“El Salvador: Another Vietnam,” A Reflection by Loriana Harkey

As we near the 25th anniversary of the murder of the Jesuit/UCA Martyrs, there are numerous events on campus to inform students of history behind this tragic day. In the 1981 film titled El Salvador: Another Vietnam, I learned core similarities between the war in El Salvador and the Vietnam War. Because the film was made before 1989, the Jesuit martyrs were still alive, but this film provided a solid background and understanding of why the murder would occur in the near future. Dr. Tom Kelly also further explained concepts that were brought up in the film.

One key similarity between the two wars was the use of the counterinsurgency method. This is when both combatants and their supporters, which includes innocent, unarmed people, are killed alike. Dr. Kelly compared this to the saying, “If you drain the pond, the fish will die.” Though we are not proud of it, the U.S. used this method during the Vietnam and El Salvador wars.

The war began when there was a group that disagreed with the Salvadoran government. There were people who supported the government, and there were those against it. Those against it were called guerrillas, or rebels. These guerrillas had no mercy on anyone associated with the government. They destroyed anything and anyone in their path. Similar to the rebels in Vietnam, they started in the sky and bombed people overhead from planes. Then, they came to the ground as groundtroopers and shot anything they saw.

In the film, college students just leaving class fell facedown on the ground to beg for mercy and not be harmed. Some even played dead. These attacks were much more severe than drive-by shootings. They were thorough, well thought out plans of murder, mutilation and destruction. Though some families were able to flee to Honduras, the remaining families were undoubtedly massacred. The guerrillas used tactics to get you to leave before killing you. One way, according to Dr. Kelly, was to take your child and cut his or her arm off in hopes that this traumatic experience would cause you to leave or join their side. To this day, there are still Salvadorans with only one arm. In one case, 136 bodies were found in a church, and 120 of them were children. But that is not the most depressing part. These children did not die of gunshot wounds, but of machete wounds. One woman from the film teared up as she retold the story of what happened to her son. He worked in agricultural business, a job completely unaffiliated with supporting or going against the government, yet he was taken by guerillas to the top of a mountain and cut into pieces. Needless to say, these deaths were highly gruesome.

Seeing these images from the film reminded me of the Holocaust. The limp lifeless bodies just piled like packages really helped me understand and have much empathy toward the devastating and plain evil nature of this war. Under President Carter, the U.S. eventually sent help to El Salvador and from 1971 to 1981 to train El Salvador soldiers. From 1980 to 1981, the U.S. sent more money to El Salvador than they had ever received in the past. Unfortunately, the money was not put fully to good use as the U.S. intended. Because the Salvadoran military officers received 1 million dollars a day from the U.S. during the war, they basically gave the guerillas weapons because as long as the war continued, the officers would keep getting money from the U.S. When a country is not financially secure, money-hungry actions such as this are bound to occur.

Though the Vietnam War did not exactly match the outcome of the war in El Salvador, the film and Dr. Kelly’s explanations show that even a couple of similarities, like the counterinsurgency method and no mercy fighting style, can be a red flag that any country is going down a fatal path.

For more information about the 25th anniversary of the Jesuit/UCA Martyrs, visit http://blogs.creighton.edu/jesuitjustice/

Speech Communities: “So That’s a Thing” by Kaylee Stankus

“I have to write a paper for Cortina English on a word or phrase used in my speech community, so that’s a thing.” One phrase that I find myself, as well as my friends, using a lot is “so that’s a thing.” The literal meaning of the phrase poses a lot of questions. What qualifies as “a thing”? How do we know if it’s a good or a bad “thing”?

i hear that's a thing copy

In my community of friends and Creightas, the phrase is almost an ending to whatever we are discussing. Instead of just ending the statement normally, we find ourselves unnecessarily ending it with “…so that’s a thing.” For example, if I was talking with Sarah, she might say “Today my boss asked me to stay late at work, so that’s a thing.” In this situation, Sarah included “…so that’s a thing” because she was hinting to her audience that it was something that she didn’t want to do but felt like she had to do.

