The Age of Reason John Doe, Joe Smith, GI Jane

Addison & Steele
On the Italian Opera: A Summary
In England operas were being performed in Italian, despite the fact that none of the English people could understand the foreign tongue. The author wonders what the younger generations will think about their forefathers’ taste for Italian operas, and says the opera’s popularity was only brought about by the success of one Italian opera, Arsinoë. Originally the operas were translated from Italian into English so that the English verses fit the Italian tunes. However, this led to drastic changes in the songs’ meanings because the words had to be reordered. It also caused unimportant words to be emphasized by the music and significant words to be ignored completely. Then the brilliant Englishmen had some of the actors speak in English while the other characters spoke in fluent Italian, further confusing the English-speaking audience. When the audiences’ brains succumbed to exhaustion after three torturous years the opera was switched entirely into Italian. The music was entertaining and pleasing to the ear so it did not matter that the Italian actors were probably making fun of the English audience in a tongue that they were unable to comprehend.

On Apparitions: A Summary
One can take peaceful walks near Sir Roger's house because everyone but the Chaplain believes that the area is haunted. According to the general population, noises, horses without heads, spectres, and other apparitions abound at night. Crows sit in the elm trees, the ground is scattered with old grave sites, and there are eery echos when one walks. However, there is no possibility that ghosts actually exist; they are only the figments of a silly-minded person's imagination. Children are taught from an early age to think of monsters in the dark, and the belief follows them throughout their lives. A person who believes that nonsense can easily perceive a dark-colored, grazing cow as a headless horse and an animal in a bush as some kind of agitated spirit. Every time someone died in the house itself, the death-contaminated room was shut off from the rest of the house, until Sir Roger had barely enough living space for himself. Finally, he had the brave Chaplain exorcise every room so that they could all be reopened. The idea that everything was safe eliminated everyone's unreasonable fears.

terrified human
headless horse

Addison & Steele: The Age of Reason

The Addison and Steele article, On the Italian Opera, questions the illogical nature of England's opera. During the age of reason people began to focus their attention on logic and society. This piece describes how operas in English-speaking England are sung in fluent Italian. The author wonders if the English people enjoy feeling like foreigners at home or if they think that the Italian language simply sounds prettier to them. Attention is also drawn to how the English society reacted to the unusual circumstances in the opera. Instead of rewriting the operas in an intelligent and concise manner , they improperly translated the Italian lyrics and failed to correctly set it to the music. Eventually the people gave up trying to think and left the operas in Italian. Addison and Steele ridiculed England's Italian Opera by showing the English people's apparent lack of common sense and logic in dealing with this situation.

In the article, On Apparitions, Addison and Steele criticize the belief in spirits, and association between the dark and ghosts by showing how unrealistic people are. At night it is difficult for people to see clearly, but instead of using common sense to figure out what an object is they jump to conclusions, and immediately assume it must be something horrid. Because of this irrational behavior, milk is spilled and a harmless cow is mistaken for a terrible beast. Furthermore, exorcism, which can clearly be used to get rid nonexistent ghosts, is used to alleviate peoples' fears. Of course, in their unintellectual minds, the ceremony worked and Sir Roger's entire house could be used again. This article proved, using the Age of Reason's intellectual and realistic beliefs, as well as common sense, that apparitions are a pointless by product of malleable minds.

Concerns Then & Now
This article portrayed Addison and Steele's concern that humanity makes senseless decisions that clearly do not benefit anyone in anyway, except perhaps Italians visiting England. The Italian language in England's operas appeared to be pure human laziness. Today people still do questionable things. For example, in France, where it can be assumed people would speak French, stop signs say 'stop', and in several cities, including one in Brazil, leaders are trying to ban people from dying. If only it were that easy

Today children still cower under their sheets for fear of the monster under the bed or the mummy in the closet. Some run to their parents' room and beg to spend the night. Like described in the article people are still taught from a young age to be scared of the dark. These feelings are not directly instilled in young minds, but they are gathered over time through word of mouth, books, and various media. Ghost stories are told around the campfire and the gentle breeze on one's neck sends chills up his or her spine. Parent's tell their children about the creepers lurking in the dark, waiting to take advantage of a small boy or girl, to keep them in bed at night. Teens and even adults continue to be frightened of the night because they watch horror films. Scary movies play upon the public's fear of the dark and sudden changes in sound. Whenever someone is about to die or something bad is about to happen the music changes and the scene gets dark. The same senses are affected when one is out alone on pitch-black nights. Non-recognizable animal-noises trigger an instinct to flee from potential danger. This tendency is not as noticeable in groups because the presence of others provides a sense of comfort and safety. Because ghost stories tend to be passed down for generations and can now be spread easier than ever before by texting, email, and the internet, Addison and Steele's concerns about illogical fears still remain a concern today. Even without the sources of transmission, fear of the unknown will always remain an intrinsic trait because it may mean the differnence between life and death in some situations.

On the Italian Opera

A Modest Proposal

Identify three ways in which Swift uses shock to persuade the reader. Support each example with at least one quotation from the work.

