Saturday, December 30, 2006

(In)Justice is Served:Killing for Justice is like Screwing for Virginity?

At 6:10 this morning (Dec. 30, 2006), Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq for 3 decades, was executed by hanging for the 1982 killings of 148 men and boys in the Iraqi town of Dujail. In a statment, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said: “To you who have endured the anguish of the years, and suffered from the injustice of the tyrants during the era of odious dictatorship, your pure land has gotten rid of impurity of the dictator.” In a statement prepared in advance, George W. Bush (who was sleeping at the time of the execution) said that Hussein “was executed after receiving a fair trial — the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.” He continued: “Saddam Hussein’s execution comes at the end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops...Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq’s course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain and defend itself, and be an ally in the war on terror.”
I wish to draw attention to the rhetoric of "justice" and "injustice" in these two men's statements. To whose notion of justice does such an act of execution align? How are they describing "justice" and what does it mean to have "[brought] Saddam Hussein to justice"?
In one sense, "justice" seems to be described in the sense that Thrasymachus described it in The Republic, as the interest of the strong. Those in power make the rules, might makes right. Now that there are new people in power, these killings are viewed as unjust. Also with new people in power, and backed by the USA as a superpower, the execution of Hussein is viewed as just, because those in power judge them as just. This may be a good description of of what is politically called justice but I wouldn't want to hold this up as normative, as something that we should strive toward.
The execution itself is seen as being just by those in power, but this sense of justice seems to go along with the assumption that justice is getting what you deserve (and what you deserve is decided by those in power). Saddam Hussein had 148 men and boys killed at Dujail, therefore he deserves to die.
My question is this: can the hanging of Hussein be viewed as just? Instead of stopping the body count at 148 , it is now at 149. Are the injustices done by Hussein made right through further injustice? Do two injustices make justice prevail? Is justice a zero-sum game? Basically, can killing a human being serve justice?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Jesus, Son of the Father

"Now it was the governor's custom at the Festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, 'Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?'"
Matthew 27:15-17
(for the parallel stories in the canonical gospels see also Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:13-25, and John 18:38-19:16)

In this passage, there are (at least) three things that make me suspicious of a "literal" reading of this event of Jesus' Passion week. The first two are more historical, though they implications in the third which is more theological. First, nowhere other than the New Testament do we see any evidence that "it was the governor's custom at the Festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd." Second, historically (though little is known) Pontius Pilate was not considered a nice guy, as he is often portrayed in the canonical gospels. For example, according to Josephus, in approximately 36CE, Pilate attempted to suppress what appears to have been a Samaritan religious procession in arms that may have been interpreted as an uprising, by arresting and executing the Samaritans. Pilate's behavior was so offensive to the morals of the time that, after complaints to the Roman legate of Syria, Pilate was recalled to Rome, where he disappears from historic record. Third, and this is my big question, are Jesus Barabbas and Jesus the Messiah one and the same? In most manuscripts, we just read the name of the prisoner as "Barabbas", however, in a few manuscripts and the discussion of this passage by Origen, Barabbas is refered to as "Jesus Barabbas". The name Jesus Barabbas means Jesus, Son of the Father. Jesus the Messiah was often called Son of the Father. Are these seemingly distinct men really the same man? It seems odd that the crowd that ushered Jesus into the city as a king at the beginning of the week, all of a sudden wants him crucified. Perhaps, there was only one man, Pilate was afraid of a riot, so he asked if they wanted Jesus (the son of the Father, the messiah) set free. They responded by saying set Jesus (the son of the Father, the messiah) free, Pilate agreed and the crowd dispersed. Then Pilate had Jesus crucified anyway for his crimes of sedition.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

R.S.V.P.: A Letter from Mahmoud Amhadinejad to the American People

Message of H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
To the American People
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
O, Almighty God, bestow upon humanity the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers.

Noble Americans,
Were we not faced with the activities of the US administration in this part of the world and the negative ramifications of those activities on the daily lives of our peoples, coupled with the many wars and calamities caused by the US administration as well as the tragic consequences of US interference in other countries; Were the American people not God-fearing, truth-loving, and justice-seeking, while the US administration actively conceals the truth and impedes any objective portrayal of current realities; And if we did not share a common responsibility to promote and protect freedom and human dignity and integrity; Then, there would have been little urgency to have a dialogue with you.
While Divine providence has placed Iran and the United States geographically far apart, we should be cognizant that human values and our common human spirit, which proclaim the dignity and exalted worth of all human beings, have brought our two great nations of Iran and the United States closer together. Both our nations are God-fearing, truth-loving and justice-seeking, and both seek dignity, respect and perfection.
Both greatly value and readily embrace the promotion of human ideals such as compassion, empathy, respect for the rights of human beings, securing justice and equity, and defending the innocent and the weak against oppressors and bullies.
We are all inclined towards the good, and towards extending a helping hand to one another, particularly to those in need. We all deplore injustice, the trampling of peoples’ rights and the intimidation and humiliation of human beings. We all detest darkness, deceit, lies and distortion, and seek and admire salvation, enlightenment, sincerity and honesty. The pure human essence of the two great nations of Iran and the United States testify to the veracity of these statements.
Noble Americans,
Our nation has always extended its hand of friendship to all other nations of the world. Hundreds of thousands of my Iranian compatriots are living amongst you in friendship and peace, and are contributing positively to your society. Our people have been in contact with you over the past many years and have maintained these contacts despite the unnecessary restrictions of US authorities. As mentioned, we have common concerns, face similar challenges, and are pained by the sufferings and afflictions in the world.
We, like you, are aggrieved by the ever-worsening pain and misery of the Palestinian people. Persistent aggressions by the Zionists are making life more and more difficult for the rightful owners of the land of Palestine. In broad daylight, in front of cameras and before the eyes of the world, they are bombarding innocent defenseless civilians, bulldozing houses, firing machine guns at students in the streets and alleys, and subjecting their families to endless grief. No day goes by without a new crime.
Palestinian mothers, just like Iranian and American mothers, love their children, and are painfully bereaved by the imprisonment, wounding and murder of their children. What mother wouldn’t?
For 60 years, the Zionist regime has driven millions of the inhabitants of Palestine out of their homes. Many of these refugees have died in the Diaspora and in refugee camps. Their children have spent their youth in these camps and are aging while still in the hope of returning to homeland.
You know well that the US administration has persistently provided blind and blanket support to the Zionist regime, has emboldened it to continue its crimes, and has prevented the UN Security Council from condemning it. Who can deny such broken promises and grave injustices towards humanity by the US administration?
Governments are there to serve their own people. No people wants to side with or support any oppressors. But regrettably, the US administration disregards even its own public opinion and remains in the forefront of supporting the trampling of the rights of the Palestinian people.
Let’s take a look at Iraq. Since the commencement of the US military presence in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, maimed or displaced. Terrorism in Iraq has grown exponentially. With the presence of the US military in Iraq, nothing has been done to rebuild the ruins, to restore the infrastructure or to alleviate poverty. The US Government used the pretext of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but later it became clear that that was just a lie and a deception.
Although Saddam was overthrown and people are happy about his departure, the pain and suffering of the Iraqi people has persisted and has even been aggravated.
In Iraq, about one hundred and fifty thousand American soldiers, separated from their families and loved ones, are operating under the command of the current US administration. A substantial number of them have been killed or wounded and their presence in Iraq has tarnished the image of the American people and government.
Their mothers and relatives have, on numerous occasions, displayed their discontent with the presence of their sons and daughters in a land thousands of miles away from US shores. American soldiers often wonder why they have been sent to Iraq.
I consider it extremely unlikely that you, the American people, consent to the billions of dollars of annual expenditure from your treasury for this military misadventure.
Noble Americans,
You have heard that the US administration is kidnapping its presumed opponents from across the globe and arbitrarily holding them without trial or any international supervision in horrendous prisons that it has established in various parts of the world. God knows who these detainees actually are, and what terrible fate awaits them.
You have certainly heard the sad stories of the Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib prisons. The US administration attempts to justify them through its proclaimed “war on terror.” But every one knows that such behavior, in fact, offends global public opinion, exacerbates resentment and thereby spreads terrorism, and tarnishes the US image and its credibility among nations.
The US administration’s illegal and immoral behavior is not even confined to outside its borders. You are witnessing daily that under the pretext of “the war on terror,” civil liberties in the United States are being increasingly curtailed. Even the privacy of individuals is fast losing its meaning. Judicial due process and fundamental rights are trampled upon. Private phones are tapped, suspects are arbitrarily arrested, sometimes beaten in the streets, or even shot to death. I have no doubt that the American people do not approve of this behavior and indeed deplore it.
The US administration does not accept accountability before any organization, institution or council. The US administration has undermined the credibility of international organizations, particularly the United Nations and its Security Council. But, I do not intend to address all the challenges and calamities in this message.
The legitimacy, power and influence of a government do not emanate from its arsenals of tanks, fighter aircrafts, missiles or nuclear weapons. Legitimacy and influence reside in sound logic, quest for justice and compassion and empathy for all humanity. The global position of the United States is in all probability weakened because the administration has continued to resort to force, to conceal the truth, and to mislead the American people about its policies and practices. Undoubtedly, the American people are not satisfied with this behavior and they showed their discontent in the recent elections. I hope that in the wake of the mid-term elections, the administration of President Bush will have heard and will heed the message of the American people.
My questions are the following:
Is there not a better approach to governance?
Is it not possible to put wealth and power in the service of peace, stability, prosperity and the happiness of all peoples through a commitment to justice and respect for the rights of all nations, instead of aggression and war?
We all condemn terrorism, because its victims are the innocent. But, can terrorism be contained and eradicated through war, destruction and the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocents?
If that were possible, then why has the problem not been resolved? The sad experience of invading Iraq is before us all.
What has blind support for the Zionists by the US administration brought for the American people? It is regrettable that for the US administration, the interests of these occupiers supersedes the interests of the American people and of the other nations of the world.
What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors? Is it not because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media sectors?
I recommend that in a demonstration of respect for the American people and for humanity, the right of Palestinians to live in their own homeland should be recognized so that millions of Palestinian refugees can return to their homes and the future of all of Palestine and its form of government be determined in a referendum. This will benefit everyone.
Now that Iraq has a Constitution and an independent Assembly and Government, would it not be more beneficial to bring the US officers and soldiers home, and to spend the astronomical US military expenditures in Iraq for the welfare and prosperity of the American people? As you know very well, many victims of Katrina continue to suffer, and countless Americans continue to live in poverty and homelessness.
I’d also like to say a word to the winners of the recent elections in the US: The United States has had many administrations; some who have left a positive legacy, and others that are neither remembered fondly by the American people nor by other nations.
Now that you control an important branch of the US Government, you will also be held to account by the people and by history
If the US Government meets the current domestic and external challenges with an approach based on truth and Justice, it can remedy some of the past afflictions and alleviate some of the global resentment and hatred of America. But if the approach remains the same, it would not be unexpected that the American people would similarly reject the new electoral winners, although the recent elections, rather than reflecting a victory, in reality point to the failure of the current administration’s policies. These issues had been extensively dealt with in my letter to President Bush earlier this year.
To sum up:
It is possible to govern based on an approach that is distinctly different from one of coercion, force and injustice.
It is possible to sincerely serve and promote common human values, and honesty and compassion.
It is possible to provide welfare and prosperity without tension, threats, imposition or war.
It is possible to lead the world towards the aspired perfection by adhering to unity, monotheism, morality and spirituality and drawing upon the teachings of the Divine Prophets.
Then, the American people, who are God-fearing and followers of Divine religions, will overcome every difficulty.
What I stated represents some of my anxieties and concerns.
I am confident that you, the American people, will play an instrumental role in the establishment of justice and spirituality throughout the world. The promises of the Almighty and His prophets will certainly be realized, Justice and Truth will prevail and all nations will live a true life in a climate replete with love, compassion and fraternity.
The US governing establishment, the authorities and the powerful should not choose irreversible paths. As all prophets have taught us, injustice and transgression will eventually bring about decline and demise. Today, the path of return to faith and spirituality is open and unimpeded.
We should all heed the Divine Word of the Holy Qur’an:
“But those who repent, have faith and do good may receive Salvation. Your Lord, alone, creates and chooses as He will, and others have no part in His choice; Glorified is God and Exalted above any partners they ascribe to Him.” (28:67-68)
I pray to the Almighty to bless the Iranian and American nations and indeed all nations of the world with dignity and success.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
29 November 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Phonograph and My Existential Crisis

