NOTION 3 "LOCATIONS & FORMS OF POWER"
We're going to talk about the power of language, more precisely the power of divine language.
The first document we studied is composed of two extracts from the Bible. The first extract is from the Old Testament and the second one is from the New Testament.
According to GENESIS, the Old Testament, God said "let there be light: and there was light". In other words, if God wants to create something, he just has to say what he wants and he immediately has it. When God names something, this thing is created. For divine language, naming is creating.
In the New Testament, we read "the Word was God". If God is almighty and the Word is God, the Word is almighty too. In a nutshell (en bref), the Bible explains that God’s power lies in (réside dans) his language.
The second document is a screenshot of the Vatican website. We learn that when the Pope needs a new Cardinal, he “create”s him as if this person didn't exist before. As if the Pope had the power of creating by naming.
On the contrary, when a president needs a minister, the minister is just appointed or nominated, not created.
Politicians aren't the Pope, they're not "Verbum Incarnatum": they're not the incarnation of divine power, that is to say, the incarnation of divine language.
Kinan, Maxime, Jade. Posted by Jade.
How Is Your Phone Changing You?
Of the 7 billion people on earth, 6 billion own a cell phone, which is pretty shocking given that only 4.5 billion have access to a working toilet, so how are those popular gadgets changing your body and brain? If you’re looking down at your phone right now, your spine angle is the equivalent of that an 8 year-old child sitting on your neck, which is fairly significant considering people spend an average of 4.7 hours a day looking at their phone. This, combined with the length of time spent in front of computers has led to an increase of the prevalence of myopia or near-sightedness in North America. In the 1971s, about a quarter of the population had myopia, where today, nearly half do; and in some parts of Asia, 80 to 90% of the population is now near-sighted. It can be hard to put your phone down. Take for example the game “Candy Crush”. As you play the game, you achieve small goals, causing your brain to be rewarded with little bursts of dopamine and eventually you’re rewarded in the game with new content. This novelty also gives little bursts of dopamine, and together creates what is known as “compulsion loop” which just happens to be the same responsible for the behaviors associated with nicotine or cocaine. Our brains are hardwired to make this novelty-seeking and this is why apps on our phones are designed to constantly provide us with new content, making them hard to put down. As a result 93% of young people aged 18-29 report using their smart phones as a tool to avoid boredom, as opposed to other activities like reading a book or engaging with people around them. 1.28
Re: Can newspapers survive the digital revolution?
I think that’s an open question. Our audience is clearly migrating, and pretty rapidly, from the print version to the internet version, I’m inclined to think that this is a transition period and not just a steadily accelerating decline. The Washington Post has had a smart strategy of building its website and building revenue on the website, so I think that we’re going to be able to survive. I think the biggest problem is our economic question mark; are people going to be willing to finance a kind of costly investment that it takes to produce quality journalism? That is labor intensive work. The two women who are at the Washington post who broke the story about the abuse of veterans at Walter Reed Hospital spent four months on that story. That’s very expensive to have two very highly-trained professional reporters working for four months on one story. But that story produced an enormous change of policy and the question mark is whether people are willing to support that kind of investment. 1.34
Why Your Words Matter | Robin Sharma
This session is about why the words you use matter. One of the things that I observe is simply this: a lot of people are very careless with their language. And so there is a huge shift, you can either be a victim, or you can be a leader but you can’t be both. And if you look at someone who is a victim, a lot of their victimhood comes down to the words they use. The words you use either lift up your energy, either make you more creative, either allow you to do world-class things, or they deny your talents, they could reduce your energy, they could hurt your leadership. So you have a choice every day, at work and at home or on the streets with strangers, you can develop a victim vocabulary or the language of leadership and in this mastery session, I want to walk you through some of my insights on those. Well words are powerful. Words have destroyed nations; think about the great dictators, their words of hatred, their words of toxicity, their words of breakdown, caused the people around them to do, sometimes, incredibly terrifying acts. And then you look at people like a Nelson Mandela, or a MLK, or a Mother Teresa, you look at the great business builders, you look at humanitarians, at a lot of the great artists, they were so careful with their words, and their words lifted people up. (…)
Queen Victoria, part 2
In class we studied a document taken from a history website which explains that Queen Victoria lost her husband Prince Albert in December 1861, it was a terrible event for her but also for the country.
As we saw it in the document, the nation's question was "How will the queen bear it?” The answer of the queen facing this question was to order the construction of memorial monuments for her husband because she wanted England to never forget him. In reality, the nation was worried about the future because they thought that a woman was less able to govern a country than a man so she had to prove her capacities.
