Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Racism by Ayn Rand

In Racism, Ayn Rand claims that any kind of prejudice for or against race is a form a racism, including a bill for civil rights.  Rand writes that racism takes away uniqueness about a person; to say that one belongs to a lineage or a race is wrong because it takes away the rational of the individual and that individual becomes lost in a sea of people.  "A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race- and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin." (pg 127)  This is Rand's claim that everyone is unique, groups and race should not make an influence of whom one is.  If race makes one have a predisposition on an individual whether good or bad Rand would claim this to be racism.  The point Rand expresses in Racism is that one should never say they deserve a helpful hand in being hired for a job or is better than another race, because of their skin color. This is why Rand disapproves of the bill for "civil rights."

The idea Rand presents is an interesting one, but one I do not completely agree with because she claims that one must not have a preconceived idea of a person because of their race.  The idea is dream like, but there are statistics and history that makes Rand's point very hard to accept.  Blacks have been oppressed in the United States, meaning the percentage of blacks are more likely to be living in poverty compared to whites and the point Rand is trying to get across is "Hey lets pretend it never happened." This is the idea I do not completely agree with and think the government should help out the ones that were oppressed by the white society. However, there is a thin line of how helpful the government must be towards "civil rights."  How much help is too much?  When is it the time to stop helping?  When will everything become fair?  These are all question one should ask, but is there a thing such as fairness?   Humans are prone to the idea of fairness, but to be honest life is a game of chance.  One always wants to be in controlled, but how is one in control if one does not choose our environment that one is born in?  Is it fair for children to be starving in a third world country while one indulges in pleasantries in the United States?  The answer is no, this proves that life is not fair.  So may be Rand was right in saying that there should be no prejudice towards race whether good or bad, because life is not fair.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Solutions to Saturday's Puzzle

David Sedaris uses humor to entertain his reader in Solution to Saturday's Puzzle. David is in a catch 22 on a flight to Raleigh; he sneezed and launched a cough drop onto a woman who he got into an argument with earlier. This argument was about the woman wanting David to switch seats with her husband so they may sit by each other. David refused because he hates bulkhead seats. "Under normal circumstances, I'd have had three choices, the first being to do nothing..." (125) After this statement he explains he can pull the cough drop off the women, risking of waking her, or he can wake her up and demand the cough drop back and fatally attempt to confuse the woman into thinking she somehow stole it. This is funny because of the scenes that play in one’s head when they read these statements; one can just see each one being hilariously awkward. I especially like the one with confusing the woman. I can just see rage on strangers face to innocent bystander with the stranger trying to hide his guilt with ANGRY WORDS!

What I also found funny in Solution to Saturday's Puzzle is David trying to reason with the woman explaining why it's not a big deal not trading seats with her husband. "I mean, what, is he going to prison the moment we land in Raleigh?" "if he was a child I'd do it." (128) This funny because it’s an adult trying to reason why he won't take a bulkhead. Ha-ha, it's hilarious. He won't do it because he would feel awkward if he were to take the seat. This story is basically a massive cycle of awkwardness of a grown man trying to wiggle his way out of feeling discomfort. It's like seeing a kid begging not to go to a time out, but in an adult version…..

Anyways, the reason the humor works in this piece is because we all experience this type of situation; being called an “asshole.” It’s not the word, but the trauma that one experiences after being called something one dislikes. David found himself in this predicament and cannot stop thinking about her. It’s as if every action made by her is an insult. “each gentle snore sounding like and accusation. Ass-hole. Ass-ho-le.” (133) The reason why the humor works with this story is because most people can relate to this story. The situation might not have been on a plane, but maybe on the playground or office. David Sedaris in a Solution to Saturday's Puzzle uses humor to relate to the reader.

