In the U.S. today is Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday established in 1986 to commemorate the life and achievements of the noted civil rights leader who was tragically assassinated outside his motel room in Memphis in 1968.
While I admit to having issues with the sort of individual, rational thinker that Chomsky presupposes when he’s making his critiques of the (often unseen) politics of dominant institutions, his thoughts on identification practices via sports (the clip is from the 1992 documentary, “Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media”) are worth posting, I think — what with the U.S. national championship in College football just having passed by (Roll Tide), the Superbowl coming up in a few weeks, and also the Winter Olympics in Russia, and all the media hype that comes with each of those. Continue reading “Why Am I Cheering for My Team?”
Each New Year’s day, since 2008, two National Hockey League teams face-off — as they say — in an outdoor game that’s called the Winter Classic. This year, the first to include a Canadian team (another older but more infrequently played series, called The Heritage Classic, has pitted two Canadian teams against each other), was between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs won 3-2 in a shoot-out after the overtime sessions didn’t decide it. (Go Leafs.)
The thing that’s interesting about this game is the way that it quite successfully markets nostalgia, such as the custom-made vintage uniforms they all wear and the “old timers” game between long retired NHL players that’s also part of the weekend’s activities — a point nicely identified by a friend on Facebook during the game, who noted the wonderful contradiction between the old school “leather” look of the goalie pads and gloves but the modern high-tech helmets and visors the players were all still wearing. Continue reading “Keep Your Stick on the Ice”
“Faced with Franciscans who deployed an evangelism of a culturalist type and sought to legitimise authochthonous civilisation to the point of taking care to respect its established hierarchy, the sedentary natives of New Spain chose to submit and to accept the Europeans’ religion. However, they converted ‘in order to remain Indians’. The Continue reading “Bayart on the Ironies of Colonialism”
Okay, I’ll go for a 9/11 post…but I’ll make it quick. I’m seeing a lot of images on Facebook like the one above, posted by friends of various political persuasions. All these friends can appeal to what they have in common, after all–a unifying sense of patriotism and national identity. Continue reading “Short-term Memory”
With all-American Fourth of July festivities like fireworks, frankfurters, and hamburgers, we continually construct our identification with an imagined community, as Benedict Anderson emphasized thirty years ago. Like the nation, the values that we associate with the United States, (e.g., democracy, equality, and liberty) are imagined constructs whose conceptions shift over time.
The United States is a nation of immigrants with the Statue of Liberty welcoming the “huddled masses” one of those frequently invoked traits. Beyond questions over the place of Native Americans in the nation of immigrants and contemporary debates over “immigration reform” and “border security,” the recent court case involving a yoga program in the Encinitas, California, public schools (which I have discussed previously here and here) illustrates the imagined nature of this national trait in a surprising way. Continue reading “All-American Fireworks, Hamburgers, Frankfurters and Yoga”
Yesterday was Father’s Day in the United States, a manufactured holiday (like any other) that promotes socially-sanctioned sentiments through the mass production of “World’s Greatest Dad” cards and mugs. The day before US Father’s Day, multiple attacks in the Pakistani province of Balochistan included a form of symbolic patricide, as a group fired rockets to destroy a residence where M. A. Jinnah, regarded as the father of Pakistan, had lived in Ziarat, also killing the police officer guarding the site. The other attacks in Balochistan that day reportedly killed dozens, including bombings at a women’s university and a hospital, both in Quetta (a few hours away from Ziarat). While Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which some people link with al Qaida, claimed responsibility for the hospital and university attacks, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), identified as a separatist group trying to gain the independence of Balochistan from Pakistan, claimed the attack on Jinnah’s residence. Continue reading “Patricide and the Nation”