They’re sitting here, percolating, hoping for some people to turn in missing assignments at the final hour. (People who are missing assignments have been contacted.)
EDIT @ RR: I gotta think about ‘em.
EDIT Part Deux @ IG: I submitted the grades at 8 am. Not sure how long it will take for them to appear if they haven’t already. *shrug*
I’m writing a 25-page paper, due tomorrow, that links Habermasian post-metaphysical thinking to Derridean obfuscation through a comparative study of the Dec. 8 Colbert Report and Jacques Derrida’s Limited Inc., with a focus on the politics of language.
I have no idea what those words even mean, but I typed them.
It’s late. I’m tired. So are you. Too much work this time of year, huh?
Stop worrying! Sometimes things go wrong. That’s why we revise: so that when things go wrong we have a chance to fix them.
As Sara says, don’t worry! Everyone gets a good grade if they show up and turn in assignments on time!
For the record: C’s are not bad grades. They’re “average.” If you get C’s on the original and A’s on revision, then hey, that’s a B. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
The top thing on Reddit for your viewing pleasure: http://i.imgur.com/lpp2n.jpg
Ok, so the biggest thing I noticed in your papers is that you guys started writing summary introductions again. Stop it! Newspapers don’t use summary introductions. Very little real-world writing will use a summary introduction. Look at a newspaper and see what they do—thry don’t do summaries.
Also, all of you should learn how to do text wrapping in Microsoft Word.
Also, a lot of you went back to writing boring English papers. Some were lit crit, some were vague and generalized ramblings about love in HP. Relate your arguments to the real world. This is an opportunity for you to be creative and funny.
Here are some good paragraphs from your assignments. Keep in mind that opinions in newspapers often do a lot to entertain:
Of course, there are many people who are stunned at the idea of Harry Potter being taught in schools, much less in universities of higher learning. When confronted with the thought that college students are paying money to study Harry Potter, there was a wide-range of responses. Saul Mendoza, a third year dual history and government major at the University of Texas at Austin, responded to the news of a Rhetoric of Harry Potter course with enthusiasm. “Oh my gosh, Harry Potter!” he exclaims. “I’m so disappointed because I want to take the class but it filled up on the first day of registration!” Facebook statuses were posted by the excited Texas students who were eager to take a course in one of their all-time favorite obsessions. “HARRY POTTER!!! I want in!!” and “omg I want to take Harry Potter!!” were the types of statuses that cropped up on my newsfeed in May of 2010.
Whenever I think Harry Potter, I think Motown singing group. No, it’s not the Temptations or the Supremes, but it’s Harry Potter & the Ubiquitous Three. And I say this not because Harry Potter takes me back to the good ‘ol oldies of crooning on the mic, smooth and slick dance moves, or permed coifs. I say this because J.K. Rowling is iconic, much like Motown, Harry Potter is legendary, much like the artists on the label, and Harry Potter would not feel complete without his backup singers who provide the powerful harmonies to an already brilliant lead.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened its doors to thousands of waiting fans on June 18th, 2010 at Universal Studios Parks and Resorts’ Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida. The signature attraction at the newly minted theme park is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which takes place in Hogwarts Castle and feature scenes from several Harry Potter books that even the most avid of Harry Potter fans will be able to enjoy. Despite the hype that has been given to the ride before the park even opened, many fans were left in disbelief after they were turned away after being deemed too large to fit into the seats of the ride cars.
…feel free to do so through Dec. 15.
I know, right? Who knew Foley had feelings? Best of luck, again, on finals.
…by a high school student in Houston today.
One of the questions was this: Do you think Rowling made the “dark magic” so easily distinguishable from the rest of the magic to emphasize the theme of good versus evil? And if so, was she successful in conveying this theme?
I feel very much compelled to answer this question (she asked me more questions than time allows to answer), but I suggested this one would be the best one for me to answer. While I’m thinking about it, I’m just going to answer it here.
In HP and the SS, Voldemort says “There is no good and evil; there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” I think this statement is a good place to start when thinking about this “theme of good vs. evil.” Let’s disregard the speaker for a moment. Who in HP is good? Who is evil? The answer might seem obvious, but let’s back up for a minute.
