Cloning and Reproductive Technology
Date: Oct 28th, 2007 6:42:16 pm - Subscribe
Before reading “The Clone Wars” located in chapter one of Hinman’s text, I wasn’t definite as to my position on cloning. I had negative feelings towards the topic, however, did not contain strong feelings towards the topic. After reading “The Clone Wars” I have now become aware of actual points that both encourage and discourage the practice of stem-cell research for cloning purposes. The topic of cloning is a sensitive issue which many, if not most, individuals are morally conflicting towards. Throughout this short essay, I wish to reveal some of these conflicts of interest in order to support my position on cloning and reproductive technology.
My first argument against the practice of stem-cell research is based around an individual’s basic and fundamental freedom of choice. Germ-line engineering is a topic that, aside from vexing me, appears to be contradictory all together. Many in favor of the particular practices of germ-line engineering propose that prohibiting, or even regulating this practice is invasive, forceful, and ultimately ill-willed towards the choice of the individual. However, there is a failure to recognize the basic freedom of the future individual. All in all, germ-line engineering is invasive to the future individual, and can cause a parent to selfishly make “irreversible and unintended” decisions towards future generations. Forcing someone to likely become what you want them to be is border-lining the basis behind a lot of events that took place just before, and during the Holocaust. Basically forming a “better” race. And what then? What happens to our race once we’ve become a majority of genetically enhanced and improved beings?
This brings me to my second argument, which is the fact that our complete social structure would fall due to an increase of genetically altered beings. All the way down to reproductive methods. I would imagine that the majority of, if not all, our governmental organizations would be of a genetically engineered race. This realm of empowerment of the “enhanced” could quite possibly lead to a Nietzschean society. That of which would leave the underprivileged and non-enhanced behind to die off. Before dying off, the non-enhanced communities would become minorities. Unemployment would rise due to such vigorous job competition amongst those who are genetically altered and have so-called “natural” abilities and talents. This would probably increase the percentage of violence and crime all together. There would even be crime within genetically-enhanced communities. I’m sure identity theft and fraud would become major problems within society. All of these factors of civil disobedience would ultimately lead to a more regulated and invasive system, both socially and politically.
Aside from these arguments that obviously discourage the practice of stem-cell research, there are, in fact, rational arguments in favor of said practices. The following arguments are derived from Gregory Stock’s debate with Francis Fukuyama about Cloning. Stock stated that prohibiting the practice of stem-cell research, sex-selection, and germ-line engineering “would prevent people from making choices aimed at improving their lives that would hurt no one”. My response to this is that without people that actually have the knowledge to conduct said practices, in addition to the labs and funding that would have to back those practices, as well as the societal backing of those practices, there really is no choice. Providing a service offers people a choice.
Stock states that if the option to choose certain predispositions for ones child is there, then it will become the more favorable. I respond to this by offering an example. It has been said that “history moves towards particular perfection” (Karl Marx). This is true to a degree if one takes into account the fashion industry, our economy before a war versus after a war, music, etc. Basically, as a society, we tend to share a dominant mood. Now, let’s assume for a second that the societal zeitgeist is a shared love for hip hop. This could mean that parents would chose to genetically alter their child with a predisposition for vocabulary, dancing, singing and so on. Eventually, we end up with a predetermined destiny for the majority of a generation which leads to a substantial lack of diversity. The same could happen if most parents wanted their child’s future to be in medicine. Entertainment industries, as well as economies could decline.
This next statement made by Stock is one which I feel he has no real basis to, and if anything, is completely opinionated. He declares that the British government’s prohibition on sex-selecting is an example of an “intrusive and undesirable government”. Says who? Him? This might lead me to believe that Stock is an absolutist, which according to Hinmen, absolutists tend to believe that “their truth is the Truth”. Also, according to Stock, if we “wish to continue leading the way in shaping the future of the human race, we must explore new reproductive technologies”. In response to this claim, I ask, “Why do we want to be, and why do we have to be responsible for this?” There are certain organizations who feel that they can “better” certain third-world communities by offering food and clothing collecting by good-willed donators. What most donators don’t know is that these organizations only offer this aid to those families and communities that convert from their traditional, tribal, and life-long beliefs to a Western christian-based belief. This “shaping” of their human future is not at all something that I wish to take responsibility for. Nor do I wish to be responsible for the negative consequences bestowed upon future generations due to my decisions made presently. In addition to Stock’s claim of an undesirable British government, he asks if we, as a race, will “succumb to our fears”. I must note that if not for submitting to our fears most of the time, we all would be in bad shape!
