Refugee “Crisis”?

In some countries, there is a real refugee crisis. In Lebanon, for example, where perhaps one-quarter of the population consists of refugees from Syria. Other poor and strife-ridden countries of the region have also absorbed huge numbers of refugees, among them Jordan and Syria. The countries that are enduring a refugee crisis had no responsibility … Continue reading Refugee “Crisis”?

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The Placebo Effect

  In the film Dumbo, some might recall, Dumbo is given a feather by Timothy Mouse to "help Dumbo fly"  (so Timothy says). Of course, the viewers know previously that it is, in fact, just an ordinary feather and is thus just a psychological trick by Timothy to make Dumbo believe that he can fly with it, … Continue reading The Placebo Effect

“Not just ‘a white girl’s thing’: The changing face of food and body image problems”

Probably the most significant factor, however, in the failure to conceptualize eating problems in an inclusive way has been ignorance of (or in some cases, resistance to acknowledging) the awesome power of cultural imagery. Fiji is a striking example of that power. Because of their remote location, the Fiji islands did not have access to … Continue reading “Not just ‘a white girl’s thing’: The changing face of food and body image problems”

“‘Fat! Fat! Big fat butt!’ and so on”

[A]s I was about to serve the cake at her last birthday party, I overheard the children at the table, laughingly discussing the topic of fat. The conversation was apparently inspired by the serving of the cake. 'I want to get fat!' one of them said, laughingly. But it was clearly a goad, meant for … Continue reading “‘Fat! Fat! Big fat butt!’ and so on”

Consumer Society

Today, we are everywhere surrounded by the remarkable conspicuousness of consumption and affluence, established by the multiplication of objects, services, and material goods. This now constitutes a fundamental mutation in the ecology of the human species. Strictly speaking, men of wealth are no longer surrounded by other human beings, as they have been in the past, but by objects. Their … Continue reading Consumer Society

Johnny-Head-in-Air

“The relation of knowledge to power is one not only of servility but of truth. Much knowledge, if out of proportion to the disposition of forces, is invalid, however formally correct it may be. If an emigre doctor says: ‘For me, Adolf Hitler is a pathological case’, his pronouncement may ultimately be confirmed by clinical … Continue reading Johnny-Head-in-Air

Home Alone

"It is admittedly crude to call a country stupid. It may not even be valid, but so long as we accept that polls venture into the vicinity of some collective truth in virtually every other area of life, then recent surveys reporting that Americans favour sending troops back into Iraq by 57 (CBS) or 60 … Continue reading Home Alone

“He Was So Good to Me, I Could Never Call It Abuse”

“While many women were taught that men are aggressive and unreliable, they were also exposed to the normal/danger dichotomy discourse, which told them that there are “good guys” and “bad guys,” and that one should not be confused with the other. As we saw in women’s recollections of their early educations, most girls were warned … Continue reading “He Was So Good to Me, I Could Never Call It Abuse”

Machinery and Modern Industry

“John Stuart Mill says in his “Principles of Political Economy”: “It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being.” That is, however, by no means the aim of the capitalistic application of machinery. Like every other increase in the productiveness of labour, machinery is intended … Continue reading Machinery and Modern Industry

The Chomsky-Foucault Debate

In 1971, Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault debated on a few topics, by no means mutually exclusive: "human nature" (or whether there was such a thing), the "ideal society", and "justice" and "power". Make sure to put on English subtitles if necessary, as Foucault speaks in French, though Chomsky speaks in English (alternatively, a full English transcript of … Continue reading The Chomsky-Foucault Debate