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Here is my latest vlog!

Warning: Do not save your vlog for your last blog post. You will have the flu and it will also be due the night of Greek sing. Somehow, you will get first at Greek Sing despite having the flu and will film this video at 11:40 pm. No, I do not know why it’s sideways but I’ve spent 20 minutes trying to fix it and it’s about time to submit. You will still have the flu, so you will go to bed as soon as this finished uploading.

An underlying but yet still prominent debate in today’s society has to do with the act of genetic enhancements and genetic engineering. It is a topic of discussion concerning the morality behind changing a person’s physical traits in order to better fit an image versus helping a person with a disability, or in any number of other ways. While I was aware of genetic engineering on corn or other foods, I have never paid much attention to the developing technology that could genetically engineer humans, until recently. Reading Partials by Dan Wells has opened my eyes to more details in the debate of genetic engineering.

 

Image result for genetic engineering

It could be possible in the near future that humans can choose to genetically enhance themselves to have more favorable physical traits. The technology is in the works to manipulate the specific genes in a baby or person in general to prevent autism, or Alzheimer’s, or give them blue eyes, or make sure they are deaf like their parents. I am now fully invested in the morality and consequences of such genetic engineering. While this may sound appealing, Partials shows how this can go wrong. When the government created genetically enhanced war machines called Partials, their plan backfired and the Partials ended up being more valued and dangerous to the human race than non-genetically enhanced humans were. I would love to be super athletic or have the most desired traits a person can have, but it’s unnatural. Sure it would be great to have all the traits we’ve always dreamed of having, but Partials has shown me this will inevitably create an even larger divide in today’s society, which is the last thing we need. Our world is already divided in every topic you can think of, do we really want to add genetic enhancement to that list? I sure don’t. And I have Dan Wells to thank for that new perspective.

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Wells, Dan. Partials. New York, Balzer Bray, 2012.

Walking down the destroyed wreck that used to be Van Ness Street in San Francisco, I look for people alive in rubble that fell from the buildings when they collapsed. The last time something like this happened to the city was in 1906 with the big quake. This time though was different. Very different.
This time, there was no quake.
Instead, it was missiles.
That’s right, the military bombed us. No, not North Korea’s warheads. It was our own. It’s the start of the Second American Civil War. You see, two years ago in 2018, the CNP (California National Party) won the gubernatorial election and many local elections as well as a majority of of California’s House and Senate seats up on Capitol Hill. They ran on a platform of secession from the United States of America. And you know, who could blame them? California was made a sanctuary state which was kind of like a giant middle finger to the Trump administration. For every dollar we gave to the federal government for taxes, we only ever saw seventy-eight cents of it in federal funding, and even that measly amount kept going down before we were cut off completely. So we stopped paying taxes. They didn’t like that very much. So they flooded the streets with ICE agents and mercenaries who raided, searched out, and deported every illegal immigrant, and sometimes even the legal ones. Families were separated, everyone was held in overcrowded, miserable, makeshift detention centers. The ACLU had a field day with that. They started restricting our economies, the travel of everyday Californians, and our access to national services. The partisanship in Washington was so intense that the government couldn’t function, and the legislature was shut down because the upstanding, moral elected officials couldn’t stop themselves from hurling obscenities, threats, and sometimes even fists at each other. So the CNP called for secession.
It seemed crazy at first. California seceding from the Union. But then others joined. First, it was those closest: Oregon, Nevada, and Washington. Then Colorado, New Mexico, Hawaii and Illinois. We got ten more from the Northeast. Seventeen states in total. Not so crazy anymore.
But thing was, we thought they’d keep it civil. Fighting, pain, and death to soldiers and combatants only. They did that at least until this morning. Then the missiles came down. New York City. Los Angeles. The Big Island in Hawaii. Seattle. Boston. Denver. San Francisco. They weren’t targeting armies. They were targeting us, normal civilians. I was on my way home from school with my friend Misha. She is, no was 16. Now, I search the rubble for her body in the ruins of the BART station she disappeared into moments before the missiles hit.
The labeled us enemies. We could have had cooperation on Capitol Hill. Immigration reform that kept our country and economy safe without creating terror in the streets. We could have had a government that listened to and worked with us instead of one who decided to oppress and punish us instead.
Look what it has gotten us.
A bloody civil war. They’ve hurt us but not our missiles. Next, we will fire back. Perhaps we will win, or maybe they will. But none will get away without feeling the pain of this war.


