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Hi Im John Green and this is Crash Course.

Can we get these books to roll in in the future?It doesnt feel like Crash Course
unless
theres a roll in.Today, before we begin our mini-series onreading and writing in
English, were goin
to discuss how to read and why.So, if you watched our series on world history,
youll no doubt remember that writing (and the ability to read it) are so-called
markers of civilization.
Now, thats a really problematic idea. I mean, for one thing, great stories can have
great lives in the oral tradition.Like, one of my favorite books, Mules and Men by
Zora Neale Hurston, was a collection of folklore that lived in the oral tradition until
Zora Neale Hurston wrote it down.
And the same can be said for another of myfavorite books, The Odyssey.But we
privilege reading and writing because they allow us to communicate directly and
transparently with people who live very far away from us, and they also allow us to
kind of hear the voices of the dead.I mean, I dont want to get all liberal arts-y on
you, but do I want to make this clear;for me, stories are about communication. We
didnt invent grammar so that your life would be miserable in grade school as you
attempted to learn what the Marquez a preposition is. By the way, on this program,
I will be inserting names of my favorite writers when I would otherwise insert curse
word We invented grammar because without prepositions,we couldnt describe
what its like to fly through a cloud, or jump over a puddle,or Faulkner beneath the
stars. Like, right now, if Im doing my job, andyoure doing your job, you arent
thinking about the fact that Im contorting my mouth and tongue and vocal chords
to create sounds that then exist as ideas in your brain; its just happening. But if
my language gets confusing -- if I parlesen francais or incorrect word order use or
eekspay inyay igpay atinlay, then I erect a barrier between you and me. You and I?
You and me.Writing--or at least good writing--is an outgrowth of that urge to use
language to communicate complex ideas and experiences between people. And
thats true whether youre reading Shakespeare or bad vampire fiction, reading is
always an act of empathy. Its always an imagining of what its like to be someone
else. So when Shakespeare uses iambic pentameter,or Salingers uses a red
hunting cap, they arent doing this so that your English teachers will have
something to torture you with. Theyre doing it, at least if theyre doing it on
purpose, so the story can have a bigger and better life in your mind. But, for the
record, the question of whether theyre doing it on purpose is not a very interesting
question. 2:21
Oh, were still doing open letters?

An Open Letter to Authorial Intent. But first,


lets see whats in the secret compartment today.
Oh, its a boat beating against the current,
borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Dear authorial intent, As an author, let me
speak to you directly. You dont matter.
Look, Im not willing to go as far as the
postmodernists and say that the author is
dead because that would make me very nervous.
However, the author is not that important.
Whether an author intended a symbolic resonance
to exist in her book is irrelevant. All that
matters is whether its there because the
book does not exist for the benefit of the
author. The book exists for the benefit of
you.
If we, as readers, could have a bigger and
richer experience with the world as a result
of reading a symbol and that symbol wasnt
intended by the author, we still win.
Yes, inevitably, reading is a
between an author and a reader. But give yourself
some power in that conversation, reader. Go
out there and make a world.
Best wishes,
John Green

Heres the thing: It is extremely hard to


get other people to feel what we are feeling.
Like, you may have experienced this in your
own life. Say my college girlfriend broke
up with me...and she did.
I want to explain what Im feeling to my
best friend in the entire world. So I say,
I am completely OBLITERATED. My HEART IS BROKEN.
In fact, my heart is SHATTERED INTO A MILLION
PIECES.
Right, so, a few things are going on here:
First, in excellent news, my heart has not
been shattered into a million pieces. It is
pumping blood in precisely the same way that
it did before the breakup.
Secondly, in further good news, I am not totally
obliterated. Total obliteration of me would
look like this.
Im using the techniques of hyperbole, in
the case of obliteration, and metaphor, in
the case of my broken heart, to try to describe
the things that are happening inside of me.
But because Im not using particularly compelling
or original figurative language, my friend
may struggle to empathize with me, and this
is my BEST FRIEND in the entire world.

Now imagine that youre trying to communicate


far more complicated and nuanced experiences
and emotions. And instead of just trying to
communicate them to your best friend, youre
trying to talk to strangers, some of whom
may live very far away and, in fact, live
centuries after your death.
Not only that, but instead of this happening
during a pleasant conversation, they are reading
your dry, dead text on a page.

