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Dear Habermas
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Current Issue:
Volume 20, No. 6, Week of July 4, 2004

Please use the California State University, Dominguez Hills Mirror Site for the next few weeks.
Updating Indices, including Topic Index and Site Index
Organizing new material to fit into visual sociology and visual criminology context.
jeanne, Web Technicienne, June 11, 2004; still reorganizing. July 3, 2004

King Tut's Squirrel

Hansel, follow the peanut trail downstairs and out the front door.

Hansel, follow the peanut trail downstairs and out the front door, please.

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: June 24, 2004
Latest Update: July 2, 2004

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Topic of the Week: Transparency:

And Wanting You to Be Like Me
And Having to Know when the Other Needs to Be Not Like Me

July 2, 2004

I need to explain how Hansel following peanuts to find his/her way out of the house came about. That once young cat of mine, King Tut of Gray Puss came in with an adolescent squirrel the other day. Tut carried him very gently, by the scruff of the neck, right upstairs to our bedroom. We were not pleased. We restrained Tut and opened every door in the house to coax the squirrel out. This went on for hours, each time with the squirrel running in the opposite direction from whichever door he was near. We tried to trap Hansel briefly in a little box and carry him outside. We bumped into each other, and Hansel came dashing out of the box. So much for agility. Finally, we gave up and went to bed, hoping that Hansel the Squirrel had found his way out. We already have two cats and a regular cat visitor. And we're thinking of a dog to complete the family, not a squirrel. But the next morning a teen-age squeak assured us that we still had the squirrel. We assumed he was thriving on the catfood, but surely he would be happier out of doors.

Realizing that the squirrel hadn't followed my reasoning, and following Bruner's admonition to bring things down to a concrete level, I resorted to Hansel and Gretel. Crumbs, aha! Crumbs ought to do it. But our squirrels like peanuts. Transfer of learning. If crumbs worked with Hansel and Gretel, peanuts ought to work with our Hansel. Did it work? Was our theory supported? Well, none of us have seen Hansel for days now, and no teen-age squeaks, so we hope we have a happy ending.

Have a happy Fourth of July and have a few peanuts with your hot dogs, thinking of Hansel chattering in our sycamore tree, we hope!

July 1, 2004
I've been thinking a lot, one of the Catch 22's of the university allowing me time to think through partial retirement. I like it. But I really need the vacation of coming back to classes. I could get too intense like this. Several concepts I'd like to add to our repertoire of discourse issues have come up in my reading and writing and in your reading and writing. Susan sent me Zemsky's report on the misuse of technology in higer education. Our "not so new technology" needs to be aware of class differences in access; it needs to not just add glamour on top of the traditional scene, it needs to bring transparency to the development of competence. It needs to bring collaborative work to an academy that has become obsessively adversarial. I feel almost like we've been scammed into trying to teach students to use computers in ways that won't advance learning hardly at all, as it affects the whole community, but will add new disciplines of mystery within the academy that will continue to support the dominant discourse and the ruling elite of the corporate world. That's a lot. I'll explain it slowly over the next week, I hope.

Teresa Mason sent me one of the Internet pieces floating about on elections. It's just a list of all the things that Dubya has reportedly, allegedly, done. On spoofs like this we don't have to meet rules of evidence. They're to laugh and bring us together against a common opposition, in this case, Dubya. But not everyone is against Dubya. The Dear Habermas role is one I think Habermas would be proud of, to look at the Fwd., together wiith a similar piece from the Republicans, and compare their forums, their outreach, their tenor and affect, and then to demand that some evidence be garnered to support the various positions. I was amazed that David Brooks did the same kind of out-of-context tearing apart of quotes from Michael Moore that the anonymous writer did of the Fwd. on the Internet. So this making the other side a joke isn't class based. And it's a lot like bullying. When bullying becomes so common that those who are competent to engage in real discourse choose not to, I think we're in trouble. Brooks bullied Michael Moore, who in turn had shown off, kind of bully-like depending on the situational context, in his portrayal of Americans abroad. Just don't forget, David Brooks, that truth is a defense.

That helps me define where we're going, who we are on Dear Habermas. I love to laugh with you. And there's no question I'll vote for Kerry. But that doesn't mean that all the evidence says Kerry is wonderful and Bush is terrible. Yes, we can play. But after years in my classes, I know that you know that I'm going to yank you back to substantiate some of this. To look at data, to reason, to look for spurious associations.

And that means I have to clarify many things for myself as well as for you. There are untruthful, deceitful people in this world. There are also people in this world who have been misled and not exposed to governance discourse principles.Our job to create and maintain the process of governance discourse is simply to expose that deceit and untruth, and then find ways to talk about it in which our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues, will come to respect governance discourse as an integral requirement for their freedom. To this end I put up tonight some games on Republcan and Democratic websites. They're fun. Get your friends to play. Then lead them into governance discourse. The games don't do that. But you could. That's how we ought to sway elections; not by buying them, not by labelling and name calling, by substantive discourse with real arguments and some genuine thinking and dissent.

Try those games, and try to see Hirschman's concern that we aren't really interacting or reasoning, but merely hurling epithets at one another. Don't I have a student who's willing to try to put together a real game that does reach issues and morals and ethics, without deciding for the game player which side he should choose? Maybe Jerome Krase does. His kids are lots more advanced on computers because they actually have some, and the software to go with them. But I've always been fondest of the photos I made with an oatmeal box with a pinhole in it. We've got art, music, texts, and spirit. Why can't we work on a good game?

