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2005 Quotes of the Week





12/25/05

But you boys at FOX still freak out every year about how everyone's out to get your special trees. This is really the most important thing you have to talk about? Whether Target says Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas? Here’s a brainstorm: there’s a fucking war on. Our soldiers are out there dying while you guys do your 14th live feed of the day from WalMart to show us what good little consumers we are. What Would Jesus Do? He’d jump over that newsdesk and kick your ass for that shit. Are you sure you want to hang your journalism credentials on a story about what some guy calls a tree? Unknown...from HERE...December, 2005

12/18/05---No Quote Selected

12/11/05---No Quote Selected

12/4/05

Any CEO of a corporation who screwed up as many things as George W. Bush would have been fired by its board of directors. Here's a few:
- Invasion of Iraq, which is the biggest strategic blunder and scandal in U.S. history. Saddam Hussein never initiated a belligerent act of aggression or terrorism against us. The buildup to that war was based on fabrications, deception and lies.
- Death of 2,100 U.S. soldiers, wounding 15,000 more, and the death of 30,000 innocent Iraqi men, women and children.
- Immoral and unconstitutional trade policies that caused $2.824 trillion in trade deficits in just five years.
- The worst fiscal performance in our history, piling up $2.472 trillion in added federal debt in five years en route to a major economic collapse.
- Tax policies that are an insult to working people who make dividends possible but who are required to pay a higher marginal tax rate than those who collect dividends without working.
- Foreign policies that have alienated most of the rest of the world. - A misguided attempt to turn future Social Security pensions over to Wall Street. Gus R. Stelzer....from Mr. Bush, Have I Got An Exit Strategy For You...published on CommonDreams 12/5/05

11/27/05---No Quote Selected

11/20/05

I have met very few men who truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance, and, if so, what we will do to lessen them. In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the United States think that racism doesn't affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see "whiteness" as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation. Peggy McIntosh...from White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, 1990

11/13/05

"There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again. So you can bet we will aggressively pursue them but we will do so under the law. ... Any activity we conduct is within the law. We do not torture." George W. Bush...as quoted in Cruel Distortion: 'We Do Not Torture'? Is the President Serious?...November 9, 2005.

11/6/05

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness; only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me? George Orwell...from 1984, p. 217

10/30/05

There is a school of thought which sees childhood as a time of true sexlessness, innocent and carefree, which must be protected and preserved for as long as possible. It advocates censorship of sex education materials and tight control of teachers because, it argues, conventional sex education starts too soon, debases traditional moral and family values, unhealthily emphasises the physical at the expense of the emotional and moral, and encourages immorality and promiscuity. It judges existing sex education material to be frequently amoral and brutally explicit, and many sex educators to be self-appointed 'sexperts' whose normality and motives are questionable.

Another school of thought starts from the understanding that children have a powerful natural sexuality which needs to be recognized and respected; that their curiosity is healthy and not prurient; and that by the time they are approaching puberty they have not only a need for but also a right to uncensored information about what lies ahead. Dr. James Docherty...from...Growing Up, The Royal Society of Medicine, Modus Books, 1986

10/23/05

What is all this nonsense about parental guidance, parental control, and parental advvisories? The whole reason people in this country are as fucked up as they are and make such ignorant decisions on public policy; is that they listened too closely to their parents in the first place. This is an authoritarian country with too many laws, rules, controls, and restrictions. "Do this! Don't do that! Shut up! Sit still! No talking! Stand up straight! No wonder kids are so fucked up; traditional authoritarian values. It starts in kindergarten: They give you a coloring book and some crayons, and tell you, "Be creative...but don't go outside the lines." Fuck parents! George Carlin...from Brain Droppings, 1997, p. 252

10/16/05

Fearless people who are without power are maddening to people who have power. Tobias Wolff... from This Boys Life, 1989

10/9/05

What exactly is incest? The definition I use in this article is: any sexual abuse of a child by a relative or other person in a position of trust and authority over the child. It is the violation of the child where he or she lives--literally and metaphorically. A child molested by a stranger can run home for help and comfort. A victim of incest cannot. Heidi Vanderbilt...from Incest: A Chilling Report

