Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Darth Vader Is Not So Strange

I know, what I am saying seems utterly incomprehensible. Also, nobody likes it that Hayden Christensen played the young Darth Vader, he's a sissy with a baby face and did a terrible job, especially in Episode II. He ruined Darth Vader's prestige, mystery, and power with his pathetic-ness.

Okay, thank you very much, I have heard enough of your argument. I beg to differ, but not to change the subject. This is going to be very controversial, so prepare to be outraged.

Darth Vader is only different from a normal human in one way, he is kept on life support in a black suit (and he has the deep, awesome, compelling voice of James Earl Jones . . . ). Other than that he is completely human, and acts like almost anyone in his circumstances would. My evidence and argument will explain.

Take a look at Anakin Skywalker's childhood. He was a small, cute boy with lovely blue eyes. As Weird Al has pointed out he was quite a lady's man, hitting on Padme (who was played by the prettiest, worst actress EVER) the first time they met. He acted in the interests of others, without a thought for himself. Yet he did get a thrill from the attentions of others at his amazing talents. In attitude he was an average child. Perhaps a little more giving and caring than most children. And he hated change, in his hatred he could not deal with change, face it, or realize when it had happened. He always seemed strained in the face of transitions, desiring something out there (peace) that he could not grasp. He went from one moment of change to the next hoping and aching for peace and quiet yet continually seeking turmoil without realizing it because he could not be content.

As he grew Anakin began to feel terrible pangs of loss. The love of one's own is not a wrong thing, but he realized his feelings through acts of vengeance and a deep abiding fear of losing those he cared for. The fear of change combined with his natural love for his own to keep him from becoming the trusty Jedi that Obi Wan sought to make him. Anakin's trust in his own power to keep anything from happening to what was his strengthened. It added to the fears in his life.

In the third episode, Anakin is forced to face changes that he cannot consider quietly or logically. His fear of change eclipses when he sees the death of Padme in his dreams. And because of this fear he brings about the future he sees.

Probably everyone has gone through a period of time in which they were terrified at the thought of losing a friend or family member. Terrified even to the point of mental paralysis. Loss is a natural phenomenon of life, as Yoda pointed out. Furthermore, we all enjoy thinking about our own special talents and abilities. Anakin certainly has no monopoly on that. And finally, human beings dislike instability. Change we can often take, but we like some sort of stability or permanence. The same home, the same job, the same friends nearby. Especially children love stability and routine, Anakin was very immature.

Still you wonder, he went from that whiny, obnoxious boy to the great and powerful black-masked Darth Vader? Actually, no. He went from that whiny, immature boy, to a whiny immature man in a black suit. Darth Vader was never any different from Anakin. The thing that Anakin has done is reveal the mystery and power of Darth Vader. And it has shown it to be exactly what it is. Darth Vader was never mysterious, never deeper or cooler than Obi Wan or Yoda. In fact, he is probably less mysterious than either of them.

The fact is, people are often drawn to the bad characters thinking they are deep and mysterious. Then when disillusioned by the fact that they are not, they think, "George Lucas ruined Darth Vader!" George Lucas simply gave us the truth about Darth Vader. He was an ordinary person who responded to normal human emotions in an immature and extreme manner. Thus, he lost everything he feared to lose and became evil for years to come. But if you remember some of the things that Luke said to his father in later years you will remember that Anakin was always confused. He acted as he did because he was continually faced with decisions that he had to make and he was impulsive in his immaturity. He never grew or changed beyond the moment that he realized he had destroyed Padme.

So if you think that Darth Vader is strange, think again. And if you think that Hayden Christensen turned Darth Vader into a whiny, immature, pathetic wimp, maybe you are right. After all, that's all Darth Vader ever was.

Friday, May 20, 2005

News Release

I want my diploma! I want my diploma! Why does it take so long for those people to compute grades and send out diplomas?

The news seems to be at an all time low. I think I missed all the good stories during my finals week. I was so tired that I failed to read up on the stuff coming out of Iran, I have no idea what happened in Lebanon earlier this semester, and I paid no attention to the whole fillibuster thing going on in the Senate. So, I think I will discuss something pertinent to the news.

