February 2008 Archives

"Spoiled": Frederick Douglas

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"to use his own words, further, he said," If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master-to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world....if you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no keeping him, It woul forever unfit him to be a slave"

pg 97 WM Douglas

Douglas' master's prediction was very true. By learning how to read, Douglas could read newspapers; newspapers gave reports of anti-slavery movements in the north. And, when an intriguing thought such as freedom is suggested in a reading, slaves like Douglas were not likely to forget them. Slaves began thinking because of all the new ideas they read about. Before, all they thought about was enclosed to plantation life. Before, they probably thought that freedom was never an option. Maybe they thought all of America practiced slavery.  Learning how to read meant the acquisition of new knowledge, which was very dangerous. By telling his wife the "facts" about slaves and reading, he inadvertently planted the seeds of freedom in Douglas' brain

"I was gladdened by the invaluable  instruction which, byy the merest accident, I had gained from my master"
pg 97

 Though Mrs Auld had only taught Douglas the alphabet, she had handed him the tools to carve out his freedom. "The Columbian Orator" was why Mr Auld was so scared of literate slaves-that book sparked in Douglas his plan for freedom.

If Mr Auld had kept his mouth shut, do you think that Douglas would have escaped?


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Leslie's reading:

"writing lacks such tonal cues of the human voice as pitch and stress, not to mention the physical cues that accompany face to face communication, but it also permits new ways of bridging time and space" pg. 41
WM Baron

And the debate rages on. While writing lacks that verbal intensity that can send shivers up your spine as you listen to a great speech, it preserves. The speech is gone as soon as it is spoken. People have memories that diminish with age. Writing may not be able to capture all that emotional intensity, but it provides a skeleton for future generations to study. A blueprint is always good to have. If the constitution had not been written down but had instead been an oral declaration, we would not have something to refer to when a legal issue threatens to infringe upon the rights and amendments that were put forth.

Stormy's reading:

"If you learn a bunch of facts in separate, academic courses you will passively acquire a lot of inert, fragmented knowledge. You will be the victim of something called "rote learning." But if you engage in integrated, hands-on projects you will achieve integrated, real-world knowledge."  WM Hirsch pg. 184

This quote reminded me of this university. The liberal arts core forces us to acquire at least some knowledge in many areas, so that we are well-rounded. But at times the information seems somewhat useless. What is a future lawyer and actress going to do with information learned in General Biology 1? The knowledge that we acquire through the liberal arts core is scattered, I feel. How does it apply to everyone's major? The facts are there in my mind, but what am I supposed to do with them.

Speaking on the subject of integrated, hands-on learning, I will now turn to two classes that i have to take for my two majors: production and media lab. These two classes, both repeatable, allow me to apply what I have learned in my major classes. In short, they are "field work", applied skills. This "hands-on" work that many other universities do not believe in is why I chose Seton Hill over Shippensburg, Florida Atlantic, and University of Colorado. The small atmosphere allows for it. I don't think I could survive in a school where the primary method of teaching is lectures. One university I applied to taught classes through web cast. That, to me, does not constitute active learning.

David's Blog

"I became increasingly frustrated at not being able to express what I wanted to convey in letters that I wrote...But now, trying to write simple English, I not only wasn't articulate, I wasn't even functional." WM Malcolm X pg. 243

Malcolm X had a very difficult time in prison because he was in two at the same time. Being locked up is bad enough, but not being able to communicate your thoughts to the outside world must have been sheer torture. I have heard of people going insane because they have no outlet for their thoughts: that is why solitary confinement is the worst form of punishment next to death that our government inflicts. The other inmates at least could keep diaries. If the rest of us had nothing to occupy us but our thoughts, the mind would probably implode. In the streets, Malcolm could communicate because he had the outlet: the voice. But locked up, he could no longer speak to the people of the streets. If he had not taught himself to write, Malcolm X may have gone insane with thought build-up.

I have something to remember so far, so far...

