SI N'OS HUVIERA MIRADO - Cristóbal de Morales (1500 - 1553)
Friedman’s Love Letter to a War Criminal
20 minutes ago
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Maté, there’s a whole debate about education in the United States right now. How does this fit in?
DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, you have to ask, how do children learn? How do children learn? And learning is an attachment dynamic, as well. You learn when you want to be like somebody. So you copy them, so you learn from them. You learn when you’re curious. And you learn when you’re willing to try something, and if it doesn’t work, you try something else.
Now, here’s what happens. Caring about something and being curious about something and recognizing that something doesn’t work, you have to have a certain degree of emotional security. You have to be able to be open and vulnerable. Children who become peer-oriented—because the peer world is so dangerous and so fraught with bullying and ostracization and dissing and exclusion and negative talk, how does a child protect himself or herself from all that negativity in the peer world? Because children are not committed to each others’ unconditional loving acceptance. Even adults have a hard time giving that. Children can’t do it. Those children become very insecure, and emotionally, to protect themselves, they shut down. They become hardened, so they become cool. Nothing matters. Cool is the ethic. You see that in the rock videos. It’s all about cool. It’s all about aggression and cool and no real emotion. Now, when that happens, curiosity goes, because curiosity is vulnerable, because you care about something and you’re admitting that you don’t know. You won’t try anything, because if you fail, again, your vulnerability is exposed. So, you’re not willing to have trial and error.
And in terms of who you’re learning from, as long as kids were attaching to adults, they were looking to the adults to be modeling themselves on, to learn from, and to get their cues from. Now, kids are still learning from the people they’re attached to, but now it’s other kids. So you have whole generations of kids that are looking to other kids now to be their main cue-givers. So teachers have an almost impossible problem on their hands. And unfortunately, in North America again, education is seen as a question of academic pedagogy, hence these terrible standardized tests. And the very teachers who work with the most difficult kids are the ones who are most penalized.
AMY GOODMAN: Because if they don’t have good test scores, standardized test scores, in their class—
DR. GABOR MATÉ: They’re seen as bad teachers.
AMY GOODMAN:—then they could be fired. They’re seen as bad teachers, which means they’re going to want to kick out any difficult kids.
DR. GABOR MATÉ: That’s exactly it. The difficult kids are kicked out, and teachers will be afraid to go into neighborhoods where, because of troubled family relationships, the kids are having difficulties, the kids are peer-oriented, the kids are not looking to the teachers. And this is seen as a reflection. So, actually, teachers are being slandered right now. Teachers are being slandered now because of the failure of the American society to produce the right environment for childhood development.
AMY GOODMAN: Because of the destruction of American childhood.
DR. GABOR MATÉ: That’s right. What the problem reflects is the loss of the community and the neighborhood. We have to recreate that. So, the schools have to become not just places of pedagogy, but places of emotional connection. The teachers should be in the emotional connection game before they attempt to be in the pedagogy game.
Sure, we're constantly reminded of the disrespect for human life of these ex-Confederates (the Bridges/Cogburn character rode with the notrious Captain Quantrill of Missouri--the state where all the rules of war vanished into bloodlust). But we're also constantly reminded of the strange sort of cultivation that made these manly men (and woman) more able to articulate who they are than we are. The language of the film echoes that of the novel, where basically unlettered men speak with a formal and precise pagan grace. There's something civilized and even lawful in the violently state-of-nature Indian territory. These men and especially the very young woman are in some ways more civilized than we are, although, of course, not in many ways.
The film shows us what's to be said for and against the virtue that animated the Confederacy and the postbellum southern frontier. It doesn't varnish the truth about honor, even as it displays the virtue it can become when ennobled by personal love.
Patriotism, not nationalism, should inspire the citizen. The ethnic nationalist who wants a linguistically and culturally uniform nation is akin to the racist who is intolerant toward those who look (and behave) differently. The patriot is a 'diversitarian'; he is pleased, indeed proud of the variety within the borders of his country; he looks for loyalty from all citizens. And he looks up and down, not left and right.There is a problem with the word nation -- taken to refer to a people or ethnic group, then it seems absurd for one particular ethnic group to be linguistically and culturally divided. How is it really an united ethnic group with out a common culture? But I assume he is talking about the modern nation-state (or a multi-ethnic federation/empire), one that is prone to suppressing the legitimate cultural aspirations and exercises of its constitutent communities and peoples. If he were talking about a smaller political community, an ancient Greek polis, for example, I'd say that he was wrong. But I do not think he intended for his remark to cover all polities of all sizes.
As far as I can find out, there is absolutely no historical warrant for the idea that King George VI was urged to use the f-word by his speech therapist during his attempt to cure his stammer.
So why did the makers of the film The King’s Speech feel the need to insert a scene in which this happens?
Even if it did happen, there are other ways of letting us know that it did, apart from showing it.