It takes oodles of time to keep up on what's going on in this world. I know many people who keep up on some portion or other. I have friends who can rattle off all the economic news of the day. I have friends who can tell you exactly what's happening in the American government and why it matters domestically. I have friends who keep up on what person could run against Hillary in 2008, because that's such a major concern. I have friends who can tell you every miniscule victory that Republicans win around the country. Then there's my former debate coach who knows crap about everything and likes to point out why Karl Rove has no conscious. I have heard some people talk about how news is bad for people especially as Christians and we should not keep up on it. While there are verses in the Bible stating that those who fear God ought to bar evil from entering their minds, I tend to disagree with the way this is interpreted.

My approach to the news differs. I agree that as a Christian I ought to be careful what I put into my head, however not so extreme as to exclude all news. I also believe that if you keep up with the news for the right reasons it is acceptable. Some people attend to the events of the world simply because they want personal gain. Either they want a certain position, or they want to show off to all their friends. Showing off is more common. It is possible to become almost addicted to current events. I mean, take a look at Rush Limbaugh. And the fact is everyone has a different opinion about any given current event. Most of us assume that our opinion is right and get annoyed at people with other opinions.

In short, this is a messy subject that appears to have no straight answers. How should we look at the news? How should we view the world? What is extreme when it comes to watching the passage of events? Is it right to censor everyone who reads a newspaper? Personally, I have seen Christians grow angry at other Christians for buying a newspaper. And I have seen other Christians revel in the news until they know every sick detail about every person or event that could be called "newsworthy."

Neither of those options seems appropriate to me. I read the news so that I can know the arguments surrounding various events, and so that I know what is going on around me. Someday I may be in a position where I will have to remember many of the things that happened in my lifetime and it would be unfortunate if I had to catch up on everything all of sudden because I was too slow to pay attention while it was happening. Besides, if you wait and catch up later you do not immerse yourself enough so that you know all the paradigms of your entire history. That is to say, catching up never works as well as just knowing at the time. This does not answer the universal questions either. To what extent should a Christian be informed about the world around them?

The Bible says to be as shrewd as serpants and as innocent as doves. To me that means that we should understand human nature in the course of great events, and act in a way that is self controlled. Essentially, as Christians we should know what is around us, but not become like it. This does not mean that we ignore the pain of our fellow man because it is evil to read a newspaper. Nor does it mean that we read about another's sorrows in a lighthearted or happy way. Many is the person I know who will turn to me in response to some horrible event in say Africa and say, "I'll just stay in the USA," or, "Glad I don't live there." That is a callous response, God asks us to be thankful of our circumstances, not gleeful at the misfortunes we miss out on. Neither extreme is appropriate. I would point out that Jesus himself did not ignore the events of his time on earth as a man. He sought first God's kingdom. That perhaps is the most important point. In understanding events we should seek first the kingdom of God, and then we will not be acting according our own interests. We will know not so that we can ignore, laugh at, or look better than others. We will know so that we can respond to God's callings with understanding, instead of ignorance.

Thus, in response to these all important questions, I suggest that we understand human nature even as we read the news, and ask God to help us control our own. Hold God's purposes above the events of this earth, but do not ignore those events, for God's purposes may be found within them as well.

Monday, May 16, 2005

It's Over Now

I cannot go back to Hillsdale without remembering that I will never be an undergrad there again. What a sad thought. My friends and I said goodbye several times and went our separate ways. I am sure that we will all be friends for a long, long time, but I am saddened that we will not be in the same place anymore. Perhaps if some of us are close by we can go up for homecoming. But then again, I never really cared about homecoming.

Two days ago I took those final steps across the stage in the sports complex. Dr. Blackstock handed me a diploma cover with a letter inside and told me he hoped I would do well in life. I hugged Dr. Arnn (to his surprise) and he told me that, "It is good to know you." It is strange to say that I will miss Dr. Arnn. I spent three and a half years disliking him, finally got to know him and decided that he is a really cool person. I then proceeded down the stairs, got my picture taken and was intercepted by my fiance's mom. Thoroughly confused I turned to find Dr. Wolfram standing there at the head of a line of poli-sci profs. I thought Wolfram was econ so I nearly skipped him until Dr. Craig told me I had to start at the front of the line. So I shook hands with Dr. Wolfram, gave a bear hug to Dr. Craig, did not even see Dr. Morrissey as he shook my hand, and was kissed on the cheek by Dr. Eden much to my own surprise. Before I finally got to my Dad, Tony Frudakis came out from the crowd and shook my hand and congratulated me. That was incredibly thoughtful of him since I am not an art major, but only took sculpting from him. Then I saw my Dad, and went back to my seat with Regina, Anthony and Josh.