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To those of you who are new to the SHU blogoshpere, this is a portfolio, a collection of  my most recent blog entries.In lew of tests, these blog entries reflect my comprehension of the assigned reading materials. For this specific class, the topic is the evolution of oral culture into manuscript, print, and digital culture (Topics in Media and Culture).

so far, I have learned of both the benefits and downsides to each culture. In writing the two papers assigned for the class thusfar, I have learned [about myself] that I need to synthesize more. This class is not about theorizing with a few intermingeled quotes, but about tightly stringing together a theory/persuasion with quotes from the assigned readings (heavily supported). I continue to stretch and expand in my style of writing. I see the writing aspects of this class as a continuation of Writing About Literature.

Coverage/Timeliness-all subjects were covered, all on time

Absolute Chair-ness

What a Pain It must have been to take notes

So its not their fault they're dumb

The first secretary

exactly my point

Damn Phaedra

What wasn't said

all my life

revisiting hamlet

it would take an awful lot of shouting to reach your husband in Sparta

TR 150 in 15 minutes

number one fear

now I know why she got angry at me


the father of essays

sad, isn't it


interactions: these ones struck a chord with people

exactly my point

all my life

TR 150 in 15 minutes

absolute chair-ness

now I know why she got angry at me


number one fear

Depth: I was passionate

TR 150 in 15 minutes

all my life

revisiting hamlet

absolute chair-ness

damn phaedra

it would take an awful lot of shouting to reach your husband in Sparta

number one fear

sad, isn't it


Discussion-the comments I left were on thought-provoking blogs


text: how could we live without it?

The Beauty of Personal Style


Di renzo Agenda Item


Radio and the Rediscovery of rhetoric

The special theory of Greek Orality


Havelock 98-126



McLuhan (1-90)

3 versions of the same tale

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breaking news

"Considering things that have happened recently, you can’t be too careful" Mayor Healy, Email Threats lead to Arrest of a Woman

The first thing I noticed was that the student threatened was not named. While it specifically states that he is not a minor ("19 year old male"), perhaps he is being protected out of fear that the young woman's friends may begin to threaten him as well out of allegiance to her. Also, the contents of the note were not revealed, only that they were terroristic.

Local News

"The college president, Eugene J. Cornacchia, has described the wording of the note as "chilling.''

this article gives some more of the backstory. The first article failed to mention that Perez was internet-dating the young man and that she was still in high school. This article also has the facts right. Perez was threatening her boyfriend's female roomate, and not him. Perez was threatening to do something at a club meeting which the female roomate attended regularly. The same week, there was a note found in a campus bathroom that referenced the VT shooting, but the police believe that to be a coincidence. However, the note is still something to be concerned about and there will be further investigation on the matter.

national news

"She said, 'Mom, I'm scared, come get me,'" Class said. "Your heart just stops when you get that call. You want to go running to make sure they're safe."-Nancy Class

even more details this time. The emails Perez was sending evidently stated that she had planted bombs in several campus buildings. Several students found out and emailed the school. This article was more harrowing because there was a side story about a girl who had her mom pick her up from schoo, because of the threats. The note was only mentioned in a sentence, but the article is written as if the note, not the emails, was the cause of the lockdown. there was no statement about the fact that the note may have been a coincidence. VT was not mentioned once in the entire article.

what shocked me about this article was that there was a sentence about a Seton Hall student  who shot himself in the stomach about two weeks ago and we didn't hear anything about it. Why didn't this make the news?

all in all, the three articles reflect the heightened sense of security and concern that campuses hav adopted since the events last april. Seton Hill is getting there, with the institution of the campus alert system. But, the problem with that system is while we all have cell phones, not everyone has text messaging. And some of us may not check our emails unless we have a reason too. The commuters without texting would be affected mostly by this fact. We who live at school would find out before they do, just from word of mouth if not the alert system. What the university must do is adopt a system that automatically calls people, not texts or emails

The Setonian could do an article about how effective the students believe the new alert system would be in a threatening situation. Questions to ask would be "how often do you check your email" and "do you have text-messaging?" (maybe this could be a massive 'speak-out' question). If  The Setonian points out the flaws in the system, maybe the Board of Trustees or whomever is in charge will see the need for improvement. Maybe university-distributed beepers for all students, staff, and faculty could be a solution (when phone service doesn't work).


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"until phonetic writing split apart thought and action, there was no alternative but to hold men responsible for their thoughts as well as their actions"

pg. 32 McLuhan The Guttenberg Galaxy

According to McLuhan, writing split thought and action; that is, it caused us to think about our actions (because we had to think about what we were writing down). Before that, thought and action were one. a crude example:

you got so angry at a person, the thought of killing them popped into your head. And you act upon that thought almost instantaneously.

