Tuesday, 27 May 2008

A Golden Age?

It's been almost a year since I decided to become a mature student and join the Open University. At the moment, I want to head towards psychology or criminology. In order to ease students into the first year, and give us students some familiarity with the subject - and a view of some of the other options - the first year is a general look at the social sciences. This means as well as psychology and criminology, we get to look at politics, economics, sociology, geography and more. All well and good, but when you reach the end of the course, instead of knocking up an assignment based on one subject, all of a sudden you've got one assignment, and you have to include at least three blocks of the course. All of a sudden 1500 words stops sounding like a major achievement, and suddenly becomes a restriction. To put it into context, so far I've written the equivalent of 10% of the assigment, just in this blog post. And that's taken five minutes, and no effort at all. Still, it helps that there is a choice of questions. And one of them is about the best thing I've learned all year. 'The golden age'. It's doesn't exist. It's in our heads. Think about this quote for a minute:

The Whole City, My Lord, is alarm'd and uneasy. Wickedness has got such a Head, and the Robbers and Insolence of the Night are such that the citizens are no longer secure within their own Walls or safe even in passing their Streets, but are robbed, insulted, and abused, even at their own Doors … The citizens are oppressed by Rapin and Violence.
The olde worlde style words used tell us that it's an old quote, but the sentiment is one we hear a lot ourselves. We're in danger of being robbed. We're not safe in our houses. It's not safe to walk the streets. It's not like it used to be. The quote is from Daniel Defoe, way back in 1730, so either the streets became very safe between the eighteenth century and fifty years ago when people could leave their front doors open whilst they went to Butlin's for the week, or people have a rosier view of earlier times in their lifetime. And the times they enjoyed the best, are remembered in a way that distorts them to the extent that they can be remembered even more fondly. or something.

And therein lies the problem with the assignment. I've just scratched the surface of the question, referenced one aspect of the year, and *BANG* 20% of the word limit is taken up. Still, I have just over a week to finish it, and as I've just written the equivalent of a third of the essay in twenty minutes, and given that as it's essentially an end of course review, means that it should be a piece of piss to complete, right...?

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