Part One. Ensconced in a malignant racist ideology, Meeink goes through a de-conversion process resulting from the following:
1. When he sees the Oklahoma City bombing aftermath, specifically, a man carrying a bloody little girl, Meeink realizes his ideology is not some heroic mission but a murderous enterprise, which he has aided and abetted. He no longer sees himself as a hero, but as a villain and a coward.
2. When the black people invite him into their prayer group, he sees a humanity that contradicts the malicious lies he has read in his racist propaganda.
3. Beyond the prayer group, Meeink makes friends with people of other races in prison, including Little G. and Jello (199) and these experiences contradict the racist polemics he has been immersed in for so long.
4. He sees people in his skinhead gang acting so stupidly, some dying, some going to jail, others disappearing, that he loses faith in the efficacy and intelligence of the organization.
5. After he gets out of prison, he notices a lot of skinheads give up the movement because they grew up and had better things to do. See page 201.
6. He sees the inconsistencies and imbecilities of his racist doctrine when he realizes that based on skinhead teachings his own daughter, mostly Italian, is “not white” but some sort of “mutt” to be held in contempt.
7. His friend Louie leaves the skinhead movement. See page 214. He becomes a kingpin, making him super rich.
8. Meeink feels lonely with his new crew after he gets out of prison. It doesn’t feel the same; therefore, his need for belonging is no longer being met.
9. On page 216 we find that Frank Meeink no longer has the fire in his belly for violence. At nineteen, he “feels old.”
10. On page 219 Meeink sees the baby Nazis for what they really are, idiots trying to sound smart, pseudo intellectuals, and Meeink realizes he cannot tolerate these knuckleheads. For example, racist jokes didn’t sound funny. His heart was no longer in the skinhead world. He was going through his “What the hell was I thinking?” period.
11. On page 219, he has an epiphany or revelation in which he sees the Nazi “truth” as a pack of lies.
12. Meeink almost kills a skinhead who disrespects Meeink’s daughter. That’s sort the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”
13. He tries to cling to his last vestigial hatred, that against the Jews, but even that fails, when his Jewish boss turns out to be generous in flagrant contradiction of the parsimonious Jew stereotype.
14. His skinhead associates trap in and beat him to a pulp in which they say, “You’re dead to us.” This is literally and figuratively true. In a way this the night Frank Meeink completely dies to his old racist ideology and all of its associates. See page 229.
15. He confesses his crimes to the FBI and helps the FBI understand the skinhead operation. See page 239. And he does speeches on anti-hate for the ADL.
Part Two. The Tragedy of Frank Meeink’s Post-Nazi Existence: He Lives in a Vacuum.
One. When we get rid of a poison from our system, we have to replace it with something good; otherwise, we replace the poison with another poison. Frank has nothing to replace his skinhead lifestyle with, so he resorts to alcohol and drugs to numb his loneliness and shame for his past.
Two. When we get rid of a poison from our system and are left with a vacuum, we too often fill the void with something even worse than before.
Three. Frank doesn’t realize that he’s gone from being a skinhead to a “cellar dweller.” See page 236.
Part Three. Writing Your Introduction for Your Essay. Various Techniques.
Introductions to Avoid
1. According to the Webster Dictionary . . .
2. Since the Dawn of Man . . .
3. In today's society . . .
4. In the modern world today . . .
5. Since Adam and Eve traipsed across the Garden of Eden . . .
6. Since time memorial . . .
7. Mired in this age of rampant consumerism . . .
8. In this essay it is my objective to . . . which I will prove by . . .
9. Sorry for the poor quality of this essay, Mr. McMahon, but I am under a lot of stress and pressure right now . . .
10. An overused, hackneyed quotation: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
1. Connect a current event to your topic. For example, you might connect Octo-Mom to the subject of birth control or the ethical standards of fertility doctors.
2. Seize upon a national obsession and connect it to your topic. We have the aforementioned Octo-Mom, the lies of Alex Rodriguez regarding his steroid use, the pandemic of foreclosures and their effect on families, the devastation of unemployment, etc . . .
3. Use a quote that has not been overused when it bears relevance to your essay's topic. George Bernard Shaw: "There are two great tragedies in life. The first is not getting what one wants. The second is getting it."
4. Personal anecdote or short one-page story that is relevant to your essay topic. This story should be a hook that gets your reader's jazz.
5. Use a startling statistic that gets your reader's attention and that is relevant to your topic. You might talk about how many foreclosures there are every hour or how many people sign up on the immoral dating service Ashley Madison.
6. Begin with a rhetorical question that you are going to answer in your thesis. For example, why are Americans spending billions and billions of dollars on dieting every year while getting fatter and fatter? Or why are jealous boyfriends more likely to cheat than boyfriends who are not jealous? Does this make any sense. Yes, it does . . .
7. Use an analogy or extended comparison to clarify a point that is important to your argument. For an example, CLICK HERE.
