Monday, May 08, 2006

Overall Reflection On Blogging Through The Semester

I've looked through most of the blogs I have written throughout the semester and noticed most of them were revisions of philosophy work I have done, as well as music and poetry. This might seem a bit unrelated, but I don't really think so. I've actually learned something about myself for what it's worth. (The philosophical nature of music as it relates to the poetic structure of its lyrics, perhaps?) Through all of this I've been able to revise philosophical views I've previously written which have given me fresh insights. I've looked more deeply into the music which is the inspiration for quite a bit of my poetry, and I've drawn out the philisophical viewpoints of a few of my favorite artists. All in all I think without realizing it I've focused on these things for a reason. That reason is because my passion for music, poetry and philosophical thinking is my way of describing who I am as a person. I don't think I would have realized this had I not been required to do these blogging exercises and I can honestly say I am glad for it. (I know I swayed quite a bit from what was originally recomended for our blogs, but I think I gained more from doing so. I might suggest requring blogging for future classes, but giving students more leeway as far as what they write, then requiring an overall reflection of what they're entries tell them about themselves as people and as writers at the end. Maybe that was the original point of this whole exercise, maybe not. Either way I feel I have taken something away from this class and gained a new insight on myself both as a writer and as a person. Thank you.)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Song Critique - Ani Difranco "32 Flavors"

"thirty two flavors"

squint your eyes and look closer
i'm not between you and your ambition
i am a poster girl with no poster
i am thirty-two flavors and then some
and i'm beyond your peripheral vision
so you might want to turn your head
cause someday you're going to get hungry
and eat most of the words you just said
both my parents taught me about good will
and i have done well by their names
just the kindness i've lavished on strangers
is more than i can explain
still there's many who've turned out their porch lights
just so i would think they were not home
and hid in the dark of their windows
till i'd passed and left them alone
and god help you if you are an ugly girl
course too pretty is also your doom
cause everyone harbors a secret hatred
for the prettiest girl in the room
and god help you if you are a phoenix
and you dare to rise up from the ash
a thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
while you are just flying past
i'm not trying to give my life meaning
by demeaning you
and i would like to state for the record
i did everything that i could do
i'm not saying that i'm a saint
i just don't want to live that way
no, i will never be a saint
but i will always say
squint your eyes and look closer
i'm not between you and your ambition
i am a poster girl with no poster
i am thirty-two flavors and then some
and i'm beyond your peripheral vision
so you might want to turn your head
cause someday you might find you're starving
and eating all of the words you said

I was introduced to Ani's music through a good friend. At first I thought her songs were too mellow and light which is generally not my type of music. However, after I listened to this song I completely changed my mind. I found "32 Flavors" to be as deep as it is inspiring. One message I got out of this song is pretty much a philosophy I've always held. No matter who you are, society can always find a way to try to bring you down, but it's up to you to prove them wrong. Don't try to be anything other than what you are and focus on the things that make you unique. Eventually you will surpass everyone's expectations and they'll end up eating their words- which to me is all the gratification I would need.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Society...

I was eating dinner with my parents in a rather pricey Japanese Steakhouse last night when I realized our society causes people, especially high school girls, to feel the need to behave a certain way around boys in order to conform to a certain image. There was a group of high school students seated across from us who were on their way to the prom. I watched in amusement as the two girls hardly touched their meals which probably cost around $30 each, while the boys cleaned their plates, and then commenced to pick at what was on the girls' plates. The girls were both obscenely thin, so I'm sure a good meal wouldn't have hurt either one of them. However, because of the social stigma placed on women in America today to stay as thin as possible, it is most likely that the thought of actually eating their food never occured to them. Some people may refute my idea by saying they may have just been nervous. I'll say that perhaps this might have been a factor, but if you look around, it is very obvious that women today are under a great deal of pressure to be as thin as possible. Our role models over the years have transformed from people such as Marilyn Monroe, who by today's standards would have been condsidered to be full figured, to Twiggy, to the supermodels who slink down the catwalks of todays fashion runways. This trend produces unhealthy eating patterns in women who feel that in order to be beautiful they must starve themselves down to an "ideal" weight.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Near Death Experiences In Children

