Prompt 8

I would say the biggest difference between these stories and big-name companies is that the bigger companies will often do a sort of “follow-up” piece, putting the whole situation in retrospect. A school environment doesn’t often give the room for that due to the transitory nature of any school. There are exceptions, but those are few and far between. What brings them together is the more serious context one would expect from a typical school setting. The kind of story you expect is akin to “Oh, here’s this fun activity happening on campus” and what we get is “SOCIETY PRESSURES WOMEN TO TREAT TAMPONS LIKE BLACK TAR HEROINE.”

Of these, the St Thomas article took the most reporting, taking a relative issue and bringing it to the national scale. Which required the least? I’d say the one from Grady. I would argue more details means a better story, as more details mean a clearer picture. Because of this, I preferred the St Thomas article on mental health.

I believe I could write mental health. I myself have a family history of dementia and don’t exactly have a mind with stable footing. One possible interviewee would be Nicole Thomas, who as I recall, did her radio final on mental health. Another could be my mother, who very clearly remembers the last couple of years of her mother’s life. My grandmother was convinced a plastic surgeon she may or may not have slighted some fifty years ago was out to get her. Every bump in the house, every unexplained noise, every plane in the sky – all the machinations of someone who in reality probably forgot about her, or so my grandmother used to say. I would start the piece off with a personal memory of my grandmother, progress to a personal story of my own, and then transition to Nicole.

Prompt 7

When Donald Trump descended from the Trump Tower escalator, like the God Apollo descending from the heavens on his chariot, most news media covered the parts that cause a lot of mouth-drops. The part where he claimed to want to build a wall, make Mexico pay for it, how Mexico is causing a lot of domestic problems within the US. These stories cover the whole story, from beginning to end. They are augmented with quotes from spectators and background information. That background information is required as additional reporting for context’s sake. For example, where would “Holmes” come from, if the lecturer isn’t named Holmes? These stories are more like features for the event. Often, the writers back up their notes with testimony from other eye-witnesses. But, with my own cynical view, the 2016 announcement in full would’ve been quite boring compared to that juicy highlight about Mexico.

Prompt 6: I don’t get sports.

I’ve never been one for sports. I tried to be to relate more to my then-distant father. I first tried getting into football. I went to one game of the Atlanta Falcons and some other team in white and left before half-time with my ears in pain. I then tried baseball. I couldn’t see what was happening in the field due to the obstructive nature of stadium’s design. Instead, I was simultaneously entertained and mortified to the sight of an overzealous fan wearing face paint and a man defending his wife fight each other. It was at that moment I had decided that sports simply weren’t for me. From then, I simply never tried to get sports until I was given the task of covering Piedmont sports for Radio One last year. Even then, trying to understand what words for different fields meant and making sense of numbers seemed a lost cause. I simply reported what the sports site read and tried my damnedest to understand what I was saying.

I know that the ancient Romans were quite the sports fans. The difference was that the sports they loved were often lethal. Outside of the iconic gladiator fights, they loved to watch the chariots race. Often, the wheel spokes had spikes on them and if a crash happened, the rider was most certainly crushed to death. The audiences loved it. So much so that the audience members would often bet on little attributes to fighters and charioteers and make educated bets on the contenders. They would measure strength and agility for gladiators and would measure speed and control for riders. Those little descriptive statistics enveloped the Roman enjoying his time at the Colosseum. Who could win? The man able to dance around his opponent and make a thousand strikes with his dagger? Or the man with a large club and only needed one strike to finish the job? This game of imagined calculus still consumes the sports fan, much to my puzzlement.

I had enjoyed The Orator’s story the best, as the context was made fully clear to me. Someone who has a prosthetic leg plays volleyball in spite of her massive hurdle. The Romans, of course, had a very different opinion of amputees. During the reign of Emperor Commodus, he fancied himself a gladiator. This is basically a megalomaniac idiot telling an assembly of yesmen that he wants to be a slave that murders people. The crowds loved the novelty of it – an amputee, hopping around on one leg and holding a lead blade, cut down in a spectacular way by the most powerful man in the world. From this, we can assert that the Romans must have viewed amputees as some kind of joke. But fret not, the Romans of Commodus’ time had become estranged to the Republican values upon which the United States were founded upon.