Actions were rash and driven by fiery passion. The alphabet was a shock to the system. That writing had to somehow capture your thoughts. There were no pictures like Egyptian Hieroglyphics to help the person understand the meaning. McLuhan claimes that the phonetic alphabet caused a sort of "detribalization" of man, in that he no longer had to rely on simply auditory communication (speaking-). Man could now communicate with people who were beyond the reach of their voices. Man could now be writing a letter to a distant aquaintance and shouting to his neighbor at the same time, all the while communicating two different messages. The alphabet opened up a new wolrd for man. He could communicate with those beyond his cluster, his "tribe". Communcation could involve either eye, ear, or both. Man was split into two, a sort of schizophrenic.

 The intital shock and awe, however, fades as those around you settle into the new technology as well. Remember how cool those phones with the keyboards seemed two years ago? Or Ipods? Now everyone has them. They are a norm in society. We've even had an onslaught of "i-products": i-case, i-dog, i-alien, i-speakers, i-pillow, and (probably soon) i-shirt and i-shoes. The new technology get absorbed by society very fast.

like my title?

Sad, isn't it?

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"The whole prefession represents a lot of pain to me...I don't want to see any of these books again"

WM Birkerts

This mentality is sad, but also holds some truth. The past is quickly fading. We've gone from Beta to VHS to DVD to Blu-Ray.We depend so much on electronica: who has experienced the pain and fear of losing a jump drive? Books are simply becoming snother thing that slows us down. Many people would rather read a wikipedia entry than a book, but why? wikipedia is instant information. People don't have to wait chapters and chapters to find out the big secret. The yahoo news feed has replaced the newspaper. why read the whole story when you can have the highlights in less than 5 seconds? Reading on the internet is not the same as reading an article from the paper. Surrounding the e-article are flashing ads, pop-ups, and mini-feeds that further distract the reader; they only half take-in what was on the page. We mentioned the electronic book in class today. I bet there is a function to search for words on that gadget. This electronic age we live in has brain-washed many; they only care about how fast they can get the information. Why would a student bother reading the entire book when he can just seacrh for the main point.

Birkerts argues that the shift from print to electronic will also affect how we communicate; and it has. During the summer, away from school, how often do you talk to your friends? Talking used to mean talking on the phone, but we now consider aim, facebook, and text messages to all be forms of conversation. The problem is none of those media contain the personal and initmate feel that a vocal conversation has. There is no emotion or inflection in an aim message, only words. And words can be misinterpreted.

The father of essays

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"the more standardized the type, the more compelling the sense of an idiosyncratic personla self"

WM Eisenstein

Books were massed produced. The material contained showed the world what it should be (what the author thought it should be). Mass copies meant a uniform idea of what something should be (not necessarily what it is). Montaigne fought against that uniformity. He wrote with open honesty of all the faults and traits of mankind, especially focusing on his own. The authors of the other books had deemed these human qualities to be of little to no literary value, and thus had not been discussed in their books. Montaigne believed in a personal self- a self that was not perfect and should not be falsely written about as. The personal self emerged through Montaigne because people could see themselves through him.

"If you belittle yourself, you are believed; if you praise yourself, you are disbelieved"-Montaigne

translation: if you are humble, people will be more willing to accept what you are saying. Do not try and force what you believe as a fact. Do not tote yourself as all-knowng. People will be less inclined to believe you. It is not the person who decides they are great but the  people around him.

any different interpretations?


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"Rich people who wanted to show how wealthy and important they were paid scribes and artists to make illumunated manuscripts" pg. 24 Brookfield

Interesting that books back then were the combined effort of both scribes and artists. I wonder, though, how many aristocrats actually read these books? Or did they pay just to put them on display in their homes, so that when people came over, they saw yet another pretty posession on the shelf? Did it really matter what the books contained?