Part Four. Writing an Thesis
1. Do write a thesis from the guts or that has a strong emotional connection to you and your audience (visceral).
2. Do write a thesis that is relevant to current events and make that relevance apparent.
3. Do write a thesis that is relevant to the human condition.
4. Do write a thesis that is born from discontent, anger, perplexity, and a hunger for making things right.
5. Do write a thesis that answers a compelling question you and your readers want answered.
6. Do write a thesis in a single sentence, followed by mapping components that support your argument.
7. Do emphasize argument over information whenever possible.
8. Do take intellectual risks and say that which us unsafe or contrarian or against the mainstream.
9. Do write a thesis that results from you arduously exploring all sides of the topic and had you changing your opinion umpteen times before you committed to what you’re convinced is the most reasonable position.
10. Do write a thesis that is crystal clear in your mind since you can only write a powerful, clear essay if the thoughts inside your head are clear and powerful.
1. Don’t write an easy thesis that is so self-evident or obvious that to support it is a complete waste of time that will bore your reader to tears, anguish, and resentment over your bovine effort.
2. Don’t write a thesis that leads to a sermon in which you bloviate a bunch of homilies, bromides, and truisms to your rankled reader.
3. Don’t write a thesis that is so broad and general that the only way to support it is with a 500-page book.
4. Don’t write a thesis that you don’t understand or believe in because your lack of conviction will give your paper a limp, soggy quality that will depress both you and your reader.
5. Don’t write a thesis that is cold, cerebral, and intellectually detached for this approach will result in a frosty academic treatise with no vitality or fire to inflame your readers’ interest.
6. Don’t write a thesis that is ridiculous for ridiculous’ sake because, lacking in any vital ideas, you’re desperate to pique and provoke your reader with lame gimmicks.
7. Don’t write a thesis that “sounds good” but in truth bores the hell out of you so that when you sit down to write your essay you cry and curse your decision to enroll in a composition class.
8. Don’t write a thesis for which there is no accessible research material so that you’re left making up fictitious articles for your Works Cited page.
9. Don’t write the same thesis that your friend wrote because “he got an A” when in fact you have no emotional connection to this carbon copy essay.
10. Don’t write a thesis that simply echoes the same points of the essay you’re writing about, which results in a summary of the essay, not an analysis.
Part Three: Examples of Weak and Strong Thesis Statements
Examples of Weak Thesis Regarding LeBron James
LeBron James’ Transition to the Miami Heat was made into a big, stupid production.
I’m sick of hearing about whether LeBron James is leaving Cleveland.
While LeBron James’ circus was a contrived narcissistic endeavor that sickened me to the bone, I defend James’ move because his owner didn’t show enough commitment to winning a championship, Cleveland does not “own” LeBron James, Miami is a good fit for James, and in general athletes, not owners, should be in control of their destiny.
EXAMPLES OF WEAK THESIS STATEMENTS REGARDING APPLE COMPUTER
Apple computers are cool.
I hate Apple computers.
Apple computers are overpriced junk.
BETTER THESIS STATEMENTS
While Apple computers are overpriced and force you to spend more for software, they are in general better purchases because of superior customer support, superior grade materials, and less prone to viruses, worms, and malware.
Apple computers are overrated in terms of build quality, software applications, and safety from hackers.
Here Again Are the Essay Options
Option #1: In a 5-page research paper, analyze the conditions that made Frank Meeink ripe for racist brainwashing and the forces that unshackled him from the chains of his racist ideology.
Option #2: In a 5-page research paper, analyze Frank Meeink's descent into the Skinhead movement in terms of Erich Fromm's "Escape from Freedom." How, in other words, is Meeink's conversion an escape from freedom?
If you are applying Frank Meeink's conversion to the skinhead movement in terms of "escape from freedom," you would write a 1-page introduction by explaining what "escape from freedom" is. Then your thesis paragraph would look something like this:
Frank Meeink's escape from freedom is evidenced by ____________, _____________, ____________, and ________________.
Option #3: The Chimera
Write down a chimera that you pursued only to find it a cruel illusion worthy of your contempt.
Application of Class Activity to Your Essay: Use your chimera story as your one-page introduction, leading to Frank Meeink's chimera, his racist ideology. You would bridge your intro paragraph and your thesis paragraph with "Similarly" or some such transition.
Your thesis might look like this:
Frank Meeink's quest to find the answers to his problems in the skinhead ideology proves to be a chimera evidenced by ____________, _____________, _____________, and _________________.
Option #4: In a 5-page research paper, compare the Fall and Redemption of Frank Meeink and Jeff Henderson.
Suggested Introduction: Write a profile of an ignoramus, steeped in stupid ideas, who is unaware of his absurd beliefs and then transition to your thesis paragraph about Frank Meeink using the transition "Similarly."
Option #5: The True Believer:
If you're writing about the true believer, you might in one page profile a TB you know or define one based on McMahon's lecture. Then your thesis paragraph would go like this:
FM is a true believer evidenced by __________, ___________, _____________, _____________, and _________________.