Blake’s Book Bag: The Parthenon panic

By: Blake Bouza, Assistant Editor

Nashville has been coined as the Athens of the South. This is because in the early days, there were not too many educational opportunities in the South. Nashville began building colleges and universities to make up for the lack of education, also instituting the South’s first public school system.

Just as the Athens of ancient Greece, Nashville became the metropolitan center for education and culture in the South, a pinnacle of knowledge and wealth for the area.

While other cities have since made up for the lack of educational opportunity and Nashville does not quite go by this name anymore, opting for a more modern “Music Capital of the World,” there are still testaments to Nashville’s Athenian roots.

This includes the dozen of prestigious colleges all around the city, from Vanderbuilt and Belmont to Trevecca and Fisk.

It is because of this nickname that they built the Parthenon replica in Centennial Park during the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition to celebrate Nashville’s 100th year in the Union.

The Parthenon is a scale replica, the columns and pillars the same length/height/width as the actual Parthenon in Greece. The Athena Parthenos replica stands golden in the center of the second floor while the first floor is devoted to art pieces and a museum about the construction of the replica in the late 1890s.

You may have seen the Parthenon and the Athena replica in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief movie based on the best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. While the Parthenon does not appear in the book that the movie is based on, it does showcase an action sequence where the main characters face off against a Hydra in the main room in front of the Athena Parthenos.

So hey, what better place to spotlight a series about Greek demigods than the Parthenon?

Rick Riordan does something special with the Percy Jackson series: he makes the Greek myths relevant, modern, interesting, and hilarious. The series follows the (mis)adventures of demigod UN-extraordinaire, Perseus Jackson – son of the sea god, Poseidon.

The first series chronicles the efforts of Camp Half-Blood, a haven in Long Island for demigods, to stop the ancient titan Kronos from rising again and taking vengeance on the Greek gods.

Percy grows up through the book series, going from twelve to sixteen over the course of the novels. He deals with many aspects of the Greek mythos, from finding the Golden Fleece to battling the Minotaur, traversing the dangerous Labyrinth and visiting the River Styx.

Riordan writes with a sense of wryness and the dry wit is a signature of the series, as the characters comment on the inconsistencies of the ancient legends and on the many, many transgressions committed by the Greek gods in their “sovereign rule” of humanity.

Mount Olympus presides over the Empire State Building, Medusa owns a statue garden, the witch Circe runs an amusement park in the Sea of Monsters, Daedalus is an out-of-work engineer, Poseidon wears swimming trunks and Hawaiian shirts.

Percy and his romance with fellow Half-Blood Annabeth, daughter of Athena, has sparked an Internet phenomenon known as a fandom. The celebrity nickname for the two of them is Percabeth.

In the sequel series, The Heroes of Olympus, we get to see from Annabeth’s point-of-view in the POV shift from first-person of the first series to third-person of the second.

Just read it, you won’t be sorry. You’ll gain knowledge of the Greek mythos that you can impress your friends with. It’ll also expand your awareness about just how much our current society draws from Greek culture and mythology, from names to customs.

While the books are labeled as “Middle Grade” reading level, it’s worth the read. Just don’t expect anything too serious.

Riordan hasn’t limited himself to writing about Greek mythology in modern day. He’s expanded to Roman and Egyptian mythos with the Kane Chronicles, and this year he will be releasing a fourth series dealing with Norse myths.

 

Editorial: Taking responsibility for your actions

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

We all have a tendency to lay blame elsewhere when something goes wrong, but we happily take credit when something is right.  Whether that something is a class, assignment or relationship, when something goes wrong put the blame somewhere else.  

Everyone does it, and we often find ourselves giving reminders that maybe we are blaming the wrong person or thing.

As adults, we have to take responsibility for our own actions and contributions to what happens in our lives.  Whether you understand that you are partially to blame or receive credit, you know that you did something to affect that situation.

If you fail a class after a semester of procrastination, laziness or anything non-academic, then the blame is yours.  The educator cannot be entirely to blame, and sometimes you are not either.  For example, you can fail because of medical issues or personal issues that are repeatedly inhibiting your own ability to learn.  

Even with a legitimate reason, however, there is still blame that can fall to you.  Seldom is a situation so black and white that the blame falls solely on a single individual.  

