Class Assignments Jan. 27, 2011 — agenda

Dear Scholars,

The WiZiQ online recording of the class worked this week but was only available to those on my mailing list. If you have trouble accessing it on WiZiQ, you will also find it here.

The suggested comic sketch project seems to have been to daunting. Always remember that project assignments are always only suggestions. Write on a subject that inspires you! We will discuss ideas.

Assignments for this week
Please be sure to watch these. They are a bit long but watch as much as you can: Great composers: Johann Sebastian Bach. This is a superb documentary featuring some great speakers including Johnathan Miller and Karen Armstrong.

Discussions: A panel discussion has been added on changes in society and culture. Panelists from MIT, Cornell, Oxford and Cambridge debate issues. As always, the content is not the point, the language is.

The comic dialogue/monologue is not an easy assignment and has failed largely to inspire. Let’s keep it in mind but go on to other, perhaps more provocative projects.

The persuasive essay
Everyone needs to be persuasive at some point in life, whether it is in a job application, a complaint letter or simply an article in support of a palm tree in a parking lot.

Let’s discuss some perspectives and persuasive strategies that one might adopt in addressing some of the following:

  1. Academic expectations of college athletes
  2. Advertising in schools
  3. Anorexia – a cause of unhealthy weight loss
  4. Athletes as role models
  5. Adoption with secret identity of the mother should or shouldn’t go on
  6. Are parents of teen vandals be held responsible for their child’s damage
  7. Benefit of team sports
  8. Betting racket in sports
  9. Celebrity gossip and the paparazzi
  10. Commercialization of sports
  11. Commercials of liquor
  12. Cosmetic surgery – playing with the nature?
  13. Cyber stalkers
  14. Convicted sex offender should be publicized or not
  15. Death penalty or life sentence
  16. Domestic abuse and violence should be punished
  17. Effects of cell phones
  18. Effects of divorce on children
  19. Free public transport for everybody
  20. Funding issues for women’s sports
  21. Greenhouse effect – a result of deforesting
  22. Hip-hop music lyrics
  23. Human cloning – is it right?
  24. Illegal music downloading
  25. Images of women in the media
  26. Immigration rights
  27. Inheritance law and gay couples
  28. Internet – more harm than good or vice versa
  29. Internet pornography
  30. Internet privacy issues
  31. Mandatory moment of silence in school
  32. Media violence having a negative effect
  33. Public funding of community sports programs
  34. Pregnancy requires AIDS test
  35. Public radio/public television
  36. Pollution is a consistent demolition of the earth
  37. Should internet be censored?
  38. Salary caps for professional athletes
  39. School uniform – good tradition or outdated habit
  40. Sexual imagery in the media
  41. Should abortion be encouraged?
  42. Single parent families
  43. Sports and steroid use
  44. Sports and violence
  45. Secular and religious holiday decorations in schools
  46. School vouchers for religious schools
  47. Terrorism – how to stop it
  48. The age limit for drinking
  49. The phenomenon of reality television
  50. Use of internet by small children
  51. Unnecessary curfew for children under the age of fifteen

Consider the topics above and post suggested arguments or a complete paper. Should we engage in a debate, prepared or unprepared on any of these topics?

Hamlet: a small rewrite. This is a very clever and extremely funny sketch by Atkinson and Laurie on a supposed discussion of Hamlet between Shakespeare and his producer. The scene itself is posted as well. Let’s watch it in class.

Robert Fisk lecture on aspects of journalism in the middle east and an opposing opinion on Iraq by Hitchens.

Please make your own suggestions.

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