We use this phrase in many different ways. I often use this phrase in a form of a question. If someone explains something that I might not believe right away, instead of saying “really?” or “for real?” I might say, “that’s a thing?” Sometimes it’s used sarcastically when we are angry or annoyed with something that has happened recently. Such as, “Today my politics teacher assigned 100 pages of reading due by tomorrow, so that’s a thing.”

Personally, I don’t mind the usage of the phrase, though this paper makes me realize just how often we use it. Since I’ve been writing and discussing this topic with my friends, I started noticing just how often I say it. I also realize how some people outside of the speech community might be confused when we use it in our everyday conversations. Whether it’s used sarcastically, as just a statement, or as an expression of disbelief, “so that’s a thing” will always be “a thing” in my speech community.

Speech Communities: “Magis” by Kate Albrecht

magis“Magis.” A Latin word. A Jesuit Value. An utterance frequently heard on Creighton’s campus. “Magis” can be seen in colorful sidewalk chalk scrawled on the mall advertising the #MagisMondays, can be heard in addresses to wide-eyed freshmen during Welcome Week, and can be spoken in casual reference to the new Magis Core. Yet, what does Magis really mean to the larger Creighton community?

When I first started here at Creighton, I was initially excited when I heard about how Creighton was unifying itself behind the Jesuit values and this sacred idea of Magis. Magis, as defined at Welcome Week, means more not in the quantitative sense but more in the qualitative sense of better or greater. Magis shows how Creighton strives for excellence in all things be it academics, athletics, the arts, or simply moral living. Yet, I was disappointed to find that that Creighton was using Magis in a less sacred way in the naming of the new core curriculum.

Magis appears in the name of new Magis Core as seen at http://www.creighton.edu/academics/magis-core-curriculum. This use of Magis as a marketing strategy designed to appeal to perspective students who are concerned with the return on their investment in a Creighton education cheapens the use of the word Magis. Magis becomes a cog in the capitalist society, having been chosen for its efficiency and slogan potential.  The more we use casually use “Magis Core” — like when a sophomore said to me “I am so jealous that you get the Magis Core,” or when a student in my RSP group complained “Ugh, we have to go to another Magis Presentation!” — the more we diminish the original sacredness of this age-old Jesuit value.

It is the duty of us, the students of Creighton University, to wrestle “Magis” back from its cheapened value. It is our responsibility to use this and all the Jesuit values in a respectful manner, remembering their original sacred meanings. That is truly doing more!

Speech Communities: “I Can’t Even” by Shannon Mulcahey

This begins our series from the Freshmen Cortina Composition class about word choices in speech communities. Enjoy!

In a world where Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram rule the lives of teenage girls, there are several new words and phrases that are dominating the pop culture. Social media has become people’s personal diary. Emotions are expressed in 140 characters or less; people’s best days are captured in a single picture. The restrictions social media has made on articulating feelings has led to new words in our culture like “swag,” “YOLO,” and “selfie” in order to portray situations in as few words as possible. “I can’t even” is another example and is used out of frustration, ignorance, and efficiency.

A few weeks ago, I was over at a friend’s dorm room because we needed to catch up with what was going on in our lives. As the conversation progressed, I found myself not being able to share all of the emotions I was feeling. I continually said “I can’t even do this right now” because I was not feeling comfortable enough to talk about a recent event that had happened. I was using “I can’t even” as a way to avoid an emotional meltdown. I knew if I expressed my emotions I would become vulnerable.

