Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ayn Rand

Rand's message is quite obvious and doesn't really take much thinking to figure out: Racism is bad, and fighting against racism is bad. For the most part, the government is bad, and if it does anything, it's bad. Rand says that racism is equal to the lowest form of collectivism, the needing to belong to a group, and to discriminate other groups is against human nature. According to her subjectivist philosophy, she thinks that doing so is makeing you less of a productive individual, and thus not as important to society. Also, fighting for a bill against racism, with reference to the Civil Rights Bill of 1964, is also against capitalism because it isn't lassiez-faire enough for her, and it strips business owners of their rights to discriminate.

I'm sorry for this, but I fucking hate Ayn Rand. I think she and her philosophy are childish, and her egocentric ways of looking at the world do nothing to help it along. However, as much as I don't want to say it, I do agree that being racist is a form of collectivism, which is in human nature, really. I completely disagree with her implications that the people fighting for thier rights in the south are no better than the people who are opressing them, as that's just terrible. All of her arguments are flawed, though. Not really anything in this piece is backed up with facts except for the reference to Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.  I can see how it would be a decent piece if you didn't have a predisposition to how much of a bitch she is, because her point is an interesting perspective on racism that usually isn't looked at or even thought about. However, I am really unable to appreciate it.

Friday, February 18, 2011


The jokes in Sedaris's piece is actually a bit of a drama as well. He points out that people are way to quick to judge others, and when you judge them a certain way, things that confirm your bias actually emerge, which, in the psychology world, is called the fundamental attribution error. I thought it was brilliant how he used the crossword as his way to channel his negative, self- loathing thoughts though, as well as take the lady's own judgements on himself and somewhat go out of his way to actually be kind of an asshole. I thought the peice was great, because I act a lot like this in real life.

Now, for my joke. My favorite joke is actually a pretty long peice, so I'll just link to the youtube video, but I will actually tell a smaller joke afterwards.

Okay now, so i'm going to tell a terrible joke so if you don't want to be most likely pretty offended don't read it

okay now

A terrorist walks into a bar. Nobody survives.

ok that was terrible, I feel bad now

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ronson Reading

In Jon Ronson's The Klansman that won't Use the N-Word, the author narrates his journey to the KKK's annual national congress. What he finds, however, is not the blood-thirsty, xenophobic white supremacists that one would suspect, but rational and relatively level-headed individuals who are trying to shake the mammoth deal albatross that the KKK bears around its neck, and move on as an organization. To do this, Thom Robb, the KKK's grand wizard, or leader, proposes they clean up their image by not being so openly racist, namely, by not using slurs out loud in public. By this, he says, the KKK can become a political power, because people may stop regarding them as obscene bigots, and more like a lobby group for the white race. Ronson finds out that even while doing the most iconicly racist action that the KKK is known for doing, burning a cross, the people involved are just people. People with unpopular beliefs, but people nonetheless.

Personally, I really liked this piece, partial because of the message it portrays, and also partially because of Ronson's writing. The idea that a completely obscene corporation can clean up their image and become a legitimate political power seems unlikely but not too far fetched, as there are some "news" corporations existing right now that spread somewhat similar messages. Ronson's writing is superb, and he perfectly expresses the amount of tension he is feeling, being a Jew in the thick of people that hate him for that.

Friday, February 4, 2011

In Beverly Gross's Bitch, Gross argues that common swear words such as "bitch" don't have one definitive meaning, and can be used in seemingly endless ways. Gross points out that every dictionary has a different definition for the word "bitch", however the definitions tend to all mean generally the same thing. At the end of the peice, however, Gross argues that some people can take these insults in stride and be proud of the label that has been given to them.

 All in all, I enjoyed this piece. I felt she argued a great amount of information in a humorous way. Also, I really enjoyed how she never really stated her thesis in the piece, it was up for the reader to decipher. When writers do this in short articles and the such, I enjoy reading them more than if the writer had just stated their argument and got on with it, because I like to try to interpret what is being argued more than it being handed to me on a silver platter. What is great about swear words is their meanings tend to stay the same, even throughout history, and I personally felt that the piece really highlighted that point. However, even though the meanings of the words don't really change, the usage of them definitely does, and in the 21st century, we as human beings tend to not use curse words as they were evolved to be. For example, the word "fuck" can be used in almost all applications of the the English as an adjective, pronoun, noun, verb, and the list goes on. Now, in the present, with the classic curse words being almost commonplace and non-shocking, us English speakers need to make some new swear words that will be even more shocking and lewd than before. Right-fuckin-on.