I was sitting in the doctor's office looking at a copy of Reader's Digest when I noticed an article on the near death experiences of children. I thought it was interesting that the doctors who studied these cases were able to determine that the children, who ranged in ages 5-17, were in fact having near death experiences and were not just simply hallucinating. However, the question this brought to my mind was that of religion. The article said that the children all described very similar occurences. What I was wondering was whether or not these children all had similar religious backgrounds. The article said they used children's experiences because they did not have the same fear of sharing their experiences as an adult would have. They were less tainted by the world and the social implications of what they were telling the doctors. This may be true, but most children are exposed to religion at a very young age. This leaves me wondering if the doctors had patients who they knew for a fact were raised, for example, Christian, Pagan, Hindu, and Athiest, would they all report similar experiences? The ultimate question this leads up to is if these experiences are sufficient evidence of an afterlife, and if so, which religion is correct in their guidance to this afterlife? I have always been fascinated with these types of studies and I think there is still much more to learn.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Poem

How much longer
Do I have to wait
To know for sure if everything
I have been working towards
Is going to blow up in my face?

I've held on for so long
Believing in you
Telling myself as long as I stay true
You'll be with me and nothing will go wrong

But the days are growing colder now
And the nights are growing longer
I've waited for eternity
I can't wait any longer

New temptations are calling me
And you're not there
To keep me feeling whole
There are some days
Where I just don't know

If I should let him turn my head
Or if I should just quickly pass
And keep straight ahead
You won't let me know
How you really feel
You won't tell me what I want to know
When all I ask
Is if this is real...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Final Soc. Abstract

It is apparent that crime is socially constructed and that because of this, people view crime, as well as justice, in different ways. For instance, one person might view a crime such as a murder in which the criminal used a gun differently than another person. According to Kleck (2001) many people are inclined to make the assumption that because the criminal was allowed access to a gun, he was able to murder somebody with it, and that stricter gun laws would have prevented this crime. However, Kleck (2001) points out the idea that this conception of guns and the resulting fatalities from people having access to them is out of proportion. He asserts that it is actually the case that there would be more harm done if anti-gun laws were enforced because a criminal is not apt to follow the laws anyway, thus, these laws would simply be leaving the victim without an equal means of protection.
Barak, Flavin, and Leighton (2001) reinforce the idea of the social construct of crime. They assert that the criminal justice system, as well as who is defined as a criminal is based upon social labels and that these labels are a “product of moral agents”. They also bring to light the fact that people often see people who are like them, (their same race, age, gender, and social status) as being less likely to be a threat than someone who does not fit into the same category as the person making the judgment. These ethnocentric views on crime and deviance often times affect how people relate to each other. If people view others who they feel are the same as them as being less likely to be violent, or criminal, then it is more likely that they will feel tension around and perhaps hostility towards people who they do not view as being their equals (Barak, Flavin, and Leighton 2001). Another issue Barak, Flavin, and Leighton (2001) bring up is that certain ethnic groups are more likely to be socially criminalized than others. For example, they use the image of the African-American women who trade sex for crack. They suggest it is more socially acceptable to perceive this image as true due to the social construct of crime than it would be to perceive the image of a middle-class white woman snorting cocaine (Barak, Flavin, and Leighton 2001).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Honesty as a Virtue

An important moral virtue which Aristotle does not discuss in his Nicomachean Ethics is honesty. The moral virtue of honesty would require a man to tell the truth about everything all of the time. His honesty would have to be his prime virtue. Thus, it would have to override all of his other virtues. An honest man would be expected to put everything aside for the sake of his honesty. If he were to even exaggerate the truth, then he could not be considered an honest man. If he considers honesty to be a moral virtue, then for him to lie would be immoral. A man who is honest would then be considered a moral person. Thus, if he is a moral person, he must then be considered to be a good man. Although, even if he is a good man, he would even be required to be completely honest even if his honesty were to cause harm to others.
For example, if a friend were to ask him for advice, he would have to give a completely honest opinion even if he knew what he had to say would hurt his friend. Another example of this would be if he were to find out that a friend had stolen something and the friend was being sought by the authorities. Because he is an honest man, if he were to be questioned about his knowledge of the crime, he would be obligated to tell the truth. Although in these situations, it may seem as though the man should spare his friend’s feelings, or his friend’s freedom, he could not be considered an honest man if he did so.

From this I have gathered that honesty is a complex idea. What does it mean to be honest and how can you go about being honest without being crass? Do you have to sacrifice one for the other? Which is more important, being completely honesty, or being tactful? It's hard to do both because if you're completely honest, many times you can not avoid hurting somebody's feelings, yet, if even if you are tactful, you risk sugar coating the truth.