Thursday, January 15, 2009
In Spanish class we often play games to practice the material that involve drawing on the classroom's white-board. There were several incidents in which groups drew pictures that were seen as offensive by our teacher. The first problem was when a group created a drawing of a man's face with hugely exaggerated lips. Weeks later a group drew a picture of Santa and colored the face in with black marker, which resulted in something that looked a lot like black-face. Both times the teacher erased the pictures, explaining that she was not comfortable with them and that they could be seen as offensive. Many students seemed agitated by this and demanded to know how the drawings could be offensive especially if they didn't intend for them to be. Some wondered why it mattered if it "didn't bother them." One student even said, "Isn't it racist to interpret it that way?" I sat there silently fuming, because whether or not it was racist to interpret it to be offensive (an idea that seemed ridiculous to me; realizing that possibility is simply being aware of and sensitive to others' viewpoints) the fact is that it could have bothered someone. What was more concerning than the pictures themselves was that most of the students seemed more interested in rebutting the teacher's reaction and proving themselves innocent than in realizing that they had just done something wrong. Most seemed confused as to what they had done and didn't appear to be guilty or ashamed, only irritated that they had been accused of something. I realize that sometimes people make mistakes and do things without thinking. But it concerns me that no one seemed willing to take responsibility for the drawings, willing to acknowledge that they had been ignorant and done something they shouldn't have.
Monday, January 12, 2009
And an unrelated note about something I noticed in the article, since science was a big focus: Olson stated that "according to recent studies, only a small percentage of the differences between human beings are accounted for by genes we now associate with race." Well, duh. There's hardly much to differ in human genes anyway; we share 99% of the genetic makeup of chimpanzees, so humans can't be all that different from each other scientifically in regard to race or anything really.
Monday, January 5, 2009
There was a touching segment edited out of this video when the man who spoke up for the Muslim woman said his son was fighting in Iraq and that he was deeply offended by the ignorance and intolerance he had witnessed (and would never buy from the bakery again).
And that guy who gave the worker/actor a thumbs up and then said Quiñones isn't an American? Seriously, wtf?
This video's a bit longer, so if you don't finish watching it remember that there was only one police call about the white boys vandalizing the car. During the same time period police received two calls about suspicious (black) men who were lying down in a car and supposedly looked like they were getting ready to "rob somebody." The "suspicious men" were sleeping.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I'll admit it wasn't all negative. How could I contest "but Marcelle had developed the contemptuous languor of a zoo animal whose cage had been banged by too many people" or "their eyes blinking the slow and steady concerned flashes of car hazard lights"? There were some cool bits of figurative language, but I thought they were overshadowed by the multitude of others such as "the teachers standing by their doorways like sunglassless Secret Service agents" and "a sky the color of suburban swimming pools," metaphors that left me wondering, Really, is that necessary? (Not to mention thinking that "sunglassless" is a very awkward word.)
Monday, December 8, 2008
Harangued: lectured, or in more amusing language, delivered "a bombastic, ranting speech or verbal attack"
SH-V use: "The boys were harangued by a man in a full beard."
Random Google Find: "Nicole Kidman Harangued by Unruly Facebookers" (an article title)
Lugubriously: mournfully or dismally, especially in an exaggerated manner
SH-V use: "As Trout lugubriously slung the bag from his shoulder, Billy Pilgrim approached him."
Random Google Find: "Speaking lugubriously, he sounded like he should have been at a funeral rather than a wedding."
(I found this after I saw a link for the word on "a social network for people who love words." It's called Wordie, and it's "Like Flickr, but without the photos." So it says.)
And another note relating to Trout: he told Maggie White that he is afraid of Doberman pinschers. Dogs seem to be a motif in the book, and Princess was noticeably a German Shepherd. Wikipedia says the Doberman breed also originated in Germany. Whether Vonnegut was intending anything with this connection, I don't know.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The comic strip version. But Britain did have an airborne division in the D-Day invasion...
Monday, November 24, 2008
Stories of human casualties far outnumber those of animals killed in war—are we simply taken by surprise when they pop up and react accordingly? Maybe the animals' innocence is what affects us—they are harmed by something that they play no part in, that they do not understand. Of course, some people in Vietnam did not become involved by choice and many people in war (at least in that war) do/did not completely understand it. It seems that we should then logically be just as concered about those people as the occasional animals encountered in the stories.