One last statement made by Stock, in favor of sex-selecting, was that it “is beneficial to a child of the ‘wrong’ sex”, or can be beneficial to parents who don’t want to be “disappointed” by the sex of their child. My response to this ridiculous claim is a frustrated and furious one. I personally believe that a parent who is potentially bias towards a certain outcome of the gender of their child shouldn’t be a parent at all. I just don’t see how disappointment from gender could be a big enough problem to where we could start allowing parents to choose. I feel this option to coincide with the recent and current zeitgeist of our Western society. One of commercialism and consumerism. “Do you want to up-size your fries today?” “Would you like a flavor-shot for an extra twenty-five cents?” “Do you like the extended bed, or the extended cab? I’ll have both!”
We are surrounded by choices, and the only thing that sounds better than multiple choices, is even more choices. We have options, options, options in this day and age and it all has accumulated to the point of getting to choose the gender of my child. “For an extra grand we’ll make him have red hair Mr. Early.” I firmly believe we, as a race, and even more so as a nation, are over-surrounded with options and are way too concerned with being provided with choices.
In closing, Stock appears to me to not be concerned with the very possible and probable negative effects in the “long-run” scheme of things. However, to say his insight was useless would be just wrong. To know something, and to really appreciate something, you must be familiar with it’s opposite. Therefore, his claims were very useful in that sense. After doing some research, I definitely feel that I have a firm opinion against the topic of stem-cell research and reproductive technology. With more research can come new insight, however, with the points just discussed, I feel that I can confront this moral conflict without “ignorance” and with “good-will”.
he had his red hat on
Date: Jun 30th, 2007 5:26:33 pm - Subscribe
i saw you again today, standing there holding the comforts of the choices you've made, compressed into a brown back and ready for your scribble of plea.
i saw him again today, hussling up and down the strip, clinching his strive for better, taking comfort and pride in his red hat.
waka, rocks, and a whole bunch intentional confusion
Date: Jun 4th, 2007 10:41:38 pm - Subscribe
hussle and move to ramble on through yet another season of musical energy.
it creeps from behind march and shoves my face straight into october, just like being force-fed peas as a kid. yet, i wantingly accept another spoonful of what will be looked back upon as successful missions which entitled me to a collection of stubs. covered with cheese, i panic, and become an innocent criminal within a mass of green lemons.
The Museum of Me
Date: May 3rd, 2007 11:19:11 am - Subscribe
The “Net” is most definitely “not neutral”. Instead, it is full of agenda, propaganda, and influence. It allows for people to have altered personalities in a completely separate interactive life. It’s also a marketplace for consumer buying, selling, and trading of products, which, has started and will continue to alter our job market, and ultimately, our economy.
Green Mountain Brunswick Bowling Center, Brunswick Bowling @ Mississippi and Wadsworth, & Diamond Shamrock @ Mississippi and Wadsworth
Date: May 3rd, 2007 11:00:29 am - Subscribe
This little story starts a month ago at the Green Mountain Brunswick Bowling Center just outside of Denver, Colorado. I was there with some good friends, enjoying $1 lanes and $1 beers. My buddies girlfriend is from Chile. She is of legal age to drink, and that night, had her passport to prove her age. She was in line ahead of me, waiting to be served. But because of her accent and her appearance (small chick), the bartender was cutting my friend short by not taking a few extra seconds to understand her broken English. My friend kept trying to show the lady her passport (which was printed in English). Finally, I told my friend that she could have my beer. As soon as I handed the beer to her, the bartender came flying out from the bar, very rudely snatched the beer, and in a voice that could be described as anything but civil, she yelled at us to leave, and then informed us that she was calling the police. My friends and I began to get our things together to leave. I kept telling the bartender (and the manager, and the concessions cashier, and anyone else that was listening) how fucked up it was that a guest in our country can’t even get a beer and a bowling lane. After all this happened, we began to leave. But before leaving, a different friend wanted a refund for the games already paid for (since they weren’t going to let us bowl anymore). Him, his girlfriend, and myself were at the front desk asking for a refund, when the bartender and some snoody bitch with glasses and brown hair came up yelling at us, “I thought I told you to leave! I’m calling the police!” etc.....etc.....
I calmly explained to her that my friend would like a refund, and I would like the name and number for a corporate manager. She basically told me to go to hell, then continued to yell at me and my friends. At this point, we had paid for games which we weren’t allowed to play, we had a beer (which was paid for) taken from us, we were rudely yelled at and threatened, and I was determined to make this chick understand that I was not going to accept anymore of their hospitality. I interrupted the brown-haired girl with glasses from yelling at us and told her that she should try to open herself up more to accepting people of a different culture. I then went back to explaining how our friend was of correct drinking age, and had I.D. to prove it. I also reminded her that our friend is a guest in our country...G...U...E...S...T.
This conversation was in no way calming the employee down, so I decided to end contact right then, and called her a bitch, then turned around to walk out the doors. She responded with “Do you want me to call the police?!” “I want you to fuck off and suck my dick!”, I responded.