I wouldn’t know if a sports journalist speaks high on drama and tension. Perhaps it could be akin to an announcer at the gladiator fights talking high on a fighter to rally the crowd. “Behold, Brennus, the man who once crushed legionnaire’s skull! And facing him shall be Elagabalus the Syrian! Can Brennus strike down the flat-footed man of the East? Or will Elagabalus strike too deep for Brennus to handle?”

To be frank, I have no idea what half of the content of the articles means. When I am approached by sports, I know I will be accosted by some kind of foreign language.

I shall conclude with a lesson. Of the Byzantines, the successors to the Romans, and the demes. During the reign of Emperor Justinian, a brawl had lead to a few arrests of high-ranking members of both the Blues and the Greens. Several agitators were rounded up and made to be executed. Two of the ropes snapped and the crowd immediately moved to save the damned men. They were both a Blue and Green. The crowd had brought the two men to a church and the town guard had started a small-scale siege of the building. The next day, Justinian attended the chariot races but was instead met with pleas from the crowd to pardon the fugitives. The Emperor simply turned a deaf ear to the crowd and wanted to just start the races. But then the crowd began to chant “Nika” over and over again. Nika was Greek, meaning victory. The problem was that both Greens AND Blues were chanting this. Justinian took this as a sign to flee to the royal palace. Then the riots began. Constantinople burned, the destruction was immense, and the rioters had found a figure to replace Justinian once the Emperor’s head was on a pike. Justinian made it sound like he was going to parley in the Hippodrome, the chariot-racing stadium.

The crowd was gathered in the center, chanting “nika.” Then the soldiers marched around the entrances and blocked them off. Then they marched inside. The scene would have been something like out of the Old Testament. Men and women clinging to one another and pushing into one another to get away from the spears. The soldiers pushed forward, the shouting grew louder and louder until the noise could only quiet. The sands were drenched in blood, and the horrors of Cannae were played out to the roaring cheer of an invisible audience.

Profile Piece: Monika Schulte

German Professor Monika Schulte did not have a great first experience with English. Raised in West Germany, a secondary language often taught in public education in West Germany was often English. And her English teacher was hindered by an inability on her part to speak German. 

A story from Schulte goes that one rainy morning, the English teacher meant to say “heute ist schwül,” translated as “today is muggy.” What she really said was “heute ist schwul.” That is translated as “today is gay.” 

“I think what makes it [German] hard is that because I’m a German native, my sentence construction in the English language is totally off and sometimes it is hard to understand the student’s perspective – where they are coming from, what their thinking is – and why they don’t get it correct.” says Schulte, who now teaches German and must speak English on the daily. There are parts of English she doesn’t get to this day. For example, she avoids using the word “do” because the German Equivalent, machen, isn’t used to the degree we native English speakers do. Even then, machen has a double meaning as “to make.” 

Here’s an example on how German sentence structures are different: “Ich heisse John Sassano.” Word-for-word, the translation is “I am called John Sassano.” When translators work grammatically, they would take this sentence and change it to “My name is John Sassano.” And yet, in German, the question for someone else’s name is, “Was ist dein namen?” Word-for-word, that is “What is your name?” 

Nathan Blackburn, a student in German 1102, states that to him the hardest part is “the annunciation and pronunciation and getting the proper sound of it. And a lot of the words aren’t pronounced the same way we would imagine it in English.” What he means is that there is no “sh” but there is “sch.” Whenever an umlaut is thrown into the mix, the whole pronunciation of the word is changed.  

Let’s use Austria’s german name, Österreich. To someone who doesn’t speak German, one would assume that it would be pronounced “os-terr-reich.” But to Germans, the correct pronunciation sounds more like “oos-tehr-reyeck.”  

And yet, English itself has German roots. English language was originally formed by a group of Germans who migrated to Britain calling themselves the “Anglo-Saxons.” It is from them that we get the name “England” for central Britain. This was named for the Anglos.  

