Thursday, December 29, 2011

School and Creativity

I don't know why I've not come across this video before since I visit often but my friend forwarded this to me the other day.  This video hits very close to home with me.  Personally I think Sir Ken Robinson is hilariously brilliant but relevant in his critique on our school system in the U.S.   Creativity is as important as literacy is his main argument as well as the overlooked fact that we educate children to not be creative.  This all leads to students (children) being breed to fear being 'wrong'.  They fear raising their hand and attempting to engage critically with subjects because they think if they answer the incorrect way (or the way they think the teacher wants) they'll be ridiculed.  A lot of times this is the case but teachers need to start looking differently at this situation.  I believe this issue is one of the corner stones of revamping our education system which is currently in shambles.  I'm not saying to spend 90% of the class time on arts and crafts or 'creative' work; I'm stating that how we engage our students needs to be adjusted.  There are multiple forms of intelligence as well as multiple forms of learning.  It is here that we as teachers must start focusing our efforts on how we deliver lessons.  Do I have a be all end all answer to how? No, but I try to tap into the various creative aspects of my students in the hopes that I can help them find their full capacity as an individual.  Enjoy the video.  It's a good one.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Merry Xmas and a Happy Non Denominational seasons Greetings to everyone!!!  Hope everyone has a good holiday with their family/loved ones.  Time for Turkey, presents, and other stuff that I'm probably forgetting.  Anywho.  Cheers all!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holidays and Star Wars

Well, school is out.  Grades are in.  It's time for a well deserved break (for some of us).  And let the chaos of last minute Xmas shopping/festivities begin (or continue as the case may be).  Since I'm on break I'll be archiving some of my older work that I never got around, so hopefully I can finish consolidating the random school blogs that I have had to create over the pass few years.  I'm tired of having everything scattered all over the place.  Anywho.  I'll have something posted by tomorrow.  Until then I'll be enjoying SW:tor.  Enjoy the video I found. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

War of the Worlds (last part)

The failure of Geocentrism, its real monstrosity is from where the model stems from and its innate capacity for human’s ultimate demise. The narrator expresses his feelings in this regard that humanity is “yet so vain… and so blinded by his vanity, that no writer… expressed any idea that intelligent life might have developed there far… beyond its earthly level” (4) which would be the causation for “the great disillusionment” (3) that would come. All these individual parts of the critique of these monstrous aspects originate from the fact that the narrator sees man as complacent. Going back to the first page “complacency” stands out within the first paragraph. After the first conflict with the Martians and as the information began to spread, the reception of the situation became an outside entity that had no immediate reaction to those that that come in contact with verbal renditions of the happenstance. The area surrounding the Martian landing event still showed that “people were dining and supping…[things] went on as it had done for countless years” (36-37). Even in Waybridge after further destruction, there was “jesting…that the Martians were simply formidable human beings” (67). Further away in London this complacent miasma seems to be ever present even after countless witnesses. Until there is direct contact with the Martians there is no deviation from a Geocentric lifestyle. Humankind is threatened by immediate destruction by their inability to discard this style of thinking in order to counter act a direct threat.

Out of this continuing line of interconnectivity of monstrous proportions, comes the description of the Martians. Terror grips the narrator as he relates the horrifying countenance of the Martians and their “Gorgon groups of tentacles… immense eyes-were at once vital, intense, inhuman, crippled and monstrous… fungoid… oily brown skin. [He] was overcome with disgust and dread” (21). Yet within these alien features there are found more human traces. Their ‘bodies’ were heads containing eyes, with a distorted mouth/beak and they even had tentacles that were named ‘hands’. The element of the grotesque is monstrous because ultimately this brings up the possible future of human. Mark Dorrian’s journal “On the Monstrous and the Grotesque” brings up the concept of “Form and Copy” wherein “the Copy has the same name as the Form and resembles it, it is necessarily imperfect, a ‘moving shadow’”(311). The narrator posits the theory by a “speculative writer of quasi-scientific repute” (Wells 143) which discusses the potential future of man to evolve into a figure quite near to that of a Martian. The Form and Copy merging the imperfection is what is at stake. The fear then is that humanity becomes Martian, becomes the grotesque, becomes the monster, and becomes the destroyer but once again, in doing so; humanity retakes “center” and the hierarchy pinnacle. The price humankind has to sacrifice because of the Geocentric Model and its repercussions are to become the monster that removed them from that status in the first place, once again perpetuating a vicious cycle of “Center”.

Work Cited

Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome, Monster Theory, Minneopolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996

Dorrian, Mark On the Monstrous and the Grotesque, Word & Image Vol 16:3 Sept 2000

Wells, H. G. The War of the Worlds. New York: Signet Classic, 1986. Print.


Are over.  Sorry about the lack of postings but things got a bit nuts towards the end.  My research papers had me teetering on the brink of insanity.  I've never maxed out the amount of books I can check out from the library before.  I should have taken a picture of my desk and the mini desk I had to drag out to hold all the crap I was using :)    Okay on to more posts now that I have more time.  WOOT

Friday, December 9, 2011

War of the Worlds (part 2)

Sorry about not posting the second and third part sooner but I'm in the middle of Finals so bear with me.