Today, November 29th, 2006 (the 333rd day of 2006) is the 119th anniversary of the day that Thomas Edison first demonstrated his invention for recording and replaying sound, the phonograph ("sound writer"). This first phonograph recorded on tinfoil cylinders that had low sound quality and destroyed the track during replay so that one could listen to it only a few times. A few uses for the phonograph that Edison proposed include: recording books for blind people to hear, preserving the last words of dying people, announcing the time, and teaching spelling. The reproduction of music was not very high on Edison's list. A few years past without the phonograph really catching on, and eventually Edison proclaimed that the phonograph had no commercial value. After a few more years, Edison changed his mind and began selling phonographs as office dictating machines. However, other inventors wanted to take the phonograph in a different direction and they created jukeboxes by arranging phonographs to play popular music at the drop of a coin. Edison saw this as a debasement of his serious invention. Eventually, after 20 years, Edison conceded that the phonograph's purpose is to record and play music. I do not claim to be an expert on Edison's life, but it seems to me that he began inventing because he enjoyed inventing. It seems to me that he made money in order to continue what he loved to do; invent. He survived to continue inventing. As the years went on, however, his love seemed to change. With his improvement of the incandescent light bulb, Edison was a promoter of DC (direct current) for electric distribution. He went to extremes to put his new adversary, George Westinghouse, out of business. Westinghouse was a promoter of AC (alternating current). Edison went so far as to electracute animals, including an elephant, to show the "danger" of AC. He even went so far as promoting the electric chair and the death penalty to delegitimate AC. I don't want to go into the details, but it seems that Edison's focus shifted here, from making money in order to continue inventing to continue inventing in order to make money. (I don't really care if this isn't exactly true. This story about Edison is merely a means to an end, and I feel that the end justifies the means, at least in this blog post.)And this is the point that my existential crisis arises. What do I want to do? What do I want to survive in order to keep doing? Instead of keep doing in order to survive? What do I want to do that I will make money to continue doing and not continue doing in order to make money? This is where I am stuck. Especially since I have become rather disenchanted with graduate school (apparently reading Habermas will do that to you). So here I am crossing the threshold into the yet-to-be determined future, and as I do, I am trying to find my passion in life. Because right now, I am growing evermore passionate about apathy.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Natality and the Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers are appearing in the MLB playoffs for the first time since 1987 (I was 5 years old). Since winning the division title in '87, the team had a sucessful year in '88 leading the AL East for most of the season before entering a late season slump. In '89, the Tigers held the worst record in baseball with a 59-103 record. In '90 - '93, the team began to improve thanks to Fielder's bat, but the team lacked pitching and the players were beginning to age. From '94-'05, the Tigers did not post a winning record.
However, this year, 2006, the Tigers have made it at least to the American League Championship Series.
The '06 Tigers are a young team. With the likes of Granderson (MLB debut in '04), Monroe (MLB debut '01), Thames (MLB debut '02), Verlander (rookie), Zumaya (rookie), Bonderman (MLB debut '03), Robertson (MLB debut '02), Maroth (MLB debut '02), and Miner (rookie) among others, the Tigers are a team that may be less experienced than other teams, but "every newcomer possesses the capacity of beginning something anew."
This reminds me of Hannah Arendt's notion of natality (contra Heidegger's notion of mortality). Arendt writes of the "human condition of natality" is "the new beginning inherent in birth [that] can make itself felt in the world only because the newcomer possesses the capacity of beginning something anew".
"The miracle that saves the world, the realm of human affairs, from its normal, 'natural' ruin is ultimately the fact of natality, in which the faculty of action is ontologically rooted. It is, in other words, the birth of new men and the new beginning, the action they are capable of by virtue of being born. Only the full experience of this capacity can bestow upon human affairs faith and hope...It is this faith in and hope for the world that found perhaps its most glorious and most succinct expression in the few words with which the Gospels announced their 'glad tidings': 'A child has been born unto us.'"
These newcomers on the Tigers give me faith and hope and they have brought and are capable of bringing new beginnings to my favorite baseball team. Let's go Tigers!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

