Pregnant Woman Maced by Riot Police and Miscarries — Serve and Protect?

23 11 2011

UPDATE July 2013: a small measure of justice?

In some places the police were unbelievably violent in their quest to silence the Occupiers. Oakland, California was one of those places. . .This week the U.S. district court in San Francisco awarded a group of 12 protesters one million dollars after they sued the department for police brutality. The dollar amounts vary, with some protesters getting $20,000 and another getting as much as $500,000. . .

The settlement was a step in the right direction for the police department and it was a victory for the movement. The actions of law enforcement officials towards the Occupy protesters across the country were atrocious. Last year the University of California Davis offered each of the students who were pepper sprayed at close range by campus police $30,000…The monetary awards are small but at least they are an acknowledgement. The way the Occupy movement was silenced was a disgrace.

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What does it mean for armed authoritarian police in riot gear to “serve and protect” — and who is being protected from whom, for what, under what Authority? Are Thinking Citizens ready for this debate, finally?

Pregnant woman miscarries after being sprayed with pepper spray

What follows are comments JJ is making in an effort to marshal moral principle that might transcend a conservative man’s flinging his own authoritarian feces about, all while claiming to be a multicultural minority himself and more compassionate as proven by charitable donations than “liberals.”

About miscarriage following pepper spray, he said without a trace of self-mocking:

unlike many leftists, we believe in law and order and contesting within the system and established norms, and put our lives on the line fighting for it, and unlike anarchists and their fellow travelers, we dont worship killers of cops, judges and soldiers and dont automatically blame everything on police brutality.

That’s what got me trawled/trolled into the conversation, starting with a quote intended to describe the Authority Personality he seemed to fit and drawing a retort from him that he agreed with Fromm but “it goes both ways” (??):

“. . .the individual’s goal must be to become his own authority; i.e. to have a consciousness in moral issues, conviction in questions of intellect, and fidelity in emotional matters. However, the individual can only have such an inner authority if he has matured enough to understand the world with reason and love.

The development of these characteristics is the basis for one’s own authority and therefore the basis for political democracy.” — Erich Fromm, 1957, “The Authoritarian Personality”

If the “it” that goes both ways, is maturing in reason and love (so that we can transcend animal authority and become Real Boys and Girls) then certainly I agree.

Pregnant women are a very specialized “minority” btw. Even those of us who have been one know primarily how to live as NOT one, because it can’t last long. It might be interesting for us to think about that.

First, no one is born that way or stays that way, although Mrs. Duggar comes close.. 😉

And second, the whole community has a stake in pregnant women, both literally and emotionally: she biologically holds the power within her own body (corpor-al personhood?) to bring forth life and continue the human race, yet to do it, she becomes at her most vulnerable, and is often mistreated for it both by authoritarian individuals and authoritarian society’s rules, laws and cultural hierarchies.

Pregnant women — would it help to rebrand them as citizen creators? — tend to be stunned/shocked/struck (all violent weaponized police control concepts, think about THAT!) by just how dramatically their status change brings out the “authoritarian” in personalities! People get proprietary, want to touch us and tell us what to do and not do, where to be or not be, what to ingest or not, etc etc etc. They call it protection the same way cities and campuses are claiming police violence against peaceful citizens is protection. The same way America’s war-waging is called the defense department . . .

We could have our own reasonable and loving mature debate on, say,

RESOLVED: This culture is more authoritarian toward citizen creators and their corpor-al personhood than toward job creators and corporate personhood.

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“Partisan Polarization” Just Another Pathology of Hypercompetition?

13 09 2011

Conservative ideology and racial resentment swamp every other factor. Maybe that doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s counterproductive to even mention racial resentment these days. Maybe it’s unfair to lots of tea partiers who care only about taxes and big government. But unless there’s a problem with Abramowitz’s data, it’s there. Pretending that it’s not doesn’t make it go away. . .

These fears and resentments were of course stoked by right wing politicians, media commentators and websites . . .

There’s been an exhaustion of all patience followed by widespread progressive grumbling (or was that just me?) about the single-minded, spittle-flecked viciousness of win-at-all-costs in our politics, denying the humanity of one’s opponents let alone enemies, up to and including television caesars pandering to the bloodthirsty hordes, Dick Cheney still defending torture for personal profit, Rick Perry supporters cheering executions as pro-life governance.

“How you play the game” isn’t much of a consolation prize for the defeated even when it’s just a game, much less when the stakes are so high that you literally can’t afford to lose. “Living well as the best revenge” only adds insult to injury in forced competition that puts your health, wealth, dignity, liberty and life itself at risk.

We’ve cocked a snook several times at competition versus collaboration in different spheres, wondering whether it’s gotten all out of whack and what those experiences can do TO kids rather than FOR them. We’ve even looked at killer-instinct gameplay about chess specifically, the power of this next story:

I dare say this chess board may survive a nuclear blast! The pieces are made using .223 caliber bullet shell casings, decorated with cuts, slashes, curls and bends.

Photo source

She was, and is, a ferocious competitor, a psychological attribute that is quite separate from purely intellectual ability. As the former US chess champion Joel Benjamin reported after playing her: “It was all-out war for five hours. I was totally exhausted. She absolutely has a killer instinct.

Well, there you go! If only all our daughters were so ferocious about “winning” think what Read the rest of this entry »





Wanna Help Think About “The Help”?

31 08 2011

I was up past 3 am reading in bed and couldn’t quite finish, but I’m ready to talk and it seems worth its own post if not several posts.