In the document, they tell us that Victoria did the monument herself, "with aplomb" as if aplomb was necessary for a Queen to have what she wants, so we understand that the fact that Queen Victoria’s tenacity is an exaggeration, just as (tout comme) the fact she did it all alone, so it’s all a myth. Actually, we think that this myth has been created to give the queen an image of a strong woman who did not break down even if she was terribly sad. Here again, another myth is created showing her like a hero who faced this tragic event with “enduring dignity” but it could happen to everyone and everyone can bear it so no one is a hero for that.
In the document they also tell us that it's only after this period that people understand the value of the queen so they started calling themselves "Victorians". This nickname shows us the importance of the queen for British people because they chose to wear the name of the queen, we can say that she represented the pride of her country. Moreover, it gives the impression they are one family.
Likewise, (de même), the document describes her as "Grandmamma of Europe" we are going to explain it.
We know that Victoria had 9 children with her husband Albert and we know also that all of her heirs live today in a royal family in Europe. But this expression is valid just for royal European families not for the rest of Europe and people like you and me. So we can say that Grandmamma of Europe does not reflect reality, it's a myth.
This myth has been created to value the queen and her reign, because it shows that she wasn't just the queen of England but also the queen of the world. This myth exacerbates the power of the queen, it was also created to make a good image of Britain as (puisque) everybody knows that a grandmamma is somebody very nice and kind with her grandchildren. So we can understand that this expression shows that Britain and Victoria are caring with Europe.
Unfortunately, this myth is destroy with the last document we studied, which shows inequalities during the reign of queen Victoria (DEJA CORRIGE A L’ORAL!!), social inequality between poor and rich people. We call it "the Victorian paradox" because before we said that Victoria was an exemplary queen and now we see the terrible situation of England where people died on the streets because of the lack of care.
Of course this aspect of England is minimized today because it's a dirty image of England, so English people prefer to keep a good image of the Queen and of her country.
Boris, Muslume, Elise and Maïda. Posted by Elise
Chicago police say gun seizures reducing crime
We’ve reported quite a bit about Chicago’s problem with gun violence so today, this story caught our eye when Chicago police said they have seized more than 6,500 illegal guns this year. Is the city turning a corner? We asked Dean Reynolds to take a look. Chicago police are seizing about 130 illegal weapons each week. Police superintendant Garry McCarthy says that’s more than any major city and he says if you can reduce weapons, you will reduce crime. “Carrying a loaded firearm is the gateway crime to committing a murder.” Murders here are down from 507 all last year to 407 so far this year. In addition to gun seizures, police have flooded high crime areas and beefed up their street intelligence gathering. Now, McCarthy wants Illinois to extend prison terms beyond one year for crimes committed with a firearm. “We can point to at least 150 examples of individuals who would not have been on the street to be a victim or an offender of gun violence if we had a three-year mandatory minimum for illegal possession of a firearm like New York state has.” After plea bargaining and probation, weapons offenders in Chicago often serve just months or weeks, if that. “So the punishment doesn’t fit the menace to society, in your view?” “Absolutely not” (1.30)
Pistes pour la notion "Power"
The Secret Diary of Queen Victoria... aged 13
(0.08) We know her as the great Queen; Victoria is the monarch who reigned the longest though her great, great granddaughter Elizabeth II is fast closing on that record. But Victoria wasn’t always a grand old lady. Her life as a young princess has even been made into a film, and now her earliest known diaries are being put on public display. It’s 1832, she is 13 years old and she’s traveling by horse and carriage through the industrial midlands it’s the first time she has seen anything like it and here the princess expresses her shock and awe. She writes “the grass is quite blasted and black, the country continues black, engines flaming, coals in abundance, everywhere smoking and burning.” Victoria wasn’t allowed to have friends, her paper dolls are relics of a lonely childhood. This new exhibition at Windsor Castle features other Kings and queens. Here is the signature of Elizabeth I in her accounts book, and we hear from Elizabeth II long before she is queen. I love this one, it was written by the current queen when she was 11 year-old princess Elizabeth at the coronation of her father and it obviously went on a bit. In neat handwriting she remembers at the end, the service got rather boring…(1.39)
At line 13, we can notice that when the light of the sun crosses the cloud, it is a metaphor of Fritzi crossing the lines and the limits imposed by her father. It’s a symbol of freedom and of hope .
Paradoxically “the dying daylight” suggests that not only his authority is dying, his life as a father is definitely over too. Moreover there is an assonance in “d” that insists on the shock caused by / provoked by Fritzi’s decision.