What's green and has wheels?
Grass.....I lied about the wheels

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Klansman Who Won't use the N-Word By: Jon Ronson

In The Klansman Who Won't use the N-Word, Jon Ronson revels that the Ku Klux Klan is aiming to be viewed in a new more positive image, but Ronson also shows that the Ku Klux Klan is instilled with the same principles as they first started out with; that whites are supreme.  ""Think and Grow Rich, The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz.  How to Win Friends and Influence People"" (pg 182) Thom, the leader of the Klan explains they need an image makeover to win over society because they have been viewed poorly by America, due to Hollywood.  The Klan shows a positive image by treating the narrator, Ronson nicely.  They treat him as if he was part of the Klan and he was even given the privilege of wearing the uniform of a Klan member.  Even though the Klan put on a positive image, Ronson shows that behind that mask is a menacing monster.  This is shown throughout the text subtly.  ""...nigger..." said somebody in the darkness nearby." (pg181)  Phrases like this one are put into the narrative interrupting the conversations Ranson has with Thom.  This shows that the Klan will never change its basic principles.  They might be friendly, but it's used as a tool to gain the trust of others.  Ronson in The Klansman Who Won't use the N-Word illustrates the Klan’s new image to gain an advantage in society and shows that the Klan has the same principles as they began with.

The Klansman Who Won't use the N-Word by Jon Ronson I thought was hilarious because it was a Jew visiting the Ku Klux Klan.  My favorite part of the narrative was when Ronson put on the uniform of a Klan member.   It was not just because Jon Ronson was in a white ghost outfit, but it was also the awkward moment before he put the uniform on.  I can see the Klansman asking Ronson if he wants to try the uniform on and then having the emotion of "o shit" or possible a dumbfounded smile.  Either way it was outrageously funny.  To me the Klan will never take the step in the right direction until they do something heroic.  Even then they will have the past against them therefore if even just one Klan member steps out of line they will fall back to where they are now.  I was intrigued by Ku Klux Klan when I was younger and decided to go on their website. The memory is vague, but I remember watching a video that was not very well done and that had a Klan member circumnavigated his points. My emotion from that memory is seeing something obscene and what I thought was stupid.  Just from that memory and the Klan's past I believe that the Klan will never be able to take climb in the right direction. 

Bitch By: Beverly Gross

In Bitch, Beverly Gross explains how the word bitch is used in society.  She illustrates this point by having many definitions of the word bitch showing that is demeaning, but concludes by showing a way to escape its negative connotation.  Throughout the text the word bitch is shown as a demeaning word and "A word used by men who are threatened by women." (pg 78)  Gross explains that this threat- being called something- is everywhere and for women it is being called a bitch.  The word bitch defined by Chapman was called a ball buster.  "n. Somone who saps or destroys masculinity." "Ball-whacker" (pg79)  Someone who saps or destroys masculinity?  This demonstrates the point that men wish to be dominant in society and if something demotes their "manhood" it is rightful to call that thing a bitch.  Gross shows that the word bitch is an ultimate weapon men have to humiliate women, but Gross also shows a way to conquer this ultimate weapon men have. ""I enjoy expressing myself"" is the key to defusing the power of bitch to fetter and subdue." (pg48)   It's as simple as that, just say that one has the freedom as men do; to speak what’s on one's mind.  Beverly Gross goes through a tedious list of definitions of the word bitch just to illustrate demeaning and how incorrect it is to call women “bitches.”

I enjoyed this reading because it went through an endless list for the word bitch.  It is tedious to read definition after definition, because it is so repetitive, but it gets the point across.  That it may be tiresome for women to keep hearing the word bitch over and over again and it does not matter to women what that definition means to that man.  I grew up in Catholic school and the belief was if one named something demeaning it loses its beauty.  So calling a woman a bitch would be considered a high act of disrespect.  Also I learned that if one names something one has power over it.  For instance, what if I called someone a fairy to insult them and a group joined in with me.  Wouldn’t that man or woman lose their self esteem; become powerless?  I believe so.  The world should be a place where one can freely express themselves and not be insulted for speaking their mind.  Gross shows this very well in her work, Bitch.