After graduation I got lost in the crowd, lost my fam, found Craig's fam, found my fam. And finally got lots of photos taken.

I will miss everyone so much. College is over and it has left me with a feeling of relief, joy, satisfaction, closure, and lingering sadness. My friends have become a family to me, a family that I will miss more every day. Fortunately I made good friends in college, which means we will keep in touch. Furthermore, Matt is awesome and can make us a website. When I get further info I'll post that in the links section.

Now I go to do work, or cry, or think, or just let my mind meander through the memories of my last four years of life. It was a time that had its stresses, and those will never become nostalgia. But also a time that had its fun, its joys, and its awesome, wonderful times full of living life to the fullest and hanging out with people who are definitely top dogs, yo. I am prepared to move forward in life, I could not go back for another year, but I will miss what has passed.

Friday, May 13, 2005

So Long and Thanks for All the Papers, Exams, Quizzes, Assignments . . . ad nauseum (or: Ode to Hillsdale College)

This is it, one of my last two days as a student at Hillsdale College. Tomorrow, I shall walk across that vast stage with thousands of people staring at me. I will be wearing a long black gown and a silly looking square cap. I will shake hands with Dr. Arnn (an awesome teacher and good person). He will hand me an empty diploma cover as professional photographers snap a photo which I will never see. But you can bet they will drag that photo out when I get to be president, man.

Then there will be closure. I could just leave now, I could just walk away from this place, but that would mean, no closure. I would feel like I still belonged here. And I really do not want that. So, in retrospect, I would like to dedicate this post to my beloved alma mater, and may many more students grace its walkways and struggle for endless, sleepless nights within its halls until they too graduate and realize that life on the outside is just as high pressure as life on the inside.

This is for the papers, the tests and the exams
This is for the long, long days hidden away in my room
Typing or studying, trying to cram my brain with info
The last minute hours that became my life in Hillsdale

This is for the rain that embraced us with a passion
It is an awesome territory with beauty beyond compare
But weather equals crazy in the place I chose to be
And weather kept me studying for the lack of else to do

This is for the students, my friends and mostly my fiance
They made the journey worth it every time I made them laugh
Without them for the moments when homework turned insane
I surely would have short circuited before a year had passed

This is for my profs, the ones I could not stand
But mostly for the ones that gave their all to teach me
I learned more from them than dry, ancient information
I learned how to live my life and how to be a statesman

This is for the experiences I could not have found elsewhere
My teacher Mickey Craig, the student of Harry Jaffa
My internship with Istook, my hero in the House
My job with the debate team, all the kids I got to know

This is for the words that echo in my soul
Things have been heard and read in every class and book
The principles I take to weave through years to come
This is for my Hillsdale, I'll miss you, yeah it's true

And this is how I feel on the day before I go
Sad, wistful, and silent as I have ever been
Yet joyful in the knowledge that I finally made it through
With a heart so full of memories and a head so fit for life.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Well, I coulda told ya!

I guess I am a part of red America. I took another quiz called "What Political Persuasion Are You?" It stereotyped me, so I refuse to show the results. I am not as hardcore as it stated. This one seems fairly accurate. Anyways, I do not usually post personality quizzes, and probably never will again (unless it asks my thoughts on Aristotle), but I thought this fit in with the overall nature of the blog. Enjoy.

Your Political Profile

Overall: 80% Conservative, 20% Liberal

Social Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Ethics: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Why Won't It All Go Away?

The reign of the papers has ended, and so begineth the reign of the final examinations. I have clawed upwards from beneath the great pile of books and papers, and at last have rejoined the land of the living. Only to discover that, I have three finals to take, I am dead tired, and I crave guacamole. Go figure.