The evolving social media aspect of present-day society has contributed to the lack of emotional output girls are willing to express in person. There becomes a disconnect and a lack of trust between people. All people have to do now is sit behind a computer screen and tweet out their feelings in the comfort of their home instead of having face to face interaction and discussions about emotions. The words that I choose to speak have been affected by what others around me are using. For me, using “I can’t even” has revealed me as one to be more emotionally reserved, and it has become a refuge in maintaining my emotional wall. I also value efficiency, and this phrase allows me to quickly summarize all the emotions that go on in my head. Because of that, I will continue to say “I can’t even,” but I will not let the phrase become so instilled in my vocabulary that I am not able to share my feelings with my friends when I truly need to. There comes a point where people need to balance the relationship they have with social media and how they express themselves and figure out how much they want it to affect their personal life, which is a step that I have taken and encourage others to do as well.

icanteven

an open letter to my students who live in a scary world

Hello there Cortina-folk.

THANK YOU for the rich discussion tonight. I think that these are issues near and dear to each one of us in different ways and I think it is important to acknowledge the frustration and fear that we might feel when we talk about them.

Mostly I want to acknowledge these feelings because there are very legitimate things to fear in our world. It is not productive to have these conversations pretending that this is not the case.

In our short lives, many of us have already felt the pain of violence & stereotyping. I think that the question we have to ask coming out of tonight is:

How do I love a scary world? Or, as Jesus put it, “love my enemies”?
(These could be physical enemies or people who pose a threat to my way of seeing the world).

The difficulty that Alex so aptly and practically brought up tonight is that there is a reality to danger. But the difficulty of always feeling this danger is that if we live in fear, we always feel the need to protect ourselves. If we always need to protect ourselves, there is no openness to anyone who is a stranger or who doesn’t live within the space of our daily interaction. If there is no openness to the stranger, there is no openness to the truth of anyone’s life that is not our own or those close to us. And often this proliferates what Jordan named for us: Confirmation bias. It is nice to have our biases confirmed; it makes us feel ideologically safer and in turn, physically safer.

Though this might be discouraging, do not lose heart! I don’t have to throw caution to the wind to love my enemy (or neighbor who I don’t know). I don’t have to leave my door unlocked at all times or run at 2am or wander aimlessly about an area I know nothing about and pretend like there is nothing dangerous about that. In fact, loving my enemies should be much more intentional than that.

Sometimes we have to start small and recognize our own biases and decide to not look everywhere to confirm them. Even that small act is an act of love. It is an act of hospitality to make room for the fact that someone may not be just who you think they are. This doesn’t mean you will get to know every person you have preconceived ideas about  or that you will invite every person you are scared of into your home, but it does allow you to engage your mind in a way that allows you to not be paralyzed by fear. Fear doesn’t allow your mind to expand, it makes it contract, shut down. FIGHT OR FLIGHT! We can’t fight or flee our whole lives. That is not conducive to living, but neither is only finding comfortable spaces where our ideas about what is good, normal, safe, or acceptable are consistently re-affirmed.

A brilliant man named Parker Palmer runs something called The Center for Courage and Renewal. In his book, To Know as We Are Known, he wrote these words that will challenge me until the day I die (and you’ll see him quoted elsewhere in my writing for this blog):

Hospitality is a central virtue of the biblical tradition itself, where God is always using the stranger to introduce us to strangeness of truth. To be inhospitable to strangers or strange ideas, however unsettling they may be, is to be hostile to the possibility of truth; hospitality is not only an ethical virtue but an epistemological one as well. Hospitality is not an end in itself. It is offered for the sake of what it can allow, permit, encourage, and yield. A learning space needs to be hospitable not to make learning painless, but to make the painful things possible, things without which no learning can occur—things like exposing ignorance, testing tentative hypotheses, challenging false or partial information, and mutual criticism of thought. Each of these is essential to obedience to truth. But none of them can happen in an atmosphere where people feel threatened and judged. 

How is our lack of hospitality a judgment that disallows real learning about each other and about the world? AHH. It is scary for me to think about how I do this to people all the time. Read Palmer’s passage again. You’ll see something new every time.

Yet again though, this is hard a hard truth because fear is deeply ingrained in us. For many of us it might take years of counseling to trust anyone again, to be “hospitable to the stranger” (even in our minds!). Here is my admonition:

do that work.

