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
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.
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
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
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,
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
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.
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."
Cluetrain Manifesto. It's a good read, if a little thick
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.
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
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.