With Dick in Hand: Dick Devos, Michigan, and Economic Masturbation

With mid-term elections coming up on November 7, I'm sure the gubernatorial elections in America's high five (Michigan) are becoming more and more ominous and the reminders to vote are increasing toward ubiquity. Thankfully, I am in Toronto and no one will be riding me for not voting and then telling me that since I don't vote, I can't complain. First, if you vote for a candidate or a proposition, and said candidate or proposition loses, what good is it to have "a right to complain"? Exactly who do you complain to? Why do I have to have a "right" in order to complain? Do people under 21 have no right to complain? If in good conscience you can't vote for any candidate in a presidential election, it would seem that you have legitimate grounds for complaint.
Secondly, I'm not a political romantic. America, Michigan, and Grant Township will always do things that I disagree with whether I vote or not. You can't say you are politically active simply because you fill in a dot next to someone's name. But because you filled in that dot and I didn't, you have the right to complain and I don't? Politics aren't going to change the world for the better. Get off your tuckus more than just to travel down to the polls and actually do something to change the world. Ways of life only change in living...and it begins at home. Because politics aren't going to change the world for the better and, if even it could, there is no one I can support and still sleep at night, I'm not going to vote and I think I have the "right" to complain.
Sorry about the pseudo-rant, I'm sure I will be lambasted by the "politically-aware" readers (oh, I forgot, no one reads this blog anymore).
My actual intent for this post was to talk about Dick Devos and his "The Michigan Turn Around Plan". So, basically, said plan can be (and has been by Devos himself) divided into four sections or "missions" (which are actually one "mission", but enough of these parenthetical statements); 1) Create a Job Climate Second to None, 2) Overhaul State Government, 3) Diversify our Economy, and 4) Conquer the International Marketplace.
Let's begin at the beginning. Dick Devos wants to create a job climate second to none. How (besides getting rid of the Business Tax), you ask? I'll focus on a few "jobs" that Devos says he hopes to do. I'll start off with one I like, Mission #1 Job#2 focuses on helping small businesses. Which I like, but helping them how? Implicitly, it seems that he wants to "help" small businesses by making them big businesses. Nevermind, I don't like it anymore.
Mission #1 Job #2 - Devos wants to "Improve Education: Give Our Kids the Skills They Need". I agree. Improve education and give them the skills they need! Right on! Wait a minute. Devos is reducing education to economics. Give them the skills they need so that they "are able to meet the requirements of the 21st Century economy - and get high quality jobs." But if everyone is getting this "improved education", can everyone get these "high quality jobs"? Who is going to bag groceries or clean toilets? We are already keeping kid's from flooding the job market by keeping them in school until they are 18. What would happen if they get the high quality jobs when they are finally released into the job market? What would happen to all the people who are, in the job market, obtaining the skills they need and working their way up to those jobs?
Mission #1 Job #5 - Protect and Promote Michigan's Environment. Sounds good. Again, I agree. But why Mr. Devos? "I believe our environment is an engine for job creation and quality of life." This is the point where I hang my head.
Let's move to Mission #2, "Overhaul State Government". You may be thinking of that good ol' Sesame Street (ADD-inducing) shorts and singing to yourself, "one of these things is not like the others". The other three are about the economy, this one is about the government. But you would be wrong because "The Governor's Job is Jobs" and as our Governor, "Devos would be the CEO of Michigan's economic efforts."
Maybe we should move along to Mission #3 - "Diversify our Economy". Here he talks of universities, but again he is only interested in how it will help the economy; "I will get more job-creating ideas from our universities to the marketplace."
In Job #14, Devos wants to "Support Michigan Agriculture" and he "knows that we can
protect the environment and grow Michigan’s family farms at the same time." I like what I hear. Wait...what does he mean by "grow"? What is all this talk of "Agriculture business leaders will always have a seat at my table" and "agriculture industry" and "Michigan’s agriculture businesses"? I thought we were talking about Michigan's family farms not Michigan's agribusinesses?
I don't even want to talk about Mission #4 - "Conquer the International Marketplace". It just sounds ridiculous. But he talks about Fair Trade in Job #17, my interest is peaked. "Enforce trade agreements. Michigan workers can compete anywhere, but we need a level playing
field. When these agreements are not enforced, our job providers struggle, and we lose jobs"... "Stand up to countries whose laws discriminate against American-made products"... "Fight for the protection of intellectual property rights"..."Stop currency manipulation that harms our Michigan made products." What does this have to do with doing justice to those who are mistreated because of their status as a farmer in a periphery country being trammeled by the global capitalist economy?

It seems that Dick Devos believes two things. 1. Everything (education, agriculture, government, the environment...etc.) is a means to the end of "stimulating" the economy. 2. If the economy is being "stimulated", then everything is working as it should be. This may be too simplistic, but I don't care. I'm glad that I can complain. All I'm saying is that when I come home I don't want to catch you all with Dick in Hand "stimulating" the economy.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Apparently no one checks my blog anymore, but I don't really care. If I keep writing posts on this blog, is it like talking to myself? If it is, I don't really care.
Anyway, I started learning how to read German last Wednesday. Today, I had my second German class. I've had a great time learing Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, and Dative cases, and the corresponding articles for Masculine, Feminine, Neutral, and Plural. Anyway (again), German is a weird language (but its not like English isn't weird). It seems that Germans don't like to use the space bar or move their hand over between nouns. These are called compound nouns. One such compound noun I learned this week was (are you ready for this?)..."staatsangestelltenkrankheitsversicherungsgesellschaft". Yes, that's one word! It means: State Employees health insurance company, and yes, it has 55 letters!
What is it with Germans and spaces? Do they not get along?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Christology with a Dash of Freud and a Pinch of Marx

Here are some excerpts from Erich Fromm's essay "The Dogma of Christ" in The Frankfurt School on Religion and the collection of essays entitled The Dogma of Christ. This is an extremely interesting essay, Fromm employs two of the "Masters of Suspicion" to read (and critique) the doctrine of Christology for the early Church and later its shift away from the early Church's Christology to the Christology of the Catholic Church. Both doctrines of Christ are rooted in the Church communities' social and economic standings.
I want to include enough to interest people to read it, but not too much to give it all away. The parts that I focus on a Marxian reading of first century Palestine which sets up for a Freudian reading of the doctrine of Christ for the first century Christian community. Without further ado, dear reader, let's get started.
In the first century C.E., "Palestine was a part of the Roman Empire and succumbed to the conditions of its economic and social development".
Economically, there were basically three classes. First, "the rural population was exhausted by an extraordinarily heavy tax burden" and either became debt slaves, or as the farmers lost their means of production or their small land holdings, they "swelled the ranks of the large-city proletariat of Jerusalem" or "resorted to desperate remedies, such as violent political uprising and plundering." Second, just above the impoverished proletariat there arose a middle economic class, "though suffering under Roman pressure, was nevertheless economically stable." Third, there was a "small but powerful influential class of the feudal, priestly, and moneyed aristocracy." Within the Palestinian population, there was a corresponding social differentiation to this severe economic cleavage. Sadducees represented the rich upper class, Pharisees represented the middle economic class, and the Am Ha-aretz (literally, land folk), corresponded to the "lowest stratum of the urban Lumpenproletariat and the oppressed peasants." There was much hatred between the lowest class and the Pharisaic circles (if you question this, ask me for some literary instances where this arises), and the conflict increased as "Roman oppression became heavier and the lowest classes [became] more crushed and uprooted." This is where we see the rise of national, social, and religious revolutionaries; mainly embodied in political attempts at revolt like the Zealots and Sicarii (dagger carriers), and religious-messianic movements (but "there is by no means a sharp deperation between these two streams moving toward liberation and salvation; often they flow into each other).
Out of these lowest classes - "the masses of uneducated poor, the proletariat of Jerusalem, and the peasants in the country", those who "because of the increasing political and economic oppression and because of social restriction and contempt, increasingly felt the urge to change existing conditions" - arose the kind of people who supported early Christianity.
Do passages like Luke 6:20 ff, then, not only "express longing and expectation of the poor and oppressed for a new and better world, but also their complete hatred of the authorities - the rich, the learned, and the powerful"?
How did the early Christian community view Christ? In Acts 2:36, wee see that "God made him [Jesus] both Lord and Christ". This "is the oldest doctrine of Christ that we have, and is therefore of great interest, especially since it was later supplanted by other, more extensive doctrines." This is called the "adoptionist" theory "because here an act of adoption is assumed". "The thought present here is that Jesus was not the messiah from the beginning; in other words, he was not from the beginning the Son of God, but became so only by a definite, very distinct act of God's will. This is expressed in the fact that the statement in Psalms 2:7, 'You are my son, today I have begotten you," is interpreted as referring to the moment of the exaltation of Jesus (Acts 13:33)." According to the ancient Semetic idea, the king is a son of God on the day he mounts the throne. "It is therefore in keeping with the oriental spirit to say that Jesus, as he was exalted to the right hand of God, became the Son of God."
"We see thus that the concept of Jesus held by the early community was that he was a man chosen by God and elevated by him as a 'messiah', and later as 'Son of God'. This Christology of the early community resembles in many respects the concept of the messiah chosen by God to introduce a kingdom of righteousness and love, a concept which had been familiar among the Jewish masses for a long time." Except there are a few new elements: "in the fact of his exaltation as Son of God to sit at the right hand of the Almighty, and in the act that this messiah is no longer the powerful, victorious hero, but his significance and dignity reside just in his suffering, in his death on the cross."
This is where we add the dash of Freud, and may get a little controversial.
"The first Christians were a brotherhood of socially and economically oppressed enthusiasts held together by hope and hatred." "While the Zealots and Sicarii endeavored to realize their wishes in the sphere of political reality, the complete hopelessness of realization led the early Christians to formulate the same wishes in fantasy." "If there was nothing left for the Zealots but to die in hopeless battle, the followers of Christ could dream of their goal without reality immediately showing them the hopelessness of their wishes. By substituting fantasy for reality, the Christian message satisfied the longings for hope and revenge, and although it failed to relieve hunger, it brought a fantasy satisfaction of no little significance for the oppressed."
1. A man is rased to a god; he is adopted by God. "We have here the old myth of the rebellion of the son, an expression of hostile impulses toward the father-god." "These people hated intensely the authorities that confronted them with 'fatherly' power. The priests, scholars, aristocrates, in short, all the rulers who excluded them from the enjoyment of life and who in their emotional world played the role of the sever, forbidding, threatening, tormenting father - they also had to hate this God who was an ally of their oppressors, who permitted them to suffer and be oppressed. They themselves wanted to rul...but it seemed hopeless to try to acheive this in reality and to overthrow and destroy their present masters by force. So they satisfied their wishes in fantasy. Consciously they did not date to slander the fatherly God. Concious hatred was reserved for the authorities, not for the elevated father figure, the diving being himself. But the unconscious hostility to the divine father found expression in the Christ fantasy. They put a man at God's side and made him a co-regent with God the father. This man who became a god, and with whom as humans they could identify, represented their Oedipus wishes; he was a symbol of their unconscious hostility to God the father, for if a man could become God, the latter was deprived of his priveleged fatherly position of being unique and unreachable. The belief in the elevation of a man to god was thus the expression of an unconscious wish for the removal of the divine father.
2. The figure of the suffering savior was determined "by the fact that some of the death wishes against the father-god were shifted to the son. In the myth of the dying god (Adonis, Attis, Osiris), god himself was the one whose death was fantasied. In the early Christian myth the father is killed in the son."
3. "Since the believing enthusiasts were imbued with hatred and death wishes - consciously against their rulers, unconsciously against God the father - they identified with the crucified; they themselves suffered death on the cross and atoned in this way for their death wishes against the father. through his death, Jesus expiated the guilt of all, and the first Christians greatly needed such an atonement."

