Re: erosion of language Re: [xmca] Columbia events

From: Tony Whitson <twhitson who-is-at UDel.Edu>
Date: Thu Sep 27 2007 - 07:37:46 PDT

Of course you're right, Bella. But the problem for the US Government using
that argument is that anyone can counter with the fact that the US
Government is the only one that actually has used nuclear weapons against
civilian populations.

On Thu, 27 Sep 2007, bella kotik wrote:

> But Achmadinejad repeatedly promise to wipe out Israel from the world map.
> Does anyone else proclaim similar treat to any other country? So his nuclear
> program is dofferent.
> Bella Kotik-Friedgut , Jerusalem, Israel
> On 9/26/07, Paul Dillon <> wrote:
>> Funny how memory chains work no?
>> BTW I agree with you about Ahmadinejad (spelling is irrelevant since Farsi
>> uses other sript). I actually believe that Iran has the right to develop
>> it's nuclear program anyway it wants . . . as far as I can remember or know,
>> Iran never has attacked any other country. I hope someone corrects me if
>> I'm wrong. I oppose all nuclear weapons and am skeptical about even
>> peaceful uses. But no country has the right to tell another not to do what
>> it itself does. add hypocrite to murder, state terrorism, etc. Can one who
>> only knows lies even be called a liar, just a danger to humanity. skillet
>> black and greasy spoon.
>> Although I usually change the channel upon the threat or happenstance that
>> Alfred E. Bush appear, I actually watched his speech to the UN. What a
>> crock. Most interesting was the reaction in the audience. Only about 1 in
>> 10 even had their headsets on for simultaneous translation, quite a few had
>> mocking smiles on their faces. Sartre should have been able to see the
>> specatacle, to study Bush as a case study in the levels to which bad faith
>> can descend.
>> But to illustrate the degree to which South America has spun out of the
>> control of the Monroe Doctrine, you should check out Kirchner's lashing of
>> the US in his address to the General Assembly, or even Lula's more
>> restrained speech. The latter, although having distanced himself from
>> Chavez previously, recently signed a pact with Venezuela . . . Would you
>> consider persuasion to be among the tools of a dicatorial power? You know
>> Chavez often spontaneously breaks out in folk songs while giving a speech .
>> . . On the wings of a snow white dove.
>> Paul
>> Tony Whitson <twhitson@UDel.Edu> wrote:
>> Paul,
>> You might still get lashed, but not by me.
>> Actually, when I wrote "a case can be made," I thought about something
>> more qualified like "I know that there are people who would attempt to
>> make a case that ...", but I decided against circumlocution. My point was
>> not to say something about Chavez, but to say something about the nature
>> of the argument: that it is an argument about power, which is lost when
>> Bush uses "dictator" for someone without that kind of power.
>> As for your eloquent comments on freedom and democracy, it might be
>> worth getting the text of Bush's speech at the UN today. That's what he
>> pretended to be talking about. I'm sure that text could be put to good
>> use, pedagogically.
>> As for fat jowled drooling capitalist pigs, it reminded me of a piece by
>> Jonathan Kozol in (I think) the Boston Phoenix, probably early 70's,
>> describing an encounter with Daniel Patrick Moynihan (with pork fat
>> literally running down his chin), in which Kozol could not persuade
>> Moynihan to support programs to aid educationally disadvantaged kids (like
>> the ones in Kozol's Death at an early age), but Moynihan did express
>> interest in funding a university research project to investigate why such
>> programs are unable to attract funding.
>> On Tue, 25 Sep 2007, Paul Dillon wrote:
>>> OK Tony,
>>> I won't belabor the point. Just finished watching a live broadcast of
>> Chavez with the American parents of hostages held by the FARC in Colombia.
>> Chavez and a Colombian senator are on the verge of brokering a truce between
>> the FARC and the Colombian government, such as was realized in Venezuela
>> more than 20 years ago.
>>> I believe Chavez is one of the most important political figures to
>> emerge in Latin American politics since Fidel Castro -- who has managed to
>> keep the torch of socialism alive despite unthinkable pressures, precisely
>> because his government represents real, not abstract, democracy. All of the
>> babble about "liberties" means little to people who don't have any work, no
>> guaranteed eduaction for their kids, no health care, etc., and as a