10/2/05---No Quote Selected

9/25/05

In summary, here we consider social problems to be (1) societally induced conditions that cause psychic and material suffering for any segment of the population and (2) acts and conditions that violate the norms and values found in society. The distribution of power in society is the key to understanding these social problems. The powerless, because they are dominated by the powerful, are likely to be thwarted in achieving their basic needs (sustenance, security, self-esteem, and productivity). In contrast, the interests of the powerful are served because they control the mechanisms and institutions by which the perceptions of the public are shaped. By affecting public policy through reaffirming customs and through shaping the law and its enforcement, powerful interest groups are instrumental in designating (labeling) who is a problem (deviant) and who must be controlled. Our focus, then, is on the structure of society---especially how power is distributed---rather than on “problem” individuals. Individual deviants are a manifestation of society’s failure to meet their needs; the sources of crime, poverty, drug addiction, and racism are found in the laws and customs, the quality of life, the distribution of wealth and power, and the accepted practices of schools, governmental units, and corporations. As the primary source of social problems, society, not the individual deviant, must be restructured if social problems are to be solved. D. Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Baca Zinn...from Social Problems, Tenth Edition…2006, p. 11.

9/18/05

The problem with the roles that we take on, and that others place us into, is that roles can limit who we are or who we become. Once in a role it becomes difficult to cast ourselves into new roles and for others to accept us in these new roles. And there are severe social costs for those who behave contrary to the roles society expects them to play. (Why can’t a leopard change its spots? Certainly because of biology for leopards but often because of society for humans.) Growing up, with peer pressure to conform coupled with our desire to fit in, roles can have a significant impact on our academic performance and on our attitude toward education. Mark Sidey...from "The Impact of Roles on Academic Performance"

9/11/05

Remember...there are very few "original" thoughts...that's not the standard by which to judge the quality of a thought. Rather, having a thought of your own...for the first time or a recalling of it...means YOU'VE had it and it's original to YOU. Repeating the thought of someone else is not the same as having thoughts of your own. Thinking and reflecting is a solitary effort...there's no avoiding this aspect of it. David H. Kessel...from Methods Learning Journal Instructions

9/4/05---No Quote Selected

8/28/05

We have set out from the presuppositions of political economy. We have accepted its terminology and its laws. We presupposed private property; the separation of labor, capital and land and therefore of wages, profit of capital and land; the division of labor; competition, the concept of exchange value, etc. From political economy itself, in its own words, we have shown that the worker sinks to the level of a commodity and, indeed, of the most miserable commodity; that the worker's misery is inversely proportional to the power and scope of his production; that the necessary result of competition is the accumulation of capital in a few hands and thus the most frightful restoration of monopoly; and finally, that the distinction between the capitalist and the land owner, like that between agricultural laborer and industrial worker, disappears and the whole of society must fall apart into two classes---those of proper owners and of propertyless workers. Karl Marx..."From the First Manuscript: 'Alienated Labor'"...from ECONOMICO-PHILOSOPHICAL MANUSCRIPTS OF 1844

8/21/05

"So, if you want to be a good American, you've got to practice bad Americanism. That makes sense, too," Mr. Gayle sighed. "Maybe it'd take a saint after all to straighten such a mess out." John Howard Griffin...from Black Like Me, 35th Anniversary Edition...November, 1996, p. 45

8/14/05

To discover this inner dynamic of society, therefore, the sociologist must frequently disregard the answers that the social actors themselves would give to his questions and look for explanations that are hidden from their own awareness. This essentially Durkheimian approach has been carried over into the theoretical approach now called functionalism. In functional analysis society is analyzed in terms of its own workings as a system, workings that are often obscure or opaque to those acting within the system. The contemporary American sociologist Robert Merton has expressed this approach well in his concepts of “manifest” and “latent” functions. The former are the conscious and deliberate functions of social processes, the latter the unconscious and unintended ones.

Thus the “manifest” function of antigambling legislation may be to suppress gambling, its “latent” function to create an illegal empire for the gambling syndicates. Or Christian missions in parts of Africa “manifestly” tried to convert Africans to Christianity, “latently” helped to destroy the indigenous tribal cultures and this provided an important impetus towards rapid social transformation. Or the control of the Communist Party over all sectors of social life in Russian “manifestly” was to assure the continued dominance of the revolutionary ethos, “latently” created a new class of comfortable bureaucrats uncannily bourgeois in its aspirations and increasingly disinclined toward the self-denial of Bolshevik dedication. Or the “manifest” function of many voluntary associations in America is sociability and public service, the “latent” function to attach status indices to those permitted to belong to such associations.” Peter L. Berger...from Invitation to Sociology, 1963...pp. 40-41

8/7/05---No Quote Selected

7/31/05

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
I have a momma,
How about you?
Elizabeth Rose Kessel, Age 8...7/05

