Journal Number 11
0–1.5 Hours Thursday Class 4/7/17
In class we talked about the Odyssey and Odysseus's poor leadership skills. we were asked what we thought of Odysseus and his leadership abilities. You asked us if we thought he was a control freak and why? My answer would be yes and I would use the answer I proffered in class. The prime examples is when hes gifted the winds from Aeolus. Odysseus’s crew thought that he was gifted treasure from the Aeolus, angered that they risked their lives and got nothing in return they decided to look in their bag and thus caused their own deaths and significantly prolonged their journey. Odysseus was a control freak in two ways in this section one he refused to give up sail for the boat for an insane amount of time this led to him becoming exhausted and sleeping while his crew opened the bag. Second if he had told his crew what was in the bag he would’ve avoided any calamities in the first place as they would’ve known not to open the bag. This is not a minor failure of leadership but a huge one, a leader must be able to effectively communicate with his subordinates. Proper communication. We recently saw a horrible example of communication from someone who should be one for this countries leaders Sean Spicer. When talking about Syria’s dictator Bashar Al Assad chemical attack. Spicer was trying to convey how horrifying that chemical attack was specially since it was aimed at civilians. There were plenty of ways a good leader could’ve communicated that horror. He could’ve talked about how rare it is for state to gas it’s own citizens. But instead he invoked Hitler to say that he did not gas his own citizens which ignores the chemical attacks committed on the Jews. Spicer than corrected his statement by making another gaffe followed by innumerable stutters as he most likely realized approximately how far he had put his foot in his mouth. Spicer than had to apologized on CNN and said he should have never compared anything with the Holocaust. This was the best communicating Spicer did on the subject. The lesson from this Spicer flub is to be short sweet and to the point with communication. This was a pitfall not just for Odysseus but for modern leaders like Sean Spicer as well.
1.5–4.5 Module Reading Sunday 4/9/17
This module was about the virtues of women and had several short stories about virtuous women throughout history. I found it interesting that Plutarch claimed women being well known is not inherently bad but that it depends on the deeds of women. One thing I did find interesting is that almost all of the women who were exemplary had some sort of connection to an husband who was a leader or virtuous. I’m fairly certain most of the women were not associated with men whether be husbands. In this way it kinda of negates the point of Plutarch if only women with virtuous husbands or fathers can be great leaders. I also didn't like how some of the women’s tales ended. Some ended with them dying of joy, being sacrificed for the greater good, or just retiring afterward. One character after she saved her kingdom instead of leading decided to spin yarn with her family for the rest of her life. I highly doubt after being involved in what basically amounts insurrection that one would one to return to the mundane life of spinning yarn. It also pushes the point that women or great women do not want to lead by choice but only as a last resort and when faced with the opportunity great women will choose not to lead. I also did not like the story where the women died of happiness at the end. After finally freeing her city Polycrite was so enamored with the praise of deeds that she died. I don’t know why but I found it extremely annoying. I did like the short vignette nature of the stories it allowed Plutarch to tell differing stories on what can make virtuous women in many ways. I did find it interesting that virtus means manly valor or as my professor says balls. It implies that women don’t inherently have virtus which is where we derive the word valor. What does this mean about the word valor and women in the modern day. Do we think this word or the idea of where valor comes affects how we think of women as having valor. I think it might just in the way that we’ve always associated the word with that meaning and now it’s hard to separate the two and therefor makes it hard to describe women as having valor. I do believe it’s a stretch to describe Plutarch as a feminist though cause all of the women are still usually beholden to a man. Whether it’s the memory of a man like a dead husband or it’s a father or its a current husband women are rarely acting out for their own independence.