I'm sure we have all seen a lawyer's office, at least on tv. Behind the desk is usually a wall of books. The books give additional power to the lawyer because we assume that he has read them all. We think he must be pretty intelligent if he has read all of those books. We believe he must be really learned and that it will be a good choice to hire him to represent us. In the lawyer's case, it is soley the content that impresses. Back in the middle ages, it was the ornamentation that impressed.

now I know why she got angry at me

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"like a speaker's accent, handwriting was used to pinpoint a writer's social status."

pg. 58 WM Baron

I remember when I started to learn cursive handwriting in second grade. Every week, for months and months, we would have to complete these enourmous notebooks of cursive worksheets. I also remember that, although I was in the gifted program, I was sent to remedial cursive class, which really just meant extra worksheets. My mother would stand over my shoulder as I was completing them at home, yelling at me for picking up my pencil or making loops too big. To this day, she has made me write thank you cards over again because I printed. I just didn't understand why we had to learn cursive; printing was so much easier and (I thought) legible.

But I think I understand now. Cursive handwriting is a mark of high class for many. We've all probably read atrocious handwriting and pictured the writer: dirty, ripped jeans, uneducated (in short, a bum).  Maybe there is a link between handwriting and how we judge a person's character. It also took discipline, and I guess that if I couldn't master this simple task, my teacher and mother thought that I wouldn't have discipline later on in life, when tasks got harder and went beyond differentiating between a cursive capital "t" and "f". I guess that my mother and my teacher wanted me to grow up sophisticated and college-bound, hoping that my handwriting would reflect my intelligence and social class. Good penmanship has been instilled in our minds by society as a mark of high class.  My question to you is this: since we now live in the digital age, most of us write with a keyboard instead of a pencil/pen. Do you still think that good penmanship is as important?

(my handwriting is still awful, by the way)

Number one fear

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“I share the fate of inexperienced speakers. They feel overwhelmed by the grandeur of their topic; neither can they express what they feel”

Pg. 470 WM Trithemius

This quote ties directly into my not-so spectacular presentation on Thursday, as it pertains to all students who have to give speeches. Nothing was more terrifying than giving my speech in STW last year. I will never watch that videotape.

It is not simply giving a speech that is hard. When you speak from your heart or mind, words just flow out, seemingly coming from nowhere. However, speaking to your boyfriend or confronting your mother about where you want to go to college or that you want to change your major is different than giving a speech on an assigned topic.

The task ahead of you is daunting because of the plethora of information at your fingertips; you have to decide what is important. But, what if it is all important? What about the time limit? You sit down and you rehearse in your mind how everything is going to be. And the speech never turns out as planned. You stumble, stutter, and forget information. You feel overwhelmed, pressured to fit decades upon decades of information into a 10-15 minute presentation. Your grade is riding on the presentation and that pressure makes you tighten up. (I choked on Thursday and I know it). From your brain to the audience, something happens. There is a line from last year’s musical, Weird Romance, which I think applies here:

“ but something jams the port through which the information feeds.” - ‘A Man’

That is because we are putting ourselves out on the line. It is just you and the information up there in front of the class. Our fear of failing causes us to fail (take it from someone who is taking their driver’s test for the 7th time). I am an actress and have no problem getting up in front of strangers and performing. But acting is a mask; I can hide behind it. Public speaking unnerves me because it is just me out there. There’s no Sister Mary Ignatius or Sleeping Beauty to hide behind.  Public speaking beats out death, spiders, and flying as the number one fear. No one is completely self-assured. 

Books have no time limit. They can be as long as you like, and can include as much or as little information as you want. And, unless you are studying for your PhD, chances are someone will not be grading your book. Plus, as I said in a previous blog, you can hide behind written words.

TR 150 in 15 minutes

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Most of my information has come from TR 150: Voice and Speech, which I took last spring

my idea for the presentation came from this quote fro the Elbow essay:

"When we speak, listeners don't just hear our words, they see us-how we hold and move ourselves. Even if we only hear someone over the phone or on the radio-perhaps even someon e we've ner met-still we experience the texture of her talk: the rhythms, emphases, hesitations, and other tonalities of sppech which give us a dramatized sense of her character or personality." 138

I spent almost 4 pages this past weekend writing about the problems with the written word. Now I am going to pseak upon problems associated with speech.

Much of communication is not what was said, but how it was said. Communication is the symblic process of sharing meanings. What can interrupt and distort that message is noise. Noise has commonly been known as a loud distracting sound, but noise is actually any barrier to communication. Noise can occur in the listener, speaker, and externally.

