Goldie Sirkis- English 1010-MW9DF-response to the movie “Paris Is Burning”-Dressing for Success?

Goldie Sirkis                                                                            11/6/12

Code and Language: Professor Gorin                                 Date Due: 11/7/12

 

Dressing for Success?

In the film “Paris is Burning” by Jenny Livingston and in the article “Virtuality and Its Discontents,” by Sherry Turkle, we are introduced to a “subculture” that at one time was not openly discussed as we didn’t want children to be influenced by a “different type of behavior.”  This “subculture” represents some of the many individuals who have given up on society because they have been rejected by society because of their strange, lonely existence (virtual discontents). Some also belong to minority groups such as African American and Latino gay/lesbian community who are already at a disadvantage and have joined with their peers in order to cope with society’s rejection.

There are similarities in the film “Paris Is Burning” to the article “Virtuality and Its Discontents” in that the article discusses the virtual world and those who escape to this virtual world through their computer screen.  These people fantasize of being someone else, or of being somewhere else.  They find it difficult to cope in the real world.  They are also misunderstood by society as either psychopaths or predators who can be harmful to society.  In the film, “Paris is Burning,” the African American and Latino gay subculture are also fantasizing, of becoming successful because the real world they have to live in does not offer them anything.  They escape to their fashion balls to feel important.  They don’t hurt anyone, yet they are misunderstood by society.

Additionally, the “discontents” referred to in Turkle’s article are the individuals who hate how society has treated them and therefore use the internet as a way of voicing their opposition to it.  In the same way, “Paris is Burning” shows the gay subculture also as discontents of society because of the prejudice against them.  Their only outlet is to play act as show girls or models at their fashion balls.  It is interesting to note that in this film any of them put on the fanciest clothes or dream of being rich which reflects mainstream society.  Yet, they are against this society of luxury because they can’t afford it unless they stole the clothes or spend their entire paycheck on those clothes.

On the other hand, “Virtuality and Its Discontents” is very different than “Paris is Burning.”  “Virtuality” deals with cyberspace.  “Paris is Burning” deals with humans.   In Virtuality, there is an escape and you can live in this virtual world when you come home from work.  Paris however features those of us who do not work a regular job other than possibly show girls or male models for gay magazines.  At the end of the day, they gay/lesbians are still outcasts of society and their communication with the outside world involves taunts and harassment from “straight” people.  At night, they join their peers at their own clubs, bars and fashion shows where they feel accomplished.

It is also interesting that the “subculture” in Paris claim that they are treated badly by society, yet they do not treat each other well within their own competitive environment.  I also disagree with comments made by the African American and Latino gays that they are not accepted by the “straight”, White society and therefore they feature a businessman category at their fashion shows. They can at least think they are businessmen.  Since the 1980’s, there has been greater acceptance of gays and lesbians since many of their talents including their artistic dance movements were showcased in Madonna’s “I’m Breathless” album in the late 1980s.

The American society has come a long way in understanding the “discontents” of these two subcultures.  It is important to keep open communication with these individuals in the hope that they will possibly take on a positive attitude towards society and therefore society as a whole will benefit.

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Goldie Sirkis-MW9DF-English 1010-Let Them Compete! 2nd Draft

Goldie Sirkis                                                                                                  10/27/12

Code and Language: Professor Gorin                                                       Date Due: 10/29/12

 

Let Them Compete!

When we think of world-class athletes, we think of super humans who go through rigorous training and hours of total dedication to their sport. When we watch them compete, we are amazed at their abilities because they make running look so easy. However, we are forgetting that there is another class of athletes, the disabled, with the same dedication, who go through rigorous training. It is hard to comprehend that they feel that they are no different than anyone else, and dream to compete against those able-bodied athletes. Those athletes are world-class as well despite their loss of a limb due not only to a birth defect.  We cannot deny disabled athletes who need to use prosthetics the right to compete in sporting events.  They have proven to be as competitive as the able-bodied athlete and have no clear advantage over able-bodied athletes because of their use of prosthetics.

Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius is a South African sprinter who had amputations below both his knees (T43) as he was born without fibulas.  However, he played rugby and never considered himself unable to play sports.  He went on to compete in running events, and became a world record holder in the various championship sprinting events in the 100, 200 and 400 meter categories by wearing the Flex Foot Cheetah.  This prosthetic was designed in 1996 by Ossür and has been successfully used by others disabled people who do not want pity and want to continue with their lives and be as productive as possible.

In 2007, Pistorius wanted to run with able-bodied athletes and was not allowed to do so according to a ruling of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAFF).  The reason for him being disqualified from competing with able-bodied athletes was that the prosthetics he was using, known as the “Flex Foot Cheetahs,” had given him an advantage over runners without disabilities.  He appealed this ruling in 2008 but did not qualify to run in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as he lost by .7 seconds.  At this year’s 2012 Olympic Games in London he was able to compete as he made the qualifying time. He further went on to compete this year as well as in the Paralympic Games that followed on August 29th through September 29th.  Still, people were disputing whether he had a right to compete with able-bodied athletes because of the use of the Flex Foot Cheetah legs.

According to those opposed to Pistorius competing alongside able-bodied athletes in this year’s Olympic Games in London, scientists have claimed that he has an advantage over able-bodied runners because he uses the “Flex Foot Cheetahs.”  Dr. Peter Bruggermann in 2007 tested Pistorius for two days and concluded that Pistorius uses 25% less energy and expends 30% less mechanical work using the Flex Foot Cheetah giving Pistorius an advantage over able-bodied runners.  As a result of using less energy, Pistorius can go the distance as he has more endurance.  There is no question that he can compete athletically, but some believe he should only compete amongst his peers in the Paralympics Games and other events featuring only disabled athletes.

Additionally, even though the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the ruling of the IAFF, the IAFF tried again to keep Pistorius out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he almost qualified.  The IAFF claimed that because of his Cheetah “L-shaped” legs, he could hurt himself and all the runners in the pack because he may not have good control when he is running at top speed since they are not his own legs.

Another question from those opposed to Pistorius competing alongside able-bodied athletes is that until 2008, Pistorius did not have any complaints about running only in the Paralympics.  Why now did he need or want to run alongside world class athletes?  Was he trying to show that technology can win over the human body’s natural abilities?  Is it indeed possible that, because of the great advances made in prosthetics technology, he could have an advantage over able-bodied runners?

However, those in favor of Pistorius competing found the results of the tests conducted by Dr. Peter Bruggermann and Mr. Elio Locatelli premature.  Based on additional findings by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), they determined that Dr. Bruggermann came to his conclusion only if Pistorius was running a straight line race.  The 400-meter race requires turns and therefore Pistorius was at a disadvantage.

Additionally, Pistorius has a disadvantage starting out of the running gate and when he needed to accelerate.  A normal runner can do this naturally.  These results became evident when Pistorius tried to qualify at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 4×100 relay but did not make it by a mere .7 seconds.  Additionally, he did not hurt himself running the 4×100 relay even though the International Olympic Committee feared that he would because of his “L-shaped” prosthetics.  At the London Olympic Games in 2012 where he finished last in the semifinals, the winner, Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, was almost unnoticed as Pistorius captivated the world audience and gained the respect of his able bodied teammates.  Mr. Santos was interviewed after winning the race and said that Pistorius is a great runner which makes him equal to his peers but does not give him any greater advantage.  He obviously had no advantage as he came in seventh place in the semifinals.

Another scientific team was hired by Pistorius’s lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler, which included Peter Weyand, a physiologist, and Rodger Kram of the University of Colorado at Boulder, together with a another double amputee, Hugh Herr, a biophysicist. They measured how Pistorius uses oxygen and leg movements, and as well as his endurance and they found that he is “physiologically similar but mechanically dissimilar” (The Journal of Applied Physiology) to an able bodied runner.  In other words, he uses oxygen the way a normal runner would but his body moves entirely different.  This proves again how the Flex Foot Cheetah does not give Pistorius any greater advantage over able bodied runners.

