NEW VOICES Student Journal of Nonfiction Spring 2010
Essays by Grace Foreman
Lander University 320 Stanley Avenue Greenwood, SC 29649
New Voices is a publication of the College of Arts and Humanities Lander University 320 Stanley Avenue Greenwood, SC 29649
Editors: Wendy Polk Aerin Phillips Lindsey Copeland Paula Birch Faculty Advisors: Dr. Misty Jameson Dr. Lillie Craton
Photography by Jared Simmons
New Voices congratulates S. Blaiz Buchanan, winner of the 2010 Dessie Dean Pitts Award email@example.com
Table of Contents Personal Reflection I Believe in Video Games
Grace Foreman Around the Piano
Kelley McCravy My Calling
Tashinga Musonza It Is Nature
Academic Writing The Samba Makes History
Guilherme Agustini The Cassini Controversy
Blaiz Buchanan Watch out, Zombies...We Have Guns!
New Voices Biographies
Personal Reflection I Believe in Video Games by Grace Foreman I believe in the power videogames hold. As someone who grew up in the â€˜90s with two older brothers, I never had the chance to explore any other world but the world of videogames. My way of life is simple; when I am feeling down, I turn on one of my consoles and pop in a game. Who needs stress? I can overpower any form of rage with first-person shooter games, such as Halo or House of the Dead. Whether killing some zombies or shooting down some aliens, both are considerable stress relievers. There are reasons I sometimes need to vent frustration. My dad moved us around every year, so I had no real social life in childhood. With my family constantly on the go, I did not get the chance to make long-life friends. However, I never let my lack of friendships destroy my creativity and imagination, thanks in part to games. Then a surgery failure several years ago left me partially paralyzed. For two years, I remained wheelchair-bound and saw through the eyes of a new person entirely. I was no longer Grace Anne Foreman of thirteen, a girl with no real clue about the world. I had an old soul, as some told me, and I had no ability to process what it meant to be a teenager. I had lost whatever ability I was supposed to have that would let me relate to other teens. I did not understand them and did not want to understand them. Everything about teenagers and their lifestyles made me skeptical about being one of them. I had been through so many traumas at that point that I did not see the fun in damaging my life any further with drugs or any other nonsense. I kept a strong drive to keep going, and I refused to believe all the doctorsâ€˜ opinions. I firmly believed I was destined to go through this test and face it head on. I was right, too, and now Iâ€˜m walking again in spite of their negative predictions. In the meantime, though, I needed to shoot some zombies.
I Believe in Video Games For the feeling of escape from everyday life, there is nothing like a good role-playing game. You get to crawl into the skin of someone else and see the world through his eyes, and everything revolves around his story. The game will not progress without him, and people depend on him to save the world or influence it in some way or another. You are in control of a life and how its story progresses. Who doesn‘t enjoy being in control? You can only experience the feeling of calculating your own destiny in the world of an RPG. Does he get the girl, does he save the world, or does he die? These (somewhat clichéd) questions are questions asked in life too. Do you move on, or does your journey stop here? Will Mario ever find Princess Peach? When will she stop moving to another castle? Videogames give people experience in life, just as characters in a game receive experience to grow stronger. If you have become addicted, do not fear! Videogames won‘t harm you (physically). Learning to grow from an addiction can prepare you for even greater challenges in the future. Massively multiplayer online videogames have the potential to destroy a person‘s life. Just look at the many victims who play World of War Craft, especially the middleaged adults in their parents‘ basements at home. Your job is to make sure you know the difference between reality and a game. I once was an addict of the MMO world and could never stop my impulse to play online. Playing in a world with people who have no idea who you are or where you live or what kind of person you are seems like a good idea when you are feeling down. However, when ―the game‖ becomes something that has control over your life, and negatively affects you, MMOs may not be the type of game for you. Not every game suits every player. Just as in it is in life, not everybody likes the same things, and everybody has his or her own area of expertise. If you get mad at the other players online or about what they say to you, it is true you can just log off. However, always keep in mind that you cannot log out of your own life. I believe in the Odyssey, the Atari, the Sega Saturn, the Nintendo, the Dreamcast, the Gameboy, the Game Cube, and the N64. I believe in the PS2, the PSP, the PS3, the 360, the DS, and the Nintendo Wii. I even believe in the PC, despite my patronage to the Mac. I have no doubt in my mind that I will continue to believe in more consoles as technology advances another forty years. The list will continue to grow, just as the world continues to grow with each passing day. Technology advances, and people advance along with it. Soon our ―Facebook generation‖ will be something entirely different too. However, videogames will always be here for us in some way. For the times when we need to chainsaw a few zombies or save a princess in a castle, videogames will fulfill our needs. Just as human kind believes in the power of science, I believe in the power of videogames.
Around the Piano by Kelley McCravy I remember as a little girl going often to my great-grandparents‘, whom I knew as ―Greatmother and Greatdaddy‖ in Easley, South Carolina. I treasure these memories perhaps above any others from my childhood, for they are among the most vivid and positive of my life. I remember intriguing corners, old and fascinating objects, and endless surprises found by the careful exploration of a little girl with a mission. My cousins and I would always play; if we were outside, it was among the azalea bushes that in the spring burst brilliantly around the house, and if we were inside, we would usually be in the living room. The only time I remember us gathering in this room as a family was at Christmas when all of us would open gifts around the massive cedar tree. During the rest of the year, this room was a sort of museum of family heirlooms and historic clutter. The items in the living room that I was attracted to as a child, though, were centered on one thing: the piano. It was placed against the wall, and what I first loved about it was its stool. It had wooden legs, and when I sat in it, it swirled me around at the perfect speed—not too fast to make me dizzy, but just fast enough so that I felt a thrill. Covering its small, circular cushion was a golden, velvety fabric that I remember absent-mindedly running my hand over because, if I felt it in the right direction, it was smooth. The body of the piano itself was formed from deep, rich-colored rosewood, and its four, thick legs stood on the floor supporting it like columns. It was a square piano, though that name is misleading, considering its actual rounded-rectangular shape. Square pianos were typically found inside the home for personal use during the earlyto-middle 1800s. The keys were ivory, and the keyboard was shorter than the modern piano, having only sixty-six keys rather than today‘s eighty-eight. The piano itself was crowned with pictures, trinkets, and books that I often stared at, captivated by my daydreams. Stacked to the side of the keyboard were small hymnals, written in the shape-note tradition of the South, and inside the covers were often old inscriptions from a long-gone parent or Sunday school teacher. Among the trinkets was a petite glass slipper that I was engrossed with, a miniature version of a Civil War-era woman‘s boot with the toe long and pointed upward and high ankles. I remember when the five-inch long slipper fit my foot. The myriad of pictures, crowded and disorganized on top of the piano, ranged from the 1800s until the present time, representatives of the history that the piano witnessed. On its side, there was also an old, printed label with a name that always ignited my imagination: Kittie Stark Speake McCravy. ***
Around the Piano Kittie, shortened from Kissiah (alternately spelled Keziah), was the first owner of the family piano. She was born April 6, 1838, the daughter of George Speake, who lived in Kinards, South Carolina, around what is now Cross Hill. According to both my grandfather and the writings of my great-greatgrandfather, George Speake was apparently wealthy and owned at least a thousand acres of land and eighteen slaves, according to the census. He sent his daughters and sons to the local school, and we know that Kittie went on to attend ―the old Moravian school,‖ now known as Salem College, in North Carolina. She graduated from there with a specialization in music, a degree of any kind being a rare occurrence for women in those days. One of the stories that we recently discovered about Kittie fascinates me. Just after she graduated from college in 1856, Kittie came home to her father‘s plantation. She found one house on the spacious land empty, and promptly, ―She filled it up with chairs and tables and started a school. She taught every slave on the plantation to read and write . . . in fact she gave them an education,‖ in the words of my great-grandfather, Kittie‘s grandson. An act of this kind would have most definitely been illegal in 1856; nevertheless, she was defiant. I like to think that she returned from school young, enlightened, and impassioned and was determined to make right what she could—beginning with her father‘s plantation. Her father did love her and with a rather impulsive nature at that. Just before she graduated from college, a peddler came through town demonstrating the pianos he was selling from his wagon. George Speake saw the piano being played on the back of the wagon and said, according to my grandfather, ―I want that piano.‖ His spontaneous nature would not allow him to wait for an order to come in, or even to investigate further to see if any other piano was more suitable—that was the one. It probably also had to do with the uncertainty of whether or not the peddler would actually return with a piano if he ordered one; he was probably being wisely skeptical. The piano that he bought became our family piano, for he gave it to his daughter, Kittie, as a graduation present. Soon after her graduation, Kittie married James McCravy, making her our direct ancestress. They met at the wedding reception of a mutual friend. She was attracted to him because of his wit, and he to her because of her beauty and accomplishment in literature and music. After they were married, South Carolina seceded from the Union, an act which Kittie‘s husband James ―bitterly opposed.‖ He desired to end the age of slavery in submission and peace and not for the South to cripple itself in defiance, being ―hot blooded and ready to fight.‖ Yet, like many other men, his loyalty was to his state, and he fought reluctantly in a war he did not quite understand because of that loyalty.
