UNIT 2 - DREAMS

Making of a Dream

(Where Did You Come From?)     

         Ever heard a rumor?  

     Rumors have a way of destroying people’s lives (sometimes temporarily, sometimes forever).   The Bible is pretty clear that people should let their “yes” be “yes” and their “no” be “no”, yet every day of our lives, we find ourselves in a world that loves the word “maybe”.  This word maybe can also be called innuendo, meaning, essentially, “suggestion of scandal.”  

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    In literature we see innuendo all the time: one character doesn’t like another character, so he drops a hint and everything goes crazy.

    Popular music is built on innuendo. Does Eminem really want you to “Lose Yourself”?   What is it we are supposed to be dropping when things get hot?  Does Brittany Spears really want you to “Hit Me (Baby) One More Time?” -- well, actually, with her, who knows?

    As bad, if not worse, than any of the above, though is politics.  Is Barack Obama an American citizen?  Is he (secretively) a practicing Muslim?  Was it actually the United States -- not the Taliban -- behind 911?   Did the CIA kill John F. Kennedy?  People love to cast doubt, and we love to soak it in.  We love to ask “What if” and create elaborate stories in our minds (it’s a testament to our creativity).

William of Ockham

The simplest solution is generally the correct one - 

   But maybe, when dealing with people, we should stop asking “What if” and, instead, ask “Where did this come from?”  A famous philosopher, William of Okham -- whom, unfortunately, we do not study in this class (that’s Senior English) -- was the father of an important principle that went something like this: “The simplest solution is generally the right one.”  Innuendo is a killer because it makes things complicated.  Anyone who has ever seen Veggie Tales knows that rumors grow like weeds.  So how do you protect yourself from rumors and innuendo?  First off, as the Bible says, put yourself beyond reproach.  But, secondly, know what it is you believe! After that, know how to reasonably defend it.  That’s where AP Language comes in.

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    In this unit, you will be introduced to two major philosophical concepts: idealism and skepticism. We will be introduced to some of the world’s most important thinkers: Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau for the sake of introducing you to an important Rhetorical Process: Forensics, meaning “Using facts from the past to establish and argument.” From there, we will talk about some essential terms -- assumptions, presuppositions, and inferences -- that will show us how we make decisions.  We will look at some essential documents that help to shape the American Identity and then we will look at the stories of those who have tried to live the American Dream.

    We will not all not come to the same conclusions, but I hope you find one essential truth: that the American Experience is complex, and there is no simple way to define it completely.  And when people try and they are misunderstood, innuendo begins.  The truth gets clouded, we find ourselves taking sides, but if we can step back, think about both sides of the argument, and reflect on where the argument comes from, then we can put ourselves above reproach and, likewise, speak the truth in love.


A-List – Weekenders

AP, besides competency in writing and reading, expects you to have “global perspective”, or insight into the world around.  Because we are limited in class time in achieving everything AP asks, some of your global perspective will have to come from outside class reading.  To the left is a list of books (“Weekeneders”) considered to be AP-worthy.  Throughout the course of the semester, you will need to read ONE of these books and see ONE of the following documentaries on this list to the right:  

   Due Dates:

Documentary: Last Day of 1st Quarter 

Reading: Friday before Christmas Break

© Jeff Thomas 2011 - aplanguage@me.com