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Volume 18, No. 6, Week of September 29, 2003

jeanne's schedule - Susan's Class Page Archive NEW
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Previous Issue: Volume 18, No. 5, Week of September 22, 2003
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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan, Transcend Art and Peace
Latest Update: October 1, 2003

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The California Recall as envisioned by Rita Brown and painted by jeanne.

What if the California election were real?

Topic of the Week:

Hypotheticals? What if . . .the California Election were real???
Friday, September 26, 2003: Well, this week our topic comes out of the graduate theory class. We were talking about the visual representation of the topic of answerability for our Fall project. I had brought in my triptich of paintings on the South African Landscape, and we talked about how much more could be communicated and grasped with a visual approach. The need for visual representation follows from our commitment that learning not only should but must be provided to the whole community, not just to those of us who temporarily are experiencing the quasi-freedom of school time. I call it quasi-freedom because most of us have almost no discretionary time. School, like work and family, fits in wherever we can manage it.

While I talked about the ways in which I tried to use the concept of answerability to break the denial of apartheid, and to take full responsibility as a member of the global community for what apartheid had wrought, how I had used iconology to symbolize the oppression I saw only because I forced myself to see it, not to glance quickly past it. While I talked about the visual means I have found to refuse complicity, Rita Brown sketched her vision for a visual essay dealing with the issue of answerability in the recall election.

Like Katie Williams, Rita is still convinced that stick figures and stick drawings display primarily a shameful lack of competence in the field of art. Rita refused to share her drawing with anyone after she had shown it to me. She didn't even want to share it with Adrienne Ordorica. Naturally, everyone in the class tried to persuade her to share her drawing, stick figures or no. And right in the middle of the hullabaloo, I realized what a beautiful example this was of what Bakhtin means about answerability. Here was Rita saying an emphatic NO to us. And here were we convinced that she must not say NO. Doesn't that sound like what Bakhtin means when he asks "What shall I say when the Other can answer? And one thing I'm reasonably sure he woud say would be to listen respectfully and in good faith the the Other, for the Other is as entitled to her Answer as we are to our Utterance. So Wednesday night's class stuck in my head.

As I went to create a drawing for this week's topic, that whole class scene came back and What if . . . the California elections were real??? is the result. Because Rita chose to share her drawing to me, and a very few others, I had her image in my head. And it was on her vision that I build this week's painting. Of course, my software balked and wouldn't let me paint over the collaged faces. So I collaged the rest of the painting. Talk about winging it! But I managed to get up Gray Davis and Bustamante and Huffington and McClintock, and I substituted a face for the blank that Rita left to represent Schwarzenegger's non-answerability up to the time of this Wednesday debate. Since he was taking part in this debate I gave him a cartoon face that ended up like most of my drawings looking like Arnold, my Arnold, not Schwarzenegger. That's what he gets for non-answerability.

I hope you'll notice the chads strewn about and the poor confused flags. We can't seem to decide whether we should take this for a serious democratic process or the carnival as it's playing out. The balloons mingled with the chads and stars and stripes to create a climate of chaos. But the candidates are smiling. Now, I wonder about that iconography. I borrowed Follywood from Randall Enos whose map graced last week's issue.

Wednesday night's lecture that went with this whole discussion up soon. jeanne. Friday afternoon.

Monday, September 29, 2003: I'd like to go back to the title of this week's painting: Hypotheticals? What if . . .the California Election were real??? What I mean by this is that for the first time in my memory this whole recall procedure is hyper-real. And then I went off to define hyper-real for you, with the help of Baudrillard and his simulacre. And I got lost in cyberspace art. Sorry. I'll come back to the hyper-real, but do go look under art shenanigans at the cyber art.

By hyper-real, we mean real that's larger than life itself, kind of like Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Terminator. The virtual world doesn't die when we kill it. It keeps coming back like was it Freddie in Friday the Thirteenth that never seemed to stay dead, and who comes back as the interminable bad guy in every movie ever since?

By hyper-real, we mean a governor who wasn't just non-charismatic and relatively aloof, we mean so aloof that he's near become an icon for it.

By hyper-real, we mean an election that includes pornographers, porn stars, every Thomasina, Dick, and Harriet who wanted their fifteen minutes of fame for $3500.