Kelley McCravy Kittie made a flag for her husband‘s company (stationed in Jalapa, South Carolina) out of a red silk skirt with a blue satin waist with a yellow palmetto tree in the center and ―Newberry, South Carolina‖ sewn at the bottom. This flag is currently in the State Archives in Columbia. It seems contradictory to people today to hear that the woman who took such a risk in educating her father‘s slaves would be the same woman who would sew a flag in honor of the Confederacy—history is complex, as are the people in it. I am sure that no one has ever been clearly convinced one way or another as history often suggests, especially on a subject as serious as war. While her husband was fighting, Kittie moved to Abbeville with her children where they remained until the war was over alone but for ―a few faithful slaves‖ who could have very well left them. Kittie died of an unknown cause at forty-six years old, the mother of thirteen children; one little girl died in infancy, and another son named James Longstreet, ―the apple of [her] eye,‖ died just before he was twenty. His mother died three months after him, in November of 1884. I have seen Kittie Stark Speake McCravy‘s grave at Liberty Springs Presbyterian Church, now rebuilt and in contrast with the old cemetery surrounding it, just across the highway from the area where she would have grown up. It is inscribed: A good wife, a kind and loving Mother, an obliging neighbor, and an earnest, faithful, and consistent Christian. -------Servant of God well done, Best from thy love employ, The battle fought, the victory won, Enter thy Master’s joy. My grandfather, Kittie‘s great-grandson, remembers seeing the ruins of her house, but when we drove by, the area was totally overgrown with pine trees and a cell tower where the ruins would have been. I suddenly felt how transitory life is when I realized that the ground we were driving on was trodden by horses and buggies only one hundred fifty years before now. There was an eerie connection with the past as I saw the forest with new eyes; this earth on which we walk has borne witness to so many other lives that have gone on without the world‘s recognition. * * * Lily Louise McCravy Johnson, known to my grandfather as ―Aunt Lula,‖ inherited the family piano from her mother, Kittie. It sat as a bystander in her hallway for many years, where my grandfather remembers playing it as a boy.
Around the Piano It was a lonely witness of very hard times during the early twentieth century— wars were being fought, the Great Depression was overshadowing everything, and small towns were hard pressed to survive. Lula‘s husband had a reliable job as Postmaster of Gray Court, South Carolina, and I suspect that they both took great pride in this title. (I have never heard any family members talk about these relatives before; perhaps it is because there is simply less to know.) Aunt Lula was not quite the revolutionary her mother was, but rather a regular, timeweathered woman; my grandfather describes Lula‘s appearance as being ―… short, stooped, and her shoulders rounded‖ when he knew her late in her life. When I asked what Aunt Lula was like, the classic phrase in my family about anyone quirky or outside the norm was declared with a nod and a slight smile, ―She was a character.‖ There are hardly any memorable anecdotes, no stories passed down, about Aunt Lula except that my grandfather remembers that she was a wonderful cook. He says that, when he was a boy, his family would go over to Lula‘s house and eat from a spread of wonderful dishes of vegetables, saturated with butter, and multiple meats. One time, he remembers looking out over all the food as a boy and saying matter-of-factly, ―Pass the turnips.‖ Everyone roared with laughter because there were no turnips on the table; he loved them so much that he had assumed everyone had them. Aunt Lula‘s family life was a mixture of perhaps more sadness than happiness—she had three sons, two of whom died tragically. Her eldest son did live a good, full life and became the superintendent of the schools in Gray Court, South Carolina, where Lula lived. However, her next son Edwin Shaw was killed in early manhood. This is a rather striking parallel to her mother‘s tragic loss of her nineteen-year-old son just before she died; Kittie, however, died soon after, but Lula was hardened and kept on living. Her youngest son was a drunk, a ―sot‖ who would drink anything that contained alcohol—even shoe polish. He stayed drunk for a month or so at a time and then would come home and sober up at his mother‘s house; she always took him back, to the dismay of the rest of the family. However, when he was sober, he was very smart and was ―one of the nicest, funniest guys you‘ve ever known,‖ says my grandfather. I am sure that Aunt Lula knew this better than anyone, and perhaps because of this love she found a faithfulness within her that overcame her disappointment. * * * Once, when Greatdaddy was at Aunt Lula‘s house, he kept remarking about the piano that was sitting in the hallway. He made such a fuss about it that day that Lula just said that he could have it—and there it remained in Easley until my great-grandmother passed away at ninety-two years old in 2005.
