Saturday, January 13, 2007

"I can see all the moments passing by. Yeah, I'm looking above all the buildings and all the billboard signs. I can see all...all the world, all the world tonight. I can see everything...everything." ~the graham colton band

I took the Praxis this morning, which was pretty difficult. I think I got 3 questions wrong because I forgot what a participial phrase is. I think I did well on the passage analysis questions, though. And I came through with some good guesses on identifying passages. I IDed a few lines from Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Criticism," which I haven't read for awhile, and I think I correctly recognized a passage about Agamemnon (I hope). Both of those were tricky questions so I was proud of myself. There were some other difficult questions that I'm not sure I did so well on. Anyway, I'll see how I did in about a month. I was talking to people before the test started, and I found it funny that no one actually knows the highest possible score you can get. For example, everyone knows the SAT is out of 2400 (used to be 1600), but no one knows the perfect score for the Praxis II exams. They don't publicize it; they don't even tell you on your score report. They just give you a number. One girl there has taken the test 5 times already and still hasn't passed. I only have one more chance, so I hope I did okay. And the passing score is different in every state. For Virginia, I need a 172 (of course I have no idea what that means). In NJ I think it's 160 or something.

My Vanity Fair magazine came yesterday. I look forward to getting it every month; it always has such interesting articles. It takes forever to read, though. This month there's a great piece on why women aren't funny. It looks at gender stereotypes and traditional expectations about women. The cover story is fabulous; it's on the Dreamgirls movie, and the story of Bill Condon's development of the film is so interesting. What fascinates me most of all in the magazine, though, is an in-depth story based on intense interviews with members of the "Finch" family featured in Augusten Burrough's memoir Running With Scissors. Their family is suing Burroughs for inaccurately portraying their family. I tend to side with Burroughs on the issue. I guess I can understand why the family is upset, because they're not exactly pictured in the most positive light, but I don't think Burroughs is as cruel to them as they're making him out to be. I don't know how a court will determine who's telling the truth, either. There are specific incidents written about in the book that Burroughs claims are completely true and that the family members claim are completely false. It's his word against theirs. How do you decide who's telling the truth? In the interview they talk about how much pain the book has caused them. "Natalie" had to go to the hospital multiple times because it made her seriously, physically ill. They claim that the book has ruined their lives (I'm not exaggerating). Maybe that is the case, but if it is, it's because their lives weren't all that stable to begin with. And I think going to court will just drag out everything and prevent them from moving on. I'm probably being too harsh on them and I shouldn't judge them because I haven't experienced their situation, but I think they're overreacting. Anyway, the article is an interesting read for anyone who enjoyed reading Running with Scissors or who is interested in memoirs in general. It addresses the issue of the rights of a memoirist, going beyond the topics of embellishment and the portrayal of truth and addressing whether people should be able to write about other real people without even consulting them first.

1 comment:

Heather said...

congrats on getting the praxis over with -- I'm sure you did well.

and that's interesting about Running with Scissors - I read it a while back; maybe I'll check out the article.