A Yearly Reflection

I have concluded that I have learned far more about myself and my thinking and work ethic this year in AP Lang than how to write well. This is not to say that AP Lang has not built my skills as a writer– establishing my point more effectively, analyzing documents more efficiently, learning words I didn’t know the meanings of prior. But through those processes I have realized that in order to be a good writer, I must know how to think independently and form my own opinions.

From Othello to Gatsby, the reading I have done has not only shaped my opinions towards literature (for both better and worse), but in some ways if has shaped my worldview. Nick Carraway taught me how to identify a gay man when I read one, Iago demonstrated how to be sneaky and evil, and Nathaniel Hawthorne has given a wonderful example on how to be an extremely cumbersome and oppressively descriptive writer. Seeing as these are all useful life skills, I’ve got to say that AP Lang has seriously prepared me for the real world.

But on a more serious note, I have grown in my ability to form and hold an argument. In the ever growing world of idiots and extremist views, it can be difficult to not become lost in a sea of irrelevant information and opinionated jerks. But regardless of how we feel towards people and their opinions, we must form opinions for ourselves. It is so easy to take information at face value and just accept other’s ideas as our own. But to survive in the politically incorrect society we are currently a part of, we need to hold to our value, and not be bullied away from the truth by those who can talk louder than us. Sorry to get all preachy on you innocent people, but rather than telling you what you need to know, I’m kind of just recapping my (super independent, original) thoughts over the past year, that would not have been facilitated if not for this class.

Will I ever stop being an annoyingly wordy writer? Probably not. Has AP Lang helped me with that? Not really. But was it an impactful part of my life that has pushed me to what I thought were my phycological and annoyance threshold? Absolutely (I’m looking at you Mr. ThatWasAwkward).

Advertisements

My Pal

I never would have thought that today was the freaking day I had to thank my best buddy in front of whoever the heck chooses to read this. I am also going to put this post into basically one big long ramble, because thats how the year has gone. It has just gone on and on. And on. This next part is to you specifically my friend, so other people either don’t read this, or imagine that you are a total boss, and you might slightly realize what it is like to be Erin.

It has been quite the exhausting year. Our friends, classes and dumb emotions and stuff have changed a whole lot since the beginning, but thankfully you are one of the solid constants in my life. I am so ridiculously blessed to have someone who just gets me when it kind of seems like no one does. I respect your work ethic so much, in taking on difficult classes, art projects and the musical, yet performing in all these aspects with such grace, diligence and excellence. Whats super cool about what friendship we have going on here, is that it doesn’t really matter whether we’re just listening to chill tunes in the art room, laughing at Jorge for something funny he said, running through pouring rain, flipping M&M cakes, watching Napoleon, chatting with your mom, getting prettied up for banquets, band-aiding your bleeding toe or countless other day-to-day activities, it always seems to be better than something else I would be doing alone. This year hasn’t really been rough, but I would consider it about as rough as like 220 grit sandpaper, and your presence in my life definitely knocked it down to like 400 or 600 (you’re welcome for that amazing woodworking metaphor). I also genuinely just need someone to complain to or with, and thankfully you got my back for that too. You will always have an important place in my existence, and I thank you tremendously for being the one I can count on to slap me in the face when we need to get hyped up.

 

Everyone else who just read that, I hope that you have someone in your life like this.

It has made all the difference in mine.

Abortion

Abortion. The word is rather daunting, as essentially it is the term for fetus-murder. The argument of pro-life vs. pro-choice has gone on for a number of years now, and I call it an argument rather than a discussion because people are very passionate about this topic– I would say that legalized murder is a topic that needs to be addressed very quickly.

I assume that you have realized what my position on this topic is. Here are some of the most prominent pro-choice arguments, and the reasons why I agree and disagree with them:

1) Women should have the right to their own bodies. Basically, many pro-life activists think that pro-choice supporters want to take away a woman’s right to have sex. Unfortunately, I cannot even begin to fathom how this is a reasonable argument in the first place– this isn’t about the woman, this is about a child. Condoms exist ladies and gents. So if you don’t to be parents, then spend the dollar on a condom in the first place, rather than upwards of one thousand bucks because you regret what you didn’t do. Now there is something to be said for wanting a woman to feel free to do what she wants with her body, and that nobody should be able to tell her not to do what she wants (within legal limits of course). The problem with pro-choice activists and this mindset is that they fail to see that pro-life is about saving the child, not a woman’s virginity.

2) If we make abortion illegal, then more women will die because they would be undergoing sketchy, illegal abortions. A government can’t make something legal, just because it could be safer when made legal. Should meth production be made legal, because it could be manufactured in an expensive lab, a cleaner production than someone’s basement in China? I think we all know that the answer is no, based on the fact that meth is harmful to our health. Duh. We need to be educating people, specifically the women engaged in seemingly reckless sexual activity how to have “safe” sex, rather than legalizing something, just because it would be safer for the ones taking part in it.

3) Rape victims should not have to carry and give birth to a baby. This is a tricky one. According to various studies, rape victims are half as likely to choose abortion (15-25%) than the typical unplanned parenthood (50%). It is far more unjust as a government to let the innocent child of a rape be punished by death, than just punishing the guilty father. Additional studies have shown that rape victims who do choose abortion are usually die within the next four years due to drug overdose and suicide. An unwanted pregnancy is far less damaging to a woman than and abortion is. Law enforcement should be focusing on catching and punishing the rapists, not the children that are a result of rape.

The topic of abortion holds many difficult cases, which simply need to be considered as they come. There aren’t any catch all rules for every abortion or rape case. I would propose that the only time an early abortion would be acceptable, would be if a woman was raped, and the birth of her child would be fatal. If a woman would die in the birthing process, and the woman would like to go through with it anyway, that is an amazing sacrifice the mother would be making for her child. Yet if she decides to choose the abortion, this is the only specific case I can think of that would make an abortion morally acceptable.

