*****An Invitation from TSS*****
U.S. elites like war. War sends the message that laws do not bind U.S. elites, that morality does not bind U.S. elites, that nothing binds U.S. elites but their estimates of their own interests. It trumpets that everybody else better ratify our plans, or at least get out of the way. Likewise, for U.S. elites, war preparedness is good economics. Military spending primes the capitalist pump and spurs its engines, but crucially military spending doesn't give those in the middle and at the bottom better conditions or better housing or more education or better health care or anything else that will make people less afraid, more knowledgeable, more secure, and particularly more able to develop and pursue their own agendas regarding economic distribution. War empowers the rich and powerful, but its real virtue is that it disempowers working people and the disenfranchised poor. War annihilates deliberation. It elevates mainstream media to dominate communication even more than in peacetime. War abets repression by demanding obedience. It labels dissent treason, or in this case, incipient terrorism. Elites like all this, not surprisingly.
Michael Albert...from "Peace Movement Prospects"...9/01 (Albert edits Z-Magazine and Z-Net)
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war.
By Ann Coulter from...THIS IS WAR
Bush has tried so very hard to provide the mainstream media with scandal after scandal, but they refuse to go for the bait. Theyıve steadfastly looked the other way about his paying for an illegal abortion, his unpatriotic military record, his driving repeatedly while sloshed, his corrupt behavior at Harken Energy, his sweetheart land deal in Arlington, his abysmal record of incompetence and graft as governor of Texas, his disgraceful lies about major public policy during the campaign, his theft of the election, his slander about White House vandalism, his lie about reducing carbon emissions, his blatant conflict of interest in the multibillion dollar Enron Energy heist in California, his refusal to comply with the law in releasing the Reagan papers, his refusal to comply with the law regarding the clandestine meetings with his oil industry patrons, his lies about the tax cut, his lies about Social Security, his lies about missile defense, his lies about stem cell research. David Podvin...from "Just Asking", 9/4/01...Read commentary and articles by Podvin HERE
The Shop is an interesting concept, in terms of both design and content. The basic idea (I think...) is that since Sociology knows no boundaries, neither does The Shop - which is why you'll find a range of "rooms" devoted to "Sociology" in it's minimal academic sense - articles and links on crime and education which will be of specific interest to A2 teachers and students (there's a particularly useful section on Peter Berger's contribution to the sociology of knowledge) and "Sociology" in its widest sense - rooms devoted to critical thinking skills, conceptual tools and humour. The site's clearly a labour of love and it's none the worse for so being...Chris Lively from Sociology Central 2001
8/20/01 The big one, the word fuck that's the one that hangs them up the most. [']Cause in a lot of cases that's the very act that hangs them up the most. So, it's natural that the word would, uh, have the same effect. It's a great word, fuck, nice word, easy word, cute word, kind of. Easy word to say. One syllable, short u. (laughter) Fuck. (Murmur) You know, it's easy. Starts with a nice soft sound fuh ends with a kuh. Right? (laughter) A little something for everyone. George Carlin...from "Filthy Words" (as transcribed by the Federal Communications Commission for use in court) (To read the entire "Filthy Words"...careful now...go HERE
8/13/01It is no accident that modern education doesn't teach the distinction between symbol and thing -- if it did, education as we know it would fall apart. After that, after education reshaped itself to provide actual knowledge instead of the symbolic representation of knowledge, the society around us would be transformed. P. Lutus from "How we Confuse Symbols and Things".....2001, which can be read HERE
8/6/01 It will be argued that the radical imagination provides the basis for establishing that we are self-instituting beings. Following Kant, it will be maintained that the self is not a given in reflection, but created through the imagination of autonomous, reasoning beings in an intersubjectivity. And, it will be further argued, that if we do not comprehend this originatory principle of self-consciousness we are doomed to see the self, as well the other, as alien or foreign. Dear Habermas Journal....2001 Visit them HERE
7/30/01 For Fromm, "social character" as a historically constituted psycho-cultural formation, indicated how society impacted "normal" character, how particular notions of selfhood and underlying psycho dynamics led to individual satisfactions that at the same time, fostered the behaviors and understandings that served the interests of society. When the character structure of the typical individual more or less approximates the social character, s/he is thus likely to do that which is necessary and desirable as defined by the culture and in so doing, s/he will find personal gratifications and satisfactions. S/he will want to act as s/he is required to act. the "function of character for the normal person is to lead him to act according to what is necessary for him from a practical standpoint and also to give him satisfaction from his activity psychologically". Lauren Langman...from The "Carnival Character" of the Present Age"...2000. Go HERE to read the article.