Kelley McCravy My grandfather remembers a photograph: ―It‘s us standing around the piano. Daddy‘s got a violin, I‘ve got my trumpet, and Edwin‘s playing the piano. Somewhere I‘ve got it. It was in the paper.‖ Here, Edwin is his brother. The piano at my great-grandparents‘ house was the center of a vibrant family life, one in which there was probably not much money but an overabundance of love. My grandfather‘s parents‘ names were John, Sr. and Verne (Verna), and they were truly in love. Even after they were parted by death, Verne still was loyal to her John. She was seventeen when they first met at a square dance; he was playing the banjo on stage when the dancers needed one more man, so he joined in. When John began dancing with Verne, he playfully said, ―Where have you been all my life, Little Girl?‖ He called her ―Little Girl‖ for the rest of their lives. They courted for a year, and then got their marriage license in secret because hardly anyone could afford to get married during the Depression. After they were married, they rode around town for a while to celebrate and stopped to eat, but Greatdaddy could only afford one sandwich. ―He only had thirty-five cents. . . . He gave it to me. But I shared half of it with him,‖ said Verne. John‘s father‘s cook had seen them leaving the parsonage, so that was the end of the secret—the whole town of Easley knew soon after. E.P. McCravy, John‘s father, benevolently surprised them with twenty-one acres of land and built them a cottage painted white with burgundy trim. They lived there, content, for their entire lives; in that house they saw grow up first their children, John, Jr. (my grandfather), Edwin, and Paul, then grandchildren, my father being among them, and after those came the great-grandchildren, whom I am among. Greatdaddy died when I was six, and the only memory I have of him is vague—I am sitting on his lap in his favorite chair, and he is telling me a story that I am halfway listening to. I remember his long, skinny frame, almost making him look a little silly, and I remember his smile and how much he loved everybody. Greatmother lived on for another eleven years, and I had the privilege of knowing her very well. She had a sweet, girlish smile that was always genuine. My grandfather has that smile. I would always ask to sleep in her bed with her when I was small, and I am sure that now, looking back, she treasured that very much. Tears flow every time as I think of myself as a little girl abiding in such a tender relationship with Greatmother, especially at her house, where she had seen so many children like me grow up. I had no idea then that I was part of such a legacy of family. As I grew older, I remember Greatmother many times urging me to play Kittie‘s old piano in the living room, and she always said that she forgot how bad it sounded when I played. I remember once she looked at me, then at my grandfather and said, ―She‘s cute, isn‘t she? Some boy‘s gonna fall real hard for her one day.‖
Around the Piano When she died, I was out of the country and could not fly home in time for the funeral. A few days ago, I was reading her obituary from the Greenville paper on the internet. My heart jumped when I saw her photograph on the page—in it she was wearing that warm, familiar grin that I will never forget, and for an instant I felt like she was still alive. * * * I am the next person to inherit the piano. After Greatmother died, there were arguments within the family about who would get the many antiques and memorabilia from her house—except for the piano. It had been clear that the piano was to go to my grandfather throughout his whole life. To my surprise, my grandfather said without question that he wanted it to go to me. These people that surround the piano—Kittie Stark Speake, Aunt Lula, and my great-grandparents—have given much to me. In Kittie, I see my inherent idealism and the complicated but fiercely ardent relationship between my father and me. I imagine that her father, being the thoroughly Southern gentleman that he was, was slightly challenged by and bewildered at her benevolent actions toward his slaves. But I also suspect that he was intensely proud of his daughter and would lay aside any previous prejudices to support her. I could see my father doing the same for me—that sort of undying, faithful love is very familiar to me because of him, and when I heard Kittie‘s story I immediately related. My great-grandparents have influenced me more simply because I knew them when they were alive. I feel like I knew Greatdaddy, even though I hardly remember interacting with him, just because everybody loved him so much; my mom and dad still talk about him as though he were alive. The love that Greatdaddy and Greatmother shared their whole lives inspires me to love in a childlike way again. They seemed never to have lost the ability to love each other unconditionally. Even when they were growing old together, it became stronger. This kind of love is becoming lost in a world where selfishness is rewarded rather than regretted and faithfulness is truly scarce. I hope that a piece of their love still exists inside me, that I might keep it alive for a few more generations. To me, the piano is more than just an old piece of furniture. It is there to give me the responsibility to do one thing: to remember. All the people that are ―standing around the piano,‖ like the photograph of my grandfather and his brother and father playing music around it, are telling their story through it. As a testament to my family, I will keep those stories living. Family is there to remember the ones that this distracted world has forgotten; it is there to build monuments, whether physical or metaphysical, to their lives, and to give honor to the reality of their existence by simply remembering who they were.
My Calling by Tashinga Musonza At midnight, my watch ticks, and I toss and turn. Sleep drifted away from me a few years ago. There is a fire burning in my heart, and within my dark room I see shadows of hopeless faces on the wall. These are the faces inflicted by the merciless enemy which emerged in the late 1970s and is now threatening to wipe out the entire sub-Saharan region. With that in my mind, I know I have to fight. I witnessed the brutality of HIV/AIDS in my own backyard amongst relatives, friends, and acquaintances in Zimbabwe, eastern South Africa, and in the hospitals of Greenwood, South Carolina, as a nursing student. Millions have died, and the end is nowhere in sight because millions more have been tagged by this enemy. Such a realization only serves to strengthen my resolve of becoming a physician. My inclination towards medicine started as an embrace of science when my sister, who was in high school, taught me that our bodies depend on an internal pump called a heart. However, my desire to be a physician was evoked by the savageness of the unimaginable enemy of HIV/AIDS. At the age of ten, I learned that my aunt had HIV/AIDS. My mother told me that the disease was incurable. Early in the morning my aunt would sit by herself under our huge lemon tree staring into the distance. I wondered how she felt. Was she going to die? No one answered me. How frustrating it was to know there was nothing that anyone could do as I saw the loss of hope in her eyes and her eventual passing. Motivated by such a personal tragedy, I took science classes in secondary school as I prepared for medical school. I understood that there were many like my aunt who had been taken captive by this enemy. Many years later, I realized that it was not the passing of my aunt that instilled in me a desire to be a physician. It was a keenness for knowledge and an earlier belief that we ought to give back to our community that was guiding my passion. In 2004, I graduated from high school with the Advanced Level General Certificate of Education (A-level) and applied to the University of Zimbabwe medical school. Unfortunately, I was not accepted due to a low math score. Although devastated, I vowed not to change my career path in spite of calls from family and friends who were discouraging me from continuing. Even though I was accepted at geology school instead, due to financial constraints I did not attend college for that entire year. However, that marked a turning point in my life. Since there was a need to find myself and assess if I were committed to a career in medicine, I decided to use that entire year as a means of soul searching. I left the city and joined my mother and father on their subsistence farm in rural Zimbabwe. I worked on a maize farm with my fatherâ€˜s hired hand,
