RE: [xmca] Re: preying on this elderly

From: Peg Griffin (
Date: Mon Sep 05 2005 - 21:33:44 PDT

Ana, David, Mike,
Yes, torn ... and not know why to do it ... and more and less vivid.

I think I have three touchstones that help. One is that I have never given
up the na´ve belief that intellectual work is work and contributes social
value. Another (almost a counterpoint) is that I'm a linguist so I always
knew about Noam Chomsky doing two things at once and had a chance to chew
over with peers the good and bad of different ways one might do citizen work
and do intellectual work in an academic discipline. I admire his problems
versus mysteries argument exactly because he works just as hard on what he
cannot approach as a disciplinary problem.
The final touchstone is a pragmatic approach left over from the 60's -- I
become a worker bee (and not a lynchpin) in a few different action groups.
On a given action, I can either work my way out of a job or recruit a
replacement worker bee. The trick is locating the right groups with people
who are good at knowing when/how/what to do and whose heads and hearts I
have faith and hope in.

The generation before me had party politics -- and in some countries I guess
that's still a feasible approach and more efficient and effective than a
bunch of action groups. I don't think it is feasible in my country at this


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Ana Marjanovic-Shane
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 7:44 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: preying on this elderly

it is true... So true. Only sometimes it is more vivid than other times,
so you can't push it aside to do something else, like many other times.
Sometimes it wins over one's optimism and hope that, little by little,
this planet could be made more humane. And then you have to pull
yourself together and think that what you do makes sense in spite all of
the other things going on. But it is a hard question... and a hard


David Daniel Preiss Contreras wrote:

> Hi Ana,
> But isn't that true of any time in any place? How could people keep
> writing poetry or living an academic life during the Holocaust? How
> could we keep doing what we do during the last 20 years or so while
> Africa is going to successive phases of hell? How could we do anything
> while the US sponsored dictatorships killed people everywhere in Latin
> America? How could we act without a slight rendition to denial while
> the current ecological crisis? The list could keep growing, I guess.
> And I guess that we keep going on because... why?
> David
> Ana Marjanovic-Shane writes:
>> Don't you find yourself torn between the need to continue with the
>> important things in your own life: to prepare for the next task in
>> your profession, on one hand, and, on the other, the enormous human
>> tragedy, amplified with the deeply troubling political conditions in
>> this country and in so many other parts of the world?
>> I have a vivid feeling of a deja vu: a common feeling like I felt
>> during the wars in Yugoslavia. How can one think of the nuances of
>> the activity theory when people are dying in a tragedy? How can one
>> continue discussing differences and subtle similarities between
>> philosophical and linguistic theories of meaning, when the future of
>> the judicial system is at stake and the people in power look like
>> people who usurped the power of all decent values of this country?
>> Does our theoretical understanding of human cognition, give us any
>> clue how to act in a crisis like this to help people organize,
>> mobilize and overcome the crisis?
>> Peg, thank you for this wonderful ramble. I just read an article in
>> the NY Times about the same thing.
>> At the same time, I am trying to prepare an analysis of a fairy tale
>> by H.C. Andersen for a conference in Belgrade a week before Sevilla.
>> Stepping from one to the other world is not an easy thing these days.
>> Ana
>> Peg Griffin wrote:
>>> It's about discourse and taking advantage of difficulty with memory
>>> retrieval.
>>> The weekend shrub blitz (including Condoleeza allegedly coming home to
>>> Alabama to help) reeked of the authorship of Karl Rove.
>>> As soon as that came into my mind, I realized the shrubs had
>>> successfully
>>> interfered with my ability to remember. I could not recall that
>>> last awful
>>> thing we should still be trying to hold Rove accountable for. I
>>> could not
>>> grab it from memory storage; the hooks to it were obscured. Yes, I
>>> remember
>>> badly and yes more so as I get older. But manipulating and amplifying
>>> natural and individual processes for cultural mass effect is exactly
>>> what
>>> the shrubs, and especially Rove, are so adept at.
>>> Then I saw a news article exposing Rove's roll and verifying my
>>> analysis.
>>> It was quite clear that Rove was back in DC and the shrub moves in
>>> the gulf
>>> were governed by the political calculus Rove does so effectively.
>>> But nothing nothing nothing in it gave a hint of what I couldn't
>>> remember.
>>> It would have been off the point, losing focus, rambling for people to
>>> identify that relevant thing about Rove.
>>> They couldn't write about the woman from the CIA who's married to
>>> the man
>>> who bucked part of the shrub story about weapons of mass
>>> destruction. They
>>> couldn't repeat that her name and identity as CIA had been leaked to a
>>> newspaper. They couldn't put in that this is the one thing
>>> involving Rove
>>> that might support legal action and trim the shrub a bit.
>>> If we don't keep on that track about Rove, the shrubs are more
>>> likely to be
>>> able to continue to prey upon us.
>>> Is this an example of what is meant by discourse type demands
>>> supporting the
>>> status quo and contributing to the manipulation of the populous?
>>> This is why I like so much the IF Stone book on the Hidden History
>>> of the
>>> Korean War. A ramble.
>>> Peg
>>> PS Cyndy Sheehan's bus tour stops here for a little bit tonight.
>>> Less time
>>> preparation than the first support vigil for her but maybe more
>>> folks! I
>>> hope and think.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
>> _______________________________________________
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> David D. Preiss
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