External noise:

The noise may be acoustic (sound), which does block out speech and hearing. But there are visual noises too.
A tree leaf that falls outside the window, a feather floating near the air vent: these are alos noises.

Noises can also be temperature changes. We have all sat in a cold classroom (*cough EL336 *cough) and been distracted from the material being discussed.

Listener generated noise:

All facotrs you bring to the communication scenario affect the way you listen, undertsand, and integrate what ther person is saying to you. How do you feel about the speaker? Do you admire or abhore them? Chances are you will not accept/agree with what the person said if you don't at least respect them.  How do you feel about the way they speak? Does that particular accent or way of pronouncing words turn you off?

Speaker generated noise:

we convey meaning in the loudness of our voice, how rapidly/slowly we speak, the way we use silence, the range of vocal pitches, and our vocal qualities, We also express a great deal of meaning by the way we move, stand, gesture, and position our bodies.

other noises:

there is such a thing as linguistic noise. Faulty grammar/syntax, incorrect word choices, or faulty production of the sounds that make up words.

The lips, teeth, vocal flods, hard/soft palate, and the alveolar ridge (gum ridge) are the articulators , the speech organs. Problems with the articulators cause proninciation problems. this is hwere the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) comes in handy. It is another alphabet consisting of all the sounds made in words, witht descriptions as to the locations of articulation. IPA will be explored in depth in class tomorrow.

Improper accents or mispronunciations in words make us sound uneducated and unprofessional. this is why so many buisness men have to take speaking classes. In may universities, voice and speech is part of the required ciriculum. The reason voice and speech is a theater class is thus: no one is going to believe you are a 17th century british gentleman or a russian prostitute if you sound like Joe Pesci or Marisa Tomei. once aware of the way you speak, IPA can teach you how to correct your speech for different accents.

The same, and yet so very different

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"Thousands of Kansas Republicans filed through presidential caucuses Saturday, giving Mike Huckabee a solid chance of picking up the state despite rival candidate John McCain’s status as the presumed GOP nominee. Huckabee’s supporters came out in relatively large crowds for caucuses in Topeka and the Kansas City-area suburbs of Johnson County, and McCain’s backers appeared less numerous"

Kansas republicans flock to caucus, as candidates woo conservatives

"Kansas Republicans kicked off their caucuses this morning at 66 locations statewide, including four in Johnson County and one each in Wyandotte, Leavenworth and Douglas counties."

Kansas Republicans kick off caucuses

The first article, as you can see from the beginning, is basically a love letter to Mike Huckabee. 3/4 of the article talks about how Huckabee had more supporters and better values. While I agree that not banning abortion is horrible (McCain evidently does not support the ban) is horrible, the news is supposed to stay objective and not lean too much to one side.  Only a couple of sentences give an opposing view, those of McCain's supporters. This article makes it seem as though Huckabee's already won the election, only caring to mention in a short sentence that he has less than 200 delegates, while McCain has 700 (more than half needed for the nomination). You can definately see the reporter's bias.

The latter article was short and sweet. It was not a love letter to any one candidate, only mentioning the number of delegates each had and Mitt Romney's dropping out of the race. The other article said that Mitt Romney's dropping out of the race gave Mike Huckabee a chance of beating John McCain;  but he always has a chance because you can never know the results beforehand. Nothing is set in stone. Up until the National Conventions, everyone running has a chance.

           "The resources of documentation were by contrast wide open, at least in theory, disclosing two related possibilities. The warehouse of storage, no longer acoustic but visibly material, was extendible, and also the documented contents need no longer relate only what was already familiar and so easy of recollection." 109 Havelock

So true. No longer did the Greeks have to rely on passing the story down orally. As I've said in previous blogs, passing down a story by speaking alters it, stepping farther and farther away from the truth. People may mishear the story and repeat what they thought they heard, not what was actually said. The original knowledge would now be available, unaltered, to future generations (at least those who spoke Greek: as I also said in an earlier blog, things get lost in translation). If a person has knowledge of something, and they die, what becomes of their thoughts? The written word was a way to leave a permanent legacy behind, to extend knowledge. Books can be reprinted, but people are not reborn with the knowledge of previous lives (unless you believe in the Hindu faith).