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So they cant hear your intonation or see
the tears dripping from your cheeks even though

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it turns out that this breakup is going to be one
of the best things that ever happened to you.

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So THAT is the challenge that Shakespeare faces, and its also the challenge that
you face whenever you write for an audience,

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whether its a novel or a pedantic YouTube
comment about the accuracy of our Gallifreyan.

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Hush! This is fantastic Gallifreyan.
So Im going to ask you to read critically,

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to look closely at a text and pay attention to the
subtle ways the author is trying to communicate the

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full complexity of human experience, but Im not asking
you to go symbol-hunting because reading is supposed

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to be some treasure map in which you discover
symbols, write them down, and then get an A in class.

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Im asking you to read critically because


by understanding language, you will

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1. Have a fuller understanding of lives other
than your own, which

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2. Will help you to be more empathetic, and
thereby

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3. Help you to avoid getting dumped by that young
woman in the first place, although more importantly

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4. Reading critically and attentively can give you the linguistic tools to share your
own story with more precision.

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And that will help people to understand your
joy and your heartbreak, yes, but will also

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be helpful in many other ways, like when you
are trying to convince the company to move

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forward with your fourth quarter strategy
or whatever it is that people with real jobs do.

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Reading thoughtfully gives us better tools

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to explain corporate profits and broken hearts.
And it also connects us to each other.

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The real reason the green light in The Great
Gatsby is such a wonderful symbol is because

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00:05:54,770 --> 00:05:59,440


we all know what its like to be outside
in the evening, staring off into the distance

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at a future that may never be ours.
Weve all felt that stomach-churning mix

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of yearning and ambition that Gatsby feels as he
stares out at that green light across the harbor.

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And by knowing what its like to be Gatsby,

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we learn more about those around us, those who
came before us, and we learn more about ourselves.

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So, over the next few weeks, well be reading

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not just Gatsby but also Romeo and Juliet,
some poetry by Emily Dickinson, and The Catcher

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in the Rye. There are links to get all of
these books in the video info below. Well

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begin with Romeo and Juliet next week. Ill
see you then.

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Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan
Muller. Our script supervisor is Meredith

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Danko. The associate producer is Danica Johnson.
The show is written by me. And our graphics

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team is Thought Bubble.
If you have questions about todays video,

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you can leave them in comments where they
will be answered by our team of experts. And

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if you havent already, read Romeo and Juliet.
Its a very good play, although at times

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derivative of West Side Story.
Thanks for watching Crash Course. And as we

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say in my hometown, dont forget to be awesome.

civilization /svl-azen US -vl-/ , otherwise inserting curse words, incorrect word


order use
TORTURE, CONTORTING

Were still doing open letters?


say my college girlfriend
obliterate /bltret/= destroy completely
in further good new
obliteration /bltren/
but because Im not using particularly
PROBLEMATIC /prblmtk /
FOLKLORE / fouklr/
PRIVILEGE /prvld/
TORTURE /trtr/
INEVITABLY /nevtbli/
HYPERBOLE /hapbli
FIGURATIVE /fgjrtv, -g-/
UNDERSTANDING, COVERSATION,
WONDERFUL
SORT OF
Language, Voice, and Holden Caulfield- The Catcher in the Rye Part 1
MR GREE, saturate1 /stret, THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, narrative /nrtv/,
LAYERED AMBIGUITY, WAS AWARE OF THIS, CHARLOTTE BRONTE ,novelistic /,nv'listik/,
JOURNEY

CONTROVERSY OF IQ
MEASUREMENT, aptitude /pttjud US -tud/ , Nazi /ntsi/, CONTROVERSIAL /kntr
vl US kntrvr-/ , CHARLES SPEARMAN, UNDERLIES, STATISTICAL /sttstk/,
CORRELATE /krlet /, ARCHITECTURE /rktektr/, COMPREHENSION /kmpr
henn /, STELLAR /stel /, RESEARCHERS, HOWARD GARDNER, MENTAL ABILITY,
ROBERT STERNBERG, TESTS, STANDARDIZED SYSTEM, PATTERNS,
VENTURESOME,mathematician /mmtn/, ENCOURAGE /nkrd US n
kr-/ ,eugenics /juden.ks, GOVERNMENT, opportunity
prtu-/ , GERMAN, DEVELOPMENTAL /dvelpmentl//, WORLD WAR, STERILIZATION,
PROSTITUTES leery /lri US lri/