Merit Badge (3)

By: Peggy Nelson
September 14, 2010

Introducing the third HiLobrow merit badge, Wingwalker!

[Badge shown larger than life-size; actual size is approximately 2 inches in diameter]

This badge is for those of adventurous spirit, of either the physical or conceptual kind. But do not be daunted! All badges are earnable, even though some of the steps may not be possible. Creativity is encouraged. If you would like to submit independent achievements for consideration, then we will consider them.

ACTIVITIES (all optional, but completion of any one earns the badge):

1. Complete any of the following, or submit your own activity of the relevant type:

        Read all of Miguel de Cervantes’ The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha.
        Lea todos de Miguel de Cervantes’ El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha
        en el español original.
        Draw one scene from the novel with pen and ink.
        Sing one song from Man of La Mancha.
        Drink a Kirin, and explain the effects upon sand of its namesake.

Note: if you have performed any of these activites in an unorthodox manner, include a brief explanation.

REQUIREMENTS (complete 3 or more):

2. Have you ever taken flight? Literally or conceptually? Describe.

3. If you had the opportunity to do your flight over, list one or two steps you could have taken to make the event more artistic. Provide a diagram with circles and arrows explaining what each one is.

4. What was “barnstorming?” Describe. What might be its equivalent today?

5. Describe the role of slapstick in humor. Does the element of danger make things funnier? Why or why not?

6. Provide a video of a favorite slapstick routine. Extra points if it features you.

SHORT ANSWERS (complete 1 or more):

7. Name three physically adventurous women. Name three conceptually adventurous women. List one adventure for each. Feel free to pull from HiLobrow Heroes in your research.

8. Who was Socrates? How did he corrupt the youth?

9. Why did Socrates think we already know the truth? How did he attempt to extract it from us? Give an example of the Socratic Method, either from published philosophy or your own late-night philosophizing. Scans of undergraduate marginalia a plus.

[The Death of Socrates, Jacques-Louis David, 1787]

ESSAYS (complete 1 or more):

10. Socrates is said to have said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Do you agree or disagree? About life, not about attribution.

11. How about if you leave plenty for others to examine, while you’re busy living? Does that count?

12. The well-lived life is worth examining. What elements do you think make up a well-lived life? Attach an Excel spreadsheet listing these. For each element, include at least two categories in sortable columns.

13. What is a straw man? Is he helpful, or unhelpful? Provide an exemplary illustration in text or images.

14. Did you come in here for an argument? Provide it. OR, argue your way out.


Email your name, mailing address, answers, links and any attachments to hilobrow at gmail dot com, with the subject line Merit Badge 3/Wingwalker. Please number your answers in order.

Badges are free on a limited first-come first-serve basis; there will be a $10 embroidery fee after the free badges have run out. In all cases, HiLobrow reserves the right of final decision, which will be arbitrary.

Important: by submitting material for this badge, you agree to allow HiLobrow to publish excerpts from your submissions at some future point (either linked to your name or anonymously, as you prefer).


Haw-Haw, Kudos