7/23/01 It is not poor people, the unemployed, immigrants, or any other minority group who are causing the social disaster we see around us. We have to look at an economic system that uncritically permits 25% of our working people to be either unemployed or underemployed and allows the richest 5% of Canadians (about 1,500,000 people) to own 46.5% of Canada's wealth, while the poorest 20% of Canadians (about 6,000,000 people) own -0.3% of wealth. If we have any courage, we'll fight for a just society instead of bash our powerless neighbour. British Columbia Teachers' Federation Visit them here
7/16/01 People often misunderstand what statisticians mean when they estimate that one in every two or three marriages will end in divorce. The calculations refer to the chances of a marriage ending in divorce within 40 years. While rising divorce rates have increased the number of marriages at risk for dissolution, the gradual extension of life spans ensures that a marriage today has the potential to last three times longer than one of 200 years ago. Thus while the number of people who divorce is certainly unprecedented, so is the number of couples who celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversaries. In fact, the chances of doing so have never been better. Stephanie Coontz from The Way We Really Are 1997
7/9/01 One major constraint on the corporate political system is that, because its operation does not fall within the purview of the democratic ideology, much of what it does must be, and is, kept secret. In addition, a good deal of fraud and corruption take place within the corporate political system and in its interactions with the individual political system, mostly because of the realities of the politics of property and the democratic creed are quite far apart from each other. The role of policy-planning groups, of interest groups, of government advisory councils, and of the many direct relationships between business and government are hidden from most of us and only surface form time to time when a scandal is particularly obvious. Most Americans prefer to believe that the democratic creed is the sole influence in the governmental process, mainly because it is, in principle, obviously more just, more equal, and, at the simplest level, more easily understood. Creel Froman from The Two American Political Systems 1984
7/2/01 Most Americans know this is a society with major problems. Most know that many of their own needs are not being met. And many are aware that their personal and family problems are linked to the larger societal contexts. But these larger contexts are often seen through a haze of vague explanations and confusing interpretations. Rationales such as the declining work ethic, lazy individuals, big government, unfair foreign competition, immigration, inflation, reverse discrimination, and political corruption are offered to explain our current societal troubles. Joe R. Feagin and Clairece Booker Feagin...from Social Problems, 5th Editon...1997
6/25/01 "Blaming the victim" is a common technique to shift blame and responsibility from systems and structures onto particular individuals and groups. This approach justifies inequality and suffering by finding fault in the victims of inequality, either innate or cultural, thereby diffusing any systemic critique or threat, and supporting the dominant interests of society. The formula for blaming the victim is quite simple: identify a problem, study those affected to find differences, and then define the differences as the cause of the problem.Dan Brook....from...Sociological Snippets 2001
6/18/01 "Whatever the possibilities of freedom we may have, they cannot be realized if we continue to assume that the 'OKAY WORLD' of reality is the only world there is. Society provides us with warm, reasonably comfortable caves, in which we can huddle with our fellows, beating on the drums that drown out the howling hyenas of the surrounding darkness. 'ECTASY' is the act of stepping outside the caves, alone, to face the night" Peter L. Berger from Invitation to Sociology 1963