What's an activist teacher? One who goes out and waves signs in protests, one who rarely leaves the computer, one who supports causes he/she perceives as making the world better? What do I have to do to be "activist?" I think that's just another way to ask about answerability. There are things that matter to me. Do I answer, and make my voice heard on the things that matter to me? Governance dicourse matters enormously to me. And, judging by my own experience and that of many of my colleagues, governance dicourse matters little to the academy. This afternoon, I think I'll go back to David Harvey's book on geography of time and space, and Chin-Tao Wu's Privatization of Culture. I discovered some thoughts inthere the other day I think might help in this discussion.

More very soon . . . jeanne

The Chairman of the GOP has a Chairman's Corner he calls "Ed's "Blog" The language of social change. jeanne

Debriefing the Naked Space Exhibit


This IS A Hypertext Project Map
For The Naked Space Exhibit "Freeing the Feminine Other" in May 2004
Link on Section Titles for Hypertext Poem and Contents.

NEWS and Announcements:

  • EVENT:

    Amnesty International announces one of their live chats, where you can ask questions and have discourse with those who are knowledgeable about the topic: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Urgent Actions, But Were Afraid To Ask
    July 7, 2004.

    "Question Submitted by Jeanne:

    Is it effective to place several signatures on one letter, or is it more effective for us to provide samples and ask our students to each write his/her own? A university teacher.

    UAN Staff answers:

    "Who knows what is more effective? This is what my experience indicates to me: it can be very effective to have a 6-week global Urgent Action campaign which results in appeals arriving in different languages and different formats. So, a letter-petition - a letter signed by many people- can be a strong statement of concern. Many letters, based on sample texts and those that are written individually are also great ways to express concern. The idea is that the mix of kinds of appeals will likely be effective. Also, practically speaking, there are times when you know it is more likely that you will get 20 students to sign a letter which has already been written than to get those 20 students to sit down with blank sheets of paper and write their own appeals. We would love it if they did, but it doesn't always happen. So you have to go with what produces something that can be sent to an official, even if it is only one letter. -Scott"

  • Doing Something About Human Rights with Amnesty International and the Naked Space.

  • Held Over: Pensions Are a Crapshoot Based on recent news announcements by United Airlines, reported in a Business article in the New York Times. Backup of NYT article. Discussion questions up soon, I hope. jeanne

  • Held Over: The Truth About the Drug Companies By Marcia Angell. The New York Review of Books. Backup. Minimal essay material up. Discussion questions soon, I hope. jeanne

Grades for Spring 2004 Classes

To our knowlege grades are in. If you have a problem with your grade, email me with a cc to Pat at patriciaacone@hotmail.com. jeanne

Readings for Fall 2004 Classes

  • Up soon.

Academic Support

  • SquiggleFinding Internet Resources

  • SquiggleEvaluating Internet Resources

    • Evaluating Hoax Email with samples, including an old one about charging for email that's going around again. Link updated March 29, 2004.
    • Evaluating Internet Resources Library Site at University of North Carolina. Don't forget to question. This is a good detailed source. Link checked March 29, 2004.
  • Using Academic Language and Visuals Effectively

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

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

    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.

    Citation Styles Citing Internet Sources for Social Science Papers: A Quick Note.

    APA Style Style sheet for Psychology. Good reference for proper rules of citation.

    Twenty-five Easy Steps Toward a Correctly-Formatted Paper or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love MLA by Keith O'Neill. Style sheet for humanities.

    Internet Mission Photography Archive

    and Careers

    • Job Potential:

    • Resumes:

    • Letters of Recommendation:

      • Letters of Recommendation: How to get me to respond to your request. Many of you need letters. If you will follow this format, I can do them quickly and make them good.
      • Dog Letters If you do not give me adequate information, but do manage to get my attention, you may end up with a dog letter. That is a letter that says that you work well with people, that you are enthusiastic, that you persist at getting things done, and that everyone likes you. Of course, my dog gets along well with people, brings his ball to them, is enthusiastic, and persists at getting them to take his ball. Everyone likes my dog. That's a dog letter. It's so general it could be about my dog. jeanne

    • Reports and Studies on Employment and the Job Market
      • More soon. . .

    Play:

    • Steve Schalchlin's Diary


      Jim Brochu, Steve Schalchlin
      Writer/Performers of The Big Voice: God or Merman?

      Photo credit:Bruce Bennett/Stages Repertory Theatre

    • Marx and the Fourth of July

    • Internet games on the election issues --- well, on the election, anyway:

      • In These Games, the Points Are All Political By Michael Erard. New York Times. Published: July 1, 2004. Backup.

      • Dean for America Game You can people the state of Iowa with Dean Supporters and position a campaigner so the most people get to see her Dean sign. I got one person to see it. Guess I'm interpassive.
      • Kerryopoly On the Republican National Committee website.
      • The Kerryoke Lounge On the Republican National Committee website.
      • John Kerry: Tax Invaders This one worked for me. Although I wasn't sure what was happening, except that I was moving the President Bush. Oops. I was supposed to click on President Bush's head, while moving it to shoot down the green tax bullets with yellow not-tax bullets. Gee, I would never have thought of using Bush's head as gWeapon of Mass Destruction. Weird game. Kerry might like it. On the Republican National Committee website.
      • Bushgame Sponsored by the American Fear Clothing Company for Disaffected Youth, apparently an online store. I couldn't figure the game out. Maybe I'm not adequately disaffected our adequately young.

    Who to TakeWho To Take:

    Don't forget to add your comments for next year's students. jeanne



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