Monday, July 2, 2012

Dances, and the Dancing Dancers that Dance Them

We fell back into the class routine, today. It feels weird, after eating off campus everyday over the weekend to wake up early for the cafeteria. Like always, the breakfast was unappetizing. I don't know why, but they always have much better food in the afternoon than in the morning.

In the first class session, we went over cases involving the protection and extent of the first amendment. Many of the Supreme Court decisions were surprising. Between 1910 and 1960, the Justices vacillated constantly over the matters of free speech. Event the same individual judge would rule on one basis in one case and rule on a completely different ground in a similar case. It's interesting.

At lunch, I attended another ethics talk. This time, I was accompanied by Morvarid. The RA leading the discussions, Valerian, is very informative. He's good at supplying us with basic info on the beliefs of relevant philosophers, with out turning the forum into a lecture. Once again, we grappled with tricky hypothetical situations. While the last meeting focused on forcing us to question our initial responses to these dilemmas, this one had us question why we thought the way we did in the first place. This is standard philosophical teaching method: break down assumptions, find roots of ideas, expand from there, etc.

The second half of class was spent watching two movies on Freedom of Speech. The first, was a 30 minute segment on the failed Fox lawsuit against Al Franken for his book, Lies, and the Lying Liars that Tell Them. The video made it painfully clear how petty and groundless the lawsuit was, and it was great fun to watch. The second thing we watched was the documentary, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Files. For those unfamiliar with the case (as I was), Ellsberg worked for the Pentagon during the Vietnam war. He found out about how much the American people had been lied to by the various administrations since the war began, and decided to leak Top Secret information to the press. Ultimately, Ellsberg was tried for unlawful obstruction of government activities, but the charges were dropped.

After leaving class, meeting with Ms. Lilhanand and getting food, I decided it was time to check out the gym. I went with another student over to the Columbia Fitness Center. While he played basketball, I headed to the pool. I had forgotten until today how lousy I am at swimming; After a couple of laps, I was already tired. I ended up swimming for quite some time, despite being rusty. 

When I got back to my room, I had to quickly shower and get dressed. I was already late for Noche de Sabor (Night of Flavor). This was basically just a Latin dance party, held in the quad. I was afraid that not enough people would go, but the area was packed. There must have been at least half of the residential population there. It was a ton of fun. 

At about 10:15, the RAs shut off the music. I went back to the dorm, but found my room deserted, so I hung out with Lucas and his roommates for a while. 

Sorry, but because I stayed on campus, I didn't any photos today.

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