Tagged in: essays

Internet Goodies for Sunday, October 19th 2008

Linking and driving, only without the driving.

  • The Smart Set: The Term Paper Artist
    An academic mercenary gives a behind the scenes look at writing term papers for money.
    Filed Under [plagiarism essays education academia ]
  • The climate change unbelievers
    In spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, some very smart people think climate change isn’t happening.
    Filed Under [environment climatechange ]
  • McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: The Economic Crisis Hits the Markson Family Monopoly Board.
    “I realize Bethany is only 6, and you find it cute that she writes “$5,000″ in crayon on the backs of the Chance and Community Chest cards when she runs out of funds and uses them to purchase houses, but, if you recall, that is exactly what led to the inflation that crippled our Friday fun.”
    Filed Under [satire economics ]
  • Interview with Noam Chomsky:
    Saying the things Chomsky says, like: “Nobody should have any illusions. The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party. ”
    Filed Under [politics election08 economics ]
  • 900-Pound Giant Squid Joins Cast Of ‘The View’Filed Under [humor ]
  • Late Bloomers
    Malcolm Gladwell questions our equation of precociousness with genius, and asks if maybe we shouldn’t appreciate the creators who have put in the time.
    Filed Under [none]
  • Bill Clinton talks about Fight Club
    “But you know, so it was a little too nihilist for me, but I thought it was very compelling. I thought that those two guys were great and I think that Helena Bonham Carter was in it and she was a very compelling figure in it. I thought it was quite good.”
    Filed Under [none]
  • The King of the Vagabonds Presents: Tuesday’s True Travel Tales

    I’ve been a few places, done a few things. I’ve been known as something of a traveller in my day, putting miles and miles of foreign road under my boots. They’ve got all kinds of things on them: bone dust from the catacombs beneath Paris, muddy snow stains from Mt. Kilmanjaro, etc. In the course of my travels, I’ve had more than a few misadventures of varying degrees of wackiness. Anyone who’s ever shared a beer with me knows I’m something of a storyteller, so I have decided to recount some of my exploits here for you. With any luck it will be a regular thing, but I haven’t had stellar luck with weekly posting yet. Anyway, the adventure begins:

    After too many pints of stout there’s no telling what a man may do, and fifteen pints is too many, even for me. They didn’t know that at The Stag’s Head, though they would learn later. My thoughts were getting slow and my voice was getting loud. This is a sure sign that I’m losing the battle and the alcohol will soon have its way with me completely. I found myself swearing more, and particularly enjoying the slurred “F” at the beginning of the word “fuck” which I was liberally applying in and around my sentences. I especially like to use it as a noun without changing the case. I am apt to call anyone who earns my ire “a fuck”, or if I’m feeling particularly salty, a “fucking Fuck.” Never a “fucker,” although sometimes a “Motherfucker.”

    The Temple Bar area is in the middle of Dublin, and while it can occasionally get a bit touristy there are enough students and locals in the many pubs to make it worthwhile. The atmosphere is festive, without falling into the sordid bacchanalia of places like Bourbon Street and the Tallahassee strip. I was staying at Trinity, a large University that’s proximity to Temple Bar ended up causing some very enjoyable problems for me that summer. It put me within stumbling distance of my bed, no matter which pub I decided to hit. Continue reading…

    An old paper on Islamic Democracy

    In the current climate of international politics, there is a great deal of speculation regarding the governance of Islamic states. Many traditionally Muslim states have operated under theocratic rule, a difficult concept for the West to swallow. The American control of Iraq is purportedly only to hold the place of power until a democratically elected regime can take the place of the occupying force. But is there, as some critics have speculated, some aspect of Islam that makes it inherently hostile and incompatible with Western notions of democratic rule? This is the question which John Esposito and John Voll have tried to examine in their book Islam and Democracy. Published in 1996, this book explores the different ways in which Islam relates to democratic principles and ideas. Arguing against previously held explanations about the nature of Islam and the very definition of democracy, this book explores several cases where Islamic movements operate to a varying degree of success in the area of popular representation. Continue reading…

    “Words are spells against demons.” –Nelson Mandela

     

    I want to study literature because I don’t know how not to. I am fascinated with stories and narrative, as well as the foundation stone upon which they are built: language. Mandela’s quote is a simple truth, or more accurately, a truth simply stated. At some level, I have always had an innate understanding of this but I could never elucidate it fully. Nelson Mandela’s address to the University of Cape Town opened with this succinct, poetic description. I was lucky enough to catch the speech during the tail end of my tenure as an ambassadorial scholar in South Africa. Mr. Mandela’s aphorism struck a chord with me, resonating at a deep, barely quantified level.

    Language fascinated me from an early age. In some form or another, the quest to understand the way it works has been the underlying motivation driving much of my personal and academic life. The world is a chaotic and frightening place, rife with danger and mystery. Humans find ourselves with the unenviable task of having to make sense of the confusion. Words are the tools we use to do this. It’s a story as old as the book of Genesis, when God gifted man with the ability to name (or assign words to) the rest of creation. It may be the one uniquely human trait, a self-reflexive means of examining the way we experience the world by describing it. Continue reading…