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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: September 22, 2005
Latest Update: September 22, 2005
Kara shared with us what she had observed in watching a murder trial in which the defendant was a former gang member, in his forties. His many tatoos were shown as evidence that he was a gang member and therefore it was reasonable that he had indeed shot at a police officer. Kara was upset that the man's defense attorney did not object to the unstated assumption that the tattoos identified him as a current and active gang member. Tattoos are expensive and painful to remove. Kara's experience has shown that older gang members give up gang activity as they marry and have families. Kara is going to work with us on material that we can distribute to police, prosecution, defense attorneys, and social workers that will state very clearly and concisely in plain English those tattoos as not definitive proof that the older gang member is still active. Arnold, when I told him Wednesday night, said that some of the defense attorneys have asked whether the date of the tattooing can be established, and they were told no. We'll need to search for other ways of establishing that gang activity is ended with that individual.
We also started into the text, Everything Bad Is Good for You,by Steven Johnson. The purpose of the text is stated on p.9:"It's the story of how systems analysis, probability theory, pattern recognition, and ---amazingly enough---old-fashioned patiencebecame indispensable tools for anyone trying to make sense of modern pop culture."
We had just discussed the power of the visual setting in reinforcing expected behavior. The chairs sit all in straight rows, while the teacher stands before the class at a podium. One glance defines acceptable behavior. The student is to remain passively silent; there is hardly enough space for doing anything else. And the teacher occupies the space of disciplinary power. Front and center. Look carefully at the out-of-awareness power of this arrangement in reinforcing the subordination of the student and the authority of the teacher. Would you believe that when Waite Phillips Hall of Education was built at USC they nailed or screwed the chairs to the floor in that pattern. The professors had conniption fits! Notice how close this configuration pattern fits the socially constructed idea of colonialism, in which the native is taught to obey. You might also be interested that many parents in the Social Survey say that to obey is the most important thing their child should learn. Lots to think about here.
What Steven Johnson is saying in this text is that we need to practice to conscious awareness the social logical skills of systems analysis, probability theory, pattern recognition, and good faith observance and interpretation if we are to avoid being subordinated in this culture. AND that pop culture does provide some of those skills.
This kind of conscious awareness and oral and visual methods of dissemination of information is what the pop culture offers. Unfortunately they rarely provide the theory along with it, but our analyses are better when we can cross check them and replicate them with some solid theory and methodology.
We also engaged in a dialog on Freakonomics analysis of crime going down when abortion is legal, and the different perspectives on availability of medical techniques to the poor, and the long term effects of that availability. For example, we spoke of what happens to the children, as they grow up and find themselves in inadequately funded inner city schools. We considered that an alternative explanation of the significance of the statistics on crime and abortion might suggest that we must as a society provide real learning and safe and healthy schools so that the children who are born even though their parents can't afford them aren't neglected on a never equal playing field. This leads to the issue that children are a state interest, when we've been assuming all along that parents are the responsible parties.
Michael has taken in a Katrina family where the fathers of the children are unknown and most of the children are already in the criminal justice system. He's going to tell us more about the 15 year-old he has taken under his wing.
Special Topics: Love 1A
- P. 140 in Jonathan Lear's Love and Its Place in Nature: "The world exists because we love it."
I tried to explain how Jonathan Lear came up with this phrase, nad how it came from Freud's Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego. The self and its perspective of the world it lives in develop interactively, each affecting the other. Freud's theory that the sexuality drive is the primary drive, since it fits the need for reproduction and survival is supplemented by his expansion of the term sexuality to a much broader concept of love. At p. 140, Freud is quoted:"Libido is an expression taken from the theory of the emotions. We call by that name the energy, regarded as a quantitative magnitude (though not at present actually measurable), of those instincts which have to do with all that may be comprised under the word "love."
. . .
At p. 141:
"In its origin, function, and relation to sexuaal love, the "Eros" of the philosopher Plato conincides exactly with the love-force, the libido of pscyho-analysis"
- We talked exclusively about interpretation, and in particular, picking up patterns of recognition, like how "infrastructure" came up in our discussion of the devastation of New Orleans as the levees, the infrastructure, collapsed, and as the "infrastructure" of the Superdome proved inadequate for rescue. Now, as Bush promises the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, such that we won't leave until it's done (notice parallel to Iraq), Many of his conservative supporters want to balance the expenditures on the Gulf by taking $40 million from the drug program that was just passed for the elderly, but preserving the tax break that will benefit only those with incomes over $200,000 a year. And secondly, they propose to take $20 million from the just passed highway building program. I think we call that infrastructure. Compare the pattern recognition to my notes from Moot Court.
I also explained that Governor Schwarzenegger wants in Proposition 75 to prohibit publilc employees, teachers, police, firefighters from spending their professional union monies on political campaigning. Again interpretation means conceptually linking that proposition to the Governor's extended fund raising from corporations and millionaires on the East coast, and probably in the South to suppport his political agenda.
Sociology of the Helping Professions