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11: In Memoriam

Prior to the commencement of his presidency, George W. Bush’s campaign slogan was “Bringing America Together”. Apparently, according to the Republican Party in general, and Bush in particular, the grand old U.S. of A. was experiencing a crisis of national identity. Whether there was an internal conflict of Us/Them in the United States or not, Bush’s dreams were answered at the precise moment that two planes crashed into the national monument known as the World Trade Center, five years ago. The “crises of national identity found its provisional resolution by displacing the internal conflict of Us/Them on an external screen.” (Richard Kearney) The body politic known as the United States was (re)united on September 11, 2001, just like the separatist Puritans and the non-religious adventurers were united under the Mayflower Compact or like how frontiersmen put there differences aside while expanding America’s borders westward. This time, however, “we” were not arriving to the New World on the Mayflower or pushing the frontier further west in stagecoaches or covered wagons and uniting against the savage “Indians”, instead, “they” were the savages arriving on airplanes, crashing into buildings, nevertheless, again we united against “them”. Our crises of national identity, our differences were put behind us; America had been brought together against “them”; against savage terrorists. We were once again the United States of America.
However, it was indeed a “provisional resolution”. Between the attack upon the World Trade Center and today, five years later, we have seen the Bush administration declare preemptive war on Iraq, declare an endless “war on terrorism”, curtail civil rights, defy laws, resort to overwhelming force, and other actions, like these, that are “ready products of fear and hasty thought.” (Wendell Berry) Again we are experiencing crises of national identity; Americans are no longer united over the issues of war in Iraq (how is this connected to 9/11 again?), war in Afghanistan, or war on terrorism. Words like “freedom” are evoked to reunite the body politic, because who is against “freedom”? Terrorists. This administration is fighting for “freedom” against those who are against “freedom”, so if you are against this administrations actions, you are against “freedom” (you are no better than a terrorist) because this administration is fighting for “freedom”. This logic disintegrates public dialogue into ad hominem arguments, words like “freedom” disintegrate into rhetoric of self-righteousness and self-justification, and critical self-appraisal is thrown out with the bathwater. We are implored to remember the victims aboard the planes and in the towers who died on this fateful day, but these are just disguised calls to revenge and resentment, to increase military funding (recall Eisenhower’s warning against the military-industrial complex), to give our endless support to the thriving bureaucracy, in order to stamp out these “embittered few”, these “thousands of trained terrorists” so “innocents” who died on 9/11 and others will not have died in vain (The National Security Strategy). But will retaliating in immature and dangerous ways, will the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of “innocents” in Iraq and Afghanistan, will the deaths of thousands of American, Canadian, English, Iraq, and Afghan soldiers, will the severed head of Osama bin-Laden, save the victims deaths from banality? It doesn’t look like America’s typical unoriginal and uncreative response of war and violence will save or is saving the victims death from be(com)ing trivial. Perhaps it is now, five years out, to start thinking of different ways to handle the crises that 9/11 has placed in our laps. When should we start forgiving? When is it right to remember and when is it right to forget? How much should we remember and how much should we forget? Is this a time and place (like Northern Ireland, Bosnia, or Rwanda) where we should take note of Nietzsche’s call to “actively forget the past” in order to surmount revenge and resentment? To rework Adorno’s question about Auschwitz (which he later retracted), “Is poetry possible after 9/11?” Or is this a time and place (like Auschwitz) in which “it is essential to remember the past in order to honour our ‘debt to the dead’ and try to insure that it never happens again” (Kearney)? If we are to remember the past, if we are to narrate the events of half a decade ago, how do we do so without “losing the unique character of unspeakable horror” (Kearney)? Let’s not follow the easy path of many Christians, both conservative and liberal, and create or subscribe to some Master Narrative that attempts to explain it away. 9/11 did not happen because God called down destruction on America because of homosexuals, or gay marriage, or whatever. We must avoid “banalising” it “by reducing it to voyeuristic spectacle or kitsh” (Kearney) or a commodity of the culture industry (a real and present danger with the appearance of numerous emotive 9/11 films).
Either way, we must take seriously both the September 11th attack on the Twin Towers and the dissent of the populace concerning the subsequent actions taken by the Bush administration in order to make occasion for strenuous self-appraisal. First, what has the United States done to stimulate such an attack? Could it be that we are trespassers in the Islamic holy land, not just Mecca, but the whole Saudi Arabian peninsula? Could it be because of the untrammeled spread of the global market leaving the Islamic people maimed in its path? Second, why are citizens dissenting? Obviously, some people aren’t pleased with the way this administration is handling things. Instead of hijacking, raping, and using religious vocabulary to justify your actions and arrogantly proclaiming the superiority of your stance while ignoring the critique, why not actually engage the critique and confront the disagreement? How could there possibly be a quandary if your stance and actions are divinely sanctioned? Displacing internal conflict onto an external screen is only a temporary cover-up for crises of national identity, attention cannot be diverted ad infinitum from the internal conflicts (though an endless war on terror was a creative attempt), eventually these crises will have to be dealt with.
If America is to be brought together, let it be brought together not by identifying outside enemies like America did in the 20th century with communists, fascists, Cubans, Iraqis, Vietcong, or North Koreans nor by trivializing the deaths of victims by using their deaths as a method to continually fuel the military-industrial machine to satiate our perceived need for revenge. Perhaps, it is time to think of new ways to “bring America together”. But first it is time to think of new descriptions as to what is meant by “America”, both ideally and in actual performance, or whether or not America should be “brought together” at all.

