Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A review of “Mexico: A History” (by Robert Ryal Miller)

"[The Mexican Empire] solemnly declares by means of the Supreme Junta of the Empire that it is a Sovereign nation and independent of old Spain ... "

Declaration of the independence of the Mexican Empire, issued by its Sovereign Junta, assembled in the Capital on September 28, 1821

Since early 2012, I have made an effort to learn the Spanish language. The reasons for this are many (and too long to detail here), but chief among them is the local usefulness of the language - I live in Arizona (in the American Southwest); so Spanish is the most important local language besides my native English. The opportunities to use Spanish here are endless, and I have long wanted to know something about the Hispanic population of the Southwest, whom I have interacted with for years, at school and at church.

Mexican flag

Mexico has a strong influence on the American Southwest

In the American Southwest, most of the Hispanics are of Mexican descent - in contrast to the strong Cuban descent found in Florida, and the strong Puerto Rican descent found in New York - the other parts of the United States where Spanish-speaking populations are most often found. In the American Southwest, people of Mexican origin are the most common ones; and so I thought it might be helpful to know something about their country of origin - which is one of my country's only two neighbors, incidentally (the other being Canada); and the one that is closest to my home state of Arizona - and thus, the nation that we Arizonans do the most trade with outside of our own. (Stuff that my American audience already knows, I'm sure; but I have an international audience here, so the geography of my situation is worth going over.)

Monday, September 7, 2015

My undergraduate experience with communications

During my high school years, I had no idea what the communications major was. When I heard people talk about it, I thought that meant the study of communications technology; and I had the mental image of a radio and learning Morse code. Those who have taken a communications class are probably laughing right now, because they know it's a far cry from what the communications major is. Communications, in short, is about the art of communicating with other people. It's about the message rather than the medium, and about the humanities more than the sciences.

A classic radio, something like the mental image I had for the communications major

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