There are three “sides,” or groups of people, fighting for power in HP. There’s Voldy and the Death Eaters, there’s the Ministry of Magic, and there’s the Order of the Phoenix. We might be tempted to say that the entire thing is Death Eaters vs. Order of the Phoenix, but what about the MoM? What about those witches and wizards who don’t act? What about Cornelius Fudge? Is he evil? Or does he just not want to worry about all the terrible things happening in the world?
We could take Dolores Umbridge as a good example, too, of someone who’s not quite good and not quite evil. She gives me shivers just to think about her, but she’s just following the orders of the Minister of Magic, who is misguided, but not evil. She’s trying to prevent rebellion in her school. She’s trying to prevent kids from making out in school. That doesn’t sound evil. That sounds like what happens in any public school. And yet she’s still super super creepy. Just something to think on. Are your school administrators evil because they refuse to allow you to openly rebel against administration? That’s not what evil means, and yet many people think she IS evil because of this strange notion that there are only two ways to be in this world—“good” or “evil.” And, secondarily, people have that “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” attitude, which causes them to have a simplified view of not just good and evil in HP, but good and evil in the world. Not agreeing with the O of the P does not make people “evil,” just as not agreeing with American foreign policy doesn’t make a person or foreign government “evil.” [Oh, I’ll come back to the much more evil things that Umbridge does in a little bit.]
Think of all the people who just want Harry to turn himself over to Voldemort so that there will be “peace.” Think of the people who neither join the Order or the Death Eaters. I think that’s another rhetorical purpose of HP—to highlight what happens when “good” people do nothing, when they don’t think critically about what their superiors want and what is happening in the world, so long as they go through their lives without harm. This last refers to what Voldemort says about “those too weak to seek” power. Now, I don’t think Harry seeks power, and I think a lot of Dumbledore’s history suggests that seeking power can lead people who are predisposed to evil farther along that evil path, BUT there are also those people in the world who are too “weak” to do anything at all. They’re too weak to stand up against evil.
But, to finally get to the real question: the difference between “dark” and “good” magic? I don’t think there really is a difference between good and evil in terms of magic in HP. So, Avada Kedavra is pretty much the evilest magic that can be done. Aurors, however, are permitted to use AK against Death Eaters. And, though the text doesn’t specifically say so, I’m pretty sure Molly Weasley uses AK to kill Bellatrix Lestrange in HP and the DH. Avada Kedavra is ok if it’s used for “good,” but not for “evil.” Basically, there’s no clear delineation between good and bad magic here.
Let’s talk a bit about dementors and the Patronus charm for a bit.
First: dementors. They’re good when they’re at Azkaban (except that whole Sirius-Black-false-imprisonment thing…yeah…like Guantanamo Bay), but bad when they’re out in the world. No clear delineation between good and bad.
Secondly: Patronus. Good when HP uses it against dementors, but evil when Umbridge uses it to keep herself happy when questioning suspected Muggle-borns. Right? While it’s a good charm in some cases, it is used for evil in another. No clear delineation.
Do you get the picture? Nothing in this world can be good or evil in and of itself. Only in context can we even have an idea of good and evil, but usually it’s oversimplified as I talk about at the very beginning of this piece of writing.
So, again back to the original question: Do I think Rowling was successful in conveying the good-v.-evil thing? No, because I don’t think that theme exists. I thnk Rowling intentionally complicated the idea of good vs. evil because good and evil aren’t a binary. But there is power. There’s power that is used to stand up for human rights, and there’s power that destroys human rights, but oftentimes we get confused about who is good and who is evil. Usually we think that our side is good and the other side is evil. I’m pretty sure the other side thinks the same way. Which is why both opposing football teams pray to the same God on Sunday.
Thanks for being a great class this semester! I hope this class has been of some help to you, or at least (if you’re Spencer) of entertainment value. While I got to know some of you better than others (quiet ladies on the other side of the table :-] ), I’m glad that all of you were there and always contributing through talk, writing, laughter, and funny faces.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Good luck on your finals!