My Calling tilling, planting, and removing weeds using a hoe. Farm work was very tedious, but the tranquility of the rural area gave me time to reflect. The absence of police sirens and car horns gave me piece of mind. A year later, I found I had the same aspiration to become a physician. In 2006, I was accepted at Rhodes University (Grahamstown, South Africa) for a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. The university was in a different country, so the customs, culture, and language were dissimilar to my own, but I became more culturally sensitive when I stepped on the Rhodes University campus. I understand now how this will be an asset when I deal with patients from diverse backgrounds. At that time, my plan was to get a pharmacy degree and then go on to medical school. One day as I ventured on a tour with a friend, I saw dilapidated houses that draped a larger part of the town and came to the conclusion that Rhodes was an island of riches in the midst of poverty. Deep down in my heart, the conviction to make a difference in my new-found community took hold of me. Joining a Christian organization was the ideal way to give back to the community. One Saturday afternoon we decided to visit the town hospital, which was about two miles away from the comfort of our campus. None of us had cars or money to hire a van, but that did not deter us as we unanimously decided to walk. It was in heat of the day, and yet I felt rewarded. We were going to visit a floor with predominantly HIV/AIDS patients, my next encounter with the enemy. The nurses at the hospital had told us that most of the patients had been abandoned and that they would appreciate the presence of smiling college students. What I witnessed on that day shook me to my core as I came face to face with infants, young adults, and the elderly afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Most of the patients were emaciated, and some requested prayer, while others did not. The nurses who received us had emphasized to us the importance of not imposing our religious beliefs and practices on the patients. Just a smiling face and a handshake could make a difference. I held back tears and the urge to cry as I held a baby whose grandmother told me that her parents had died from AIDS. Thinking of the fate awaiting the smiling little girl tore me apart. The conditions at the hospital were horrific; there were not enough doctors, and the patients did not have enough food or access to the much-needed antiretroviral drugs. It was remarkable how such deprived places like this desperately needed doctors and financial support. After three months at Rhodes, I was offered a full academic scholarship to study at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina (USA). Studying at Rhodes had financially strained my sponsor, and a full scholarship from Lander was a great achievement. I was not able to sit for my final exams at Rhodes;
Tashinga Musonza hence, I could not transfer any credits from South Africa. However, I will always cherish the richness of the culture and the resilience of the people of Grahamstown. At Lander, I declared nursing as my major and biology as a minor. I had never considered nursing as a profession until I started reflecting upon my time in Grahamstown and the passing of close relatives due to HIV/AIDS. I came to the conclusion that, where medicine could not heal, a kind heart and gifted hands could touch; that is what nursing is about. My first encounter with patients as a nursing student was at a nursing home. I remember a fifty-eight-year-old man who had both legs amputated. He seemed agitated and at times mumbled a few words which I never understood, probably worsening his frustration. Bathing Mr. Joe (not his real name) was physically and emotionally exhausting and a mammoth task since both of his wrists had suffered contractures, but I managed to do it for the entire rewarding semester. My experience at the nursing home during my second semester as a sophomore made me realize the plight of the elderly: polypharmacy, loneliness, loss of physical and mental function, as well as spiraling hospital bills. However, it was not until my junior year when I met the same enemy that had been lurking at every corner in developing countries. Mr. James (not his real name) was a forty-year-old African-American with a radiant smile. As I glanced over his history of present illness, shivers were sent down my spine. He was experiencing end-stage renal disease and had been hospitalized after missing three days of dialysis for unexplained reasons. As I looked at Mr. James‘s diagnoses, my heart started racing. He was HIV positive and in the final stage of AIDS. At that time I realized I had to face the enemy again, and I volunteered to be his primary nurse that morning. Mr. James evoked memories of the stigmatization with which his condition surrounded people in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Friendships had been broken after one became infected with HIV, including my own extended family after the death of my aunt and later uncle who succumbed to the same illness. Many had sunk in the depths of alienation due to their HIV/AIDS status. I recall walking into Mr. James‘s room without much confidence, but I left as an inspired citizen. Most of his friends had deserted him, leaving only his mother at his side. As I respectively palpated and auscultated Mr. James‘s arteriovenous fistula for patency, I saw a soul searching for empathy. The mother later told me that her first son had died of AIDS at the age of nineteen. I was dumbfounded, and I could only stretch my hand and pat the poor lady‘s shoulder. I realized how a simple pat on the shoulder had spoken kindness to the mother. She was already in anticipatory grief, and such a scenario calls upon the healthcare provider to be both a counselor and a healer. My experience with Mr. James and his mother enlightened me on what I am up against as a physician. Medication noncompliance, non adherence, incurable
My Calling diseases, and grieving families are amongst a few of the challenges. That encounter also made me realize how non-verbal communication is of utmost importance in therapeutic interaction. *** In summer of 2008, I was offered an internship at the Greenwood Genetic Center (South Carolina) as a cytogenetics laboratory technician. The director of research was focusing on Phelan-McDermid syndrome, a genetic defect in which patients have a microdeletion on chromosome 22q. The features of this mutation include developmental delay, tendency to overheat and lack of perspiration, and autistic behaviors. I sort of had an adrenaline rush whenever my colleagues handed me the patient DNA samples that I had to purify and later on analyze their respective concentrations. I immensely enjoyed making agarose gel as well as carrying out gel electrophoresis of digested genomic DNA. Hybridizing the fluorescently labeled patient DNA to control DNA using 22q microarrays, I was ecstatic. Working with state-of-the-art biomedical technology, ranging from 22q DNA microarrays to gene analysis software and spectrophotometers, gave me hope that one day we will be able to fight diseases that we never thought we could cure. I also realized how the future of medicine is strongly tied to genetic research and technological advancement as well as the importance of up-to-date diagnostic tools. During this time, I also worked at an outdoors Christian camp for two summers as a counselor to eight boys of ages eight to fifteen for several consecutive two-week periods during the entire summer. Most of these boys had ADHD. It was a challenge keeping them occupied as well as keeping them from distracting their peers. I had to learn to redirect their energy into games that required the minimum of concentration such as volleyball. Campouts were more challenging than anything else since these children sometimes wandered away from the rest of the group. Therefore, I had to employ a strict buddy system in which campers always had a partner wherever they went. At night sitting around a fire and roasting marshmallows, I would tell stories, while at the same time being vigilant with a head count and knowing I had the responsibility of being a friend, brother, and second parent to these young restless rascals. Some children did not naturally fit in with the other boys, so it was up to me to invest strong optimism, enthusiasm, and a caring attitude towards all campers. After having forged meaningful relationships with these campers, parting at the end of the summer session meant that we might never meet again. It was an emotional moment but one that made me realize the importance of closure in any relationship. As leader of these boys, I learned to be a role model, friend, and counselor.
Tashinga Musonza My experiences as a nursing studentâ€”whether doing a train of four (TOF) after administering vancorinium or inserting a nasogastric tube in a patient on ventilator assistance in the intensive care unitâ€”have helped shape my perspective on what it means to be a primary care provider. Watching an HIV/ AIDS patient going into cardiac arrest and eventually passing has led me to count my blessings each day even when the going seems tough. The intense pressure I felt whilst inserting an intravenous needle in a dialysis patient in the emergency room made me appreciate the gift of physicians who each had more than eight critical patients to attend to all at once. Witnessing the brutality of HIV/AIDS in three different countries has strengthened my belief that medicine cannot be separated from social and economic forces. I understand that, while being a physician requires becoming a well-rounded individual, seeking a lifelong education, and committing to immense hard work, so does being a nurse. Working in hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, and free clinics has shown me that there is a team behind a physician: nurses, social care workers, laboratory technicians, and pharmacists. My life journey has made me understand the realities behind a physician, and my heart yearns to establish rapport with patients of my own. Sleepless nights continue to torment me since the desire to be a physician consumes me. I have seen hopelessness in the eyes of HIV/AIDS patients, and I know that, somewhere in our world, a physician is urgently needed, for there are many underserved communities. At this point and time, I can strongly assert that I am committed to a career in medicine. I graduate in May (2010) with a Bachelorâ€˜s Degree in Nursing and a biology minor. I have never been more hopeful that, when patient care blends with medicine, the world shall be healed. I also believe that, where medicine cannot heal, a kind heart and gifted hands can touch; that is why I proudly stand as a registered nurse today . . . ramangwana richanaka (tomorrow will be a better day).