>> consequence can't really contribute to the construction of what Engestrom
>> called "humanized" society. . And that assuming that there's no need to
>> defend the country against fat, snarling, jowled, and drooling capitalist
>> pigs (Cheney comes to mind) who would burn down the Amazon rain forest to
>> see their assets fatten and who in this particular case are drooling at
>> Venezuela's oil assets. Chavez isn't taking away anyone's liberty unless
>> they construe liberty to mean that they can interfere with the project of
>> establishing a just society to
>>> satisfy their personal interests or allow the foreign intervention in
>> their country.
>>> But thanks for the nice reply, I expected to get lashed.
>>> Paul
>>> Tony Whitson wrote:
>>> Paul,
>>> What I said is "a case can be made ...". It's not a case that I am
>> making.
>>> In fact, on XMCA I have been challenged in the past for not being
>> critical
>>> of Chavez.
>>> My point was that the President of Iran does not have the power to
>> decide
>>> state policies and positions that it appears that Chavez does in his
>>> country -- whether or not he was elected to that position. I was making
>> a
>>> comparison. I don't think there is a comparable basis for making such a
>>> case re: Ahmadinejad. You talk about your freedom while in Venezuela,
>> but
>>> it seems to me that conflates the question of dictatorial power with the
>>> question of suppression of liberties. Those phenomena are often not
>>> unrelated, but they are conceptually distinct. My point was that the
>>> rhetoric that obscures our awareness of how little power Ahmadinejad
>>> actually has in his country, can actually serve his interest in
>> expanding
>>> that power. When I referred uncritically to Chavez in the past on XMCA,
>> I
>>> was called to task for that by someone who's much more knowledgeable
>> than
>>> I am on that situation. I defer to those who know more than I on a given
>>> subject. I'm not making any case or statement on Chavez, beyond noting
>>> that the case for "dictator" would be a matter of the power that the
>>> leader in question is able to wield, and that by all accounts
>> Ahmadinejad
>>> does not have power in Iran comparable to that of Chavez in Venezuela.
>>> On Tue, 25 Sep 2007, Paul Dillon wrote:
>>> "
>>>> Tony,
>>>> Your statement about the democratically elected president of Venezuela
>> really shocked mebecause I really didn't expect you, or anyone else on xmca
>> for that mattter, to parrot propaganda.
>>>> I have been in Venezuela and have no idea how any case at all could be
>> made for calling Chavez a dictator in the sense of the word you have
>> provided. If you choose the blatantly misrepresented example of refusing to
>> renew a TV station's license you should remember that the station in
>> question actively sponsored, live and on-the-air, a military coup against a
>> government that had been democratically elected in elections closely watched
>> by international observers, including Jimmy Carter. In the US (whose current
>> president was not democratically elected and also might be called a
>> demagogue, petty tyrant, liar and murderer ) such an action would result in
>> the same consequences for the station -- immediately, not as in the
>> Venezuelan case, when the license had expired -- and perhaps even the death
>> penalty for those involved since such acts constitute treason in the highest
>> of degrees. The consequences of the attempts against the state-owned oil
>> facilities in Maracaibo fall
>>>> into the same category.
>>>> The US-backed coup against Chavez failed and he was returned to power
>> when a million Venezuelans flooded the streets of Caracas and shut the city
>> down. There is a good documentary about this made by Irish film-makers who
>> happened to be there on another project when the coup took place.
>>>> Opposition newspapers are still published in Venezuela and Globovision,
>> a major TV network based in Venezuela, is privately owned and independent.
>> The program content of the state-owned TV station, Telesur, is a lot like
>> PBS. Runs lots of UNICEF spots concerning AIDS prevention, domestic
>> violence, etc.. It's positive content focuses on the cultures and peoples of
>> South and Central America and the Carribean; about the people, customs, and
>> identity that have absolutely no commercial or political content other than
>> the revalorization of these frameworks for identity in opposition to the
>> crap, sex-and-violence, globalized, commercial cultures that fill American
>> TV programming.
>>>> When one thinks about varieties of totalitarian controls in the XXI