Monday, September 04, 2006

"Who Disturbs My Slumber? The Faces of Poor People, Ethical Obligation, and Différance

No, the allusion to (actually, the direct quotation of) the magical sand tiger and the (literal) mouth of the “Cave of Wonders” in Disney’s Aladdin, who – subsequently to having those golden bug halves become his eyes and prior to his persistent goings on about a “diamond in the rough” – asks “Who disturbs my slumber?”, does not start this essay (article, blog post, whatever) out on the proverbial wrong foot with a confusion of pronouns. My (at least perceived) intent is not to address the abstract, universal notion of “poverty”, I would go so far as to say that I’m not really all that concerned with the problem of poverty. Now before I get in trouble, let me say that instead I am kept up at night by the one-legged, homeless Jamaican man who plays percussion on an upside down plastic trash can in hopes to insight some subjective pleasure in Chinatown/Spadina Street pedestrians to accumulate enough “spare” change to buy a decent lunch. Sure, he isn’t that good – Kant with his objective aesthetic judgment and his pockets full of Loonies and Toonies would just keep walking – but he is hungry. The woman who feeds the cats that hang around by my garbage cans, who built them a shelter out of a Styrofoam cooler, and asks them if they are going to catch pigeons, she too disturbs my sleep. She is probably homeless and most likely doesn’t have any food for herself. There is also the man in the jean jacket with the worn elbows who stands outside Burger King on College and Spadina everyday and asks everyone who passes if he can have money for a burger. Or the woman with the thick harlequin-esque makeup who smells like urine and walked me and Jeff all the way from Spadina to Bathurst mumbling incessantly, but seemed to enjoy a “listening” ear and the occasional affirmation to her incoherent mumblings. These people, these faces, keep me up at night. Not because I invite them all over to watch Spiderman cartoons in French on the Quebecois CBC station and then they can’t take a hint when midnight rolls around and I keep yawning and saying “well, it’s about that time”. They disturb my slumber because these are actual faces that are calling me, in some way, to relieve their suffering and I do not even now how to begin to respond. Therefore, the question is not “what disturbs my slumber?”, but precisely “who disturbs my slumber?”. These are, at least a few, who disturb my slumber.
It seems that différance is the im/possibility of everything (is différance also the im/possibility of différance making différance it’s own condition and therefore “unconditional” and metaphysical? (Dudiak’s critique of Caputo?)) . If this is the case, if différance is the im/possibility of everything, then différance is (always?) prior to any call (face/flesh) of the other that elicits my/our response and obligates me/us in their singularity (Levinas). This may be what Levinas is signifying when he says the other is “Absolutely Other” (however, can you have a relationship with an absolute? (Caputo’s critique of Levinas?)). If the other is always “Absolutely Other”, if différance is the im/possibility of ethics, how can I respond in such a way that relieves these faces from their suffering? It would seem that the typical response to the faces of those mentioned above is to give them money. But is this simply reducing them to the Same? By tossing them a Toonie am I simply assimilating them into the competitive market? Am I responding as a bourgeois, capitalist oppressor as if I can relieve their suffering by reducing them to the Same? Will the act of giving them some spare change relieve their suffering as singularities that call for a singular response? Is this what they want? Do they even know what they want? Do they want to be parasitic upon or be assimilated into a culture that locks up food and forces people to labor so an elite few can be “free” and “truly human” (*jab at Hannah Arendt*)?
I’m experiencing an existential crisis. First, these people I mentioned are poor and homeless. Their faces call me, place an obligation upon me, and I am responsible to respond. However, I must interpret this call. I am a bourgeois, capitalist oppressor who drank single malt scotch aged 12 years while typing this post full of obscure, philosophical references, and I will interpret this call from this place I find myself in, which normally elicits the response of giving money. They are poor because they are not like me, so I make them like me by giving them money. How can I respond otherwise? How can I respond to their call without reducing them to the Same? Which brings me to my second point. They are calling me to relieve their suffering. But they must also interpret their suffering. This is similar to the well-trodden authorial intent discussion. They may entertain private meanings inaccessible to anyone, but they may also have blind spots concerning their suffering and their call and their hoped-for response. They want to eat, maybe their suffering is more of an existential desire that they are looking to satiate, but if they could satiate it indefinitely by being assimilated into this culture would it be worth it? Is that what they really want?
Please respond, whether to my (mis?) readings of différance and ethical obligation, or to how I should respond to those who disturb my slumber.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Terrorism through the Prism of Peace

Friends, Aquaintances, and Fellow Bloggers soujourning in the wild spaces of Blogdom,
Here is an interesting and much-needed interpretation of the United States' response to terrorism. Cortright sees the Bush administration as viewing all terrorism through the "prism of war" which leads to the killing of all militants to put the kibosh on the threat of terrorism. However, this tends to "[ignite] hatred and vengeance and creates a cycle of violence that can spin out of control." To quote Miroslav Volf (from memory), "Today's victims are tomorrow's perpetrators". Cortright critiques the Bush administration's response from a Ghandian perspective and proffers a "non violent strategy" that "seeks to reduce the appeal of militants’ extremist methods by addressing legitimate grievances and providing channels of political engagement for those who sympathize with the declared political aims." He believes "[a] two-step response is essential: determined law enforcement pressure against terrorist criminals, and active engagement with affected communities to resolve underlying injustices."
I'll just include the article and hope that it initiates some dialogue, hopefully including both criticism and affinity

Nonviolence and the strategy against terrorism
by David Cortright
In the months after 9/11, Jim Wallis challenged peace advocates to address the threat of terrorism. “If nonviolence is to have any credibility,” he wrote, “it must answer the questions violence purports to answer, but in a better way.” Gandhian principles of nonviolence provide a solid foundation for crafting an effective strategy against terrorism. Nonviolence is fundamentally a means of achieving justice and combating oppression. Gandhi demonstrated its effectiveness in resisting racial injustice in South Africa and winning independence for India. People-power movements have since spread throughout the world, helping to bring down communism in Eastern Europe and advancing democracy in Serbia, Ukraine, and beyond. The same principles - fighting injustice while avoiding harm - can be applied in the struggle against violent extremism.
Bush administration officials and many political leaders in Washington view terrorism primarily through the prism of war. Kill enough militants, they believe, and the threat will go away. The opposite approach is more effective and less costly in lives. Some limited use of force to apprehend militants and destroy training camps is legitimate, but unilateral war is not. In the three years since the invasion of Iraq, the number of major terrorist incidents in the world has increased sharply. War itself is a form of terrorism. Using military force to counter terrorism is like pouring gasoline on a fire. It ignites hatred and vengeance and creates a cycle of violence that can spin out of control. A better strategy is to take away the fuel that sustains the fire. Only nonviolent methods can do that, by attempting to resolve the underlying political and social factors that give rise to armed violence.
The most urgent priority for countering terrorism, experts agree, is multilateral law enforcement to apprehend perpetrators and prevent future attacks. Cooperative law enforcement and intelligence sharing among governments have proven effective in reducing the operational capacity of terrorist networks. Governments are also cooperating to block financing for terrorist networks and deny safe haven, travel, and arms for terrorist militants. These efforts are fully compatible with the principles of nonviolence.
Terrorism is fundamentally a political phenomenon, concluded the U.N. Working Group on Terrorism in 2002. To overcome the scourge, “it is necessary to understand its political nature as well as its basic criminality and psychology.” This means addressing legitimate political grievances that terrorist groups exploit - such as the Israel-Palestine dispute, repressive policies by Arab governments, and the continuing U.S. military occupation in Iraq. These deeply-held grievances generate widespread political frustration and bitterness in many Arab and Muslim countries, including among people who condemn terrorism and al Qaeda’s brutal methods. As these conditions fester and worsen, support rises for the groups that resist them. Finding solutions to these dilemmas can help to undercut support for jihadism. The strategy against terrorism requires undermining the social base of extremism by driving a wedge between militants and their potential sympathizers. The goal should be to separate militants from their support base by resolving the political injustices that terrorists exploit.
A nonviolent approach should not be confused with appeasement or a defeatist justification of terrorist crimes. The point is not to excuse criminal acts but to learn why they occur and use this knowledge to prevent future attacks. A nonviolent strategy seeks to reduce the appeal of militants’ extremist methods by addressing legitimate grievances and providing channels of political engagement for those who sympathize with the declared political aims. A two-step response is essential: determined law enforcement pressure against terrorist criminals, and active engagement with affected communities to resolve underlying injustices. Ethicist Michael Walzer wrote, counterterrorism “must be aimed systematically at the terrorists themselves, never at the people for whom the terrorists claim to be acting.” Military attacks against potential sympathizers are counterproductive and tend to drive third parties toward militancy. Lawful police action is by its nature more discriminating and is more effective politically because it minimizes predictable backlash effects.
Gandhi’s political genius was in understanding the power of third party opinion. He did not try to challenge the British militarily but instead organized mass resistance to weaken the political legitimacy of the Raj. The nonviolent method, Reinhold Niebuhr wrote, undermines the authority and “moral unction” of the adversary. Gandhi realized that political struggles are ultimately a battle for hearts and minds. In all his campaigns, he assiduously cultivated the support of third parties by avoiding harm to the innocent and addressing legitimate grievances. These are essential insights for the struggle against terrorism. The fight will not be won on the battlefield. The more it is waged on that front, the less likely it can be won. The goal of U.S. strategy, said the 9/11 Commission, must be “prevailing over the ideology that contributes to Islamic terrorism.” Nonviolent resistance is the opposite of and a necessary antidote to the ideology of extreme violence. Gandhi often said, “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” Better to keep our eyes open as we search for more effective means of eroding support for extremism, while protecting the innocent and bringing violent perpetrators to justice.
David Cortright is the author of Gandhi and Beyond: Nonviolence for an Age of Terrorism (Paradigm Publishers, 2006) and co-founder of the Center on Global Counter-Terrorism Cooperation.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Evan tagged me because he is an inclusivist.
1. One book that changed your life: Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Jurassic Park
3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Home Economics by Wendell Berry
4. One book that made you laugh: Everybody Poops
5. One book that made you cry: The Holy Bible
6. One book your glad has been written: Any Wendell Berry book
7. One book you wish had never been written: Wild at Heart or The Prayer of Jabez
8. One book you’re currently reading: The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Kant's Critique of Judgment

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Paste's 100 Best Living Songwriters

Best Lists. Good catalysts for controversy. So without further adieu, I set before your anxious, sparkling eyes...