Although this story may be fake, it is based off the current partisanship, a recent bill to make California a sanctuary states, and the immigration debate. It’s brutality is based off of brutality seen in past and current ongoing civil wars around the globe. The numbers cited about how much California pays and receives in terms of federal taxes and funding is accurate according to a study from 2007 by the Tax Foundation. Below you will find the CNP’s platform (I do not endorse or support them).
California National Party
California’s federal tax and funding study

Here is the youtube link: https://youtu.be/gv5_Fe8cvAs

Today, we spent the majority of our time looking at Ship Breaker and your discussion questions from the last two class periods on Twitter. You can see the Storify of your discussion questions here:

 

I also gave you the last few minutes of class to meet with your team and discuss your progress on the propaganda project.

HOMEWORK:

  1. Read Ship Breaker part 3 (Chapters 18-25, finish the book)
  2. Work on the propaganda project with your team

Hello fellow dystopian lovers! In Friday’s class, I will be giving a presentation on  my research paper which will be covering  the topic: The Effect of Technology on the Interaction Between a Government and It’s Citizens. It’s a mouthful, I know but I’ll explain everything.

First, let’s talk about how technology has changed government, in the context of today. With the recent advancement of  technology, we are treacherously close to living out the events of our favorite dystopias. It’s no secret that the government is watching us .In today’s society, we accept it as normal that we live our lives digitally and that data can be seen by anyone with the will to look. We need only look at the Edward Snowden Case to see how much they actually see. In 2013, Edward Snowden illegally leaked classified files from the  National Security Agency (NSA) and told Americans exactly how their privacy was being a violated.

This violation of trust is actually not that uncommon What’s worrisome is that it’s a common trend we find in dystopian novels. Most YA dystopian novels feature a society with extremely advanced technology, owing, perhaps, the fact that sophisticated technology enhances the control aspects of utopian literature .We’ll go into more depth later, but for now, look to1984, Hunger Games and Little Brother as some examples of this. In each of the novels, the people are oppressed in various ways through technological subjugation. The difference between our society today and that of a dystopian society is that we trust our government to use this knowledge for our own good. There isn’t much to hold it together after these bet There is a line between security and invasion. The problem is , who draws the line? In most dystopias, the all-powerful government is that way because of the technology that got them into power. Technology shows the best of us and the worst of us, simultaneously showing Human ingenuity, and destructive tendency.

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“By examining the way dystopian novels, in the past and present, reflect a society’s view of their problems and their fears of what these problems could grow to in the future, we can determine what each society values and hopes to preserve; by determining what our society holds valuable, we can trace what the root causes of the threats to these values are and compare them to the root causes of the problems each dystopian novel faces. Going through the major problems faced by the protagonists in Gathering Blue, The Hunger Games, and Little Brother, we will find that each dystopia mirrors problems in our own society, predicts a possible future as the outcome of these problems, and depicts the ideals valued in the society.” My research paper, “Looking into the Dystopian Mirror: Discovering Our Dystopian Selves”, will be covering the problems of dystopian societies and how these problems can be connected to the ones readers face in their own societies. I will also be looking at how the ideals of a society can be derived from these problems.

The three novels I will be using as my examples each contain a specific set of problems which can be traced to problems in our own world. In Gathering Blue, the government has decided to take control of several talented children, and they are attempting to use these children to control the future. The same problem of our government trying to control the future is evident in the real world. The Hunger Games presents the problems of a dictatorship, violence, oppression, slavery, and a large division of wealth. All of which can be found all over the world today. Little Brother touches on the very sensitive issue of government censorship and surveillance. Each issue also holds the flipside of a value lost by the society. By covering each of these topics, I hope to convince my readers that the YA dystopian fiction genre is a reflection of many aspects of our own society.

 

http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download/

http://www.thehungergames.co.uk/downloads/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003JFJHRK/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1