It Is Nature by Charlotte Patterson It is skinned knees when you‘re seven. Maybe it is because when you‘re that little you‘re clumsy and fall a lot. The first thing I can remember about outside is skinned knees. I used to put band-aids on my knees. They were the kind with crazy designs, like tiny purple and yellow suns all over them. That‘s the first thing that I can remember about outside, about nature: skinned knees. It is grass sticking to my bare legs after running from my dogs in the freshly mowed back yard. It is insects flying everywhere after being disturbed by me from their homes. ―Ladybug, Ladybug, run up my arm, so cute.‖ Turning over the ladybug, I realize how disgusting it appears to me. ―Ladybug, Ladybug! Shoo, Ladybug!‖ It is jumping into the pool as soon as the thermostat reaches seventy and all my cousins coming over to visit me. Or just the pool. It is watermelons brought home by my dad with me spitting out the seeds at my twin sister because it makes her angry when they get in her hair. It is climbing the magnolia tree, thinking about falling, but I don‘t care, sitting there hiding alone and taking in the warm summer air. It is following the old dirt road behind my grandparents‘ house. The road leads to an old junk yard full of cars from the 1950s. Beyond that is Rocky Creek where I visited often as a child against my mother‘s will. But it was a different world down there, and we grandkids couldn‘t resist it. It is tiny running legs through the woods and runny noses wiped on blue jean jackets because it‘s so cold outside. And it‘s ducking behind a tree as another crack from a pop gun is shot off, then arguing with cousins. ―I shot you!‖ one of us screamed. ―No, you missed!‖ was the reply. Hardly anyone ever got shot. It is club houses deep in the woods with rusted pots and pans used to make dirt and leaf stew. It is hide-and-go-seek, and when you find the perfect hiding place, you have to give it up because you realize you have to pee. It is riding dirt bikes and dragging my feet in a field with grass up to my knees and getting a snake wrapped around my leg while nearly wrecking. It is catching fireflies as soon as it gets dark and running over to place them in mason jars with tiny holes punched in the tops. I asked my mother if we could keep them as pets. It is funny how when you‘re little you come up with stuff like that. It is also funny that there comes a time when catching fireflies is not as fun anymore. It is moving to a new place and discovering the small creek in the back that holds crawfish you can catch with a chicken bone tied to a string. It is my
Charlotte Patterson dad cooking steaks with the perfection that only he has on our large new deck. It is making best friends with the neighbor kids next door and never wanting to go home for supper when my dad calls for me. It is raking a path of leaves to their house so we will never lose our way in the dark, and it is sitting on their front porch waiting for the sun to rise and watching the stars fade away. It is riding bikes to the pond down the road to look for turtles and frogs and getting my shoes so muddy my mom gets mad. It is hopping on the golf cart and riding it around our neighborhood rain or shine, hot or cold. It is running so hard at field day that sweat drips down my face, hair plastered to the side of my head, looking crazy, but I don‘t care. There are just some things you don‘t seem to worry about when you‘re in middle school. It is sitting inside cramped high school classes wanting so badly to go outside. ―Please! Can we please have class outside today?‖ the class would say. ―We have a lot to do today, class. We can‘t waste it by going outside‖ would be the response. It is baseball games and eating boiled peanuts, wearing cute white shorts and a matching red devil t-shirt, which is the school‘s mascot. It is wearing layers upon layers of clothes, hats, sweat shirts, sweat pants, two pairs of socks, all over top of shorts and a t-shirt, practicing soccer on the rec. field getting ready for the upcoming season. We were not allowed to use the stadium lights—but that is what made it interesting. ―If you can score a goal in the dark, you sure as heck better be able to score a goal in the light!‖ Our community coach would scream. Looking into each other‘s eyes, we could see the pupils so dilated that you couldn‘t even tell the color of anyone‘s eyes anymore. It is playing a different kind of hide-and-go-seek with my high school friends, hiding with a boy behind the bushes just so you can make out until almost everybody is found, then running to base as quick as you can so you won‘t have to be it and you can make out again. It is lying out in the summer to get as dark as my Native American ancestors did and hiding behind trees during the winter, fearing speeding snow balls launched from my big brother that leave bruises. It is lying on my back on my roof my junior year with my first true love looking at stars. It is lying on my back on the grass with a different state of mind watching clouds consume the moon with two of my best friends. It is stepping out the window of my dark, stuffy bedroom into the open, moon lit world—sneaking out for the first, and only, time. Sometimes at that age, high school age, you have to do some things because you think you‘re supposed to.
It Is Nature It is riding on the back of a motor cycle with a man that I have been deeply in love with since the day I met him. Riding down the strip at Myrtle Beach with nothing but a bathing suit on, my long hair flowing behind me, makes me think of new beginnings. It is sitting on the back porch of my first home, the one that I lived in by myself, gathering inspiration for a poem or just admiring all that God has created. It is walking along the scenic paths that surround my college campus and trying to figure out who I am while watching other students do the same. Itâ€˜s feeling these times slipping away as I watch the sun set beyond my dorm room yet again. It is picking flowers; it is being a snow angel; it is carving pumpkins and letting go from a rope into a muddy lake. Itâ€˜s the rain pouring down while I enjoy it covering my body. It is feeling the spring, the summer, the fall, and the winter on my skin, smelling it in my hair. It is the things that make me feel, think, and love. It is my life, and it is nature.
Academic Writing The Samba Makes History by Guilherme Agustini On Monday September 5th of 1988, the exact date of my birthday, the Cultural Desk section of the New York Times published an article about Brazilian music titled ―The Ways of the Samba.‖ Jon Pareles, the author, wrote: On Friday, Mr. da Vila ambled to the stage and started singing qui etly, as if to himself; eventually, he tapped his own cross-rhythm on a tambourine. Next, his guitarist joined him for a soft, breathy bossa nova - music for an intimate cabaret - and the drummer, bassist and cavaquinho player gently joined in. (11) Pareles was describing what happened in the opening night at Sounds of Brazil where the sambista Martinho da Vila was to play three consecutive nights. Even though the title of the article is ―The Ways of the Samba,‖ Pareles only affirmed that samba can be ―private or public, jazzy or blunt, a rumination or a pop song or a carnival parade‖ (11), and focused on the samba session played by Da Vila. However, samba has different styles and lots of derivations such as samba de gafieira, samba enredo, samba de breque, samba-canção, sambarock, partido alto, pagode, and samba-reggae. Despite the fact that the musical review does not live up to the title, Pareles‘ quotation suggests the central idea of what samba historically has meant to Brazilian culture and society, as well as how samba should be understood. Samba is normally well known as the Brazilian national rhythm or Brazilian identity, which is true and cannot be forgotten. However, these are not its only significance. Samba must be recognized as the nationally unifying force of Brazil. To understand this, first of all, it is important to be aware of the history of samba. Brazil is the most African country of South America. Samba is a musical genre born in Brazil from African. The exact course of samba‘s early evolution is unknown, but theories about its origin are broad. The word samba 20
The Samba Makes History seems to come from Angola, where the great majority of slaves in Brazil originated, and where the Kimbundu term semba refers to the umbigada: the navel -touching invitation to the dance that was part of circle dances in Africa (McGowan and Pessanha 28). The initial characteristics of samba come from the slave dances that were accompanied by short, melodic phrases and refrains that became fundamental to the samba de roda (dance circle), which was born in Recôncavo Baiano, a site that became a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity in 2005. Certainly, the urban samba carioca became the trademark Brazilian samba in the twentieth century. However, before samba turned into the national rhythm within the country, there were other traditional forms of samba in Bahia and Sao Paulo. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Bahian black immigrants brought samba to the city of Rio de Janeiro: this is how samba became a widely shared experience. The baianos slavery dance came in contact with and incorporated other musical genres played in Rio such as the polca, the maxixe, the lundu, and the xote, acquiring a particular style and creating this urban samba carioca. After samba started to rise in Rio from both Bahian and Sao Paulo influences, Tia Ciata, a baiana descendent from slaves at the end of the nineteenth century, solidified samba carioca in the house of the Tias Baianas. According to folklorists of the period, for a samba song to reach success, it would need to pass by the house of Tia Ciata and be approved in the circle of samba parties (McGowan and Pessanha 29). A lot of improvised compositions were created and sung in Rio, such as Donga and Mauro de Almeida‘s ―Pelo Telefone‖ (―By the Telephone‖), which would make Brazilian music history in 1917as the first samba song to be recorded. Even though, unfortunately, the property speculation in the city of Rio de Janeiro formed various poor morros (hills) and urban favelas of carioca, Rio de Janeiro was the home to many new talent musicians. Very quickly, the samba carioca, born in the center of the city, would reach the hills come to be identified as samba de morro (samba from hill) as it spread beyond Rio‘s borders. This, grippingly, marked the first major attempt at the repression of samba. During this time, samba was appropriated only by Carioca sambistas in the favelas of Rio. The rest of Brazilian society, especially the elite, looked down on it because the rhythm was too slow, the music was consumed by poor social groups, and thus was considered illegal. It was violently repressed by the police. According to the book of Hermano Vianna, the Brazilian anthropologist and writer, chroniclers of samba have agreed with such interpretation. Vianna quotes a good example of that period can be found in the classic collection of articles by Jota Efegê, who wrote: ―In those vanished times of 1920 until almost 1930, samba was considered illegitimate. It was looked on as the stuff of