Now, I know this wasn’t the best way for me to respond, but I was heated at this point due to the treatment we had received. A couple of weeks go by, and some other friends and myself decide, one night, to go to the Brunswick Bowling Center on Mississippi @ Wadsworth. We get there, and the place is dirty, the concessions are closed, and the people are just as rude. An example is when a friend of mine rolled her ball and accidentally got it stuck in the gutter. The employee whom came over to “help” us got the ball unstuck, then informed us that “if it happens again, we’ll have to leave.” He then went back to his lane and continued bowling. It was as if we interrupted him in the middle of his frame, thus pissing him off and making him act rude. I wonder if that asshole works on “family nights”? Anyway, the fact that the concessions were closed caused me to go to the Diamond Shamrock for nachos and cola. So, I walk into the store, and head straight for the nacho cheese dispenser. Before I can even get my nacho setup (chips and a tray for cheese), the cashier looks over at me (while checking someone out) and says, “We’re closing. That area is closed.” “So I can’t get any nachos?” “That’s right.” “That’s fucked up!” Then I walked out. I made it to the parking lot that separates Brunswick Bowling Center and Diamond Shamrock, then looked at my phone. It read 10:48pm. “I still got 10 minutes to buy nachos”, I told myself. Then turned around, and walked back into the store. This time I walked straight up to the counter and asked the cashier what time he closed. He said, “Midnight.” So really, I had an hour and ten minutes to buy nachos! I told him this and proceeded back to the nacho cheese dispenser. As I was fixing my nacho, he continued to tell me that because of my mess, he would have to break down the machine and clean it. I told him that he still has over an hour left till closing, and that he can’t just turn customers away, especially while ringing up other customers. He kept complaining about cleaning the nacho machine, so I told him to do his job. I then went back over to the bowling center.
What is happening to our service industry? What is becoming of our entertainment facilities? Why is it that people forget that they are employed by companies that provide a service. A service that everyone should equally get, no matter what country your from, how good of a bowler you are, or how much you like nachos. Since when are the services provided by these companies conditional and limited?
"Trees For Democracy"
Date: May 3rd, 2007 10:08:25 am - Subscribe
I’m glad that people get recognized for actions such as planting trees, caring for the environment, or even caring for humanity. However, I do think it’s shitty that their acknowledgment and awards for such actions are still less known about than who the real father is of A.N.S.’s kid. How funked up is it that we live in a nation that would rather consume daily doses of celebrity updates than to consume doses of culture or environmental awareness?! Instead of bettering ourselves individually, and as a race, we fill our minds with reality T.V. and myspace accounts (to make sure we spread our disease). “Such practices are...” becoming the cornerstone of our “extensive cultural heritage”.
I’ve come up with some points and arguments for Paper 3, and will begin writing it soon.
"Assumptions of Nature"
Date: May 3rd, 2007 10:07:25 am - Subscribe
In my eyes, the 1st of the 3 assumptions about nature stands more true than the other two. And even though it’s only my opinion, I think this probably goes for most people whom are aware of the three assumptions. Though the other two assumptions are valid by some form, and even though the 3 assumptions can overlap each other, wee must be reminded that “in Muir’s view, nature can save people from materialistic and destructive habits”. Can we really dismiss the other 2 assumptions that easy, though? For me, yes we can. Especially when it comes to the 2nd. “Nature is a person’s essential character” is like saying we’re all born with nature in and around us. Considering we are all born into a room which costs money to build, maintain, and use, I think it’s safe to say that we all are born into a materialistic world. But, once time passes, people find themselves either caught up in a social/cultural identity (like the one in which we’re born into at the hospital room) or have decided against the over-consumption of materials. If we just decide that we, or someone is a “natural”, then we have to assume that a “natural” comes from material that one bought in order to be better than average. As far as the third assumption goes, we better damn well hope that our science and technology allows for us to improve upon our own destructive habits that have left nature the way it is.
Taxidermy, as a hobby or trade, is pretty messed up! I definitely agree with the statement, “as long as taxidermy serves to preserve wild animals and make them available for scientific study...”
As a trophy or decoration, it’s ridiculous. To take something so natural, wild, and pure, just to turn it into a material object for social/cultural reasons is pointless, and to say the least, ignorant. But that is exactly what has happened, as taxidermy is now a “$570-million (annually) business.” Does this industry instigate immoral and unnatural hunting? Does it scream redneck?
How To Tame A Wild Tongue & The
Date: Apr 25th, 2007 10:51:06 pm - Subscribe
Right after I moved to the Rockies, I was hanging out with some neighbors drinking. My southern accent slipped out a little and my friends heard the drawn out “hawny hawna haw” in my voice. They laughed and talked shit of course. I wasn’t really offended by this, and will never be. However, this was also my first encounter with the criticism about my accent. After all, where I grew up, everyone had one. Is acknowledging our accent personal choice, or something that we realize through social pressure?
