Saturday, April 30, 2005

Judgement of an Uncanny Experience

1.) Before this class, I had never watched a psychic in action. I am, maybe due to my raising, completely skeptical of the uncanny experiences of the psychic. I believe that Jonathon Edwards is a fraud because he only hits 10 to 20 percent of the time. Why in the world would the dead lie? I think it is extremely doubtful that the dead would take the time to play a trick on Edwards. I would think that if he really was in contact with them he would be able to relate one hundred percent of the time, the truth about the dead relative.

2.) Judging other people’s uncanny experiences can be grouped in two categories. A person’s uncanny experience either is associated with other people or it is a personal moment. When a person has an uncanny experience in a personal reflection, the experience should not be judged on its validity. For example, when a dying women on her deathbed claims to have heard Jesus talking to her, no one in their right mind will judge the validity of the experience. There is no way to know whether the woman really did hear Jesus, and thus no one with any sanity should attempt to judge such an experience. Furthermore, there is no reason that any person should judge the validity of a personal experience. It is does not affect them in anyway and if they do attempt to pass judgement, they are being both intrusive and incompetent. An uncanny experience, that is personal, has no right to be judged by people isolated from the reflection.

The judgement of an uncanny experience that affects the lives of others should be judged objectively. For example, in the new and famous show Crossing Over, Jonathan Edwards claims to be in contact with dead relatives of the audience. This experience is no longer personal or isolated, and should be judged on its validity. The judgement on this type of experience is never subjective, rather it is objective. When he claims to hear the dead talking to him, an objective judgement should come from the audience member whose relative he claims is talking to him. If what Jonathon Edwards says is true or false an accurate objective judgement can be made on his validity as a psychic. In dealing with psychics, who claim to be in contact with the dead, there is no percentages rather he/she is substantiated or he is a fraud. When an uncanny experience touches other people’s lives, it should be scrupulously and objectively judged.

Buffy and the Questions surrounding her?

1.) To be honest, I was never a really big fan of Buffy the vampire slayer. Perhaps, I should have watched more then one episode. The episode shown in class though, was really good and almost peaked my interest. The only problem with the show is that it’s too stereotypical, especially with other shows out like charmed and angel.

2.) A person becomes a vampire slayer, not to become a celebrity, but to do his/her civic duty with his/her innate gifts. A slayer's job is to rid society of the evil consumed vampires. Where in the job description does it mention getting others to believe or understand what you do. In the real world, many people, like the mother Theresas of the world, go unnoticed in their work and success. They don’t complain about the lack of exposure, rather they are happy to be able to make a positive difference to the community. This idea translates over to a vampire slayer. It does not matter to them if they receive the exposure or understanding gratitude from society. What really matters to them is the end result, the protection they give to other people in the form of eradicating the vampire race. A vampire slayer does his/her job, not for the understanding or gratitude from society, rather because they want to expunge the community of vampires.

Buffy, the vampire slayer, does not follow the common belief, that slayers do their job for the good of society rather then understanding from the victims. The simplest explanation for this deviation is that, Buffy is not Mother Theresa. She is not able to work for the betterment of society, without their acceptance and gratitude. This character flaw is seen in a number of episodes when she confronts Gile, her mentor, about the lack of acknowledgement for her work by the community. The reason Buffy continuously quests for society to understand her incredible work, is because she does not have a perfect character.

Buffy, in many of the episodes, has perceptions about the imminent danger facing the group. Even with proven instincts, her ideas are continually questioned or even ridiculed by her fellow defenders. This constant degradation of Buffy’s estimations by her friends is due to her presented image, a ditz. The T.V audience, on the other hand, is led to believe, through the way the episodes are shot, that Buffy usually has the right instincts. For example, in the episode where Buffy claims that the dummy is the cause for all the killings, the audience is led to believe that her assumption is correct because of scene selection. The twist of it all is that blonde ditz stigma turns out to be true, and her assumption is wrong. The audience, through scene deception, believed in Buffy’s fallible assumptions.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Final Thesis

Final Thesis: The increasing wariness of magic and the dark arts holstered by many people in twentieth century society was manifested and spread by the media.

Argument: I will first proceed to define the fear of magic in today’s society, using Freud’s definition of the Uncanny. Next I will show a historical example of a cultivated fear of the unknown. Then I will show examples in modern times, where the media takes isolated events and exaggerates the problem of the dark arts. Finally, I will connect all the examples and show the culpable party, in the cultivation of modern day fear over magic, is the media.

Sources: I am looking at many academic essays, in which the author has some knowledge or experience in the subject matter. Most of the essayists have a negative opinion towards the press the practices of magic are receiving as of late. I also am using media generated periodicals showing examples of their exaggeration.

Favorite Source: My favorite source would be the essay on the novel by Bill Ellis. It is called “Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions, and the Media.” This is my favorite source because of the plethora of information in the text dealing with my topic. Just look at the title, it fits right in with my thesis.

Interesting Fact: That a wrestler, Tiger Boy, was accused of using the dark arts to win his fight, after the other wrestler appeared to be knocked down without contact. Oh, and the wrestler who went down without contact was 60 years old.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Thesis of DOOM

Thesis 1: Society has an innate dissent toward the realm of magic, seen in its bloody history and in modern pop culture entertainment.

I wanted to write a research paper, which incorporated past and present interactions between magic and society. The history part allows me funnel through the ample information on the witch hunts in the 17th century. At the same time I am able to examine the evolution of ideas involving magic, if there are some, from the 17th century to the present day, in the form of pop culture.

Thesis 2: Society has altered the perception of magic from an unknown evil to juvenile entertainment.

I have always been interested in the reason for the juvenility of magic books that I have read. I found that they lack the adult sophistication of other genres. Even the employment of practical magic in the real world, magicians and their show, has been tagged by our society as amateurish. The question I attempt to answer is why this open deification of a historically rooted subject.