If I Ever Have Kids I’m Going to Raise Them in Wales

I read the essay “The Overprotected Kid” by Hanna Rosin and it was magical! She talks about the magic of childhood before all of the modern rules led to the fall of the empire that was the world of wondering children and even as a product of the world of childhood rules I felt connected to very bit of the piece. I considered the way my parents would complain that I would not ride around the neighborhood on my bike, yet insist on holding my hand as I crossed the street. Rosin also contrasts the modern ideal of protecting children from any and all dangers with pictures and stories from an adventure playground in Wales that let children run wild and take risks. The essay spends a great deal of time explaining why parenting has changed and how those changes have either failed to accomplish their goals or even negatively affect children. It was honest and real as the author herself watched her young son play in the adventure playground and she had to stop herself from ruining his fun, allowing him to grow and become more independant.

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A Response to Consider the Lobster (a subject I would not like to consider again)

David Foster Wallace certainly takes his readers on a ride with the essay “Consider the Lobster”. The essay begins with a quick and dirty explanation of the possible excitements of the 2003 Maine Lobster Festival before effortlessly slipping into a complaint about the unfortunate conditions of the festival: tight benches, flat soda (a mortal sin), and (possibly worst of all) wild children attempting tasks far beyond their capabilities.  This transition is the beginning of the end for anyone looking for reasons to make the trip to the next MLF. From the the reader is subjected to a contemplation on the realities lobster “preparation”.

I can only speak for myself when I say that the reason I found to keep reading, aside from the fact it was assigned for class, was the same desire felt to soak in every gory detail of a highway car accident. I had to know every detail about the various ways of killing and cooking lobsters and their various failures. I had to know why people were able to convince themselves boiling them alive was okay (the whole time remembering the scene from Julie and Julia when she tried to make lobster and the day my eleven year old self realized that cooking lobster is terrifying). I didn’t want to know what DFW had to say, but I Had to know.

I have never been much of a lobster person, or really a seafood person, so I can’t speak for someone who will need to reconsider their favorite food after this essay. I can only assume it is an even more uncomfortable read for them. Though, DFW does mention that he is not writing this to entirely discourage eating lobster, he is looking for people to understand the process and the moral, ethical questions brought up by it. I can relate to that I guess, I too find the process interesting though not entirely discouraging when I learn about food. In high school, I was friends with this girl who is a dedicated vegan and we often talked about the food industry and it’s many mistakes in animal treatment. The difference is I’m not so terribly affected by the truth to stop me from enjoying a burger afterwards.

I like to think there were many readers of Gourmet that read the entire essay fueled by anger about every word of complaint in it. It gives me joy to imagine a paid-clad blonde mother of three angrily reading through the article remembering the candlelit dinner she and her husband Howard had enjoyed for their anniversary just days before. Denying at every turn that there could possibly be anything wrong with the treatment of lobsters because, “They’re just stupid fish anyway!” and “They must die peacefully! We wouldn’t keep killing them like this if they didn’t!” even though she knows that she won’t be able to think about eating another lobster for a week or two now that she has read this. She makes me happy, because she is the reason why this essay is so well done, to spite her.

Response to “What Makes an Essay American”

Cunnigham’s Essay “what Makes an Essay American” can easily be identified as an argument to assert. Cunnigham addresses the ideas of fellow essayist John D’Agata and discusses the influence of  Emerson in modern American writing. He breaks down the many examples in D’Agata’s newest anthology and explains their failures to exemplify the spirit and truth of American essays. With Emerson, Cunnigham observes the influence of the classic sermon in essays and how they’re similarities are their sources of power in delivery. His discussion of these writers and analysis of their contributions to the field as a whole leads to his conclusion that in our essay and other aspects of our culture Americans look to conflict for creative expression.  This essay is more then the Crossfire dominating argument style because it acknowledges the validity of other positions, but asserts the importance of it’s own position. In an argument to dominate there would be no validity given to other arguments, this argument is much more civil.

Types of Podcasts

In case you didn’t know, there are a bunch of different podcasts. Here is a list of a few types:

  • Storytelling
  • Advice
  • Investigative
  • Informative
  • Documentary
  • Roundtable
  • Comedy
  • Faithbased
  • Sports
  • Fashion
  • Business
  • News

The Best of The Interview Between Marc Maron and Terry Gross

The best question that Marc asked Terry was something along the lines of how much of this is wanting  to know about yourself? I loved this question because it was something I had not considered before it was asked, but as soon as I heard the question I understood that it needed to be asked. I believe that there are many things that people do without realizing that they are seeking a personal understanding as much as an understanding of the environment or others. Much of the human experience revolves around the need to understand ourselves as much as others so why wouldn’t interviewing be about both understanding the interviewee and the interviewer. I think it is also very important because it is a question that Terry wanted to ask Marc as much as Marc wanted to ask Terry which means it is a question that is at least considered by professional interviewers.

The best question that Terry asked Marc was if he takes his interviews to different places than he does when talking to his friends. This was a great question because one of the goals of an interviewer is to make their interviewee feel comfortable speaking with them and who is more comfortable talking to you than a friend? So why not ask the same questions in both situations? But, as Marc explains in his answer, the situation is a bit more complicated than that, there are different social rules for a conversation with a friends then there are with in an interview.

A Proposed Solution for the Problem of Misinformation Due to the Abuse of Wikipedia

Everyone is aware of the problems with bad editors on Wikipedia. It is so easy for anyone with a computer to simply press the edit option on Wikipedia and write in whatever they want. The opportunity is both a blessing and a curse for those poor unfortunate souls that believe every word they read on the internet. Unfortunately, not everyone using Wikipedia is on a mission to provide the public with all the facts, some of them have a different agenda. In order to end this madness my solution is simple: Check Your Facts, Kids. This is not to say that every time you scroll through Wikipedia your are required to check every reference, but if you plan on using that information as absolute fact, check it out.

It is up to us readers of Wikipedia to be cautious about what we are reading. As Audra Schroeder proves in her article “Are Plastic Surgeons Nip/Tucking Ads into High Profile Wikipedia Articles?”, the efforts of established Wikipedia editors is not enough to catch people changing articles for their benefit. Wikipedia relies on the contributions of the public and there is no way for them to police every article on the site. Therefore, it is the task of the reader to beware of the facts presented in Wikipedia.

On the other hand, it is not healthy to become obsessive about publishing the truth on sites as unpredictable as Wikipedia. For example, the man is Reply All’s  episode titled “The Art of Making and Fixing Mistakes” has dedicated far to much time to editing one grammar mistake throughout Wikipedia. Sure, it is a valiant effort, but does anyone really want to be that guy? My advice is to view Wikipedia as the Duct tape of internet information, it can give you a quick fix for just about everything and it’ll most likely work just fine, but you know it is not a full fix. So enjoy the many benefits but be sure to remember to take an extra second to check the facts when you know you need to be right.