6/11/01 One other piece of "evidence" given is that if adjuncts were fully qualified then they'd have full time jobs already and wouldn't have to rely on part time positions. Of course, this claim is similar to the circular reasoning that the "poor" deserve to be poor because they aren't rich. Now lets see...there is again no doubt some kernel of truth to the claim that there are some adjuncts not fully qualified to teach college. I've known a few...observed them first hand. But I wonder...is the proportion of them unqualified any higher than the incompetence of some full time faculty? I've observed a few of them, too. Or are we to simply assume that since they are already full time faculty that they must be qualified? Give me a break. Is there anyone reading this who has attended college somewhere along the line that hasn't had a dork for a college professor...a dork being someone who didn't know much but could easily repeat and re-repeat what they DID know...countless times? Or how about the ones that merely read out of books for an hour or two? In other words, despite the ideology that college professors are smart and can teach well...to anyone at any time, many can't teach at all and aren't the least bit interested in learning how to do so. Adjuncts and the so-called over-reliance on them are damaging higher education?? Despite the presence of very qualified full time faculty and the presence of less-than-qualified adjuncts, I'd have to say we better turn over this ideological inversion...realizing that adjuncts have improved higher education immensely and in innumerable ways...the least of which is NOT the enthusiasm they bring to the college education table. David H. Kessel from TSS Commentary Part Time Teachng and Ideology...6/27/99
6/4/01 The weapon of criticism cannot, of course, replace criticism of weapons, material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses. Theory is capable of gripping the masses as soon as it demonstrates ad hominem , and it demonstrates ad hominem as soon as it becomes radical. To be radical is to grasp the root of the matter. But for man the root is man himself.Karl Marx from unknown source...probably The German Ideology
5/28/01 The concept of mental illness assumes people can reliably divide behavior into two distinct categories: "mentally healthy" and "mentally ill." Unfortunately, this apparently simple task produces enormous problems. What criteria should one use to decide which behavior is "unhealthy"? The authors of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) have used numerous models to define abnormality. Paula Caplan (1994) discusses five models that mental health professionals have used: "...the infrequency model, the conflict or anxiety model, the delay or fixation model, the reality-testing model, and the disproportion model" (p. 44). All of these have severe flaws. The anxiety model, for example, depends on subjective judgements of the observer, whilecriteria that stress overt behavior hide the conflict a productive, but severely unhappy person, experiences. Neither definition truly captures the meaning of "mental illness." from Thomas Szasz, "The Myth of Mental Illness"
5/21/01 The silence of our students is the same silence we have known in other settings: It is the silence of blacks in the presence of whites, of women in the presence of men, of the powerless in the presence of people with power. It is the silence of marginal people, people who have been told that their voice has no value, people who maintain silence in the presence of the enemy because in silence there is safety. Student silence is normally not the product of ignorance or indifference or cynicism. It is a silence born of fear. Parker J. Palmer from "The Courage to Teach" 1997
5/14/01 Man's object for Marx ought to be the transformation of his social existence; those who repress religion only assure its martyrdom and its prolongation. Those who understand religion can afford to await its natural death Richard Lichtman...from..."The Marxian Critique of Christianity" 1968
5/7/01 Beware of substituting reading for thinking. Reading about the thoughts of others is not the same as having thoughts of your own. To be sure, to engage in thinking you need some acquaintance with the thoughts of others. The great thinkers inspire, provoke, confirm, and in other ways help you do your own thinking. But to think you must a some point lay down the book and strike out on your own Glenn Tinder from Political Thinking, 1986
