Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Author Ayn Rand thinks that racism, used in a positive or negative way, is evil and it is beginning to be applied to every race.  In "Racism," she talks about how racists are usually unintelligent, unaccomplished men who are looking for "tribal self-esteem" (128).  Rand brings up the example of slavery in the United States and how bad feelings of the past have resulted in a new form of racism.  She states that because of the poor treatment of Negroes by the white people in the past, ancestors of those African-American slaves feel the right to have superior treatment in society today.  Rand believes that it is unfair to treat to people of separate races differently in any sense because they are not responsible for their innate characteristics or the actions of their ancestors.

I found this piece to be very confusing and hard to read, but the author made some good points.  Some of her points seemed like they were kind of random and didn't have very much support.  For example, I didn't understand the part about the economy and businessmen on page 131.  I also had trouble understanding the liberal and conservative viewpoints on racism, but I think these views have changed greatly over the past 50 years.  Another part of this piece I was confused about was the fact that she didn't want the Civil Rights Bill to be passed.  My interpretation of this is either that she doesn't want it to be passed because she feels it is discriminating against white people to limit their individual rights or she doesn't think the government should be able to control of something that is someone's own opinions.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Solution to Saturday's Puzzle

I found the sarcasm, language choice, and hypothetical situations in Solution to Saturday's Puzzle to be funny.  David Sedaris used sarcasm when he pretended to wish the best of luck to his new enemy on his flight to Raleigh and also when he asked the lady if she couldn't be separated from her husband on the 90-minute plane ride because her husband was going to go to jail as soon as they land.  I also thought that the part about the New York Times crossword puzzle was kind of funny, especially when he said filling out the crossword puzzle "always makes you look reasonable" because it's so hard (129).  I laughed at the names he called the lady in the puzzle, paying no attention to the clues for the correct words.  David looked to the crossword puzzle for answers to his problems.  David thought about if the flight attendant were to push one person out of the airplane, it would be the lady that David was arguing with.  At the last minute, David would step forward and tell her to push him out instead, and then the lady would be tragically "sucked into space" (131).

I hope no one takes this in a bad way... it's the only joke I can think of right now!
"What do you call a Mexican baptism?"
"A bean dip."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Klansman Who Won't Use the N-Word

Jon Ronson's "The Klansman Who Won't Use the N-Word" focuses on the diminishing harshness of the Ku Klux Klan.  Thom Robb, the Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, is concerned that the Klan's negative image turns people, especially women, away from joining or supporting their cause of promoting white supremacy.  Thom goes on to say that calling Negroes the "N-word" distracts them from listening to the point that they are trying to make.  He also creates a new rule that Klan members can't wear their signature white hooded outfits to cross "lighting" ceremonies in order to help the image of the group.  Thom sees the Klan as it was pictured in the early 1900's; he says "We're supposed to be the knights on the white horses who ride into town and save our people!  We're supposed to be good guys!  Shining armor!  Do we want to go around threatening people?" (191).  Through all of these changes, Thom is trying to build the population of Klan members, and he is concerned with winning political power among his competitors of other, and more extreme, white supremacist groups.

I thought this piece was interesting and weird at the same time.  I don't think that the idea of white supremacy could, or should, ever be considered as a positive thing.  I thought the descriptions of the warm and welcoming KKK National Congress meeting in the middle of an isolated, scary town created good imagery in the beginning of the story.  I found the part about the personality test to be kind of out of place and confusing.  I don't think it really contributed to the main idea of the story or conveyed any strong messages about the Klan members themselves.  Having a KKK leader that is so positive and wanting to change everything is unrealistic to me, but this is also what made the story so interesting.  I didn't know that members of the KKK were once thought of as "knights in shining armor," and I was surprised by this.  I think the author should have mentioned this earlier because it would have given me more insight as to Thom's reasoning behind changing the Klan.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


In Beverly Gross's "Bitch," she pulls apart the significance of what it means to be called a bitch.  Gross traces back the derivation of this word and finds that its meaning has evolved over time.  She concludes that the word bitch has changed from its original meaning of a promiscuous woman to an ill-tempered woman to a female dominatrix.  After analyzing many text definitions and the opinions of some of her students, Gross finds the modern day use of the the word bitch is most often used as a woman who either threatens a man's masculinity (in other words, a "ball-buster") or "complains incessantly about anything" (79).  Gross inquires over the male counterparts of such a degrading word, but she finds no equivalent.  She goes on to analyze a difference in meaning of the use of this word between black and white males.  Black males tend to use "bitch" more casually and in a less demeaning way than white males.  Furthermore, the author comments on the beginning of social acceptance of the word.

I found this piece to be very interesting in that it thoroughly defined every possible use of the word bitch.  Before reading this, I associated bitch most closely with the definition "a conceited person, a snob" (78).  Gross did a good job supporting her point that men often refer to bitches as "domineering" or "competitive" women (80).  Because I have never heard the word be used in this context, I think that this meaning of the word bitch may be a little dated, and the significance of the word may be reverting back to more of an ill-tempered woman.