>> century, Gramsci's concept of "hegemony" might prove useful for explaining
>> the US public's support for an internationally condemned and absolutely
>> illegal war; the revocation of civil rights in the Patriot Act; torture and
>> invasion of privacy; etc. reveal that there is a "velvet dictatorship" in
>> advanced capitalist societies which Gramsci's concept fits quite well. There
>> is nothing even close to that in Venezuela, let alone the variety you define
>> in "dictatorship."
>>>> I was in Venezuela and wandered freely through Caracas, Barinas, and
>> other cities over a period of three weeks. I talked (speak fluent spanish
>> with native competence although an obvious accent) with hundreds of
>> Venezuelans completely outside the framework of any government surveillance.
>> In fact as far as I could discover, there was absolutely no surveillance and
>> none of the people I spoke with seemed intimidated about expressing their
>> opinions to my questions.
>>>> Of course some of the people with whom I spoke, especially those from
>> the privileged classes who have been benefitting from Venezuela's oil income
>> for decades through a variety of macro-economic transfer mechanisms, might
>> not like Chavez' policy to steer Venezuela toward a socialist economy within
>> a unified South and Central American framework. Neverthess the vast majority
>> of Venezuelan's support him and his policies. So do most leaders of South
>> American countries. He is widely respected and only one country, sadly the
>> one where I live, has any serious issues with Chavez, but then Peru is also
>> the only country in South America that is establishing free-trade agreements
>> with the US. He has established bi-lateral and multi-lateral economic and
>> political relationships with virtyally evey other country on the continent
>> and is at the point of bringing about the first dialogues between the
>> Colombian goveernment and the FARC which has been waging war with it for
>> many
>>>> years.
>>>> So I would really like to know what dictatorial powers you are
>> referring to in your statement. I would really like to read your supposed
>> case for labelling President Chavez a dictator. And I would really hope that
>> in the future you avoid making outrageous and incorrect statements when you
>> obviously don't know much about the topic It makes you look bad.
>>>> Paul H. Dillon
>>>> Tony Whitson wrote:
>>>> First, a quick correction: MARTY (not Mary) Moss-Coane (I think she's
>> also
>>>> the producer for Terry Gross' Fresh Air, which more listeners might be
>>>> familiar with).
>>>> I was hoping that "Radio Times" transcripts are on Lexis/Nexis, but
>>>> apparently they'r not. (Other NPR programs like Morning Edition & All
>>>> Things Considered are transcribed there. Looks like Philadelphia WHYY
>>>> produced-shows are not).
>>>> To my topic for this post:
>>>> This affair illustrates concretely the consequences of eroding
>> language.
>>>> Bollinger, following Bush and others, have taken to calling Ahmadinejad
>> a
>>>> "dictator." While a case can be made for calling, say, Hugo Chavez a
>>>> dictator, Ahmadinejad is anything but that -- although we could be
>> helping
>>>> him along.
>>>> Unless the word has lost its meaning, a dictator is somebody with
>>>> dictatorial power, as when Julius Caesar became "dictator for life."
>> North
>>>> Korea's Kim would qualify for that, but Ahmadinejad actually has very
>>>> little power to decide or "dictate" the policy positions of Iran. By
>> all
>>>> accounts, there has been substantial and growing criticism and
>> opposition
>>>> to his political leadership within Iran. Most people I've heard since
>> the
>>>> Columbia event yesterday predict that it will only strengthen him, and
>> his
>>>> political position, within his own country. A bit more informed
>> clarity,
>>>> and verbal & conceptual precision, might help avoid playing into this
>> sort
>>>> of development, IMHO.
>>>> You can call him all kinds of things (demagogue, hate-monger, villan
>> ...),
>>>> including maybe "would-be" or "wannabe" dictator; but an actual
>> dictator
>>>> he is not, at least not for now.
>>>> On Tue, 25 Sep 2007, Ana Marjanovic-Shane wrote:
>>>>> There was a very interesting talk on the Public Radio "Radio Times" by
>> Mary
>>>>> Moss-Coane with TRITA PARSI is President of the National
>> Iranian-American
>>>>> Coalition and with HAMID DABASHI, a professor of Iranian Studies and
>>>>> Comparative Literature at Columbia University. If you care to listen
>> to it,