Technology has played an important role in helping the disabled world-class athlete to compete against able-bodied athletes.  However, these athletes who have lost limbs through birth defects or other unfortunate accidents have the right to compete in world-class sporting events.  Through their hard work, determination and persistence, they have every right to show their abilities and what a human is capable of achieving despite hardships.  If we take away from these athletes this important moment in their lives to be on the world stage or even at local events to show their friends what they have accomplished, we are basically telling them and other people with disabilities that you have no place in our society.  These disabled athletes have proven otherwise.

 

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specialsections/summerolympics/Does-Double-Amputee-Oscar-Pistorius-Have-an-Unfair-Advantage-at-the-2012-Olympic-Games-162598806.html

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Goldie Sirkis-MW9DF-English 1010- Turkle-Thought Provoking Passage for Virtuality and its Discontents

Goldie Sirkis                                                                                                           10/23/12

Code and Language: Professor Gorin                                                             Date Due: 10/24/12

Turkle-Virtuality and Its Discontents

Thought Provoking Passage

“…Is it really sensible to suggest that the way to revitalize community is to sit alone in our rooms typing at our networked computers and filling our lives with virtual friends?”(Virtuality and Its Discontents, Sherry Turkle, (the American Prospect, winter 1996), (Code and Language Course Pack, page 60)

In today’s age of everything online, it is vitally important, now more than ever, to discuss how to divide our time properly between using our virtual tools, the internet, email, chatrooms, Facebook, texting and Twitter which have forever changed our lives, but to be able to set aside time for our family and friends in the real world.

We have seen how people with psychological problems have been able to hide out behind their computers and I-pads and plan the most evil crimes.  By the time their crimes are discovered, we are horrified and we promise that it would never happen again, until the next more heinous crime takes place.  Hackers commit various computer-related crimes such as spreading viruses, phishing, and spamming, which might seem harmless as we do not suffer physically from these types of crimes.  These computer crimes are designed by brilliant people who unfortunately are outcasts of society, cannot socialize in the real world, and use these evil means of hurting those who have hurt them or empowers them in ways that they could not do otherwise.

Of course, even among those of us who do socialize, go to work and have families, the virtual community has influenced them as well.  Our children speak to us and we are texting, e-mailing or shopping online because we need to get things done.  At the end of the day, we may have accomplished some of those tasks, but we are forgetting our real lives at home, with our families.

In the real world we all have problems and the virtual world has only added to them.  We have to learn to how to set aside time daily between the real world and our virtual world.  Unfortunately, most of us don’t have an answer to this dilemma.

 

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Goldie Sirkis-MW9DF-English 1010- 1st Draft of Formal 3-5 Page Essay on Prosthetics

Goldie Sirkis                                                                                               10/20/12

Code and Language: Professor Gorin                                                     Date Due: 10/22/12

Let Them Compete!

When we think of world-class athletes, we think of superhuman people who go through rigorous training and hours of total dedication to their sport. When we watch them compete, we are amazed at their abilities because they make it look so easy. However, we are forgetting that there is another class of athletes, the disabled, with the same dedication, who go through rigorous training. It is hard to comprehend that they feel that they are no different than anyone else, and dream to compete against those able-bodied athletes. Those athletes are world-class as well despite their loss of a limb due to a birth defect.  Through their hard work and persistence, they have every right to show their abilities.  If we take this moment in time away from them, we are basically telling the disabled that you have no place in our society.

Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius is a South African sprinter who had amputations below both his knees (T43) as he was born without fibulas which are the long bones in the leg.  However, he played rugby and never considered himself unable to play sports.  He went on to compete in running events, and became a world record holder in the various championship sprinting events in the 100, 200 and 400 meter categories by wearing the Flex Foot Cheetah.  This prosthetic was designed in 1996 by Ossür and has been successfully used by others disabled people who do not want to be felt sorry for and want to continue with their lives and be productive as possible.

In 2007, Pistorius wanted to run with able-bodied athletes and was not allowed to do so according to a ruling of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAFF).  The reason for him being disqualified from competing with able-bodied athletes was that the prosthetics he was using known as the “Flex Foot Cheetahs” had given him an advantage over runners without disabilities.  He appealed this ruling in 2008 but did not qualify to run in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as he lost by .7 seconds.  At this year’s 2012 Olympic Games in London he was able to compete as he made the qualifying time. He further went on to compete this year as well as in the Paralympic Games that followed on August 29th through September 29th.  Still, people were disputing whether he had a right to compete with able-bodied athletes because of the use of the Flex Foot Cheetah legs.