Already I’ve been swamped by outrage from my African-American female friends, particularly those who didn’t grow up in the Jim Crow South themselves, and I’ve heard (and felt myself) some reverse-outrage from “white women” in response, particularly those who DID grow up in the South and resent being lumped together and set apart by people insisting that the lumping and setting apart by race is wrong, especially after a half-century when we really believed the woman part of that phrase had taken precedence over the white part — but there’s plenty more power of story to this story than race and region to think and talk about, too.

So consider this an open thread for all our friends, to discuss The Help.

The Upside of THE HELP Controversy:
I thought about my own power and class privilege. Seeing The Help has made me even more committed to challenging racial disparities in Hollywood. And it has reminded me to keep encouraging people of color to write, produce, and direct films—to keep fighting for our stories to be told through our own eyes, not through others’ fantasies.

Mostly, seeing The Help made me want to hear my own grandma’s experiences. I have a plan for the next time I visit her in North Carolina. I’m bringing my Flip Cam, sitting next to her, listening to her story, and recording it—on my own terms.





Celebrate 50 Years Full of Learning From “To Kill a Mockingbird”

7 07 2010

“It’s about race, it’s about prejudice, it’s about childhood, it’s about parenting, it’s about love, it’s about loneliness — there’s something for everyone,” Murphy says.

To Kill a Mockingbird didn’t change everyone’s mind, but it did open some. And it made an impression on many young people who, like Scout, were trying to get a grip on right and wrong in a world that is not always fair.

Harper Lee’s powerful power of story has been blogged at Snook through the years:

Happy Birthday Harper Lee

Choose Nine Books for Your Gift Box

Hey Mr. Cunningham a Must_Read at Meming of Life

JJ Makes Another Book Meme Her Own

Number Six : “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, because that was Favorite Daughter’s first love affair with a book as above, AND because Harper Lee supports homeschoolers, and she explicitly wrote Scout as almost accidentally learning to read well at home, which pissed off her officious second-grade teacher, AND also because it’s at least one impeccable cultural choice Read the rest of this entry »





Step Away From the Cow, Son

27 04 2010

Police behaving “stupidly” or doing their duty (a la Henry Gates in either case)? Too good not to share, from Don Troop’s TWEED for the Chronicle of Higher Education:

April 27, 2010
Drop Your Camera and Step Away From the Cow, Son

Alex Kotran, a photographer for the Ohio State University Lantern, was handcuffed and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass after he took pictures of workers trying to corral two cows that got loose on the campus last week, the student newspaper reports.

Employees from the School of Agriculture and two grounds keepers tried to prevent Mr. Kotran from taking photos before the police eventually handcuffed him and tranquilized one of the cows, the newspaper reports.

The photographer was released after about 10 minutes, and Police Chief Paul Denton says the department is investigating the incident.

The cows are still being held. —Don Troop

The campus newspaper reports that their photographer was undoubtedly easier to apprehend than the two cows (were they REALLY cows, as in female?):

OSU Police and university officials used at least seven police cars, a university tractor, a cattle prod and tranquilizers to corral the cattle.

Check the student paper’s link for art and video.

My personal favorite part of this story though, is the reader poll beside it, which is either great satire or wholly idiotic, not sure which and that ambiguity is the cherry on top:

Cows on campus
Are you afraid of another cow attack?
Yes
No





What’s in a Name Like Harvard, Yale, Princeton?

31 01 2010

Classic snooking around that seems timely again:

What IS in a name like Harvard, Yale, Princeton? Entitlement, privilege, status, the life lesson that wealth and leisure define success? At best a sense of noblesse oblige to all the little people left behind? What do whole generations learn from the culture of aspiring to be accepted by such a name, literally from wanting and then being found wanting?
(Compare that universal lesson to the very best learning Harvard could hope to give the few, the chosen, the accepted and enrolled — does the effect balance out in society’s favor, or not so much?)

See “School Socialization Should Shame Us All”:

Everything about college campus life — from getting in to getting along, to getting through, to getting a job through those social contacts — imposes this same lesson by institutional design and with institutional support, and college presidents must’ve learned it as well as any silly sorority girl or rejected chubbette.

Maybe better! – some university presidents are in practice shamelessly playing for institutional reputation, recruiting by rankings, weeding and culling and shuffling students like playing cards for the next bet, grasping for the top and misrepresenting the truth, all for institutional glorification bigger to them than the import of any individual students underserved, unserved or downright devastated by the “lesson” –





More Crazy Talk in the Public Square

10 08 2009

Palin runs hot and cold on civility:

After making an extraordinary, unsupported and incendiary claim that President Obama’s health care plan will result in a “death panel” that is fundamentally “evil,” Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is now calling for civility in the debate on health care reform. . .
“. . .we must stick to a discussion of the issues and not get sidetracked by tactics that can be accused of leading to intimidation or harassment. Such tactics diminish our nation’s civil discourse. . .”

No word yet on whether Rush Limbaugh has had a change of heart about his Nazi talk.

See also Palin-esque Obama Hate, Why Tea Party Tactics Aren’t Healthy for Health Reform and How Language Tricks Our Thoughts, Shrouds Our Feelings:

If you are around people who constantly talk as if something is wrong or is right, you will probably come to think both that values are objective and that the specific value judgments of that group are accurate, whatever they happen to be. . .

Language allows for these sorts of magic tricks, cognitive illusions, to be performed on you. From different perspectives, different things will “feel” true . . . This is especially useful when listening to politicians. Those that seek to manipulate you are able to do so in large part because of language. . .
Become you own magician, and show others how these tricks are performed.