>>>>> you can download the pod-cast here (probably tomorrow or later today
>> when
>>>>> they give a link to it:
>>>>> It will most probably become a pod-cast in a few hours.
>>>>> Both speakers agreed that the Columbia's President Bolinger did not
>> handle
>>>>> this occasion well, because by blatantly attacking Ahmadinejad in his
>> own
>>>>> school he made him (Ahmadinejad) look like a victim. There were many
>>>>> interesting points both had to say, and they did not always agree with
>> each
>>>> -> other.
>>>>> Ana
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> David:
>>>>>> Providing a stage for a polarizing figure such as Ahmadinejad is
>> exactly
>>>>>> how colleges have faired over the years. How does this preclude not
>>>>>> asking
>>>>>> difficult questions?
>>>>>> eric
>>>>>> David
>>>>>> Preiss
>>>>>>>> cl>
>>>>>> cc:
>>>>>> Sent by: Subject: [xmca] Columbia events
>>>>>> xmca-bounces@web
>>>>>> 09/24/2007 09:36
>>>>>> PM
>>>>>> Please respond
>>>>>> to "eXtended
>>>>>> Mind, Culture,
>>>>>> Activity"
>>>>>> Dear XMCArs,
>>>>>> I followed from Chile the strange sequence of events at Columbia at
>>>>>> the international press. I was wondering if somebody wants to comment
>>>>>> the issues raised by the occasion. At least, for me, it is hard to
>>>>>> understand the final move made by L. Bollinger: to invite the iranian
>>>>>> president, and then to attack him verbally. What was that? If he
>>>>>> really thinks what he says, he should have not invited him, first
>>>>>> place. But if he made that, to excoriate the guy his institution was
>>>>>> inviting as a result of context pressure, then he is acting
>>>>>> hypocritically and using the hate the iranian president raises to
>>>>>> gain publicity. Too contradictory for me and anything but the way
>>>>>> academic life and free speech should be handled, in my opinion.
>>>>>> David Preiss, Ph.D.
>>>>>> Subdirector de Extensión y Comunicaciones
>>>>>> Escuela de Psicología
>>>>>> Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
>>>>>> Av Vicuña Mackenna 4860
>>>>>> Macul, Santiago
>>>>>> Chile
>>>>>> Fono: 3544605
>>>>>> Fax: 3544844
>>>>>> e-mail:
>>>>>> web personal:
>>>>>> web institucional:
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>> __________ NOD32 2549 (20070925) Information __________
>>>>>> This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system.
>>>>> --
>>>>> //
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> /Ana Marjanovic-Shane, Ph.D./
>>>>> /151 W. Tulpehocken St./
>>>>> /Philadelphia//, PA 19144///
>>>>> /(h) 215-843-2909/
>>>>> / /
>>>>> / /
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>> Tony Whitson
>>>> UD School of Education
>>>> NEWARK DE 19716
>>>> _______________________________
>>>> "those who fail to reread
>>>> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
>>>> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z
>> (1970)_______________________________________________
>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>> ---------------------------------
>>>> Tonight's top picks. What will you watch tonight? Preview the hottest
>> shows on Yahoo! TV.
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> xmca mailing list
>>> Tony Whitson
>>> UD School of Education
>>> NEWARK DE 19716
>>> _______________________________
>>> "those who fail to reread
>>> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
>>> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z
>> (1970)_______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
>>> ---------------------------------
>>> Got a little couch potato?
>>> Check out fun summer activities for kids.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
>> Tony Whitson
>> UD School of Education
>> NEWARK DE 19716
>> _______________________________
>> "those who fail to reread
>> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
>> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z
>> (1970)_______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
>> ---------------------------------
>> Take the Internet to Go: Yahoo!Go puts the Internet in your pocket: mail,
>> news, photos & more.
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
> --
> Sincerely yours Bella Kotik-Friedgut
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

Tony Whitson
UD School of Education

"those who fail to reread
  are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                   -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)

xmca mailing list
Received on Thu Sep 27 07:48 PDT 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Oct 08 2007 - 06:02:26 PDT