Are Divisions a Problem?

Emphasizing differences can generate ill-will and even violence, as we have seen (again) with the events in Charlottesville and the responses to it. But constructing differences is a central component of forming identifications and is not necessarily negative. The 1940’s US propaganda film Don’t Be a Sucker rejects discrimination against minorities in America and compares that position to Nazi ideology. While the film presents the creation of divisions as a problem, it also illustrates the positive side of division in a less direct fashion. If you haven’t seen it, it is worth viewing, particularly the first half of the film. Continue reading “Are Divisions a Problem?”

Extraordinarily Effective Ways

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I was listening to weekend radio, the other morning, sipping coffee and before walking my dog, and heard the following story on how ISIS is increasingly using children in its war — such as child suicide bombers. Continue reading “Extraordinarily Effective Ways”

I Smell Something Fishy

scentsYes, it’s time for college football; if you work at a US university with a football program and you’re not paying attention to the other cuess — like the pretty sparse attendance on Fridays if Saturday is an away game — then you’ll surely know this by the difficult-to-overlook influx of port-a-potties that arrive midweek, to handle the game day, shall we say, demand.

At least at my school they’re lined up like dutiful soldiers all around the heart of the old campus, where I happen to have my office. Continue reading “I Smell Something Fishy”

War of Words

Picture 6I assume you’ve heard plenty of news from the Hamas/Israel conflict that’s happening right now, particularly the back and forth over the innocent civilians who are either being terrorized by rocket attacks into Israel or the innocent civilians being killed daily in Gaza. Or, to rephrase, maybe you’ve heard the arguments for why it is or is not improper to consider certain people as civilians, i.e., arguments for why so-called non-military targets are as legitimate as any and not just the unfortunate (or perhaps inevitable) “collateral damage” that comes with war. Continue reading “War of Words”

Making the Familiar Grotesque

soldiersThe media here in the U.S. is currently filled with stories marking the 20th anniversary of the massacre of scores of the minority Tutsis in Rwanda, at the hands of dominant Hutus. Begun after the deadly April 6, 1994, attack on President Habyarimana‘s plane — a Hutu himself — 800,000 Tutsis (the number usually reported) were scapegoated in the following weeks, many killed by neighbors or hacked to death with machetes…, an atrocious event by any measure, no doubt. Continue reading “Making the Familiar Grotesque”