There is something to be said for the fact that people get offended at someone’s unfamiliarity with certain characteristics of a culture that might be expressed or revealed simply by going to a new place and experiencing it first hand, and appreciating it for it’s culturistic uniqueness . After all, in any culture, it must be considered rude to have an outsider show up and criticize you and yours, instead of embracing it. So how can we (society) be okay with criticizing someone who is an outsider?
"High School's Secret Life" & "Dude Looks Like A Lady"
Date: Apr 25th, 2007 10:32:29 pm - Subscribe
It’s a decent comparison: tribes to high school social cliques. It really reveals the raw human nature of our actions, even as adolescents. Not sure if I personally agree with White’s statement that, “the cafeteria is high school’s proving ground”, but then again, different “tribes have different types of “proving grounds”, and I went to a different type of high school where the parking lot was the proving ground. Once the need to fit in (which has a strong presence during the high school years) passes, I believe it is personal choice (that is heavily influenced by social pressure during the high school years) that leads us to our identity. I guess the problem would be how (or to what extreme) the parents allow the child to be exposed to a commercialized/corporate/”cliquish” society. So from there comes the question: Are our parents (and their parents, as well as their parents, etc..) to blame for our given identity? After all, it is their cultural and historical and genetical background which gives us our initial labels from birth and on into high school. Or: Is society to blame for involving us with their “cliques”? After all, it is society’s collaboration of a multitude of a variety of different identities which surround us with “pressure”.
I can remember back when I had long hair. It was long enough to commonly have others mistake me for the opposite sex. Those times usually ended up with a disappointed guy, who would then make me aware of my femininity (forgetting that he just hit on a guy). And living down South didn’t help with all the rednecks runnin’ round those parts jus lookin’ fur sum lawng-haired hippies to fight. There is not a doubt in my mind that we can assume gender identity based on hair. But can we allow for it to result in a negative situation due to a society being accustomed to men with short hair and women with long hair? Wilson stated that she cuts her hair for personal reasons. Then reconsidered it when confronted by a redneck. Is her action of not cutting her hair a method of identity assumption via social pressure?
Assuming Our Identities
Date: Apr 25th, 2007 9:13:29 pm - Subscribe
Assumptions to our identity are definitely "labels" in the beginning of our lives. Then, stuck with whatever cultural aspects our families pass down to us. Then properly shaped and formed from the time we are raised. Then comes a day when we take the initiative to use our own thoughts as actions, which form our own opinions that then become our decisions of our own identity in our own life. So, by doing this, "we shape our identities through the choices we make." So assuming all of this, is it fair to say that we have an identity waiting for us before we're born? Like a hermit crab having an empty shell to climb into right after being brought into this world. Does this mean that we're stuck with this pre-fabricated identity so long as we don't use our own minds to form our own opinions? Can social/cultural pressure co-exist with personal choice?
Space exploration is bad? BS!
Date: Apr 25th, 2007 8:47:16 pm - Subscribe
I remember when all that media-hype was inducing thoughts into the public minds about whether or not we (the U.S.) Really went to the moon. “It was Hollywood”, some of them said. People began to actually question whether or not we we’re actually that technologically advanced enough for space exploration. Then people really started to question whether or not, fiscally and morally, we needed to be wandering around in space. Not to say that wasn’t in question since the first feasible ideas of space exploration were conceived. Personally, I think it’s an inevitable necessity for our human race to desire an understanding for what may be outside our earthly boundaries. It’s an absolute must that we have as many answers to just as many (if not more) possibilities of problems.
And I think if it weren’t for this drive that we have to feed our brains, we wouldn’t have such outstanding advancements in medicine, space travel, and other industries. Just too bad we can’t “advance” without hurting economies and ecosystems. Off point, but I had to say it. The point is, it would be a shame if we decided
to say, “Screw space travel!”, and then come to find out, we’re just a small freckle of life-form in a giganteus matter of other life-forms. If we have ability to explore and learn, then we must and will do so. But what if we do say screw it? What if over a period of time our society, as well as others, become content with not expanding our knowledge of what’s out there. If not other life forms, then definitely various uses of new resources could be what ends our very existence.
Damn how the shit goes down-wind!
