Monday, 05 March 2012

It’s now impossible to tell the diary of a warrior from that of a gamer. Citizens of the civilized galaxy, on this day we mark a transition. For a thousand years, Our Republic stood as the crowning achievement of civilized beings. But there were those who would set us against one another, and we took arms to defend of way of life against the Democrats. In doing so, we never suspected that the greatest threat came from within. The Democrat Party, and some within our own Senate, had conspired to create the shadow of racial animus using one of their own as the enemy’s leader. They had hoped to grind the Our Grand Republic into ruin. But the hatred in their hearts could not be hidden forever. As last, there came a day when our enemies showed their true natures. The Democrat Party hoped to unleash their destructive power against the Our Republic by assassinating the head of shadow government – Breitbart – and acquiring control of the reserve forces But the aims of the would-be tyrants were valiantly opposed by those without elitist, dangerous powers, who never went to school. Our loyal know-nothing troopers contained the insurrection within the Jefferson Memorial and quelled uprisings across the planet. The remaining Democrat conspirators will be hunted down and defeated. Any collaborators will suffer the same fate. These have been trying times, but we have passed the test. The attempt on my life has left me scarred and deformed, but I assure you my resolve has never been stronger. The war is over. The Sepratist Democrats have been defeated, and the Decmocrat rebellion has been foiled. We stand on the threshold of a new beginning. In order to ensure the security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Global Empire, for a safe and secure society, which I assure you will last for 10,000 years. An Empire that will be continue to be ruled by this august body and a sovereign ruler chosen for life. An Empire ruled by the majority, ruled by a New Constitution. By bringing the entire galaxy under one law, one language, and the enlightened guidance of one individual, the corruption that plagued the Republic in its later years will never take root. Regional governors will eliminate the bureaucracy that allowed the Democract movement to grow unchecked. A strong and growing military will ensure the rule of law. Under the Empire’s New Order, our most cherished beliefs will be safeguarded. We will defend our ideals by force of arms. We will give no ground to our enemies and we will stand together against attacks from with or without. Let the enemies of the Empire take heed: Those who challenge Imperial resolve will be crushed. We have taken on a task that will be difficult, but the people of the Empire are ready for the challenge. Because of our efforts, the galaxy has traded war for peace and anarchy for stability. Billions of beings now look forward to a secure future. The Empire will grow as more planets feel the...
Shake your meaning-maker So I've mentioned before that the final project in my class is a creative one in which students must occupy the position they've been analyzing all quarter–that of the meaning-making rhetor communicating something or other to a particular audience. Because I'm working with graphic novels, one of the ways I get them to think like a meaning-maker is ask them to find a song that epitomizes a particular book they've read. This exercise is far more difficult than it sounds, because it forces them to reflect upon (likely for the first time) what the lyric of their proposed song means and how that lyric relates to a book whose rhetorical and thematic complexity we've been discussing for weeks. It's the perfect exercise: It starts simple then turns fractal. This quarter, I went with Craig Thompson's Blankets as inspiration, which means the song needs to include equal parts evangelical Christianity, teenage infatuation, Künstlerroman, etc. No single song will perfectly reflect either Craig Thompson's understanding of his own development or any of my students' relation to that understanding, but the act of thinking through that mess will help them discover how they'd like their final projects to resonate with their intended audience. All of which is merely a preface to my declaration that the song I thought best epitomized Thompson's intent–in both lyrical intent and its relation to traditional form–was this one. (The lyrics can be found here.) I'm obviously playing a rigged game, what with me being the teacher and all, but the point is that I can make a very strong argument about how the thematic elements of that song communicate something very similar to the message of Thompson's novel ... and that I dare any of my students to proffer another case for a different song that's stronger than the one they think I'll make for mine. (Which means they'll have to anticipate a critical response and plan their feints and parries in advance.) Game on?

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