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Liberal Arts Honors

The Pinto Carver Essay Contest 2017

Style, in its finest sense, is the last acquirement

of the educated mind; it is also the most useful.

It pervades the whole being.  The administrator                                                                     

with a sense for style hates waste; the engineer

with a sense for style economizes his material;

the artisan with a sense for style prefers good

work.  Style is the ultimate morality of mind.

                                         Alfred North Whitehead

The Topic:

In a recent article in The American Scholar, “Saving the Self in the Age of the Selfie” (Spring, 2016), James McWilliams writes of “cybernetic tyranny,” citing the example of “Erica, a full-time college student.  The first thing she does when she awakes in the morning is reach for her smartphone.  She checks texts that came in while she slept.  Then she scans Facebook, Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter to see ‘what everybody else is doing.’  At breakfast, she opens her laptop and goes to Spotify and her various e-mail accounts.  Once she gets to campus, Erica confronts more screen time:  PowerPoints and online assignments, academic content to which she dutifully attends (she is an A student).  Throughout the day, she checks in with social media roughly every 10 minutes, even during class. ‘It’s a little overwhelming,’ she says, ‘but you don’t want to feel left out.’”  

Write an essay in which you agree or disagree whether the tyranny of the digital is real.  If not, why not?  If so, how so and how does one combat it?  Needless to say, the more well developed your thoughts, the more specific your language, the better. 

Eligibility:  Current Liberal Arts Honors Freshmen and Sophomores

Specifications: 750-1000 words, titled, double-spaced, and typed, with your name in the upper-right hand corner.  No cover page.

Awards:

1st Prize: $1500

2nd Prize: $500

3rd Prize: $250

Submission Deadline:  Friday, January 20, 5:00 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Honors Office.  The judges reserve the right to withhold awards in the absence of prize worthy essays.  And in closing:  “Style, in its finest sense,” Alfred North Whitehead reminds us, “is the last acquirement of the educated mind; it is also the most useful.  It pervades the whole being.  The administrator with a sense for style hates waste; the engineer with a sense for style economizes his material; the artisan with a sense for style prefers good work.  Style is the ultimate morality of mind.”