Spellcheck Dilemma

My computer thinks the word cunt is a typo. This is one of those rare cases in which I know my computer is wrong and I am right. Cunt is indeed a word.

I right clicked on the word and clicked on the “learn spelling” command. SUDDENLY I froze! My fingers firmly holding the mouse button down. The “Learn” button light up blue just waiting for me to let it go and commit the command. Just then, like my life flashing before my eyes (but in reverse), I saw my future. There might come a time when I intend to type the word count, or cut, or maybe even cute and somehow end up typing cunt. If my computer does not underline this word as a typo, and if this document happens to be important, or somehow sensitive, the trouble this typo will cause me will probably be worse than the trouble of knowing cunt is spelled correctly, even though it is underlined in red. And so, I took the pointer off the “learn spelling” button. Now my computer thinks I have spelled the same word wrong five times, and I am willing to live with that.

“Shoot for the Moon … “

Nitpicking? Absolutely.

“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” -Les Brown

I hate this quote. I think it’s stupid, tacky and 100% cliche. It’s just a wordy way to say always try your best. The problem with this quote is the totally absurd premise that if you miss the moon, then you will be among the stars. This is a very loose interpretation of the word “among.” If indeed you get shot from Earth in order to reach the moon and miss, you will be floating in space. If you are “in” space and so are the stars, then I guess you are among the stars right away. As a matter of fact, we are all among the stars as I write this, and as you read it.

Obviously this explanation of among the stars isn’t what Les Brown was going for. He is trying to infer that if you miss the moon you will reach “the stars” because you have shot yourself so hard with your will power. Well the closest star is Proxima Centauri and it’s 4.2 light years away. So you might be “among” Proxima in about 1 million years. But then you are only among a single star. It’s not possible to be among multiple stars because they are so far apart from one another. Stupid.

Secondly I am having a hard time following the analogy of the moon and the stars. Shooting for the moon is like choosing a goal and going after it. This I understand. For example, I want to get myself a really nice house or a nice career. That is my moon, and I am shooting for it. Now I am lost, I don’t understand what the stars are supposed to represent.

Say I miss, I didn’t get the job, or the house. Now I am among the stars? What are the stars? Are the stars symbolic of the lessons I learned in my quest for the moon? Are the stars my new friends and connections? Are the stars a symbol of the the warm fuzzy feeling I get for shooting so high and failing or missing? It would be hard to believe that the stars are actually my shitty 1-room apartment and my min-wage job that I ended up with after MISSING my original goal the moon.

Maybe I am missing the point altogether. In which case this quote is PURE GENIUS. Maybe what it’s saying is, when we are setting our original goals we should aim for the moon. But because at that time we are so short sighted and inexperienced we are unable to understand that there are stars beyond the moon. If we try as hard as we can to reach the moon and miss, only than can we see all the other opportunities. If that is the case, then this quote makes some sense. But it isn’t. It sucks.

Anyone who uses this “inspirational quote” seriously, is automatically on my shit list.

Self-Plagiarism

I remember an event in my young life, in middle school, we had to make some kind of art project relating to the Oregon trail. Well back in elementary school for an art project the whole class made a little rocking chair made out of clothes pins. It was perfect I thought. A perfect hand made miniature rocking chair, the kind an old-time carpenter would make for the setters of the time. So I handed that in and got an A.

The teacher thought I did a great job, until some pompous cunt decided to tattle on me and tell the teacher that I made that in an art class two or three years ago. The teacher confronted me about it, and I didn’t lie, I said yes I made it some years ago. However I was never graded on it, and after all I DID make it. Although I vaguely understood that I had broken a rule and did feel somewhat guilty about it, I had some doubt and some questions. Was this really wrong?

I don’t know why I have been thinking about it today, but I keep adjusting the scenario a little bit to see exactly where it becomes “wrong” to hand in your own work. Here are some scenarios.

Scenario 1: I made the chair in art class three years ago, took it home, and turned it in as an art project at a later time. (What actually happened.) This is against the rules, and can be considered academic dishonesty. Pretty serious crime.

Scenario 2: I made the chair in art class three years ago. I lost it, but remembered how to make it. I remade the same chair for the Oregon Trail project. Now this is interesting. As a matter of fact I could have simply lied and adopted this story and no one would know any better. I made the chair, absorbed the skills, and remade the same chair but for a new project. I am not sure what would have happened if I took this stance but thinking about it, it seems totally legitimate. The idea remains the same, but the labor was put in just like everyone else.

Scenario 3: I read how to make the chair in some book, and simply made the chair. Obviously this is fine, and this is what the teacher would like me to do.

It seems like so much grey area. What is it exactly that we are being graded on in this case? The creative process? The time, labor and attention to detail? I think this whole paradigm should be changed and students should be allowed to plagiarize their own work anytime they want. I think it will drive students to create work of a much higher quality and encourage students to keep detailed bibliographies and source lists of all the work they have ever done because it WILL come in handy. Imagine how nice it would be if you put 15 hours into a paper, but you knew it would probably work for you at least two or three times? Not to mention these papers would go through years of refining, which would bring the quality up.

I don’t know I haven’t made up my mind about this. Just some food for thought.