The are two reasons why German and English have become so distinct from one another. 

The first can be attributed to linguistic isolation. England is a long way from Germany, so trade must have been limited by distance to only a few parts of Germany. The second is because of the invasions England sustained during its existence. First was the Viking Invasions of the late dark ages, partially injecting Norse into English. Second was the Norman Conquest of 1066. This had Romanized the English language by subjecting English 1to one of the main Latin-based languages – Old French. 

Professor Schulte would enjoy the prospect of making her own changes to English, particularly in specific words. “I would invent many more flavorful words, like ‘breakfeastin’ which is like ‘frühstücken’ which means to have breakfast.” 

What she means is that German has many words that have no real English equivalence, so they are translated as what it means. Schadenfreude is a common one, meaning laughing at another’s pain or misery. 

Another German 1102 student, Ben Thornburgh, said, “The hardest part [about German] for me is the fact that all the nouns are gendered.”  

The German language uses three genders for their nouns. Nouns are divided to one of three genders: der, die or das. Male, female or neutral. “A lot of them, you can figure out intuitively, but some are just hit or miss.” Not every noun grouped into an obvious category has the most obvious gender. Most alcohol has a masculine form, but beer itself is neutral.  

Even more confusing are clothes, most of which go into opposite. Take “der rock.” It’s masculine, but it translates out to “skirt.” Why? Nobody can seem to answer. 

Monika Schulte: Phone – 706-778-8500×1428. Email – mschulte@piedmont.edu. 

Nathan Blackburn: Email – nblackburn0508@lions.piedmont.edu. 

Ben Thornburgh: Email – bthornburgh0421@lions.piedmont.edu. 

Prompt 5

Most of these stories go beyond the average song and dance routine for entertainment coverage by talking about news, behind-the-scenes developments, and bringing up yet another censorship question. They elect to cover controversies within recent memory.

I found the article that most resonated with me was the Huffington Post article about the acceptability of sexually evocative art in the #MeToo movement. I may not agree with modern artists working with any style chronologically beyond post-impressionism, but I think that art’s place in society should not be infringed over a recent development. The painting the article focuses on a pubescent French girl in a provocative pose. Pubescents are teenagers, naturally. And what are teenagers if not rebellious in as many ways as they can be?

The Mata Hari wowed French salons for her sexual promiscuity and far-eastern dances and origin story. Should we have banned all depictions of her? The fact is that her fame, or infamy, was a result of her alleged work as a spy for the Germans during the Great War. What I’m saying is that not many works of art with such a promiscuous nature achieve such a controversial status until we make it controversial.

I did NOT like the Guardian’s piece. I read it and asked “Ok, that’s nice. But what ABOUT the movie that is so inspirational to people?” I also laugh when I consider the fact that an average Marvel movie made for children about a well-built African king, wrestling people in a cat costume, has made it to the frontlines of political discussion. “Community” was right, we ARE in the Troy timeline – the Darkest Timeline. I’m not joking about it being made for children, either. I have it on good authority that a character got their throat slit and there wasn’t a single drop of blood. I blame Troy, both the “Community” character and the cheesy 2004 movie.

What generates mass appeal these days? Controversy. People love to bet on the demes without considering their rival greens or blues might actually be pretty similar to them. I should elaborate. In the Byzantine Empire, there were 2 factions that vied for power over the simple game of chariot racing in the Hippodrome. They were racing teams, fan clubs, mafias, and political parties all rolled into 2 separate groups. Imagine democrats and republicans with such high tensions that one group murdering the other were frequent over the NASCAR races. So long as people refuse to acknowledge the potential within the others’ ideas, we will always act so viciously fractious.

Why Haiti’s Legacy Makes it Far From a ‘Shithole.’

If rumors are to be believed, President Trump referred to Haiti as a ‘shithole.’ The President and his allies vehemently deny it, but the opposition sticks by what they heard. Fact of the matter is, Haiti is historically responsible for more free countries than one might expect of the half-island nation. To boot, we also have the Louisiana territory and our resource-rich nation stretching from sea-to-sea because of Haiti. 

