Week 12: Invisible Users

internet

In Jenna Burrell’s Invisible Users, Burrell relates the rise of the usage of internet cafes in Ghanaian youth to their cultural and non-elitist status. She describes, with much detail, the conditions of these “invisible users” both inside the internet cafes and outside in their impoverished towns. Burrell explains how their social and economic barriers make using the internet more difficult for them; their inequality offline affects their equality online. However, although this inequality can manifest itself online, through internet usage these young Ghanaians can pursue a sense of equality that before seemed so unattainable. Continue reading Week 12: Invisible Users

St. Louis Rams: Jocks for Justice

In response to the most heated and controversial issue in the US right now, the murders of unarmed black men by white police officers, protests have taken many forms.  Violent riots broke out in Ferguson, MO as after Darren Wilson had not be indicted.  After the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York, Al Sharpton arranged a more peaceful protest, a national march in Washington DC.  Even those who didn’t physically participate in demonstrations still voiced their opinions via social media; the hash tag #blacklivesmatter began trending on Twitter.  While obviously looting stores and violent demonstrations don’t solve anything, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and should be allowed to voice this opinion if not inflicting harm on others.  However, last Sunday, when St. Louis Rams players made a grand gesture during player introductions, there was a lot of outrage. Continue reading St. Louis Rams: Jocks for Justice

Mill on Marijuana

Having attended a small high school in a small town, hearing about a fellow student experimenting with marijuana was always so controversial. First, the entire school found out and then it quickly escalated to parents, teachers, and coaches, and was “the talk of the town.”  Coming to the University of Michigan, a very liberal college, seeing the nonchalant talk and shameless usage of marijuana was a bit of a culture shock. It has changed my view of marijuana and I have come to the point where I don’t see any reason for not legalizing it.  Continue reading Mill on Marijuana

Hobbes’ State of Nature: 9/11

911

In Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, Hobbes characterizes, what he believes as, the true natural state of human beings.  This portrayal of human nature isn’t exactly the most comforting, as it explains the true selfishness of people.

“And therefore, if any two men desire the same thing,…they become enemies…”

According to Hobbes, this is how people act when there are no laws or rules by which they are being governed.  But is this pessimistic concept truly our reality?  What about in times of national crises; do people only look out for themselves then, too?  Continue reading Hobbes’ State of Nature: 9/11

Hobbes’ Laws of Nature: A Selfless Debate

Selfish boy donating to charity via Salvation Army
Selfish boy donating to charity via Salvation Army

After discussion last week I spent a lot of time debating in my head whether or not there are any truly selfless acts.  Sure, volunteering your time and donating your change are both charitable acts, but the feelings of worth that come with these acts make them, in a sense, selfish.  It’s a little unsettling to realize that even at your greatest attempts to be selfless, your main driver is selfishness!  This is essentially what Hobbes says in Leviathan; he denies the reality of acts of pure selflessness.  While I agree with this somewhat, through parallels with the other courses I’m taking now, I also can think of examples that refute Hobbes’ theory.

 

Continue reading Hobbes’ Laws of Nature: A Selfless Debate

Weber: Coach of the Year

vball
Michigan volleyball

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Michigan vs. Michigan State volleyball game with one of my friends from high school. During the game, between chants and cheers for our girls, we reminisced the time we spent together playing varsity volleyball in our home town. We even recalled specific games playing some of the girls from the collegiate teams; Abby Cole, playing for Michigan, and Autumn Christiansen, playing for MSU, are both from the west side of Michigan, and they both came from schools in our conference. While watching the game, I noticed the dynamics of both of the coaches, and how their characteristics are similar to those Weber describes as a good politician.  Continue reading Weber: Coach of the Year

Menand & the MMB

flags
The Michigan Flags & Twirlers at the first home game of the 2014 season. (Personal photo)

Among all of the fine institutions at the University of Michigan, the Michigan Marching band is one of the most prestigious and rich in heritage.  For over a century, from the traditional songs “Temptation” and “War Chant” to the exquisitely glowing PixMob show of last week, (by the way if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here!) the thousands of students that have walked through the program have contributed to the prestigious reputation of the MMB.  Being a member of the flag line of the Michigan Marching Band, I can say that this reputation didn’t come easily; it was established with much hard work and dedication.  A complex and sometimes ruthless sorting system, much related to Menand’s first theory of education, is the way in which the MMB selects it’s halftime performers for each week. Continue reading Menand & the MMB