Of Victims and Agents

I’m hardly the first to point out how curious the current coverage is of white communities in decline, dealing with poverty, alienation, and, in some cases, severe drug addiction, as opposed to the coverage of black communities that have long lived with many of the same problems. Continue reading “Of Victims and Agents”

Names and Things

Picture 4Have you heard?

There’s a new theory as to where the term “eskimo” originated.

Click the above image to read the brief article, but here’s a snippet: Continue reading “Names and Things”

The Individual as Product and Producer


Every research investigation in the social sciences or history is involved in relating action to structure, in tracing, explicitly or otherwise, the conjunction or disjunctions of intended and unintended consequences of activity and how these affect the fate of individuals…. For the permutations of influences are endless, and there is no sense in which structure ‘determines’ action or vice versa. The nature of the constrains to which individuals are subject, the uses to which they put the capacities they have and the forms of knowledgability they display are all themselves manifestly historically variable. (p. 219)

Giddens makes an important point here, one frequently overlooked by scholars who emphasize either agency or structure in their work, and thereby failing to understand the two as heads and tails of the same situated, historical complex. Continue reading “The Individual as Product and Producer”

A Lesson in Listening

Picture 5While driving back from a rainy Sunday morning walk with my dog I recently caught an interview on the radio with Lisa-Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz, twin sisters who were born in Cuba and who have just released their debut album.

Heard of them? Continue reading “A Lesson in Listening”

Just a few Notes

aristocatsKnow that image? It’s from the once popular Disney movie “The AristoCats” (1970) — take a look at the scene: Continue reading “Just a few Notes”

Code Switching in the Funny Papers

Picture 6This morning on National Public Radio, there was a story on a cross-cultural comic book superhero…. Continue reading “Code Switching in the Funny Papers”

Of Planks and Specks and Ice Cream Trucks

icebreamtruckI recently wrote a post on living in Alabama, and the way it can be frustrating when those from elsewhere in the country adopt the moral high ground and judge us while exempting themselves from the same criteria. My point was that while, yes, there’s a number of complexities associated with the U.S. south when it comes to such topics as the history of race relations, they are hardly unique to this part of the country. Continue reading “Of Planks and Specks and Ice Cream Trucks”

“No Coke, Pepsi”

brand-loyaltyDid you catch this story a few days ago? No…? While you can listen to the original, longer set of stories, listen to the brief weekend report:

The moral of the story? Continue reading ““No Coke, Pepsi””

The Rules Just “Happen” to be Different?

crash_test_dummyWant to see a good example of the pro-corporate bias in the media?

Then consider this story from — of all places — National Public Radio, on different manufacturing and safety standards for automobiles, in different nations. Continue reading “The Rules Just “Happen” to be Different?”