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Adron M.
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

What's the best way to start writing when you just can't seem to get your ideas off the ground?

Adron M.
Answer:

Obvious truism is obvious: there is no "best" way. There might be a best way for /you/, though! The first thing to do is to explore your options--are you a visual thinker? Does it help to draw your ideas in relation to one another? Do you find it more helpful to speak your ideas--to a friend or into a recording device? Maybe you just find it helpful to write something--anything--down and then come back around. What's important is that you remember that writing is a process, not a product, and that it's not a bad thing to change your mind as you go! Just make sure that you take five minutes to read it out loud before you turn your work in. You'd be amazed how many errors your brain corrects for you if you skim something you just wrote!

Spanish
TutorMe
Question:

Explica la llamada "cultura combi" del Perú urbano.

Adron M.
Answer:

Érase una vez—en este cas, en los 70s—Lima era más pequeño y tenía un sistema publica de transporte municipal. Pero, como sabemos, en los 80s hubo un gran flujo de inmigrantes a la ciudad (traídos por oportunidad, urbanización, escape del terrorismo, y más), y por el comienzo de la década de 1990 el sistema de transporte se derrumbaba. Esto presentó un problema: ¿cómo podría transportar la ciudad sus crecientes millones de ciudadanos? El gobierno de Fujimori (obviamente) pensaba que el libre mercado era la respuesta y ofreció licencias de transporte a cualquier persona con un vehículo. A medida que el sistema de transporte público se extinguió por completo, miles de pobres urbanos y nuevos desempleados (gracias a los fujishocks) compraron camiones de carga japoneses y los convirtieron en microbuses. Quiero enfatizar lo loco que esto es: las camionetas solamente se construyeron para la carga, con una sola fila de asientos, y las puertas y los timónes estaban en los lados opuestos que son ahora. Estos conductores, no regulados y sin licencia, hicieron su dinero por el pasajero. Comenzaron de carreras, compitiendo, conduciendo como locos. Entonces, para competir, los taxis empezaron a hacer lo mismo, y los autobuses. Y luego los coches regulares. Según este relato cultural muy pronto todo el mundo estaba ignorando las normas y leyes, haciendo lo que era conveniente para ellos y para el beneficio. Encarnado por el caos de las combis, dicen los ciudadanos y los sociólogos, es toda una cultura post-Fujimori del interés personal y falta de respeto por la ley. Junto a esto es una narrativa periferia interiorizada en la que el Perú es visto como intrínsecamente desordenado en comparación con el norte global. Entonces, ¿qué es la cultura combi? Es el adolescente durmiendo en el asiento reservado. Es el cobrador gritando con impunidad. Es la gente ensuciando la calle, ignorando los semáforos, y sobornando policías de trafico. Es la realización última de lo Matos Mar llamó el "Perú Marginal".

World History
TutorMe
Question:

How did Spanish conquistadors write about their encounters, adventures, and (especially) failures in the new world? What rhetorical strategies did they employ?

Adron M.
Answer:

In fact, more conquistadors failed than succeeded. By far. Even Columbus himself realized early on that he had actually failed to find the lands he had promised to Ferdinand and Isabella (where, after all, was the Great Khan?), so he became the pioneer of rhetorically spinning failures into successes. Leaning on the racist and orientalist tropes of the day, Columbus wrote to his employers that he had found a verdant land (exotic enough to sound edenic and new, but familiar enough to seem safe for Spaniards) full of peaceable natives easily tricked of their wealth and converted to Catholicism. This narrative--of a brave explorer disadvantaged by bad luck and incompetent associates, but remaining dutiful and ultimately returning with something of value--became the norm. When Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked for and enslaved by indigenous peoples before wandering the American southwest for 8 years before returning to Spanish lands, he spun his hardships into a rousing tale of adventure and intelligence gathering. He reported on the organization of native villages, on their military dispositions, and their fortifications, alluding to his information's use for future invasion. He compared native peoples to the Italians, referencing his own past military service and--knowingly--drawing a direct line of conquest between the Old World and the New.

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