7/24/05

Sincerity itself is, of course, a manifestly useless and dangerous criterion of rightness. A list of those history has shown to be sincerely and disastrously wrong would require a volume at least the size of the Bible itself. Some of the most sincere people I know are also the most poorly informed. Indeed sincerity often seems to be a handy substitute for rigorous examination of and reflection on the facts at hand. Marilyn Chandler McEntyre...from A Voice from the Christian Left...Published on Saturday, July 16, 2005 by CommonDreams.org

7/17/05

In October 1997 the business correspondent of the New Yorker, John Cassidy, reported a conversation with an investment banker. 'The longer I spend on Wall Street, the more convinced I am that Marx was right,' the financier said. 'I am absolutely convinced that Marx's approach is the best way to look at capitalism.' His curiosity aroused, Cassidy read Marx for the first time. He found 'riveting passages about globalization, inequality, political corruption, monopolization, technical progress, the decline of high culture, and the enervating nature of modern existence - issues that economists are now confronting anew, sometimes without realizing that they are walking in Marx's footsteps'. Francis Wheen...from Why Marx is Man of the Moment

7/10/05

The political dimensions of this problem mean that there can be no hope of defeating terrorism until we are ready to take legitimate Arab grievances seriously. We must start by acknowledging that their long history of engagement with the west is one that has left many Arabs feeling humiliated and used. There is more to this than finding a way of bringing the occupation of Iraq to an end. We cannot seriously claim to care for the rights of Arabs living in Iraq when it is obvious that we care so little for Arabs living in Palestine. The Palestinians need a viable state, but all the indications suggest that the Bush administration is preparing to bounce the Palestinians into accepting a truncated entity that will lack the basic characteristics of either viability or statehood. That must not be allowed to succeed. David Clark...from This Terror Will Continue Until We Take Arab Grievances Seriously...Published on Saturday, July 9, 2005 by the Guardian (UK).

7/3/05

Here we go again, he lets out a sigh,
Another go-round on the 4th of July.
What's a guy to do when he knows the truth,
Go buy a cracker at the fireworks booth?

What a sham and a lie, this 4th of July,
What ideological mists float through the air.
It's such a ruse, go light a fuse,
And fill the night air, smoke everywhere.

Oh look, there's a pretty one, what a sight,
And another one there, hiding our plight.
Independence for whom...it's nearly a treat,
For love of country, my heart doesn't beat.

Sham and scam, it's what we're about,
The lie in the sky, but today there's some doubt.
People waking to the awful truth,
Patriotism's more than the fireworks booth.

Whether it's Clinton, or Bush, or even a Kerry,
the truth we always try to bury.
No rocket or flare hides what's there to see,
America's synonymous with hypocrisy.

Go away, go away, oh spoiler of fun,
Go away or face the end of a gun.
Go away at sunset, don't make a fuss,
But the trouble is...it's setting on us.

But tomorrow, it will be the same,
The sun is setting, but where's our shame?
Oh yes, I forgot, we have no shame,
Only a neo-con world for us to tame.

Some say we need to take back our country,
Reclaiming what we were and had.
But you can't reclaim what never was,
Reminding us of this, is what every 4th does.
David H. Kessel...July 4, 2004

6/26/05

Rove, in a speech Wednesday evening to the New York state Conservative Party just a few miles north of Ground Zero, said, "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Conservatives, he said, "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."

He added that groups linked to the Democratic Party made the mistake of calling for "moderation and restraint" after the terrorist attacks JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer...quoting Karl Rove...from Dems Say Rove Should Apologize or Resign, Thu Jun 23, 2005.

6/19/05

The problem of teaching students who come to college because they need a degree to be hired by the corporation of their choice or because this is what is expected of them in a certain social position is shared by the sociologist with all his colleagues in other fields. We cannot pursue it here. There is, however, a peculiar problem for the sociologist that is directly related to the debunking, disenchanting character of sociology that we discussed before. It may well be asked with what right he peddles such dangerous intellectual merchandise among young minds that, more likely than not, will misunderstand and misapply the perspective he seeks to communicate. ..It is another thing to sprinkle it liberally among those who have no chance or inclination to proceed to that point of deeper understanding. What right does any man have to shake the taken-for-granted beliefs of others? Why educate young people to see the precariousness of things they had assumed to be absolutely solid? Why introduce them to the subtle erosion of critical thought? Why, in sum, not leave them alone? Peter L. Berger...from Invitation to Sociology, 1963, p. 174

6/12/05

Political authoritarianism has taken the form of an increasing dominance of the state in the life of the individual. Nationalism in its beginnings was a liberating force; but it was not long before the development of nations into super-powers competing with one another for territory and prestige turned them into vast military and economic mechanisms controlling the life of their citizens. The "freedom" of the citizen became a freedom to do what his nation permitted him to do. What the nation demanded of its members was the kind of instant and unquestioning loyalty that could be depended upon in its struggles with other nations.