Knowledge that is not common and spoken of often enough was recorded down in books. These were not stories and facts that everyone knew. They had to be taught. For instance, we do not go around discussing Soviet history, but it is nonetheless important. It is known, but not well-known. So it is documented for us in books to learn in school. Soviet history may not be essential to our everyday lives but it is for the future (we can prevent history from repeating itself by using precedents from the past ). It would be useless for us to record a story that was easily recollected, because everyone would know it. New discoveries could be documented so that the commoners could learn what was going on. Let's face it: even though the areas of Greece were small, they were also densely populated. If the government wanted the people to know something (wanted to reach everyone at the same time), it would take a lot of time to go around and talk to every person. And that would take time away from policing and governing the city.

If you wanted to have a normal or casual conversation with someone, you could literally yell to them from the back of your porch and they would answer you. But, what if your family and friends moved away? Then what? Voices do not carry far. Writing allowed people to keep in touch with relatives who moved far away not to mention husbands who were off fighting in a war.

Revisiting Hamlet

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"Writing, on the other hand, stays there- "down in black and white."  Once we get it on paper it takes on a life of its own, separate from the writer. It "commits us to paper." It can be brought back to haunt us: read in a different context from the one we had in mind.' 136 WM Elbow

Elbow, I believe, is speaking about one of the downsides and beauties of writing. We can never know what the author truly meant to say in his story; we may try and deliberate, settling on one conclusion, but someone can always come along and blow your theory out of the water. Even though this quote is at the beginning of the essay, it has sparked in me a debate I'd like to revisit:  that of Hamlet.

Last semester, I was taking both Form and Analysis 1 and Writing about Literature. At the same time, we were reading Hamlet. A discovery I made about the dear prince in F & A lead me to a great argument in my research paper in W.A.L. (a short summary is the following):

Most of us have read Hamlet, so I don't think there is a need to recap the story. During Act 3, scene 1, Hamlet delivers the famous "To be or Not to be" speech. If I were to ask you what the speech was about, you'd probably say suicide. However, I didn't think that so.

For instance, what exactly are the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?' 

"Hamlet's father is dead. The lust and greediness that drove Claudius to his actions, the sexual passion that led Gertrude to the wedding...and the answering demands for revenge" are the unpredicted events that have befallen our hero (Fisher 5).

Hamlet has a chance to correct a great injustice. But, he knows that he also might die; if not during the process, then afterward (you don't get away with killing such a high profile individual).

Hamlet is also scared of what will happen after death: no one knows what is to come, since none have been able to come back and tell us. Human suffering is awful, but it is familiar. So is it better to stay suffering, yet always knowing what is to come?

"Taking arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them" means that Hamlet has to fight against all those previously mentioned issues. Fighting would mark him for death, though. The question is not "to be or not to be”, but is whether Hamlet is willing to die to correct and injustice. Is it better for him to sacrifice himself for the common good or to live amongst tragedy? So, although it is true that Hamlet was speaking about killing himself, it was not suicide. Suicide is a much more cowardly term. Self-sacrifice is far nobler. Going into the swordfight with Laertes, not only does he know that he is himself a bad fighter (as Laertes also), but that Claudius is up to something ("I shall win at the odds. But though wouldst not think how ill’s all here about my heart.V.ii.195-196). Hamlet decides to fight anyway. He knows he is past the point of no return.

Some may say that Hamlet went mad with grief over his father’s death and mother’s hasty marriage to his usurping uncle. It could also be said that Hamlet, not mad to begin with, finally cracked under the pressure of the daunting task before him. And it is also possible that Hamlet sacrificed himself. All of these interpretations of Hamlet’s character are possible. The evidence is there in the text. It all depends on how the reader interprets it.

Now, I bet your interpretation of Hamlet was completely different than mine. That is the beauty of the written word. Of course, different interpretations might anger the author because he may have been trying to make a specific point and there is no guarantee we got it. I suppose that is why people go to readings of books by authors: to see how the author intended that story to be interpreted.