We all have to make choices, and those choices can inevitably “make or break” us.  When a friendship ends, we want to blame the other party because we feel better by thinking that we are innocent in its downfall.

That just tends not to be true.  Both parties have an effect on a friendship, and typically when things end there is a reason on both sides.  Maybe you were not a good listener, or they were terrible with secrets.  Both people have their own reasons, and it tends to blame the other person.

As adults we have to learn that, as Spiderman puts it, “with great power, comes great responsibility.”  We have the ability to make decisions that affect not only ourselves, but also others, and that needs to be considered.  

So the responsibility falls on our shoulders, not to lay blame for our actions or the actions of others but to find a way to repair or cope with our decisions.  When you make a mistake, own it, and fix it if you can.

Mistakes and decisions are not reversible, and often take a long time to repair when they go considerably bad.  Life is not a video game, and you cannot undo, repeat or start over without saving when you mess up.  

We all want that ability, but all we have is the choices we make.  Those choices today can affect the rest of your life, so choose wisely.

Making sure to do your own thing

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

We have all been in a situation that leaves us questioning what to do.  On one side, we have people telling us what we should do, and on the other is our own thoughts and experiences arguing to do something else.  

One of these situations that many of us are facing right now is what we will do with the rest of our lives, or what we will major in.  According to borderzine.com, 80% of students will change their majors at least once, and on average three times, before graduating.

It affects you and your future more than anything else. I could not count the number of times that someone has said, “I want to major in this so I can be this, but my parents/friends/family think it is stupid.”

When our entire lives centered on listening to these people as our elders, we can forget that we are adults and these decisions are ours to make.  In a community college setting like at Volunteer State, many of the students still live with parents and just as many still do not know what they want to major in.

This can make college exceedingly difficult when the people you respect disagree with what you wish to do.  It can cause additional stress, which no student needs, as you are not able to explore the field you want to be in.

That decision is ultimately yours and no one else’s.  If you find a major and a career path that you love, then do not let someone else steer you away from it because they do not believe in it.  

The phrase “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” has substance to it for good reason.  Certainly, you may not be able to do your favorite thing in life, but you can still find something you love.  

You can look into your interests, take career quizzes or tests, and look at what you are good at.  There is an entire array of career possibilities that you can look into, from photographing kittens to being paid for traveling.  

I urge my peers to really think about the future that they want, and make their decisions based on that.  You will be discouraged, ridiculed, and judged no matter what you do in life, so do what makes you feel fulfilled at the end of the day.  You cannot aim to please everyone, and sometimes not even yourself, but you can certainly live life the way that you want to because it is yours to live.

 

Helpful advice for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

By: Barbara Harmon, Assistant Editor

St. Patrick’s Day is on Thursday, March 17, and you will be certain to spot green-colored clothing around the campus of Volunteer State Community College.

Many people have traditions for this holiday, but here are some things to take into consideration.

Do not waste your time watching “Leprechaun in the Hood” or any from this series, unless you like fairly corny films.

If you are going to stay in, it may be better to watch a movie like “Blown Away” or the family-friendly “Luck of the Irish.”

There are many other wonderful Irish inspired films, but it really depends on how many times you want to hear the f-bomb.

Are you going to have the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage?

“Corned beef and cabbage, as it would seem, is about as Irish as spaghetti and meatballs [are Italian].

“Evolving from the Irish bacon and cabbage, it was Irish immigrants in America who quickly swapped to corned beef as a less-expensive substitute for pork,” according to washingtontimes.com.

So go ahead and celebrate with this traditional Irish-American meal, and be thankful it is not drisheen and tripe.

You should not overindulge in beer just because it is green.  Wearing your green on the outside is plenty. Your insides do not have to match.

“The Irish don’t bother with this foolish malarkey.

“As one Irish ex-pat living in America explained it when being interrogated about real St. Patrick’s Day customs back home, ‘if you dyed beer green in Ireland, they’d punch you,” according to Brad Tuttle on time.com.

There are other choices of Irish beverages, instead of beer. A popular black tea in Ireland is Barry’s Tea.

According to IloveIrishTea.com, “Barry’s Tea [is] imported from Ireland [and it's] America’s favorite Irish tea.”

This could be your alternative to alcohol.

Have you ever heard of a lucky tattoo…really?