Swift uses shock to make the readers open their eyes to the fact that they need to do something about the poor economy. He uses sarcasm and a drastic solution to the problem to urge the people to seek a logical way to improve their lives. "...I believe that no gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I have said, will make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat... the mother will have eight shillings net profit, and be fit for work till she produces another child."(Swift 1116). Obviously this is a ridiculous solution to the problem, and the shock produced from it should stimulate the people to try to put an end their starvation and destitution. He challenges the people to think of a better idea in the second last paragraph. "After all, I am not so bent on my own opinion as to reject any offer proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual."(Swift 1119). This is where the reader may be convinced that Swift is voicing his actual beliefs. He makes this suggestion to come up with an idea "as good as his", and uses adjectives to describe his idea like "innocent" and "easy".

Another way Swift uses shock is to make fun of how England treats Scotland so poorly. Not only is he trying to open the peoples eyes to their poor situation, but he is also mentioning who is causing some of their misfortunes, England. Swift, still explaining his proposal of eating babies, says "the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen."(Swift 1116). This sick treatment of babies is a metaphor Swift uses to symbolize how disgusting England's treatment of Scotland is.

Another way Swift uses shock is to give the people some good examples of things they could do to help fix their situation. "Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: of using neither clothes nor household furniture except what is of our own growth and manufacture: of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: of introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence, and temperance: of learning to love our country, in the want of which we differ even from Laplanders and the inhabitants of Topinamboo:..."(Swift 1118-9). The list goes on of several other possible solutions that are actually logical, and he uses satire/sarcasm to say that these ideas wouldn't work.

Swift uses shock to help complement his sarcasm and satire, in order to really capture the reader's attention to make the reader listen to and interpret what he's trying to say.

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Is that what I think it is?!

Our Modest Proposal

In today's times, people are always complaining about something. Currently, the main issues in the United States seem to be the economy and the war in Iraq (thanks to George Bush). We believe that the best way to fix these problems is by the legalization of illegal drugs. Now, we are not heartless, so we propose to legalize only the less harmful drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, PCP, ecstacy, and Oxycotton. Drugs such as Crystal Meth are way too dangerous to the public so that is why we propose to only legalize the aforementioned drugs, and also leave room for future additions to this list.
First and foremost, the largest issue in America currently is the poor economy. The main cause behind this "depression" is the mortgage crisis that has been brewing here in America over the last 3-5 years. As people were unable to pay loans on their houses, the people were forced to declare bankruptcy, relinquishing their homes to the banking industry. The tell-tale-sign of this depression however, did not occur until October 2008 when the stock market took a plunge, as the Dow dropped nearly 800 points. This however was not the mark of a depression in only the US, but a mark of a worldwide economic slump due to the failing banking industry. Our proposal, to legalize certain drugs, can only be beneficial to the US economy.
The first step after legalizing marijuana, cocaine, PCP, etc.. would be to immediately increase the price of airline tickets out of the country and also tax those trying going to Canada. Clearly, not everyone will feel safe with this policy, and for those that don't agree with it, they will most likely try to flee the country, believing they are saving themselves and anyone they take with them. Honestly, good for them, because with the increase in prices of airline tickets, while they are fleeing to a drug-free life in some tropical or European country, we will be here enjoying the profits from their flights. Additionally, with all the vacant houses, the homeless will now have places to live, thus curing the homeless problems. This extra money will provide an initial boost to the economy, I mean who really needs a stimulus package anyway?

What homeless person wouldn't want to live here?
What homeless person wouldn't want to live here?
The next logical path of our plan is to force companies to begin mass production of the once illegal drugs. As the companies gain more experience at creating cocaine, PCP, etc.., they will eventually establish their own brand name drugs with different flavors and colors. This will help in establishing a new crop of users, (ages 6 and up) to replace the older section who will have to face the consequences of not controlling their addiction. They should have better self control, being able to resist their cravings and limit their usage to only once a day. As people become hooked on these brand name drugs, due to the wonderful addictive qualities of them, the people will soon begin to invest stock into these companies. As the demand for these drugs increase, the stock market will grow, and the companies will never run out of supplies because we conveniently live so close to Mexico and Central America. As stocks grow, people will earn more money, and after a while the economy will begin to fix itself and people will become richer. For those of you who fear that people will eventually think to stop using these drugs and that the market will then decrease, you don't need to worry since any babies born of mothers using cocaine will conveniently already have a crack addiction, thus saving larger companies valuable money that they would have spent on "hooking" the newest generation. I cannot detect any fault to our proposal since it effectively solves the problem of fixing the economy and ensuring that the demand for drugs never ends, all without any negative effects. We will not take blame for any casualties that arise as a result of our proposal, because the deaths must be accepted as the public's inability to control the addiction and negative effects of the drugs as put on the warning labels (may cause death, heart attack, OD, insomnia, feelings of invincibility, hallucinations, and a buzz).

