Loss of Innocence

A few weeks ago, I got an assignment to make a piece on the theme of “Loss of Innocence”. It was very open-ended, anything goes. What I came up with was a type of poem, but ever since then I’ve been thinking about the concept of innocence. In my class, some people recounted personal moments of having lost innocence, and others spoke of moments in which they facilitated someone else’s loss. My favorite piece was a flash video featuring a classmate who claims to have never lost his innocence, culminating in a list of what he still believes in which includes unicorns and rainbows.

What really got me thinking was how the opposite of innocence can be two things. In one sense, it can be guilt- as in you’re on trial for murder and a jury of your peers (or an approximation of this) can find you either innocent or guilty. No one from the class really explored this meaning of innocence, maybe because in the way the assignment was given, you were already thinking of innocence as something else.

The other antonym I found for “innocence” was wisdom. In many ways, innocence can be tied to naiveté when viewed in a positive light- or if you’re being negative, innocence is related to ignorance. This makes sense on so many levels- it’s embedded in our culture. Adam and Eve’s fall from Eden is due to their gaining wisdom. Prior to this, they had been unmarked by sin or the world, and thus were “innocent”. A child is considered the living illustration of innocence, and yet as a child grows and learns more about the nature of things, bit by bit their innocence is lost. And in our culture, there is nothing better than seeing the pristine virgin-like character become wise to the ways of the world. Preserving innocence means remaining willfully ignorant of evil truths, but also ignorant of experiences and opportunities for growth. So when my classmates described the moment of losing their innocence:

– as seeing a parent weakened,
-or finding out they were a high-school badass,
-or learning four-letter words,

they were describing moments of clarity, or learning. These were moments in which they grew beyond themselves. In many cases, they would rather have stayed where they were, happily ignorant- but then life would be stagnate.

In this light, a loss of innocence can be something to celebrate.

In homage to the Bard, who is my homeboy.

This is a poster I created last year to advertise the Clark Honors College Student Association trip to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival. This is a festival I’ve attended at least once a year for the past 4 years, and every year I’m struck with the fact that his work continues to be relevant, and still is dead-on in terms of being able to relate to characters and plot lines. That’s why Bill– yes we’re on a first-name basis here – is my homeboy.

In making this poster, I really wanted to emphasize the coolness of Shakespeare and downplay the snobbery that most people associate with it.

Side note: The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, a play by Jeff Whitty, a UO alumn, was AMAZING. I recommend it to anyone steeped in popular culture who enjoys pointing out obscure cultural references to their slightly annoyed but still impressed friends.

Inauguration Day

The idea of being a citizen is not one I generally dwell on; it is not often on my mind, I don’t consciously think “and now I am acting as one of the multitude”. In many ways, I have always agreed with the theory that the life of man in a natural state would be “solitary,poor,nasty,brutish, and short, ” as Hobbes once said (and the Honors College repeatedly drummed into my brain through its inane curriculum).

Today, however, the term “upstanding citizen” is seared into my brain. I am inexplicably pumped to be an American. I feel the strings of citizenship binding me to my fellow Americans, to this land, and to our shared history.

These are my favorite excerpts from the Inaugural address:

“Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor — who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.”

“Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”

“…know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.”

” let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

Finally, this is a wordle I created using the transcript from President Obama’s Inaugural Address:

Wordle: Inaugural Address

The last beginning (to winter term, at least)

I just had the first day of classes for the second-to-last term of my college undergrad career. If you draw a chart, you will see that the former sentence somehow made sense. It’s been a long day. So far, it’s shaping up to be an interesting yet quirky ten weeks. This is partly due to the classes I have registered for.

I’m taking the normal advertising-related classes, Portfolio and Thesis. These two classes are so exciting and imperative to my future life that half the time I find myself panting, truly salivating from eagerness to begin. The other half of the time I’m hyperventilating into a paper bag and breaking out in a cold sweat from all the stress.

My other classes are a little goofier- and all somehow relate to eachother by chance. It all hinges on the Evolution of Human Sexuality, my first class of the day. In this course I’ll be learning about wildlife and sex and humans and sex and biology and sex. Next, I go to my second class, Literature by and about Gay Men. In this class I will think about social constructs and sex and literary devices and sex and society and sex. Finally, as if things aren’t already getting a little to primal, my last class is Wilderness Survival. In this class I’ll think about tournequits and sex and map coordinates and sex and edible plants and sex, because let’s face it, how can I not think about it? By the end of this day, I’m pretty sure I’ll feel like some sort of horny primodial beast.

So, be prepared for the next 10 weeks!