Link to What's New This Week. Issue for Week of December 16, 2002

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Dear Habermas
Current Issue

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

Volume 15, No. 1, Week of December 16, 2002

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Latest Update: December 20, 2002

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TOPIC OF THE WEEK:
The Terrible Certainty of Knowing: Trent Lott

Veronica Sander's Thoughts for Trent Lott.

Thoughts for Trent Lott
by Veronica Sanders

Veronica sent this in on Sunday, December 15, 2002. I just picked it up this evening. I love it, Veronica. It says so much about the "purity" of "white supremacy," and so much about privilege used in the oppression of others. Makes me stop and think about the interdependence of the infrastructure and the individuals all of whom forged together the "Old South." Reminds me Ernest Gaines' "They need us, because without us, they don't know who they are." (Quote from memory. Please check, if referencing. jeanne)

For comments and discussion of the painting please link to

jeanne's version of Signe Wilkinson's Opinion Page political cartoon of Trent Lott. I framed Singe Wilkinson's.and then went on with my own.
Trent Lott Paints the Town White,
For He "Knows" That Is As It Should Be

Signe Wilkinson did a political cartoon in Pennsylvania, I think it was, and it was picked up by the L.A. Times, I think it was. Kissinger (the 9/11Inqiry), Lott (in praise of Strom Thurmond's segregation platform), Bishop Law (sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church), and Justice Clarence Thomas (speaking against the "cross burnings" during oral argument) have kept me too busy this week to double check all my dates. Check it all out for yourself, while the articles are still all up (usually about a week). Meanwhile, since there was no printed version of Signe Wilkinson's cartoon of Trent Lott's chosen white crayolas, I included his cartoon as a painting in one of my own. And now, Veronica Sanders' digital painting adds volumes to all these issues. Be sure to follow her painting through in my comments.

I'm real unhappy about the war and terrorism, but I must say it continues to provide an unending array of current issues for us to consider illocutionary discourse and public discourse on governance, peace, and social justice. The next few weeks will consist of my choice of texts and Internet sources we want to include in Sociology of Reality this Spring. This is that wonderful Spring Semester when jeanne doesn't teach regularly, leaving a little discretionary time to structure the site for overall theory, methodology, and critical analysis of the topics we cover.

Trent Lott, bless his heart, really stepped into it. He's still saying he won't resign. Lots of people are calling for his resignation on the grounds that he just doesn't get it, that segregation was wrong, and he still thinks it's OK. How do we measure his sincerity in apology? Was it a misspoken moment? Or does his statement reflect his real beliefs and values? In many of the articles you'll see that people are doing their best to measure his sincerity by his political record. How did he vote on related issues? There are problems with that as a measure, since votes are often traded off to gain primary objectives. But his voting pattern is one concrete indication of the position he regularly takes with respect to an issue.

Come to think of it, wonder what George Bush, Jr.'s official actions reflect on this issue?

New This Week NEW for the Week of December 16, 2002

Announcements:

TOPIC OF THE WEEK:The Terrible Certainty of Knowing

  1. Trent Lott Paints the Town White
    I think Trent Lott took us all by surprise. Announcing publicly that we would have been better off since 1948 with segregation was quite a bit more than a slip of the tongue. There are, of course, calls for his resignation, and appropriately so, when we consider what his statement means to minorities in this country, particularly to African Americans.

    You'll need to turn back to last week's issue for lots of the articles that began to appear. I'll put up more this week, and I'll turn even more attention to left and right perspective. Does one perspective, when expressed publicly, disqualify you from the representation of others? Complex question. One we're going to start in on during this Winter Intersession. We'll want to consider denial, Lott's and our own. We'll want to consider illocutionary understanding, of Lott, of the Southerners, of those who find themselves represented by those who openly deny the validity of their perspective. This week President Bush made it perfectly clear that his stated position is that segregation based on race is unacceptable and harmful to our nation. Is that a policy statement? Or is that a genuine belief?

    And what about the American who believes in the statement Trent Lott made, that we would have been better off today had we followed Strom Thurmond's segregationist platform? What about the teacher who believes we cannot discuss opposition to the war without discussing the pro-war position? Can we come to an illocutionary discussion with these issues on the table? It should be an exciting week.

    Tuesday updates on the Trent Lott fiasco.

  2. The Anti-War Teach In
    We spoke some about the anti-war teach in last week. Many of you have added your own comments. But I didn't have much chance, what with the end of the semester, to pull the topic together as well as I'd like to. That means I'd like to look at issues of advocacy, the approach of the law and the approach of the community, and at what it is that education can and should do when there are such divisive issues on the social scene. It is in moments like this that we are called upon to use critical methodology and theory we have learned to try to make this a civil society in whcih you really do have some say about what our nation-state tells the world and does in our name.

    Last week, we started with these three files. I'll carry on from there.

    • teachin01.htm Comments by jeanne on her response to the anti-war teach in at CSUDH.

      I wrote these comments almost immediately after the teach in, while we were still discussing it in most of the classes. It had an odd effect on me. I was angry at how poorly the disagreements were managed, or rather, not managed. I was angry that others, who had not arranged the teach in felt the need and were to some extent supported by the administration to complain that they should have been included in the decision-making of who should take part. Because of the President's call for war in aggressive, hostile, and unilateral moves, there is some sort of "idee dans l'air" that to oppose the war is anti-patriotic. That is nonsense. The President is a man, holding an office questionably awared by the U.S. Supreme Court. He is not infallible. His forces, and those undoubtedly, of his predecessor, failed to offer any warning of threats. He has shown no particularly adept solutions at stopping the "war on terrorism." Those issues alone call into question the extension of that war into a country that has not been shown by evidence acceptable to the world governments as invovled in this "war on terrorism."

