Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Way of the Jimmy: Not Just A Cult Favorite!

And... I'm back. I figure I'm kinda wordy, so I'll shorten my stuff or post additional blogs. Which, some people may enjoy.

Anyways... onto the next question.

"How do you identify 'your people?' How is this identity formed by the considerations of ethnos, nomos, mythos, archon, and techne."

Well, my identity is something that I've long pondered myself. My people, specifically my family, is complex. We believe in strong family bonds, and yet, my parents are not on great terms with their family. Yet, their own failures only strengthened a new beginning. I was taught family dinners and supporting each other was important. I've taken classes in ROTC and have been trained on how to follow, and lead, but I prefer to avoid any responsibility because it tips balances and scales. I love to write, but I'd rather have a career in psychology and talk to people.

Ethnos is a little challenging because there is no specific way to measure it. I am open-minded, and love reading and writing. Through this, I hunt down old books, participate in learning everything I can get my hands on, and strive to enter new worlds at every opportunity. I like to think that music defines me, and that my genre of music is broad, like my goals and ambitions. An example of this would be that I've gotten my hair cornrowed and I wear slinkies as a sign of fashion style. This holds no relative meaning to nobody but me, and I enjoy this.

This identity is tragically not formed by nomos in any way. This is partially because my family cut all ties, in a sense, to create new ones. I realize that I am the first, as far as I know, to go to Clemson, to enter into Psychology, and to strive towards writing. This can be challenging at times having no specific help or advice through family, but I have support and that is good enough for me.

Mythos is actually a motivator for me. My mother and father aren't specifically bound by standards or roles. Both of my parents cook, both of my parents participated in raising my brothers and I, and each one has had various backgrounds in government jobs, traveling, making new friends, so on, and so forth. They have taught me that I should try to pave my own story, and to make a difference in my own way.

Archon is another one that is challenging. If you were to research me, you probably wouldn't find very much. It is true that I have a MySpace and a FaceBook account, but if you were to view it, you wouldn't find very much. I don't have any albums of music or photos posted. I don't have any stories or tales, and honestly, I would much rather be making the new adventures and creating stories than to be documenting and archiving tales of exaggerated feats. My life is something others have to choose to participate in. It isn't enough for my "friends" to sit on the sideline and comment on it.

Last, for techne, this is a bit problematic. All I own are my personal belongings. All I have is between my home and here at Clemson. And all I that I will leave behind are in the process of becoming "something". If you were to travel to Green Sea Floyds, you would find that I was a Battalion Commander for two years, and the only one who attained the level of Cadet Colonel. Unfortunately, this was in a school where my graduating class was eighty-one, so my legacy doesn't really live on.

Overall, I am not really complicating, I'm really simple. Complex insight may be required, but it's only to look at different angles. Why I get there isn't as important as how I get there.

In the meantime, stay tuned for next week's posting and enjoy this picture from my past. Not many people get to see it.


The Way of Jimmy: It's a Pyramid!

So the assignment to tackle this week is actually something up my alley, thankfully.


"Imagine that I am hosting exchange students who have never visited the U.S. What particular things about "your people" (your culture - national, regional, local, familial) would you need to explain during their visit - and how?"

Basically, I would inform the students about three specific topics: Morals, Ethics, and Laws. Specifically, these three topics can be looked at as a pyramid.

On the bottom of it, you have morals. These are on an intrapersonal level; only family, relatives, and friends are affected by this. Is eating together for dinner important? Are group activities such as family reunions and get-togethers a necessity? What kind of virtues and values are worked towards, and what do they tie into? For example, is missing a family outing frowned upon? Or is having a streak of independence a sign of approval?

Above the base, you have ethics. This level specifically is the on-start of the interpersonal level; more so, ethics on the standards of the general public. Like the word itself, these are the grey area... or is it gray? Regardless, they are the actions and words we use to interact that may be encouraged or frowned upon. Is helping an elderly across the street acceptable? What level of sexual innuendo can you engage with the opposite sex before it becomes inappropriate? Sarcasm and the level of humor is something that needs to be adjusted regularly because each individual within a culture operates on different standards.