4/30/01 Standardized tests reward passive, superficial learning, drive instruction in undesirable directions, and thwart meaningful educational reform. Evidence strongly suggests that standardized testing flies in the face of recent advances in our understanding of how people learn to think and reason. Research in the past few years indicates that traditional tests reinforce rote learning of facts and formulas in contrast to the active, critical thinking skills many educators now believe schools should be encouraging. Peter Sacks from Standardized Minds: The High Price of America1s Testing Culture and What We Can Do to Change It 2000
4/23/01 What a visitor from another planet may tell us about ourselves: "He might say that Earthlings put such emphasis on truthfulness in order to be believed when they lie" Kurt Vonnegut 1973
4/16/01 For change is not merely a force of destruction. Every form is really a pattern of movement, and every living thing is like the river, which, if it did not flow out, would never have been able to flow in. Life and death are not two opposed forces; they are simply two ways of looking at the same force, for the movement of change is as much the builder as the destroyer.Alan Watts 1968
4/9/01 Secondly, humanism encourages us to feel that, no matter who we are, we have untapped abilities, unknown potentialities, and more strength, inventiveness, and capacity for survival and progress than we know. We are to look for strength not outside ourselves but within. Erich Fromm, in his book Psychoanalysis and Religion, speaks of the value of having a faith in the power within ourselves to meet life with courage. Some philosophies and religions stress how weak, how evil, and how foolish we are by nature. Although they offer a way of escaping from this lack of strength, virtue, and wisdom, they first impress on us our deficiencies. How much better it is to emphasize hope and self-confidence. How much better to know that we must and can take care of ourselves. .Lloyd and Mary Morain
4/2/01 The more completely the majority adapt to the purposes which the dominant minority prescribe for them (thereby depriving them of the right to their own purposes), the more easily the minority can continue to prescribe. The theory and practice of banking education serve this end quite efficiently. Verbalistic lessons, reading requirements, the methods for evaluating "knowledge," the distance between the teacher and the taught, the criteria for promotion; everything in this ready-to-wear approach serves to obviate thinking .Paulo Freire 1972
3/26/01 Masturbation has never given anyone a disease; its never gotten anyone pregnant. Ninety percent of men masturbate, 80 percent of women, and the rest lie.Joycelyn Elders as quoted in U.S. News and World Report...11/3/97
3/19/01 If people who do not understand each other
at least understand that they do not understand each other,
then they understand each other better than when,
not understanding each other,
they do not even understand that they do not understand each other. Unknown Author from Unknown Source 2001
3/12/01 "a disgraceful act of cowardice"George W. Bush...reacting to the school shooting in San Diego...3/01
3/5/01 Every institution of our day, the family, the State, our moral codes, sees in every strong, beautiful, uncompromising personality a deadly enemy; therefore every effort is being made to cramp human emotions and originality of thought in the individual into a strait-jacket from its earliest infancy; or to shape every human being according to one pattern; not into a well-rounded individuality, but into a patient work slave, professional automaton, taxpaying citizen, or righteous moralist. If one, nevertheless, meets with real spontaneity (which, by the way, is a rare treat), it is not due to our method of rearing or educating the child; the personality often asserts itself, regardless of official and family barriers. Such a discovery should be celebrated as an unusual event, since the obstacles placed in the way of growth and development of character are so numerous that it must be considered a miracle if it retains its strength and beauty and survives the various attempts at crippling that which is most essential to it. Emma Goldman in Mother Earth, April 1906
2/26/01 In our present pygmy state love is indeed a stranger to most people. Misunderstood and shunned, it rarely takes root; or if it does, it soon withers and dies. Its delicate fiber can not endure the stress and strain of the daily grind. Its soul is too complex to adjust itself to the slimy woof of our social fabric. It weeps and moans and suffers with those who have need of it, yet lack the capacity to rise to love's summit.