Date: Apr 25th, 2007 5:53:31 pm - Subscribe
So today I had to attend a mandatory orientation for where I work. I worked there for a few months last season, and I’ve been here this year since the beginning of this season. Because of the fact that I’ve been there, doing my job, for a bit now, makes the mandatory orientation really annoying. Then there is the fact that it’s nearing the end of my semester, and I have plenty of other stuff to do besides listening to someone read paragraphs to me out of the same employee handbook that I got last year, and again two months ago. What do they think they’re accomplishing by this? Do they realize they’re paying us to sit and waste time? They better, damn it! We had to do “games” which consisted of us going around to other people to see if anyone knew how to juggle, play an instrument, and other dumb shit like finding someone who had been in a hot air balloon. There was shitty snacks (with nothing to wash them down with), and on top of that, my boss had scheduled me to open at the same time the orientation was suppose to end. Which gave me absolutely no time to get 40 minutes across town to work.
And tomorrow, I get to go to a different mandatory seminar, then get 20 minutes to get from there to class, then after class I’ll have an hour to get to go to work. Tomorrow should be fun though. I get to attend a seminar on sexual harassment. Because we all know how sexually harassed things get around the batting cages! Balls....Bats.....Pitching machines!! Thank God for these seminars!
Everyone dips in!
Date: Apr 25th, 2007 1:39:01 am - Subscribe
My neighbor came home the other night to a burglarized home and a missing car. Two days later, he got a call from the police, saying they found the car that he called in stolen. The car had been cleaned out, with the exception of the Kenwood stereo (smart thieves). Immediately after finding the stolen vehicle, the police department impounded his car, and then called my neighbor. When he got down there, he learned that our tax dollars aren’t enough for the police to find our stolen cars. As it turns out, the police department allows for the hand of a tow company to dip into the cookie jar. Then the tow company lets the impound yard dip into the jar. And since his keys were stolen during the robbery, a locksmith would also get to reach in for a cookie. The registration to the car was kept above the passenger visor, which also kept a hold of my neighbor’s cd collection. This was taken as well. This meant that the DMV got to reach into the jar. Why is everything such a process, with variables and obstacles in every direction, from every angle? Why is our society one which fiends for profit?
Date: Apr 25th, 2007 12:38:52 am - Subscribe
By definition alone, people can identify and define global warming as a rise of the
Earth’s surface temperature. Most people that have even a minuscule understanding of global warming realize and understand the fact that the emissions released from the vehicles driven by humans all over the planet play a role in “the greenhouse effect”. That is, they contribute to the amount of trapped gas within our atmosphere. A lot of this trapped gas is carbon dioxide, which is produced from the burning of fossil fuels. However, most people do not understand that, in order for this trapped gas to not have a negative affect on our Earth, our natural resources, such as trees, must be able to process the trapped gas. Yet, at the rate humans are burning fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas), combined with the massive deforestation practices used by humans, the natural process doesn’t stand a chance. This very concept was confronted by the work of a scientist over a decade ago, but was not given the proper recognition and attention it needed to be revealed by the public eye.
Ben Santer, of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, believes the effects that come from the burning of fossil fuels to be irreversible at the rate we are going, and has published studies that might suggest the depletion of our global air supply due to greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, etc...) emitted by human-used products. Santer was the first person to link the mass burning of fossil fuels to the considerable change in the Earth’s temperature, over ten years ago. He did so by analyzing the assumptions from Taylor and Penner, which were formed at an earlier point in time, and suggested that our climate can be greatly affected by the use of sulfate aerosols. Aerosols can be quickly described as fine liquid or solid droplets suspended within a gas. All three scientists have become globally recognized due to their extensive work on this study, and are famed for aiding in the revelation that our globe is affected by human interactions. Studies of this sort have, over time, caught the American government’s eye enough to the point of now having limitations, regulations, initiatives, and basically the proper attention they deserve for the well-being of our planet’s, and of our humanly existence.
The United States government has identified certain economic regions as “major
greenhouse gas emitting sectors”, and has plans to reduce the amounts of pollutants in each sector. Electricity, transportation, industry, buildings, agriculture/forestry, and the federal government were all acknowledged as pollutant-contributing regions. The government has begun to reinforce these plans within these regions through ongoing studies and uses of renewable energies, hybrid transportation methods, transportation limitations, industry restrictions, and energy policies. In 2002, when President Bush introduced the Global Warming Initiative, the Bush Administration revealed their focus to be on “the amount of greenhouse gasses produced per dollar of gross domestic product,” as opposed to focusing on the actual amount of greenhouse gases emitted annually. This “focus-shift” is said by some to be the wrong way to monitor this problem, and might surely be looked back upon, as a mistake. Although our government’s current administration has claimed to strive for strategically reducing the amount of emitted greenhouse gasses, this is but only a fraction of the problem.
The real problem is said to lie within the mass population of individuals whom don’t take their own strategic precautions in reducing the amounts of pollutants that they individually release on a daily basis. A 1997 publication from the World Meteorological Organization appoints carbon dioxide as the most important of the greenhouse gases, and also stated that up to 85% of the contributing carbon dioxide is from the burning of fossil fuels for our global energy needs (heating/cooling, transportation, manufacturing/industry). This boils down to every aspect of everyday living. Work, what we make at work, driving to work, climate controlling our houses and cars, the things we buy, the things we make to buy, the driving to work in a climate controlled car to make things that we buy for our climate controlled homes....