Guilherme Agustini lowlife rascals, the carol of vagabonds. And the police, in their chief function of watching over the maintenance of public order, persecuted [samba] without rest‖ (11). On the other hand, at the end of the 1920‘s, an essential encounter for the invention of Brazilian popular culture would take place. In 1926, a meeting in the Catete Street café brought together the principal names of Brazilian musicians who wanted to analyze traditional elements. The meeting constituted a departure point for a change in the relationship between the elites and the popular classes, valorization of the common Brazilian things, the creation of national identity, theorization of racial and cultural mixing, examination of tension between regionalism and Rio-centered unity. Within these various currents of nationalist discourse, the samba emerged as the best Brazil has to offer. Again, even beyond samba‘s huge popularity, this music style gave birth to a unifying movement. Carnival blocks of samba were soon born in the area of Estacio de Sá and Osvaldo Cruz, and also in the hill of Mangueira, Salgueiro and Sao Carlos. Even today, these districts still make persistent rhythmic innovations in the samba . The first school of samba, Deixa Falar, rose from the highlighted Turma do Estacio. The Turma do Estacio changed the history of samba by accelerating and improving the rhythm of the songs with the endorsement of students such as Ary Barroso and Noel Rosa. The phenomenon of the samba schools took off, which helped to enhance the creation of subgenres of samba like partido-alto and samba-enredo. From 1930 through 1940, samba entered a new historical stage. Practically, a samba revolution of unity occurred in this second moment. Samba became a cultural experience for all social classes because of the popularization of a new device, the radio, which spread the samba across the whole country. The radio bridged relationships among all sectors of Brazilian society, making samba the emblem of Brazil because of the sambistas’ triumph in the carnival. The carnival festivities shook off police repression and gradually gained the support of society. Rube Oliven describes transformation thus: ―It was with the growing importance of carnival that samba began to be consumed by the rest of the Brazilian population, becoming into the Brazilian music par excellence‖ (qtd. in Vianna 12). According to Hermano Vianna, the transition from police persecution to unanimous celebration is a mystery. Regardless, this new image of Brazil would achieve both national and international popularity. The later came with a famous piece of music, ―Aquarela do Brasil‖ composed by Ary Barroso, which reached Hollywood films through Carmen Miranda in 1939. Moreover, that was the period where names like Noel Rosa, Ismael Silva, Almirante, Joao de Barro and many others gained national recognition as sambistas. They were key to the popularization of samba in 1960‘s.
The Samba Makes History By the 60‘s, the bossa-nova music tradition had been already created, but Brazil had become politically fragmented because of a military dictatorship that lasted over twenty years. As a result, bossa-nova musicians began to give more attention to the music made in the favelas. This is another way in which samba played an important role in bringing together Brazilian society, which ―gently‖ joined forces to support the arts, according to Parele. In his article at the University of Texas at Austin, Gerard Behague stated that even though ―the censorship was widespread and uncontrolled, yet the popular music of the country developed in unprecedented fashion‖ (1). In recent decades, samba has not had the popularity it once enjoyed in the 1930‘s and 1940‘s, but continues to act as a unifying agent to the nation. For example, when a gaucho politicians (who are from the state of Rio Grande do Sul) promoted the secession of southern states from the republic, the wellknown Bahian composer and singer Caetano Veloso declared the following in an interview published in Jornal do Brasil: ―the samba school Mangueira, and by extension Rio de Janeiro, both represent a national unity. Now that people talk about separatism, it‘s good to strengthen [samba and] Rio as symbol of nationality‖ (qtd. in Behague 2). Behague also argues that ―samba must be viewed primarily as the product of the relationships between different social groups, and the only major form of popular culture that has continued to function as a coalescing factor in an era of fragmentation and separatism,‖ and that ―popular samba originated in Rio contains in its historical trajectory the synthesis of nationality because its invention as national music was a process that involved numerous social groups‖ (2). Scholar H. Vianna shares this belief that the mystery of samba‘s transition into a national rhythm was less an abrupt jump from repression to acclamation and much more the outcome of a gradual process. Any cultural tradition is built through a complex interaction several elements from diverse classes and, indeed, nations too. Poor black people from the favelas of Rio did not build samba alone. They had influences from other regions, interactions with other classes, races, even other nationalities. In Vianna‘s book, Richard Peterson states that ―authenticity is not a trait inherent in an object or an event that one declares ‗authentic‘; it is a matter of social construction, a convention that partially deforms the past‖ (15). However, the process of national construction and development of the famous term used in Brazil, ―Brazilianism,‖ was undoubtedly reinforced by samba, a vital part of unifying procedures. Antonio Candido, a prizewinning Brazilian writer, professor and literary critic, recognizes this main point. As Candido stated, ―scholars and others have perceived music, more than other sorts of artistic expression, as having the potential to break down barriers of
Guilherme Agustini race and class and serve as a unifying element, a channel of communication, among diverse groups in Brazilian societyâ€– (15). Works Cited Behague, Gerard. "Rap, reggae, rock, or samba: the local and the Global in Brazilian popular music (1985-95)." Latin American Music Review 27.1 (2006): 79+. Academic OneFile. Web. 7 Mar. 2010. "Black and proud in Rio." The Economist [US] 19 Mar. 1988: 97+. Academic OneFile. Web. 7 Mar. 2010. McGowan, Chris, and Ricardo Pessanha. The Brazilian Sound. Ed. Tad Lathrop. Trans. Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha. New York: Billboard Books, 1991. Print. Pareles, Jon. "Review/Music; The Ways of the Samba.(Cultural Desk)(Sound recording review)." New York Times 5 Sept. 1988. Academic OneFile. Web. 7 Mar. 2010. Vianna, Hermano. The Mystery of Samba: Popular Music and National Identity in Brazil. Ed. and Trans. John Charles Chasteen. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999. Print.
The Cassini Controversy: Science Versus Ethics by Blaiz Buchanan Imagine what the world would be like if the ecological and economic devastation created by the 1930‘s Dust Bowl occurrence had spread globally. Contemplate on the prospect that millions of years of evolutionary progress could be dissolved by a single erratic vote of chance. Envision the earth‘s land of paradise completely wiped out, all life forms eradicated, because of a miscalculated statistical probability. Astonishingly, this fictitious scenario is not completely without merit. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration‘s (NASA) launch of the Cassini space probe, a plutonium stocked nucleargenerated vessel, has the potential to create such devastation as previously eluded. Even more astounding is the fact that the launch was allowed to proceed regardless of the opposition it encountered. On October 15, 1997 at 4:43 a.m. EDT, the Cassini journeyed into space (Tannenbaum, 2008). Cassini Mission The Cassini space probe is a powerful Titan IVB Centaur rocket carrying 72 pounds of plutonium. NASA designed the 1997 launch for the scientific exploration of the planet Saturn. The Cassini planned to use the plutonium to power its electrical instruments during its voyage. NASA stated that the regular solar power collectors would be ineffective at a distance this far away from the sun (Tannenbaum, 2008). The probe was carrying three plutonium batteries, radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs), which created electricity from the heat generated by decaying plutonium (Tannenbaum, 2008). The fact that NASA willingly overlooked the possible consequences of a radioactive material entering the earth‘s atmosphere is very alarming, but so is the fact that a later disclosure of information proved that they could have used solar power (Tannenbaum, 2008). So why did NASA trudge forward into the unknown? Major survival concerns apparently prompted NASA‘s decision to use plutonium. Lt. Gen. James Abrahamson, former head of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization stated ―The U.S. Space Command is already preparing itself for a future of U.S. military control in space, which would depend upon the ability to use nuclear reactors in space as a power source for hypervelocity guns, particle beams, and laser weapons on battle platforms‖ (Tannenbaum, 2008). This underlying, hidden agenda for the justification of flailing plutonium into an unknown orbit is very disconcerting.
