My assignment for today is to write my first impressions about the book Carthage, a novel by Joyce Carol Oates. Oates has been writing since the 1960s. She debuted in 1963 and has managed to make quite the list of releases! Carthage was released in 2014, meaning that her career as an author has been quite long!
Carthage’s outline is simple: Last seen in the back of the car of Brett Kincaid, 19-year-old Cressida Mayfield hasn’t returned home. What happened to her, however, is not simple!
Brett, who is an Iraq war veteran, has been heavily drinking since his return and can’t remember the night that Cressida never returned home. He can’t remember what he did with her.
In the first chapter, it is revealed that she has gone missing and that a team of rescuers is trying to find her. Ms. Mayfield’s father is also committed to searching for his daughter, obviously. The first chapter ends with him thinking he’s found her, but what he found was just a partly decomposed deer. So the question is, what has happened to Cressida Mayfield?
I think the book is interesting, and the story makes it so that you sometimes can’t put the book away! Despite some hard-to-understand words, it’s easy to figure out since I have the book on my tablet – that way it’s easy to look up a definition of words. From my impressions and understanding the book is not chronologically built. The first chapter takes place on July 10th, and the second takes place on the 4th. That could just be the first chapters that are built this way, it’ll be interesting to see.
I think there’s something up with Brett Kincaid, the US-veteran, I want to find out what it is!
Hopefully, the rest of the book is like the first part I’ve read; I look forward to reading the rest of it!
Have you read it? What are your thoughts about it?
Please: no spoilers!
Today is election day and today our task is to write a little about the election that is taking place in the UK today. Emilie and I made a radio show on this topic, you can find it here.
Today the people of the UK is voting for a new Prime Minister. In fact there are in theory 650 mini-elections happening today since each of the 650 parliamentary constituencies vote for one representative each to sit in the House of Commons. The composition of the House of Commons and who will become the next PM will be decided by these 650 mini-elections. Simply stated: Britain is with this voting for a new parliament and a new government.
Britain could see a new PM in a few short days, Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour party, is the only realistic candidate to take over for David Cameron, the Conservatives leader – despite the large number of parties competing in this election. Polls shows virtual tie between the two candidates and no one will know who’ll win before the votes have been counted. Cameron could renew his PM-ship or the UK could see a new PM.
There is in the UK unusual for no party to get the majority of seats in the House of Commons, but this happened in 2010 and is in fact likely to happen this time around as well. A coalition or a minority government could be formed – the two most likely outcomes of this election.
Britain’s lovely Queen has nothing to do on election. Her role is to appoint the new PM when the votes have been counted, this is constitutionally. It is actually frowned upon for her to vote, as a consequence she does not do so. This goes for both the Queen and her family, they are not to show any stand in any position, political or otherwise.
Lastly, I’ve been tasked to state who I think will win the election and who would become Britain’s next PM. I do in fact think that Cameron would get a second chance and he will renew his PM-ship.
Before watching, the movie research and write about the following topics on your blog: The Miner strike, Margaret Thatcher and gay rights in the UK during the 1980’s
This week we will be watching the movie PRIDE. The assignment we got before watching it is to write about the following topics: The Miner strike, Margaret Thatcher and gay rights in the UK during the 1980’s.
The Miner Strike:
The UK Miner Strike was an industrial action affecting the British coal industry. The strike, which happened during 1984 and 1985, has been referred to as “the most bitter industrial dispute in British history”.
The strike was caused by job cuts and investments in machines.
Thatcher was the Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990. She was a conservative, and she was the leader of the Conservative Party from 75 to 90. Thatcher is the only woman who has hold office in the UK.
She was committed to reducing the power of trade unions.
The biggest confrontation between the unions and the Thatcher government was the miner strike of 84/85. The NCB proposed to put 20 000 out of jobs, due to the unprofitability of the mines in which they worked. The NUM, the union of mineworkers, answered by letting 2/3 of the nations miners strike.
Gay rights in the UK in the 1980s
In 1980, the Criminal Justice Act (Scotland) decriminalized homosexual acts between two men over the age of 21; however gay rights in the UK took a plunge during the 80s. During this time, Thatcher had office and she has been described to be “at war” with the LGBT community.
In 1983, Britain reported 17 incidents of AIDS, as a consequence gay men are asked not to donate blood. The AIDS epidemic has been called the “gay plague”.
The 80s were a period in which intensified homophobia took place.
The assignment we got after watching the movie was to write about the movie.
The movie PRIDE features a group of gays and lesbians who supports the miners who are on strike (the strike mentioned above). The conflict here is that not everyone is happy that the group of people who are helping is gays and lesbians. The majority of the miners will not accept the support and donations from the LGSM – the name of the support group (Lesbians and gays support the miners).
What I find interesting is that this movie is based on a true story – a story that happened about 30 years ago! I cannot wrap my head around that people would not accept gays and lesbians at that time – for me that is unthinkable.
Ok, some people do not like gays or lesbians – but the majority thinks that people should be able to decide themselves. This is the situation we have today in the majority of the western world at least. That was not the case 30 years ago. People became angry at you if you were gay or lesbian – people beat people up due to their sexual orientation.
