Link to What's New This Week. Issue for Week of November 11, 2002

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A Journal of Postmodern and Critical Thought
Devoted to Academic Discourse on Peace and Justice

Volume 14, No. 12, Week of November 11, 2002

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Rouault's Ecce Homo
Ecce Homo, Rouault
Rouault (roo, like moo, oh!) is one of my favorite artists.
I especially like his use of black in partial outlines,
though I've never been able to do it. jeanne
Last week we spoke of states of denial in which we manage not to see the elephant and his keepers whose work is gone and whose survival is in question. Now I ask you to take just one step further, as we speak in the last weeks about the denial in all its complexity of God (or not-God), of spirituality, of respect of the Other and of Dignity as moral prerequisites in human society.

jeanne's first version of What God?

What God?

This was done late at night, with all the day's theories flying through my head. There was Abram, who did kill his son in the poem we read, and with him one by one half the seeds of the earth. Abram is appealing to Mary Ascending, for forgiveness? because he's trying to reach the oil that is just spurting through her, is he trying to hold on to her coat tails as she ascends? But the pesky oil is leaking, right over the cloud and into the environment. And someone, Mary?, Abram? is shouting MY SON, in grief, in a desperate plea for help, in awe and honor? but that shout, whatever it means, has run full force into the last lines of the poem on War as Killing Sons: one by one killed half the seed of the world. Just under the phrase from the poem is an altar for the Dia de los Muertos Notice that it has a path, leading Mary to the home, and by implication to the altar. Just to the right is the Buddhist figure, lost in meditation, for out of all this mess, surely there is A WAY. Oh, and over to the left is the protective hand from Middle Eastern religious lore, the hand that protects one from harm. And there's a puffy, vague NO just below the Day fo the Dead altar. It's facing Buddha. I should have thought it would face Abram who seems to be in search of denial. But there's a whole world of what used to be silence that surrounded men and women of the church, any church. Now, it seems they offer up the fodder of our daily soap operas.

That's a dove of peace or the Holy Ghost flying out of Mary ascending. Why does he seem to be flying out from her bosom? Over on the right Christ Crucified is still a big piece in all this choice of God. "Read Your Bible" was a prominent sticker on the rear window of an SUV on the freeway Wednesday. Don't miss the irony of the Bible and the SUV. The sticker also said Jesus is God, which you'll see down on the right side with Religious carving from Out of the Mist, an exhibit on indigenous art in Canada. Why is the God holding a green club? and what is the symbol for the black line? I think partly figures from that exhibit were moutned on strong wires and pedestals, and I was recalling that. Or maybe the connection between rod and penis was pushing its way into my conscious. Not at all clear to me from the drawing what I meant. There's also blood shed, from the crucifixion?, and the Magen David blocking any further descendance of Jesus is God.

I drew without notes or references or models. It was very late, and I just drew. To include the iconology of Middle Eastern religion, I would have needed some resources, and I was too tired to look for them. But maybe some of you will be inspired to help me with this. We'll work on it when I return. Maybe, no, certainly, we'll be able to put up an exhibit of our art work somewhere on campus in the last weeks. My painting does succeed in capturing the confusion, the contradictions, the denials, and the control mechanisms we're all battling now as we try to understand just what September 11 and this new awareness means to our own spirituality.

Sources to stimulate thinking as we lauch these discussions:

* * *

New This Week NEW for the Week of November 12, 2002


    TOPIC OF THE WEEK: What God?

    Theoretical pieces I'm working with for theory publication and for teaching Sociology of Reality as a curricular project in the Spring, and as a course in the Fall of 2003. Remember that some of these pieces require an advanced background in theory. Others are more readily accessible. Please choose what is comfortable for you to read, and if you are interested in a difficult piece, e-mail your questions, or raise them in class, or personally.

    Grades and End of Semester:

    This section is designed to give you enough examples of my grading that you will have a very clear idea of what is expected of you for the grade you would like to earn. If you have failed to participate reasonably in this class, you have a problem. But then, you already know that, don't you? I'll try to put the grade records sheet up tomorrow. jeanne

    Records of Learning

    Just started to update the records. Sorry, it seems we needed all these comments up with my comments to establish interactive learning. Now that I've learned how to do that with you, please use the examples up. There is no way I have the luxury of several interactive sessions with each of you, since there are more than 200 of you. But recognize that many of those whose comments are up have not hd long private tutoring. We're using every moment available wherever it occurs. I won't be able to do any more until I return from Chicago. But that gives us weeks, three, I think. So we should all be OK. Meanwhile, I've begun to record these transactions on the Records of Learning Sheet. jeanne


    Coping with Acknowledgment: What Do I Do When I Love Him Anyway?.The pain of dealing with domestic abuse. War in the private sphere front. This kind hurts worse; for this kind is interpersonal. Nowhere to escape to the not-personal. This is one of those deep questions about how can it be true and not-true all at once; how can I love that which harms me? what is love? Link fixed on November 10, 2002.