We have citizens who are planning to vote for Schwarzenegger because we need the power of the Terminator. Dear me! I think Baudrillard would have challenged us for confusing the real with the hyper-real. With not knowing quite what reality is anymore and how we got here. Real would mean putting the fantasy down and talking about the life-threatening issues in our future health care and environmental concerns. Real would mean putting aside the fantasy of a "healthy" economy, and talking about what a debt of $150 billion really means in terms of education, health, jobs, homes, and food, both here and in the larger world out there. Hyper-real means leaving it to the screen heros, the hulks who can solve any problem with a puch or a leap, as long as the writers can be fired and/or replaced. This IS reality, folks. We ARE the writers. Hell, we ARE the characters. This is OUR fantasy. jeanne

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Research Projects in Progress:

Sunday, September 21, 2003. Research and Conferences: Visual Essay Project Proposal: Fall 2003 This project is open to both UWP and CSUDH students. If you're interested, please let jeanne or Susan know as soon as possible. E-mail will do. This is the initial proposal, and I want all of you to be able to share in the planning. No particular visual skill is required. We will use photos, video, collage, drawings, paintings, sculptures of whatever is at hand. And we will work in groups so that no one has to do it all. But the groups will be amorphous; you may come and go as life happens; and you may turn in your own work separately if that proves best. Join the fun!

A Range of Sources on Global Events

Left/Right Perspectives - Cursor - New York Times
Arts and Letters Daily - The Economist - The Guardian
Wall Street Journal -The Weekly Standard - The Nation
Los Angeles Times - Chicago Tribune - The Washington Post
Cursor's Al Jazeera Archive - Ha'aretz - Palestine Monitor

Indymedia - Mother Jones - BBC News - New Profile
Progressive Sociologists Network

Using Academic Language Effectively:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

Dictionary of Critical Sociology
Maintained by Robert E. Mazur, Associate Professor, Iowa State University, Sociology.

Words of Art: Front Page
Wonderful Fine Arts dictionary at Okanagan University College in Canada.
Will cover many of the terms social theory shares with literary theory.

Today's Word: From the Word.A.Day Site

Social Theory across Disciplines:

Peace and Social Justice

Advanced Theory:

  • Tuesday, September 30, 2003. Myers-Briggs Typology: Ethical Use of Typologies See if this helps you develop some arguments on the ethical use of racial and ethical profiling.

  • Monday, September 29, 2003. Donna Haraway Dire Need for Definition: or There's an easy way, and there's a Harraway. . . By Daniel Parke. I believe Daniel Parke was or is a student at Brown University and part of Eng 111 or 112. They have lots of student essays up, and this one shows how useful they can be as part of our teaching. I think you should at least recognize Donna Haraway's name and her connection to the Cyberborg. This recognition is essential to both feminist and critical theory. Read the Blade Runner dialog and the intro to get the feel for her work. jeanne
    If this aspect of theory interests you, you might want to look also at Replicants: More Human than Human

  • Sunday, September 28, 2003. The AfterWar: Drunk on Rummy Moderate to left perspective New York Times article on Rumsfeld and the War. Backup.

  • Sunday, September 28, 2003. Medical Statistics: Bone Diagnosis Gives New Data but No Answers Statistical Interpretation and Medical Research on Osteoporosis Backup

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Commentaries on Issues

Susan and I are still trying to figure out how best to integrate UWP and CSUDH comments. For now, the issues are separating them, and Susan and I are uploading separately. Suggestions welcome. jeanne

Lived Experience:

Emancipatory Narratives

Kids, Etc.: Stuff to Share with Others

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Art Shenanigans

  • Monday, September 29, 2003. CyberArt:

    Cyberspace Art by Michelle J. Neuringer, And They Shall Make Me a Mikdash. On the CyberArt website. I came across this wonderful discussion of a Bat Mitzvah and the later study of Jewish law. It was so beautifully done I put it up for a young lady I know who recently had her own Bat Mitzvah. Enjoy. By the way, Rashi is the commentator I studied in Rashi script at the University of Judaism. To enter the site at the beginning, link on the painting. There is much to be learned here. jeanne

    Lesley's haridos dancing.
    Lesley's Dancing Hairdos

    Saturday, September 27, 2003: Lesley came to tell me on Thursday that she had to pick up Serina? and wouldn't be in class later. And she had a whole nother hairdo! Then she told me she was dancing more lately. Lesley is a dancer. Of course, she has to have hairdos. But now I can only think of her in multiples of Lesley Dancing. jeanne

    Academic Discourse

  • Monday, September 8, 2003: Consistency:Sample Checkin for Consistency By Tanya Newton, CSUDH.

    Wednesday, October 1, 2003. NEED HELP? jeanne set up a set of instructions for a first submission. We will give these instructions to the CLASS tutoring group in the small college, and you may also share them with each other. Time to get started on sumbissions, kids.