October 24, 2010

cantOR can ?

Journal 1-6

               Last week I was very curious about the hostages at the center of the Iran-Contra Scandal. I  already knew that they went through a lot, but what was their day to day life like? What did  they have to endure? What were their living conditions like? After a lot of research, the answers have been found.
               The majority of the people who were taken hostage were Americans, though the rest were mainly Western European. These people were treated quite cruelly, suffering from constant beatings and mock executions. The hostages lived in "cells" and were tortured in ways that should never be mentioned. Several suffered from so much that they actually died. The victims were thrown into the trunks of cars and one captive was once transported in a refrigerator.( Galenet Biography Resource Center) As one can see, these hostages experienced more horror than any person should ever face.

               Last week was a very interesting week full of politics , elections, and speakers. We watched and learned about different political campaign ads, and we discussed how they can be used to persuade audiences to vote a certain way. Also we took a closer look at the Congressional races in Virginia this fall, and we examined the different candidates' websites and campaign ads. Lastly we started our unit on The Divided State by researching some background information and beginning to watch the movie.

               Out of the three main topics this week, I thought that our discussions on the political campaigns in Virginia were the most interesting. I really liked learning about things that are relevant to us and are relateable. Going into this topic, I was rooting for Eric Cantor, and after spending time in class learning more, I support him even more. He is one of the most powerful men in the House of Representatives and has been through a lot to get there. I totally respect him and wish him the best of luck in the future. When looking at the other two candidates' websites, I thought they looked very unprofessional when compared to Cantor's. I know that these two gentlemen are trying to make a difference in their community, but I just don't think that they stand a chance against Eric. I almost feel that they just got up one morning and said, "I think I will run for Congress today." I feel that because of that, they do not have the proper amount of experience required to be a great Congressman.

               In class, I felt that people were very critical towards Eric Cantor. I know that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I feel people were just making judgments base on the fact that he has campaign money and Congressional power. I think with any election, people just make their decisions based on the television commercials and who has the best argument. If people were to actually get to know the candidates themselves, I think they would be very surprised at how they really are. I know Eric Cantor personally and know for a fact how honest, kind, and humble of a person he is. Yes he does have a secret service agent that walks around with him, but he still acts like a normal person. I feel that if the class actually got to know him like I do, they would not be so judging.
               On my way to swim practice this afternoon I saw something that was very relevant to this class. I was driving by a huge Eric Cantor sign and saw Floyd Bayne himself putting up 4 small signs for himself around Eric's sign. It reittereated the point that he most likely bit off more than he could chew and is in a little over his head in this camapign. It also shows how unprepared Floyd is and how he is lacking crucial resources.

               After having talked so much about politics, I just want to talk about the issue of free speech that was brought up in The Divided State.  I totally support the fact that everyone has the right to speak, but I do disagree with the fact that the school was paying $40,000 for Michael Moore to come and speak. If he was coming fro free, I would totally be alright with it, but I feel that Moore was being greedy on his own part by asking for so much money from a school.

               After talking about politics for the majority of the week, I am really interested as to how the elections are going. Who is in the lead in the election polls for the 7th Congressional District? How much ground have the candidates made so far? Who is precieved to win?

Please stay tuned for the answer next week!


Congressional district 7. (2010, October 24). Retrieved from http://wrhammons.com

Eric cantor. (2010, October 24). Retrieved from http://thedailyinquirer.net

Floyd bayne. (2010, October 24). Retrieved from http://www.floydbayne.com/

Lebanon hostage crisis. (2010, October 24). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon_hostage_crisis#cite_note-Galenet_Biography_Resource_Center-19

Lebanon hostage crisis. (2010, October 24). Retrieved from http://www.mongabay.com/history/lebanon/lebanon-the_hostage_crisis.html

Lebanon hostage crisis. (2010, October 24). Retrieved from http://fixtheworld.us 

October 17, 2010

Politics, Politics, Politics

Journal 1-5

               Last week I was curious as to how Oliver North, who was involved in one of the most controversial government events of all time, was able to win the Republican nomination for the Senate. How did he make it so far if he was surrounded by the dark shadows of his past? After much research, the answer has been found.
               According to "The 20th Century", by David Wallechinsky, Oliver North displayed himself as an antiestablishment politician and drew a lot of support from conservative groups. He gained a lot of popularity, but many key Republicans refused to support him because of the past. Despite this fact, he still had enough popularity among the people and some other conservatives to earn the Republican nomination for the Senate.

