annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Books)
I read Thomas More's Utopia in British History class. I enjoyed the book a lot and thought you might be interested in reading the paper I wrote about it. This is very slightly edited, because I noticed an error after I had the paper returned (my teacher didn't notice, thankfully).

Read more about Utopia! )
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I swore I would not procrastinate about studying for my history exams! And, to be fair, I didn't do so badly this time as I did this time, but I still don't feel prepared for tomorrow's exam. I don't usually find history boring, but the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 just are not holding my interest. Which is a shame, because tomorrow I have to write two essays on them.

Additionally, I have the feeling that I will have a pop quiz in math tonight. I have no reason to think this other than the syllabus says we're going to have quizzes and we haven't had on yet. So I think what's going to happen is this:

I'm going to do some practice math today at work during any/all downtime.

I'm going to take tomorrow off and memorize some dates.

One of the cool benefits of studying history is having a better understanding of what our founding fathers were like. I now laugh at the people who say things like this, "It is time for us to remember the principles that founded this country in the first place, middle class America."*

Most of our founding fathers were actually Cosmopolitans who were more interested in protecting their own interests than helping out the poor farmers. And while Thomas Jefferson might be the person the folks mentioned above are referring to, he was only one man. Cosmopolitans were far more likely to have the time to leave their homes and jobs and attend the 2nd Continental Congress. George Washington, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Alexander Hamilton, and John Dickinson were all Cosmopolitans. And it's important to remember Hamilton's plan: The King would be elected for life (as would the senators), would choose his own governors, and would be able to veto any state law. How's that for middle class!? And while Hamilton's Plan didn't pass, the 3/5 Compromise did. Our founding fathers decided that black men only counted as 3/5 of a vote. Which is more than women, black or white, counted for.

Sorry, the founding fathers had lots of good ideas, but lets remember they had a lot of really terrible ones, too. It was through compromise that we got the system we have today and even that has been refined over the past 234 years. Yes, let's "remember the principles," but let's not look at them through rose-colored glasses.

* Comment by Justin Townsend on a status update by a friend of mine on Facebook.
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I've become a Facebook junkie. I'm actually pretty ok with my status as Facebook Junkie, but I've gotten so used to communicating in small snippets that I forget I can go into more detail here. I don't want to forget. At the same time, I don't actually have much interesting to say.

I'm feeling pretty good about my classes this semester. My math class isn't as intimidating as I worried it would be and my History class is more interesting than it was last semester.

My math class is probably 45 minutes longer than it should be for people who really aren't into math. It makes it tough to make it through the whole lesson. Especially when the teacher tries to engage the students by asking for the answers to simple questions, but no one will talk. I've made friends with one of my classmates and I whispered to her, "Do you ever get the urge to just shout out encouragement? Like, 'Go Cory!'" She said she did, so that's kinda what we did. It worked to a point. The class started responding more to the questions and that made it a little more interesting. I think I might come off as somewhat obnoxious, and I'm trying to decide if I care. The old me would care. The old-er me doesn't quite know yet.

History, like I said above, is more interesting. My professor this semester is definitely more animated. She gets up and tells a story. She gets into the material and rants and yells and spits. It's very entertaining to watch. She doesn't coddle, though and I'm worried that I'll miss something important. Last semester's prof made sure to give us all the information we needed in an easy-to-read (and sometimes misspelled) powerpoint presentation.

I got myself a Netbook to take notes on in History. I find myself using it a lot, inside class and out. I kinda love this thing.

I'm still watching old Doctor Who. The discs came from Netflix out of order this week because the next disc in my queue wasn't unavailable from my local center, so I jumped from "The Romans" to "The War Machines." So far "The Romans" is hands-down my favorite classic Who episode. I liked the historical mixed with the comedy. It worked really well on all levels. I'm a little confused about "The War Machines" because I'm not quite sure where it falls within Doctor Who chronology. Vicky, Barbara, and Ian were gone and Dodo was there instead. (Side note: Dodo? Really?) I don't know how close Dodo and the Doctor are, but it can't be very since she sent a message with a practical stranger to tell the Doctor she wouldn't be going with him any more. The computer sound effects in "The War Machines" was obnoxious. Were computers really that loud and annoying in the 60s? I wanted to mute the t.v., but then I couldn't hear the dialogue.
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I've been feeling really proud of the presentation I gave in History class last week about the Roswell incident. I got my graded paper back yesterday and was happy to see I'd gotten a 97% on it. I had 3 points deducted because the prof felt I didn't adequately establish bias. He's right. I should have added a paragraph describing why I thought the authors were so biased. He also left a comment at the end that said he especially enjoyed my summation paragraph because I "didn't mince [my] words."

Yesterday, I was reading an article at feministing.com titled Pondering Being Prepared to be Wrong. The quote she used in her article was, "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original," (Sir Ken Robinson) which I'd never heard before, but really liked. And it made me think about my history paper...

I left the last sentence of that paragraph in because 1.) I felt it was a strong statement of opinion and this was, after all, an opinion piece. 2.) When you write an opinion, you have to be prepared to be wrong. Or at least be prepared for people to disagree with you. 3.) I genuinely felt that way and I was prepared to defend my opinion if it was challenged. *

Last night a classmate of mine got up to give her presentation. I'm going to paraphrase her presentation, but this is very, very close to exactly what she said.

"I read 'The Case Against Barack Obama.' The author didn't think he should be president. He used quotes from Obama. That's it. The end."

I was a little shocked. The professor asked a couple questions trying to get her to talk a little bit about the book. Things like, "What was the author's thesis?" and "What sources did he use?"

I asked a question, "Did the author convince you?"

She said, "I don't want to start a debate. I already thought he shouldn't be president, so..."

Another classmate asked if the author had brought up Obama's birth certificate. She just said, "No."

I was mostly disappointed because I'd heard a lot of people's reasons for thinking Obama isn't qualified to be President, but I hadn't heard any that held any water and I was interested in hearing some. Also, lately I've been enjoying a good debate. I'm a little disappointed that she wasn't up for defending her own opinion.

Was she afraid to be wrong? Or did she just not read her book?

I'm beginning to see where Kent State got it's motto: Kent read. Kent write. Kent State.



* Just as a refresher, the last paragraph of my paper was this:
"I found this book to be very poorly written. The authors seemed unable to organize the information into any coherent form. The book is filled with typos and their endnotes occasionally do not match the superscripted numbers in the text. The end result is a muddled mess of conspiracy theories that most readers would find difficult to slog through. This book not only fails to prove the authors’ thesis, it adds nothing to the existing body of work on the subject, and may actually detract from it. What this book needed was a good editor to cut the superfluous garbage from the finished product. But, then, there wouldn’t have been any book left to sell."

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Annissa

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