Monday, March 29, 2010

Save Your What?

Last Thursday the Radical Witness class (a Social Studies elective) visited Save your Ass Rescue ( in South Acworth, and The Sustainability Project ( in Gilsum. The purpose of the field trip was to give students the opportunity to see examples of positive change and direct aid that people might not typically think of as "radical witness," a term that many associate with mass social movements or direct action focused on an institution or unjust cause.

At Save Your Ass Rescue, students had the opportunity to meet with Anne Firestone, the founder of the organization. They experienced a sense of her deep commitment to saving asses - and the day-in, day-out effort it takes to work and fight their behalf. (When TMS Blogger asked students about what cause they would fight for, they replied "peace activism," and "fair trade."

The class then went to visit with The Sustainability Project and met with Valerie Piedmont. The project is part of Emerson Forest, which was created in order to provide a piece of land where people can go learn about sustainability, including wildlife conservation and permaculture.

Students came away from the field trip more aware of the many different acts people are engaged in daily, both as individuals and as communities, to make the world a better place.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekend Wanderings

On Saturday, March 20, a group of TMS students stretched their activist legs and marched in the Keene peace demonstration that marked the 7th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

This upcoming weekend we have a number of activities in the making - the Model UN course will be visiting High Mowing for a conference, and former faculty Karl Wilson will be bringing his tuba to campus to play some music and have some fun with students.

On Saturday, April 3, we will have Barbara Keshen, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), on campus to talk with students and faculty about the death penalty, which is the subject of significant debate in New Hampshire, which currently has the death penalty. There are now bills in the New Hampshire legislature to both expand the death penalty as well as put additional restrictions on it. New Hampshire has one person on death row - Michael Addison was sentenced in December 2008 for killing Manchester police officer Michael Briggs.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who is Tom Bombadil?

Who is Tom Bombadil? This question was the centerpiece of Thursday's literature class on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Tom Bombadil appears in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings as a secondary, quite mysterious being, in contrast to the exacting way used to describe the other characters of Middle-earth. Tom is portrayed as a somewhat provincial and joyous, and is the one character uncorrupted by the power of The Ring.

After considering student research, reading and examining a poem about Tom called The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and listening to a podcast from a medieval scholar from Washington University on Mr. Bombadil, the class as a whole seemed to agree that he is likely a Maiar, which is like a lesser angel.

Tom Bombadil's character was considered within the larger themes of power, corruption and responsibility in Book I of The Lord of the Rings.

If you've seen the movie and have never heard of Mr. Bombadil, it's because filmmaker Peter Jackson omitted him from what would have been an even longer movie.