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Current Issue: Volume 21, No. 8. Week of October 17, 2004

jeanne's first version of the New Pejoratives
The New Pejoratives and Hurling Curses

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: October 16, 2004
Latest Update: October 18, 2004

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

Topic of the Week:

The New Pejoratives and Hurling Curses

We've talked about Albert O. Hirschman's Rhetoric of Reaction,about our proclivity for insulting one another from the arrogance of conviction with no intention of good faith listening, good faith argument, and putting the best minds in our country to solving some very real and very complex social issues, not the least of which is war and killing. Hirschman talks of shouting "We're going to hell in a hand-basket, no matter what you do." Well in the final debate Wednesday night, George Bush hurled the adjective "liberal" at Kerry with all the venom of McCarthy red-baiting. And Kerry demurred ever so disingenuously that Dick Cheney's daughter was "just born that way," in a show of alleged illocutionary acceptance.

Well, at least now we're clear that liberal and gay are big time pejoratives to be hurled in any situation where you need rhetoric to escort you safely through the blazing fire of conflict bred by difference and diversity. I'm ashamed that the world is seeing this as governance discourse in America. I can't blame anyone in particular. Everybody's doing it. That doesn't make it right. Even Nader said the other night on KCET, "Well, if I'm a spoiler, then so are Bush and Kerry." So "spoiler" is one of the new pejoratives. But what happened to the logic? In a two-party system, in a tightly contested two-way race, the third party splits the votes of one candidate, making it harder for the other to have an equal playing field. Until the system has adjusted to acknowledge the legitimate importance of the addition of other parties and of coalitions in governance, the effec of a third candidate, with the possibility of drawing 3% of the vote, can throw the election the other way. Nader knows that. He can engage in engage in rational substantive argument over the issues that we certainly need to address, but which will have no effect in the campaign but to split the vote that is closer to actually honoring the need for such substantive argument. I hold him responsible for the ethics of that decsion.

Nader can't have his own private social issue campaign right smack in the middle of as bitterly fought an election as this one. He's stealing the value of my vote, by splitting the alleged "liberal vote," when in fact there is no choice but conservative and less conservative, with a touch of liberal thrown in with the less conservative. I resent the denial that says splitting Kerry's left of center vote is not throwing the election to the conservative. It's an old political trick, practiced by Democrats and Republicans. Not practiced by Independents because there aren't enough to split. I considered it unethical thirty years ago when I watched it happen locally, and I still consider it unethical. It used to be called "divide and conquer."

That puts the ball back in our court, folks. Our leaders can't get away with such embarassing non-campaigning unless we accept it in silence. Pejoratives are cheap shots, one-sided arguments that are taking the precious air-time we have to assess our candidates positions. Pejoratives and tactics which promote one's individual advantage but not those of the people, are not acceptable, do not deserve to be tolerated, and if we tolerate them in silence we are complicit in the failure to solve the complex issues that face us.

If people in this country really believe that the conservative position on the wealth gap and on safety nets is more acceptable than the "progressive" position of reducing that wealth gap and guaranteeing essential safety nets, then that's something I can deal with. But this campaign isn't dealing with those issues openly and in their complexity. It's dealing in sound bites, one-sided arguments, at a time when we most need the best minds of our country to seriously tackle our very real social issues.

I'll add lectures on the rhetoric of reaction and on the electoral college, and on other theoretical issues tomorrow. jeanne

NEWS, Announcements, and

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To make us feel better:

Autumn in Wisconsin by Susan
i thought your "kids" would like to see what changing seasons look like around here in wisconsin. being a native californian, i've grown to like the changing seasons out here. it reminds me how time is passing. my favorite season is autumn (but the downside is that winter is coming up next!)

susan

Moving Transform Discussion Group to Yahoo.

We are trying to move the online discussion group to Yahoo Groups because we are unable to use threading and archiving on the CSUDH server. Until I can set up my own software, I'm hoping that the Yahoo solution will work for us.

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Group name: transspan Group home page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transspan Homepage for discussion in Spanish Group email: transspan@yahoogroups.com To mail to Transform Dominant Discourse in Spanish.

Topic of the Week

The New Pejoratives and Hurling Curses

If people in this country really believe that the conservative position on the wealth gap and on safety nets is more acceptable than the "progressive" position of reducing that wealth gap and guaranteeing essential safety nets, then that's something I can deal with. But this campaign isn't dealing with those issues openly and in their complexity. It's dealing in sound bites, one-sided arguments, at a time when we most need the best minds of our country to seriously tackle our very real social issues.

Shared Projects for Transforming Discourse: Jigsaw Puzzle on Respect

Now that I've expressed the anger and frustration at the whole left perspective being disrespected by those preently in administrative power (Pepinsky, Peacemaking Primer), I woke to the most exciting birthday I've ever had. Shared projects for transforming dominant discourse are exploding all around me. First, the doorbell rang right in the middle of talking to Millie Coulter about her thesis. I thought it was Pat. It was actually flowers from my daughter and son-in-law. Hey, the world cares that I'm still alive! And there's a card from Susan and e-mail cards from lots of you. Thank you. THERE IS ONTOLOGICAL HOPE! Oops! I forgot Millie was on the phone! Back to the Shared Projects.

On Thursday, I described the jigsaw puzzle I was thinking of. You'll now find it at Jigsaw Project Only on UWP until I can fix habermas.org. jeanne

Shared Projects for Transforming Discourse: Finishing up a Master's Degree Project that someone will want to read.

