A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for April 2004

[NON-BLOG] Writing, Then and Now

I’m not happy with my previous entry in my livejournal, with my ENGL 825 paper. It may be a good paper by objective standards; it may even be a good (well, tolerable) paper by the standards of the graduate course. I can’t find it a good paper, though, though whether this is because my judgement is correct or because my judgement’s clouded by proximity I can’t conclude.

What I want to do–in my graduate courses here, in my future careers–is to write clearly and lucidly, freely and without any sense that it isn’t flowing, that it doesn’t work. I want to write the way that I do for this blog, or for my 2300AD materials, or my alternate histories at AHTG.net. I want to engage with the subject matter that I write about, assimilate and transform it.

I want to add a lot of value to the raw materials that I transforming by describing. I hate it when I don’t do that.


On a separate note, welcome to my first visitors from the Czech Republic and Qatar!

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2004 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Assorted

[ACADEMIC] Buttressing the State: The Place of Education in Early Tudor England

In Thomas More’s 1516 book Utopia, Raphael Hythloday–a educated Portuguese sailor and explorer, and the character used by More to describe the society of his ideal philosophical state–proved in the course of his description of Utopian society concerned with the question of how a state could most effectively secure the loyalty of its subjects, and in so doing, establish a coherent and well-governed nation. Throughout Utopia, Hythloday consistently refers to the Utopians’ systems of mass education–many, varied, and effective–as key to this effort. Hythloday’s commentaries in Utopia represent a theme common to many of the leading statesmen of early 16th century England, who believed not only that there existed a direct correlation between the education of individuals and the nature of their society but that this correlation could be exploited by conscious state policies. The statesmen of Tudor England were greatly concerned by the question of how to justify the existence of the Tudor monarchy, in reference both to its highly contested emergence on the battlefields of the War of the Roses and to its highly centralizing nature. Following Henry VIII’s launching of the Protestant Reformation in England, these statesmen became still more concerned with justifying the Tudor monarchy’s existence, particularly insofar as this existence required the separation of the monarchy and its territorial domains from Christendom. Throughout the remainder of the early 16th century, Tudor statesmen sought to buttress the internal stability of their realm by sponsoring the development of an educated class socialized in the separatist and national ideologies of the Tudor monarchy so as to legitimate the monarchy in the face of political and religious dissidence.

The body of the paper.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2004 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Assorted

[NON-BLOG] The fashionable sharing of memories, inspired by slazer33

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2004 at 2:48 pm

Posted in Assorted

[NON-BLOG] Confusion

My paper for English 825, on the use of education to buttress the Tudor monarchy’s claims to independence, is as Francophones would say, foutu.

I’ve cut it back to focus on More, his theories, the implications of the printing press and mass education on these theories’ applications, and the way in which Cromwell and Bacon père I hope it will work.

Have I mentioned that it’s a day late after extension? Oh, and that I’m also moving today. This will be fun. Hee.

I so need this upcoming trip. I’m quite looking forward to it, J.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2004 at 2:36 pm

Posted in Assorted

[QUIZ] Which Deadly Viper assassin am I?

Find out here

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2004 at 7:57 am

Posted in Assorted

[QUIZ] Which Martian explorer am I?

Opportunity Rover
You are Opportunity, the (best) Mars Exploration
Rover!!! When you’re not reading AstroTeen,
you’re discovering shallow seas on Mars!!!

Opportunity’s journal:

Which Martian exploration vehicle are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Written by Randy McDonald

April 28, 2004 at 10:50 pm

Posted in Assorted

[ADMIN] New Group Blog

I now belong to GNXP. I’ll make some posts and cross-posts there, in the future.

Now, to refining my paper.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 28, 2004 at 9:32 am

Posted in Assorted

[ACADEMIC] An Overlooked Christian Masculinity? The Portrayal of Joseph in the York Mystery Plays

Of the three members of the Holy Family, Joseph–foster-father of Jesus, husband of Mary–may have had the most tenuous existence in the minds of medieval Christians. Jesus was, of course, the central figure of the Christian religion; his mother, the Virgin Mary, was identified as a perfectly moral individual and an object of mass veneration. Joseph, in contrast, faced a much more muted and mixed reception, rarely achieving a mass audience comparable to his two more famous relatives and often subjected to popular mockery. In many mystery plays, for instance, Joseph was identified as a weak old man, his character assimilated to that of the stereotypical medieval cuckold, a man “old, jealous, and prone to subjective emotional outbursts” (Flanigan 21). The three plays of the York cycle where Joseph features prominently–the Pewterers and Founders’ Joseph’s Trouble about Mary, the Tilthatchers’ The Nativity, and the Marshals’ The Flight Into Egypt–all demonstrate these character traits to varying degrees. Although this portrayal of Joseph contradicts much of official Church doctrine, it also challenges the stereotypical gender norms of medieval England. Joseph–the man chosen by God to be foster-father of Jesus–existed much like the Virgin Mary as a problematic role model, as someone whose example upheld the highest moral standards at the same time that his example was practically impossible to follow. In a gendered perspective, power in medieval English society may have been balanced decidedly towards men, but in the York mystery plays the character of Joseph demonstrated how masculine and paternal identities were seen as being inevitably complicated by religion. Indeed, by bringing their viewers in contact with representations of divine history, these plays destabilized the possibilities for unquestioned male supremacy by demonstrating instances where this supremacy needed to be radically modified, allowing for broader definitions of the masculine and paternal social roles lying at the heart of male identity.

Here is the text of my essay.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 27, 2004 at 10:45 pm

Posted in Assorted

[NON-BLOG] Two Notes

From The Chronicle of Higher Education, this sad article about the decision of the Invisible Adjunct to leave academia permanently.

And, in keeping with my taste for mash-up music, mash-up fiction titles from Crooked Timber.

UPDATE (4:24 PM) : Via creases, a depressing article in the Village Voice.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 27, 2004 at 2:51 pm

Posted in Assorted

[NON-BLOG] Moving

This morning I got a phone call from residence services. My room–317 in the graduate residence–became free today, and I can move in immediately. I’ll move in Thursday instead, owing to paper-writing concerns, but still, this is very good.

Upcoming, packing.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 27, 2004 at 1:14 pm

Posted in Assorted