Thank you for reading, and please leave your thoughts on this issue in the comments, I would love to hear some more opinions.

Too Much

Just because something has the capacity to do something doesn’t mean that it will. Many dogs have the physical capacity to kill their owners, yet all dog owners aren’t dying. North Korea has the capacity to bomb America, but they aren’t. Our actions have consequences– yet, the problem in modern society is that technology is quite possibly ruining society, yet we fail to see it’s consequences.

First off, I am absolutely not denying that technology and the internet is an amazing resource when used wisely and in moderation. But if we allow the internet to think for us and form our ideas, we are not using it in a healthy way, and it is most certainly not improving “society”.

Society is the interaction portion of human existence. A society is not created or run without interaction between the people in it. If we are all glued to our computer screens, looking at other people’s lives without actually living it with them, we are not contributing to society.

Here’s the thing– technology advances technology. Scientists research online how to build computer parts. Robots put together new phones. Automated programs develop new apps and programs. The technology we create allows for more technology to be created. Technology certainly does not advance society, because it does not allow for more human interaction.

So yes, technology has the capacity to ruin society. And not only does it have the ability, it currently is. Technology creates an illusion of being more connected all the time, bringing harmony and communication. But if Instagram is the only way you are communicating with someone, and Snapchat is the way you are living their lives with them and Wikipedia is your source for reliable information, our society is deteriorating.

Lacking Reason

The black-or-white fallacy– quite possibly the most common logical fallacy employed to attack people who disagree with you. For example– “oh, so you’re pro choice? You want to always kill babies just because?” It’s either save lives and don’t kill babies, or be a relentless child murderer. Black-or-white. One extreme or the other. This is such a problem.

Take a moment to enjoy the logical atrocity before your eyes. For those who are unaware, Ted Kaczynski is an American terrorist, responsible for the deaths of three people and injuring twenty-three, over a ten year period when he mailed bombs to universities and airlines. And what is implied by this billboard is that if you believe in global warming, you are a terrorist as well.

Black-or-white. If global warming is real to you, you are a terrorist, and if you are an ignorant Trumpian, you’re normal, and safe to live an ordinary life. Now, while this is an extreme example that would go over most people’s heads as a minorly offensive joke, the black-or-white fallacy can have so much damage to self-esteem and appearance in arguments.

Let’s go back to our abortion example. Pro-life supporters would present the argument as this: either you want to keep babies alive or murder them. Pro choice supports would most likely spin it as such: you want to give women the rights to their own bodies, or strip away their humanity and control what they can and cannot do. Don’t you see the problem with this!? (I apologize for the fourth grade exclamation question mark above.)

The black-or-white fallacy permits no middle ground, no compromising, and no definition that fairly states both sides of an argument. This leads to being able to attack a person opposing you, because you spin their argument into a convoluted crap pile of disgusting accusations no one believes, while turning your opponent into an psychopath because they “support” your version of the twisted truth (examples of the strawman, ad hominem, loaded question and composition/division fallacies).

Can we just assume that our debaters aren’t bloodthirsty lunatics, and stop trying to make them and their points sound as if they are, in order to win an argument?

An Educators Objective

Mr. Charles Dickens cannot be more correct when he says that the role of education is to teach facts. I would now extend that role to also teaching students how to safely and effectively navigate the technology that continues to become an extremely important resource in the world.

Possibly the most necessary skill of the modern student is to be able to think by themself. I would argue that this isn’t a skill that can be taught, so much as learned through teaching students to pursue what they’re interests are, and be able to form opinions and ideas on those topics. And how is a student going to learn that information? Most likely the internet.

So as an extension of Dickens’ idea that students must be taught the facts and nothing but the facts, we should acknowledge that the internet is where most children will find out most of they’re information. And teaching them how to use the internet as an effective tool instead of a waste of time, in turn teaching them how to be creative and productive members of society.

Why Cold Drinks are Superior to Hot

Why the heck does anyone drink hot beverages? The only argument pro- hot drink is that it warms you up. Now let me proceed in destroying this argument, and prove that you should not be drinking anything hot (except maybe thin soup, but thats definitely more of a slurp than a sip).

First of all, before getting into the issue of internal coziness, let’s just clarify what I mean by hot vs. cold drinks. If given the option between hot or iced tea, you should choose iced. Hot chocolate or cold chocolate milk, the milk is the way to go. I am not saying that you should drink cold soup rather than hot– that’s disgusting. But as drinks go, I cannot think of one that at any time I would prefer hot over cold.

Now concerning warmth– if you have the means to heat water, than you certainly have the means to either make a fire, or draw a hot bath or shower. Get a dang blanket. Your insides are already approximately 98.6°F, so why toast them up any more by pouring scalding liquid down your throat? When you see someone blowing on a drink to cool it down, this is a sign that it does not belong in your body.

Cold drinks on the other hand have infinite benefits– you can get your caffeine hit from iced coffee or tea, and be completely refreshed with a cool rush of liquid from the inside out. It’s like jumping  into a perfectly chilly pool, a complete rush of renewing bliss for your stomach and esophagus. Hot drinks are like diving into a uncomfortably warm hot tub, which is quite possibly the most repulsive feeling I can imagine, next to sticking my arm up a steamy elephant trunk. Which do you prefer?

I was ready to take down multiple hot drink arguments, but as I pondered this question and took a brief poll of any conceivable ideas, the only thing that came up was the argument that lays in shambles two paragraphs up. According to Google, drinking hot water can relieve constipation, so if any of you want to grab that in support for your hot drink affinity, I hope you can retain your dignity.

Please present an opposing argument in the comments if you can. I am firm in my beliefs.