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Old 04-01-2007, 08:27 AM   #106
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Never been, but I hear Guam and Puerto Rico aren't doing too shabby as territories of the United States. The United States itself have benefited greatly from being settled by the French, Spanish, Dutch and of coarse the British, which saw 13 of it's colonies rebel against their rule in 1776.
As usual, Yolland pretty much covered it all in response to the above statement. But let me just also add that Guam and Puerto Rico had already been colonized by European nations for a couple hundred years when the U.S. picked them up. So whatever colonial damage there was had already taken place.
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:26 AM   #107
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Yeah. It's this bit that seems to give you away, as numerous posters have pointed out. In order to have even a remote leg to stand on in this discussion, you're going to have to explain that. Adequately.
Explain what? The poetry was terrible. We were being asked to read it simply to be multi-cultural - NOT because it was great. Am I automatically supposed to like African poetry simply because it is African?

Remember, the point I made was that I signed up to study Homer, one of the most influential writers (or compiler) of Western Civ. I did not sign up for a world lit class (which I did eventually take).
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:30 AM   #108
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Explain what? The poetry was terrible. We were being asked to read it simply to be multi-cultural - NOT because it was great. Am I automatically supposed to like African poetry simply because it is African?

I think it was the "needless to say" part that got you the raised eyebrows....
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:30 AM   #109
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Originally posted by maycocksean


And you don't think you're hearing a lot of shrill propaganda from the Right?

Not nearly as much in the universities. On talk radio - certainly.
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:33 AM   #110
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I think it was the "needless to say" part that got you the raised eyebrows....
The "needless to say" part was said because I simply saw it coming - that I was forced to read something simply because it was from another culture - not because of great writing.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:22 PM   #111
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The "needless to say" part was said because I simply saw it coming - that I was forced to read something simply because it was from another culture - not because of great writing.


you've heard of self-fulfilling prophecies?
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Old 04-01-2007, 02:42 PM   #112
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Needless to say, I knew how AEON would respond.
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Old 04-01-2007, 04:27 PM   #113
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Needless to say, I knew how AEON would respond.
Yep.

Needless to say that's how someone with bigotries will try and cover them up.
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Old 04-01-2007, 06:22 PM   #114
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you've heard of self-fulfilling prophecies?
Well, when I did take World Lit I thoroughly enjoyed studying great works from just about every corner of the globe.

But I will concede that I was already ticked about the professor not dedicating the entire class to Homer's the "Illiad" and the "Odyssey" - and this expecation derived from the published class decription. I felt cheated before I cracked open the book.

That being said, I can assure you, the poetry was still crap.
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Old 04-01-2007, 07:09 PM   #115
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Perhaps it's a matter of questionable wording choice and you simply meant to suggest that its inclusion in a course purportedly about something entirely different signaled a kind of lazy tokenism on the teacher's part which was then borne out by poor reading choices. If so, I can understand that; I remember taking an Art History survey course in college where the professor, an Italian Renaissance specialist, did a fantastic job covering Greco-Roman and European art and architecture but then condensed Everything Else into a two-lecture segment with bizarrely eccentric choices drawn from Indian, Chinese and African art, with only the vaguest stabs at contextualizing them in their respective aesthetic traditions and--to judge from his India coverage at least--wince-inducing mispronunciations galore, and no-shit-Sherlock type observations which added nothing to anyone's understanding ("Moghul art typically uses fine brushstrokes and vivid colors," "Hindu deities are often depicted with multiple arms, this shows they have many qualities," etc.). Although his actual tone was neutral, I felt like the overall effect of the unit was a dismissive "Oh yeah, and as an aside, there's some somewhat interesting stuff in other countries too."

Out of curiosity, what was the professor's rationale for including those African poems specifically in the curriculum? Was it simply I Like This Stuff So We're Gonna Read It, or did s/he present it as a relevant point of contrast or parallel genre to the Homer in some way?
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Old 04-01-2007, 10:50 PM   #116
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The "needless to say" part was said because I simply saw it coming - that I was forced to read something simply because it was from another culture - not because of great writing.
This explanation is adequate enough for me. Thanks.
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Old 04-02-2007, 08:46 AM   #117
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Originally posted by yolland


Out of curiosity, what was the professor's rationale for including those African poems specifically in the curriculum? Was it simply I Like This Stuff So We're Gonna Read It, or did s/he present it as a relevant point of contrast or parallel genre to the Homer in some way?

His justification was that he wanted us to think beyond the influence these two books had on Western art and literature (Joyce for instance), and start thinking about the influence Homer had on other cultures.

Not necessarily the 'wrong' thing to do. But it didn't fit the class. For instance, there were several passages in the Illiad and Odyssey where he broke down the original Greek - and this demonstrated how English couldn't capture the real essence of the scene. Those were some of the best moments in college! It was as if I was looking beyond the veil.

By the way, the professor has been featured on the History Channel and has written the Preface in several translations. This gentleman was an amazing professor - with the exception of the last 1/3 of the class.

Just another note - there was an African-American classics major that took the class with me. We also took Plato's Greatest Works together. He was disappointed as well. This isn't about race - it is about 'forced' multi-culturalism.
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Old 04-02-2007, 08:52 AM   #118
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Just another note - there was an African-American classics major that took the class with me. We also took Plato's Greatest Works together. He was disappointed as well. This isn't about race - it is about 'forced' multi-culturalism.
I think it was said often enough. Your choice of words was very unfortunate, to say the least.
You explained your point, and I expected you meant to say that before.

But this "Needless to say - the poetry was pure crap.", has some very uncomfortable connotation.
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Old 04-02-2007, 08:53 AM   #119
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Originally posted by yolland
Perhaps it's a matter of questionable wording choice and you simply meant to suggest that its inclusion in a course purportedly about something entirely different signaled a kind of lazy tokenism on the teacher's part which was then borne out by poor reading choices. If so, I can understand that; I remember taking an Art History survey course in college where the professor, an Italian Renaissance specialist, did a fantastic job covering Greco-Roman and European art and architecture but then condensed Everything Else into a two-lecture segment with bizarrely eccentric choices drawn from Indian, Chinese and African art, with only the vaguest stabs at contextualizing them in their respective aesthetic traditions and--to judge from his India coverage at least--wince-inducing mispronunciations galore, and no-shit-Sherlock type observations which added nothing to anyone's understanding ("Moghul art typically uses fine brushstrokes and vivid colors," "Hindu deities are often depicted with multiple arms, this shows they have many qualities," etc.). Although his actual tone was neutral, I felt like the overall effect of the unit was a dismissive "Oh yeah, and as an aside, there's some somewhat interesting stuff in other countries too."

The experience I am sharing is similar, with the exception the professor really did seem to care about the African writings.

It seems in the humanities, there is simply so much ground to cover that it is almost impossible to fit 'everything' in one class. I always preferred the classes the focused on one author, or even one book. I took one class that focused solely on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It was a class taught by a Jewish turned Christian professor. His teaching and our subsequent discussions brought me back to Christ.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:03 AM   #120
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Originally posted by Vincent Vega



But this "Needless to say - the poetry was pure crap.", has some very uncomfortable connotation.
If you want to stay focused on that - that's your right. I tried to clarify what I meant, and you can either accept it or reject it. I think I have demonstrated enough times in this forum that I’m not afraid of taking an unpopular or even a “non-tolerant” point of view. So, if I intended to post something racist, I would have simply done so.

However, I am not a racist. I know, a smuch as anyone CAN know, what my prejudices are and what they are not. (I may be a ‘culturalist' – that I will concede)
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