The Atlanta Exposition Address and the “C” Word

Booker T. Washington delivered the Atlanta Exposition Address on September 18th, 1895 with the goal of improving race relations between the blacks and the whites by tailoring his speech to the needs of both sides. To get them to work together toward a common goal, he expressed that neither race can prosper until both sides come to a compromise. In his autobiography, Up From Slavery, Washington explains that he needed to say something that would “…cement the friendship of the races and bring about hearty cooperation between them” (935).

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Equiano and Douglass: Selective Christianity in the Slave Narrative

The Slave Narratives of Olaudah Equiano and Frederick Douglass

Selective Christianity in the Slave Narrative

Olaudah Equiano and Frederick Douglass were among the most influential black writers that came out of the Pre-Civil War era.  In their slave narratives, they both endured similar hardships throughout their lives as slaves, though one was allegedly taken from Africa and the other was born in America. These two men lived vastly different lives and their works were published with over half a century between them, the oppression and torment that they endured were of the same vein. Christianity often plays a key role in slavery for both the slaves and the slaveholders. Each party has their own way of looking at religion, and they both use it to justify their actions, whether it is for abolition of slavery or for the right to own slaves and to treat them as such. From the time Equiano published The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano in 1789 to the time Douglass published The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass in 1845, with David Walker’s “Appeal” appearing in the middle in 1829, the theme of this “selective-Christianity” between the slaves and slaveholders has remained a constant throughout and can still be found today in our own society.

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David Foster Wallace – This is Water

Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook has probably seen me share this video about a dozen times already.  “This is Water” is one of my favorite speeches of all time.   The essay below mostly talks about the rhetoric of the speech, specifically using Aristotle’s appeals, means of persuasion, ethos, logos, and pathos, or whatever you want to call them, used throughout the speech by Wallace.  The video below, hosted on YouTube by Howard Koepka, shows a shortened, edited version of “This is Water” along with a video that illustrates Wallace’s point perfectly.  Even if you don’t read the essay below, at least watch the video.  You won’t regret it.

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4chan: Beneath the Mask

4chan: Beneath the Mask

Expect explicit language in this piece.  If you’re familiar with 4chan, I’m sure you already suspected this was the case.

What is 4chan?

4chan.org was launched on October 1st, 2003 by Christopher Poole—aka moot— originally as a place to discuss anime, manga, and other facets of Japanese culture. The site is what is known as an imageboard, an internet forum which operates mostly by the user posting images, although text is also encouraged. What makes the site unique is the level of anonymity it allows its users. Popular social media outlet Facebook on the other hand has no anonymity because it uses real names and personal information to link created content to its creators. Another popular website for online discussion is Reddit, which has some anonymity, but it still requires its users to create an account, where what they post will always be associated with their username for other users to read and to comment on. 4chan is different because the website was created with no feature to retain user data, and anyone who posts under their own name is ridiculed and called an “attention whore” or a “namefag”. The site has no memory after a discussion has reached its end, and said discussion is not archived in any manner after it deletes itself from the site. Though there are many different topics to choose from when visiting 4chan, the most popular and the most interesting is the board classified only as “random”. This random board, called /b/, is where 4chan receives most of its website traffic. The site has so much traffic that oftentimes it cannot be moderated properly and what little rules there are can’t be enforced with any standard of reliability, though there are informal rules created by the users themselves. These “Rules of the Internet” are generally accepted by users of the site. A few examples are rules one and two are both “Do not talk about /b/”, rule eight is “There are no real rules about posting”, and rule 36 is “There is always more fucked up shit than what you just saw”. For this reason, many use the site as a place to say the things they want to say without consequence, and without restriction or restraint. With little moderation, a lack of authority, and no system of gaining or losing a reputation with other users, one is free to express themselves completely unfiltered. What we are left with is an abyss of aggressive, sexual, and raw energy, that of which can easily become offensive, hateful, and sometimes illegal outside of its own context. Using a Freudian lens to study 4chan and its users, one must ask if having the ability to release these desires so unacceptable in society is a viable way of achieving happiness.

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Jurassic Park: From Crichton to Spielberg

Warning: major Jurassic Park spoilers below.  If you haven’t seen it by now, why don’t you take a long walk off a short pier, or at the very least get out from under that rock.

Michael Chrichton wrote his novel Jurassic Park in 1990.  He managed to create a sense of verisimilitude and realism by using facts and technical evidence to make his fictional work seem more authentic and genuine. This is accomplished by backing up claims using false documents, scientific data, or citing fake sources to help blur the lines between what is real and what is fiction.  Jurassic Park is full of invented scientific documents that explain bio-engineering in great detail, and is often considered science fiction for this reason, even though it doesn’t have anything to do with space, time travel, or aliens.  It does actually have a lot to do with science though, especially genetics. Not only did Crichton’s Jurassic Park become a bestseller, but in 1993 Steven Spielberg, who also directed Jaws, adapted it into a blockbuster film that won many awards and even a few Oscars.  Both the film and the novel did very well on their own, but as in most book-to-film adaptations, they are very different from one another.  Entire scenes and characters were changed, important information was dropped for time’s sake, and even some of the less important dinosaur species were removed from the movie.  If the book was a bestseller, why did Spielberg decide to change so much when making the film, and what effect did that have on the overall theme of the movie itself? Most people will say that the movie is one of the greatest ever made, but that doesn’t mean we should disregard the book by any means.  I highly recommend the novel for anyone who is interested in getting more out of Jurassic Park than can be gained from the movie by itself.

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