Blog 5: Panopticism

Foucault’s panopticism is the entire premise of Big Brother. The idea of Big Brother is that the government is always watching you and that if you do anything wrong or illegal they will be on you like white on rice. Panopticism according to Foucault involves constant surveillance saying that, “Inspection functions ceaselessly. The gaze is alert everywhere”(Foucault 282). In panopticism there is essentially a set of eyes watching you at all times. It is the same concept with Big Brother. However the purpose of Big Brother is to filter out everything and help protect the country or at least that’s what we’re told. Theoretically Big Brother could be used to simply spy on all of us and invade our privacy. It is this fear of invasion of privacy that makes many people afraid and distrustful of our government. Honestly I don’t have a huge problem with it and the reason is because of my personality. I will say anything to anyone. I am an open book and have nothing to hide except perhaps my own personal demons and I don’t think Big Brother can get inside my head. The concern for some may not be that Big Brother is invading our privacy but that hackers and other technology criminals may be able to hijack it and they can use Big Brother for their own purposes like to gain important information like social security numbers. Foucault says that, “At the beginning of the lock up, the role of each of the inhabitants present in the town is laid down, one by one; this document bears the name, age, and sex of everyone…” (Foucault 283). This information that Big Brother is gathering may be used for malicious purposes if the right person gets their hands on it. The panopticism has become less of a concern of the newer generations because we have grown up with it around us constantly. It is a regular thing for us but the threat still remains. It comes down to who is in the ivory tower monitoring everyone. It can be a life saver or a killer if used in the right way.

Blog 3: Oral vs. Literate Culture

It seems that Abram sees the oral culture as that which will yield the greatest value. For me it seems that everyone in today’s world has some form of oral and literate dialect. The distinction in what Abram would approve of more would be if someone uses oral or literate more. My grandparents are much more oral than literate. This is due to the experiences that they’ve had and the way they were raised. My grandparents on my father’s side were born in Brooklyn, New York to Italian immigrants. They were poor growing up and unfortunately so was my father. Writing things down and studying the abstraction of words and arguments never occurred to them. They never had to do assess writings because there was no need for it. Whenever I ask questions to them about how they grew up or what their parents were like, they don’t show me what they wrote down one day in a letter. They tell me all about them and how my great grandfather had a brain tumor so holding down a job was hard for him and how my great grandmother had a gimp arm and would have to still handle the house. She would have to clean and cook and fix broken laundry machines all with one arm. In contrast my mother’s sisters are very intellectual. My aunt Lisa has a doctorate so she is all about showing me the writings of someone and learning from them. She is a part of a much more literate culture. In the contemporary culture we find ourselves in today, people need to have an aspect of both literate and oral culture but we lean towards literate and that bothers me to an extent. I understand that the literate culture is important and that we can learn a lot and gain some intelligence through it. However you lose a certain sense of personality when you do this. I love hearing a story because I feel like a part of it. I feel that there is a certain value set that the oral culture promotes that the literate culture demotes like a sense of family and being a part of something. I am definitely more oral despite having to utilize the literate culture a lot. I prefer the oral culture and would choose that route over the literate one any day. The distinctions can both be used in ways to benefit society but I believe that the oral route is more powerful.

Blog 2: The Class of Nate Ridlehoover

Just as background information, my high school is a private, Christian school. Now hopefully that didn’t just make some people turn off what I’m saying. I’ve seen some good and bad people go through my high school so I’ve seen the stereotypical person who goes through Christian school. I promise you that isn’t me. Anyway, during senior year we have a class that is required to graduate called “Christian Apologetics and Ethics”. In simple terms the class is just “why you believe what you believe”. It is very important to know why you believe what you believe. The class was taught by one of my teaching role models: Nate Ridlehoover. Every Thursday we would have what he called “tough talk”. During tough talk we would circle up the desks and form some obtuse circle looking thing (because you can never make a perfect circle) and we would talk about some controversial topic. Ridlehoover would throw out some scenario and sometimes play devil’s advocate and present the argument opposing what he actually believes. When he did that it really made me understand the value of understanding an issue from more than one perspective. If you can understand multiple perspectives, you can reflect on if you truly believe what you say that you do. Now the reason that these tough talks work is because despite that the high school was Christian, not everyone was a believer and that’s all well and good but it created a certain dynamic that I really liked. People disagreed on things. Even people who are Christians differ a little bit based on their denomination. For example, I am Catholic and Ridlehoover is an Anabaptist. We disagree on a lot of things but we are still friends. He wasn’t so concerned about what we believed but it was more about if we could use scripture or some other evidence to back up why we believe what we believe. It was an opportunity that was rare in this educational world. Ridlehoover implemented the problem posing method that Freire supports so much. Freire says that, “Problem-posing education affirms men and women as beings in the process of becoming- as unfinished uncompleted beings…” Ridlehoover understood that and through tough talks allowed us to grow and become who we are. Freire also says that, “Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information.” Ridlehoover gave us the opportunity to not only say what we think, but also reflect on our opinions while hearing others in an effort to give us that cognitive act of thinking about why we believe what we believe.

Blog 1: The Introduction

Hi there everybody! My name is Joe Williams and in this post you will learn everything you need to know about yours truly. I’ve lived in Wake Forest for four years now but I am a native New Yorker. I’m told that my accent is painfully obvious but I’ve never been able to tell. I know there are certain words (like sister) where it really comes out but it won’t work unless I say it naturally in conversation so don’t come up to me and say “Hey Joe, say sister.” It won’t happen. I get flustered and it gets really awkward. I plan on majoring in Education here at UNCW. My end goal is to become a high school history teacher. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Why on earth would you pursue that career? The pay is some trash and you will be a slave to the system.” Well, that might be the case but teaching is something that I’m very passionate about. I enjoy changing the world, meeting people and continuing to be educated. To me teachers are the people who have the greatest opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. I have teachers who I have hated and teachers that I greatly respect. I strive to be like those that I respect. They are smart and always care enough to ask my opinion. Even if we don’t agree, we are friends. That’s who I want to be. Someone who can be a mentor to someone who needs one. Likewise there aren’t enough male teachers. People wonder why some guys won’t go to their teachers for help in their personal life. It might be because they are uncomfortable talking to a woman about it. Well that covered my major so here’s some fun facts about me. I am half Italian and half Irish. I love football and video games. You will find that in a large group of people I’m not very talkative. I am most comfortable one on one or in a small group of people. Also I’ve been told that I look very sad sometimes. That is most likely my thinking face. I look sad when I think and I get that from my dad. I like rap and classic rock for music. I am a big Criminal Minds and Supernatural fan as well. Just in general I’m not very good at initiating conversation with people in large groups but you will find that I am very talkative and pleasant to be around in a smaller setting. That probably sounds really narcissistic but at least that’s what others say about me. Those aren’t my words describing myself. I have also been involved in my high school’s theater program in the set crew. I was regular stage crew for six shows, I was the stage crew chief for my senior fall play and was student director for my final spring musical: Mary Poppins. Yes we actually flew Mary Poppins up into the audience and the sets for this show included a 16 foot tall house. As far as this year goes feel free to talk to me about anything. I’m not going anywhere.