               Last week in class,  we talked and discussed several different interesting topics. We learned about different styles of political propaganda, such as Word Games, False Connections, Special Appeals, and Logical Fallacies, and we found examples of their use. Also we watched the rest of The Perfect Candidate and discussed several points about the movie. All in all, it was a very interesting and informative week!
               When reading about the different styles of political propaganda, I actually recognized many of them. I had seen a lot of them before in election seasons, but did not know what they were called nor their formal names. Out of the 8 specific styles, I have probably seen "Name Calling" the most often. It is a tactic that politicians use a lot to make their opponents look horrible! It can always be seen on the numerous campaign commercials on the television! I personally think that this style is wrong. I don't think elections should be a time for name calling, but rather a time to find the best candidate for the people. Personally I feel that it is very childish and reminds me of something that a Kindergartner would do! Nothing is ever solved by making someone else look bad!
                After doing research and watching The Perfect Candidate, I have learned more than I ever thought I would know about Oliver North. If I was able to have voted, I am not sure if I would have voted for him or not. Without doing research , I can see how easily people can be persuaded to vote against him. He had a lot of influential politicians totally against him, but he still somehow managed to get 43% of the votes. I feel if people would have actually learned more about the Iran -Contra Scandal, more people may have voted for him. I applaud the fact Oliver North's courage to try to rebuild his life after such a disaster in the past, but I think the U.S. Senate might have been to big of a jump too soon.

               We did not really have a chance to discuss our personal opinions about Oliver North, so I will do that now. I think that he is an okay person who was just seriously misunderstood. Yes, maybe some of his decisions were not spot on, but he was just doing what he thought was best. If I was a hostage being held in Iran, I would have wanted Oliver North to get me out of there by any means necessary! I don't think people understand what horrible things the hostages had to go through! If they were in their position, they would want to be rescued too!

               After learning about Oliver North and the Iran-Contra Scandal, I am very curious about the hostages that were captured in Iran. I know that they went through a ton of horrible things, but how exactly were their living conditions? What did they have to endure?

Please stay tuned for the answer next week!


Iran. (2010, October 17). Retrieved from http://mideastweb.org 

Oliver north. (2010, October 17). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_North#Politics

Oliver north. (2010, October 17). Retrieved from http://2conservativewomen.blogspot.com

The united states senate. (2010, October 17). Retrieved from http://treehugger.com 

Wallechinsky, David. (2010, October 17). The iran-contra scandal. Retrieved from http://www.dreamscape.com/morgana/reagan.htm

October 10, 2010

Less of Moore

Journal 1-4

               Last week I was curious about the critical response to Michael Moore Hates America. I found out that it actually wasn't a very popular movie and not many people actually reviewed it. It didn't receive any outstanding awards like Bolwing for Columbine did, but it did receive an average rating of 6.2 out of 10.  After seeing the title, many viewers thought the movie was going to be in a completely angry tone and were really surprised when it wasn't. One critic even commented that the movie was "just an honest attempt of a young film maker to examine Moore's controversial methods and to question his politics." All in all, the people who saw the movie responded a bit better to it than Michael Moore's movies , but it did not make a huge award-worthy impact.

               This week was the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. We finished up our unit on Michael Moore Hates America and began our unit on The Perfect Candidate.  We discussed our final thoughts on our "Moore Related Series" of videos, and we also briefly covered the background information in our next unit.

               One topic thst raised a lot of disscussion in class is whether or not it was possible to make a 100% truthful documentary. Everyone had mixed views on this subject. I can not think of a single documentary that has been, in my opinion, completley truthful. I feel that editing can be a form of lying; it leaves out certain parts of conversations, so the audience can not see the full truth of the situation. Film makers always edit out the parts they feel would not support their topic in order to save time. This is true in a documentary too. If they never edited, movies would be months long! I know that this is very unreasonable, but I feel it is the only way to make a completley true documentary. It would litterally show everything that happened so that audiences could see the true story. Since no film maker in their right mind would ever make a movie that was months long, I feel that it is impossible to to make a documentary without lying.

         One really interesting quote that we covered in class this week was said by Penn Jillette. He said, "Fearing that I'd become my enemy in the instant that I preach.." This quote really made me think. He was trying to say that he wants to get his point out, but he doesn't want to do it by stooping to his enemy's level to do so. If he sinks to his level, then he is just as bad as his enemy. This makes me wonder how many times I have actually become my enemy when I was trying to prove my point. Now that I really sit down to think about it, I totally agree with Mr. Jillette. I do feel that you shouldn't turn into the person who is doing you wrong in order to make them look bad. Two wrongs do not make a right, and sometimes it is better to be the bigger person and just let things go.
               My final thoughts on this film are kind of mixed. I do think that his film was much better than Michael Moore's, but I do disagree with some parts of it. I felt he sort of became Michael Moore (his enemy) when he was trying to disprove him. He used several of the same techniques and styles but just in a different point of view. I do think that seeing  both Bowling for Columbine and  Michael Moore Hates America was very benificial in showing two different poits of view and how persuasive the media can be.

               Towards the very end of the week, we started to cover The Perfect Candidate. I find it very interesting and fascinating that the movie takes place in Virginia. I feel that this is extremely beneficial to our class in particular because I feel that it makes it much more relatable. In some of the backgroungd information, we learned that Oliver North was involved in a lot of legal issues and national problems, but still managed to attain the Republican nomination for the Senate seat. He lost in the long run, but I am amazed that he actually made it as far as he did! I would think that all of the controversy surrounding him would have prohibited him from making it anywhere close to where he did! I feel that nowadays, he wouldn't have! I know that I am not an expert in this subject, and I do hope that I will learn more over the next week or two as we watch this documentary!