"Patriotism" has, for the most part, taken forms that have encouraged uncritical adherence to the policies of one's own nation---"my country right or wrong"--- and a blunting of the imagination as to the needs, rights, and attitudes of the people of other nations. The effect of the nationalistic patriotisms has been to discourage linkages of understanding, sympathy, and co-operation with other nations---and with the people of those nations---and to encourage the kind of exclusiveness that fosters suspicion and hostility. Harry Overstreet from The Mature Mind, 1949, pp. 121-122.

6/5/05

Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby "schooled" to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavour are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question. Ivan Illich...from Deschooling Society, 1970: 1

5/29/05

The symptoms of Groupthink are clear. The "illusion of invulnerability" happens when a group thinks that they cannot go wrong. Confidence among the members of the group is remarkably high and is reflected in the decisions that they make. A "belief in inherent morality of the group" occurs when the group thinks tremendously of their morality. The group believes that it is doing the right thing in all circumstances. "Collective rationalization" is another symptom of Groupthink. Groups who experience this believe that nothing can be wrong with their plan even if there is significant evidence to prove otherwise. A lack of creativity and a disregard for others' options is a characteristic of groups with "out-group stereotypes." Groups often pay little attention to what outsiders have to say, and this can be detrimental. "Self-censorship" occurs when group members don't share their ideas with the rest of the group because of fear of being rejected. The "illusion of unanimity" explains that silence can often be interpreted as acceptance. Andy (last name unknown)...from Groupthink

5/22/05---No Quote Selected

5/15/05

The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history. Robert Heinlein...from Time Enough for Love, 1973.

5/8/05

To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it - please try to believe me - unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, "regretted," that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these "little measures" that no "patriotic German" could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice - "Resist the beginnings" and "consider the end." But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have changed here before they went as far as they did; they didn't, but they might have. And everyone counts on that might. Milton Mayer...from They Thought They Were Free: But Then It Was Too Late

5/1/05

You are left, then, with something of a paradox. Social institutions have the power to grind up individuals by the thousands and millions. Moreover, the institutions we create seem to take on lives of their own, ensuring their own survival, even at the expense of ours. Clearly, no individual is a match for a complex social institution. Yet any challenge to an institution must begin with an individual. Ultimately, institutions don't act: neither do organizations or groups. Only the individuals involved can decide and act, and in any instance someone must take the first step. At the same time, individuals almost never make decisions or take actions in isolation. They are always influenced to some degree by those around them and by the nature of the social structures they live in.

Society, then, is a paradoxical interplay between our individual and corporate identities and lives. Sociology is devoted to the mastery of that paradox. Earl Babbie...from The Sociological Spirit, Second Edition, Wadsworth, 1994, pp. 192-193.

4/24/05

The way in which men produce their means of subsistence depends first of all of the nature of the actual means they find in existence and have to reproduce. This mode of production must not be considered simply as being the reproduction of the physical existence of the individuals. Rather it is a definite form of activity of these individuals, a definite form of expressing their life, a definite mode of life on their part. As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are, therefore, coincides with their production, both with what they produce and with how they produce. The nature of individuals thus depends on the material conditions determining their production Karl Marx...from The German Ideology, Volume 1, 1845-1846.

4/17/05

The sociological imagination is the most fruitful form of this self-consciousness. By its use men whose mentalities have swept only a series of limited orbits often come to feel as if suddenly awakened in a house with which they had only supposed themselves to be familiar. Correctly or incorrectly, they often come to feel that they can now provide themselves with adequate summations, cohesive assessments, comprehensive orientations. Older decisions that once appeared sound now seem to them products of a mind unaccountably dense. Their capacity for astonishment is made lively again. They acquire a new way of thinking, they experience a transvaluation of values: in a word, by their reflection and by their sensibility, they realize the cultural meaning of the social sciences. C. Wright Mills...from The Sociological Imagination, pp. 7-8