If the British Board of Film Classification had any courage or resolve, they would have stuck by their decision to give the film a ‘15’ rating and so sharply reduced its market, solely because of this passage.
The producer, director and scriptwriters could not have been certain that the BBFC would cave in. They were prepared, therefore, to risk significant commercial damage for this cause.
I know that, to get their laughs, many modern ‘comedians’ rely almost completely on the f-word’s fading power to shock. But I think there is more to it than that. In much of the entertainment industry there is a militant desire to destroy taboos and upset the gentle, for its own sake. Revolutionaries love to debauch and corrupt.
How better to do this than to portray the trembling, retiring Bertie, who never wanted the throne and was happiest at home with his small family, spitting out dirty words?
I’d say shame on them if I thought they understood words of more than four letters.
The streaming service will be available onwww.pope2you.net, www.pccs.va andwww.vaticanradio.org and "allows anyone, anywhere in the world to follow the celebrations and guarantees fast connections," the statement said.Good, I should be able to watch it and then attend midnight Mass later...
Solemn Mass of Christmas Eve with Pope Benedict XVI
Fri. December 24 at 4 PM ET (Live), & Sat. December 25 at 8 AM & 6 PM ET
Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord: Mass with the Holy Father from St. Peter’s Basilica.
Urbi et Orbi
Sat. December 25 at 6 AM ET (Live), Encores - Sun. December 25 at 10 PM ET, Sun. December 26 at 10 AM ET, & Fri. December 31 at 9 PM ET
From St. Peter's Square. Join the Holy Father for his inspiring Christmas Day message to the world on the celebration of Christ’s birth.
I have met many fine young men in the services these days, but I have met far more who are seriously deranged mentally and morally, who say they really believe they are defending our freedom by killing strangers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is a simple fact of modern life, that every institution on which civilization depends–the army, the Church, the university, the so-called arts and their traditions–is now turned against every purpose it is supposed to serve. The last place to seek wisdom is in philosophy professors, teachers of English cannot speak the language, the generals think the services exist to promote social revolution, and the bishops? The less said the better. If I nourished any hope for a younger generation, it would be extinguished by the incapacity of most people on the internet even to frame a rational set of alternatives, much less reach a rational conclusion.
Over the years, my attitude to religion has changed, without my having recovered any kind of belief in God. The best and most devoted people I have ever met were Catholic nuns. Religious belief is seldom accompanied by the inflamed egotism that is so marked and deeply unattractive a phenomenon in our post-religious society. Although the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are said to have given man a more accurate appreciation of his true place in nature, in fact they have rendered him not so much anthropocentric as individually self-centred.
And why not? If this life is all that you have, why let anything stand in the way of its enjoyment? Most of us self-importantly imagine that the world and all its contrivances were made expressly for us and our convenience.
Far from being humiliating, the humility of the religious person is deeply consolatory. The secularist is often embittered by the inevitable dissatisfactions of human existence, which are so much at variance with his infinite expectations; by contrast, the religious person appears to have a mature understanding and acceptance of disappointment and limitation. He is not like a child who is continually having his toys snatched from his hand.
Moreover, the religious idea of compassion is greatly superior, both morally and practically, to the secular one. The secular person believes that compassion is due to the victim by virtue of what he has suffered; the religious person believes that compassion is due to everyone, by virtue of his humanity. For the secular person, man is born good and is made bad by his circumstances. The religious person believes man is born with original sin, and is therefore imperfectible on this earth; he can nevertheless strive for the good by obedience to God.
The secularist divides humanity into two: the victims and the victimisers. The religious person sees mankind as fundamentally one.
I have a pretty good idea why Heinberg doesn't mention either the rise in the divorce rate that drove up the number of households, creating smaller and smaller units, each with their own stoves and cars and consumer goods, or the rise in women's consumer buying power, the requirements of workforce participation in clothes, outside meals, domestic labor replaced, etc.... There are two reasons. The first is that conventional histories of technology are progressive stories with heavy emphasis on heroic individualism - that is, they tend to be stories about men and single events in industrialization, rather than how technologies are used in daily life. These histories have been challenged but the dominant narrative, the one we all learned in school is about who invented the cotton gin, not about the black slaves that built and repaired them, or the hands that ran them, about who invented the spinning jenny, not the young women factory workers who made use of them. What Heinberg tells here, intentionally or unconsciously, is a conventional history of human technology, one in which our progress is (horribly) inevitable, and in which the only conscious actions are invention - everything else is a tidal wave that leads us in one direction. This is the critical version of the liberal myth of the inevitability of progress, but it takes the same underlying assumptions - that these are natural events in which there are no agents.Perhaps one could characterize industrial polities as "patriarchal" -- they would not represent the best version of patriarchy. It is not patriarchy per se that has devalued the household economy.