               As we are beginning our next topic, I am really curious about Mr. Oliver North. I would like to know a little bit more as to why he was chosen for the Republican nominee for the Senate? If there was so much controversy surrounding him, how did he make it as far as he did?

Please stay tuned for the answer next week!


Michael moore hates america. (2010, October 10). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Moore_Hates_America

Michael moore hates america (2004). (2010, October 10). Retrieved from http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1183735-1183735-michael_moore_hates_america/?critic=creamcrop#contentReviews

Penn jillette. (2010, October 10). Retrieved from http://downshoredrift.com
The perfect candidate (1996). (2010, October 10). Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117320/

Truth. (2010, October 10). Retrieved from http://informedvote.ca

October 03, 2010

Michael Wilson Loves America?

Journal 1-3

               Last week I had wondered about the suspicious statistics in the movie Bowling for Columbine. After much research, I have found out that the statistics are mostly false. The United States does have the highest gun ownership in the world. The US has 270 million of the 650 million civilian-owned firearms worldwide. This number can be a bit misleading because "it is not 9 people that have one gun, it is one person that has lots of guns." Also even though Americans have a lot of guns, they actually do not have the highest gun related homicide death rate in the world. In the US per 100,000, there are 6.24 gun related homicides. This may seem like a large number but Brazil had 25.78, Jamaica had 18.23, and South Africa had 26. 63. 6.24 doesn't seem like such a bug number now does it?

               This past week in class we have been covering the movie Michael Moore Hates America by Michael Wilson. This is a movie that is almost as equally controversial as Bowling for Columbine. In the movie, Michael Wilson is trying to prove that Michael Moore is full of lies, deception, and doesn't deserve all of the credit people are giving him.

               One topic that Moore always focuses on is the fact he is from the small and unfortunate town of Flint, Michigan. He does this to "prove" to people that he is just your "average joe" from a small town. He portrays Flint as a decrepit town that is litterally falling apart. This is a terribly one sided view of Flint. In Wilson's movie, he actually goes to Flint and shows the viewers a completley different city. Yes some parts are pretty bad, but a lot of it is nice communities and houses. Wilson also finds out Moore's real hometown is actually Davison, Michigan, not Flint. Davison is just your ordinary American town, very similar to parts of Virginia. It is only located about 10 miles away from Flint! Moore probably used the town of Flint as his hometown instead of Davison because Flint is in a little worse of shape, but still isn't the worst town I have seen.
               One issue that has raised a ton of arguments and discussion in class was the fact that Michael Wilson used a lot of the same filming and editing styles as Michael Moore. Both of the stars and directors use questionable editing styles to prove a point with the specific footage they show. They both go into interviews trying to get certain words or information on tape. The only difference is that Michael Wilson sort of has a guilty conscience about doing this thing this. He even admits to his wrongdoings on camera to the viewers.  Michale Moore just uses it and never second gueses himself, while Wilson does. He even felt bad enough to write a person whom he had interviewed in Moore's hometown to appologize and ask permission to use the footage. I do applaude this notion, and I am very glad that he is at least trying to correct some of his wrongs. This makes me feel like I can trust him a little bit more the Moore.

               Just because Wilson tries to repent his wrongdoings, does that mean that what he is doing is right? I feel the answer is "no". I am happy that he does at least tell us about his mistakes, but it does not make them right. If someone was to hurt someone else and they say that they are sorry, it does not make the action they did correct. It is still worng and forever will be. Along the lines of this, in the movie, an interviewee stated that  it was impossible to make an unbiased documentary, and that all documentaries have to use choppy editing to prove their point. I sort of agree with this statment only because I have never seen an unbiased documentary before. This does not mean that one does not exist, but as of right now, I do not know about the existance of one.

               After watching parts of the movie Michael Moore Hates America, I was very curious about the response to this movie. I know that both this movie and Bowling for Columbine  were very controversial, but I would like to know more about it. Bowling for Columbine received an Academy Award, but what happened to Michael Moore Hates America?

Please stay tunned for the answer next week!


Deaths involving firearms, per 100,000 persons, by country (1997). (2007, June 30). Retrieved from http://www.allcountries.org/gun_deaths_by_country.html

Identifying guilt. (2010, October 3). Retrieved from http://www.cindysense.com

International violent death rates. (2003, May 5). Retrieved from http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcgvintl.html

JT. (2009, July 6). Gun death statistics in other countries. Retrieved from http://bowlingfortruth.com/page/2/
Michael Moore hates America. (2010, October 3). Retrieved from http://www.veiled-chameleon.com

Us highest in gun ownership. (2007, September 12). Retrieved from http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2007/09/12/us_highest_in_gun_ownership.aspx