Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26

JOURNAL TOPICS: [today's tunes: "Fight the Power" (slightly edited) by Public Enemy; "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye; "Imagine" by John Lennon; "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane; "Destination Unknown" by Missing Persons]

1. Like Plato's "Allegory of the Cave," each of today's tunes expresses a perspective on the idea that the human condition can-- and should-- be better. Analyze the tone and theme of each tune and evaluate its effectiveness. (Regarding the latter, attempt to be objective, i.e., focus on its reasoning/rhetorical appeal-- if you find yourself describing what you "like" then acknowledge this as a matter of personal preference rather than technical or artistic merit.)

2. In The Principles of Psychology (1890), William James wrote, “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character and will. No one is compos sui if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.” How have your experiences in this course helped you focus your attention? What do you still need to work on? What elements of the following text (from Haruki Murakami's 1Q84) draw your attention and help you construct meaning?

The driver nodded and took the money. "Would you like a receipt?"
"No need. And keep the change."
"Thanks very much," he said. "Be careful, it looks windy out there. Don't slip."
"I'll be careful," Aomame said.
"And also," the driver said, facing the mirror, "please remember: things are not what they seem."
Things are not what they seem, Aomame repeated mentally. "What do you mean by that?" she asked with knitted brows.
The driver chose his words carefully: "It's just that you're about to do something out of the ordinary. Am I right? People do not ordinarily climb down the emergency stairs of the Metropolitan Expressway in the middle of the day-- especially women."
"I suppose you're right."
"Right. And after you do something like that, the everyday look of things might seem to change a little. Things may look different to you than they did before. I've had that experience myself. But don't let appearances fool you. There's always only one reality."

1. Journal (extended)/grade conferences
2. Sonnets
3. Henry V, Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations
4. Prepare for vocab final* tomorrow

(*It's only practice, but we're getting closer...)

1. Read Jean Paul Sartre's "No Exit."  You can find the text online here and here, among other places, and you are certainly welcome to check the play out at the library or buy it at a local bookstore or online.  We will discuss online and in class throughout the week; there will be an essay exam Friday. 


  1. I didn't want to seem like I'm jumping the gun, but I think the "jokers" the not-so-discreet blue letters are referring to are the appearances. Rather, reality as opposed to the singular and inconsistent perception of an individual that is incapable of being truthful when put in context of another. "Jokers" trick and fool us. I made the connection when the man began to tell Aomame, towards the end, that appearances "fool us"; and "jokers" and tricksters love fooling people through illusions and "sleight of hand" tricks.

    Maybe I over-analyzed this, or maybe I missed the point of the excerpt entirely. Bleeehhh....

    1. Funny my class spent the entire time discussing where the hidden playing card must be and looking in the classroom for it.

    2. LOL. Maybe I over-analyzed it and there was a joker card!

    3. Well we never found the card if it ever existed. But I do like your interpretation. I wish everyone had posted their thoughts because I find it so interesting how we all came to radically different conclusions. Perhaps I should hide a card in the classroom tomorrow just to fool everyone.

    4. It sounds effed up, but there are ACTUAL joker cards. Preston also made us use dictionaries to "referee" in the game to ensure we'd find them. TEH SCHEMEZ, SCHEMEZ EVARYWARE.

  2. On the topic of a local bookstore.
    Whilst searching for our summer reading books, my mom wanted to stop by Pier 1 across the busy street from the target shopping center. I saw a store called "The Bookworm" and decided to check it out. I encountered a LOVELY elderly European woman with an affinity for Star Wars and Middle Earth. Best customer service ever, and the store was selling reasonably priced GOOD QUALITY used books. Seriously, if you ever need a book try checking there. I wish I had more time to get over there, I love local shops with personality. Just thought I'd put that out there for anyone who reads these comments.

    1. Hooray! The [local bookstore] link in the post is fixed. :)