The second reason is more fraught - a narrative in which women's entry in the workforce is responsible for our dramatic rise in fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions can look superficially like a tool for those who would prefer that women go back home and come out of the workforce, and would like to blame feminists and feminism for our present ecological disaster. Indeed, if no one has come up with this ideological claim yet, I'm sure it is only a matter of time before someone explains earnestly to me how wimmen's rights are destroying the planet as well as all the other ills routinely attributed to feminism.
That is not, however, a justification for pretending that women's participation in the workforce has nothing to do with our energy consumption however - it is demonstrably true that our move away from the domestic sphere had an enormous impact on our energy usage. We may not like it, but the story of men as environmental bad guys simply doesn't match up to the reality - there are plenty of bad gals for the planet. False narratives are simply never better than true ones, and we all know that not acknowledging the truth won't prevent others from using the story how they choose.
The other problem with avoiding the subject is that it implies that the shallow, empty anti-feminist argument is right - that the only way to tell the truth is to blame women for killing the planet, and that's just nonsense. Feminism has never been one thing, and in the early days of American 2nd wave feminism, it was a lot less one thing than it is now - there were powerful debates about what kind of social changes women actually wanted. What happened, however, was that a particular version of feminism emerged from the debates, successful. As I've argued before in _Depletion and Abundance_ and other places, in fact, the version of feminism that emerged was one that succeeded precisely because it so well served the encompassing model of consumptive market capitalism.
Thus, when early feminists called for men to take up a full half of the domestic labor, and tried to organize collaborative, communal efforts in which domestic labor from cooking to childcare were taken up equitably in group organizations to reduce the total workload, while spreading it more fairly between men and women, what actually happened was an "every household for itself" ethic. With women now working full time while also doing the majority of childcare and housework, what emerged was the abandonment of much domestic labor that once reduced consumption and energy usage, a lot of conflict over what remained, and the replacement of household labor with lower income employees and public economy replacements - ie, instead of the wife one now had a lawn service, the dry cleaner, the daycare center and the stop at the fast food place, and all the corresponding car trips.
The argument is not "the women's movement caused our environmental degradation" - we know historically speaking that social equity can exist in low-input societies, and we know that there is more than one version of feminism. It is my contention that we should be suspicious of this version of feminism's success, rather than laudatory, and that modern industrial feminism has never fully considered the degree to which its assumptions of natural progress are premised on the availability of cheap energy. Instead, what we need to do is ask "If this feminism succeeded not because it was primarily good for women, but instead good for the economy and some women in power, what are the alternatives?"
If feminism (even in collaboration with industrial capitalism) was powerful enough to radically shift the landscape of our economy, doubling and redoubling our energy consumption, and changing definitions of women's roles, it may be that we very much need feminism to change the terms again.
We never seriously questioned the ideology (and it is an ideology) that argued that women and men are more free when they are employed by bosses in the workplace than when they are working for the greater good of their partners and family in the home. It is certainly true that money conveys a measure of freedom - but we have never seriously considered ways in which access to funds might be assured to women in partnership with others - or ways in which men might come to equitably bear the burden of the domestic economy. Some of these have emerged as critiques or as functional alternatives, but overwhelmingly modern feminism has focused heavily on an energy-intensive, environmentally destructive abandonment of the home for the formal economy, rather than a balancing of domestic labor or a reclamation of it. The emphasis on personal choice the primary form of freedom also drove this unconsidered consumption.
Modern industrial feminism (and its partner in crime, modern industrial capitalism) has also uncritically accepted the idea that the progressive narrative in which women can do whatever they want more or less whenever they want is an accomplishment of their will, rather than a result of a fossil-energy intensive infrastructure that includes electric breast pumps, refrigeration, cars, a huge body of people shunted from homes and farms into low paid service economy jobs, the offshoring of things that were once not needed due to available home labor or were made in the home to far away countries, etc.... As I say in _Depletion and Abundance_ you couldn't have come up with a better plan for a consumptive industrial capitalism if we'd spent decades studying the problem. No wonder it was successful.
The deepest failure of modern industrial feminism was that it accepted what a patriarchal society had said about women's work and household and family labor by both genders - that it was meaningless, valueless, drudgery and contemptable. This work, which substituted for fossil labor in a host of ways, and offered in many cases much better alternatives than can be produced by industrial society (Consider, for example, the food - manifestly we ate better when someone was cooking at home) was replaced by fossil energies in a narrative that regarded such a replacement as natural, progressive and inevitable. It built on degradation of women's traditional work and convinced women and men that traditional domestic labor was valueless. instead of men and women sharing domestic labor more equitably, everyone left the home except a few hold-outs, and those paid the price of being told their work was valueless. This abandonment of the home had enormous environmental costs, which we are paying now.
None of this is a new observation - remember, feminism isn't one thing and ecological feminists have been pointing this out for a long time. But what is new is the that the realization that the resources this version of feminism depends on are going to be limited by material realities means that the women's movement needs to grapple - and fast - with the version of feminism we've accepted as normative. This, however is not my primary subject this time.