Starting out as a French colony in the Carribean, Haiti was known for producing vast quantities of sugar that kept the French aristocrats rich, and the racial hierarchy it shared with Spanish-owned properties. At the bottom were African slaves, black freedmen, mixed peoples, whites native to Haiti and French-born people. That was the society structure Haiti was founded upon.  

Following the turmoil of the French revolution, Haiti still considered itself loyal to France on the principle that the French Republic, which stood for equality, fraternity and liberty, would free them. And they’d be right if the Committe of Public Safety were still in power, but instead it was the day of Napoleon.  

Napoleon dreamed of a great French colonial empire and wanted to essentially reinstitute slavery in all but name. This sat well with none of the colony’s military leaders like Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who themselves supported emancipation of the slaves. 

They declared independence, armed themselves, and waited for the inevitable response. Napoleon did send a response in the form of Charles Leclerc, who died of yellow fever as did a third of his army. His successor used dogs specifically trained to chase after black slaves, as a means of torturing and killing prisoners to intimidate dissenters. After two brutal years of guerilla warfare, yellow fever, anti-black genocide, and dogs tearing the throats out of Hatian prisoners while Leclerc’s successor laughed, the Haitian forces had defeated the French in 1804. 

So that’s one free country, whoop-de-doo, right? Wrong, our story does not end there but continues in 1803. Because Napoleon saw his forces had no chance in the former colony, the Emperor saw little realism in his dream of a colonial empire, and promptly sold Louisiana territory to the United States in order to fund France’s strength in the War of the Third Coalition. 

Our story then goes back to Haiti. In 1813, a young Venezuelan named Simon Bolivar had been exiled from his home for a second time after another failed revolution. This Spanish-American gentlemen interested the then-Haitian leader and independence veteran, Alexander Petion.  

Petion would grant Bolivar men, ships and weapons to help his independence movement on one condition – every country he liberated would free all slaves. Bolivar left for his home country of Venezuela in 1816. By 1825, not a single Spanish flag flew in South America and every slave in every country he visited was made into a free person. 

This was 40 years before we decided slavery should be abolished. It is because of Haiti that a continent is free. In 1915, the United States invaded Haiti and essentially occupied it until 1934. In this occupation, the economy of Haiti (which was mostly in foreign debt banks because of the French demand for restitution) had stagnated more than it already had. By 1934, Haiti was having elections for the presidency again, but a regressive dictator turned Haiti into a hermit kingdom by 1957. The Duvaliers held a tight grip on the country until 1986 when democracy had finally returned to Haiti.  

If Haiti is a “shithole,” it’s because we made it that way in 1915. 

Jack’s Reviews

Short form: Troy – God, this movie is cheesy. 

“Troy” (2004) is a movie cashing in on the epic proportions of “Lord of the Rings,” and just like Peter Jackson’s silver-screen epic of hobbits and dwarves, “Troy” also absolves itself of its own source material. In “Troy’s” defense, “The Iliad” was a long, drawn-out affair. Homer dedicated a whole book to brave Achilles putting on armor offered to him by the smith god, Hephaestus. But to take something that has wide-reaching cultural value on the western world that The Iliad does have and to alter it for convenience only damages how the viewer will perceive the original story itself. 

3/10 

Long Form 

South Park: The Fractured but Whole 

“South Park: The Fractured but Whole” is the sequel to the other well-regarded South Park game, “The Stick of Truth.” Taking place right after the events of “The Stick of Truth,” “The Fractured but Whole” opens with your created character crapping into a toilet via a minigame in true “South Park” fashion. Before you know it, all the main kids quit playing fantasy and move onto superheroes. Your character named Douchebag, and must now start from the bottom in terms of the superhero structure within Eric Cartman’s franchise, Coon & Friends. Rivaling Coon & Friends is Kenny McCormick as Mysterion, leading the Freedom Pals. 

