Wednesday, December 3, 2008

An Introspective Retrospective on this FYS

Alright, this is the final blog post of the year, unless we have to do way more than I think we do. So I thought that I should do a little retrospective on the semester, because it seems like it made sense and anyway I couldn’t think of anything else to write about. Except to say that the video today was pretty awesome—almost as good as my project. I thought the voiceover work was particularly impressive. Anyway, good job everyone, and I’m sure that the rest of the presentations will be equally good if the presenters ever find time to do them.

Anyway, as to the whole retrospective thing, I don’t think that it’s exactly going to blindside anyone when I say that there is no way I would have chosen to take this course—I basically thought that John Cage is useless. And it’s not like I didn’t give him a chance—I downloaded Cheap Imitation to see what I was getting into. I listened the first thirty seconds, thought it was pretty awful, skipped to the middle to see if it’d get any better, which is didn’t, then turned it off while swearing eternal hatred of John Cage. Or maybe it was merely mild dislike.

I originally thought that John Cage was useless. However, after weeks of classroom discussions, dozens of readings (or was it? Maybe it was just one dozens), and fifteen weeks of thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that, well, John Cage is still useless.

That doesn’t mean that I’m sorry I took the course though—on the contrary, I’m glad I did. For one thing, if I hadn’t, that’d mean I wasn’t an Honors student and would have to pay for my education. (Does anyone else think it’s pretty stupid that Honors students have to pay a technology fee? I mean, technology at TMC is dreadful—it takes forever to log into any TMC computer. And the wireless Internet isn’t anything to write home about. And I’m paying three hundred dollars for that? That should be changed). But as I was saying, Honors=good, and I’d have taken pretty much any course for all that money, even if it was something like “Kitten Drowning 101.”

Not that I’m comparing this FYS to killing kittens, that sort of came out wrong. I honestly think that this class (unlike Cage) was useful. (And I’m not just saying that to get an A, although I would if I had to). I really don’t like the way “classical” (for want of a better word) music has gone in the 20th century, but it’s still good to know about. It’s like learning about Nazis in history—you might not like what happened, but it’s still important to know.

Now I just compared this FYS to Nazis— maybe that wasn’t the best example. It’s more like, I don’t know, reading about how the Yankees won like five straight World Series in Fifties—I don’t like the Yankees, but I’m still interested in learning about them. Maybe that’s better.

And I’ve got to say it’s interesting how Cage inspired so many other artists. I always kinda figured he was just sort of in his ivory tower composing his little avant-garde pieces, and it turns out he seems to have inspired every other musician out there.

And I’m glad to have gotten the chance to see Vox Arcana. To be honest, I didn’t expect much—but I enjoyed their performances much more than I thought I would—in fact, I hardly booed at all. Seriously, though, I did enjoy their work—I’m probably not going to rush out and buy some, but if I’m ever in Chicago or whatever and everyone’s like “hey, let’s go listen to some avant-garde jazz”, Vox Arcana will definitely be at the top of my list.

Oh, and thanks to this class, I discovered Apocolyptica, which I probably misspelled, but I like their music.

Oh, and I won Soundworlds without cheating hardly at all.

And the in-class discussions were pretty interesting. I mean, they should have been—we’re kind of the smart FYS, let’s face it, and it’s hard to get an interesting discussion going in Stats or Accounting, and the people in my Economics and Intro to Business classes are quite frankly rather stupid and boring for the most part. But still, I enjoyed the in-class discussions, and thought they added a lot to the class.

But we should have done more sound mapping.

By the way, this didn’t take me all that long to write, just so you all don’t think I spent like an hour on this, because this is a bit on the long side.

So, final grade for this class: five John Cage mushrooms =} =} =} =} =}. (Okay, that’s basically blatant plagiarism, mushrooms were Jimmy's idea, but didn’t we agree that plagiarism wasn’t a bad thing? And anyway, you can’t improve on perfection, which is what the whole mushroom thing is). Unless I don’t get an A, in which case it maybe gets one.


penny said...

Daniel, you're hilarious.
But I agree with you about this class. I definitely wouldn't have chosen it (in fact, I didn't and, I'll admit, was rather perturbed when I found out I had to take a class on some guy I'd never even heard of and his weird music). But, I suppose it's fitting that I didn't choose it, because, as Cage said, it's always good to get away from our personal tastes. I've gained a new appreciation for music -something I didn't much care about before- and was given the opportunity to experience this avant guard stuff the right way, that is, I believe my experience was improved because I receive the proper "introduction" from this class. Some of what we learned I thought was pretty cool, but wouldn't have thought so if I didn't understand all the thinking that was behind it (trust me, I tried to share things with my parents that fell on deaf ears, if you know what I mean)
All in all, I'd give this class seven out of five mushrooms =}=}=}=}=]=]=]. And don't worry about the whole plagiarism thing, Daniel. The mushroom ideas is pretty much public domain now.

James Schack said...

dude best post yet
drowning kittens 101
the nazi thing
and though I could sue you for millions for stealing the mushroom thing, Ill let it slide as long as you agree to appear in the sequill to our movie free of charge, if one is made which Im sure it will.