Once the 'Center' has been established, the book begins to decentralize Geocentrism by highlighting hierarchal preconceptions. Two binaries come into play: human (intelligent)/human (inferior) and human/animal in order to show how the monstrous becomes the Geocentricity of humankind and the notion that we are central to all things. Wells begins to break down this notion through his insertion of the Martians into the Hierarchy of Man/Beast in a similar fashion to Jeffrey Cohen's argument in his article "Monster Culture (Seven Theses)". The addition of the Martian "as a kind of third term that problematizes" the hierarchy and highlights the instability through "a radical rethinking of boundary and normality" (Cohen 6). Wells sets the Martians as a third component to these binaries in order to fragment the currently accepted normative values. Ironically the reader is asked to withhold judgment of another species in light of human’s historical action that are “ruthless and [brought] utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals… but upon its inferior races” (Wells 5). However where Cohen uses this transgression of monsters as a method of escape, within War of the Worlds it is used as catalyst, one in which first incorporates into the current binary, redistributes the power balance, then destroys or distorts the system into a new formation.

With the Martians in the picture, men react to the first cylinder by “rapp[ing] on the scaly burnt metal with a stick” (13) and boys in turn “amuse themselves… by throwing stones” (15). These descriptions are early in the chain of events but the anxiety it causes, this return to a primitive description of man, shows the immediate distortion caused by the Martians entering into the hierarchy. They become propelled off their former pinnacle into an interstitial space of insecurity. But not only is there anxiety in this replacement at the top, but also of the capacity that if they could be replaced then what might also further change in the power structure. The question of evolution becomes relevant. Humans are seen as animals in comparison to the Martians and the fear of become actual beasts or their equal is a monstrous notion. Could human kind devolve and degenerate to the level of an animal?

The transition of the binary structure takes a complex route throughout the story. The initial binary as mentioned above are reduced to the focus on Human/Beast as the Martians land on earth. Here the binary structure incorporates the aliens, through the eyes of humans into: Human/ Alien=Beast (aliens and beasts become equivalent in the hierarchy). The narrator relates a discussion between the men at the pit where one speaker states that “It ain’t no murder killing beasts like that” (42). Wells is very intentional in his word choice so it is not a mistake in the word choice within the conversation. Yet the narrator shows his perceptive qualities as he describes the Martians lack of interest in humans being the same way humans would ignore “the lowing of a cow” (43). These repeated references to humans as being related in a Martian view point to an animal begins to restructure the hierarchy into Alien/Human/Beast, where humans become placed under the Aliens. Yet the repeated references to humans as beasts in the eyes of the Martians has a further disturbing effect so that as humanity is slowly being destroyed, the hammering of this view point redistributes the power almost to an equality between man and beast: Alien/ Man=Beast. All these possible categories that humans can slip within are frightening even though the circumstances are fictional.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

War of the Worlds

I'll split this into three parts since it's fairly long.  The essay is for a class I'm taking about monstrous aspects of books in relation to social theory using 18/19th Century for a comparison to modern.  This post is a copy of an essay that deals with H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds.


"War of the “Center”


The Geocentric Model, in which the earth is the center of the universe, may be an obsolete astronomy concept from ancient Greek philosophy, but the ideology behind Geocentrism has not been completely eradicated from human culture. The hierarchal scale of the Great Chain of Being, a concept that began to break apart in the 15th century, privileged nobility and certain aspects of the clergy and was a welcomed reinforcement of the medieval power structure; it still placed humans below the celestial beings such as angels and God. Humans were not the center. But in the late 1800’s when Fredrick Nietzsche brought into question God and Christian morality, culturally humans began to retake a centralized position. Once again we became the hierarchal privileged pinnacle. These concepts are highly simplified and may be a hypothetically sweeping stereotype of humanity, but in H.G. Wells’ “The War of The Worlds” one of the most monstrous aspects, one that branches out into other monstrous traits, is the notion of humankind’s Geocentristic attitude. He focuses on the hierarchal nature embedded within culturally normative values of European society in order to express the astronomy-applied-to-individual concept. Each idea leads to another monstrous claim that Wells uses in order to make a type of critique on social values.

The concept of humanity as 'Center' is established immediately as "with infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter" (Wells 3). The monstrous component on a general scale is injected right from the beginning in order to make apparent this core argument. In order to further establish a Geocentric Model of monstrous proportions, two examples are shown within the embodied of the characters: the curate and the artilleryman, both of who, through their actions, becomes a danger to the narrator. The curate is described as "lacking in restraint...weak creature... and careless" (149) which typify, in this example, the characteristics of a selfish individual who has become Geocentric. When the narrator and the curate find themselves stuck inside the half destroyed house next to the fifth capsule this 'Centralism' becomes dangerous.

The curate's spiral to madness and inability to see beyond himself threatens the life of his companion and requires the narrators "last touch of humanity" (156) to save himself by permanently silencing the curate. The artilleryman is similarly shown as a part of this spectrum of self-centered individuals, though in this instance does not provide the same type of physically dangerous element as the curate, instead his threat becomes that of his characteristics. The narrator "saw the man plain"(181), that "his quality"(182), or lack of, was diminished in his indulgence of food, spirits and card games in the midst of destruction. It is not so much these actions by themselves that shine a negative light on the artilleryman but the lack of action in comparison. The artilleryman spins a grandiose tale of conquering and saving the human race, yet these words prove to be hollow. These examples go beyond Geocentrism due to other arguments Wells establishes throughout the book, yet these characters still maintain a connection with the idea of 'man as center'.