4.5–6.5 Module Reading Monday 4/10/17
In this part of the module Plutarch is talking about groups of women and their extraordinary tasks. I liked this part of the module a lot it focused on how women help as well in the recovery and protection of their country. It showed how women can be brave and fearless just like men. Like the Saltmatica women who snuck weapons out in their clothes and risked death to help win a military battle against on of the greatest military commanders of all time in Hannibal. I found it interesting he included groups like the lycian women with the women listed above. The lycian women stopped Bellephron from destroying their city by falling down at his feet, he pitied them and chose not to destroy their city. I enjoyed the Trojan women story which involved them burning their own ships in order to spur their men to settle down instead of wondering forever. This represents women as the protector of manhood. I wonder what the story would be about American women. I think the story about American women would have to be about how during World War II when men went to war and needed factory supplies. With not enough men to supply them, women went to work in the factories to provide supplies for the men. Then talk about women medics who helped heal men during WW II on the battle fields and in the hospitals. I would then focus on black women who fought for the rights of black men even as they were being mistreated by those same black men. Talk about Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Coretta Scott King who wall advanced the cause of civil rights while being mistreated by black men in their own life. Talk about the fearlessness of black women standing toe to toe with armored police pointing weapons at them. I think that would be the best way for a tale of American women’s virtues.
6.5–8 Tuesday Class 4/11/17
In class we discussed whether or not figures we find morally reprehensible should be allowed on campus. You asked this question which stemmed from the need for civility in politics. Civility is paramount in politics, we must be able to discuss opposing ideas and find common ground even when we disagree. If we loose this civility we risk turning into a vicious two party state in which the ruling party demonizes opposing viewpoints and ignores a large swath of the country. I would find this sort of leadership troubling where from a democrat or a republican as this sort of government lends itself to authoritarian states. If this country is to last we must find a way to bridge the divide between democrats and republicans. One of the best ways to bridge this divide to me is to end the practice of gerrymandering. Named so because of Governor Elbrige Gerry who set up a map purposefully favoring his party the democratic republicans. The map to some looked like a salamander, but it was supposedly remarked it looked like a gerrymander instead, criticizing governor Gerry. Gerry would subsequently go on the loose his upcoming election in response to his gerrymandering. The problem today is that while both parties have previously used gerrymandering the Republicans have turned it into a science. Republicans have expertly gerrymandered the country in such a way that they have skewed the house of representatives toward them. This could create a problem where even though the people want democratic leaders they gain republican leaders. Hopefully this problem will be in part solved by the upcoming supreme court case on gerrymandering. As part of our discussion on civility we asked if we would bring a speaker like Milo Yiannopoulos or Heather MacDonald onto campus. I said yes but I would have certain stipulations that must be enforced. I would never allow either of these two to spew their bile unchecked. I would stipulate that they have to debate Dr.Carr or some Howard professional or alumnus and defend their ideals. That way we could expose their stupidity and bigotry and hopefully that would cause their fan base to question them and cause them to lose popularity and fans. But more importantly hopefully it would expose the nonsense behind their message. I watched Heather MacDonald’s video and wanted to throw up in my mouth. Her rhetoric was full of racist dog whistles and full a statistics I could not believe. I want to sit down when I have time and independently verify her numbers but it was extremely hard to watch. I was almost shaking with anger by the end but I think it’s paramount we don’t silence opposing voices because one day you might be the voice that is silenced.
8–10 Wednesday Module Reading 4/12/17
I thought step four was interested because it ask us to look at these stories exemplifying women and ask what about the men in those stories. I did find it interesting that many of the virtuous men in the stories were either dead, trapped or incapacitated. I think that’s kinda problematic because it only allows for the bravery of these groups of women if their men are otherwise occupied. That’s why for my American story I proffered above I picked a story when men were not readily available. The non virtuous men in these stories were often tyrants who were attracted to virtuous women, this attraction and lust usually ended up being the mans downfall. Such as the story where the Tyrannt Sinorix killed Camma’s husband Sinatus. Sinorix then constantly pressured Camma into marrying him even though she did not wish too. Then Camma told Sinorix to come and marry her without his guard. When Sinorix arrived she told him to toast to their upcoming nuptials and then Camma poisoned both her and Sinorix. I loved this story because it was so petty to be like I’m going to kill you and myself cause you killed my husband and I want revenge. Then she uttered the greatest line of this module “ Let your relatives make ready a tomb instead of a bridal chamber or a wedding.” She told Sinorix where he could stick it and then also waited until he had died to die herself. I loved that determination and anger that she was willing to kill herself to kill her own enemy and get revenge for the death of a loved one.