The human race drills for oil, mainly, so transportation can remain a major factor in the economy. The fuel emits into our atmosphere as the most important of greenhouse gases, meaning the biggest threat of the greenhouse gases. The 1997 WMO publication assigned methane as the second most important of the greenhouse gases. This gas is emitted into our atmosphere from “leaky gas pipelines”, cultivation of rice, and also when we drill for oil. But even aside from the corporate, industrial, and governmental greenhouse gas contributions, there are the smaller-scale contributions that come from the consumption of products and services that are provided to the public by these corporate, industrial, and governmental agencies. Examples of this consumption-turned-contribution by the public can range from hair spray, automobile fuel, residential heating and cooling, cigarettes, lawnmowers, etc...
And according to the results of research done by numerous agencies and organizations, a sudden change in how we consume, manufacture, and regulate is needed in order to ensure that we sustain a quality air supply, and ultimately, future generations here on Earth.
According to the American Society For Microbiology, these steps that must be taken by consumers, industrial, corporate, and governmental agencies and organizations include reinforcing regulation, and further funding for proper research. Especially for the advancement of carbon management. In hopes of mitigating the negative effects of greenhouse gases, and to reduce the massive amount of pollution humans contribute to their own atmosphere, studies will continue, and more people will feel as if global warming is relevant. Integration of biological technology advancement and continuing research and development into the minds of the general public will continue to take place, but at a slower rate than the human-imposed desecration of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Good Riddance To Po Dunk
Date: Apr 25th, 2007 12:30:27 am - Subscribe
I still remember that last hour. I said “good-bye” to my family, posed for one last picture, and crossed the “Mighty” as I began my search for what I was determined to be my get-away from the brain-washing of young minds that had been known to take place for generation after generation down that desolate highway, which, to this day, serves merely as a vein to the heart of Po-dunk. “Why do you have to leave?” asked my oldest niece. “We don’t want you to leave!,” my youngest niece reminded me. My mother didn’t say much at all. She just kinda stood there with that look on her face. This look, in a way, comforted me on the decision I was about to make. It calmly told me, “I’ll miss you. I’ll see you soon. Make me proud.” A few years later I had received a copy of that picture via email. I printed it, and still have the copy to this day. I would return from time to time to see the ones that I had missed. And every time I would go back, my new, self-formed decisions regarding my own opinions would be stronger and stronger. The familiar forms in which I was reminded of my escape to a self-comfort within the choices I had made usually appeared in a disfigured form of racism, simple-minded ignorance, or even a bright display of abuse and neglect shown towards the land in which they live. Yet, I do go back to visit.
However, now when I go back, I am more quick to see the ideas and ways of thinking in which I strayed from. I now see that these ways of thinking, which contribute to our way of life, is something that we are socially surrounded with from birth. However, that doesn’t mean we are forced to accept it for the rest of our lives. I wanted to be in cleaner surroundings, where not littering is just rule of thumb. I needed to escape the sounds the rednecks make when they convey their ignorant racial slurs to people in which they don’t even know. And the racial slurs from African-Americans that came from people who were born into the misfortune of having to deal with the rednecks. The thought of sitting around the house 24/7 while shoving my face with grease was another idea I didn’t share. The Po-dunk region is overwhelmed with people who do their most exercise while eating. I needed to get out, so get out I did.
One of the more recent times visiting, I had made it to the general region in which I consider to be the outer boundaries of po-dunk. I remember merging into another lane, and noticing out of the corner of my eye, four very, very large men riding in a brown land yacht. They had obviously just come from the drive-thru window at Krystal’s (equivalent to White Castle), due to the fact that I could hear the rush of their caloric intake from all the way inside my car. As the front passenger was trying ever so hard to dominate every last of his fries (at the same time), he was also trying his best to keep up with the conversation he and the driver was having. The passenger’s efforts in conversing while eating resulted in the driver defending himself from french-fried projectiles. While this was happening, I was driving, thinking to myself, “This grease feast is exactly why there is an obesity problem down here. I wonder if they’ve seen Super-size Me?” About that time, as I was driving behind them, I noticed the driver roll down his window. Resembling debris in a tornado, I was soon surrounded by burger boxes, french fry boxes, and empty ketchup packets. I was disgustingly amazed at this time, due to the fact that I hadn’t seen someone throw litter from their vehicle since I had moved away. The fact of the matter is, the sides of the highways and local streets throughout Po-dunk are embedded with trash and litter. But I guess being away from it for a bit, and then coming back to witness this desecration, it was ridiculously “redneck”!
