into the office and started to settle into her small little half cubicle outside Yeager's office. She nudged around the portrait of her and her father, stepped briskly into Yeager's room and grabbed the pile of papers in his out box for her review. It would be another half hour before Will would get here she thought as she nestled into her office hair with a pencil and a new article. It was supposed to be Will's opening statements for the office's annual design newsletter publication.
Now the Yeats Annual was a pretty big deal in the design world. Every year, Lily would watch as boxes of three hundred magazines each would be shipped off to New York, Portland, Chicago, London, Pairs, Rio de Janero, Tokyo and elsewhere. She secretly knew that for the last four years at least, every single one of those annuals had some of her own little edits here and there. As she settled into the page, suddenly she found herself looking at a photograph of Will Yeager staring back at her with a cool confidence. She blushed slightly at his gaze and then realizing she was blushing at a photograph quickly composed herself again. Maybe Lily had read about ten pages before she realized with a slight cough, Will was looking back at her slightly puzzled.
"What're you doing with that? I thought you'd have taken it down to printing by now." Lily nearly overturned her chair by his sudden appearance. "I mean, you'll get a chance to read it in a week when it comes back from the printers." He leaned forward to look at what she was doing. "Are you editing... Lily. Explain."
"Hi uh Will," she tumbled over a stack of papers creating a chaotic mess on the floor. "I was just overlooking the editors work." "Well, you know that's why we have editors in the first place." "Well um, I guess I didn't trust their work good enough. I mean, obviously, this is going out with your face... I mean signature on it. It didn't hurt before." "What do you mean before?" Realizing the jib was up, Lily fumbled with the top drawer of her desk and pulled out the last five years issues of the Yeats Annual. She opened them up to him showing her neat handwriting in red pen scratched here and there left and right. He read through her edits slowly, slowly pondering each time he reahed a major place where she had left edit marks. "Well Lil, I gotta say, I'm glad you've been going over the editors work. You know, i'm surprised they haven't made any sort of stink that what they changed wasn't theirs. I mean this section here," he gestured to an open page nearly covered in red. "I think your changes here are actually better than the editors."
"Will, please, I love working for you." "No no, this isn't what you think. What you did here is actually good and I'm thankful to have you do this. I'm going to have a talk with Stephen in editing and you might get his job soon." "I can't possibly do that. I mean, who'll make sure your lunch is made properly and..." he cut her off there. "Fine Lil, if you're happy here, you can stay here no problem. But I would think you'd make such an excellent addition to the editing team. I'm not going to fire Stephen, but maybe take you on part time during Annual season. But anyways, messages?" Lily thrust a stack of pink sheets of phone messages into his large rough hand. Will turned and walked into his office.
A cold bead of sweat rolled down her forehead. Editing? Those guys are a bunch of animals. Literally. She didn't like the thought of answering to anyone else but Will. Even then, she was basically her own boss working under him. All she had to do was every so often send in the reports he asked for, and return his comments to the departments. She pulled another drawer this time, this one filled with various medication bottles, one for anxiety, another for cramps, another for ADD, another for ADHD even though she didn't even have those conditions. She swallowed a handful of carefully chosen pills and relaxed back into her chair and opened Facebook.
"Looks like I'm going to be an editor for Yeager." she wrote into the status update.
July 20, 2012
So let's Tarentino this for a second. It was there in the living room, with the television on and set to the discovery channel. My mother and father both engrossed in some reality show about property value wars or something of a similar ridiculous nature. Anyways, just as I was about to lose interest, they go and show a commerical for the Toyota Venezia or something like that. I can tell you with a sound of assurance that it had a stupid pretencious sounding name like Engava or Romadallion. But they chose to show some attempt of a vaguely nerdy and dorky seeming girl. Like if you had an unliscenced copy of Kristen Schaal for your own commercial use. Big eyes, the slightly curly hair and glasses. "My parents just got into facebook, they have 19 friends, how is that living?" *cut to parents having fun mountain biking with other people* "I have 840 friends on facebook."
