Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Reading and Writing

I spent most of my afternoon reading two books for two different history classes. For my U.S. History between WWI and WWII class, I am reading Screening Out the Past: The Birth of Mass Culture and the Motion Picture Industry by Lary May. For my U.S. History after WWII class, I am reading By the Bomb's Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age by Paul Boyer. Eventually, I will be writing papers with the assistance of both of these books. Currently, I have about 100 pages left in each book. (Yes! Progress!)

By the Bomb's Early Light is divided into eight sections and focuses on the years from 1945 to 1950. I have read six sections. This book has been the easier and more entertaining of the two to read. The first section deals with the nation's initial reactions to the use of the atomic bomb on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The second and third sections focus on the scientists who were directly involved in the making of the bomb and their reactions. You may find it interesting to note that many of them became political activists, encouraging a one-world government. Part four discusses the optimism brought by the discovery of atomic energy. Some were hopeful that atomic energy would erase the need for gasoline powered automobiles, as well as hard labour. Others, more aware of radiation and its effects, knew these hopes were dim and not likely. Section six discusses particular American groups's reactions, such as the reaction of the African Americans, Christians, and academia. It was my favorite section thus far. In class we have discussed much of the issues that were brought up in this section. For example, why did we drop the bomb on Japan, and not Germany, or another Axis power? (Another side note, the propaganda of the war is quite interesting to look at and study. Germans and Japanese were placed in completely different lights. For example, we fought the Nazis and Hitler, not the Germans. But, we fought "the Japanese" who were displayed in pictures as not human.)

My other book, Screening Out the Past, has been a little harder for me to digest. It begins by exploring Victorian values and the efforts made to sustain those values over the years leading up to the birth of the motion picture. It also looks at the early years of the motion picture, and the efforts to balance Victorian values with the values of the various crowds watching the movies. In other words, there was an upper class who still supported and encouraged Victorian values. They tried to control movies for a time being. Directors tried to balance these values, though, with the middle class/working society/immigrant values. This group was more likely to be found at vaudeville acts and other activites that the elite viewed as against Victorian values. Today, I read the section that begins to explain the change that takes place around 1914-1918. Women become more independant and fall more often to temptation. Men, too, are viewed as yielding to temptation. While presenting this image, directors, actors, and actresses also give an answer: men should exercise, which will give them more energy to perform their mundane tasks, which will then give them more money to spend, and women should continue to perform acts of charity and support moral order (their acts of independance), while spending what their husbands earn. In other words, exercise makes men happy, and spending makes women happy. (Does this sound familiar??)

Oh...now the writing part of the title. Tonight, I began the process of re-writing the constitution for The Capstone Financial Planning Association. It is an organization I am involved with on campus, and the consitution is outdated. A newer version will open the door for more members, as well as correct some things that are no longer relevant.

So, that is some of what I have been doing. May God bless us and keep us.

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