“A superstitious few might be under the impression that getting a four-leaf clover permanently drawn on your body is the ultimate way to score some instant luck, but don’t be fooled,” according to picosure.com.

“There’s nothing wrong with believing in a little magic, but when it comes to body art, you’re setting yourself and your artist up for failure and disappointment.

“If you happen to have the most unlucky day of your life following the tattoo session, then the tattoo serves as a constant reminder of it,” according to PicoSure.

If you want to keep the leprechauns away, do not forget to wear your greens.

If you want to keep fools from pinching you, do make sure these greens are visible.

Last but not least: Do not kiss someone just because their shirt reads “Kiss Me I’m Irish.”

More than likely…they are not.  

 

The meaning and origin of St. Patrick’s Day

By: Sam Walker, Staff Writer

Today I ventured around Vol State campus to ask students their thoughts on Saint Patrick’s Day, and I was very surprised by the results. Out of every person I asked not a single one could tell me about Saint Patrick’s Day, beside the fact that if you don’t wear something green people will annoy you all day.

So I took it upon myself to look into it and see what I could find.

This day is particularly sacred to the Irish people, even though Saint Patrick himself was not Irish. He was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century.

When he was sixteen years old, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates at his home in Britain. Patrick was then taken back to Ireland as a slave. He worked as a shepherd for six years before escaping his captors and returning home to his family.

Patrick came from a long line of ranking members in the Catholic Church. He went on to be ordained as a Bishop in Northern Ireland. He worked as a missionary to the Irish people.

One of the most common readings on Saint Patrick is that he used shamrock clovers in his teachings to represent the three parts of The Holy Trinity.

In many depictions he is seen wearing green while holding a cross in one hand and a three leaf shamrock in the other.

According to the tales of Saint Patrick’s time in Ireland, He banished all of the snakes from the land. This is interesting because to this day no snakes reside there.

Saints Patrick was recorded dead on March 17 and buried in Downpatrick, Ireland. This day was commemorated as a holiday in honor of Saint Patrick and his patronage to the Irish people.

This holiday is also observed by the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Saint Patrick was named the foremost patron saint of Ireland.  

Although this holiday was first established as a feasting day, it has turned into a holiday also celebrating the culture of the Irish.

In turn, alcohol made quite an appearance in the festivities. In fact the restrictions of Lenten of the Catholic Church of eating and drinking alcohol are lifted on Saint Patrick’s Day.

So remember on Thursday, March 17 to wear something green because there will always that one guy who thinks it is appropriate to go up and pinch random strangers.

Spending a week without Facebook

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

Anyone who has graduated since 2010, at least, can probably say they at least know what Facebook is.  The social giant is used to “connect with friends” or as a distraction from literally everything.

On Sunday, February 21, I made the decision to quit Facebook indefinitely.  My reasons were simple, it was stressing me out and distracting me from everything I did.

The first day was pretty normal. I was a busy so it was not terribly difficult.  However, I did frequently find myself hovering over the empty space where the app once was on my phone.  I started to notice it more and more as the day progressed and thought to myself, “have I really been checking my Facebook this much?”

On day two, Monday, I had my classes.  During class it was not much of an issue, but I did notice how many other people stared intently at their own mobile devices.  It makes you feel like the odd man out of the group when everyone else seems to be on Facebook or some other social media network.

I found that it made doing my homework at least a thousand times easier.   I was not scrolling through Facebook every few minutes when I would get bored, and basically powered my way through.  I had everything finished in no time at all.

I also noticed that my headaches were not as frequent, and my attention span improved a little bit.  I could focus at least a little better on conversation, work, books, video games, and everything in general.  

The best part about not being on Facebook, though, was that I was far happier with my own life.  I was not constantly looking into the fun everyone else seemed to be having, but focusing on the fun I was having.  After noticing all of this, I did a little bit of research into how social media affects the mind.

I only did a quick search, but the best short article I found was from degreed.com.  It explains that social media can be addictive.  

It has all that someone needs: a distraction and positive reinforcement (likes, for example) for using it.  There is even a scale to the measure the addiction known as The Berge Facebook Addiction Scale.  

The website also points out that it can cause us to be unhappy by comparing ourselves to others.  If you are scrolling through the newsfeed and seeing nothing but vacation photos, engagement announcements or parties you weren’t invited to after a long and difficult day, then you will think your life is awful.  