According to those opposed to Pistorius competing alongside able-bodied athletes in this year’s Olympic Games in London even though he met the minimum qualifications to be allowed to compete (based on his time in the 400 semifinals), scientists have claimed that he has an advantage over able-bodied runners because he uses the “Flex Foot Cheetahs.”  Dr. Peter Bruggermann in 2007 tested Pistorius for two days and concluded that Pistorius uses 25% less energy and expends 30% less mechanical work using the Flex Foot Cheetah which does give Pistorius an advantage over normal able-bodied runners.  As a result of using less energy, Pistorius can go the distance as he has more endurance.  There is no question that he can compete athletically, but he should only compete amongst his peers in the Paralympics Games and other events featuring only disabled athletes.

Additionally, even though the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the ruling of the IAFF, the IAFF tried again to keep Pistorius out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he almost qualified.  The IAFF claimed that because of his Cheetah “L-shaped” legs, he could hurt himself and all the runners in the pack because he may not have good control when he is running at top speed since they are not his own legs.

Another question from those opposed to Pistorius competing alongside able-bodied athletes is that until 2008, Pistorius did not have trouble or any complaints about running only in the Paralympics or other disabled runners events.  Why now did he need or want to run alongside world class athletes?  Was he trying to show that technology can win over the human body’s natural abilities?  Is it indeed possible that because of the great advances made in prosthetics technology that he could have an advantage over able-bodied runners?

However, those in favor of Pistorius competing found the results of the tests conducted by Dr. Peter Bruggermann and Mr. Elio Locatelli premature.  Based on additional findings by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), they determined that Dr. Bruggermann came to his conclusion only if Pistorius was running a straight line race.  The 400-meter race requires turns and therefore Pistorius was at a disadvantage.

Additionally, Pistorius has a disadvantage starting out of the running gate and when he needed to accelerate.  A normal runner can do this naturally.  These results became evident when Pistorius tried to qualify at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 4×100 relay but did not make it by a mere .7 seconds.  Additionally, he did not hurt himself running the 4×100 relay even though the International Olympic Committee feared that he would because of his “L-shaped” prosthetics.  At the London Olympic Games in 2012 where he finished last in the semifinals, the winner, Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, was almost unnoticed as Pistorius captivated the world audience and gained the respect of his able bodied teammates.  Mr. Santos was interviewed after winning the race and said that Pistorius is a great runner which makes him equal to his peers but does not give him any greater advantage.  He obviously had no advantage as he came in seventh place in the semifinals.

Another scientific team was hired by Pistorius’s lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler, which included Peter Weyand, a physiologist, and Rodger Kram of the University of Colorado at Boulder together with a another double amputee, Hugh Herr, a biophysicist. They measured how Pistorius uses oxygen and leg movements and as well as his endurance and they found that he is “physiologically similar but mechanically dissimilar” (The Journal of Applied Physiology) to an able bodied runner.  In other words, he uses oxygen the way a normal runner would but his body moves entirely different.  This proves again how the Flex Foot Cheetah does not give Pistorius any greater advantage over able bodied runners.

Technology has played an important role in helping the disabled world-class athlete to compete against able-bodied athletes.  However, these athletes who have lost limbs through birth defects or other unfortunate accidents have the right to compete in world-class sporting events.  Through their hard work, determination and persistence, they have every right to show their abilities and what a human is capable of achieving despite hardships.  If we take away from these athletes this important moment in their lives to be on the world stage or even at local events to show their friends what they have accomplished, we are basically telling them and other people with disabilities that you have no place in our society.  These disabled athletes have proven otherwise.