Some day, some day men and women will rise, they will
reach the mountain peak, they will meet big and strong
and free, ready to receive, to partake, and to bask in
the golden rays of love. What fancy, what
imagination, what poetic genius can foresee even
approximately the potentialities of such a force in
the life of men and women. If the world is ever to
give birth to true companionship and oneness, not
marriage, but love will be the parent. Emma Goldman 1910
2/19/01 Salvation lies in an energetic march onward towards a brighter and clearer future. We are in need of unhampered growth out of old traditions and habits. The movement for woman's emancipation has so far made but the first step in that direction. It is to be hoped that it will gather strength too make another. The right to vote, or equal civil rights, may be good demands, but true emancipation begins neither at the polls nor in courts. It begins in woman's soul. History tells us that every oppressed class gained true liberation from its masters through its own efforts. It is necessary that woman learn that lesson, that she realize that her freedom will reach as far as her power to achieve her freedom reaches. It is, therefore, far more important for her to begin with her inner regeneration, to cut loose from the weight of prejudices, traditions, and customs. The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved. Indeed, if partial emancipation is to become a complete and true emancipation of woman, it will have to do away with the ridiculous notion that to be loved, to be sweetheart and mother, is synonymous with being slave or subordinate. It will have to do away with the absurd notion of the dualism of the sexes, or that man and woman represent two antagonistic worlds. Emma Goldman 1911
2/12/01 Whiteness, of course, is a delusion -- as the insane Captain Ahab demonstrates. Scientists today mostly agree that there is no such thing as "race," at least when analyzed in terms of genetics or behavioral variation. Every human population is a mongrel population, full of people descended from various places and with widely differing physical qualities. Racial purity is the most absurd delusion, since intermarriage and miscegenation have been far more the norm than the exception throughout human ethnic history. "Race," then, is what academics like to call a "socially constructed" reality. Race is a reality in the sense that people experience it as real and base much of their behavior on it. Race, however, is only real because certain social institutions and practices make it real. Race is real in the same way that a building or a religion or a political ideology is real, as each is the result of human effort, not a prescription from nature or god. Thus race can have little or no foundation, yet it can still be the force that makes or breaks someone's life, or the life of a people or a nation. Gregory Jay...from...Who Invented White People? 1998
2/5/01 The Revolution is not an event that takes two or three days, in which there is shooting and hanging. It is a long drawn out process in which new people are created, capable of renovating society so that the revolution does not replace one elite with another, but so that the revolution creates a new anti-authoritarian people who in their turn re-organize the society so that it becomes a non-alienated human society, free from war, hunger, and exploitation.Rudi Dutschke on March 7, 1968 as quote by Andrea Dworkin in Woman Hating, 1974
1/29/01 In our culture, not one part of a woman's body is left untouched, unaltered. No feature or extremity is spared the art, or pain, of improvement. Hair is dyed, lacquered, straightened, permanented; eyebrows are plucked, penciled, dyed; eyes are lined, mascaraed, shadowed; lashes are curled, or false--from head to toe, every feature of a woman's face, every section of her body, is subject to modification, alteration. This alteration is an ongoing, repetitive process. It is vital to the economy, the major substance of male-female role differentiation, the most immediate physical and psychological reality of being a woman. From the age of 11 or 12 until she dies, a woman will spend a large part of her time, money, and energy on binding, plucking, painting, and deordorizing herself. Andrea Dworkin 1974
1/22/01 An old feller said "Well, ya know, old Bush is a post turtle." Not knowing what he meant, a friend asked him what a "post turtle" was. And the old man said, "When you're driving down a country road, and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle. You know he didn't get there by himself, he doesn't belong there, he can't get anything done while he's up there, and you just want to help the poor thing down."List Member from Progressive Sociologists Network Jan. 2001
1/15/01 No Quote Selected
1/8/01 People differ in age, physical attributes, and what they do for a living. The process of categorizing people by age, height, occupation, or some other personal attribute is call social differentiation. When people are ranked in a vertical arrangement (hierarchy) that differentiates them as superior or inferior, we have social stratification. The key difference between differentiation and stratification is that the process of ranking or evaluation occurs only in the latter. What is ranked and how it is ranked are dependent on the values of the society. D. Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Baca Zinn from In Conflict and Order...9th Edition
1/1/01 How many civilizations already know of our existence? How many feel concerned---and are prepared to take some action? One can only guess.
Yet we know that the electronic birthcries of our culture have already reached at least a hundred suns, all the way out to the giant Vega. By the year 2001, there will have been ample time for many replies, from many directions.
And there will have been time for more than that. Despite assertions to the contrary, from scientists who should have learned better by now, an advanced technology should be able to build ships capable of reaching at least a quarter of the speed of light. By the turn of the millennium, therefore, emissaries could be arriving from Alpha Centauri, Sirius, Procyon...
And so I repeat the words I wrote in 1948:
I do not think we will have to wait for long.
Arthur C. Clarke from THE LOST WORLDS OF 2001----December 31, 1970