I know everyone has come to this realization, as well at some point. We as the most interconnected society, one of the most closely related and understood societies. We know more about ourselves, the human body, mind, space and just recently, scratching the surface of physics. Yet never before has there been such a degenerated society of people devoted to remaining so devoted to the introvertic comforts of home. We become so much of a society enticed by the comforts, and no longer the serendipitous nature of new discovery.
We much would rather find a restaurant recommendation on Yelp the first time than try a restaurant that you passed on the off chance that it might be good. We strive to find the information that we dont need to find with the least amount of human interaction possible. Perhaps someone ignorant might have said, "the restaurant serves heavily lamb and other gamey meats. If you don't like the sound of occasional plates being dropped and the entire staff mocking and ridiculing you." Curiosity strikes you, though rambuncous, and racous, the warm Greek staff let you smash a plate on the floor to the yells of OPA! You would have never known. Just from someone who happened to been in a bad mood on Yelp.
Facebook, the bane of meeting people. Its great, having the chance to meet people, reconnect with old friends you might have never seen ever again. It's great for that. That and only that. It really is no true replacement for meeting people, seeing other people on a regular basis. I have met people who are odd, too lazy to go out when invited by friends, but angry at the same friends when he saw that the friends had posted amazing and fun looking photos of that specific outing.
So live. Go out there and go see a friend, go watch a film, eat dinner with people, play and make music with others, and all that jazz.
June 29, 2012
once the pride and joy
of a family long gone
With all but
one, slowly finding its
way, to its triumphal return
into, a world ruled by gaia
Iron to steel,
steel to stamp
stamp to object
object to value
value to pride
pride to death
death to abandonment
abandonment to rust
rust to nature
nature unto itself.
May 21, 2012
April 19, 2012
April 16, 2012
April 08, 2012
You sit on a rough wooden bench, the cast iron leaves press into your back and there are people mingling around the round, concrete picnic tables. The strands of light bulbs rock slowly back and forth with the slow gentle warm breezes. There is a low murmur of voices as people laugh and chat. A great lakes steamer slowly rolls by blaring its air horns as the gentle dirty wake follows it as it steams northwards. There's only a couple of people you know there, and even them you only know through work. So it feels weird to be here, with people you hardly know surrounded by more people you don't know at all. You don't know why you came, you figured on a whim, why not? You usually don't hang with these people, and you start to question why you bother coming out, these people, they don't interest you, they don't like what you like and the only relation you have with them is work. Probably a few comments about football and hockey is all.
As you're lost in thought, you notice someone sitting down next to you, breaking your thought and line of concentration. She seems to have the same amount of frustration and nervousness as you do. You want to make the conversation start, she's a cute girl with a black and white polka dot dress finished off with a satin bow around her waist, and short brown bobbed hair held back with a ribbon. You can sort of see the conversation, she'll laugh and giggle, you'll concur with what she says. Then some drinks will flow and the two of you are confounded with loose tongues as you just engage in some of the most indepth conversations on Dante's Divine Comedy.
February 09, 2012
January 27, 2012
December 07, 2011
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
The ideal nation has been an object of perfection for the past several centuries from Robert Owen's ideal village to the grand visions of Le Courbsier's modern day city (Le Courbsier). All of which deal with the aspects of modifying the shape of the city to modify the behavior of the people. Or the garden cities of the mid 19th century that sought to centralize living spaces, to create a sense of place that encouraged healthy outdoor living, happiness in separation from work and the ideal environments, far away from the smokey city centers (Benevolo 46). But I intend to create a perfect society, one that picks up where these all failed in their execution (Jacobs). By taking elements of each, I intend to create a society, where equality and the reigning qualities of life rule primary.
The failure of the ideal cities of the past can stem back to their lack of intent to change, a result of only marginally challenging the structure of life and more ended up being a compliment to the then current practice of life. Their unwillingness to make a complete change to the social infrastructure of behavior, interaction and policy would result in their eventual failure (Hayden).