Blaiz Buchanan Plutonium Plutonium is a radioactive metal formed by altering the nucleus of a uranium atom, shifting its atomic structure, and creating a new element. The Environmental Protection Agency states ―Plutonium was first made in large quantities by American scientists in the 1940s as part of the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb‖ (Plutonium, 2008). The Atomic Archive (2008) states, ―When a plutonium weapon is exploded, not all of the plutonium is fissioned. Plutonium 239 has a half-life of 24,400 years. Ingestion of as little as 1 microgram of plutonium, a barely visible speck, is a serious health hazard causing the formation of bone and lung tumors‖ (Tannenbaum, 2008). Obviously, the occurrence of a potential release into the atmosphere should be prevented at all cost. The repercussions, according to the half-life data, are extremely longlasting. The Cassini probe had three potential opportunities to release plutonium into the atmosphere: the launch itself, the orbit around Earth, and the planned August 1999 swing within an altitude of 500 miles of Earth (Tannenbaum, 2008). If something had gone wrong at any of these stages, the result would have been global devastation. Risk Factors Was Cassini worth the risk? How much of the human race can be safely extinguished? The world civilizations of today are interconnected to a large extent and extremely few (if any) are completely self-sustaining. Nobody can accurately predict a ―safe number‖ of lives to sacrifice in the name of scientific advancement. The Marin County (CA) Resolution protesting the launch stated ―Plutonium is extremely hazardous when vaporized, and in the past, the vaporization of entire U.S. spacecraft and nuclear generators aboard those spacecraft has occurred‖ (Tannenbaum, 2008). John Pike, head of space policy at the Federation of American Scientists, calculated that the odds for failure of a Titan IV rocket are "between one in ten and one in twenty" (Tannenbaum). Additionally, a miscalculated descent could cause the probe to fragment into the Earth's atmosphere creating disastrous results. Then, according to City University of New York nuclear physics professor Dr. Michio Kaku, ―the plutonium—the most toxic chemical known to science—would shower down with a tremendous tragedy for the people of the Earth" (Tannenbaum, 2008). It is actually mind-boggling that NASA would even attempt such a risk, considering that the Titan IV rocket is the same kind of rocket that on August 2, 1993 exploded over the Pacific Ocean. This information makes it precariously difficult to place any stock into the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) statement that ―there are no potential accidents associated with Cassini that pose any
The Cassini Controversy significant risk to the public‖ (Tannenbaum, 2008). It is inconceivable that any citizen would gullibly accept such a blanket statement as truth. The best predictor for future events or behavior is still past episodes. This knowledge, of course, does not guarantee an episodic failure, but it certainly increases the statistical relevance for such an event to occur. Kohn who was the emergencypreparedness operations officer at the Kennedy Space Center stated, ―Eventually you're going to have an accident‖ (Tannenbaum, 2008). Another question raises a conundrum: ―With a history of such accidents, evidence of failures, and the lack of public control over information, can we trust 72.3 pounds of plutonium in NASA's latest space probe?‖ (Tannenbaum, 2008). Although a morally-sound answer of ―no‖ seems warranted, this negation apparently did not translate into action as far as the mission was concerned. Culture Values Since the beginning formations of modern civilizations, societies have defined themselves through their cultural values and belief systems. A culture‘s values grow from the ideals it deems important and the beliefs it holds in high esteem. In the United States of America, as in most of the world, the sanctity of life holds the pinnacle spot on the totem pole. A human life represents the top spot of blessedness in our society. The launch of the Cassini space probe from Cape Kennedy, Florida was in direct violation of the unstated cultural norm—to protect and value human life. According to the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice: NASA reports that if the worst-case scenario occurs—the rocket disintegrates in the atmosphere and the plutonium is released—approximately five billion of the seven to eight billion people on Earth in 1999 could receive 99% or more of the radiation exposure. NASA then estimates that in 50 years, roughly 2,300 people would develop lung cancer and die from inhaling that plutonium. (Tannenbaum, 2008) A decision of this magnitude, with such a high level of possible devastation, should not have been decided upon by a single agency or entity. NASA‘s actions conveyed a direct and reckless abandonment for the innate right of all people— the right to survival. This type of repression of individual rights was both immoral and unconstitutional. Conclusion The very nature of science revolves around discovery and technological advancement. The Cassini controversy illuminates the continued conflict between scientific progression and ethical obligation. History has proved itself to be cyclic; therefore, while there will always remain unanswered questions and
Blaiz Buchanan unsolved mysteries, our society may have to make a decision like this again. Just because humans possess a capability to do something does not necessarily mean that they should. Scientific research must consider the facts along with a responsibility to the culture‘s moral values and belief system. In regard to the Cassini mission, specific questions were blatantly ignored: ―Who has a right to make moral decisions for others?‖ and ―Does anyone have the right to control the sanctity of life for the human race?‖ Hopefully, future scientific exploration will learn to correctly balance scientific curiosity with moral obligation. References Effects of nuclear weapons. (2008). Atomic Archive. Home Page. National Science Foundation. Retrieved January 15, 2009, from http:// www.atomicarchive.com/Effects/index.shtml Plutonium. (2008). Environmental Protection Agency. Home Page. Retrieved January 16, 2009, from http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/ plutonium.html Tannenbaum, A. Lecture Series. POLS 325 (2009): The Cassini Controversy. Lander University Blackboard. Retrieved January 16, 2009, from http:// www.lander.edu
Watch out, Zombies!...We Have Guns! by Rebecca McKay Today‘s culture is fixated on the throngs of books, movies, and videogames about the ―undead.‖ Vampires, werewolves, fairies, and many other supernatural archetypes are taking over the shelves of bookstores, gaming stores, and movie rental stores. However, one supernatural being that has been around for a while but never really given the full credit it deserves is the zombie. Zombies, literally the walking dead, are disgusting creatures that can easily ruin one‘s life with a quick bite. Unlike vampires, who generally use a number of methods to attract their prey, and werewolves, who can be easily avoided due to their selective schedule, zombies prove difficult to get away from, as they travel in masses and are deterred by little. In a culture that has been exploring the idea of supernatural beings for years, one wonders why zombies are only so recently making a comeback. Max Brooks‘ novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War achieved chart-topping popularity and legions of devoted fans because it gives the readers a different look at zombies: rather than reading a debacle of terror from a narrator who is actually being chased by zombies, Brooks uses the experiences and stories of others to describe chaos and terror in a calm, sensible manner. Zombies are unlike most other supernatural beings that readers often explore through literature and pop culture. People do not wish to become zombies; they wish to blow the zombies‘ useless brains out. With video games like Left for Dead I and II, movies like Zombieland, and books like Brooks‘, including World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide, zombie lovers are constantly finding ways to incorporate zombie apocalypses into their everyday routines. Zombies fit into the genre of science fiction, a realm of artificial life, alien encounters, time travel, utopian and dystopian environments, and disasters and apocalypses (Masri). More specifically, zombie stories are generally disastrous and apocalyptic, leaving a few men to fight a massive army of zombies. Heather Masri states in Science Fiction: Stories and Concepts, ―The specter of worldwide disaster has always haunted the human imagination and has been a common theme‖ in science fiction (Masri 892). Perhaps one of the primary reasons that zombie devotees are so transfixed with zombies is in preparation for the apocalyptic war they expect to eventually fight. The notion of the world meeting its end through an apocalyptic crisis has dramatically changed over the past few decades. The earlier apocalyptic stories usually entail a huge explosion, a fire, or a flood that wipes the world clean of living species. As the genre of science fiction has advanced, it has given rise to many new ways of explaining the demise of the world as we know it. One of