It is worth it. Do any work that you can to open yourself up. In opening up, we are able to not only give, but also receive love in a more full, abundant way.

It takes practice to make that space, and I am still learning to do so as well. It is equally important that we don’t assume everyone wants to get to know us or be our friends or have our “hospitality” forced on them. There is a balance. And it is hard. Have grace with yourselves, and others. That is loving ourselves and loving our enemies. And both of those seem important. If we can’t love ourselves through the scary things we see inside of our own hearts and minds, how will we do that for and with anyone whose heart and mind we don’t have direct access to?

Anyway, I just felt overwhelmed by your good questions and engagement today and I wanted to say “Thank you.” I would love to talk to any of you that would like to dig further into this & I would welcome any ideas you have about continuing one of many of the rich conversations that were begun tonight.

With gratitude,
Annie

She’s Coming “Home”: Allison Dethlefs speaks to her time in the DR

The following letter was written by Allison Dethlefs, a Junior at Creighton, and a Formation Group Leader in the Cortina Community. She was doing the Encuentro Dominicano program in the Fall, but she and her roommate Selina Marshall (another DR traveller) will be joining us in Deglman in the Spring.

Dear friends and family,

I firstly have to apologize for being so out of touch over the past semester. As with many of the best intentions, my intentions to keep up with regular updates quickly fell to the bottom of my priority list as life in the Dominican Republic set in. It’s hard for me to believe that my four months here are almost coming to a close. In another week and a half I will finally be back to the United States–this time without jetting off to another country a week after I arrive.

As hard as it will be for me to leave here, I am very excited to see you again and catch up on all of the life that has happened in the in between. I don’t know if it’s been this way for you, but at least for me, it’s been a crazy past six months…

***

I was thinking about it today as I rode a small motorboat out into the beautifully blue Dominican sea, the wind whipping through my hair, the salt staining my lips and stinging my eyes, white spray leaping and dancing around us as the bottom of the boat smacked hard against the waves, our destination, Cayo Arena, literally a small sand bank in the middle of the ocean. I thought about all that I’ve done in the last half year, all the places I’ve been, all the people I’ve met. Three countries. Three different worlds, all far apart and very distinct, but for me three back to back chapters of life with hardly a breath in between. As the clouds and shore line whisked by I took stock of it all, let the sheer breadth of what I’ve experienced sweep over me.

I feel like I’ve seen so much of the world since I stepped on that first plane, although I know in reality it’s all just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve climbed mountains, swam in oceans, and walked through desert sand. I’ve trekked through jungles and glaciers, swam in rivers, and rappelled down waterfalls. I’ve explored extravagant cities, run-down slums, quiet rural campos up in rolling green hills, and bustling tourist towns. I’ve eaten and learned to cook new foods, learned to dance to new rhythms, gained a new life soundtrack, and been a part of lively night life scenes. I’ve ridden in the back of pickup trucks, on guaguas, and conchos, mototaxis, M1 buses, combis, taxis, planes, boats, buses, and possibly soon a motorcycle. I’ve seen stars at night that I never knew existed, run through cities where the air is a mix of dust and smog, and played soccer and volleyball on cement basketball courts. I’ve worshiped in new ways, reflected much on my purpose and calling in this world, and become passionate in a new way about doing my part to bring about a more just and peace-filled world. I’ve taken hundreds of pictures and left drawings, paintings, murals, crafts, and napkin cranes scattered in my wake. I’ve seen ancient ruins cloaked by rolling clouds at sunrise, stood on top of the highest peak in the Caribbean, and looked down from a bridge that divides two countries over a river that will forever be stained with the blood of thousands of innocent people.

I’ve learned so many stories and met so many people, so much history and so many lessons. I’ve studied peoples and their cultures and pasts, listened to their hopes and dreams and fears, what makes them laugh and what makes them cry. I’ve played with so many kids, cooked in so many kitchens, ate at so many tables, and slept in so many beds. I’ve lived and learned and loved in another language. I’ve become a part of new communities, gained families in three new countries to the point where I’d have to think about who you meant when you asked me about my mom or dad, or siblings. I have split my heart into more pieces than I thought possible and been given so much more than I ever thought my heart could hold. I’ve laughed more than I’ve laughed in years, cried my fair share, been challenged, and pushed, humbled and broken, motivated, and moved, and infinitely blessed.