Paste's 100 Best Living Songwriters
1. Bob Dylan
2. Neil Young
3. Bruce Springsteen
4. Waits/Brennan
5. Paul McCartney
6. Leonard Cohen
7. Brian Wilson
8. Elvis Costello
9. Joni Mitchell
10. Prince
11. Randy Newman
12. Jagger/Richards
13. Paul Simon
14. Stevie Wonder
15. Willie Nelson
16. David Bowie
17. Holland/Dozier/Holland
18. U2
19. Patty Griffin
20. Van Morrison
21. Lou Reed
22. Lucinda Williams
23. John/Taupin
24. Jeff Tweedy
25. Chuck Berry
26. R.E.M.
27. Radiohead
28. Robbie Robertson
29. Tom Petty
30. John Prine
31. Carole King
32. Leiber/Stoller
33. Pete Townshend
34. John Fogerty
35. Steve Earle
36. Beck
37. Smokey Robinson
38. Kris Kristofferson
39. Led Zeppelin
40. Bacharach/David
41. Ray Davies
42. Loretta Lynn
43. Ryan Adams
44. Al Green
45. Jackson Browne
46. David Byrne
47. Sufjan Stevens
48. Welch/Rawlings
49. Cat Stevens
50. Public Enemy
51. Penn/Oldham
52. Paul Westerberg
53. James Taylor
54. Aimee Mann
55. Dolly Parton
56. James Brown
57. Morrissey
58. Sly Stone
59. Jack White
60. Jimmy Webb
61. John Hiatt
62. Sting
63. Richard Thompson
64. Andy Partridge
65. Bill Mallonee
66. Charles Thompson
67. Conor Oberst
68. Allen Toussaint
69. Merle Haggard
70. Alex Chilton
71. Vic Chesnutt
72. Michael Jackson
73. Julie Miller
74. Over the Rhine
75. Ron Sexsmith
76. Will Oldham
77. Bruce Cockburn
78. Robert Pollard
79. Stephen Malkmus
80. Pink Floyd
81. The Flaming Lips
82. John Darnielle
83. Fleetwood Mac
84. They Might Be Giants
85. David Bazan
86. Sam Beam
87. Lyle Lovett
88. Parliament
89. Victoria Williams
90. Nick Cave
91. Drive-By Truckers
92. Alejandro Escovedo
93. Joseph Arthur
94. Sam Phillips
95. Patti Smith
96. Jimmy Cliff
97. Josh Ritter
98. Jay Farrar
99. Outkast
100. T. Bone Burnett

I like the list. I'm glad to see Tom Waits checking in at #4 and David Bazan making the cut. However, I don't fully agree with the order, or the inclusion of some songwriters, even some that I like, that resulted in the exclusion of others. To begin, why are John/Taupin at #23 while Patty Griffin is at #19? Why was Ryan Adams (#43) included in the list? Sure, his songs are ok, but a top 100 Songwriter? Above James Taylor (#53) and Cat Stevens (#49)?!?! Why are The Flaming Lips(#81) above Fleetwood Mac (#83), let alone even on this list? Why is Rivers Cuomo not on the list? I agree he hasn't really written a good song since Pinkerton, but it's not like Bono writes good songs anymore either (and U2 still made #18).

What do you think?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Artistic Proof Debunks Shroud of Turin

This week on the History Channel's series Decoding the Past, there has been much inquiry into the enigmatic "Bible Mysteries"; such as the hoaky Bible Code, and the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin (a portion of which is pictured above). Particularly concerning the shroud, there have arisen many theories that have been supported or debunked by scientific "proof", such as carbon dating and the testing of radiation levels. This seems to be modern Scientism run rampant. From wherest comes the uber-romantic worship of the scientific method? Isn't this the absolutization of one aspect of existence? In this post, I wish to objectively debunk the Shroud of Turin from an artistic aspect.
Apparently, these scientists testing whether this shroud is actually the burial clothes of Jesus of Nazareth have never heard the old Robert Lowry hymn “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” (1876). According to the refrain of this sacred hymn, “Oh! precious is the flow/That makes me white as snow/No other fount I know/Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” If the blood of Jesus has the power to make me “white as snow”, I’m sure the blood of Jesus has the power to keep whites whiter. Note the blood around the forehead of the image from the supposed “crown of thorns”, shouldn’t this be enough hemo-fluid (what we non-scientists call “blood”) to cleanse at least this shroud “white as snow”. However, this shroud is rather filthy and I’m sure Mary didn’t raise Jesus to leave his dirty whites lying around.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Culture and Globalization Reconsidered [Part 4]

Applying the thought of Arendt and Adorno to contemporary research on culture and globalization has substantial implications. The three theses concerning globalization and culture, outlined above, no longer appear to be focusing on culture per se, but instead on consumer goods; the commodities of the culture industry.
The polarization thesis seems to be strengthened. Through the lenses of Arendt and Adorno, it appears that the polarization thesis is referring to the polarization of, on the one hand, global consumer capitalism and the commodification of cultural objects and, on the other, cultural fundamentalism (and tribalism) and those who wish to distance themselves from the commodification of the culture industry. This is not to say that these cultures are actually polarized, but that there is a division between those who are assimilated into the global capitalist economy and those who wish to remain distinct from the global economy despite its power moves.
The homogenization thesis seems to be strengthened, but also transformed. Cultures are being homogenized (even as they are being hybridized), but not necessarily in the sense of Americanization, Westernization, or peripheral cultures becoming a cultural monolith similar to the core. Cultures are becoming homogenized in that the cultural objects are becoming commodities in the global market; homogenization as commodification. More and more cultures are being assimilated and homogenized into the global economy and their cultural objects are becoming commodities. Furthermore, the commodities of the culture industry appear to be fulfilling the desires of local consumers, however the culture industry standarizes and manipulates these desires and, in the end, the consumer desires the commodities produced by the culture industry. Critics of the homogenization thesis can speak of glocalization, the adaption of global products to satiate local tastes, but this is not simply a neutral hybridization of culture, but an adaption of global products to satiate local tastes in order to make a profit on the commodities of the culture industry.
The hybridization thesis seems to be unmasked of the guise of cultural diversity and is seen in a different light; as a hybridization of commodities to be consumed by consumers in other global regions in order to turn a profit. Granted, cultures are experiencing a hybridization, however, the cultural objects of a culture are (being) transformed into commodities to be consumed in the global market. Vietnamese restaurants in Toronto offer a commodity to be consumed by consumers to make a profit in the global market. McDonald’s in Moscow is offering a commodity to be consumed, not a culture to endure. A cultural object in one region of the world is turned into a commodity that can turn a profit in another region of the world. Whether the people of this other region want the commodity or not, the cultural industry manipulates the desires of these consumers to desire these commodities. Therefore, the hybridization thesis is not referring to the hybridization of cultures, but to the recent availability of one region’s consumer goods (such as McDonald’s) in other regions of the world (such as Moscow), or the hybridization of consumer cultures.
As cultural objects are assimilated into the despotism of the global capitalist economy, the cultural objects become commodified and standardized. Cultural objects have been turned into commodities, and in so doing, commodities have been given the same status of the displaced cultural objects; commodities are now considered “culture”, as can be seen in Holton and Nederveen Pieterse’s descriptions of culture. Here is where we see such things as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola referred to as “culture”. It is not that McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have been elevated to the status of culture, but culture has become commodities and commodities have been given the title of “culture” because of their identical status and ends in the capitalist economy; as commodities or objects with exchange value to be consumed.
Must we think of culture as a commodity to be consumed? Can we think of culture otherwise? As something that cultivates nature into a place fit for human habitation? And as something that endures and outlasts?