Topping the pyramid of course, is law. Last, but not least, this is interpersonal but unlike morals and ethics, law is definite. It is final. And it is unchangeable. What is the drinking age in this country compared to where the students stay from? Are certain drugs and activities legal here compared to their home? What is the driving age, and are there any curfews restricting traveling abroad or locally?

Of course, this information isn't supposed to be filed in a PowerPoint presentation. Mostly, I would communicate this in two days easily. Family interaction, activities, bingo. Morals are covered. Setting times, meetings, and appointments, while allowing submersion into the culture by their self, it's liberating and guided. Ethics are up to date. And last, outings, informative snippets of things that are and aren't allowed, and careful warnings ahead of time at the right time would be done as they occur. Laws complete, checklist secure.

Because this is long and I don't want to bore all of you reading, I'll end it here and give anyone who needs one an intermission.


If not, continue on over to the next one...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cultural Literacy... A Pass-or-Fail Deal For Sure.

Well, this is the third week in this class, and I'm still chugging away. *Grimly* Tragically, I don't have any films or videos this week, but I will keep you posted, because I will be conducting some sort of interview soon.

As for what knowledge has helped me improve cultural literacy, I would have to say it's general curiosity. Many people will say it's about being open, but it isn't enough to say you are up for the opportunity. One needs to actually pursue the option of learning and utilizing the information in the most effective manner necessarily.

I can remember being accepted in the Spring of 2009, and attending Clemson. My housing was through the Clemson Exchange Community, and I roomed with two Americans, one from South Carolina and from Maryland, and another from Montreal, Canada.

I can think back and remember going to basketball games with John, Brian, and Dan... I can remember having cookouts in our apartment, watching games, playing video games, and partying. Even more so, I gained inside knowledge of cultural opinions and how the world outside of our "American bubble" views a major nation.

Through my own initiative,I'd like to think I've benefited greatly. My girlfriend and I met through one of my trips off-campus to the store through my roommate; we are actually going to celebrate our first one-year anniversary in March, thank you.

As for filling in the gaps in other locations, the answer is simple. When you come to a cliff and you want to access the other side, what will you do to get to the other side? What means are you willing to use in order to achieve success and understanding? Is it pointless and worthless? Should the high road be taken, or settle for looking for a lower pass? In the sense of not sounding cliche or stealing quotes from Robert Frost, life is but one journey in which we often forget the destination isn't what is important.

And knowing that I can't just "reset" my life at any point is enough motivation to enjoy and learn as much as I can. To those of you out there who are in other countries, I encourage you to say yes (reasonably, of course,) for me. Say yes to every choice you're given. Ask questions, go down different roads and into random buildings, if it's nothing more than to look at a painting through a window you've seen while in passing, or trying new food that looks totally disgusting.

As for ethnos, nomos, mythos, archon, and techne, I do believe it's interesting to see such terms. I was impressed to see a rating scale for different dimensions, and it's weird to see that other countries view the equality between sexes differently than us. And even more challenging is to ask, who is right?

But overall, I think that that is what it boils down to. It's not about who is right or wrong. It's about experiencing certain things, leaving your comfort zone, and trying for different things (of course, this isn't at the sacrifice of your morals).

Thankfully, the different dimensions and the concept of "stolons" is something I am thinking I will apply heavily to my interviews. This will give me an equal opportunity to learn about them as much as they've learned about us.

Stay tuned next week you all.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Unshrouding of Online Communities...

Unfortunately, I feel like I'm going to disappoint all of you online fans who are trekking to my site.

For those who don't know me, the many can vouch that when it comes to online involvement, I do not participate in anything.

I have never relied fully on staying up on posts and pictures, viewing different web layouts and sparkly, shimmering changes that rivaled the social factions schools designate their peers into.

I can't say that I even joined in forums and groups through the use of Youtube, DeviantArt, or Wikipedia.

It seemed with the birth of MySpace, everyone was looking for ample opportunity in defining the reason of who they were and why they existed.

