Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Racism – Ayn Rand

                In Ayn Rand’s Racism, she claims that racism is derived by oppressive government and that compensation for previous racism is racist in itself. Ayn’s chapter on racism is heavily fueled by her disapproval of an upcoming act being implemented by the American government. Her first claim is that racism comes from collectivism; a group bound by a common past is racism. She believes that anything that makes judgment based off their ancestry will create discrimination. She then notes that any government that binds people together such as oppressive political systems will harbor if not create a racist country. Nazi Germany and communist Russia were both highly repressive to their people and also were the most racist countries in history. Ayn’s second claim is that people asking for reconciliation for pervious racist actions are in themselves racist. This entire chapter is to bring on fact to light: compensation for what one people did to another is just as bad as what the people did. Her main point is to show that grouping people together for any means is racism and asking for affirmative action and other acts that compensate for pervious injustices are racism.
                Ayn brings to light the fact we are taught as a child, as to take the high road. This piece reminded me of the simple say that to Rand’s disapproval binds all of our childhoods together, that in a petty argument to be the bigger person and just deal with it. Being an individual does not mean asking for repayment it is about owning your individual faults and not the mistakes of others like you. Ayn begins this chapter on more rational grounds to help pull in the writer before she proposes some more radical and to some offensive ideals. I do agree with her logic but regrettably racism is purely fueled by emotion which makes the entire subject hard to deal with on a rational level. I think the strongest point of Ayn’s writing is that the individual should be held accountable for their individual actions and not those of people like them. No one can deny this point but it is this point that demoralizes what we hold as key American values such as “equal” rights.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Solution to Saturday’s Puzzle – David Sedaris

             In David Sedaris’s Solutions to Saturday’s Puzzle, he explains his thoughts and logic during a plane ride. On this ride he had made an enemy with a woman because he refused to move so the couple could sit together. His story shows the absurd behavior of humans. David and a woman enter a small feud over switching seats with the woman’s husband. He uses the New York Times crossword puzzle to escape the situation and channel his feelings towards the woman who sulks through the entire plane ride. In this piece David recalls his ordeal from his view while explaining his cruel yet Haman thoughts. After he refuses to switch spots the woman begins to act hostile towards David. He pulls out the Saturday crossword puzzle and begins to write in insults, justification, and his general thoughts into the puzzle. Unlike many other writings, this piece starts at the final development in the situation then moving back to the beginning of the entire story. This form grabs an audience’s attention and leaves them searching for a connection throughout the story.
            This piece is a nice monologue that shows the comedy in everyday life and the human thought process. Unlike many other writings David presents all of his thoughts as a story progresses. In showing his thoughts the reader can see a more honest and realistic representation of how humans react to one another. I personally enjoy writings like this that are not inherently comical but through proper delivery can become an entertaining piece of acting. We are given a view of a man’s every though which allows us to see the situation from a rare perspective. This interesting view can be captivating as a simple straightforward storytelling, one without deep meaning or mystery rather it removes the barrier between the audience and the narrator. Without a barrier the two become united and stand together against the problems presented in the story.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Klansman Who - Ronson

In the chapter “The Klansman Who Won’t Use the N-Word” Ronson depicts a group of Ku Klux Klan members with different views that many other clans would have. He visits Thom, the KKK Grand wizard of this group, who welcomes him to sit in at their upcoming Klan meeting. Ronson depicts Thom as a leader with hopes to create a cleaner and brighter image of the KKK. He started the rally by having the members learn more about themselves. The self-reflection they did suggests that different kinds of people must interact together in order for the world to work. This poses an ironic and hypocritical view that the members agree with. Thom then gives a speech to his public. He states the problem in the KKK is their image. He says that using the N-word immediately makes them the bad guy and removes any possibility of people agreeing with them. He states that they should not use the N-Word. He urges the community to reform to a cleaner and friendlier group. After multiple simpleton conversations, the group erects a cross to burn. After the ceremony the people sit down to watch Birth of a Nation, which is the only pro-KKK movie to date. Thom complains that there are no other movies with positive Klan characters. The author thinks to himself that Birth of a Nation was funded by a Jew and that he himself is a Jew. Despite these facts the Klan accepts both the author and the movie.
I feel that this chapter has very clear and precise facts: in hate of other people there are many hypocritical notions, and second that ignorance is bliss. There were many points in the story where it’s clear that the KKK has hypocritical ideas such as they must cohabitate with other types of people peacefully and Jews are a plague to the earth yet a Jewish man caused the only pro-KKK movie to be created. I find this piece to be well done and cause the reader to take a deeper reflection on the things/people they dislike. This chapter reminds me of O’Henry works of blunt irony, which we must be prepaid to get the complete opposite result than wanted. They wanted to discriminate but they preached assimilation and abolishment of racist slurs.

Bitch - Gross

                       In Bitch by Beverly Gross, she points to different definitions of the word bitch. She notes that bitch is an effective word that comes to mind in many situations yet it seems to be indefinable. Gross then goes to show the range of this word. She states the most common use of the word bitch as derogatory terms. One point she states that in all the dictionaries she had referenced the word with that “there is no classifiable thing as a bitch, only a label produced by the act of name-calling.” (80) Bitch at its core refers to a whore but as time progressed it turned into more of a description of an angry woman. In the more contemporary use the angry women ideal transformed to women in power. People like Madonna accepted people referred to her as a bitch which allowed the work to become more of a status symbol. Gross mentions multiple instances where famous people use the word bitch as a synonym for a pushy women. This points to the fact that bitch is becoming related to a pushy female boss image. Although bitch appears to be a purely derogatory term in some circles of life it has been transformed into a compliment. In the African-American slag Gross claims that bitch can symbolize “a women that no longer needs sweet-talk” (83) saying that a well-known friend or significant other may be addressed as bitch. She finishes her piece by linking peoples’ embracing the derogatory words which leads to the defusing of hurtful terms.
            I found this piece to be slightly dry but raises a key component of language: the evolution of the spoken word.  Beverly Gross does a great job at pointing key events/situations where the bitch has strong and undefined meaning. I agree with her final statement that by turning a hurtful or racist term for your advantage someday that word may change its meaning and be ineffective. Although the article is pro-feminism there is a tone of respect and constraint of slander and cheap blows. There is a more mature and non-opinionated view on Bitch. This article was done well but wasn’t very entertaining but I believe she wasn’t necessarily looking for attention but rather pointing to a small aspect of language.