The Commodification of Culture: Arendt and Adorno [Part 3]

In discussing these three paradigms of culture within an increasingly globalized world, the utilized concepts of culture emerge as all-inclusive descriptions as to what is included under the umbrella of “culture”. Nederveen Pieterse, in Globalization and Culture, relies on a common anthropological definition articulated as follows, “culture refers to behavior and beliefs that are learned and shared: learned so it is not ‘instinctual’ and shared so it is not individual.”[1] Likewise, Holton employs Clifford Geertz’s description of culture as a catalyst to commence his article. Geertz describes the concept of culture as “an historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbolic forms by means of which men [sic] communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life.”[2] Within this definition, writes Holton, “[t]here is room here for Coca-Cola as much as Chopin, for practical knowledge as much as religious symbolism.”[3] Granted, culture, when described in the ways above, does indeed envelope Coca-Cola and Chopin, McDonald’s and Michelangelo, ATM’s and Ambrose Bierce. However, does culture lose its meaning when described in such an all-inclusive way? Can descriptions of culture have any meaning if both the Big Mac and the sculpture of Bacchus are considered cultural artifacts? In what follows, the thought of Hannah Arendt and Theodor Adorno will be employed both to critique the contemporary “mass culture” (Arendt) or “culture industry (Adorno) and lead toward a more specific and nuanced description of culture within an increasingly globalized world.
Hannah Arendt, in her essay “The Crisis in Culture”[4], refers to the anxiety concerning the relationship between (mass) society and (mass) culture, and to the strange situation of the modern individual characterized by loneliness, excitability, and lack of judgment. She questions whether it is still possible to rediscover the past without continuing standards of interpretation, in an increasingly secularized world of utilitarian culture. This survey will focus on Arendt’s analysis of what she identifies as the contemporary “mass culture” and, later in the essay, rearticulates as “mass entertainment”.
In her essay, Arendt begins with an etymological account of culture.
Culture, word and concept is Roman in origin. The word ‘culture’ derives from colere – to cultivate, to dwell, to take care, to tend and preserve – and it relates primarily to the intercourse of man [sic] with nature in the sense of cultivating and tending nature until it becomes fit for human habitation. As such, it indicates an attitude of loving care and stands in sharp contrast to all efforts to subject nature to the domination of man [sic].[5]

However, this is only one side of Arendt’s concept of culture. She continues by revealing the cultural characteristic of durability. “An object is cultural to the extent that it can endure; its durability is the very opposite of functionality, which is the quality which makes it disappear again from the phenomenal world by being used and used up.”[6] Therefore, for Arendt, “developing nature into a dwelling place for a people as well as in the sense of taking care of the monuments of the past, determine even today the content and the meaning we have in mind when we speak of culture.”[7]
In her essay, Arendt describes the concept of “philistinism” as a notion which “designated a mentality which judged everything in terms of immediate usefulness and ‘material values’ and hence had no regard for such useless objects and occupations as are implied in culture and art.”[8] At the turn of the 18th century, society could be described in terms of “philistinism”, as lacking interest in culture and art due to culture and arts lack of a relevant, utilitarian aspect. However, the philistine was displaced by the cultural philistine who “seized upon [cultural artifacts] as a currency by which he [sic] bought a higher position in society or acquired a higher degree of self-esteem.”[9] The cultural philistine ascribed value to cultural objects. These ascribed values, according to Arendt, “were what values always have been, exchange values”.[10] Society, then for Arendt, “wanted culture, evaluated and devaluated cultural things into social commodities, used and abused them for its own selfish purposes, but did not ‘consume’ them.”[11] Society is distinguished from mass society in the sense that mass society “wants not culture but entertainment, and the wares offered by the entertainment industry are indeed consumed by society just like any other consumer goods.”[12] Culture objects have become commodities of the entertainment industry and are, therefore, no longer “cultural objects whose excellence is measured by their ability to withstand the life process and become permanent appurtenances of the world”.[13] For Arendt, they should not be judged according to these standards. Furthermore, they are not “values which exist to be used and exchanged”.[14] According to Arendt, the commodities of the entertainment industry “are consumer goods, destined to be used up, just like any other consumer goods.”[15] Cultural objects are preyed upon my mass society, and mass society “will literally consume the cultural objects, eat them up and destroy them”.[16] No longer considered cultural objects, these consumer goods
serve…to while away time, and the vacant time which is whiled away is not leisure time, strictly speaking – time, that is, in which we are free from all cares and activities necessitated by the life process and therefore free for the world and its culture – it is rather left-over time which still is biological in nature, left over after labor and sleep have received their due. [17]

Therefore, for Arendt, “culture is being destroyed in order to yield entertainment”[18] and this consumer’s society, in search for entertainment is “feeding on the cultural objects of the world.”[19]
Theodor Adorno, in “Culture Industry Reconsidered”[20], explains that “mass culture” is not an adequate descriptor and instead propones the term “culture industry”. Adorno believes the culture industry is a system by which society is controlled though a top-down creation of standardized culture that intensifies the commodification of artistic expression. Like Arendt, Adorno writes of the commodification of cultural objects. “The cultural commodities of the industry are governed…by the principle of their realization as value, and not by their own specific content and harmonious formation.” Adorno continues, “[t]he entire practice of the culture industry transfers the profit motive naked onto cultural forms.”[21] He qualifies this statement by writing, “[e]ver since these cultural forms first began to earn a living for their creators as commodities in the market-place they had already possessed something of this quality.”[22] However, the economic aspect has been privileged and this commodification has intensified in our contemporary context, so much so that the “[c]ultural entities typical of the culture industry are no longer also commodities, they are commodities through and through.”[23] Culture has become an industry that submits to the rules of any other producer of commodities. Culture has been forced into a pastiche dominated by the capitalist economy.
In works such as Dialectic of Enlightenment (with Max Horkheimer) and Negative Dialectics, Adorno theorizes that the phenomenon of mass culture has a political implication, namely that all the many forms of popular culture have become a single culture industry whose purpose is to ensure the continued obedience of the masses to market interests. Although Western culture was previously divided first into national markets and then into highbrow, middlebrow and lowbrow, the contemporary view of the culture industry is that there is a single marketplace in which the best or most popular works succeed. This recognizes that the consolidation of media companies has centralized power in the hands of the few remaining multinational corporations now controlling production and distribution. The theory proposes that culture not only mirrors society, but also takes an important role in shaping society through the processes of standardization and commodification, creating objects rather than subjects. The culture industry claims to serve the consumers’ needs for entertainment, but conceals the way that it standardizes these needs, manipulating the consumers to desire what it produces. The outcome is that mass production feeds a mass market where the identity and tastes of the individual consumers is increasingly less important and the consumers themselves are as interchangeable as the products they consume.
Arendt’s critique of mass culture, or mass entertainment, and Adorno’s critique of the culture industry both problematize the descriptions of culture posited by Holton and Nederveen Pieterse. If “culture” is characterized by its durability, and mass culture or the culture industry refers to the commodification of cultural objects that leads to the consumption of these cultural objects, then these cultural objects can no longer endure and outlast. Therefore, if these cultural objects are consumed, they are no longer “culture” according to Arendt’s description.
[1] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 46.
[2] Clifford Geertz, “Religion as a Cultural System”, The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic Books, 1973, 89, quoted in Holton’s “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, 142.
[3] Holton, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, 142.
[4] Hannah Arendt, “The Crisis in Culture: Its Social and Its Political Significance”, Between Past and Future, Penguin Books, 1993, 197-226.
[5] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 211-212.
[6] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 209.
[7] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 213.
[8] Arendt, “The Crisis in Culture”, 201.
[9] Arendt, “The Crisis in Culture”, 204.
[10] Arendt, “The Crisis in Culture”, 204.
[11] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 205.
[12] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 205.
[13] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 205.
[14] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 205.
[15] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 205-206.
[16] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 207.
[17] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 205. Arendt’s emphasis.
[18] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 207.
[19] Arendt, “The Crisis of Culture”, 211.
[20] Theodor Adorno, “Culture Industry Reconsidered”, The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture, J.M. Bernstein, ed., Routledge, 1991, 85-92.
[21] Adorno, “Culture Industry Reconsidered”, 86.
[22] Adorno, “Culture Industry Reconsidered”, 86.
[23] Adorno, “Culture Industry Reconsidered”, 86. Adorno’s emphasis.