In this new modern society, which I shall call Perefessinia from here on out, will deal with the social structure, the cultural system, political systems and the economic systems. These four things easily can define the ideal structure of a city, the ideal shape of a city, the ideal society, the ideal body politic, and the ideal structure economic.
The Rules of the Game
Likewise with our current society, there are norms that we must accept and carry over. It is understood that our actions are a direct result of the lives of many people, activities that would cause harm to others are strictly prohibited except in recreation zones. Recreation zones shall be two hundred fifty miles square, fifty miles by fifty miles and placed at the center of every 500 mile by 500 mile grid that the country will be blocked into. Here, people are allowed free reign to do anything they want, shoot, blow things up and crash automobiles. Entry into recreation zones require a minimum age of 16, two previous psychiatric evaluations and application of a pass. People entering these zones of lawlessness are prohibited from a stay of more than 10 days and as such, electronic tracking tags will reveal where these people are hiding allowing for state police to force them out. Passes may only be purchased or in special cases grandfathered in with special permission from the state.
These zones shall allow people to enjoy themselves, unwind and relieve the stresses of modern life (Huxley). This place shall act as a sanity chamber, allowing the people to avoid the rigors of life momentarily.
Thought will be allowed free reign and shall not be inhibited in any way, psychologically or chemically. People choosing the preference of art as a career shall be state funded and allowed depiction of anything of their choosing. Should anyone be offended by the images portrayed by the artist, both the artist and the afflicted party shall meet with a state evaluator to discuss and help both parties understand the reason for the image's creation and reception. In so doing, the burden of meeting with state officials would cause people to consider making art of an offensive nature or criticizing any piece of artwork. Any images found offensive by the state cannot be confiscated without the artist first undergoing a public trial by a jury of his peers, critics, experts and the ordinary to justify why the image was created in the first place (Ball & Dagger 167).
Written text, publications for print, comics, fictional literature and any other works falling under this category shall not be inhibited in any way. Free enterprise press shall be encouraged and the use of government presses shall not be restricted except in cases where presses are restricted for government use only in the case of producing fiat currency, official document blanks and documents concerning income tax, immigration and legal status.
Punishment of persons committing any crime deemed immoral and offensive to the state and its people will be allowed either exile or evaluation in trial by the state (Kelling). In the case of exile, work camps and reeducation centers in the hinterlands will hope to modify the behavior of offender. Should the person choose evaluation, he will be examined by a jury of public peers, and the case brought for and against the person. But the people of Perefessinia should be happy enough that the idea of committing a crime is unnecessary and only then in the most heinous of cases shall the public become the jury to determine and measure against their standard of life what action to take (Brem).
The government structure of life
The government or the state of Perefessinia is not in the business of controlling every single aspect of people's lives. It shall function primarily as the watchdog of the people, the legal channel that everyone should and shall pass through for most of the primary functions of their lives (Ball & Dagger 112). The nation is divided into districts, each of which are self governing, and further on in the metropolitan area, they are in turn self governing as well, but are restricted by the laws of the district and the districts under the Government Principia. All servants of the civil sector shall be publicly elected as officials and hired or appointed as appropriate in the various departments of the state. The state itself shall consist of the following departments to manage all aspects of life not controlled by the self or in the self interest of the state.
The Ministry – shall deal with the heads of each of the following departments. It will be under the control of the first minister who also shall appoint a second minister to serve as his deputy.
The Ministry of the State – shall deal with the ruling districts and the hinterlands. It shall also deal with foreign relations with various other nations
The Ministry of the Interior – shall deal with all lands property of the state, public buildings, natural preserves and Recreational Zones of Lawlessness.
The Ministry of Industry & Commerce – shall deal with all properties under state and private ownership engaged in the commerce, trades or production of durable goods, intellectual goods, and digital goods.
