Thursday, November 11, 2004

English: An Art, or a Torture Device?

I hate English class. Call me crazy but when I endeavour to learn about an art, and further my ability to produce works using that medium, I like to be able to have a little bit of choice. I don't mean whether or not I'm going to do a certain assignment; I mean how, when and the topic. Even just having one of those options would be nice.

You're given the task of persuading the rest of the students that school uniforms will affect them in more positive ways than negative. The teacher expects an essay. Is that really the best way though? Students tend to have rather short attention spans, most of them anyway. They're not going to want to read your 3000 word essay that gives them the same facts that they've been given each and every other time school uniforms came up. Perhaps something shorter, and wittier would be more effective. Teacher may (read: will) disagree.

The deadlines for your assignments are all laid out for you, with little to no discussion. The only chance of a flexible date is you're away, or some big event is coming up. It doesn't happen too often. Who's to say I'm in the mood to write a poem at the moment? What if I have something I want to try to persuade people about right now? What if what I want to do is going to take more time than I'm given? What if you have a whole lot of homework in other courses? I realize that if there were no deadlines, everything would be handed in at the end of the year, so there must some sort of rule imposed. (Besides, there's no rebellion without rules.) It would be nice if the teachers could set a date to have however many assignments done by. They could be any kind of assignment from a list. This would also keep the teacher from having to mark the same thing over and over, relieving boredom.

Novel studies are a particular chore for me. Most of the time, the teacher has chosen a very boring book to look at. The last one I had to do was on Emma, a book about a 19th century ditz. It was rather painful. Had I the choice, I would have probably chosen something more interesting. I'm sure everyone would have. I would have enjoyed both the book, and the assignment, and taken a lot more from it. All I learned from Emma was a hatred of Jane Austen.

Art is all about creativity. The schools have decided that English is an art. Fine. But how can I be creative when I have so many rules? What is ironic is that they teach the art aspects, poetry, reading, etc. as a science, and the science aspects, like spelling and grammar, as an art. Nobody knows how to spell anymore! The comma is all but extinct, let alone capitalization. It pains me to read some people's work.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Judging Greatness by How Many People Watch Hockey

The CBC has decided to take a poll of who we think is the greatest Canadian. Sure, it sounds like a good idea, but they failed to see some major flaws:

1. Most of the people who watch CBC are watching hockey.
Sure, CBC has some good programming. Unfortunately, so do other stations. The average person will enjoy watching reruns of Seinfeld more than The Nature of Things. Hockey is very popular in Canada, and the CBC airs many NHL games. Therefore, they get a lot of hockey fans watching their greatest Canadian commercials. Thus, it is mostly hockey fans who vote. Take a guess at whom they vote for.

2. People are stupid.
Yes, this was rather blunt, but it is true. Most people don't know the people who actually matter. They think some musician has more to do with how Canada is now than any one of the past Prime Ministers. A hockey player is greater than an author. How can this possibly make sense in anyone's head? Hockey players die in their fourties. Authors are immortal.

3. People don't know enough.
No one can possibly know about everyone in history that has contributed to Canada. Most people die having never been written about, and are forgotten. Some of these people must have done something that has changed Canada for the better, but no one knows about them.

The things about this that bother me the most:
1. Don Cherry is on the top 10 list
WHAT!? Don Cherry is a hockey announcer. How can anyone consider that great? He tells people what's happening during the game. Very few people listen to hockey games on the radio anymore, choosing to watch instead of just listen.

2. Wayne Gretzky is on the top 10 list
Again, I'm dumb-founded. Wayne Gretzky is Canadian, yes, but he spent the last of his career playing for an American team. Not only that, but he was just a hockey player. Now, because of arthritis, he is merely an actor in commercials.

3. Shania Twain (18) is higher on the list than Nellie McClung (25)
Shania Twain is a musician. Nellie McClung won Canadian women the ability to vote. I think I've said enough.

4. Mike Myers (20) is higher on the list than Laura Secord (35)
Laura Secord made a very long trip through the wilderness to warn the British (Canadians) about an American attack. The results of her bravery gave Canada victory in the War of 1812. Mike Myers is an actor. Am I the only one who sees a problem here?

5. Avril Lavinge is on the list.
Quoting the website, "Her tomboyish fashion sense and poppy empowerment songs ('Sk8er Boi' and 'Don’t Tell Me') made her an instant role model for throngs of teenage girls."
Please tell me why this is a good thing.

In conclusion, I am slightly more embarrassed to be Canadian now than I was before I read this website.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Diet Rules From The Kitten-Eater

As of today, junk food, including pop, chips, chocolate bars, all of that stuff, has been banned in elementary schools in Ontario. This means that the kids are now forced to eat healthy. Soon, kids will be awake all day, and have the energy to show up for that fight in the parking lot the school bully challenged them to. That's good, right? Kids need to eat healthy. It helps them grow and learn. They don't really know what they're doing anyway. Most of them would end up eating rat poison if it was placed in front of them. Hurray for the government cleaning up kids' diets.

On the other hand, the next target is high schools. This poses a bigger problem for me. While it is still true that high school students need to eat healthy to learn and grow, and it would also help them stay awake through fifth period, it also takes away our choice. I am a high school student. My diet usually consists of french fries and a rootbeer. While this may not be the healthiest choice, it is one of the cheapest ones and most-filling. I also happen to like it. I, like thousands of other highschool students, am 18 years old. The government has decided that I'm old enough to make a decision about who should run the country and province, yet they don't think I'm old enough to make my own decisions about what to eat. Then adults (what am I again?) go and accuse me of not having my priorities straight. Perhaps the government could be spending more time on programs to get problem students interested in school, or homeless people off the streets and working, or even keeping our doctors in Canada. There are bigger problems in the country than what teenagers are eating. Why doesn't the government see this?