 

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specialsections/summerolympics/Does-Double-Amputee-Oscar-Pistorius-Have-an-Unfair-Advantage-at-the-2012-Olympic-Games-162598806.html

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Goldie Sirkis-MW9DF-English 1010-Revised Outline=Working Thesis, Introduction, Background/Problem, and Evidence,

Goldie Sirkis                                                                                               10/14/12

Code and Language: Professor Gorin                                                     Date Due: 10/15/12

 

Oscar Pistorius

Pro- Flex Foot Cheetahs

Second Draft

 

ΠWorking Thesis:

World-class athletes who have lost limbs or who were born with birth defects should be given the right to compete in world-class sporting events.  Through their hard work and persistence, they have every right to show their abilities and what a human is capable of despite hardships.  If we take away from these athletes this important moment in their lives to be on the world stage or even at local events to show their friends what they have accomplished, we are basically telling them and other people with disabilities that you have no place in our society.

 Background/Problem:

Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius is a South African sprinter who had amputations below both his knees (T43) as he was born without fibulas which are the long bones in the leg.  However, he played rugby and never considered himself unable to play sports.  He went on to compete in running events, and became a world record holder in the various championship sprinting events in the 100, 200 and 400 meter categories by wearing the Flex Foot Cheetah.  This prosthetic was designed in 1996 by Ossur and has been successfully used by others disabled people who do not want to be felt sorry for and want to continue with their lives and be productive as possible.

In 2007, Pistorius wanted to run with able-bodied athletes and was not allowed to do so according to a ruling of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAFF).  The reason for him being disqualified from competing with able-bodied athletes was that the prosthetics he was using known as the “Flex Foot Cheetah” had given him an advantage over runners without disabilities.  He appealed this ruling in 2008 but did not qualify to run in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as he lost by .7 seconds.  At this year’s 2012 Olympic Games in London he was able to compete as he made the qualified time. He further went on to compete this year as well in the Paralympic Games that followed on August 29th through September 29th.  Still, people were disputing whether he had a right to compete with able-bodied athletes.

Ž Your Position:  Reassert Thesis: 

World-class athletes who have lost limbs or who were born with birth defects should   be given the right to compete in world-class sporting events.  Through their hard work and persistence, they have every right to show their abilities and what a human is capable of despite hardships.  If we take away from these athletes this important moment in their lives to be on the world stage or even at local events to show their friends what they have accomplished, we are basically telling them and other people with disabilities that you have no place in our society.

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Goldie Sirkis-MW9DF-English 1010- 2 Counterarguments to Hammond Essay

Goldie Sirkis                                                                                                                                    10/14/12

Code and Language: Professor Gorin                                                                                   Date Due: 10/15/12

 

2 Counterarguments to Hammond Essay

Pro performance enhancing:

Œ Hammond says, “Athletes who use any type of biotechnology give themselves an unfair advantage and disrupt the sense of fair play, and they should be banned from competition.”

Who is to say that taking vitamin supplements and having a dietician provide you with a food plan that will increase your endurance is any different than using gene therapy or other type of biotechnology to give you an “edge?”  Is there any distinction?  They both seem to reach the same goal of winning which is the ultimate goal of any athlete.  Additionally, if biotechnology supposedly gives an athlete an edge, then coaching and training by top coaches and trainers should not be allowed as well.  It is unfair that those who could afford to pay for the best coaches do get better training.  We see this in every Olympics where the richest countries get the most medals because of their superior coaching.

 Hammond says, “If we let athletes alter their bodies through biotechnology, we might as well dispense with the human element altogether.”

This is a very simplistic and general statement on the whole concept of athletic performance through artificial means.  An athlete does need to compete based on his skills and talents.  However, if the athlete decides to take so-called performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), to enhance his talent and skills, they know they are taking these drugs with either knowing or not knowing what the effects are.  If they decide to take this risk, do we have a right to prevent that?  If you were to say yes, then why aren’t we stopping everyone from smoking or drinking excessively knowing that smoking causes lung cancer and other complications, and drinking will cause liver diseases?