Millie Coulter is finishing up her thesis. She has done what the university requires and it makes for pretty boring reading because it leaves her out. That's what you're supposed to do in academic writing. Except that, then, who wants to read it. On Wednesday, October 20, 2004, (SBS E 104, 1 - 4 p.m.) we'll be working on two shared projects:

  • Creating shared book projects for which jeanne is bringing books, magazines, paint, paste, scissors, all that good stuff to create projects that will help us start up social issue discussions in our gallery exhibit.

  • Turning a traditional thesis into a project that can transform sominant discourse on obesity. We'll have hardcopy of Millie's thesis, and we'll spread it out and work on it together.

    I strongly recommend that graduate students who can make this session do so. Even though you may elect to take the comprehensive exams instead of a thesis project, it helps to have gone through the experience or at least have seen it up close and personal.

First International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

First International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry "The First International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry will take place at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, from May 5-7, 2005." Call for online submissiion of papers. I will set up a planning group. Deadline for submission: December 1. Happy thanksgiving. jeanne

Voting Information

  • Propositions - Recommendations and Analysis in Detail: League of Women Voters of California
  • Propositions 60 and 62: Primary Elections Berkeley
  • Proposition 66: Limitation on "Three-Strikes" Law Berkeley

    Political Cartoons

  • jeanne's Lecture Notes:

    • Chronological Index to Lecture Notes

    • An Artist's Statement by Knut LSG Hybinette Knut has caught in this simple statement much of what we teach in transforming dominant discourse. Be sure to check out his work for the October Exhibition. jeanne Link added October18, 2004.

    • New Shared Reading on the effect of Clinton's sex play on the present election: How important is Clinton's sexual philandering in the 2004 election?
    • Lecture on a project I'd like to try: In issues of gender and poverty and incarceration and race, I would consider setting out social constructs like bits of a jigsaw puzzle and looking for different patterns that might emerge if we use deconstruction to reconfigure them. I'd actually like to build the jigsaw puzzle as an interactive activity for the gallery exhibit on November 30 and December 1. Anyone willing to play with me on this one? More up soon.
    • I'd really like to create a movable sculpture with pieces we could move around like giant chess pieces and in the process reconstruct the cycle of poor school, ghettoized community, limited paths out, incarceration, out and back into the cycle of poverty and class and race as an interactive activity for the gallery exhibit on November 30 and December 1. Anyone willing to play with me on this one? More up soon. as an interactive activity for the gallery exhibit on November 30 and December 1. Anyone willing to play with me on this one? More up soon.
    • Some classic theory we need. One-sided and two-sided arguments, the American Soldier, and relative deprivation. Certification vs. education and the conceptual link to competence. A nurse makes a mistake at MLK, and her need for air traffic controllers. The strength of marriage and family roles, and how they affect our lives as unstated, almost iconic, expectations and assumptions.
    • Lecture up soon on George Soros on Why Not to Elect Bush
    • Lecture up soon on An Inexplicable Vote for Death Editorial from the New York Times, October 9, 2004. Backup This is one of the major social issues in the election. Where do you stand on mistakes that you made and how you correct them? Bush never answered it in Friday night's debate. He doesn't make mistakes. Here's one. The judges are appointed by the President on the Federal Bench and the U.S. Supreme Court, this man's last resort.
    • Lecture Notes on Joan Didion's article, "Politics in the 'New Normal' America." Uploaded Saturday, October 9, 2004.
    • Background Theory for the Discussions We Were Having White privilege; Bush as "stupid"; "we know they're going to close MLK, so why bother?; not enough nurses in California, so hospitals in danger of closing; obesity, agency and the social construction of control; nation-state and sovereignty and international law. Lecture notes from Thursday, October 8, 2004.
    • Truth and Constitutive Theory Lecture notes from October 6, 2004.

  • Mentoring
  • Academic Support

    Using Academic Language Effectively

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

    and Careers

    • 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

    Play:

    jeanne's first version of Walk a Crooked Mile: Talking Cat with Arnold's Unopenable Jack Daniels

    Talking Cat with Arnold's Unopenable Jack Daniels
    on the Kitchen Table
    October 8, 2004

  • Shared Project Story

  • Teacher's Guide to Professional Cartoonist's Index Wonderful Cagle Site in which they offer lesson plans and discussion questions along with their cartoons. This is a delightful aid for teaching. In other words, teaching yourself, your kids, your friends, your parents. Ideas galore here to develop projects for our Naked Space Gallery Show.

    Crayola Creativity Center Go play! jeanne

  • Special Treats for Our Younger Friends

    • Campus Weblines: Your High School Can Find Its Voice Online New York Times special project for young people interested in online journalism. Link added October 17, 2004.

      I am investigating a link with the New York Times Learning Network to link Dear Habermas into the online journalism Learning Network. Because we operate as a weekly journal already, there may not be much more to do to provide daily social issues news in English and Spanish in a special section of the site. Any of you interested in taking your social science career in the direction of non-fiction writers who write for public edification? This might be a good chance to develop some career possibilities. And your writing skills.

    That Was Fun! Sneaky Strokes and Flying Good Dogs

    Flying Dog is also a painting by Zhang Kai. Best I've every come across to illustrate our site with magic numbers and unicorns and whipped cream cats and now, flying dogs:

    Flying Good Dogs: Whenever something happens in class that works out well, that inspires you, that helps in studying, whatever, take a few minutes to send us an e-mail. We'll post it where all of us can learn from it, including other teachers.

    You can also send an email to the Who to Take Site:



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