who is this...Parker?

a humble attempt at whiddling 22 years of non-stop action down to a few lines 

Bio    Contact     C.V.

My name is Parker Tolbert Jarnigan, and I am from Oak Ridge, TN.  I was born there in the summer of 1986 and graduated from the prestigious Oak Ridge High School in 2004.

I still call Oak Ridge home, although at the moment I am trying hard to appear bogged down in mounds of history books and articles in the old law school building at the University of Oregon.  Recently, I graduated from Centenary College of Louisiana (c/o 2008) in Shreveport, LA, where I concentrated on History and French.

While I would like to say I dabble in a bit of everything, my major interests include cooking, music, film, philosophy, and something that I find hard to describe but deals with ethnography, cross-cultural studies, and socio-cultural anthropology. 

Obviously this latter interest is a curiosity still budding in my mind, but I hope to one day make it the basis of serious academic expertise and involvement.

Cooking (as well as food in general) is something I take great passion in - to the point that I've considered forsaking academia for a shot at chefry.  More realistically however, an excitement in trying new foods from different cultures and attempting to concoct my own tasty meals is something that I will do the rest of my life regardless of where my professional interests lead me.

Music is something I consider very special.  Though it began with listening to my dad's eclectic mix of bluegrass and Neil Young tapes, my zest for music really picked up in my college days, when I first got the opportunity to DJ for KSCL, my now once-beloved college radio station.  Manning the booth for 2 hours each Saturday collided me with all sorts of new and exciting music that I had never heard before.  After countless hours in the booth, this passion has become a veritable love-affair, and live performances and American roots music are two things that I daresay I could live without.  A recent internship with Smithonian Folkways Recordings served only to expand and aggrandize this love.

My interest in movies is, albeit just as lively, I must say hardly as refined.  Basically I enjoy any movie that makes me think about things in a new way or simply makes me smile.  This could be historical fiction (with varying degrees of fictionalizing), action, horror, drama or comedy.  While the internet is rife with lists of movies, born in both the AFI and personal fanaticism, I still think much can be learned from a persons taste in books, movies, and music.  Some of my favorite flicks include Breakfast at Tiffany's, Rushmore, Idiocracy, Blood Diamond, The Patriot, Memento, It's A Wonderful Life, Elizabethtown, Troy, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Lord of the Rings, Kill Bill, Independence Day, and Dodgeball.

While I'm no philosopher, I do enjoy the engaging discussion that philosophy offers with respect to the meaning, development, and consequence of so many aspects of life, be the topic government, ethics, faith, purpose, or knowledge.  While my formal training has been limited to a few courses at Centenary and personal reading of classical texts, I would consider myself more of a common-man's philosopher who makes up for lack of pedagogy  with a vibrant sense of criticism and analytical observation of his world.  Being still young, I often find myself swaying between the (diametrically opposed) ideals of limited government, particularly that proposed by Robert Nozick in his Anarchy, State, and Utopia, and a very unique system of my own design which is more or less enlightened authoritarianism (headed-up by none-other than myself) that offers not only free health care to its citizens, but also housing, food, clothing, and other life necessities.  On the off chance you are intrigued by this concept, feel free to ask and I can readily detail my plan of erasing and installing government.

The last interest I'll briefly describe remains the most difficult.  Throughout my intellectual journey, which let off faint smoke in middle school French classes, exhibited tiny sparks in AP U.S. History and Modern European History in high school, and only recently began to produce small but deadly flames in college, I have continuously and constantly arrived at more or less the same question.  This question is really a whole host of questions, so in terms of mathematical complexity theory, I suppose it is more appropriate to refer to this question as a problem.  The problem is best summed up in two words: muzza chunka - an Indian word for railroad, which actually could mean iron road, gold road or metal road.  Obviously this language has less than the necessary tools to perform the most basic task of communicating its world.  "Why did this come to pass?" is a question that greatly intrigues me.  Naturally there are many quick answers to such a question, and the first that comes to my mind is that Native American cultures had no need to differentiate between metals as acutely as their precious stone-obsessed colonist frenemies.  But there is so much more to explore, and such is most obvious when more questions are posited.  And even still, quick answers yield even quicker questions in response.  Why did Europeans enslave Africans?  Why did they come bearing the so-called 'firesticks' (another example of the inherent differences) while the Africans were armed with spears?  Quick answer: the European societies had advanced much further than had the Africans whom they quickly enslaved.  But this answer only offers a new thought "why precisely did the Europeans develop quicker?"  Quick answer: the more open interchange of ideas between Europe and Asia allowed for a more rapid increase and diffusion of knowledge.  While one may contend that my outline has merely been to ask 'why' at each answer, the fact is that these questions are most intriguing.  Furthermore, the alleged 'answers' I offered resolved only a small facet of the original problem, and in an extremely simplified manner at that.  Lastly, I am hardly one to shun at asking 'why' of anything, as I firmly believe that such a request is the fundamental task of virtually all disciplines: to discover why something is is to invariably bring about a greater understanding of our world as a whole.

Of course, one of my professors regularly takes only half-humored jabs about my intended graduate school focus of "history of the universe,"  I do realize that you have to start somewhere.  My most recent, and first real foray into contributing to a better understanding of universal trends in history is my senior seminar project, which (tentatively) looks at two individuals, one white and one black, and their comparative understanding of and approach to racial issues in late 19th-century Louisiana.

So that is probably more than you ever wanted to know about someone you either knew nothing about before hand and feel oddly in touch with or assumed you knew most things about before hand but now feel singularly distant from.  I'll leave you with one last open-ended question:  why, exactly, do Westerners seem to place a significant value on individualism, work, and material aggrandizement while Eastern cultures have a great respect for the past and place a unique emphasis on familial pride?  Assume the fault line for this divide lies somewhere in Europe, and then you may even find yourself wondering why this line exists, if it indeed does, and why it should lie in Europe.  A word of caution before you begin to unleash such a powerful beast: most answers, comments, thoughts, and accusations of stereotyping eugenics will be welcome additions, to someone or another, to the intangible body scholarship and thinking in the world, but all will become a part of it, whether welcome or not.