Rebecca McKay the most popular explanations is an apocalyptic zombie attack, in which the remaining members of the human race are forced to come together and battle the zombies, working hard to ―kill‖ the undead and protect themselves from the fatal bite that would be their end. Over fifty video games and movies that give the watcher or gamer the powerful ability to murder the undead have surfaced over the years. With these epically bloody battles, complete with zombie guts and brains, it is not any wonder why zombies have become so popular in pop culture. Over the years, fiction has given the apocalyptic downfall quite a twist. Nineteenth century writers and even early twentieth century writers were not afforded the freedom that later writers have had in their work. Older writers had to be selective and some even attempted to apologize and explain that their work was, indeed, just fiction and make believe. Henry James states in his essay The Art of Fiction, ―that a production which is after all only a ‗makebelieve‘ (for what else is a ‗story‘?) shall be in some degree apologetic – shall renounce the pretention of attempting really to represent life‖ (James 361). His essay, written in 1884, makes some valid points about fiction of that era. The ―real‖ topics and issues of the time period were not breached, and rarely ever eluded to, because it was not considered socially proper. As censorship has slackened over the years, however, writers have been able to test and stretch the boundaries, often breaking through them completely. Though this new lack of restraint makes for a much more interesting novel, it also develops more extreme reactions to the literary works. Readers, movie goers, and gamers have grown so emotionally attached to zombies that they firmly believe the world will face a zombie war. It only makes sense for authors to feed off of this belief, this attachment that their readers have to the genres. Max Brooks‘ novel, World War Z, is a follow up novel to his first, The Zombie Survival Guide. In his first book, Brooks explains how to survive a zombie apocalypse. Gavin Edwards states in an article in Rolling Stone, ―[Brooks‘] first book, The Zombie Survival Guide, which has sold about a half a million copies around the world, includes tips such as ‗dispose of the bodies‘ and ‗blades don‘t need reloading‘‖ (Edwards). In World War Z, however, the apocalypse has come. Brooks, as himself, travels the world, interviewing survivors of the zombie apocalypse. The stories that the survivors share are detailed, gory, gruesome, and incredibly realistic. In fact, Brooks‘ novel is so realistic that some bookstores mistakenly shelve it in the non-fiction section. While this seems a bit of a stretch, some people truly believe that, even though this has not happened yet, our world is not far from a story just like this novel. The novel‘s popularity has led to, ―a lecture series where college students learn to fight zombies‖ (Edwards). Brooks states in the article, ―‗I am not being ironic.
Watch out, Zombies!...We Have Guns I was terrified of zombies as a kid. I think it‘s their viral nature that makes them so scary. Fighting them is like trying to negotiate with AIDS‘‖ (Edwards). It is difficult to take Brooks seriously, though: ―He‘s got a world-class comedy pedigree (son of Mel Brooks, an Emmy from his time on the Saturday Night Live writing staff)‖ (Edwards). However, Brooks ―insists that he‘s serious about fighting zombies‖ (Edwards). As a skeptic myself, I recognize that Brooks is not entirely serious with these books. However, I might be annihilated for speaking such blaspheme, as millions of zombie aficionados are truly using these books at guides for the upcoming war. Fortunately, many people are rational about the books they read. It is understandable to get so sucked into a novel that the reader wishes the characters and situations were real, hence the entire Twilight Saga. However, many truly believe that what they read in supernatural, fantasy, and science fiction novels are reality or will become reality. Many people love to immerse themselves into plots, delving into the characters‘ lives. Some books are so good that they are irresistible to put down, yet one forces oneself to slow down, afraid for the book to be over. Some readers choose books to read many times, finding more to love with each new read. Books like that are rare and wonderful experiences; however, they should not be taken so seriously that readers fixate their lives on preparing for such fantasies to become reality. An article by Publishers Weekly describes World War Z as ―surprisingly hard to put down‖ but with an ―implausible premise and choppy delivery‖ (―World War Z: An Oral History”). Unfortunately, many readers do not read the book in this way. They feel that the actions and situations of this novel are perfectly plausible. Max Brooks gives the novel an introduction so realistic and pragmatic that is seems the reader is about to embark on a story from a history book, not a fictional novel. In the final paragraph of his introduction, Brooks states: Although this is primarily a book of memories, it includes many of the details, technological, social, economic, and so on, found in the original Commission Report, as they are related to the stories of those voices featured on these pages. This is their book, not mine, and I have tried to maintain as invisible a presence as possible. Those questions included in the text are only there to illustrate those that might have been posed by readers. I have attempted to reserve judgment, or commentary of any kind, and if there is a human factor that should be removed, let it be my own (Brooks 3). Brooks attempts to persuade the reader that the stories and recollections of this novel are from other sources, and not his imagination. Most know that as true and factual as this book sounds, it is fiction. Even the most sensible readers can get sucked into the apocalyptic world that Brooks creates, though.
Rebecca McKay With hundreds of movies, video games, and books portraying the zombie apocalypse, it is no wonder people are fanatical about this genre. Readers often get obsessive about books, as we have seen for years, dating back to Jane Austen fans, to the J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer fans of today. As long as people continue to read fiction, they will blur the lines of fantasy and reality. Most often, it is all in good fun; however, we should always be aware of the â€•zombiesâ€– of the reader world, or the zombie fanatics. They might just get their chance to rise up and take over the world, one bite at a time. Works Cited Brooks, Max. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006. Print. Edwards, Gavin. "Max Brooks." Rolling Stone 19 October 2006: 100. Print. James, Henry. "The Art of Fiction." Eds. Charles Kaplan Anderson and William Davis. Criticism: Major Statements. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. 358373. Print. Masri, Heather. Science Fiction: Stories and Contexts. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009. Print "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War." Publishers Weekly 7 August 2006: 37. Web. 1 December 2009.
New Voices Biographies Guilherme Agustini is a Freshman from Brazil majoring in Business and Theatre. He wrote about the Brazilian music identity, Samba, and its role as a unifying power within the country. He is so thankful to be selected by New Voices. Paula Birch is a Junior English major (Professional Writing Emphasis). Blaiz Buchanan is a Senior Psychology major from Bartow, Florida. Blaiz plans to attend graduate school at the University of South Carolina to pursue a lifelong dream of writing topics to increase public awareness. Lindsey Copeland is a Junior English major from Merryton. She is majoring in English and wants to be a housewife. Grace Foreman is a Freshman majoring in Early Childhood Education. She is from Charleston, SC, and chose to write about videogames because they have always been her best anti-depressant. Kelley McCravy, from Greenwood, SC, is a Senior majoring in music education, with a piano emphasis, and is also minoring in English. Rebecca McKay is a Junior English major from Graniteville, SC. She plans to use her emphasis on professional writing to work in the editing and publishing field. Tashinga Musonza is a graduating Nursing major/biology minor from Harare, Zimbabwe (Africa). He chose to write a memoir describing his life journey that affirmed his belief that, where medicine cannot heal, a caring heart and a gifted hand can touch. His goal is to blend patient care (nursing) and medicine. Charlotte â€œKatieâ€? Patterson is a Junior majoring in English Secondary Education. Her hometown is McCormick, SC. She has a big family there that she adores. Wendy Polk is a Senior English major from Hampton, SC. She loves to write but will be putting that on hold to attend Charlotte Law School in the fall. Aerin Phillips is a Junior English major from Rock Hill, SC. She has a twin sister here at Lander and is considering a career in editing or education. Jared Simmons is a Junior Political Science major from Belton, SC.
2010 Edited by
New Voices Student Journal of Nonfiction
Aerin Phillips Wendy Polk
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Published on Apr 28, 2010