4/10/05

“Banking” is not “wrong”...but rather, IS an alienating way of doing something which humans NEED to do...that is, communicate descriptions and ideas of the world/reality to and with others. Thus, we need to recognize the LIMITS of the Banking approach, discarding that which hinders EDUCATION, while NOT losing sight of the task it envelopes and DISTORTS. Thus, Problem-Posing isn’t the absence “information” or “facts.” Rather, it is the problematic co-development OF information ABOUT reality, including our very engagement in DOING SO...AS information. This energizes the process of EDUCATION while diminishing the effects of SCHOOLING)...AND transforms the teachers into students arid the students into teachers. It re-humanizes and reunites that which, although actually a unity, has been split/separated by using the “form” or method we are calling “Banking.” It de-objectifies BOTH student AND teacher, calling forth recognition that the very process of education is a PROBLEM that is POSED to all participants in their joint desires to accomplish it. The alternative is to take it for granted. Banking is predicated on a profound DISTRUST of humans, although this is largely UNINTENDED and UNPERCEIVED by those staffing the Banking Schools. Problem-Posing BEGINS with a profound TRUST in humans, expecting them to be responsible for their lives. This responsibility is nothing to take for granted...especially if authentic freedom is desired. David H. Kessel...from Banking and Problem Posing Summary

4/3/05

Clearly, that process of natural selection does not entail a fierce struggle for survival among members of the same species. It is a struggle for existence, as Darwin termed it, only in the sense that every organism strives to maintain itself. Darwin himself emphasized that he employed this term in a large and metaphorical sense including “dependence of one being on another, and including...not only the life of the individual but success in leaving progeny.” Let us note the underscored phrase. It is evident that for Darwin the “struggle for existence” not only involved no actual war among species members, but even required mutual dependence. That important element of his theory has been almost entirely overlooked. Irving M. Zeitlin...from The Social Condition of Humanity, Second Edition, NY: Oxford University Press, 1984. p. 40

3/27/05

Beginning on a necessarily formal note, sociology is defined as the study of group life and those aspects of individual lives that are affected by social interaction.

The sociological perspective differs from the way we view the world as individuals; differs in ways that require us to step outside, but never abandon, personal experience and gain a new vantage on the world. The reason for doing so is simple: There are many features of social life that cannot be explained otherwise. John Walton...from Sociology and Critical Inquiry...p. 44...1986

3/20/05---No Quote Selected

3/13/05---No Quote Selected

3/6/05

Hey you, Whitehouse
ha ha charade you are
You house proud town mouse
ha ha charade you are
You're trying to keep our feelings off the street
You're nearly a real treat
All tight lips and cold feet
And do you feel abused?
.....!.....!.....!.....!
You gotta stem the evil tide
And keep it all on the inside
Mary you're nearly a treat
Mary you're nearly a treat
But you're really a cry Pink Floyd (Roger Waters)...from "Pigs (Three different ones)"...from Animals (1977)

2/27/05

One of the biggest and most prevalent mistakes in Western Culture is the idea that there exists two separate and "opposite" genders, masculinity and femininity. This gender dualism is not only false and without any factual or scientific suppport, but also very harmful. One strategy to overcome this wrongness is the idea of androgyny, by which masculinity and femininity are not conceived as opposite ends of one spectrum, but as two separate spectrums: you can be or have both at once (or neither), not only the one or the other. Thus, you can combine the various components of masculinity and femininity in any number of ways, according to your individual preferences, needs and nature. Should we strive for an androgynous, individualist, highly diverse culture?

Some people think that the androgyny concept doesn't go far enough; because androgyny still reproduces elements of the old false split of femininity and masculinity, it should be abandoned. What we need is not to construct combinations of two false concepts, but to go back to - and forward to - a situation with no split in the first place, a place without gender dichotomy. The point must be made that keeping masculine and the feminine apart and separate is what is difficult and and unnatural, while keeping them together is simple and natural. We must thus move beyond androgyny, in order to overcome the cultural and social schizophrenia of gender dualism. Thomas Gramstad...from Androgyny and Gender Dialectics

2/20/05

Although Dworkin provides an insightful assessment of women's oppression and supplies a credible alternative, she doesn't provide a complete analysis of men's oppression. She comments on the "rewards" men have received through their perverse relations with women, but doesn't investigate the oppression of the "master." This is not to deny women's oppression. In fact, it is quite the opposite: to allow a fuller picture to emerge. If men are the "masters" and women are the "slaves," then both are oppressed and both will have to acknowledge their own and each other's oppression in order to create a society free from oppression (i.e. an androgynous society). Barbara K. Kessel...from Critical Review of Andrea Dworkin's Man Hating, 2001