The Ministry of Education – shall deal with all state run schools, primary through higher education. Under this ministry, the bureau of censorship shall exist as a department for the evaluation of the censorship of artworks and intellectual creations.
The Ministry of Defense – shall deal with all things pertaining to national security both at home and abroad. There shall be four heads in this department: The Chief of Perefessinia, The First Sea Laird, The First Land Commander and the First Air Warden. Their defensive territories shall be as in this order: State run police, Sea, Land & Air.
The Ministry of Health – shall deal with all items and topics related to drugs, health regulations and shall be the governing body for any and/or all medical procedures.
The Ministry of Justice – shall deal with any corruption found within the system and by judicial appointment seek to root out this corruption.
The Ministry of Revenue – shall deal with the collection and imposition of taxes to generate revenue for the state. All locations under state control including Recreation Zones are taxable locations.
The Ministry of Transportation – shall deal with all aspects of travel by road, rail, air or water and shall be responsible for the regular upkeep of these systems with money gained through lawful means through the Ministry of Revenue.
The Ministry of Civic Planning – shall deal with all aspects of city life, rural life and suburban life. The placement of buildings, the preservation of artistic, and experimental buildings and structures and the construction of any new buildings sponsored by the state or owned by the state.
These departments shall control all aspects and the heads of each are publicly elected officials who have served in the “People's Body” or the Duma. The Duma will consist of one member for every district of 8000 people. Members of the Duma must serve six years before election to the Politiburo which is conducted by Duma members alone. Politiburo members serve as the head of the 10 ministries and may deputize any Duma member to act as a second if any problems occur in absentia (Ball & Dagger 22).
The social structure of life
Where our societies of the past and present have relied heavily on spiritualism to find release of thought, there shall be no religion to distract people from the regularity of life. Things that occur as a so-called miracle will be examined by the Ministry of Education's department and bureau of science to explain. Morality, the guide rod of life shall be deemed as acceptable and unacceptable behavior by the state. The state may only reach these conclusions through public consensus through a ballot initiative. From there, morality is placed in the charge of the Duma to examine it, moved to the Politiburo for further scrutiny, examined by the justice ministry and then signed into the book of morality. Any preset morality clauses may be revoked through the same due processes of the law.
The idea of beauty, truth shall be not controlled by the state, but allowing of the people to discover on their own. However, when the idea of beauty or truth begins to interfere with a persons normal functions or duties or even reason to cause distress to another person or persons, the parties involved shall be required to meet with a government evaluator to straighten out all issues.
Considering the function of marriage and interaction, these shall be made possible under the bureau of licensing. The state shall have no interference in the union of any two persons. Polygamy shall not be allowed by the state and stipulated in the book of morals. This interference on the rights of those who do believe in poly-amorous relationships is justified by the unequal rights. Persons disputing this claim may marry multiple persons in the zones, but these marriages will not be recognized outside of that particular zone and upon departure from the zone, the contract of union shall be dissolved thirty days after the marriage unless the contract is signed a second time before the thirty day expiration date. There is no case reported where this has successfully occurred.
The commerce of life
Material goods and commercial goods for production are regulated under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. All workers shall receive an equal income and the tax rate shall be set at 60% nationwide. This high tax rate shall create a large revenue to allow people to still enjoy the niceties of life while still contribute to the vast majority of state run programs. Heads of private commerce shall be regulated at an 80% tax rate and heavily scrutinized under the government. The increase in tax should still allow for a comfortable life as well as to protect the workers rights in equality and payment. Competition amongst corporations shall be encouraged with state prizes to allow consumers the greatest freedom in choice of products (Ball & Dagger 62).
Corporations and companies (large, medium and small) shall start as an endeavor of the private citizen with monetary backing of the state. Once the capitalist is capable of buying the corporation or company from the state, he may do so and the taxation on the company drops from 90% to 70%.
