“So what’s wrong? In short, the common thread I see throughout all the failures is quite simply a lack of empathy. There is no authentic encounter with students, or what Martin Buber called “a genuine meeting.” When we use all the right methods, and we still fail, it is most likely because we are encountering our students as objects and not as the rich and complex individuals that they are. When we do not bring our authentic selves to the classroom and open up to an authentic encounter with our students and the topic at hand we fail, regardless of the methods we choose. “Methods” and “techniques” need to grow out of an authentic encounter with students and the material. Any focus on method and technique alone will be prone to failure. Our questions will fall flat, our lectures flatter, and break-out sections, group work and other participatory methods become just one more thing to do, seemingly without purpose or relevance.”—Michael Wesch - Why Good Classes Fail
“Americans eat oysters but not snails. The French eat snails but not locusts. The Zulus eat locusts but not fish. The Jews eat fish but not pork. The Hindus eat pork but not beef. The Russians eat beef but not snakes. The Chinese eat snakes but not people. The Jalé of New Guinea find people delicious.”—
Ian Robertson, Sociology , pg.67
The diversity of our languages, customs, and expressive behaviors confirms that much of our behavior is socially programmed, not hardwired.
At Conservative Conference, Retired Police Officer Explains How Lobbyists Profit From Marijuana Prohibition
Yesterday at CPAC, the conservative convention held this week in Washington D.C., Republic Report ran into retired police officer and anti-drug war activist Howard Wooldridge. We were interested in his take on the role of money in politics in the government’s crusade against marijuana. He explained that cynical lobbyists, who place their clients interests over America, have perpetuated the cycle of over-criminalization. In particular, pharmaceutical companies and the alcohol lobby have fought behind closed doors to keep marijuana illegal. Both industries, he said, fear competition. Also police officiers and prison guard unions, seeking “free federal money” from the government, have similarly supported draconian drug war policies:
WOOLDRIDGE: The beer wholesale industry donated five figure money to defeat Prop 19 because marijuana and alcohol compete right today as a product to take the edge off the day at six o’clock. Just because marijuana is illegal, doesn’t negate the fact that there’s still competition. The beer companies don’t want it, same thing with big PhRMA. My biggest opponent on Capitol Hill is law enforcement. ‘We love the money you give us to chase Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and all the rest’ — with helicopters, and especially free federal money. The second biggest opponent on Capitol Hill is big PhRMA because everyone knows God didn’t make no junk. Marijuana’s an excellent medicine for many things, taking the place of everything from Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills […] Private prisons fight me because they want more people in jail. Is it good policy? These lobbyists don’t care.
“The riots bothered me a great deal, on two counts. First, nothing really has changed. Some kids at the bottom of the ladder are deeply alienated, they’ve taken the message of Thatcherism and Blairism and the coalition: what you have to do is hustle. Because nobody’s going to help you. And they’ve got no organised political voice, no organised black voice and no sympathetic voice on the left. That kind of anger, coupled with no political expression, leads to riots. It always has. The second point is: where does this find expression in going into a store and stealing trainers? This is the point at which consumerism, which is the cutting edge of neoliberalism, has got to them too. Consumerism puts everyone into a single channel. You’re not doing well, but you’re still free to consume. We’re all equal in the eyes of the market.”—Stuart Hall
With transit countries facing some of the highest homicide rates in the world, so great is the frustration that the leaders are demanding that the United States and Europe consider steps toward legalization if they do not curb their appetite for drugs.
Drug use has not meaningfully declined at any time in the recent past, or at any time over the course of the past 30-40 years that Drug War policies have been in effect. Prohibiting non-violent, recreational conduct does not work. It just drives it underground and produces as much or more violence and anti-social behavior as would exist if we simply left people to make their own choices about whether and what drugs to use, or not to use.
Prohibition and punishment doesn’t work. Harm Prevention works. It’s time to decriminalize, legalize, and save lives, both north and south of the border.
