The Language of the Unheard: Media, Violence, and Authority in Ferguson

For my final Journalistic Ethics paper, I examined how the media operated during the Ferguson protests.

“[St. Louis county prosecuting attorney Robert] McCulloch portrayed the press as vultures, when in fact they fulfilled their role as socially responsible informers of the public and, by giving a voice to the citizens of Ferguson decrying overbearing law enforcement, offered a culturally relativistic account of what was happening on the ground.”

Machiavellian Power in Westeros

In the first part of my Western Civilization course, I explored the influence of Niccolò Machiavelli’s “The Prince” on the “A Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy series by George R. R. Martin.

“It would be obvious to Machiavelli that the system of governance in Westeros is ripe for betrayal and misfortune. … Most alliances between houses are cemented by marriages, and kinslaying is one of the highest crimes in Westeros, but not every powerful ruler is necessarily good.”

Ginsberg’s Acceptance of Self and Other

In my Kerouac & Ginsberg course, I analyzed Allen Ginsberg’s poem “America” from 1956 and tried to understand his political viewpoint during the Cold War.

“Throughout the poem, Ginsberg refers to America as ‘you,’ ‘we,’ and ‘I.’ He is realizing that despite his criticism for America, he is not separate from it. ‘I’m addressing you. … It occurs to me that I am America. I am talking to myself again.'”

The Importance of Context in Snooping

In my Personality Psychology class, I applied the studies of Sam Gosling by snooping on a stranger in public and trying to discern some of their personality traits.

“More concrete conclusions would require observing her at work, in class, at home or out with friends, rather than just one warm day in a packed coffee shop.”

Who or What is the ‘Shrouded Stranger’?

During my Kerouac & Ginsberg course, I investigated the mysterious “Shrouded Stranger,” a recurring image in Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” from 1957.

“The Stranger seems to be an integral part of the larger beatnik philosophy. In the murky depths of your struggles, you can find yourself. Your experiences of reality and the paranormal, and how you choose to relate them, can shape your beliefs and goals.”

Jimmy McNulty, Tragic Hero of ‘The Wire’

During the first part of my Western Civilization course, I looked for connections between the protagonists of Sophocles’ “Antigone,” Virgil’s “Aeneid” and the HBO series “The Wire.”

“McNulty is just one of hundreds of essential characters in the show, a single political animal within a vast American polis. The epic scope of the show prompts viewers to pay as much if not more attention to the polis, the show’s social and political structures, as the individual inhabitants of Baltimore. Just as Venus and Juno affect the events surrounding Aeneas, the city’s government, police department and criminal organizations bear down on McNulty.”

Relinquishing the Self

In my American Literature class, I analyzed John Woolman’s abolitionist efforts prior to the Civil War.

“His experience as a public speaker and teacher allowed him to develop a method of dialog with slave owners that was constructive rather than accusatory and that contained a logic that was easy to understand.”

Corruption of Popular Sentiment

During my Modern Middle East history class, I analyzed the 1979 Iranian Revolution as told by Marjane Satrapi in her graphic novel “Persepolis.”

“The regime of Muhammad Reza Shah became a symbol of Western intervention and method of government. In reaction to this a reformist movement within the country appealed to the unique Islamic cultural heritage of the Iranian people in order to establish a republic alongside the existing monarchy.”