    Making Sense of Menopause U.S. News & World Report. More and more we are learning that who we are is not a static quantity. We grow and change; we respond to chemicals that change our emotions and our physical well-being. We need to understand ourselves, and spend a little illocutionary time with ourselves. Agnes is in charge of this semester's workshop on menopause. We'll probably hold it in our Feminist Theory class in SCC A 153 on a T or Th morning.

    Theoretical Musings for Us by Us

    Stories of Lived Experience Lived Experience: Emancipatory Narratives

    Comments on Eminem article by Caren Davis. Maybe in the long run it's the respect and dignity with which we treat our children that really counts the most. Link added November 12, 2002.

      Discovery of similar lived experience across race with Eminem Link added October 28, 2002.

      Some of the comments from this article that might catch your attention:

      • " . . . He's rapping about life you know, stuff that we go through out here. Some of it's a goof, but some of it's real, and it sounds like it comes from the heart, you know. A lot of us can relate to that."
      • "He needs to calm down with all that crazy white-boy stuff that fight music, yo. That's gonna get him hurt. He's a good lyricist. He should concentrate on that."
      • "I don't like him," he said of Eminem. "He talks about killing his wife in his songs. I don't care what she did to him. That's wrong."

      So what are the limits on rap, and similar genres? Is it wrong? Period. Even to fantasize it? Where does fantasy begin and life leave off? Do our kids know the difference? Can you prohibit fantasy? Do you want to?

      What does it say to us that such race crossovers are possible? Does it matter whether the story of his life that Eminem tells is true? What is truth?

      What does all this tell us about criminology and the definition of crime? When men and boys and women and girls are locked totally away from the rest of the population, are their lives about fantasy or about reality? How do those two interact? What happens if society so distances you from your lived reality that only fantasy beckons? Is there a way to recapture reality one day? These are some of the deeper questions we haven't asked frequently enough of prisoners and those who manage them, and of our children and ourselves who manage the children.

      Art Shenanigans

        Part of my reason for choosing this photo was my vivid memory of French romanticism. German romanticism is light and airy, almost likely strolling through a crystal palace. But French romanticism brought us the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Quite a contrast.The theoretical perspective of the French movement, explained in the Preface de Cromwell by Victor Hugo (of Les Miserables and Notre Dame de Paris) focused on man's inablity to discern the beautiful, for we are blinded by pleasing physical attributes. Kind of a "don't judge the book by the cover concept. Thus Hugo created the Hunchback, the gentlest and most loving of creatures, and put him into a body that repelled. Already in the Nineteenth Century Hugo and others like him were recogniing that there is no meta-narrative, pace Habermas on the meta-narrative of criticism. Maybe Maria Pia Lara would have given Hugo points for an illocutionary approach in which he came to know the personnage of the Hunchback in a deep and caring way. One priest of course did not. Ooh! That hurt. But how true it is, even today.

        The photo below was on the front page of the New York Times last week. My first reaction was one of joy; beautiful colors; pleasant picture. And then I started to read the captions. This is a photo of the school bags of the children crushed in the earthquake in Italy. What a cruel ruse? Or is it a piece of the romantic reminder that good and horror come dressed in many costumes, and we must not confues the image with the substance.

        But I still couldn't let go of the image. The colors, the hope and expectation of rampant life in all those school bags, the setting, one in which play would certainly be included. I don't know what I'd like to do with it; but I have a vague feeling that somehow this is like the knowing and not knowing all at once. These objects - they ARE the children in one sense - AND they certainly ARE NOT the children - they are the very reminder that the children no longer exist. I need to paint that. And I need to paint it so that the viewer sees that they are and they are not and the negation of existence all at once. More when we get home from Chicago. jeanne

        recent photo

      • How do you feel about the photo, now that you've come to know more about it? jeanne Link checked November 12, 2002.
      • Sample Contents: Fireworks over the Statue of LibertyThis one's INTERACTIVE. Be sure to share it with your kids. Link sent by Elise Zevitz, and checked on Friday, November 12, 2002. Thanks, Elise.