Friday, July 4, 2014

I Almost Conquered the World

Speed dating with Kramnick.
Today was very different as compared to yesterday which I considered boring. I woke up around 7:00 AM this morning rather than the usual 6:00 AM and therefore had less time to sleep in. I got up to shower, change, brush my teeth etc. at 7:20 AM. I went to get breakfast at around 8:00 AM where I met up with Sue, and Natalie joined us shortly after. We went to class and were prepared for a very intensive three-lecture day.

The day began with Professor Kramnick's continuation lecture on feminism. Yesterday's lecture was essentially a preview to De Gouge, Wollstonecraft and J.S. Mill. Whereas today's lecture consisted of an in-depth look at their works. Professor Kramnick explained to us how women were always considered irrational, lacking ambition, docile, etc. and how all the writers we read countered that. They all countered it in the sense that women were subjugated to society making them think, dress and act certain ways and thus giving them next to nothing to accomplish in life. Due to this impasse, the writers all wrote for equal opportunities for women and men, Wollstonecraft began with the idea of elementary education for both boys and girls (which was unheard of at the time).

It was also explained that since it was a Christian society, the Bible was used as a reference for how women should act. Since the Bible can be interpreted in many different ways, men for the most part in Western society used it to their advantage by making women nurturing and affectionate (and only that), while men had to be ambitious, competitive and progressive. The discussion today with our TA Vijay didn't actually go very far because we talked about many different issues concerning feminism and other things that didn't necessarily correlate with our class, but nonetheless was very interesting. Amongst the stuff that pertained to class that we talked about was how the feminists hated rich women for being so idle and useless and how the two women writers wrote their separate works as responses to men's works that didn't give women equal rights. We also were reminded how young these writers died, leaving us to wonder how much more they could've contributed to the upstarting feminist movement. 

Right after Mr. Mittman's lecture.
Today was probably the most interesting lunch at Trillium yet, for it was one-on-one speed-dating session with none other than P.K.. Professor Kramnick had a table reserved for six students (chosen alphabetically) while we were in the food lines. At the table, Professor Kramnick engaged everyone in a series of questions that included our name, where we are from, what school, how we heard of the programs, etc. One thing out of the conversation that stood out to me was that when I explained that I was from Hercules, California, Professor Kramnick told me that he's been to Hercules before and gave a presentation to the students there about CUSC. I found this to be amazing that he actually has been to the place where I spend more than 35 hours a week at (during the school year at). He mentioned how it was Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg that invited them to speak and therefore he knows "my neck of the woods." Some things that I picked up were, Professor Kramnick enjoys Chinese food, he's not the greatest fan of Sherlock Holmes and it's his last year teaching regular college courses--but not for the summer.

After lunch with thy professor, we went to our guest speaker's presentation. The speaker for today was Alan Mittman, a graduate of Cornell University who is the director of Workforce Policy and Labor Relations at Cornell. The main topic of the day was that of free enterprise, specifically dealing with copyrights and trademarks. There are three main tests to determine whether or not a trademark can be patented or valid and those include, whether it is derogatory, has a transformation or is too similar to the original. The first example he gave us was the name of the NFL football team, the Washington Redskins. Honestly, the name is incredibly derogatory since it is the term used for when bounty hunters skinned Native Americans and left their skin out in the sun to dry and the term "redskin" would then be applied. The second example was that of a picture by an artist, named Jeff Koons that barely changed a picture, in what is considered a spoof and made a whole lot more money than the original. I personally believe that once a spoof comes close to or exacts the profit made from the original piece of art, then major compensation should be paid. The last one was that of a case between Häagen-Dazs and Frusen Glädjé where the names were so similar considering the "ä's" utilized, design, ingredient phrases and even directions on how to eat the product. It was all interesting seeing how desperate some people are on making a profit and making sure that they don't lose a penny. 

Moving on to round 2, being that of the second lecture of the day. It was tiring but everyone made it through. The lecture was focused on the idea of liberalism in the time of Mill and Locke and how it evolved into today's terms. P.K. also went over what the meaning of tyranny exactly meant/means and how Thomas Jefferson famously accused King George III of being a tyrant. Furthermore, the lecture went into the idea of the "tyranny of the majority" and how even then, the public should not be able to infringe on rights, but every now and then it happens. 

The rain actually stopped in this picture.
After class, everyone went back to their dorms hurriedly because of a storm that was just minutes from achieving its prime on North Campus. I sat on my bed thinking whether or not it was possible to jog today while playing games on my phone and then I fell asleep. I woke up at 6:45 PM and then went to dinner and found myself with Sue and Natalie while the others were either still in class or watching the fireworks. Right before I could enter the building, I had to brave some vicious rain that was surprisingly not humid. I came late to dinner (sleepy me) and therefore ate with my floor mates just right over on the other side of the cafeteria. They were having an intense debate on whether or not taking away kid's electronics is an effective form of punishment--I honestly don't know because I never really have gotten mine taken away. 

Once we got back to Mary Donlon, we were all up for a game of Risk and let me tell you the game is fun but TAKES FOREVER. Which is a very good reason as to why this blog was so late. The goal of the game is simple, build up your armies and conquer the world. At some hour into the game I owned around a fourth of the world and sadly lost the strategic location of the Middle East, which gave my friend Chena the advantage of owning an entire continent (Asia) and thus gave him an extra seven armies per round. I came close, and then lost my last stronghold in Southern Europe. Well, tomorrow we are off to Niagara Falls and hopefully we can see some fireworks--unlike today where most of us didn't. Oh and happy early Fourth of July!

Playing Risk, I was so close.
2 AM at the fourth floor conference room.

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