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Drugs = Economic Growth
Drugs = Economic Growth

The second problem that our brilliant proposal would solve would be the War in Iraq which we are in thanks to the tact and skill of our former president George Walker Bush. The Iraqi's hate America because they view us as an overly pious, self-righteous country which feels that it needs to save every country from terrorism, depravity, and totalitarianism. Drugs are the key to ending this view of our country by terroristic groups in the Middle East. Rather than trying to be an all powerful country, always out for the interest of democracy -which is highly overrated- we should adopt the policy of legalizing drugs in order to worsen our image to the world to end the hatred of us by the Middle East. When Middle Eastern countries, especially Iraq, realize that the United States is no longer better than themselves, a new era of relations will emerge between us and them. Why should the US do peace talks with the terrorists and other countries to bring an end to this war when our plan is so much more effective? Therefore, with better relations, this silly war in Iraq can finally end, and Iraq can go back to being a lovely, little, dictator run country that suppress the rights of its citizens. Who needs democracy in the Middle East when with our good relationship with them, they will give us greater access to oil, thus decreasing the price of gasoline in the United States. Additionally, with our mass production of drugs, we will be able to spread our "Legalize Drugs" proposal to the world by trading designer cocaine, ecstacy, marijuana, etc.. for oil, food, clothing and more.

The only negatives to this plan that we can see, are a general decrease in the United States' population, IQ, health, and an end to its status as a world power, but who really cares about that anyway?

Here is a link to a recent NPR satirical and hypothetical proposal about what would happen if marijuana was legalized. (link to listen at top of page)

What if pot were legalized?

The Rape of the Lock

Which character in Rape of the Lock best embodies an "enlightened" viewpoint--one that emphasizes reason, logic, and order? Explain why with specific details from the text.

Clarissa is the best representative of an "enlightened" viewpoint in The Rape of the Lock. This story, representative of a mock epic, focuses on what Pope believes was the ideal value of his society; beauty. As soon as one of Belinda's locks is cut off, the sylphs abandon her because there is no need for them to protect something that is no longer fair and pure. In fact, after the lock is cut, Belinda is described as being alone, unhappy, sickly, drained, and tainted, as if her beauty is was her all she had to live for in life. In addition to affecting Belinda, the loss of her beauty also has a drastic effect on the mood of the palace. The palace is described as having become dark, dismal, haunted, and sickening. The people in the palace rely on beauty as a source of happiness and fun. Clarissa is the only character to show any logic or reason among this madness, by means of making a speech about the frivolity of only appreciating people for their pulchritude. Rather than admire and judge others based solely on their physical appearance- a transient quality- ,she believes that a person's inner beauty is more important than one's transient outer beauty. In her speech she stresses the importance of good humor and sense, and how these qualities, which will stand the test of time, are often overshadowed by beauty. She states, "Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll; Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul." (Pope 1152).
Unlike all of the other characters in The Rape of The Lock, Clarissa is able to recognize that while one's beauty can spark an initial attraction, beauty alone is not enough to sustain a relationship. She sees the logical way to appreciate another person, and that is by what is within a person rather than what is on the outside of a person. A person's good humor and a positive attitude are what are going to bring them happiness in the long run. If beauty is all that people look for, no relationship/friendship would stand the test of time since beauty is a short lived quality. No one cares about her speech, showing that she is the only one with an "enlightened" viewpoint since she recognizes the logical idea that personality is worth more than looks.

High School Dictionary
Nasty-adj. to be really be impressive; commonly used with sick. Came about whenever high school students started using words with the opposite meaning of what they are trying to say.
Syn: ill, sick, disgusting
“That car is (sick) nasty.”

Yo-informal salutation. to be used when greeting a friend; origin unknown.
“Yo, man what’s happening.”

Whack- adj. crazy or weird. Implied that a person is acting weird as if they have been whacked upside the head with a baseball bat.
“That girl is whack.”

OMG- texting expression. used to express excitement or surprise. Came about thanks to lazy teenage girls who didn’t feel like typing out, or saying for that matter, the entire phrase.
“OMG, I haven’t seen you in so long.”

Chill pill- n. an expression used to tell someone to relax. Comes from the idea of cooling down, or being chill.
“Dude take a chill pill.”

Hang or hang out-v. to spend time with friend(s). Originated in Africa by the monkeys who would spend time together hanging on branches of trees.
Syn: chill
“Hey man we should hang sometime.”

Like-space filler. used when one is nervous or cannot find the correct word to place in their statement. Originally came about when nervous teenage girls first saw the Beatles in the 1960’s and attempted to put the experience into words.
“There was, like, this one time where, like, went to see, like, this movie and ,like it was really good.”

Dawg-n. slang term used to recognize one’s friends. As made famous by Randy Jackson.
Syn: Homie, bro
“Yo dawg, are we chillin’ tonight?”

Poser-n. one who pretends to be someone they are not. Originates from the word pose, as in to act.
“That kid who acts like a gangster is such a poser.”

Word- expression. to agree with a statement; respond to a statement positively or in understanding. The origin has been lost among the scholars, but it possibly dates back to a lyric of Vanilla Ice’s Ice, Ice Baby.
“That math homework was really hard.” “Word.”