The same could even be said for physical appearance.  How many of us see an attractive person online and think, “damn, why can’t I look like that?”  It has probably happened at least once to any social media user.

It can even cause restlessness.  This can be anything from a constant distraction to not being able to sleep because you are too busy scrolling.  Maybe something happened and you just cannot stop following it, but you really need to.

That being said, Facebook really is not entirely bad.  I did not completely delete my Facebook, although I know several people who have.  I still use messenger app to talk to some friends, and I will probably give it the occasional check or update.

It is a great way to stay in touch with the people you do not see regularly.  It simply needs to be used in moderation.  I suggest everyone try at least deleting their app, you could have different results.

Avoiding offense in modern society

By: Mackenzie Border, Layout Manager

In today’s society, it is not uncommon to see a blog post or a news story about an offensive word or piece of imagery.

Usually, the word or image is targeting a specific race or sex, but sometimes the subtext is what is offensive to people.

Whenever this happens, there are usually two main sides to this kind of issue.

One side will look at the word or image and use the history of its use to determine if it is okay or not.

The other side will look at the word or image and only see it at face value to determine if it is offensive or not.

Whether or not the two sides agree on if the word or image is offensive or not is not the big question that a lot of people ask.

The real question is which side is right and which side is wrong in their judgment of the word or image.

To figure out the answer to this question, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each side of the argument.

For the side that looks at the history of the word or image, there is the advantage of knowing the possible reasons that the word or image in question would be considered offensive.

Over the course of history, there have been multiple cases of words and images that have been used in a derogatory way toward specific ethnicities around the world.

These have ranged from the use of the N-word toward African Americans to the swastika, a symbol that was originally sacred to multiple world religions but has now become a symbol of racial purity due to its incorporation into Nazi propaganda in the 1930s.

As the social attitudes toward the use of such words and images have changed with time, it has become an offense to use such things at all without the purpose of historical documentation or academic research.

People have seen a downside to this way of thinking due to the idea that the people who take this side, especially in the event of a derogatory word or image targeted at a specific sex, are considered to be overreacting to the situation and overanalyzing something that others did not find bothersome at all.

For those who take the word or image at face value to determine the possible offenses it could pose, they would only observe how the item was being used instead of looking at the potential symbolism.

The observers would look at the word or image and observe the message that is being sent through the piece of work that uses the word or image, and they would determine the offensiveness from the message rather than the word or image.

This can cause some problems for others, however, as someone could still associate the word or image with an event that took place in their personal past and become uncomfortable because of the personal connection.

Whichever way people decide to look at the topic, it is important to understand the effects that certain words or images might cause, either from personal experiences or social views, and to consider these possibilities when deciding whether or not to use them for whatever the word or image is needed for.

Letter to the Editor: Concerning ‘Art of a successful argument’

Dear Editor,

Recently I read “The art of a successful argument” in The Settler. The editorial includes this: “A prime example of a waste-of-breath argument is any argument over moral issue[s]. … because morals vary from person to person and are not easily changed through an argument. … There is no right or wrong answer in the end because the argument is … based on individual views.”

Such statements veer toward moral subjectivism, the view that each individual arbitrarily differentiates between just and unjust acts. In that case, we should be aware of that view’s implications. For instance, why should rape be punished? Well, rape is illegal! But why should it be unlawful? If we can’t rationally distinguish between just and unjust laws, how are we to decide which laws are morally binding and which aren’t? Without rational moral arguments, the only “moral” standard by default would seem to be “might makes right”—justice is whatever is in the interest of the stronger party. (See Thrasymachus in Plato’s dialogue, The Republic <http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html>.) That position resembles social Darwinism, a now generally discredited theory.

The fact that there are moral disagreements does not imply that there are no sound moral arguments. Genuine moral disagreements presuppose objective moral realities about which people might disagree, just as people might disagree about a dress’s color. If colors aren’t real, then we can’t really disagree about a dress’s color. For the disagreement wouldn’t be about anything “out there.” One can’t be mistaken about what’s purely subjective, e.g., the subjective experience of pain.

Furthermore, if rational argumentation fails, it doesn’t follow that respectful rational arguments aren’t worth making. Better to change minds through rational argumentation than through physical force. If force is unavoidable, it should be regulated by sound reasoning, not the capricious will to power.