The regulation of business and industry shall be conducted by the ministry of industry and commerce only to impede whether or not a business, corporation, company or industry have corrupted any members of government. Dual investigations from the Ministry of Justice will also concede whether or not any injustice was committed. Corruption shall not be tolerated lightly.
Compared to what we have discussed in Brem's classes and lectures, there are many social structures that could determine the shape of the world around us. Whether or not we choose to engage in all of these aspects, is determined by our behavior. Our world around us shapes our social understanding of society, how we want it to be, how it ought to be and how it should come to fruition. I realized in the creation of this nanny-esque state how quickly my personal vision suddenly became very authoritarian. The allowance of freedoms in select locations, the government interevening in every moment to eliminate any possibility of offensive behavior, art or literature and worst of all, exile for disputing views. Partially, this derived and sounded ideal in my head from reading Brave New World, Animal Farm and watching Equilibrium. These materials all conceptually deal with ideal societies, yet have their faults. In Animal Farm and Equilibrium, there was the oppressive nanny state, the drugging, lack of feeling, and someone profiteering. In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, there are places where religion is free to exist amonst the so called “barbarians” while in the clean, modern worlds, again there is the drugging, lack of free religions and texts of a disputive nature, that engaged its readers other than in the whimsical pleasures of life.
Personally, this paper has made me more aware of how much control there is in life, both on the personal scale and by the government as well. There is an extremely delicate balance that is constantly being tipped one direction or the other in our world. Too much government or too little government will cause the social structure of life to fall apart. Personally, I like the idea of zones of free will, not regulated by excessive government control. But I think we do have something like that, only it is called Nevada. California is a great example of a growing nanny state. I really do question our purpose here, is it entirely necessary to put into law what the definition of marriage is? Are we that stupid that we need to say that this is the definition, and the only definition? The slow process of law and the weird acceptance that if law is passed, it cannot go away made me personally add the clause in the book of morals that any of them can be changed through due process.
So what do I see appealing about the world around me? I see elements that both scare and fascinate me. Things that seem like they would work on multiple levels and some things that wouldn't work at all in an entire nation. I see the bits and pieces that if the right combination presented itself at long last would become a very good combination and should we choose not to utilize this, there is a good chance that a state may fail in this or that way. What do I long to see in this world now? Does my ideal country sound appealing? Not really. But if I had absolutely no choice as to my gender, social standing, rank and race, would I live there? I would not mind.
Ball, Terrence & Richard Dagger. Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal 8th Ed. New York, NY: Longman, 2011. Print.
Benevolo, Leonardo. The Origins of Modern Town Planning. Cambridge, MA: The M.I.T. Press, 1971. Print.
Brem, Robert [Professor of Political Theory at Cal State East Bay & College of Alameda]. Lecture. Alameda, CA. 26 Oct. 2011.
Brem, Robert. Speaking Reality into Existence: Political Philosophy and Democracy 9.3rd Ed. Alameda, CA: Department of Politics, College of Alameda, 2010. Print.
Le Courbsier. Plan Voisign. Paris, France. Dover Press, 1991. Print.
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2010. Print.
Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York, NY: Modern Library, 1961. Print.
Kelling, George & Catherine Coles. Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime In our Communities. New York, NY: Free Press, 1998. Print
November 01, 2011
But why? Why are these ideologies holding the attention of the majority of our public so well? Why are they shaping every single decision of a person without any prior knowledge? Why are they just existing in general? It gives citizens the sort of comfort of knowing how the world should be, that it ought to be more than just that. It plays no real role, other than a platform to yell from, and in this country, whoever can yell the loudest wins.
So what is it about an ideology that captivates our attention so well? If we look at some of the past events in news history, we can see why. The whole 99% movement that originated on Wall Street, it allowed the common classical liberal to stand up for himself, to stand and be heard by the governments. More and more each day, government institutions are found to be generally less and less connected to its public constituents, and no longer are the people in office a genuine Representative of the concerns of the people but for one of the two parties in power. That's another problem with our two party system, it does not allow for anyone else to gain power, and you end up with extremists on either side with no common ground to stand on. In foreign countries such as Norway and Sweden, their parliaments consist of representative democracies, allowing for the leading party to hold the control of the votes, while the other parties hold a percentage of seats relative to the percentage of the population.
