Friday, April 4, 2008

Tweet Tweet (URCAD Responce)

I'll try to keep this interesting, since I'm sure half of the class will be posting on this! (It's amazing what you can motivate college students to do with the right incentives.)

The first presentation was about Chaucer's Troilus & Criseyde. The speaker focused on the widow and her role in society, starting off with a Gloria Steinman quote: "Men should think twice before making widowhood the woman's only path to power." The basic plot of the poem is that Criseyde, the protagonist widow, must somehow balance the power and money given to her through widowhood with a relationship with Troilus, the knight that protects her. Her solution ends up being that she will keep the power by remaining a widow while continuing her relationship with Troilus for protection, but will keep the affair a secret so as to retain the respect of the society she lives in. The basic moral of the story was really very Steinman--through not only marriage, but societal constraints, men and woman imprison each other; men are expected to worship women and hold to a strict moral code, but in actuality are forcing them to become subservient.

I'll save the second presentation for last, because I want to have fun with it. (And yes--by 'have fun with it', I mean ramble pointlessly so I can put off doing my American Lit homework for just a little bit longer.)

The third speaker did a bit about censorship in high schools, focusing on Tony Morrison's book Beloved. Although the book was Morrison's key to winning a Nobel Prize, most public schools view the book as 'inappropriate'; still, the student believed it was important not only for it's historical and cultural content, but for it's ability to become a safe place to confront sexual and racial discrimination. The book, based in a post-Civil War America, follows the story of a mother that is forced to kill her child to save her from the horrors of slavery, as well as a varying cast of characters and the discrimination they face in a predominantly Caucasian / patriarchal society.

The fourth speaker discussed one of my favourite aspects of government: the Executive Article and the Peoples' naivety about it. (Somehow, I'm hoping the sarcasm in that came through online...) Basically, the second article of the Constitution is never really challenged, but the 1926 court case Myers v. US proved that the Executive Article is, indeed, constitutional. The article gives the president the power to do, really, whatever he wants; the loophole is most often used by unpopular presidents so when they can't score votes, they can use the power they already have to do what they'd like. But, of course, because this is America, we'd like to at least pretend that the people have a chance at questioning the law. In order to have an Executive Article overturned, one would have to sue the government. The case would then have to make it's way through three levels of courts, get chosen by the supreme court, and get simply void. Or, you could convince a super majority (3/4) of congress to veto the law.

But here's where things get good. Student Alex Jarvis, whom I've known in a roundabout way for a while now, is probably one of the wittiest kids I've ever know. That said, he's also currently enrolled at CCSU in his very own major which combines technology and humanities (very Life 2.0). His presentation focused on the combination of what will soon be known as "classic literature" (anything that anyone has ever physically written), and the phenomena known as Web 2.0: a movement where users, not a l33t group of geeks, controls the internet. Things like Digg, RSS, Myspace, Wikipedia, Youtube, Facebook--and even Blogger, are all allowing users to add their personal content to the ever growing pool that is cyberspace.

Now, although Alex had a lot (and I mean a lot) of interesting things to say, I'll focus on my favourite: twitter poetry.

Twittering is when at every single moment of your life, one feels compelled to let everyone around them know what is going on. Ei: "I'm walking across the room to pick up my pencil. I'm picking up my pencil. I'm walking back across the room. I'm sitting down. I'm writing. I'm writing my name. My pencil needs to be sharpened. I'm getting up," etc., must like Facebook's status option, lets users post miscellaneous thoughts infinitely, and lets everyone on their friends page know instantly. had quickly become and endless achieve of people's moods, feelings, and spontaneous thoughts. These little synapses of life is what, Jarvis believes, makes up poetry. His thesis is this: based on any combination of tweets (individual user twitters), one could easily write collective poetry. Simply go to to search the cornucopia of tweets. Type in "bike," and you'll get a list of posts that involve bikes; type in "literature," and you'll get a post by user raewhitlock that claims "Now I don't feel so bad for throwing that guy's literature in the trash when I saw a stack of it at Starbucks recently." Ouch.

Anyway, if anyone's interested in how, exactly, I created the next poem, you can find all of the instructions on; I think I've used up enough space on here (I could make a living off of rambling and blogging), so I'll just post my own bit of Twitter Lit.

The Madness
At home and in bed with caffeine and no lights. Should stop the madness.
Just because I'm sick doesn't mean I can't be productive.
I'm 100% convinced that limiting my pace to 24hr days is unnatural. I stay awake as long as possible, coding and consuming literature

Authors: noefool, blueeyedbanshee, angiolillo, choosetheforce
Words Used: exhausted, caffeine, caffeine, literature
Compiled by: Marissa Blaszko!

I'm not going to lie--that was way more fun than I expect my writing American Lit paper to be. A highly recommended tool for procrastination, for sure :]

1 comment:

woodstl said...

I loved that tweeter presentation. Inspired. Unique. Thought provoking.