“By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”—George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism (via chasingsunsetsandjustice)
“the area of suitable sedimentary formations in the region of continental shelf to which the Falkland Islanders lay claim is 50% larger than the analogous area of the North Sea. Some estimates have it that “billions of pounds worth” of oil may be involved. One estimate, now several years old and based on no real scientific basis (although some seismic survey work was done by an American company in 1978) was that sedimentary basins surrounding the islands might contain reserves of 200 billion barrels of oil, several times those of the North Sea”—IBRU Boundary and Security Bulletin July 1994
“I am reminded of an apocryphal story about the American newspaperman who went to Haiti and had an interview with the President. They started to talk about Haiti and its population, and most indiscreetly the American newspaperman asked the President what percentage of the people were white. And the President of Haiti said, ‘Oh, about 95 per cent.’ The American newspaperman looked a little puzzled and said, ‘Well, how do you define white?’ And the President of Haiti said, ‘How do you define coloured?’ And the American newspaperman said, ‘Well, of course, anybody with Negro blood is coloured.’ Said the President: ‘Well, that’s exactly our definition, too: anybody with white blood is white.”—Mayr, E., in Mead, M., T. Dobzhansky et al., eds., Science and the Concept of Race (New York, 1967), p. 104.
If anything can take me out of my posting rut, it’s this article from The New Yorker. Ian Parker brings to light many things related to the Tyler Clementi suicide case and his roommate Dharun Ravi in particular. While I was never really sure what kind of person Ravi was, this article certainly confirms he is an asshole. He’s a prick in the same vein as a pre-reformed Tucker Max. He sounds like the person who’d call himself an asshole before you even had the chance to. He prides himself on being an insensitive dick. He finds other people to be beneath him for silly, trivial, and materialistic reasons. We’ve all met the type. The sad thing is, he probably doesn’t even realize how much his insensitive comments and actions hurt people. I’m not psychologist either, but this is the impression I get.
I also know it’s not good to judge people, and I try my hardest not to, but the presented evidence makes it all too easy. Ravi IMs “FUCK MY LIFE / He’s gay,” and “If gay people were like carter, there wouldnt b a problem with gay hatred / Its the fags like this guy that just cause all sorts of trouble” — as if there’s a “good” versus “bad” kind of gay. He judges Clementi for being born in January, using Yahoo Mail, liking violins, and concludes with “Dude I hate poor people.” I guess Ravi and Mitt Romney have something in common.
Please read it when you get the change. Sure it’s a bit lengthy for an internet audience, but it’s well worth the effort. You really get a sense as to what kind of a person Tyler Clementi was, and still is to so many people. It sheds to light so many interesting things about the case including more previously unreleased IM conversations between Ravi and his friends and Clementi’s confessions to internet message boards and his high school orchestra buddy.
When you’re done, also check out Tyler’s older brother James Clementi’s piece for Out Magazine entitled “Letters to My Brother”.
“When democratic politics can no longer shape the discussion about how we should organize our common life, when it is limited to securing the necessary conditions for the smooth functioning of the market: in these circumstances the conditions are ripe for talented demagogues to articulate popular frustration. We should realize that to a great extent the success of right wing populists… is due to the fact that they provide people with some form of hope, with the belief that things can be different. Of course this is an illusory hope, founded on false premises and on unacceptable mechanisms of exclusion in which xenophobia usually plays a central role. But when these parties are the only ones offering an outlet for political passions their claim to offer an alternative can be seductive.”—Mouffe 2002
“I think that anthropology (and the other social sciences) are the ideological arms of sociopolitical arrangements. I use ideology here not in the narrow sense of propaganda, but in the sense of pervasive idea system making up a world view that both reflects and molds certain social arrangements. In general, scholarship reflects and molds the sociopolitical system called a university, and universities are not independent from our social order, but are paid and organized to perpetuate and legitimize it.”—Esther Newton (1940~), Mother Camp (via literary-ethnography)
“As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own.”—Margaret Mead (via gypsytreasures)
Bestselling Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho is joining in with a new promotion on the notorious file-sharing site the Pirate Bay, and calling on “pirates of the world” to “unite and pirate everything I’ve ever written”.
“Either we have hope within us or we do not. It is a dimension of the soul and is not necessarily dependent on some particular observation of the world. Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart. It transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. It is…an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance of succeeding… [Hope] is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out. It is Hope, above all, which gives the strength to live and continually try new things.”—Web of Hope. Resurgence 219, July/August 2003: quoting Havel in 1990 writing