Our Electoral College is not the best system period. The popular vote can only go so far during an election, merely showing "how" a country will vote for the next president, but in reality, the Electoral College controls the genuine voting power of our next leaders. But why does it prevail? How is it ineffective? Consider a large state like California. California has a number of Electoral College votes and during a presidential election, 51% votes Republican and 49% vote Democrat. Are those votes evenly portioned out? Not in the least, but in fact, 100% would go to the republican party. Now, as a member of the GOP for 4 years before re-registering as a democrat, I now am yet again considering switching to independent. Neither party works, and the system is fracked up enough as it is.
Now lets look at how an Ideology shapes a person's thoughts. When you thinking about doing something, you are basing it off of a personal experience. Every single thing you do is a resultant action from your upbringing and rearing. Shaped by your Belief Systems that were put in place by parents, friends, pastor, teachers and so on. Now, the ideology enjoys preying on people with the smallest belief systems (lets call it BS for short). People who limit themselves in the world with a tiny BS end up not understanding as much. I still find it difficult for some reason, when I meet people who have never heard of this or that, things that I thought were common in the world, but that is my BS, that there are these things in the world that need to be studied. Ok, back to our topic. Now, someone with a closed mind has a dangerous mind, they will prey, they will anger, they will do stupid things. Take the Tea Party for instance, or the Westboro Baptist Church, they refuse to open up the structure that is made up of their beliefs. That God is great, that there is one truth and that is it. Nothing else beyond that. Bring the nation back to its "great" days as a religious nation. I hate to disappoint, this country was never a religious nation.
Look at the intentions of the Bill of Rights, it was written to adapt to modern times, it is intended as this nation's chief laws that we have no right to control people the way we were. That here there is a freedom of religion, of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to a fair trial with a jury of your peers, not to be put into double jeopardy. These 10 basic laws are starting to disappear, pushed aside by the black baton of the policeman, defending the military republic of the individual states. Can we really expect the right to own a weapon? Yeah. Can we really expect our speech to go uninhibited? Yeah. Can we expect a free life, to pursue liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Yes. We should, and next time the lawmakers are on the books, they need to look at the first rules written, the amendments that protect the people, not govern the people.
Look at the spectacular failure of the 18th amendment, to what purpose did it run? It merely was the lovechild of the temperance movement and Wayne Wheeler who drafted the amendment. What this amendment did was ignore the rights of the people to drink. Ignored everything about liberty. Ignored everything about freedom. It slammed its fist into every home, every saloon, every club, every bar, and every restaurant saying No, you cannot drink because we said so. Where did the 18th amendment take the United States? Organized Crime. Running whisky from Canada, Rum from Cuba & the Caribbean, and numerous stills and illegal operations springing up in backyards and basements.
So what can we learn from this? Well for one thing, look at the instances of Proposition 8, the initiative that had hoped to make Homosexual marriage legal in the State of California. It did not win and through due process of the law, it was appealed to the state supreme court, now it is in the district supreme court (as far as I know). I still think Lewis Black the comedian best put it that when we are visited by Aliens from a far off time period and they uncover our civilization, they will say: look how stupid these guys were, they had to define marriage as between a man and a woman. They HAD TO FUCKING DEFINE MARRIAGE. There is too much controversy over what is legally right and what is ideologically right. We are beginning to see the unfortunate image of the ideologies beginning to hold precedent over what is legally right. *cough*Hermann Caine *cough*.
Ideologies are ideas, they are not laws, they are not a way of life. They are theories of the way things ought to be. Which is good, but it clouds the judgement of those we put in office. Are they fighting for the rights of Californians in district 13? Or are they fighting to make this legal or that legal? When people put too much emphasis on an ideology, they start to forget what the law looked like, what equality looked like, what tolerance looked like. They started to see everything in a white bread picture, suitable for all audiences and conforming to THEIR way of life. There is no you in an ideology, there is just becoming one of us.