The three references to the red color of the office lines 15, 21 & 40 create a heavy atmosphere and the red evokes the violence of the situation: we know that Fritzi’s decision is shocking for Joe, but the feelings in his mind are violent too. Hell is also evoked by the red color because now, his life is worse than death, like a long nightmare of loneliness.
At line 21 the fact that he’s standing like a “black silhouette” in front of the window which is a “rectangle of red” creates a contrast between black and red. The black silhouette might be a shadow that represents his sadness and his dark ideas; it’s the allegory of his breakdown. His extreme sadness is also visible in the fact “the blood had left his cheeks”, if Fritzi leaves him, he may not have any reason left to live (il se peut qu’il ne lui reste plus aucune raison de vivre).
Younès , Sidik , Julie , Sonia. Posted by Sonia.
First Activity on "Nothing is bigger than life".
"Nothing is bigger than life" is an extract from a book entitled Johnny Got His Gun, written in 1939 by Dalton Trumbo. The text is set during WW1 in 1917, probably in some field hospital as the main character, Joe Bonham, is a US soldier who got atrociously wounded. He's lying on a hospital bed. This excerpt is a bitter and subversive reflection on war and death as they are seen through the eyes of Joe.
I) First, what is really exceptional in the opening paragraph is the manner in which Joe is described. He is said to be "a dead man with a mind that could still think". Medically speaking, his death is only a matter of time but from a literary point of view, it enables the narrator to formulate it in a very unusual way as in " he was ...to think with", lines 5 to 7. The contradiction is striking, almost shocking. Depicting Joe as somebody both dead and alive provokes a certain confusion as well as a certain curiosity, we want to know more about him and his story.
Once he has managed to have our attention, the narrator adds another crucial element about Joe, namely that "nobody .... nobody knew but he", lines 7 to 9. Joe is put on a pedestal for being the only one who can testify about what it is like to be dead, he is the ultimate spokesman of the dead because he is one of them. Moreover, as his experience is unique, unheard of, and unprecedented, we have no other choice but to believe him, and it's very important because it will be impossible for us to disagree with Joe down to the very last word of his testimony.
The shift from the pronoun "he" to the pronoun "I" allows the reader to identify with Joe. Indeed the first person narrative gets closer to what the reader may feel and think. As a result the reader is more likely to understand, and to feel what Joe is going through. After feeling captivated and convinced, the reader is now starting to feel personally concerned. This is amplified when the narrator starts using the pronoun “you”, the reader is no longer just a witness to Joe’s state, he becomes an actor in the story.
II) In parallel, the narrator uses a wide range of stylistic devices thereby creating a rhythm, which allows a better understanding of Joe’s case.
The anaphora “what’s noble”, “what’s noble” repeatedly reminds the reader of how intense Joe’s feeling of outrage can be. The sensation is the same with the various repetitions of “less than” and “I would rather” because being dead is the lowest of the lowest possible conditions, and so, everything is preferable, as “I would rather” means “I prefer”.
That is why the successive uses of “they” and “them” as opposed to “you” and “he” are a constant reminder of Joe’s anger and hate against political and military leaders, whom he calls “murdering sonsofbitches who [scream] for blood”. They are also a warning for the next generations whom he urges not to “pay attention” to the pro-war propaganda.
The long sentences with “and and and” and without punctuation increase the speed of our reading, and when we combine them with the short ones, line 25 for example, we have to slow down brutally, so in the end we have a very uneven rhythm, it’s chaotic, choppy, with sharp accelerations and slow-downs, and this unstable rhythm could be a reflection of Joe’s unstable clinical condition, of the fact his heart is losing control.
Line 42 contains an incredible alliteration in [b] and [d], the beat of which really amplifies the impression that in this text, form has only one purpose, which is to reflect Joe’s desperate condition. It may also suggest Joe’s heart running out of time. He is going breathless and eventually dies, as seen by the importance of the one last word of the text: "dead". It may describe Joe's situation now.
The last sentence comes as a violent interruption of all rhythm, a brutal ending followed by absolute nothingness, the nothingness of death.
2ème activité "Nothing ...life"
Opposition life/death + opposition life/words.
I) Life vs Death
==> show how obvious his rejection of death is.
==> show that his determination to live comes with a rather desperate, pathetic glorification of life.
II) Life vs Words
==> show that according to Joe, life is more precious than words in general, and than a certain number
of them in particular.
==> after finding these particular words, explain the following evolution: "I would rather", "I would",
"I will", "You take", "give me", + explain the triple occurence of "and" line 19.
==> what about the words "hero" and "coward"?