      The President's aggressive stance, announced to the world, not just to U.S. citizens, that "you're either with us or against us," paints the issue in black and white, in a way that I have done my best to teach my students is oversimplistic, limited to the "chosen perspective," white, in some cases (Trent Lott), even though we are dealing across the globe with people of color. That may serve the interests of this President. Such a presentation does not, however, serve the interests of higher education in a democracy.

      The media are corporate owned. They make their income from corporate advertisers and sponsors. Their freedom to voice unpleasant and difficult perspectives is limited by the corporate allegiance to profit. The legal objective of corporations in the U.S. is to make money, not to lobby for peace or social justice. Legally, stockholders can hold the corporation to its rightful pursuits.

    • teachin02.htmComments on our anti-war teach in at CSUDH with references.
    • teachin03.htm Sarah Thurman's comments on lack of illocutionary understanding at teach in.

    Current Events: Global and Local Issues on
    Peace and Social Justice:

    Reinterpretation of Theory:

    Two week time-out on theory. I'm taking a holiday break. jeanne

    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. More up on this soon. jeanne

    Grades and End of Semester:

    Grades were truned in on December 18, which is when I thought they were due. I goofed. Sorry. They were due on the 17th. But they're all safely in. Because I continued to upload your comments and write on them, I'm still not finished. But I'm taking a few days off. Christmas, you know. Pat and I went over every thing that we had. but there were over 200 students, so we could have made a mistake. Remember to check out Grades and How to Get Them. If you think there is an error in your grade, please be sure you look at the How To files before you come to see us. jeanne. December 20, 2002.

    Grade procedures and examples were up before Chicago, so I'm assuming you're all up to date. And the e-mail is working again. Tonight, Monday, I managed to get up Veronica Sanders' digital painting of Thoughts for Trent Lott. It's taking ages, and the medicine is still making me terriibly sick. The doctor's sending more. May it stay down. And please don't worry about me. I'm OK, except that the arthritis and scoliosis are so severe I'm having trouble hobbling around, and even typing at the computer. I'm having to take it in slow steps, and I'm not good at that. But the doctors promise that legs, feet, and hands will work again. Soon. jeanne. December 17. 2002.

    Records of Learning

    I didn't get everything posted because there was just too much to get up. Will finish posting them all in a day or so. jeanne. December 20, 2002.

    Health:

    Up soon. But I can guarantee you should avoid both scoliosis and arthritis. jeanne



    Theoretical Musings for Us by Us

      Some thoughts and theories on racism, present day: Up soon. jeanne

    Stories of Lived Experience Lived Experience: Emancipatory Narratives

    Up soon. jeanne

    Art Shenanigans

    1. Political Cartoons and Illocutionary Discourse

    2. Liza Lou

      Liza Lou Liza Lou: Hot young artist in the New York Market. A Los Angeles homegrown.

      1. Back Yard and Kitchen

        "Liza Lou understands that everyday life is paradoxically simple and complex. It takes labor to enjoy leisure-a back yard picnic requires work in the kitchen. By stopping time in a moment of simultaneous domestic perfection and imperfection-notice the shining dustballs in the Kitchen and the spilled beer in the Back Yard-Liza Lou, in a glittering tsunami of empathy and solidarity, suggests how the domestic space embodies our humanity: we are perfect and imperfect." From the curator of Back Yard and Kitchen, Dana Self.

        Notice the emphasis, here placed on "perfection/imperfection," and in our discussions placed on many faces within many spaces, and changing over time and over space. Notice how Liza Lou uses art to ponder some of the same issues we ponder in peace and social justice.


      2. Liza Lou's "Kitchen," on display at the Akron Museum of Art through May 28, is an installation covered in bright, shiny beads. Photo by Aaron Chang. I haven't seen her work yet. But this photo seems to give a feel for both the size and complexity of what she is doing, using typical women's craft beads to challenge the limitations placed on women and fine art.

      3. The Bead Bugle Site This would suggest a Marxian class analysis of the means of art production as either "fine art" or craft. This is increasingly an issue today, and certainly affects the artist's market value.
        "Marcia Tucker, writes in a catalog for a past show held at the Akron Museum of Art, "Lou left art school because she was told that in order to remain as a student she'd have to stop using beads. Clearly, this work is a challenge to traditional ideas of what constitutes 'fine art' because it blurs the lines between amateur and professional and 'high' and 'low' distinctions that are critical to those who maintain a highly restrictive and elitist definition of artists and artworks."

      4. Liza Lou Beaded Environments Exhibit Good view of the Kitchen, with explanatory essay by Sylvia Sur.

      5. Scenes from Deitch Projects, Gallery, New York. I read about the acquisition by Norman Braman, a Florida art collector, of one of her new pieces, "a gleaming life-size scuplture of a dove rising from a man's mouth," . Followed the clue to the Internet and found her art. The article that told of Norman Braman's acquisition was in the Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2002. Alexandra Peers: Flying South for the Warhol. At. p.W9..

  3. Art Media That Lend Themselves to the Play of Art

    Jim Needham This file makes some suggestions on media readily at hand that do not require any formal art training. Needham is doing fine art. He's very probably well trained. But ordinary folks can use his techniques and get good results without intense training. Try it.

    Rockart