Is My Education That Bad?

So I've learned recently that my aunt and uncle are converting to Catholicism purely because they want their kids to get a better education. I can't help but be offended, not only as a Christian, but also as a student! I realize that I'm going to be offending some people, but that can't be helped. This is my place to speak, you don't have to read.

First off, converting to Catholicism is counter-productive. They have so many extra things that they do, confession to a priest, etc. The Bible says nothing about these extra actions, except when they say not to do them! Catholics pray to Mary. Jesus said something along the lines of, "All those who come to the Lord come through me." I can't remember where to find it, but it's there. There are more examples, but I won't bother with those. Not only am I offended that they're switching to Catholicism, I'm also offended that they are just using religion as if it were a tool. It isn't.

As a student, I'm offended that they think Catholic schools are so much better. Most students at Catholic schools don't want anything to do with their religion. They are unhappy there, and rebel much worse than those at public schools. Keep in mind, this is just my opinion that is based upon what I have seen. I can't see Catholic students getting a better education than us. (unless they're taking physics...)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Something I Forgot to Add

Okay, I'm still up. Yes, it's rather late, I know.

Anyway, I forgot to mention in the last post what most people's reaction is when I talk about those issues:

"People have the right to do whatever they want to."

I'm serious. I've gotten about five of those, two of them verbatim. I always have to pause for a moment to let the mental stun wear off. People actually believe this. I'm not sure if I should make derogatory comments, or pity the person. Well, I don't make the comments because then I'd just be a troll, and no one likes trolls. So I pity the person for a moment, and then proceed to tell them they are wrong.

You don't have the right to do whatever you want to. You don't have the right to murder, steal, drive on the wrong side of the road, etc. The next statement I get is:

"Well, these don't affect other people."

How can you say that!? Alcoholism has driven many families apart, turned children into violent bullies, and scarred many people. Smoking is worse for those around you. They don't have the benefit of a filter. The peer pressure of trying marijuana, and other drugs, has stolen the potential of so many teenagers. Not only that, but all of these things change your personality. People who used to be fun to hang around are now only interested in when the next time they get to drink or smoke is. These people honestly believe that in order to have a good time, or relax, they have to destroy their bodies. Some of the most innocent people I know have been tainted by these things.

If murder and suicide is illegal, why isn't tobacco?
If stealing is illegal, why aren't these mind-altering drugs?

I'm not trying to take away your rights; I'm trying to enforce my right to live.
The rights you defend have never existed!

What Canada Needs

I live in Canada. As bad as the world is, I'm sure that there is no other place I'd rather live. Canada is by no means perfect though.

First of all, we allow people to purposely kill themselves. I don't mean suicide, I mean alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.
Tobacco is a proven carcinogen! It causes cancer, not to mention other diseases, such as asthma. Yet the government, in all its wisdom, has decided to let people continue killing themselves, and more importantly, the people around them. Okay, I realize that it is too late to make tobacco illegal. There are too many people that are addicted to just cut off all supply of it. Besides that, it could easily be smuggled in from the 'States. Instead, I think that tobacco should be taxed much heavilier than it is now, while means of quitting smoking should be subsidized. If people can't afford to smoke, they'll have to quit. If the nicotine patches are cheaper, people will be more likely to go to them for their nicotine fix.

The other common evil is alcohol. Alcohol, by definition, is a poison. There is a reason why people get intoxicated when they drink too much. You can't spell "intoxicated" without toxic. Drinking alcohol affects your brain, and not in a good way. It also eventually leads to an addiction. Drinking too much alcohol leads to death. This is all stuff people already know. The question is, if they already know this, why do people still drink? It does not make you cool. It doesn't improve your social skills; it actually makes them worse! It also leads to people taking stupid risks, like driving drunk. So again, why do we allow this? Alcohol should also be heavily taxed. This would make it so that most teenagers, and many adults wouldn't be able to afford to drink every weekend. It would also give the government more money to spend on things like healthcare and education.

Marijuana. It used to be illegal. Why not anymore? Marijuana is known to cause many short-term psychological effects, but also long-term effects that are similar to those of tobacco. Because of these effects, marijuana is sort of a mix of alcohol and tobacco. It is generally accepted that marijuana is not physically addictive, but it is definately mentally addictive. There are arguments that marijuana helps people who are suffering from some diseases. The thing is, so do other drugs, like morphine. Morphine is legal, as long as you have a prescription. If you have a disease that causes you a lot pain, you shouldn't have any problem getting a prescription for another pain killer.

I have more beefs with Canada, but it is getting late, so I will stop at that for now.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

You're no longer safe. In fact, you never were. The corporations own your life, whether you like it or not. Money is power in our world. To get power, you need money. It's a never-ending cycle. Our society is still governed by a feudal system: the rich are in control, while the poor struggle to get enough money just to feed themselves.

"But I have ideas," you say.

So do I. Do you think that matters to the corporations? To the government? Not likely. They have ideas too, and they don't always correspond with yours. They might not be as good as yours, but they're not willing to pay for any outside ideas. That's not to say they won't steal ideas though.

"I could be the head of the government."

Remember, to get power, you need money. No one will vote for some poor slob, even if he does have good ideas. No one will even hear about you.

I'm not against democracy; I want a real democracy.