In the movie, I find it astonishing that the LGSM group continues to support the miners even though the miners are not happy with them helping. After some time, the miners became ok with the idea of the LGSM helping, and during a demonstration the miners returned the favor saying they support lesbians and gays.
The strike that lasted about a year created a big spectacle. The winners of the strike is said to have been the government since the miners decided that they would just go back to work. Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, saw this as a major victory for the Conservatives.
I learned that the world has changed a lot in only 30 years. For me it is unimaginable that people would behave the way the miners did in the start against people with different sexual orientation than themselves.
I learned a little about how the government played a part of the role and what side they were on during the strike. One final thing I learned that I did not know before was the UKs involvement in the mining industry – that is something that I find interesting. There were almost 200 000 miners at the time!
Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts about it? Did the miners do the right think in the end?
United States imprisons more black people than the apartheid regime. Despite only counting for a total of 13% of the US population one in three people arrested for possession of drugs are black. Why is that ratio so different? Marlon Peterson, PR-director at The Frontier Society, says that today’s prison is the natural continuation of the Jim-Crow laws which in turn was a continuation of the slavery. The Jim-Crow laws were laws that enforced racial segregation. Today’s modern slavery comes in the form of the life people get after prison, what they are allowed to and what rights they have.
It is really difficult to get a normal life after serving time in jail. The majority of black Americans in jail are from lower parts of society and needs help from the State, but are not able to get this after being giving the stamp of a former felon. In jail, you lose your right to vote, and all rights to accept social help. You also get a lot of bills from your time in jail. Without a job or a place to stay, most people have to embrace a new life on the street as homeless. All of this makes it almost impossible to get a normal life after serving time. It’s also really hard to get a job, as you are obligated to inform your employer about your past. This makes it harder to get jobs with good pay, and it’s almost impossible to make a living of your own. Even though you have finished your punishment for what you have done, the society keeps punishing you.
Modern slavery doesn’t come in the same form that slavery did 250 years ago. Today, slavery is something one may experience after ending one’s prison sentence. Many of your rights may be removed and help to get one back on one’s feet is not present.
The House of Commons has a big responsibility towards the British people. They debate different situations that has risen and that requires actions. Another important responsibility of the House of Commons is to legislate and act on bills proposed. Bills are proposed by the government, MPs, organizations or individuals. It is the responsibility of the House of Commons to approve or disapprove new laws. They form the laws together with different parties one of these is the House of Lords.
Another important responsibility of the House of Commons is to be accessible to the public. The public are allowed insight into almost every session in the House of Commons. This is a way to live up to the democracy that England has. The public can visit the gallery where they can watch debates regarding current issues or new laws for free. It is important to note that a ticket may be necessary to be allowed entrance.
The three important responsibilities of the House of Commons I have outlined in the two paragraphs above:
- Debate current issues
- Pass or decline new bills
- Be accessible to the public
This week’s assignment is to answer the following four questions after watching the movie “Lions for Lambs”.
1. Lions for Lambs is a 2007 American drama film about the connection between a platoon of United States soldiers in Afghanistan, a U.S. senator, a reporter, and a California college professor. Explain how they are connected and what the soldiers are doing in Afghanistan?
First of all the US senator is connected with the platoon of US soldiers in the way that he has some kind degree in military strategy, and he has been a part of deciding the military action in which the platoon is joining. The reporter who interviews him is getting a major scoop from him; she gets the info about the military action the platoon is in – as it is happening! The Californian college professor is connected with the platoon because the two soldiers who falls/jumps to the mountain was his students and they joined the army after having a talk with him. Even though they said, it was not because of him I think the professor played a role in their decision-making. The soldiers are fighting the Taliban in Irak and trying to get control over territories.
2. The professor asks Todd to get involved. What can he do?
Todd has two options, either join the military or go to class. I hope that Todd chooses the latter and choose to get involved in a different way than being a soldier – that being a politician or a journalist. Despite the open end of the movie, I like to think that Todd went to all of his professor’s lectures for the rest of the semester.
I think Todd’s professor wants two things for Todd, for one he wants him to get an education and get a job while at the same time I think he wants Todd to join the army. That is what you can call a dilemma.
To get involved Todd does not have to join the military, there are countless ways to get involved – join the army is only one of them.
3. Is there a connection between social conditions, the welfare state and US involvement in wars?
In the movie, it was said that people who came from poor and dangerous neighborhoods joined the military. People who lived “the American Dream” in terms of having a nice home and the ability to live a great life as a child chose not to join.
According to MintPressNews who quotes an analysis of recruiting, low- and middle-income families are supplying far more recruits than families with an income of more than $60,000 p.a.
4. What is the current opinion of the American people regarding US engagement in wars?
The public, according to People Press, thinks that America does too much to figure out and solve world problems, and does too little at home base. This is perhaps connected to Americans seeing and thinking that the US’ power in the world is declining. Support for US engagement globally is at a historic low, and continuing to drop.
This graph pretty much sums it up. As you can see, 53% thinks that the US role today as a world leader is less important and powerful than 10 years ago.
I think that Americans, as most of the western world, are most focused on what happens at home and not what happens thousands of miles away. The military involvement can be seen as squandering of resources, they might think, “why don’t use those resources at home?”