2/13/05

Some may blackly (angrily) accuse me of trying to blacken (defame) the English language, to give it a black eye (a mark of shame) by writing such black words (hostile). They may denigrate (to cast aspersions; to darken) me by accusing me of being blackhearted (malevolent), of having a black outlook (pessimistic, dismal) on life, of being a blackguard (scoundrel)---which would certainly be a black mark (detrimental fact) against me. Some may black-brow (scowl at) me and hope that a black cat crosses in front of me because of this black deed. I may become a black sheep (one who causes shame or embarrassment because of deviation from the accepted standards), who will be blackballed (ostracized) by being placed on a blacklist (list of undesirables) in an attempt to blackmail (to force or coerce into a particular action) me to retract my words. But attempts to blackjack (to compel by threat) me will have a Chinaman's chance of success, for I am not a yellow-bellied Indian-giver of words, who will whitewash (cover up or gloss over vices or crimes) a black lie (harmful, inexcusable). I challenge the purity and innocence (white) of the English language. I don't see things in black and white (entirely bad or entirely good) terms, for I am a white man (marked by upright firmness) if there ever was one. However, it would be a black day when I would not "call a spade a spade," even though some will suggest a white man calling the English language racist is like the pot calling the kettle black. While many may be niggardly (grudging, scanty) in their support, others will be honest and decent---and to them I say, that's very white of you (honest, decent).

The preceding is of course a white lie (not intended to cause harm), meant only to illustrate some examples of racist terminology in the English language. Robert B. Moore..."A Short Play on "Black" and "White" Words"...from Racism in the English Language

2/6/05

Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire - the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved - and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to "ignorance" - a derivative, after all, of the word "ignore" - counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in - and in many cases excelling at - it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it. Ward Churchill...His most "controversial statement"...from "Some People Push Back:" On the Justice of Roosting Chickens

1/30/05

Thinking is neither coerced nor coercive. It is exploratory, suggestive; it does not prove anything, or finally arrive anywhere. Thus, to say people are thoughtful or thought provoking suggests that they are open-minded, reflective, challenging---that they are more likely to question than to assert, inclined to listen to many sides, capable of making sensitive distinctions that hold differences in play rather than dividing in order to exclude, and desirous of persuading others rather than reducing them to silence by refuting them. Elizabeth Kamarck Minnich...from "Teaching Thinking" (Change: September/October 2003: pp. 19-24)

1/23/05

To say the U.S. has a representative form of democracy is to hide the greater truth that we have little more than a formal democracy, not one in which citizens can trust their representatives to serve the public interest. Our representatives serve the power elite. To recognize that there no longer is any public disgust and outrage that ordinary Americans have virtually no access to their "public servants" compared to corporate and other special interests, is to recognize how much we have become a fake democracy.

So how can a fake democracy have the gall to see itself as having the moral authority to compel other nations to be democracies? Only a fake democracy that was the only remaining global superpower could have the chutzpah to attempt this and the weapons to pursue it. What foreigners see is that an American fake democracy is most likely to help create other fake democracies. Joel S. Hirschhorn...from The Bush Doctrine Paradox, Published on Sunday, January 23, 2005 by CommonDreams.Org

1/16/05

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr...from Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam...Delivered April 1967 At Manhattan's Riverside Church

1/9/05

Another important area of sociological analysis that may serve to explicate the full meaning of location in society is that of social stratification. The concept of stratification refers to the fact that any society will consist of levels that relate to each other in terms of superordination and subordination, be it power, privilege or prestige. To say this more simply, stratification mens that every society has a system of ranking. Some strata rank higher, some lower. Their sum consititutes the stratification system of that particular society. Peter L. Berger...from Invitation to Sociology, 1963 p. 78

1/2/05

One of the most consequential features of human social experience is that our groups, communities, institutions, and societies are characterized by a great deal of social stratification or inequality. This inequality exists when social positions and the individuals who occupy them are ranked and then differentially rewarded with privilege, power, and prestige. The positions at the top of the hierarchy are more highly rewarded than those at bottom. Because nobody can be at the top unless lots of people are at the bottom, a system of inequality is based on exploitation and opportunity hoarding as groups and individuals jockey for better positions in a society. Even though capitalist societies have a great deal of both upward and downward social mobility, a system of inequality does endure over time. One of the principal reasons is that advantaged groups use all the resources they can to maintain, or even increase, their high standing. John Curra and Paul Paolucci...from Engaging the Sociological Imagination, pp. 138-139, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2004