Quote from:

Fisher, P. “Thinking About Killing: Hamlet and the Paths Among the Passions”. Raritan. Vol. 11 Issue 1 (summer 91): 43-78. EBSCOhost. Seton Hill University Greensburg, Penn. 22 Sept 2007. http://reeveslib.setonhill.edu:

All My Life

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"whenever you see an Amish woman sitting in the field like that, she's probably talking on the phone"

pg. 380 WM Rheingold

Where I used to live in Lancaster, there was a little amish grocery store about a mile and a half away. I remember the following moment vividly, for some reason:

My mother, the globe-trotting flight attendant (and sort of a Paris Hilton in her late 40's-except for the slutting part)
was at the counter talking to the young Amish woman and her infant. The young woman sighed, looked at my mother and said "sometimes I wish I could have your life."

The Amish use of cellphones is a major upset. I do agree that everyone, regardless of religious beliefs, should have access to a phone for medical reasons.

but "Amos" does make a valid point: "it's not just how you use the technology that concerns us. We're also concerned about what kind of person you become when you use it."

Amos doesn't want his daughters jumping up from a family dinner to answer calls from their suitors. He doesn't want his sons calling their friends. I can understanf why the Amish are so against technology now: they feel it will interrupt and drive a wedge in family life. I guess that's why our parents hate AIM and facebook: as young adults, we devote a lot of time to them. It is quick to get addicted to technology. The Amish don't want to stop cutting wood because Fred or Sarah sent them a text.

Certain modern technologies, like some sort of refridgeration system and hot water are needed, but we can live without facebook. We did before.

disclaimer: I am not knocking facebook: I am on it right now.

oh, and in case anyone else was wondering, Lancaster also has some more "memorably-named" towns: Blue-Ball, Fertility, and Virginville. Climax is up near Clarion.

What Wasn't Said

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"the genius of this unrehearsed conversational language lies in its expressiveness; it's capacity to voice immediate sensations and impressions and feelings as between individuals"
pg. 64 Havelock The Muse Learns to Write

Oh, how so many people say what is directly on their minds. This 'unrehearsed' language can also get you into trouble. Often, rash feelings of anger, hurt, and resentment cause people to speak without really thinking. We have all probably cursed at our parents, or said something about someone when they were still in earshot. I'm sure all of us have been in a situation where a professor has said something that you considered overly critical or flat-out ridiculous. You probably wanted to get up and smack the person or storm out. I know for me personally, there were times in HS when I wanted to storm into the musical director's office and demand to know why I didn't get cast or to tell him where he could go. Something stopped me: common sense. Because I am a writer, I think about what I want to say, even in everyday life.

Writing stops us from making rash decisions that often turn out badly. Writing causes us to think about the words we communicate. And proof-reading (which we all do to research papers and blogs) allows you to think once more about what you want to say.

Anna Anna Anna!

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"Local papers realize that all ordinary lives are interesting"

What Makes Local News Really Local

National papers have a habit of generalizing the news. While it may be important, the story is so bland because the writer is trying to speak to everybody. Also, the issue in the news seems distant, like it can’t affect us. Instead of just a report on progress/lack of in Iraq with stats, I’d also like to see a story on maybe a mother who is coping with the loss of her son at War, or a military couple who just had a baby and the father was shipped off to Iraq soon after the birth. We all probably know of a person who has been affected by the war; these types of stories humanize and make the war seem not so distant. Most of these types of stories will be found in a local paper. They pull us closer.

I remember last semester in newswriting when we watched what I think was an SNL clip. CNN or something was doing a story on Anna Nicole Smith’s death. And, while there was other news, the reporter just kept talking about Anna. I remember the ticker at the bottom of the page that read: “also, we have a war in Iraq……Anna Anna Anna!” National papers seem to bump out stories for bigger stories.  Maybe the citizens of (insert name here) town don’t want to read about Anna.

In a local paper, you will see the appearance of the reader’s opinions. The paper contains not only what the issue is, but how people feel about it. Something doesn’t have to happen for a person to get in the paper: they could simply be voicing their opinion.

Seriously, who cares????!!!!

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Cultivating Online Community Takes Time, Skill



“A common problem that plagues blogs and online communities, including those run by news orgs: hijacking of the public conversation by hostile people or spammers.”


There is always going to be some moron who has nothing better to do than comment on your site about how much you suck or how wrong you are. My favorite comment was left on a video of mine on youtube:


“This is the dumbest video i have ever seen. I regret clicking on the damn video in the first place. I dont know what is worse you gargling or that damn chimp laughing in the background!!! And your room looks a wreck, so it suits you... personally i think youtube should cancel your account because this video is a waste of a half of a min. to whoever watches it.”