Moreover, weren’t we all amazed and entertained by the home-run hitting power of Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa?  These individuals have great talent and the enhancements they took to perform at peak levels brought great excitement to Major League Baseball.  It is true that Alex Rodriguez cannot hit the way he used to, but age is now a factor as well.  Athletes do have short careers and they have every right to take advantage of that short time frame to accomplish these feats.

http://sportsanddrugs.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=002352

 

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Goldie Sirkis-MW9DF-English 1010-MLK summary on Letter from Birmingham

Goldie Sirkis                                                                                                   10/14/12

Code and Language: Professor Gorin                                                         Date Due: 10/15/12

 

MLK Summary

Letter from Birmingham

Martin Luther King was incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama in April 1963 for participating in non-violent demonstrations against the injustices of segregation that were prevalent (happening) in this country despite the 1954 landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education. This Decision, which made it illegal to segregate blacks, would force them to be bused to white schools to get an education.  Due to the fact that Brown v. Board was not being adhered to by Whites, and other racial injustices were still taking place such as segregated amusement parks, water fountains, and places to eat, just to name a few, were not allowed in this country of freedom, Martin Luther King stepped in to add his influence to ending these racial injustices.

He addressed, in a rather lengthy letter to White ministers, (he said he had all the time in the world to write this letter) his reasons for participating in demonstrations in Birmingham even though he was criticized by these white ministers for doing so.  He pointed out in many critical ways that what he did was right and that incarcerating him for doing so was wrong!

One of the best arguments he made was that if the injustices against black people were not taking place any longer, then he wouldn’t have needed to protest.  Do these ministers not realize that there was a cause and effect to his demonstration?  He says further, and very convincingly, that if you are complaining about King’s demonstration in Birmingham, then why are they not complaining about the injustices against blacks, which are obviously wrong and illegal?

He also states that he and other members of his Southern Christian Leadership Conference tried other means to bring their message across.  He says that these demonstrations were not called together in a hurry, but rather out of frustration that a Negro is told to “wait.” (King, 1963, p. 53)  As a result, this “waiting” has brought all the Negro frustration out in the open and the need to demonstrate. King asks these ministers to picture them being told to “wait” and to have patience that the situation will change.  King says that the Negroes have been patient and all the Whites can tell them is be patient without any injustices being addressed.  For example, he says, he had a meeting with the economic community that Negroes would stop all demonstrations if white business people would stop putting out racial signs preventing Negroes from coming into their stores.  King “waited” with no results.

Another argument made by King was that these are not violent demonstrations taking place.  They are sit-ins and “Freedom Rides.”  These demonstrations will cause racial tension, but its purpose is still to encourage negotiation.  King says that the Negro is out demonstrating, now call him in and say that you will negotiate to solve the racial tensions between whites and blacks.  This has not happened.  He says to the ministers you sit and watch and only criticize.

King was also criticized for coming from Atlanta to Alabama to protest.  King’s answer, and a very compelling one, is that Alabama and Georgia are all part of the same United States.  We are one country and need to address the injustices in this “country,” wherever it is taking place.  Additionally, as a member of the Church, he has an obligation to stop the injustices.  He says the Church has become too weak in its ability to change things and the Church must again try to bring their influence back into fixing problems.

In closing, King shows his disappointment that these White ministers did not praise the demonstrators for their courage in protesting, in standing up for their rights as humans to gain equal rights.  These demonstrators will one day be the heroes of our generation in that they never gave up their fight against racial segregation.  As a result of their protests, Negros will be able to sit with Whites at lunch counters and ride on the same buses.  These demonstrators will one day provide the next generation with the gift of equality and realizing the American Dream that we all are entitled to.

It is interesting to note that King, in all his anger and frustration, decided to end his letter with an apology for anything he may have said that wasn’t true!  If anything, he could have worded this letter more fiercely and with greater anger.  Instead, he took the dignified position to write this forceful letter in a very clear, logical way but it also showed great emotion without losing control of his emotions.

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Goldie Sirkis- MW9DF-English 1010- Con: Flex Foot Cheetahs

Goldie Sirkis                                                                                                  10/9/12

Code and Language: Professor Gorin                                                                      Date Due: 10/10/12

Con: Flex-Foot Cheetahs

Working Thesis

There is room in sports for the disabled athletes to compete in, but it should only be amongst his peers who are similarly disabled as in the world famous Paralympics games held every four years after the regular Olympic Games.