The biggest change from “Stick” to “Fractured” is the revamped combat system. In “Stick”, the combat was a parody of role-playing games where characters would always stand in positions and not be moved until death or victory. “Fractured” now has a grid-based system which allows for a more strategic form of combat. Do you allow Super Craig to push the nearest enemy to the back of the board, or do you use his middle finger move to distract a specific enemy? 

One of the biggest problems “Fractured” has is that unlike “Stick,” “Fractured” requires you to be up to date on how the show is going. Stick had callouts, but not so many that you’d get lost. You could easily just have watched a few episodes as far back as season one and gotten the gist of “The Stick of Truth.” “Fractured” requires you to be up to date as far as the newest seasons.  

The story and side missions are as funny as ever. From everything between helping Super Craig patch things up with his ex-boyfriend, Wonder Tweek, for an over-the-top payoff on just a side mission, to discovering a conspiracy involving all the crime groups of South Park and cat urine. The story alone is bound to leave you laughing with the side missions being great additions. My biggest complaint is that there aren’t many side missions and once you’ve beaten them all, there is little to keep the player invested until the DLC is released. 

Another big change is the introduction of a crafting system, taught to the player alongside time-bending fart powers by the wise master, Morgan Freeman. It is within his abode of Freeman’s Tacos, that the player learns to craft Mexican food never before conceived by human thoughts, such as the Enchiritto. 

About humor, “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker went and watched all of the popular gamer PewDiePie’s playthrough of The Stick of Truth. Parker wrote down everything PewDiePie found to be funny and not funny and used what he found as the benchmark for humor in “Fractured.” 

“South Park: The Fractured but Whole” delivers an entertaining package that plays out like a trilogy of episodes driven by the player. Though it relies on source material maybe too much, that shouldn’t be a problem for the core audience. 

9/10. 

Prompt #3

Roger Ebert left a legacy of film criticism that has gone to be an inspiration for many of the dozens upon dozens of movie reviewers out there. I attribute his success as a critic to his show with Gene Siskel, wherein Siskel and Ebert talked about a movie, debated its merits and flaws, and gave it either a group of thumbs up or thumbs down based on a set of 4 hands. But can one man be so consistent? I think not.

Back in 1970, the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! depicted the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7th, 1941. The movie itself was very faithful to the events and was even joint-produced with a Japanese movie company for all the scenes in Japan or featuring Japanese actors. And Ebert criticized the movie, saying “[the movie] offers no suspense at all because we know the attack on Pearl Harbor is going to happen, and it does, and then the movie ends.”

Then you have his review for Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor. This movie, which was boycotted by Pearl Harbor survivors, was given half a thumb more than Tora! Tora! Tora!. I look at this review and I think to myself “How did the movie that offended actual veterans of Pearl Harbor get a better score than the faithful on-screen adaptation of the attack?”

Diverting away from Ebert, my favorite review is the NYT’s Autumn review. It tells you why the book is good without telling you the entire book. On the subject of short reviews, I looked at the review of Pink, saw it was one paragraph, and said: “That’s it?”

I think continuity of voice is the most important quality a reviewer can have. A reviewer has a set of standards, and ought to stick by them.

One Thing I Agree With

I was born to a family of Catholic conservatives. I agreed with them politically on every issue. It was during the latter half of the Obama years that I sprinted across the bridge and adopted liberal politics.

The political divide is not only easy to cross, it’s hard to stay on the bridge for long. It was more of a symptom of a teenage rebellion phase. But as I’ve mellowed into an adult, I’ve kept some liberal ideas and re-embraced a few conservative ones.

Trump has obviously been a wily figure, politically. He wants to dismantle a lot of Obama-era regulations, but I find myself agreeing with one of Trump’s ideas – the dismantling of the Iran Nuclear deal.

The Iran Nuclear deal was a hotbed of argument. The idea was pretty simple – Iran gets sanctions lifted to get a better economy and is allowed to trade with the West. In return, the country would give up most of its nuclear stockpile and use only one enrichment site. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly opposed the deal, along with most of Congress.