So what can we learn from this? What can we do to prevent this from happening? Well, we need to stand for our rights, to make sure that we receive our equal share in society and that we return our equal share back to society. We are not the stupid minds that places the vast power into the hands of the few, we are the people who have the rights of every other man in our town, our county, our state, our nation, and when we are beaten down, it only helps increase the meaning of the cause, the cause of the people.
September 25, 2011
The fall season is a pretty wonderful time of the year, the skies start to cloud over, the winds pick up but at the same time, people start to put away the summer clothes, and the fall clothes come out. That's one of the parts I like the best, seeing people getting all togged up in heavier coats, and the girls sport big, wild scarves and the fellas start to wear their hats. Mind you, the smart ones sport fedoras and flat caps. The wild ones with baseball caps and beanies, and the weird ones with derbys and skull caps. The absolute strange ones are still wearing straw right now. But the best part about the fall, is that it just keeps getting better and better. From just a light coat or jacket, suddenly, the great double breasted coats emerge again from the closet or storage, like a magnificent ship slowly pulling out of a slip for the first time.
As you go one, the air begins to bite at your face, laden with scarves hats and high wing collars and you begin to see your breath in the air again. I just love that feeling, to see your breath emerge from your mouth, like the fiery smoke from a dragon's nostrils. No longer do you sport the flip flops, the sandals or the crocs (thank god) and then the shoes come out, the Ferragamos, the Oxfords, the wingtips, the clarks, the Martens, the Timberlands, the Uggs, the Sneakers and so much more. As the sun begins to go down, the mud rooms and the solariums are packed with muddy boots, the wicker furniture is covered in vinyl. Inside the kitchens, the scrubbed maple counters are agog with fresh picked apples, dug up mushrooms and canter glasses filled with steaming lemon tea with a stick of cinnamon suspended in the sacred fluid.
It's the time of year, you notice there seems to be more people over, the furniture is scooted around to let the fireplace become the master of the room, no longer does the television set hold the precedent of all inside. Carefully cleaned and resting pipes sit on the racks with the humidifier, the hall clock on the mantle still keeps good time, even though once in a while it does like to go off whenever it feels like. Low squatty couches no longer sit barren, now adorned with overstuffed pillows, warm fleece blankets and sheepskin slippers at the foot of each couch on a worn hearth rug. No longer are dinners lit through the blazing summer sunlight but instead the darkness of the sky is fought off only by several red bees wax tapers, and the smiles of the people you sit around and eat with.
Drinks no longer have ice in them, scotch on the rocks has gone simply to scotch neat. No longer does a mint julep sound as inviting as a hot toddy when you come home. There are noticeable signs of the impending seasons, as a ham sits curing on the counter and suddenly the cider press is pulled out of the garage. Come the Fall cold, cometh the Fall rains. The turning leaves leave crispy trails to punch out as you walk, and the slosh of rain is compounded with shlack of leaves as they are kicked aside. Further into fall, the convertible car retreats into the car house, and out rolls the heavy Buick or Ford. Classic cars for the win in this season, they seem to blend seamlessly into the classic time of the fall. Driving in the cold seems like a much more pleasurable activity, as you have a friend riding shotgun and your partner in the center of the bench, nothing could be better.
But the best part is the part when the lights go out, and the fire is nothing more than embers. You and that special someone have brushed your teeth, kicked aside the laundry around on the floor and pull the covers over. That doesn't sound any different from the usual business right? Wrong! The bed has become a plush pleasure palace of heavy blankets, down comforters, colorful duvets, and the pillows! Pillows as far as the eye can see, quilted, beaded, plain, plush. It's an impenetrable fortress of snuggles against the cold wind.
But the only thing about fall, is you get to look forward to the wintertime.