 

Problem/Background:

Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius is a sprinter from South Africa who had amputations below both his knees as he was born without fibulas which are the long bones in the leg.  However, he played rugby and never considered himself unable to play sports.  He became a world record holder in the various Championship sprinting events in the 100, 200 and 400 meter categories by wearing the Flex Foot Cheetah which was designed in 1996 by Ossur.  In 2007, Oscar wanted to run with able-bodied athletes and was not allowed to do so according to a ruling of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAFF).  The reason for him being disqualified from competing with able bodied athletes was that the prosthetics he was using known as the “Flex Foot Cheetah” had given him an advantage over runners without disabilities.  He appealed this ruling in 2008 and was able to compete in this year 2012 Olympic Games held in London.  He then went on to compete in the ParaOlympic Games that followed on August 29 through September 29th.

Opposing Position:

Oscar Pistorius should not have been allowed to participate in this year’s 2012 Olympic Games in London even though he met the minimum qualifications to be allowed to compete based on his time in the 400 semifinals, as scientists have claimed that he has an advantage over able-bodied runners because he uses the “Flex Foot Cheetah.”  He should only be competing amongst his peers in the Paralympics Games and other events featuring only disabled athletes.

My Position: (reassert Thesis)

There is room in sports for the disabled athletes to compete in, but it should only be amongst his peers who are similarly disabled as in the world famous Paralympics games held every four years after the regular Olympic Games.

Evidence:

1. Dr. Peter Bruggermann in 2007 tested Pistorius for two days and concluded that Pistorius uses 25% less energy and expends 30% less mechanical work using the Flex Foot Cheetah which does give Pistorius an advantage over normal able-bodied runners.  As a result of using less energy, Pistorius can go the distance as he has more endurance.

 

2. Although the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the ruling of the IAFF, the IAFF tried one more attempt to keep Pistorius out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he almost qualified by saying that he could hurt himself and all the runners in the pack because of those L shaped legs.  He may not have good control when he is running at top speed since they are not his own legs.

 

3. Until 2008, Pistorius did not have trouble or any complaints about running only in the Paralympics or other disabled runners events.  Why now did he need to run alongside world class athletes?  Was he trying to show that technology can win over the human body’s natural abilities?

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Goldie Sirkis-MW9DF-English 1010-Pro-Flex Foot Cheetah Outline Argument

Goldie Sirkis                                                                                                                                                    10/9/12

Code and Language: Professor Gorin                                                                                  Date Due: 10/10/12

 

Oscar Pistorius

Pro- Flex Foot Cheetahs

 

Working Thesis:

World-class athletes who have lost limbs or who were born with a disability or deformity should be given the right to compete in world-class sporting events.  Through their hard work and persistence, they have every right to show their abilities.  If we take this moment in time away from them, we are basically telling the disabled that you have no place in our society.

Problem/Background:

Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius is a sprinter from South Africa who had amputations below both his knees (T43) as he was born without fibulas which are the long bones in the leg.  However, he played rugby and never considered himself unable to play sports.  He became a world record holder in the various championship sprinting events in the 100, 200 and 400 meter categories by wearing the Flex Foot Cheetah which was designed in 1996 by Ossur.  In 2007, Oscar wanted to run with able-bodied athletes and was not allowed to do so according to a ruling of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAFF).  The reason for him being disqualified from competing with able bodied athletes was that the prosthetics he was using known as the “Flex Foot Cheetah” had given him an advantage over runners without disabilities.  He appealed this ruling in 2008 and was able to compete in this year 2012 Olympic Games held in London.  He then went on to compete in the ParaOlympic Games that followed on August 29 through September 29th.

Your Position:  Reassert Thesis: 

World-class athletes who have lost limbs or who were born with a disability or deformity should be given the right to compete in world-class events.  Through their hard work and persistence, they have every right to showcase their abilities.  If we take this moment in time away from them, we are basically telling the disabled that you have no place in our society.

Evidence:

1.         Dr. Peter Bruggermann together with technical specialist for the IAFF, Mr. Elio Locatelli, tested Pistorius for two days and found that Pistorius had used 25% less energy and 30% less mechanical work running with the Flex Foot Cheetah prosthetics.  However, this was a premature decision based on additional findings by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) who found that Dr. Bruggermann came to his conclusion if Pistorius ran only a straight line race.  The 400 meter race requires turns and therefore Pistorius is at a disadvantage.