The problem is, Iran has violated the agreement twice over the amount of heavy water used by the Iranians. Heavy water is used for cooling towers, but is also used in the enrichment processes. And the International Atomic Enforcement Agency is concerned over the amount of heavy water Iran is permitted.

Combine this with a poor track record on Iran’s part, and the deal simply doesn’t look good. In 2003, fearing military action, they announced they would halt uranium enrichment – until 2011, when they were found to actually be in development of a nuclear weapon.

But what about the IAEA? The deal gives them free reign to inspect Iranian facilities. And that’s correct, but there’s a caveat. There has to be a 24-day notice before the inspection can commence.

In 2016, Iran launched a ballistic missile with the Hebrew words inscribed “Israel must be destroyed.” That’s a bit of a red flag. So is the country’s relationship with North Korea, who frequently supplies Iran with military technology. According to CIA Director Mike Pompeo, “it is fair to say” that North Korea selling nuclear weapons or materials isn’t outside of the realm of possibility.

I don’t agree with Trump on many things, but based off of what I’ve read and pieced together, this is one thing I can agree with. Not sure if my parents view it the same way, however. They’ve walked across the bridge, but largely to spite Trump and how he’s skewed their party.

Sources: http://collections.internetmemory.org/haeu/content/20160313172652/http://eeas.europa.eu/statements-eeas/2015/150402_03_en.htm https://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/trump-irans-multiple-violations/ https://www.richardsilverstein.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Hersh-6-6-11.pdf http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/feb/15/benjamin-netanyahu/benjamin-netanyahu-largely-correct-iranian-missile/ https://fas.org/irp/dia/product/knfms/knfms_chp3a.html http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/14/politics/north-korea-iran-nuclear-weapons-program/index.html

Prompt 2

I don’t like editorials the same reason I don’t like opinions. Opinions and editorials are not fully fact-based, they most of them don’t challenge perceptions beyond a reinforcement of what they already know. Washington Post, The Southwestern Sun, and USA Today’s pieces are all ineffective at challenging what people know and what they believe. A Trump supporter will look at any one of these pieces, roll their eyes, and immediately be convinced that it’s blaming Trump for something the liberals most be trying to pin on him. The anti-Trump camp will likely look at these pieces and focus their efforts on the man himself as opposed to any other solutions – seeing Trump as the not the symptom, but the cause. The fact of the matter is, the Post and the Southwestern Sun focus on problems that have been around longer than Trump has been in the office while USA Today focuses on some of the things Trump himself has said. All this will do is reinforce that Trump supporter in their entrenched belief that the media is out to get Trump.

The Tribune’s piece probably has the best effectiveness. It’s an issue everyone can find themselves agreeing with, college prep courses don’t fit the bill for obvious reasons. The teachers are afraid there will be a retribution if they don’t meet a graduate quota. The fact of the matter is, this is babying students for something that is tough because college is meant to train people for real-life scenarios. I was babied through these senior courses and thought I was great at biology and had what it took to be a doctor. And here I am, studying mass communications.

Each of these editorials presents a problem and personal thought. They all present a solution based off of said personal thoughts. The editorials seem to have the issue centered around their weltanschauung or world-view. But the opinions present a problem interwoven with personal experience and how it affects the individual.

USA’s piece probably has the worst effectiveness. At the bottom is a poll to gauge what readers thought. Tallying up the results as of this article’s publishment, the numbers for Agree in General: 84.86%. Neutral: .4%. Disagree in General: 14.73%. My question is how many Trump supporters who read the article ever got far enough to vote? Looking at the comments in the form of a portal to Facebook, nobody bothers taking an outreaching stance, everyone gets to a corner and preaches their piece. It’s not discussion, it was the Roman idea of rhetoric. And the Roman idea of rhetoric was not an eloquent way of putting thoughts before the plebs, but was a measuring contest of who could say the better speech. That was their idea of debate, that was what the Romans called rhetoric. No arguments and considering points, no attempt to reach your opponent halfway, just mudslinging and a shouting contest where nothing is done. Nothing but people calling each other “Drumpfkin” and “Libtard.” And what is so productive about that?