Journal 10/26

Monday 10/23–1:30 PM — 2:00 PM, Tuesday 10/24–12:30 AM — 1 AM

I read the first part of the module entitled “There Can Only Be One”. My notes are as follows:

  • “Cyrus the Great, a leader of the ancient Persian Empire, famously said that ‘freedom, dignity, and wealth together constitute the greatest happiness of humanity. If you bequeath all three to your people, their love for you will never die.’” — Hmm. Your peeople. How political. I wonder which people the paraphrasers were referring to.
  • By the time I got to the Forbes quotation, I realized that the first quotation that was presented was misquoted, and from a fictional work at that.
  • After reading Hendrick’s quotation, I realized that the “quotation” was a reference to slavery.

I answered the questions pertaining to the quotations:

  1. What main differences do you see in these four versions?
  • In context, it’s a reference to slavery but that gets lost by the Forbes “quotation”. I feel like it’s more appropriate to call these “interpretations” rather than “quotations”.
  • There’s a shift in focus from slavery to leadership

2. What do you think Trump/ the White House was trying to was trying to say by using these false quote?

I think they were trying to say that if they can make the people they want feel free, dignified, and wealthy, then they should be praised.

3. How do you think the message would have been different if each of the other three quotes had been used instead?

  • The Forbes article sounds wiser, more educated, and more interested in the people than the quote that was actually used.
  • Hendrick’s interpretation sounds even more sophisticated.
  • Dakyns’ translation: I’m not sure because I don’t see them using something written in this form.

Is the original quote in any sense “true” even if it is fake?

I mean the excerpt from Dakyns’ translation is a part of a story, but the idea that Cyrus’ promoted freedom in this section is not true because slaves were still under some level of servitude even if they were no longer slaves. They were given military equipment and expected to fight for Cyrus in war.

Under the section entitled “Cyrus and Evangelical Christianity” I noted:

  • This is saying that Trump’s appeal to Christians is that he’s “ungodly, but does Godly work”.
  • The selected text could appeal to Iranians since it makes a reference to someone revered in their national history.
  • When Wallnau said “Proverbs 25:28 says ‘He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.’ America has become a nation without walls, a nation without self-government. We are out of control fiscally and physically on our borders”, my notes say:That was such a reach in interpretation. I do not agree with this application.
  • “contradictory & competing readings & interpretations” as seen in that “Cyrus was actually a breaker of walls” and Wallnau “affirms the need for Trumps’ promised wall across the Mexico border.”
  • “equating one leader to another can have conflicting motives and effects”
  • substantial power is granted to the person who connects the leaders

I answered the question under the possible in-class activity: Discuss how comparisons between modern and historical leaders can be ideologically motivated, and how a single comparison can evoke different meanings for different audiences.

Leaders are people. People have inconsistencies. Malcolm X and MLK both had drastic changes in their ideologies within their lifetimes. Both leaders are often characterized by their earlier views when those are not the political views they held toward the end of their lives. Either leader then, could be an seen as advocate for peace or against peace depending on the motive of the interpreter and the intended audience.

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