Tomorrow at 10:30 there’s a walkout to protest major budget cuts to ethnic, women’s, and gender studies. I think it’s mostly Latin American and African Diaspora studies, but it doesn’t matter—The text of the plea for the walkout is below. Most liberal arts professors will be amenable to you walking out and protesting—if it were during my class, I’d walk out with you. I’ll be walking out of nothing, but I’ll still be there. The funding cuts are HUGE (in the neighborhood of 40%).The Academic Planning and Advisory Committee (APAC) recently recommended devastatingly large budget cuts to ethnic, women’s, and gender academic programs within the college of Liberal Arts. It is time to demand an end to these budget cuts. Many voices and histories will be silenced with the reduction of centers and institutions in Liberal Arts. We cannot allow that. Students have the power to make change and be part of change,… and there’s no better time to organize and act!
These proposed budget cuts defy the priorities of diversity the university has mandated and harm those who come from marginalized ethnicities, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and viewpoints.
Short Term Demands:
The students, staff and community demand the university release all records regarding the formation of the Academic Planning and Advisory Committee (APAC) of the University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts (COLA) , APAC’s review of COLA centers, institutes and departments since 2009, and APAC’s budget
The students, staff and community demand democratic control of budget cuts in our colleges, with direct input from students, staff and the community, to ensure that future sacrifices don’t violate the universities priorities of making a high standard for diversity in higher education.
JOIN US for a DAY OF ACTION, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1st:
—> Walk out of class at 10:30 am and meet at the West Mall.
How does that work?: Get up and leave, but don’t be silent about it. Prepare ahead of time: spread the word via email or in person; organize beforehand to get other students or TAs in your classes to join you; let your professors know soon that you’ll be leaving and see if they’ll endorse the walk-out and rally; announce the action as you leave class to let other students know what’s going on and ask them to join you
—> Rally and picket at the West Mall 11:00 am to demonstrate our rejection of the proposed budget cuts and to demand recognition of the vital importance of cultural studies to the university. Bring a friend, bring a sign, bring thoughts to share, bring your energy.
See you there,
The Students SpeakSee More
It’s Saturday night. I live in one of the coolest cities in the United States. And, instead of going out, I’m reflecting on your most recent short paper.
The purpose of this entire unit is to have you write in different styles, which is sorta like trying on different clothes, seeing what you find comfortable, seeing what looks good. It’s also a little bit like trying on clothes and being like “whoa, dude, I seriously gained 10 lbs in the last two months. I need to work on this a little bit for this style to look good on me.” That’s ok.
So that was the original intention. But there are secondary things that I’m finding out as I grade these (with a lighter hand than usual, I admit, and that’s for a reason—I don’t think you should be graded harshly for not being able to write in a style that you have zero experience with).
The first thing to note is that I basically asked you to write in a style that I told you not to write in at the beginning of the semester—and I told you guys not to write this way because of problems with unclear prose, misused words, etc. What ended up happening is you guys ended up writing much better (MUCH BETTER) assignments, either because you learned something from clarity lessons or you began to write in a style that you found to be more comfortable. Not sure which, but it doesn’t matter.
The point is that you are all wonderful, wonderful writers. All of you have done well on at least one assignment. Some of you write best in low styles, some in middle, and some in high. Your blogs prove this, at least. Never, in any of your blogs, would I have ever written that you have clarity issues, or you’re not making any sense, or that you don’t back up your ideas.
But also, and not to get on your cases too much, you don’t do nearly as well on assignments that you’re not comfortable with, like this past one. Words get messed up, your sentences stop making sense, and you have some flow issues. Basically, what to learn from this is that whenever you write, your confidence level has a direct effect on how your paper will turn out. Being familiar with the style of writing will make everything much easier on you.
So, two things:
Read stuff that you find difficult and you will be able to write stuff that’s more “intellectual.” Familiarity will make you more confident. Familiarity also breeds contempt, because sometimes you realize that people are using much higher language than is necessary to get a point across. Sometimes word choice is for rhetorical effect, sometimes it’s not. But being familiar with what’s going on will help you write better papers.
You’re much better, even at assignments that you don’t do well on. Even the most unclear approximations of academic articles that I’ve read, where the word choice isn’t quite right, and the sentence structure is all wrong—even those are much, much better!
So, go out into the world, little duckies, and never say that you’re bad writers. Say “I’m unfamiliar with this type of writing” or something like that, but never ever say you’re bad writers. You’re awesome.
Thanks for a great semester so far, and good luck on your papers!