Last semester one of my English classes required me to write my own satirical essay modeled after writers from the 18th Century. They were satirists named Addison and Steele who wrote for The Tatler and The Spectator. Another, yet equally important satirist, in my opinion, was Johnathan Swift. For those who don’t know him, he was an Irish man who wrote A Modest Proposal saying that in order to help the country out of poverty they should eat the babies. No lie. Here’s an excerpt from it:
“I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.”
The entire essay can be found here: A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift. It’s a very interesting read for those who haven’t read it. Mind you, it is 18th century writing.
My paper last semester was written under my “pen name” of Grace Quinn. You’re supposed to do something stupid in order to make your pen name – something about your middle name (Grace) and the street you grew up on (Quinn Ridge Drive)? Or it was your first pet or something of that nature. In lieu of having my name be Grace Red Dog (I got to name our first dog at the age of two – clearly my two year old creativity was exceedingly rare; I think that some doctors wanted to do research on me for my creative abilities) I decided on Grace Quinn and I wrote on “Accountability.” Satirical or not, the point of the essay is to address something that is pertinent to a situation or situations actually going on in your life, in your country, or world. By poking fun at a situation you actually expose what it is you truly want to discuss on a serious level. So, while my paper was satirical, it actually had a lot to do with things I’m very passionate about.
Accountability. My Dad use to tell me as a kid that the only person that I am able to control is myself; that when things fall down around me, I’m the only one who can pick myself back up. He taught me to be responsible for myself – be it that of my actions, attitude, work ethic, but the message was clear – the only person I am accountable for is myself. Lately, there has been a lot of buzz going around about the 1% vs the 99% and the banks, wall street, Presidents, Congress, zomg! Politics. I’m not going to get into politics, because that’s never what I want my blog to be about, but it’s got me thinking a lot about accountability of my own actions.
I’ve been pretty frustrated lately with school, friends and family. I’m not talking about frustration in terms of “I am so angry” and turn into “Sam Smash” mode, but just the general things that start to wear and tear and making me swell up a bit. For example, my brother always gets the shiny end of the proverbial “stick” no matter how much he screws up. Whereas I always get the shaft. It’s frustrating, but what I’ve started to realize, and more importantly, what has started to make me feel better about the situation is that I am not able to control anything that my brother does. I have zero accountability for him. What I am accountable for is how easily I am affected by my brother. His good fortunes, despite how ridiculous they are, are not controlled by me. How I handle my emotions dealing with his life is what I can control.
Friends lately seem to be far and few between and seem to keep disappearing. Be that as it may, the ones who are my close friends aren’t going anywhere, which is awesome. Thank you friends! Although, in regards to the disappearance of friends, there may be some accountability here that I can have fall into my own lap. Perhaps how I’ve handled some situations, or not handled situations, but there is a little accountability here. However, what I am not able to control are peoples emotions, feelings or actions – those are theirs and theirs alone. I am not able to make someone be my friend – I don’t get to hold a gun at someones forehead and say “you will like me!” but what I can do is just be myself and if I have friends for it, then those are the friends I want in my life anyway.
I think that more people need to hold themselves accountable for their own actions – myself included. There are too many people who want to blame others or situations on others, but the fact of the matter is, the only person you can control is yourself. There are things that will happen that are simply out of your control, but how you handle yourself in response to the situation is what you can control. I’m going to start holding myself accountable for the things that I can control more so than I’ve ever done before.
For those interested, here is my paper I wrote last semester:
Grace Quinn on Accountability
I have a modest proposal; one that I feel is admirable and accommodating to the American people. I feel that this proposal will better our country as a whole; bringing unity to people of all social classes and spheres; amplify the strength of country and bettering each individual for their hard work. My proposal is a simple one; I propose that no man be held accountable for their actions; be it of spending, whether that of purchased or loaned reproduction, willing or unwillingly, or any other law abiding rule that restricts the American people from being an American.
I propose that all financial corporations are to be stricken from any financial penalties associated with the ill advised spending, trading, allocating or investing in that of other corporations who are ill advised in their spending, trading, allocating or investing. There should be no penalty to the corporation; especially that of the chief executive officer, the chief financial officer, the chief operations officer, but rather that the indebtedness be allocated across the country and each hardworking, blue collar and white collar worker alike. The American people will absorb the financial burden associated with the corporations spending. Furthermore, it is to be known that each of these CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s and other high ranking officials within these corporations be entitled to their million dollar bonuses, lake houses, mountain houses, Mercedes, Porches and to feel no financial hardship associated with their ill advised spending, investing and purchases. After all, each of these fine individuals should not be accountable for the corporation as a whole; no one man can be the face of an entire corporation.
I also propose that no man, regardless to the degree of the sexual encounter, whether it is forced or mutual, married or one night stand, be held accountable for the offspring that may or may not be produced from the sexual encounter. No man should be subjected to paternity testing as it is an invasion of privacy. And no woman has any claim for a man to take the test to prove the paternity of their child without providing a full, detailed list of all previous sexual relationships that she may have encountered. A man can, at any point in his lifetime, deny the offspring, even if the man had at one point fully recognized the offspring as his own. Furthermore, any finances associated with the child will be strictly the female’s responsibility. No financial allocation will be provided from the male, regardless if the male doesrecognize the offspring as his own, due to the financial obligation he has to himself to provide from himself. Additionally, seeing as the female is the ultimate child bearing host, they are therefore explicitly linked to the financial upbringing, regardless if this renders them impoverished. No man should be held accountable for the results of a sexual encounter.
I also, modestly propose that no student in grades one thru twelve, or of college level, should be held accountable for their own learning, grades, or betterment of their own mind. Strictly speaking, all students in grades one thru twelve will receive satisfactory progress regardless of their actual participation or testing. No child will be left behind due to the public humiliation of the family, the funding that the school needs to survive and the image that the school produces. Furthermore, no student will be held accountable for any homework, projects or grades that they should or should not receive.