It has been such a great adventure. It has not always been fun or easy. I’ve come out with many more questions than answers, and no, perhaps I’m not ready for it to be over. The goodbyes never seem to get any easier, no matter how many I have to say. But I don’t regret any of it, wouldn’t take a second of it back. These six months have been filled with the deep, true kind of joy that one only finds when she goes out, opens herself up and gives herself away, despite the pain and the cost.

And now it’s time to go home, although I don’t know that that word will ever mean the same thing to me again. I’ve become a part of too many loving homes now to say that my heart will ever be content and complete with just one. I am excited to see all of my family and friends, to hear their stories and share my own, and–difficult though it will be–to begin the slow process of integrating myself back into “normal” life. I wonder how I will fit into the hole that I left now that I’ve changed so much, how badly the stretching and squeezing will hurt. I hope that it won’t require me to leave anything behind. But I know also that I must not live in fear–that it’s all just a part of the bigger adventure, more chapters of the story to write, more to learn, new ways in which to grow, and new mountains to climb. Nothing lasts forever, and everything has its season. It’s time to pack up my memories, sling them on my shoulders, pick a new star on the horizon, fill up my water bottle and move on. Because even though this part of my adventure is almost finished, I’m not done yet. My story is yet incomplete. And no matter where I go, Mother Teresa’s words will forever apply: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

***

So, there you have it. A snippet of what’s been going on in my head and life. Naturally that’s the abbreviated, big picture version with all of the real stories left out, but I hope that will give me an excuse to catch up with you face to face when my last plane has dropped me back into the death grip of winter and the craziness of the Christmas season fray. I look forward to all of the conversations and picture sharing to come and wish you the very best as the end of the year approaches. I may have been far away, but you have always been and continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. May you take full advantage of whatever adventure you’re living and squeeze the life out of each beautiful second with which you are blessed.

Muchos abrazos–lot of hugs–

Paz,

Allison Dethlefs

Speech Communities//”Slash”//Rachel Pham

Is “A” or “C” the best answer?  Do I feel like having Rocky Road or Butter Pecan?  To be or not to be?  Harry or Peeta?  Whether small or completely life-changing, choices fill up our existence (so choose your ice cream wisely).

pham1

Due to their constant presence, much of the value of choices has decreased, in terms of the recognition of being able to make choices in a very mental sense, which in turn is reflected by a physical change of language.  The change to be addressed here is not a very prominent one, but has significant implications nonetheless: the usage of the word “slash.”

The slash I am referring to stems from the “/” symbol, commonly used when typing to replace the word “or” between two choices as an abbreviation. An extremely common printed application of it in context is as “and/or.” The unconventional usage of “slash” of interest in this case is the pronunciation of the word out loud in a normal conversation.  For instance, while planning a weekend of bacchanalian festivities with a friend, I might suggest, “We can pickle eggs slash shave pencils on Friday night.”  Though “/” is used as an abbreviation in print, as exemplified here, saying “slash” in a sentence does not phonetically shorten anything, even if it does psychologically.  As a result, it could be said that using “slash” implies that choices are being treated in a very careless manner (and in the extremely serious context of my thriving social life, no less).  Thus, the seemingly innocent, arbitrary throwing of “slash” in our dialogue every now and then may reflect our taking the privilege of being able to even have choices too lightly.

pham2

This value is further emphasized by the fact that we sometimes use “slash” not so much as series of two choices, but as one choice and a continuation of that same choice, but in further detail.  For example, while trying to convince people to give a few hours of service, I once said, “You should come volunteer with us on Saturday slash sell us your soul forever.”  In this case, after a closer examination, one can see that there really aren’t two choices being offered, just one event and a highly escalated version of that same event. Thus, the range of and gratitude for choice has been limited.  As a result, it could be said this conscious reduction of choice indicates a subconscious reduction of the value of choices as a whole.

