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Current Issue: Volume 25, No.18 , Week of December 18, 2005

jeanne's crocodile stamp
Love my crocodile, love my transparent grades!
Links at Learning Records under News and Announcements
Message at 9103 on transform_dom

jeanne's experimentation with a crocodile stamp to make it express what she was imagining


And make a Social Justice New Year's Card for your friends.

NEWS and Announcements Site Map
Previous Issue: Volume 25, No.18 , Week of December 11, 2005
News and Announcements from the Department of Criminal Justice, UWP
News and Announcements from the Department of Sociology, CSUDH

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WWW www.habermas.org

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: December 18, 2005
Latest Update: December 24, 2005

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

Topic of the Week:

Naked Space Spills Over,
and Crocodiles Are Loved

I love this crocodile, the one from our stamp, that is. But I lost him just before Pat and I needed him for our Tupperware party. To make him for our project I had to try to recreate what I remembered of him. So I used several crocodiles scattered about my house in memory of my mother-in-law, who was the first crocodile with whom I came in really close contact. All the sculptures I have are pretty realistic, and fail to capture her as I knew her, but the stamp made her smile and mixed in her loving qualities along with her crocodile nature.

I scribbled and scribbled, and remembered that she was plump in the stamp. I got the smile, but had trouble with the teeth. I wanted her tail to curl up, but never saw any of my sculptures do that. And then I found the stamp. Miraculously. Had no idea where it could have gone. Then suddenly, as I finished a very unsatisfactory linoleum cut of one of my first sketches (we were late getting the project done, of course), I remembered the Trader Vic's bag we had taken to the school for the project with the special education children. (That isn't my bag, by the way. One of you should probably claim it. I thought it was Pat's, but she said no.)

Gracious, how memory does distort. Only as I pasted all my drawings, at least the ones I could find, onto one sheet for comparison, did I realize that in the stamp she isn't plump, she's fairly normal size for a crocodile. Only in my imagination did I make her back curl up. And to no reasonable purpose, for my mother-in-law was not plump. What I hadn't remembered is that the artist of the stamp had altered planes, and drawn her in a 3/4 view, with face and feet facing almost forward. And the artist who made her made her feet less like dogs and cats and more like feet. Good switch, but a little less realistic than I had revisioned her. Reality, or what we take for reality, sometimes confounds our vision. (Notice that in the process of re-imagining my mother-in-law the "him" became a "her.")

I like the the 3/4 view. That's probably what made me remember her as "plump." She's not, if you look closely. The planes are just different from the flatter side view. But I thought the ridge of triangular scales along her back went with dinosaurs, not crocodiles. I like them, anyway. Will need to check out a few more crocodiles.

Notice how what I remember of my mother-in-law, is a part of this process of selection. The trouble with photos is that they insist upon reality unless you have solid photographic skills. That's why so many snapshots are predictable. They portray what we expect the photo to show, not so much an inner reflection of the subject. And they most often capture rigid, predicatable poses, not natural expressive moments. This is an advantage we can gain by using photos or stamps or other artists' renditions as a starting point to capture the feelings we've stored about the person, creature, or object in our memory. Play with a visual stimulus that makes you think of the one you want to capture. Change it until your final image says something about your memory as you'd like to preserve it.

My mother-in-law snapped like a crocodile when she was caught in the frustration of relative deprivation. That means she was angry and hurtful to the young, or even to her own age group, if they reminded her of her own deprivations in the First World War in Warsaw. But she was snapping at the memories of her own childhood hurts. It was during an outburst directed at my daughter in Rome, when I had given my daughter a sweater that my mother-in-law wanted, but had not told me how badly she wanted it, that I saw her transform into the crocodile. The smile, the tail curled up in pleasure, the gentler creature that warred with the anger within, were also a part of who she was. Elizabeth Barrett Browning captures the idea in "How do I love thee; let me count the ways."

See jeanne's first version of the Tupperware project with her mother-in-law, the crocodile:

jeanne's first version of jeanne's mother-in-law, the happy crocodile.

jeanne's Happy Mother-In-Law

The counting of the ways of loving helps us to see the complexity in which each of us are so many different beings caught in different worlds, and the many ways in which we relate to one another. That's easier for me to capture in a piece of art than by trying to put it all into words. And that is the essence of visual sociology, capturing the essence of our relationships in all their complexity, without the need to "explain, predict, and justify" it all in words that often remain out-of-awareness for most of us.

Make a Social Justice New Year's Card for your friends.

Saturday, December 24, 2005:

Merry Christmas Eve to all Christians, and have fun shopping, anyway to all Others. Just to make us all feel better I'm wearing red and green socks with little reindeer in red and white striped socks with my sleep T-shirt that says "She who loves cats." I know, Susan wants a drawing. After learning records are finished.

Please don't feel sorry for me that I'm posting learning records on Christmas Eve. For one thing, I'm ecumenical (I think that means I belong to all religions - if not, I tried - find me the right word); and for another, I'm having great fun answering the messages you asked me to put up for your learning record. Almost to a message they are both responsive and creative, in well chosen words, and they give details about what you've been pondering and learning. This is so much better than tests.

I got to do some Christmas shopping, too. We had lunch yesterday in our favorite little Beverly Hills lunch shop (it's been there for at least twenty years, and they know us) and the lady sitting next to us joined in my discussion with Arnold about how much fun it was to respond to you. She said was a close relative of a Republican senator of long ago, and she was absolutely horrified over Cheney's "imperial presidency" (quote from NY Times editorial yesterday).