Sincerely,

Dr. Peter Pagan

Professor of Philosophy

 

How to have a fun and safe Spring Break

By: Barbara Harmon

After all the snowy weather Volunteer State Community College has experienced, it is finally time for spring break, March 7-12.

Many of you probably have plans for road trips, and there are some important preparations you need to consider.

Do not just assume your car is capable of taking on some extra miles; instead, be safe and get it serviced.

You would not just up and run a 5K, you would make sure you were fit and ready for it.

Do the same for your vehicle, so you do not get stranded somewhere.

It could also benefit you to get a AAA membership, even if you are riding along with one of your friends.

“AAA Road Service is designed to assist you in an emergency when the vehicle you are either driving or riding in becomes disabled,” according to the AAA website.

Unless you have an unlimited spring break fund, stock up on snacks and such before you leave.

If you do not, you will be tempted to spend two times or more on them at a gas station.

Those little extra expenditures will add up, and you will not have as much to spend when you reach your destination.

Going to the beach? Take some sunblock!

“Don’t be fooled into thinking you can build up a safe tan; there’s no such thing,” according to the Bella Sante website.

“Every exposure contributes to possible damage at the cellular level.

“Spare your skin tomorrow and wear your sunscreen today,” according to bellasante.com.

Take their advice and protect your skin.

Do not do anything on spring break that you would not do around your friends back at school.

More than likely the pictures or videos will reach home before you do….

Do, however, take lots of pictures with your family and friends, so you can treasure the wonderful time you had on spring break.

Plus, if there are snow flurries when you get back to Tennessee, maybe those pictures at the beach will keep you warm.

Plan to party hard? Do not drink and drive.

“For some people alcohol triggers the overconfidence of being able to handle anything, while for some others; allowing or encouraging a drunk person to drive is sheer fun.

“Driving safety is something that just goes out of the window when under the influence,” according to TeenCentral.Net.

It is not just your life that you are endangering, it is your passengers’ and everyone’s that you share the road with.

Be smart and have a blast on your spring break!

Return home safely and get back into the swing of things. Your assignments will be waiting for you.

 

Living the full college experience

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief

 

With the prices of rent, food, and utilities as high as they are in some places, students are reportedly choosing to stay at home with their parents during and after college.  Volunteer State Community College has a variety of students with different approaches to how they live off campus.

If you are considering moving away from your parents, it may be smart to look into the pros and cons first.  The website Simple Dollar (thesimpledollar.com) provides an excellent list on deciding if you would benefit more from moving out or staying.

One very obvious reason to stay with your parents is money.  College is expensive, and so are apartments and houses.  Even the dorms at universities are not the cheapest.

If you live within a reasonable distance from campus, and you get along well with your family, it may benefit you to stay at home.  You would be able to save up some money for the future, and hold off on some of those student loans if you’re really lucky.

It also depends on how you schedule your classes.  Some students choose to only take classes two days a week to save on gas and avoid driving every day.  If you live in close proximity to campus, your schedule may not need to be so specific.

If you are set on moving out, no matter what your reasons, it is also possible to set something up with your parents to help you pay for your new place.   This could be as simple as your parents paying for your cell phone bill.

You may also have to give up some of the luxuries you are comfortable with, such as cable television.  Your money will have to go to bills, rent, food, and gas before anything else.  

Moving out also has its upside.  You get to experience the freedom of living alone.  You also get to find out why your parents are constantly exhausted.  It is a great way to grow up, make your own doctor appointments, and gain your independence.

Moving out also requires some self-restraint.  You cannot always buy that video game you want as soon as it comes out, or maybe you cannot afford going to your favorite restaurant whenever you want to.

It gives you the chance to realize all of your own annoying habits as well.  If you are a slob, then your mom’s nagging might seem a little more reasonable after a while.  If you think that eating an entire cake in one sitting is genius, you will find out why your parents said not to.  

Living on your own can be an adventure, but it is one that you have to be prepared for.  If you are considering moving out, look online for tips on how to prepare for it.  You could change your mind entirely or be as prepared as possible when the time comes.  

After all, college is about making your own decisions and starting your life.  Sometimes the freedom of living on your own is worth it and sometimes it is not.  You just have to find out for yourself.