However, it must be noted that it is not the word itself that causes the reduction of choice, but the feelings behind the community.  It is possible that with a conscious and deliberate use of “slash,” the values that come behind the word when it is used could be changed.  Thus, on this note, I bid you happy choice-making.  Whatever you decide, always be grateful for the choice that you will or won’t make.  Slash it’s alright to choose the wrong flavor, as long as you get ice cream.

 

The Possibility of Halloween

If you’ve walked through Deglman lobby recently, you’ve seen photos from CU Boulder’s Campaign:

culturenotacostume3

culturenotacostume1

culturenotacostume4

Students have been having a written conversation in the lobby about their thoughts on this campaign:

cu boulder

What are your thoughts??

Formation Group Leader Natalie sent an e-mail with this link and some comments. It addresses this idea from another angle:

Captain America in a Turban

This article beautifies the strides our country is taking in the movement of accepting people of all kinds. No one, young or old, male or female, should be limited in their costume choice just because of their race or religion. Who ever said Captain America couldn’t be a Sikh with a turban and a beard? 

From these two campaigns/articles, we see that Halloween has the capacity to bring up a lot of statements, hurt, sensitivities, triumphs, beliefs, et cetera.

How can you use Halloween as an opportunity challenge stereotypes instead of play into them? How can we become CREATIVE instead of DESTRUCTIVE? What are your thoughts about dressing up for Halloween? Is this a big deal?

A Call for Consistency: A Reflection on the Macklemore Controversy

A really startling thing has been happening around me in the past couple of weeks.

Perhaps it has always been going on, but being in Cortina, for a second year, constantly surrounded by hopeful discussion and work towards human dignity for all, has really illuminated this issue for me.

Perhaps it is because I hate the hypocrisy within myself so much that hypocrisy becomes for me the most heinous kind of action to observe in the world around me.

I’m sure someone will read this as SUPER preachy, obnoxious, and prying, and you should know that I’m totally open for discussion. Please come talk to me about this if it strikes any sort of chord with your soul, whether a pleasant one or not.

But I am going to say this now, because this issue has really become frustrating and confusing for me, and I want to say something about it to all of you, and maybe someone who agrees with me and wants to preach to the choir will read it, and I will make a new friend. On the other hand, maybe someone who totally disagrees with me will have the respect and courage for me to talk to me about it, and I will see something new from the opposite side that I never saw before. Or maybe I won’t, and we will agree to disagree. Hopefully we would be able to respect each other as people, outside of what we think of each others’ ideologies.

That last paragraph I wrote is coming from the best possible version of myself. I regularly become annoyed with people who do not see the world the same way I do, and only in my wildest dreams could I perfectly live up to the ideal I set for myself there.  AHHH!!! This illustrates so perfectly the very thing that I needed to verbalize, and please know that it means I trust and respect all of you A LOT to be actually submitting this to the blog.

HERE’S THE ACTUAL POINT OF THIS BLOG POST:

(nervous Brooke)
The reactions to the Creightonian editorial letter from the Macklemore protestors, and a ton of Facebook comments that random ultra-conservative blog posts get when my friends post them to Facebook, just look like a complete lack of coherence in claims for tolerance and actual treatment of those different than us.

If we claim that we are fighting for the equality and dignity of all people, how does that give us any right to treat those who seem to oppose us in our “fight” as any less than whole people?

When racist, sexist, homophobic opinions are found by those around me, either on the Internet or elsewhere, they are thrown down with such fervor that the line between the opinion and the person who holds it is lost.

