In 1979, when the minimum wage was $2.90, a hard-working student with a minimum-wage job could earn enough in one day (8.44 hours) to pay for one academic credit hour. If a standard course load for one semester consisted of maybe 12 credit hours, the semester’s tuition could be covered by just over two weeks of full-time minimum wage work—or a month of part-time work. A summer spent scooping ice cream or flipping burgers could pay for an MSU education. The cost of an MSU credit hour has multiplied since 1979. So has the federal minimum wage. But today, it takes 60 hours of minimum-wage work to pay off a single credit hour, which was priced at $428.75 for the fall semester.

The Myth of Working Your Way Through College - Svati Kirsten Narula - The Atlantic (via infoneer-pulse)

$478 for in-state upperclassmen

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i feel like this study deserves an article written about it that ends pushing for cheaper tuition costs rather than one that ends encouraging students to major in things that make money

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A little discussion on Aragorn…


A criticism I sometimes see pointed at Aragorn is that he is too self-assured, and that the movies ‘reluctant hero’ approach makes the character more human and understandable. Personally, I think that the book and film versions of the character are a lot more alike in their portrayal of a conflicted Aragorn than many might think. The movie Aragorn was written, directed and acted to be more of a measured character and he often wears his concerns on his sleeve. The Aragorn of the book is more of an archetypal hero of old literature and legend, so is certainly (on the surface) a more assured and confident character. But I see a lot going on under the surface of the book’s Aragorn, and think it paints a very layered picture of him (a lot of this is conjecture on my part, but that’s the fun of delving deeper into fictional worlds and characters).

Aragorn is on his way to Minas Tirith with Andúril by his side, to claim the Kingship of Gondor. He needs to present a certain demeanour to be taken seriously as a claimant to the throne, as his status as Isildur’s heir would already give opponents to his claim a legitimate reason to dispute him (Gondor’s Kings are descended from the line of Isildur’s brother, Anárion). Aragorn needs to have an authority of leadership that would dispel the doubts that this ranger from the north could effectively rule, not only Gondor, but a restored Arnor as well.

Remember, Aragorn’s lineage wasn’t revealed to him until he was past childhood, and he spent his early adult life hiding his true identity. He worked in the service of other Kings and Stewards and drank at inns like the Prancing Pony. He didn’t live the typical life of a Prince in Middle-earth. Therefore, when it comes time to proudly display his heraldry and to declare himself the heir of Isildur, he would be drawing on what he had read and seen in others, rather than past personal experience. Self-assurance, confidence and stern authority would be traits he would have identified in Thengel, Ecthelion and also in Elrond. They would be traits that he would have read about when delving into his history and into the lore of the old Kings and Queens of Arnor, Gondor and Númenor. It is therefore not surprising that he displays them when trying to press his claim for Kingship and make an impression on the people he meets upon his journey.

He uses his credentials to build bridges, gain aid, and at times threaten and inspire awe. The fate of the Middle-earth hangs in the balance and hiding behind the moniker of Strider stops being useful in the face of war with Sauron, and while he is pressing a claim to the throne of the most powerful realm of Men. Throughout the story we see Aragorn accommodating the historical traits of a King alongside his own personality, and when he reaches the Paths of the Dead his own Kingship is pretty fully formed. He has melded the qualities of a King of Arnor and Gondor with the wisdom of Elrond the great healer, and applied them to his own nobility, morality and character - it is no facade or facsimile, but his personal ideal of High Kingship. With this belief in himself, he can summon the army of the Dead without question, inspire and command the men of Gondor’s Southern Fiefs to victory on the Pelennor Fields, and enter the Houses of Healing with hopes to heal those wounded with the aid of athelas.

Yet we sometimes see, as in the events at Amon Hen, the man beneath the King, the man who was raised Estel and wandered the beaten paths of Eriador. Here Aragorn’s internal thoughts are laid bare and his ‘Heir of Isildur’ bravado falls away. Since the fall of Gandalf in Moria, Aragorn assumed the leadership role within the Fellowship, but it wasn’t an easy task for him. We get glimpses of his uncertainty and doubt, over which direction to take, and whether to go to Minas Tirith to aid in Gondor’s war, or to go on with Frodo to Mordor. At Amon Hen and Parth Galen he pours over his choices and his mistakes, as he tries to take the best course of action in an impossibly desperate situation: 

'I read the signs aright,' he said to himself. 'Frodo ran to the hill-top. I wonder what he saw there? But he returned by the same way, and went down the hill again.'

Aragorn hesitated. He desired to go the high seat himself, hoping to see there something that would guide him in his perplexities; but time was pressing. Suddenly he leaped forward, and ran to the summit, across the great flag stones and up the steps. Then sitting in the high seat he looked out. But the sun seemed darkened, and the world dim and remote. He turned from the North back again to North, and saw nothing save the distant hills, unless it were that far away he could see again a great bird like an eagle high in the air, descending slowly in wide circles down towards the earth.

Evan as he gazed his quick ears caught sounds in the woodlands below, on the west side of the River. He stiffened. There were cries, and among them, to his horror, he could distinguish the harsh voices of Orcs. Then suddenly with a deep-throated call a great horn blew, and the blasts of it smote the hills and echoed in the hollows, rising in a mighty shout above the roaring of the falls.

'The horn of Boromir!' he cried. 'He is in need!' He sprang down the steps and away, leaping down the path. 'Alas! An ill fate is on me this day, and all that I do goes amiss. Where is Sam?'

- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Departure of Boromir

While the Aragorn of the novels doesn’t share the films reluctance to take the throne, his heroism isn’t as ideologically simple as some make it out to be either. As a man who seeks to sit upon the most powerful throne in Middle-earth, Aragorn presents himself to the world as someone who could rule, and rule with confidence and nobility. That doesn’t mean that inside he isn’t fighting doubts and concerns regarding his decision making. He is capable of being a very human character.

There were two ‘Reigns of Terror’, if we could but remember and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passions, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon a thousand persons, the other upon a hundred million; but our shudders are all for the ‘horrors of the… momentary Terror, so to speak’; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty and heartbreak? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief terror that we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror—that unspeakable bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.

Mark Twain, writing about the French Revolution, in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court  (via ashcanranting)

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Hemingway and James Joyce were drinking buddies in Paris. Joyce was thin and bespectacled; Hemingway was tall and strapping. When they went out Joyce would get drunk, pick a fight with a bigger guy in the bar and then hide behind Hemingway and yell, “Deal with him, Hemingway. Deal with him.”

[x] (via newzerokaneda)

Between this and the story about him reassuring F. Scott Fitzgerald re dick size, I’m developing a picture of Hemingway as the mother hen of the disaffected white male literary set of the early 20th century.

He probably called up Steinbeck sometimes and was like I CAN’T EVEN WITH THESE DIPSHITS and Steinbeck was all “That’s what you get for living in Paris, asshole”.

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