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Saturday, July 27, 2002
12:53 PM      

Recipe for peace?
An interesting article titled "To Keep the Peace, Study Peace" appeared in the Times today. It hints that societies, not governments ultimately have the greatest impact on the prospecs for peace. Interestingly, the study mentioned in the article points up how "ethnically integrated organizations -- including business associations, trade unions, professional groups, political parties, sports clubs -- stand out as the most effective ways of controlling conflict." Particularly interesting in light of the increasingly segregated Palestinian/Israeli sector.

"For far too long scholars and policy makers have focused on the state for conflict prevention. My main research finding is that we should instead focus on civil society," Mr. Varshney said. "An integrated society is the best bet for ethnic peace."

Scholars have hailed his book, "Ethnic Conflict & Civic Life: Hindus & Muslims in India" (Yale University Press), as a major breakthrough, while the United Nations has already adopted his method to study Muslim-Christian violence in Indonesia.

read more [crappy NYT link - requires registration]

Speaking of mixing cultures, I saw a muslim woman get on the bus the other day, dressed mostly in black: veils covered the top of her head and her face, leaving about a 3/4" slit to see thorugh. Her entire outfit was matte black cotton, except for the bottoms of trquoise pants that peeked out from the beneath her flowing garb. She had a little girl with her, who seemed to be dressed pretty much like any other little girl of about 4 or 5. I wondered about how this little girl viewed her mother's dress. As she gets older, will she see it as a rite of passage to cover herself completely, or will she feel compelled to rebel? I wonder too, whether individuality is valued in such cultures, and how it's expressed if not in one's style of dress.

To make matters more interesting, after a couple of stops, an orthodox Jewish couple got on the bus a couple of stops later. Their little boy was about the same age as the little muslim girl, and he was already showing the outward signs of his ethnic upbringing. He wore a yarmulke and payas - little "spit curls" that dangled almost to his jaw line. The father was wearing what looked like a variation on a bowler, and the mother was wearing the traditional wig that makes so many orthodox Jewish women look so much alike.

The two familes didn't seem to notice each other at all. I wondered if they had, and what thoughts might have passed through their minds. At the same time, I wondered about how each of them addressed daily life interacting with a world of non-believers that inhabit the places outside their insular communities.

If you travel down Ocean Parkway toward Coney Island, there's a point where you'll see the homes and synagogues of well-to-do Jewish people. It's right down the road from an area that has an obvious concentration of Muslims. I don't hear reports of strife between these two communities. I wonder if this is an example of coexistence or do they simply ignore each other?


Seems like the simple thing to do is make sure you tell people to turn off their cell phones, and eject the people who don't, but noooo...

Widespread success of such radio blockers would be a disaster for public safety personnel, said Glen Nash, president of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials.

In the words of Sting:
"Never saw no miracle of science that didn't go from a blessing to a curse / Never saw no military solution didn't end up with something worse..."


It was very cool to watch Lance kick a convincing win in today's time trial in the Tour de France. The only thing left is the ceremonial finish... But there are other cool stories and sub-plots to the overall drama. "Ja-Ja" Jalabert's swan song tour has been a spectacular one - his form is still so good, and he's still aggressive, even though this is his last season. And then there's Thor Hushovd- who was cramping so badly during one of the early mountain stages, it looked like he might not be able to complete the stage in the allotted time. Not only did he hang on, he came back to win yesterday's stage. Now, that's grit.


In the section of The Cluetrain Manifesto that I'm reading right now, they're skillfully goring the ox of the PR wag... It makes a compelling case that PR gets no respect for good reason, and that PR people are constantly trying to get their fake BS published as news. Interesting to think about how many of the "news" pieces that I posted on my former employer's website came from source like "PR Newswire"- a title as oxymoronic as "jumbo shrimp" and "military intelligence", to steal a line from George Carlin.

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Thursday, July 25, 2002
7:30 PM      

Throwing clues from the train:

"...suddenly the guy asks me 'who gives you permission to read these books?'

"...The question implies that the world in fact belongs to someone else....

"Right then and there... I gave myself blanket permission: to be curious, to learn, to speak, to write....

"Freedom of expression may be called out loftily in the U.S. Constitution, but even ater two centuries of deomocracy it's still a far cry from second nature."

From The Cluetrain Manifesto. It's a good read, if a little thick in places.


A crunchier brand of spam
Living in New York means that you're going to be bombarded with solicitations. Ride the subway, and the cars are festooned with ads. Sometimes, they saturate the cars with posters from a single advertiser. The industrious tack their own hand-made fliers and stickers on top of the paid advertising.

Barely a day goes by, that I don't walk out my door to find some unsolicited leaflet material - a plastic-bagged circular from this or that discount store, or a business card from some service company crammed into any crevice that will hold it. I'll call this unsolicited junk hardspam. My usual response is to do a sweep of the unsolicited droppings, and toss them without reading, into the trash.

Still, every so often this hardspam is so amazing that I have to look, and I have to comment.

Evelyn Limo and Car Service win an award for most uncreative use of jingoistic symbolism, with a secondary award for symbol saturation. Presumably the heart is there because we all [heart] New York. The flag and "United We Stand" are supposed to suggest either: a) that Evelyn cares more than any other car service, or b) that true patriots use Evelyn. Not sure which... and uh, no, I'm not going to post their phone number. They're lucky I didn't disguise their name...

Of course, the thing about advertising is that it's very much about associating moods or feelings with products and services that have nothing intrinsically to do with those moods or feelings. Puppy dogs and toddlers don't use Scott toilet tissue (at least not directly), and you'd typically have a fit, if they unfurled a roll of it around the house the way they do in one of those "oh-so-cute" commercials. And the folks at Clairol went beyond associating Herbal Essence with powerful orgasms - they coupled it with group sex!

The building we live in is little more than two years old. It's all brick and cinder-block construction. All of the units are tenant-occupied. It's just a waste of paper, when someone plasters fliers for replacement windows and vinyl siding (sheesh!) all over our front doors.


Urban Anthro


1. I live in Brooklyn and ride the subway every day.
2. I am a "normal" 20-something female that deals with the same "body issues" that the majority of all females deal with.
3. I am among those concerned about what WE are doing in the Media and how this affects ALL of us.

From the Brintney Underground site. Make sure you click on the "in full" links - clicking on the image only opens the "close-up" view, which doesn't always give you the full flavor.


A while ago, I began to speculate about whether president pubis was working to marginalize Colin Powell. Feathers got ruffled when Powell was actually willing to question the wisdom of skirting the Geneva Convention in the matter of Taliban and Al Quaeda prisoners. When an article appears in the Times acknowledging that Powell and the Bushies have been at odds and that Powell is not likely to last the administration, it comes as little surprise. What's your bet on how much longer? I'd say it's a matter of weeks.

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