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volume nine

essays from spring & fall 2008


The Automobile: An American Icon
Luke Vinton

Today’s different world creates new problems that could jeopardize the car’s status as an American icon. In recent years the automobile has suffered. The combination of global warming and skyrocketing gas prices paint a bleak and unpromising future for the car. In order to comprehend the extent of the problem, we must confront our obsession with the automobile and understand why it has achieved such an iconic status in American culture. How can something as simple as four wheels and an engine mean so much?


Can We Treat Criminality?
Brianna Johnson

[O]ur current approach of punishment without treatment isn’t working. What we need are better ways to identify and treat criminality in its earliest stages and effective treatments for those preparing to reenter society following jail sentences. If we can provide some type of personalized therapy for these troubled citizens, we can better prepare them to lead lawful lifestyles outside of the prison gates.


Crèches, Crescents, and a Caduceus—Oh My!
Nikolai Stem

A symbol is just a symbol. Too often, the symbol for a religion is regarded with more importance than what it represents. In my opinion, writer Nick Farrantello is right to suggest that symbols often get in the way of ideas. He claims that people are more interested in protecting the symbol representing a belief rather than protecting the belief itself. Even if one’s faith taught that its symbols were more than just symbols, why let those symbols be open to criticism from the public if they were really so worthy of reverence?


Fighting Back
Mary Kathryne Dickinson

Without antibiotics and antibacterial chemicals, the human race is at a serious disadvantage, causing us to be once again susceptible to many historically deadly epidemic infections. Nevertheless, antibiotic resistance will continue to increase if nothing is done to impede it. This fast-acting enemy is not one to take lightly. Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem for mankind, but simple steps to halt it can be taken now.


Is This Who I Am?—Fitting into the Stereotype
Nicholas Pierpont Corbell

I can’t count how many times people have said to me something like, “Bet your girlfriend really appreciates you, eh?” Until I tell them I’m gay. Then, the most common look I get is one where it seems like their brains are shifting gears. I can almost see how they go over me and their memories of me, trying to pick out anything that “gave me away.” “Yeah, he was always so quiet in school.” “Oh, that’s prolly ‘cause he was in the closet, you think?” 


Johnny Needs a Job
Emily Wilson

Obviously, not every part-time job experience is going to be as perfect as a fairytale, where elves perform songs and dances in the dark hours of the night while finishing the work you hadn’t quite gotten to. And even more importantly, part-time jobs aren’t for everyone. But when will teenagers be able to get a taste of the real world, other than when they are shipped off to college?


A Man-Made Natural Wonder
Jeremy Cohen

My grandparents, who lived in Canada growing up, had talked about the wonders of the great falls my whole life. I know I didn’t feel the same sort of awe at the sight of the falls that they did. I felt like what Percy calls a “consumer of experience.” I was sold the Niagara Falls experience just as the surrounding businesses chose to sell it.


"Non Dimenticar Means 'Don't Forget'"
Leslie Haase

The house smells of tomatoes, and I stumble down the stairs, half asleep, to the kitchen—the obvious source of that familiar smell. I don’t expect to sit down, because there are no chairs open, nor is there any counter space. The entire kitchen is covered in tomatoes—Roma, San Marzano…there must be half a dozen types. I grab a box of tomatoes off a chair, take the seat I will be sitting at for the next several hours, and begin my part in our family tradition.


Selling Out to Silence
Tim Brooks

Robert Samuelson of The Washington Post suggests that “Our leading politicians engage in consensual censorship to skip issues that involve distasteful choices or that require deferred gratification.” On the surface, we blame the silence on the deceitful politicians who use rhetoric to avoid answering certain questions. But if we look at the situation more closely, we discover a bigger issue: our current political and electoral process does not allow for discussion of complex and emotional issues.












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modified April 21, 2009

James Madison



e-Vision essays copyright © 2009. All rights revert to individual authors.

All authors have granted permission for use in instructional purposes only.

Unless explicitly noted, all ideas expressed on these pages are not those of e-Vision Magazine or of James Madison University.


volume nine Editorial Board

Laura Becker
Cooper Greene
Nicole Lee
Brandi Mooring
Jessica Nelson
Melissa Noble
Becca Parker
Cory Scott
Martin Steger
Kye Swenson
Alison Ward

volume nine Faculty Advisors

Heather Comfort
Karen McDonnell
Kevin Jefferson