A different time visiting, I was going down a back-road, enjoying some herb, music, and lovely scenery that is produced there every year when the trees, which form a tunnel over the back-roads, start to turn to brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges. As I passed a small dirt pull-off, which farmers use to access their plots with their tractors, I noticed a small car, and a man on the far side of the car. I didn’t think anything of his presence as I proceeded to pass by. I then soon realized that I was going the wrong way down this back-road. I turned around, and proceeded past the fellow with the car. As I did, he was pulling out of the small dirt pull-off, revealing the more than half a dozen garbage bags that he had just dumped. This pissed me off to the point of tailing the guy until, finally, my surroundings started to look like a scene off of that movie “The Wrong Turn”, or “Deliverance”. I certainly did not want to be screaming like a pig, so I turned around. Again, I was shocked. If it had been no more than five years earlier, and I witnessed this, I might not have thought twice about it. I guess growing up and being accustomed to people who do these types of things will leave you blind to the consequences, and can quickly and easily dissolve any opinion you might try to form independently. Such an opinion might be the realization of the damage we are doing to the ground on which we work and play.
On yet a different visit, I was enjoying the river sites once with a man and his family. As we pulled up to the banks in his boat, he asked me if I would gather the trash from the boat, and carry the trash up to the trees and “toss it”. It amazed me how the thought of not being able to enjoy that day, due to dumb-ass’s littering up the pristine wilderness, had never crossed their minds. And two seconds into my attempt at allowing the family to understand the consequences of our pollution, I could tell that my effort affected noone. I’ve known this family for years, and they are good people. Down to Earth. Nevertheless, these are the times when I am back there visiting, and I am very easily reminded of the way of thinking that I declined in exchange for my own mental freedom, which led to a life-style that was not pre-determined by my cultural ancestry, social peer pressure, or even social status. Just pure decision derived straight from the conflicting events which my opinions are formed. Sure, I’m not on the list at the hottest club in Hollywood, but I never wanted to be like those ass-holes either!
Time spent on the choices I’ve made, the places I’ve been, the faces I’ve seen, and the places I’ll go again, has all led up to the dissolving of my socially perceived identity, which has resulted in a discovered self-comfort within a self-perceived identity which allows me to give two shits less about my socially-perceived identity. I prove this to myself every time I go back. People who knew me, no longer know me anymore, and people who meet me, instantly assume that I damn well I don’t agree with a majority of their outlooks on life. This is not because of their personal choices, which give them their opinions in which I disagree with. I can still have respect for people who get an idea, research the facts, then form an opinion. Instead, it is because most of them constantly ignore the opportunities that would allow them to expand their way of thinking beyond that of which they attain from being brought up in po-dunk America. The idea of “settling down” before you’ve ever taken the opportunity to “travel wide” is deeply implanted into the youth of Po-dunk. Girls want a baby before they grow up, and guys want full ownership of their pick-up, fishin’ rawd, and shawtgun. And as long as a fella can have that, and a little southern girl to consistently bring him a beer, he’s in redneck heaven. People tend to accept the labels they’re born into without question. And without consideration of different ideas. Be reminded, this my own personal Po-dunk stereo-type. Therefore, this doesn’t include everyone there. I personally know a lot of good people in Po-dunk, and wouldn’t trade their friendship for anything. I guess all in all, that place just isn’t for me.
So, the instant that camera flashed, I realized that the next time I was in town, I would be reminded of the decisions I made in order to have “ownership” of my identity. Me in that picture meant one less kid stuck inside of predetermined po-dunk. One less person to be blinded from a world of conflicting events in which to form opinions, which, in turn, support decisions we make that, when collaborated, display a personality. From time to time, I sit at my desk, which overlooks a significant amount of Open Space (where I am currently a Park Ranger at), and I look at this picture. I think about, and miss people and places from my past in Po-dunk, but am quit sure I made the right decision.
Date: Apr 25th, 2007 12:20:40 am - Subscribe
The progression that we’ve made in researching and developing modern inventions has resulted in a variety of technological advancements in fields such as medicine/health, recreation, transportation, as well as many more. But have all of those “progressions” really benefitted us, or have they only raised our dependency for ring-tones, flip-up display, false internet identities, and a longer-lasting erection? Some say we’ve come a long way with technology. Other’s disagree and say that it’s doomed us all like a plague. One thing’s for sure, and I’m sure most can agree with, is that technology, no matter how good and beneficial it’s suppose to be, is absolutely annoying Sure, I’m a hypocrite, as I sit here and type on my computer so I can post this paper on an internet “blog” site. But don’t think for a second that I’m not aggravated There have been many of times that my computer, and the internet as well, has made me irate to the point of wanting to throw my shit straight out the window.