I wholeheartedly disagree with the Macklemore letter-writers’ opinion on gay marriage, and I want to make that clear, because any vagueness on my part would make you question my motives for writing this. But when a very diplomatic and well-written letter calling into question Creighton’s support of an artist on moral grounds was published by the Creightonian, some of the people that I love and respect, and most of the time agree with, responded in mean, spiteful, and personally insulting ways. Of equal importance, in my opinion, was the way that those students’ right to write about and publish their opinion was dangerously questioned and slammed down. Whenever a change is being implemented in society, there are going to be a wide range of opinions about it. Some may be blatantly wrong. Personally, again, I disagree with what they were asking Creighton for and why they were asking it, and I know that some super hypocritical stuff  was found on that guy’s Twitter. But I’m not here to talk about that.

This is not an isolated event. Sometimes, when we live in the bubble of a Midwestern, justice-focused, liberal arts university, we forget just how much of the world of ideas lives outside this bubble. It’s been increasingly common for people I love (on BOTH sides of the polarized political spectrum), as well as generally fantastic websites like Upworthy, to use the Internet to post an article, blog, or piece of art made by someone of a very different worldview than their own, and then absolutely vilify that person for stating their opinion. Obviously, many of the people who comment on it are also shocked at the “backwardness” or racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. of the original writer. While I do think it is totally appropriate and necessary to discuss and even debate controversial and emotionally-charged topics that are often the focus of these articles, we cannot claim to be in support of human dignity and equal treatment when we dehumanize the people behind the opinions. It’s a matter of consistency, as well as just common decency (something that is increasingly lost in our social-media-crazed, politically polarized world).

People! We seriously don’t have to be a part of this craziness! We can be different. We can start something within our community where we don’t just have respectful discussions within our community, but have actually well-thought-out and respectful answers to opinions we don’t agree with. Diplomatic and sincerely kind but educated and strong. Isn’t that who we want to be in the end? There’s a balance there, and it hangs delicately. That’s certainly who I am hoping and trying to become. Because a world full of people like that is a world that’s actually going to move in a positive direction.

-Brooke F.

Speech Communities//”YOLO”//Connor

Hello everybody! This is an excerpt from my speech community essay for ENG 150 where my word/phrase I analyzed was YOLO (You Only Live Once). We discussed the origins of the word and how it is used throughout our speech community and then what affect that usage has had in your own personal life.

Whenever I personally see or hear the word YOLO, I immediately picture a high school or college student about to do something totally ridiculous, and they are often times drunk. Therefore, I associate the word YOLO with exactly what I envision, stupid kids doing stupid things. Because of this negative association, I hear the word most often being used in a sarcastic tone within my language community, taunting the dimwittedness of our fellow classmates. This is a sign that my close friends and I place ourselves in a higher standard of language by mocking the lesser speech of the community that is metaphorically beneath us. In the situation used previously with the egging of the principal’s house,  upon finding out that the delinquents reasoned their behavior by the word YOLO, my friends and I would likely have continued using YOLO in every possible scenario possible. Such scenarios would include but are not limited to: “Hey dude, come to the bathroom with me before class.” “Well we only have like a minute left.” “So? YOLO!” or, “Hey, did you do the homework last night?” “Nah, it probz won’t count that much towards our final grade, YOLO.” or, “Hey man your shoe’s untied.” “YOLO.” These situations are instances where we feel comfortable enough with our intelligence that we can poke fun at those who make poor life choices. We know better and therefore can tease them. The word itself represents our appreciation for intelligence and common sense. “… Our language habits are at the core of how we imagine the world.” (Postman, 4) This quote applies directly to the usage of the word YOLO.

The habit of using YOLO in our language to justify the irrational decisions gives way to how young people commonly misunderstand the image of the world. They feel they are free to make any decision they want because it is their own life and they only have one; this is quite false however because everything is connected, so whatever you do in your small community will affect the greater community, positively or negatively.

Also, here is a link to a pretty funny video that shows an exaggerated yet accurate way YOLO is used.

WARNING: Some explicit language is used, and certain situations depicted are very dangerous and should not be attempted.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXFSmV3r6DQ

-Connor F.