Money Rewrite – Samantha Kovnat

After having been “awakened” from the brainwashed state that is believing that money holds true worth, I can honestly say that my entire perspective on life has become altered. I’ve been to the super market, used my debit card, and left feeling as though I had “pulled the wool” over the cashiers eyes. A swipe of a plastic card in exchange for a warm sandwich, Virgil’s root beer, and an ounce of Ceviche? I was a thief. I had to be, in what type of world do people blindly accept a machine stating, “transaction accepted” in exchange for nourishment? The type of world it seems, is one fueled on Blind Faith.

The Concept of blind faith is one that comes into play when discussing not only the subject of our society and the way we exchange currency, but in the people of Yap, who used massive limestone disks that sat, seemingly inactive, in front of their houses as currency, never truly exchanging hands. We can see a spattering of blind faith throughout the world, weather it is Brazil solving their inflation crisis by creating a new form of currency, and tricking its people into believing that the new money was better than the old. Or, right on our own front yard, where the French demanded the U.S. “put aside” the gold we owed them and so a few gold bars were rearranged, a drawer relabeled “French Gold”, and ding! America has less money and the other countries in the world begin getting frightened about the state of global economy. Now, who thought a little blind faith that the French had in us would cause such global currency frenzy. But when the entire world is running on blind faith, a domino effect is not uncommon. Weather it is a modern example of blind faith, or a more dated one, the simple facts remain the same; most systems thrive when fueled on blind faith, even if it seems irrational from an outsiders perspective.

When first finding out how the people of Yap dealt with the issue of money, using their limestone “coins”, we viewed them as irrational, outlandish, a joke. But just as The Yap had brilliantly large stones sitting idly on their yards, we have federal banking, computers telling us how much money we have in an account that exists only in our system but not in physicality, and a blind faith in the structure that as flawed as it is, keeps the world going round. It began to seem that as foreign as the Yap’s reverence for their stones was, our blind faith and reliance on what we believed we had, but could not see, not only matched, but surpassed that which we had once looked at as alien.

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5 Responses to Money Rewrite – Samantha Kovnat

  1. kovnat77 says:

    I would thoroughly appreciate some feedback on my rewrite, especially since I am very unsure about it. Thank you so much!

  2. davidbdale says:

    Here we do, Sammy. (Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!)

    As you know, I comment as I read. As you may not know, I don’t look at your first draft while reading your rewrite. I’ll comment on this as new material.

    P1. Do you mind terribly if I begin by deconstructing your first sentence? It’s a fine sentence in its content and intentions. I like that you’ve been awakened. I like that you were brainwashed and are no longer so. But look how many layers you take us through before the first comma!:

    • money holds true worth
    • that is a belief
    • the statement itself is untrue
    • belief in money’s true worth is a state
    • that state is not natural but the result of brainwashing
    • I was brainwashed to be in that unnatural state
    • to be brainwashed is like being asleep
    • I have been metaphorically awakened from that state
      I am being slightly ridiculous, but the claims are there. How many do you really need, and if you want to use them all, can you make better use of them?

      Suppose your essay began:

      Now that I know money has no real worth, I feel like a thief swiping my debit card for a bottle of Virgil’s root beer and an ounce of ceviche. The cashier’s been brainwashed, as we all, are into believing that the screen message “transaction accepted” is a fair return for my lunch. I no longer have this blind faith in currency (and its digital metaphors), but I’m happy to play along for a warm sandwich.

      The same claims are there. And my version isn’t better than yours, only different. (I couldn’t have come up with it without you.) I offer it as an alternative that plays out the claims one at a time and gives them all the space to breathe. What do you think? Can you still admire both versions? I do.

      P2. [blind faith . . . blind faith] [Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.] OK?

      You are so right to invoke the Yap right here, but without so much language. “The Yap brainwashed themselves too, on their remote island 100 years ago, to believe the massive limestone disks in front of their houses had value as currency.” Then a comment about how the money changed hands without the stone having to be moved.

      *whether, not weather

      Decide whether Brazil is singular or plural. It can be both, but not in the same sentence without confusion: “Brazil solving their inflation . . . and tricking its people into believing . . . .” tries to first use plural, then singular.

      The US/French episode occurred in our basement, not our front yard.

      “French Gold,” [commas ALWAYS inside]

      French demanded [past], bars were rearranged [past], drawer was relabeled [past] and ding! America had [past] less money.

      This is impressive, Sammy. You’ve managed to briefly cite three complex examples in a single paragraph and adequately connect each to the notion of blind faith.

      To avoid the banned rhetorical question, consider the alternative: “Nobody could have predicted that France’s demand that we change our filing system could cause a global frenzy, but then as now, economies thrive on blind faith, irrational as it seems to anyone who’s no longer brainwashed.”

      P3. You’re trying to comply with my requirement that your rewrite eliminate personal reflection by shifting from what Sammy thought to what we thought, which is charming but not quite enough. The fix is pretty simple though, so let me share:

      At first, the Yap’s limestone “coins” as big as a house seem irrational, outlandish, a joke. But they might die laughing at our federal reserve system, or computers we never see keeping track of our money. The Yap at least could visit their fei, and everybody knew how many they had. [Saying something seems irrational avoids having to say to whom it seems so.]

      Similarly at the end of your paragraph:
      The Yap’s reverence for their stones only seems alien and foolish if we try to defend as more enlightened our own blind faith and reliance on wealth we think we have but cannot see.

      I’m going to apologize now for what I’ve done here. I’ve done far too much rewriting and far too little gentle and encouraging guiding. It is easier for me to demonstrate than to explain; that’s my only defense. I hope it doesn’t seem insulting to you or arrogant of me to just manhandle your own hard work this way. You did say in your survey that you wanted extensive, detailed feedback and model essays you could read to learn by example. So maybe this method is OK.

      Lots of very nice work here, Sammy. Let me know what feedback helped, what was counterproductive.

  3. kovnat77 says:

    Professor Hodges,
    This is incredibly extensive revision, but it definitely helps me to rethink how to go about the editing process for this essay. I think that as much as it is important for me to see revisions, or alternative ways to phrase my usual overloading of sentences, it also makes it harder for me to formulate them again on my own. This is in part to when I begin re-editing I will end up trying my hardest to phrase what you helped write into a different way, so that I can look at, and find my own descriptive voice in it. It makes the editing process for me a bit more of a puzzle process. After expressing that just now, I think it is better that I have a frame work to restructure myself on, so as to continue growing in the right direction? I apologize for rambling just now, but often times i have to repeat things outside of my head in order to register, and completely process them.
    Thank you for the revisions, and i think i will try to apply them later on in the week!

    • davidbdale says:

      It may always be true, Sammy, that my solutions create problems for you, but hey, solving problems is always easier with a guide than without one, don’t you think? I do apologize for handing you revisions that deprive you of a version you might have come up with on your own. I defend that dubious strategy by saying that how you rework this particular essay is less important to me than how you write your next essay: my feedback, I hope, will last longer than any one assignment.

  4. kovnat77 says:

    Being able to apply the lessons you are teaching me here, is definitely important, and i will keep them in mind while i try my best to finish the current assignment. On a side note, i always seem to mess up the whether, weather spelling, it gets me every time!

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