The home PC is easily one of the most hated advancements, yet at the same time, are probably one of the quickest progressing technological advancements ever. It seems like the instance some new program comes out someone figures out how to “hack” in and fuck everything up. With the past decade’s advancement with the internet, there’s has been a lot of money made in PC security, and internet security companies. But even with an expensive security program, my PC is still vulnerable to viruses, worms, moles, bugs, and all sorts of other animals, infections, and infestations. And the price for these programs consistently goes up as we “progress”. And some might argue that technology is also an advancement for our economy. But if it puts people out of work, that leaves the job market solely to tech-trained candidates. This would mean that after getting laid off, one would need to go back to school, or take some classes of some sort, which costs money. But “advancement” causes a rise in tuition, and instructors become limited, therefore becomes difficult to become a candidate in a technological job market. So, unemployment rises, costs go up, and we continue to “progress”.
I tell you another progression that was doomed from the start is the pharmaceutical industry. And it’s just my opinion, but I think this all started with MKULTRA. Now we have pills for everything. And if for some reason we don’t, we have surgery! “Progression” and “advancement” has given us means for altering physical features for personal enjoyment. But of course, because it’s a technological advancement, it costs an arm and a leg to get a new face. Which, in my opinion, if someone wants a new nostril, or a bigger smile, or a permanent wink, they should have to pay. I just think it messed up we have to charge so much for a new heart, or even a doctor visit.
Even aside from the cost of technological “advancement”, there’s the annoying stuff. Like those roller-shoes that jack-ass’s buy their kids. This idea was genius I remember when there was a day when kids didn’t wander off from their parents because they’d get their ass kicked. And for those kids that might stray, the parents had them on a harness. Now kids get roller-shoes so they can not only stray away from their parents, but also cause chaos. It’s kind of like those monkey’s with roller feet on that Oz movie. Chaotic That annoying invention made someone very rich, very fast. And what about the bright idea of having those coupon dispensers as you walk around the grocery store? I get enough wasted trees in my mailbox And what about all of these bull-shit products on T.V. at 3 in the morning? Who actually buys this crap? There’s even products for products. It’s called “accessorizing”. Just more “advancements” that allow for consumers to waste those little pieces of paper that come from that printing
machine.......you know.......our nation’s greatest “progression”.............the making of the dollar. Individually, we have shoved so much value into the dollar that now it costs more and more money for less and less product or service. It’s crazy to think that just in the last two decades, our cost of living has gone way up, and keeps rising. Hell, back in 1980 you could get a gallon of gas for just over a buck, milk for 2 bucks, and a new car for less than 8 grand. Now you gotta have almost 3 times that for a new car. And have you seen the cars that they’re coming out with these days, and the options and accessories that come with some of them? It’s ridiculous!
Just driving to the grocery store in one of these new cars is a technological adventure It’s as if the manufacturers want us to believe we’re going to the moon, with the buttons, lights, gauges, and all other sorts of “advanced accessorization”. And a lot of people don’t know how to operate half the stuff, and the other half are what some might consider to be “dumb technologies”. Some of those auto-accessories are dangerous if operated by the wrong people, which makes those advancements, not advancements, really. Don’t get me wrong, I like having my car (even though it is a “beater”), but does everyone really need one? I’ve seen some people out there that probably have trouble operating their T.V., much less a big-ass F-250.
The other day I was approaching a stop sign while going down a one-way street. As I got near the stop sign, an elder pulled onto the one way street (going the wrong freakin’ way) and, after noticing me and then realizing his mistake, was still determined to go down the wrong way. There just wasn’t enough room, so I waived for him to back up and get back onto the road from which he turned off of. He then waived for me to fuck off and go to hell. This guy made the mistake, and I was the asshole. The point is, not everyone should have access to a license. This is where public transportation could be enforced, thus making it even more of an “advancement”. Besides, with all the pharmies floating around out there (thanks to the pharmaceutical progression), I’m quite sure a lot of drivers are buzzin pretty good, and I just assume stay the hell out of their way.
Technology isn’t all bad, though. Millions of people can vouch for the fact that
technology, in many ways, can make everyday life easier. Transportation accounts for a lot of things, like consumers being ensured that their products are made available. And driving can be really aggravating (especiallywith “progression” of improvements on our major highway and interstate systems), but it makes it worth while when we go to work to make money, or go vacation. But as long as technology advances, criticism and annoyance shall continue. Products that I will never have a use for, and improvements for products that I will never have a use for, will continue to appear on my T.V. at 3 in the morning. The rate of internet transactions will rise, and so will the vulnerability of internet security. Dashboards will fill up with more buttons and
lights, and more and more drugs will become available for the “improvement” of the well-being of consumer America, including the “annoyed”.
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