For love, to be unique, to preach the word, to give their word, to hide behind the words, each person seemed to want to tell the world about them.

And I... I just couldn't get into it. I believed that such attention wasn't necessary. Mastery over words required finesse, and storytelling could be obliterated rather easily when the only meaning to your postings and news were built on exaggerations and lies. Moral compasses get tossed and turned, and one loses footing in the real world. What started out as mere "altered" fabrications of truth turn into extended lies built on top of misunderstandings and denial and lying.

Nonetheless, I am getting used to changing my ways to glimpse into how the world now actively chats. Or perhaps "chat" is too casual a word. Communicating and exploring the depths of the cultures and diversities that we are traveling through hold an important key in understanding the world and solving every particular problem out there.

I propose that by the third week of posting blogs, I will have joined the online communities for the CAAH 120 through FaceBook and I believe, Blogosphere.

And as I mentioned last week, I am not familiar with how to naturally blog and post videos and all that fun stuff. As a pledge to learn a little more about technology as I am our culture, I am posting three videos exclusively through YouTube with my Google account.

These videos are a little rough. I wanted to get used to filming "random" opportunities and did it more for the footage than the film. If it's shaky, loud, or soft at times, I apologize, and reassure you that this is the way it's supposed to be. So make sure you watch them, and let me know what you think!


William Harris

Friday, January 8, 2010

Entering a New Culture... By Staying Exactly Where I'm At!

Greetings and salutations everyone.

I guess I should begin by introducing myself properly... my name is William J. Harris, but I'm most notably called "Jimmy" (and no, the "J." does not stand for that, for those who are curious).

I am a Sophomore at Clemson University, I am twenty-one years old, and I am majoring in Psychology with a minor in Food Science.

To give an idea of my interests, I like reading, writing, and cooking. Notably, I write stories and poetry; also, I am known for drawing and a few sprite web comics (sadly, it is not popular or well-known for those who are aware of what a sprite web comic is) as the inspiration hits me.

After encouragement from Professor Nichols, I have decided to keep this class for the necessary credit and benefits that it offers.

If you're looking for something that will set these blogs apart, I would like to throw caution to the wind on two levels.

*Grimly* The first is that I am not a keen "online" person. MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter... these things mean nothing to me. I tend to kick it old-school with writing letters, phone calls, emails, and the occasional text messaging.

Let me assure you all, that you should look at my posts with a fair degree of... shall we say, amusement? I am learning how to use these "new tools", and trust me, I will learn fast. I know that over the course of this semester, I will grow in postings and abilities, so I ask for a reasonable amount of patience when it comes to quality and ability.

After all, I'm taking this class to better myself.

The second is that I am probably unlike anyone else in this class because while we are all here to learn and immerse ourselves in foreign society and culture, I am... well, still at Clemson University.

Now, you ask, how might I accomplish immersion of any kind?

Well, that answer is simple. I live in the Clemson Exchange Community at Calhoun Courts.

This means that my posts and projects will be a little... different than what you all may be able to post.

I will be creative. I will be unique. And I will participate in activities that CEC residents organize throughout the semester (as my class work and activities allow) in learning how other students are affected by our culture and how they integrate their own influences and beliefs into Clemson.

These will range from brunches to dances to movie nights to karaoke, but overall, my theme is to observe interaction of the majority through the actions of individuals.

Simply put, I will be participating in "themed" events and take advantage of learning culture. Afterward, I will discuss questions with individuals to learn how they feel in regards to Clemson and the American culture.

*Thoughtfully* I suppose now is the time I should reflect upon this course and it's materials. I'm still brainstorming on the final projects, and how I will be using my environment and my situation in order to satisfy the requirements.

Also, obtaining a camera and video recorder at the proper times (for those of you who have tried checking out video recorders at Cooper Library, I share your pain) will prove challenging, but all in all, I will provide pictures and longer, articulately-detailed recordings to make amends.

As always, I'm open to suggestions and advice. And if anyone comments on anything of mine, expect me to give some attention to your own postings as well.

Well, that's it for now. Thank you. And, I shall keep you posted.