I mean, seriously: WHO CARES!!!!!!!! These people who go around making stupid comments do not realize how stupid they sound.


So, to all the hostile people out there in blog land and youtube world, I say: no one really cares what you have to say, so instead of sitting on your butt in front of the computer trying to make yourself feel important, get off your butts and better yourselves.


Guess what? I know it’s a stupid video. It was made to be stupid. You don’t need to tell me what I already know.



Damn Phaedra

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"if the message is a song or verse sung aloud, you don't see it. If on the other hand it is a written document, it can't sing to you"

pg. 21

"what has been falsely written about cannot now be challeneged by the truth of traditional oral testimony extracted by witnesses by oral examination"

pg. 22

Havelock, The Muse Learns to Write

It seems this argument between orality and writing will forever be contradicting itself. It seems Havelock is longing for the days when someone's oral testimony could set someone free. His point is that doucments could have been forged, falsely accusing. But, at the same time, the "oral testimony" could never fly. Just because someone has an alibi or screams what they call the truth does not an a fair trial make. In modern court, the case does not sustain itself by witnesses alone. There needs to be some sort of tangible evidence, someone you can hold in your hands. And, unless you have a video of a person confessing to a crime, the court system would just be a big game of "he said/she said". Yes, we do have in invention called a "lie detector", but even that system is not fool proof. Those machines measure the blood pressure and heartrate. Ergo, it is assumed that when a person lies, he/she will get nervous, thus making their blood pressure/heartrate rise. The machine can be cheated: people can learn to slow their heartrates down. I'm an actor: I know how to remain calm.

Sorry Hippolytus. Look how far the oral tradition got you. Your father beileved what was said, which was a lie.People lie: it's our nature. No one is completely honest 100% of the time. We need more than orality to survive.

And since I'm going to be a lawyer, I'd be out of a job if we survived in just an oral culture.


Damn Phaedra

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"if the message is a song or verse sung aloud, you don't see it. If on the other hand it is a written document, it can't sing to you"

pg. 21

"what has been falsely written about cannot now be challeneged by the truth of traditional oral testimony extracted by witnesses by oral examination"

pg. 22

Havelock, The Muse Learns to Write

It seems this argument between orality and writing will forever be contradicting itself. It seems Havelock is longing for the days when someone's oral testimony could set someone free. His point is that doucments could have been forged, falsely accusing. But, at the same time, the "oral testimony" could never fly. Just because someone has an alibi or screams what they call the truth does not an a fair trial make. In modern court, the case does not sustain itself by witnesses alone. There needs to be some sort of tangible evidence, someone you can hold in your hands. And, unless you have a video of a person confessing to a crime, the court system would just be a big game of "he said/she said". Yes, we do have in invention called a "lie detector", but even that system is not fool proof. Those machines measure the blood pressure and heartrate. Ergo, it is assumed that when a person lies, he/she will get nervous, thus making their blood pressure/heartrate rise. The machine can be cheated: people can learn to slow their heartrates down. I'm an actor: I know how to remain calm.

Sorry Hippolytus. Look how far the oral tradition got you. Your father beileved what was said, which was a lie.People lie: it's our nature. No one is completely honest 100% of the time. We need more than orality to survive.

And since I'm going to be a lawyer, I'd be out of a job if we survived in just an oral culture.


Exactly my point

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"it is the griot who rescues the memories of kings from oblivion, as men have short memories...whoever knows the history of a country can read its future" 

pg 443, Sundiata


Exactly my point. Men have short memories. They forget parts of stories. People mishear things all the time.Who knows how many times this story has been pieced together from remanents of old memories? The differences in the Iliad were subtler, whereas the two versions of the Sundiata story varied greatly. In thinking why this is, I have come to a conclusion: The Iliad versions vary little because they were written down. A text is something you can always return to, something forever tangible. People and technology are fickle: they go in and out of this world quickly. The book is all that remains. The best way to preserve a story or other knowledge is to write it down, forever a reference point. I don't remember what I wrote in my senior AP Government paper, and that was only three years ago. But, since I saved a copy, I can use it for reference and arguments in future classes. If I had only saved it on my computer, it would be useless, since that computer is long dead.