2.         Additionally, Pistorius has a disadvantage starting out of the running gate and when he needs to accelerate.  A normal runner can do this naturally.  These results became evident that though Pistorius tried to qualify at Beijing in 2008 for at least the 4×100 relay, he did not make it by a mere .70 seconds.  This was astounding as well as the fact that the IAFF was also trying to keep him out of the race for fear that he may hurt himself or others running in a pack of normal world-class runners.  He proved to them otherwise even though he did not come in first.  At the London Olympic Games in 2012 where he finished second in the semifinals and qualified to compete in the finals, the winner, Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic was almost unnoticed as Pistorius captivated the world audience and gained the respect of his able bodied teammates.  Mr. Santos claimed that Pistorius is a great runner which makes him equal to his peers but does not give him any greater advantage.

3.         Another scientific team hired by Pistorius’s lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler, which included Peter Weyand, a physiologist, and Rodger Kram of the University of Colorado at Boulder together with a another double amputee, Hugh Herr, a biophysicist, measured how Pistorius uses oxygen and leg movements and as well as his endurance and they found that he is “physiologically similar but mechanically dissimilar” to an able bodied runner.  In other words, he uses oxygen the way a normal runner would but his body moves entirely differently.  This proves again how the Flex Foot Cheetah does not give Pistorious any greater advantage over able bodied runners.

Introduction:

When we think of world-class athletes, we think of superhuman people who go through rigorous training and hours of total dedication to their sport. When we watch them compete, we are amazed at their abilities because they make it look so easy. However, we are forgetting that there is another class of athletes with the same dedication, who go through rigorous training. It is hard to comprehend that these are disabled athletes who feel they are no different than anyone else, and dream to compete against those able-bodied athletes that we are all in awe of. World-class athletes who have lost limbs or who were born with a disability or deformity should be given the right to compete in world-class sporting events.  Through their hard work and persistence, they have every right to show their abilities.  If we take this moment in time away from them, we are basically telling the disabled that you have no place in our society.

 

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Goldie Sirkis-MW9DF-English 1010-optional Journal Entry-And the Holidays Continue

Goldie Sirkis                                                                                                                                    10/7/12

Code and Language: Professor Gorin                                                                                   Date Due: 10/10/12

And the Holidays Continue

As of last Sunday night, October 1, 2012, I have been celebrating a very joyous Jewish holiday called the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as Succot.  It is a nine-day holiday, with two days at the beginning and two days at the end when we cannot work.  In the middle are days when you are allowed to do work if you have to, families go out to various events that are purposely scheduled during this time.  It is a very festive time of the year, with many people shopping, cooking and preparing for their families and guests.  Some of the stores remain open way past midnight to accommodate the needs of the people.

This year, for me, the holiday is being celebrated quite differently.  Besides the fact that there is college during the holidays, I have had to meet homework deadlines despite the fact that some Jewish Groups don’t write either unless there is a need to do so.  Well, in my case, that does apply.

Out of curiosity I scanned the newspapers for events that usually take place at this time of the year and unfortunately, I cannot go to any of those events, which included concerts and trips to my favorite amusement park, Six Flags Great Adventure.   Of course, I had to be in college that day, and my only consolation was that the weather did not cooperate with the event.  I was better off being indoors!

Many of the synagogues in my area also have joyous dancing and music during the intermediate days of the holiday which was on Wednesday and Thursday.  Some very famous entertainers come to these events and throngs of people come to see them.  The streets come alive during those events.   Another event I used to enjoy was going to the Bronx Zoo.  I certainly wasn’t alone in going to this famous zoo.  There were so many others who had the same idea and it was packed.   The crowds never deterred me from enjoying watching some of my favorite animals especially the giraffes.  I remain in awe of their size and I remember reading about them that each giraffe has a different pattern!  Watching them eat their leaves and not caring about all the pictures being taken of them always made me laugh.

As the final days of the holiday come, I am saddened by the fact that there is a long winter ahead with not many breaks until midterms and the winter break. The next holiday that also is sort of similar to Succot due to 8 days of it, except the difference in eating, is Passover, 6 months later. Nevertheless, I certainly will appreciate when the next round of holidays come along.

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