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

Volume 14, No. 14, Week of November 25, 2002

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Who Are You?

Where did you go? Out.

  • "A place I go that no one knows. Not school."

What did you learn? Nothing.

  • They tried to tell me who I was.
  • They didn't listen to me; they tried to make me who they wanted me to be.
  • So I went to a place where I could be.

Who are you? I dunno.

  • I'm still working on that.
  • I might be who they want me to be.
  • But they'll have to wait and see.

Lots of things happened last week. We had our first peace march. I had fun. But it hurt because they didn't value anything but their formal teaching. They didn't listen to us. They didn't leave any time for that. It hurt that after a whole semester of teaching on the pending (ongoing) war with Iraq, no one, neither our department, nor my friends on the panel, bothered to notice us. I guess it bothered Pat mostly because the idea originally came out of our office, but they didn't know that. Because they don't have time for our office. They're busy doing important things. And maybe somebody else had the idea, too, Pat. They certainly had the idea to turn it into a teach in, which led to all the problems that popped up, because there was no hint of understanding illocutionary force. So, I'm sorry to be late this week with our issue. I just took time off to cry and think about identity, and how you manage to walk around denial when it slaps you in the face. We'll go into that a lot more in the Spring Course on Sociology of Reality. When there are so many people around who are so sure they "know" what they're doing, I find it hard to make my voice heard.

So I turned to Basquiat. A showing of his work had just ended at the Ikon Ltd. Fine Art/ Kay Richards Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.They gave us a poster. This week's painting is a study of that poster - I'll put it up on the office door. I always feel better when I play with Basquiat. And it worked this time, too. I'm playing now at trying to explain what I felt this week, with identities winging about protectively and agressively. I'll get it up soon.

And I'm working on a painting for our Forum on Hazing on December 3, 2002 at 11:30 in SBS E153. My theory: When you plop down on the floor and want to cry: PAINT or SCULPT or PLAY MUSIC. the so-called civilized world is not kind to people and other living things. The arts help take us back to illocutionary beginnings. And notice how, when I need the art, I start with an artist I love, and I plagiarize. I copy. I study how he/she got the effect that helped me climb back out from the depths of despair. It would be a no no if I tried t sell a study I've done of Basquiat's work, as a Basquiat, though I can't really believe anyone whould be foolish enough to mistake my work for his. But it's OK to take off from the feelings I have about his work, to climb on his giant shoulders (from Robert K. Merton, On the Shoulders of Giants), and enrich my own work with what I've learned from him. Don't be afraid to learn from and play with the masters.

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jeanne's version of despair and hope last Thursday.

Building Weapons for Mass Destruction Creates Toxins
Here in California, Destroying Water That Can Never Be Reclaimed as Potable

Nation Is Awash in Chemicals that Can Affect Child Development and Learning On the Physicians for Social Responsibility Site. I'm still hunting for the paper the guest speaker referred to on Thursday, which alleges that considerable water in California is beyond redemption and will never be reclaimed as potable. LA, TX Emissions Lead the Country in First Effort Ever To Assess Scope and Sources of Developmental and Neurological Toxin PollutionReport Documents Disturbing Trends in Developmental and Learning Deficits. Link added November 24, 2002.

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version by jeanne of Holman's young family

Hazing Workshop: December 3, 2002, 11:30 a.m., SCC E 153.

Variations on the young family theme.

* * *

We're getting photos back from our Yangtze cruise in China. How about this?

But check it our from the rear:

Royal Couple from the Rear
No, this one wasn't us. I took the picture. jeanne

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Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

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New This Week NEW for the Week of November 18, 2002


    TOPIC OF THE WEEK: Who Are You?

    That used to be a question we answered with age, family of origin or procreation, school membership or professional or work achievements. Today, it's no longer a simple question. Some of you were asking me the other day about the concept of community and its relationship to self. Good question. Am I an American, and only someone else as defined by all things American? Or am I me, a self-reflexive, determined me who has a lot to do with who I am despite my membership in the community of America.

    That's our topic for this week. What about the intersection of class, race, and gender? Who can my self interrelate with them to discover who I am? And is that process the same for everyone? What about success? What is it? Can I get it? And if I can, do I want it? Especially at the cost of late capitalism. Networks matter so much that many of us take foolish chances to embed ourselves in ones that will smoothe our professional paths and define our social and economic success. But we didn't count on those choices ever leading to life threatening aggression and poor judgment on the part of others, and of ourselves in crisis. As we discuss the recent hazing incident, all these aspects of who we are will come to light in their uncertain mix.

    Reinterpretation of Theory:

    On Asking Bishop Oxon to Reinterpret the Effect of the Market Economy on Poverty. Link added November 19, 2002.

    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

      recent photo

      • How do you feel about the photo, now that you've come to know more about it? jeanne Story at Art Shenanigans. Week 12.

      • Here's the rendition I did on Monday when we got back from Chicago. I wanted the colors to be bright; I wanted the memories to be joyful. So I strengthened the colors. And I added a lot of black (one of Rouault's techniques) and deep pink and orange that weren't there at all in the photo. And the teacher who died handing the children out to safety appeared on the right-hand side in an academic gown walking off into the shadows.

      Out of sorrow the memories of joy

      Out of Sorrow, Memories of Joy