When I told her about some of our projects she must have thought I was an art teacher, because when I gave her one of my cards, the one with the drawing of a Japanese goddess statue thousands of years old, she asked if the site offered the drawings for sale. Guess I should put that one up for you, too. It's one of my favorite female goddess images.

This is no longer conservatives-moderates-liberals. Even in the news media (not TV, of course, or at least, for the most part) the issue has become a fundamental principle of governance and safety nets. Our work is cut out for us next semester.

But then we left the nice lady and went over to Francis Orr, where Arnold bought me the sketch folder I had seen last week when we picked up his 2006 diary. I did not beg for three days; I just reminded him every day that he wanted me sketch in New York. The folder is rose burgundy leather with flowers all over it, and it holds my sketch pads, and has a zipper compartment, card compartment, pen holder, so that I can take it with me to all the museums in New York, and I won't have to carry a purse.

Then as we raced back to the car, what should happen but I heard a merry voice call out "Wait, wait. I'm for Arnold." And as I turned to my side, there was a beautiful striped shirt in colors I could never imagine in the window of Garb's, right across the driveway from Francis Orr's. The colors are beautiful. They're perfect for Arnold's red hair. And as I rushed into the store, who should greet us but an elderly man who had helped Arnold buy clothes in several different stores over the years. He knew him; knew me; spoke of how he watched us rushing about on our shopping chores whenever we made it into Beverly Hills these days. Wonderful memories that go back to the days of Eric Ross and Georgio's and later Fred Hayman's in a much earlier Beverly Hills. Arnold will get to wear the shirt in New York, and he will be beautiful.

Our Santa Claus came early. And my jaguars shared cookies and diet Dr. Pepper with him. I'll never know how the three of them managed it as they hopped and played among the power lines as we drove home, but nary a drop of Dr. Pepper nor a single cookie crumb fell to the ground of reality out there all the way home.

Well, time to get up learning records. Merry Christmas and Happy Winter Solstice to all, and to all a well-earned A.

love and peace and happy, happy holidays, jeanne

NEWS, Announcements, and

Current Events Discussion Topics:

Learning Records - About one third of the learning records from the Learning Record Site are posted. I will do my best to finish them tomorrow. The first person who sends me an e-mail saying that "mine's not up" is a rotten egg and I'll come after you! The Dean's office knows they're coming in a day or so late, and I want them to be as correct as all my records can manage. I didn't post grades on all of them yet. I'm doing it bit by bit. No message in that. Just the order they come up in on my computer. love and peace, jeanne

We don't have an office anymore. They moved us out last week, while I was having a reaction to the radiation therapy. All our stuff got moved across the hall, but it's in no condition for immediate use. So communicate with me over the site and transform_dom. Pat's coming up on Thursday, and we plan to put up the grades. Check learning records starting Thursday, December 15, after radiation therapy. We hope to get moved into the office across the hall by late January. jeanne

  • Conference in June 2006

    Please check out the proposal I submitted on Christmas Eve. If you want to go, we need to start thinking about money NOW!

  • The Ecstasy Exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art through February 20.
    "Ecstasy" is the trippy, messy, highly entertaining survey put together by Paul Schimmel of the Museum of Contemporary Art here. It sprawls through the Geffen Contemporary, the museum's cavernous warehouse in Little Tokyo, which too often begs for attention but is now jammed with blissed-out mobs.

    Visual Sociology

    • Understanding Science as an Interactive Component of Sociology

      Photo of proposed landing vessel for Mars, by Lester del Rey, 1957, taken from The Griffith Observer.

      Proposed Landing Vessel for Mars
      by Lester del Rey, 1957

      Taken from The Griffith Observer

      How has the conception of landing on Mars changed us over the last fifty years? Can we accurately describe the social context in which we live without being aware of images like this that have been part of our scientific community for fifty years? It is for reasons like this that a liberal arts education was once kept vividly alive, to keep us aware of the many public spheres we must take into account as we try to understand the world in which we live. Read widely. Live out loud.

    • Live Out Loud

      A card project on social justice you can play with over the holidays.

      jeanne's first version of live out loud.

      Patterns and instructions for the basic card.

    Jeanne's Lectures for Fall 2005

    Academic Support and Resource Links

  • SquiggleResource Literacy

    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

    • Career Options You Might Not Have Considered

      • visual media and their interdependence with other means of knowing to understand that we are not totally rational creatures deciding things apart from our feelings and values. Wolfowitz (new President of the World Bank to aid developing countries AND principle advocate of the Iraq War) might feel very differently when he is exposed to visual and aural images of the poor developing countries that have not before been his primary concern. So we want to know how best to present those developing countries visually. And we might find that we can have a career doing that sort of thing, so it does reflect on us as individuals. Added April 2, 2005.

    That Was Fun! Sneaky Strokes and Flying Good Dogs

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

    • Icons and acronyms and what they mean in Internet Speak

    • Index of Nice Things We've Said to Each Other

      • The Experience of a New Student

      • It Feels Good to Make a Difference

      • The Site Goes On - You're Always Welcome Back
        • From Angelique Hawley on December 16, 2005: Message No. 9072 on transform_dom.
          Merry Christmas! Jeannne and Pat and all the marvelous students at CSUDH that has shared in "Naked Space"

          I wish I had a lot of money so that I could reward all of you properly. Transform_domDigest is so wonderful.

          I can recall when being one of the first users in 2004 and I see we are at digest 594. my how time flies when we are learning and having fun.

          Jeanne you and Pat are the bomb!

          I continue to read the digest although I am not taking any of your classes now. The digests have been more informative than the school paper. Please continue to keep it going.

          Get rest ! I hope to see you .

    • Flying Good Dogs: Whenever something happens in this or any other 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.