Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 61: The Simpsons and Religion

"C21," a typical class day, has drawn to a close.  Before we left in June I thought it would be really strange to have class on Saturdays and Sundays.  I don't really notice at all; to be honest I had no idea it was a weekend until I looked at my watch five minutes ago.  Time does strange things when there's no reference.  All went smoothly with classes today and I'm very happy to finally be done with papers.  Now the focus is memorizing 200+ names and terms for a Global Studies final in two days.  For a class with 750 students it's impossible to do anything besides a multiple choice final which is actually a bit harder when you're dealing with a history/social science class due to the details.  There has been quite a bit of dissatisfaction among students and faculty with the way Global Studies has been taught and tested this voyage.  I've heard a few snippets about the folks at UVa not being particularly fond of the situation either.  It will be interesting to see what, if anything, plays out regarding final grades and whatnot.

The ship sailed at full speed today (all four engines running full as opposed to one normally) for about 20 minutes.  The official purpose was to do some calibrations with the engines but I also think there was an urge to show off how fast this sucker can go.  We were going between 30 and 40 knots (right now we're cruising at 14) so it was fun to head outside and watch for a bit.  It wasn't anything overly dramatic but cool nonetheless.  This evening I went to a session about "The Simpsons and Religion."  It was a presentation by our Global Studies professor about a paper he published a few years ago.  His basic argument was that the show is essentially the only example on television that portrays religion and religious issues on a regular basis.  There was quite a bit of character analysis and the idea that parody is really only successful when you present a topic that society has a decent amount of familiarity and comfort with (i.e. religion) was presented.  I've often see The Simpsons used in classes as examples of satire.  When you look at the writing it is packed with some great intellectual wit.  He had an interesting argument and commentary on popular culture that probably does have some merit if you really look into it.

A late night snack/study session has again pushed my blog composition into the the early morning hours (hence the grammatical errors that are likely present on a lot of these posts), so I'm pretty beat.  Luckily we get an extra hour again tonight.  It's quite nice having 25 hour days, I could get used to it.  That's all for now, it's time to hit the sack.

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