Culture and Globalization: Polarization, Homogenization, Hybridization [Part 2]

In recent cultural studies, the foremost inquiry concerns the influence globalization has upon culture. In what follows, the three major paradigms that have surfaced in contemporary scholarship will be surveyed. This section will rely heavily on the thought of Jan Nederveen Pieterse, as presented in his book Globalization and Culture: Global Mélange, and Robert Holton’s article, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”. This section will begin with a survey of the polarization thesis, followed by an overview of the homogenization thesis, and concluding with an outline of the hybridization thesis.

The Polarization Thesis: The Clash of Civilizations
Benjamin Barber argues that cultural forces in the shadow of globalization are experiencing a global cultural polarization and characterizes this cultural phenomenon (and entitled his 1995 monograph) as Jihad vs. McWorld.[1] These dialectical metaphors refer to the cultural polarization of global consumer capitalism, metonymically embodied in McDonald’s, and Jihad, referring to cultural fundamentalism (and tribalism) and the struggle for justice for the downtrodden left maimed in the path of global capitalism. McWorld, then, promises to bind us together through consumption of so-called “cultural” commodities, while Jihad promises liberation from the capitalistic characteristic of consumption and greed through tribal pursuit of justice.
Samuel Huntington, the president of the Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard, is another advocate of the polarization thesis. He writes that “a crucial, indeed a central, aspect of what global politics is likely to be in coming years…will be the clash of civilizations…. With the end of the Cold War, international politics move out of its Western phase, and its centerpiece becomes the interaction between the West and non-Western civilizations and among non-Western civilizations.”[2] Huntington divides the world into “the West and the Rest”. He writes that the “political and ideological boundaries of the Cold War” (i.e. between the USA and USSR) have been replaced by the boundaries of civilizations (i.e. between the West and Islam) and these boundaries between civilizations are “the flash points for crisis and bloodshed”.[3] Huntington considers the West as a “universal civilization” and the “rest” are attempting a “modernization without westernization” and moreover, these “differing modernities” lead to the “breakdown of western civilizational hegemony”.[4] However, according to Nederveen Pieterse, the West has strong ties in “the rest” through arms flows and military technologies trading. In a post-Cold War world, and the United State’s role within it, is less a civilizational conflict and more an “unraveling of geopolitical security games most of which have been initiated by the U.S. in the first place…”.[5] However, as Nederveen Pieterse writes, “[t]he oddity of Huntington’s view” is its “political perspective on culture coined in conventional national security language. Culture is politicized, wrapped in civilizational packages that just happen to coincide with geopolitical entities.”[6] Huntington’s view of cultural conflict emphasizes that which distinguishes one people from another. This is a very specific description of culture, according to Nederveen Pieterse, and furthermore, is a one sided notion of culture. “Diversity is one side of the picture but only one, and interaction, commonality or the possibility of commonality is another.”[7] Nederveen Pieterse goes on to give a common, anthropological definition of culture; “culture refers to behavior and beliefs that are learned and shared: learned so it is not ‘instinctual’ and shared so it is not individual.”[8] This places no boundaries on culture; “and therefore, culture is always open.”[9] Cultural relativism or “cultural differentialism” can serve as a defense for cultural diversity and lead to local empowerment, but it could also lead to a “politics of nostalgia”.[10] However, Nederveen Pieterse writes that “[e]ither way the fallacy is the reification of the local, sidelining the interplay between the local and the global.”[11] Mainly, Nederveen Pieterse believes that Huntington fails to mention the cultural connection between the East and the West and also the cultural difference within the West; between North America and Europe.

The Homogenization Thesis: The McDonaldization of Culture
In the dark shadow of globalization, the most widely held description of culture is that of homogenization; the “convergence toward a common set of cultural traits and practices.”[12] Those who consider culture to be continually directed toward homogenization, hold the belief that the so-called global culture follows the global economy and this has lead to such phrases as “Coca-colonization” and “McDonaldization”. The notion of “McDonaldization” refers to the “worldwide homogenization of societies through the impact of multinational corporations.”[13] McDonaldization is viewed as cultural Westernization, and more particularly Americanization, of the entire globe.
In this view, the mechanisms for change are closely linked with the globalization of the market economy and multinational corporations. As Robert Holton notes, “[c]onsumer capitalism of this type has been built upon a standardized brand image, mass advertising, and the high status given by many Third World populations to Western products and services.”[14] The birth of the global consumer has not simply been founded upon “the utilitarian convenience of global products” but “on the sale of dreams of affluence, personal success, and erotic gratification evoked through advertising and culture industry of Hollywood.”[15]
Furthermore, this view of cultural homogenization and the global economy has been strengthened by the rise of the Internet and other information technologies. Companies such as Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, and Motorola have perhaps surpassed McDonalds and Coca-Cola as cultural icons at least among the world’s affluent populations. This reveals that, if there is any warrant to the homogenization thesis, it is not a static homogenization.
Another dimension of cultural homogenization is that of the assimilation of “elites” into the political, educational, and economic life of Western society. The experience of a Western education not only globally disseminates Western knowledge but also creates similar values which then influence international organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and multinational/global corporations. This gives rise to the emergence of similar interests of global “elites”.[16]
There is much to be said of the homogenization thesis provided that it is viewed in a dynamic and ever-changing way. However, viewing the interrelationship of globalization and culture as ever-evolving toward a monolithic global culture has its limitations and is open to critique. First, as Holton notes, “the strong association of cultural globalization with Americanization is overstated.”[17] In this post-colonial age, there remains a strong cultural relationship between the former colonizing nations (for example; the United Kingdom and France) and their former colonies (such as India and the former French Congo). Evidence of this includes the predominance of cricket over baseball in India, or the Coca-Cola consumed in the former French Congo, which is bottled in Europe where the French-speaking Congolese look for cultural status.[18] “Paris is the cultural magnet”, writes Holton, “not New York or California.”[19]
A second critique against the homogenization thesis is leveled by Shannon Peters Talbott in her examination of the homogenization thesis, and particularly McDonaldization, through ethnography of McDonald’s in Moscow. She concludes that it is not so much cultural homogenization, but a global localization. The Moscow McDonald’s varies from its American, Western counterparts by catering to the consumers in Moscow.[20] As Nederveen Pieterse writes, “Firms may be multinational but ‘all business is local’.”[21] McDonald’s then may be an increasing global corporation; it only survives by catering to local tastes and needs. Therefore, for Nederveen Pieterse, “it would make more sense to consider McDonaldization as a form of intercultural hybridization, partly in its origins and certainly in its present globally localizing variety of forms.”[22] Multinational corporations, such as McDonald’s have abandoned product standardization and have developed marketing, design, and product strategies that are as numerous as the variations of consumer demands in differing markets. This is “glocalization”, a notion that “has been used to suggest that the global and the local may be mutually reinforcing rather than necessarily in conflict.”[23] Markets, customers, and products may be global in many contexts, but are local in design and content.
The above critiques are focused on the homogenization thesis in general and Americanization in particular, this third and final critique is centered specifically on cultural homogenization as Westernization. In his essay “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy”, Arjun Appadurai writes of regional homogenization, where the cultural “periphery” is threatened by cultural homogenization from the cultural “core”. He writes, “for the people of Irian Jaya, Indonesianization may be more worrisome than Americanization, as Japanization may be for the Koreans, Indianization for Sri Lankans, Vietnamization for Cambodians”.[24] There are then, according to Appadurai’s analysis, multiple “cores” that hold cultural power, rather than a relationship of core-periphery centered on the United States or the West, to which all others are homogenized.
Cultural homogenization, if there is such a thing, is not as simple as some would take it to be. First, if it is to be considered at all, it is imperative that it is viewed as a dynamic process. Second, there is much evidence that if cultural homogenization is occurring, it is not simply an Americanization of the cultural world. In the second critique above, we see that other Western cultures have arisen as cultural powers from the remains of colonialism. However, this is still focused, perhaps too greatly, on the Western world as containing the cultural powers that are shaping the rest of the world. Therefore, third, if the world is experiencing cultural homogenization, we must view this homogenization as being a multi-centered phenomenon, a homogenization of peripheral cultures to “core” regional cultural powers.

The Hybridization Thesis:
The third and final paradigm to be surveyed views the interconnection between globalization and culture as a hybridization of cultures in the world. Holton writes that the hybridization thesis focuses “on the intercultural exchange and the incorporation of cultural elements from a variety of sources within particular cultural practices.”[25] There is an over-abundance of evidence strengthening this thesis. For example, the McDonald’s in Moscow that mixes an American fast-food restaurant into a Russian market. Or the use of ATM’s in Japan used by women in kimonos. Or the young American students who eat at a Vietnamese restaurant after class in Toronto. Hybridization is not only urban, for example, agricultural techniques (such as plowing techniques and crop rotation). The evidence that strengthens the hybridization is difficult to exhaust.
For Nederveen Pieterse, hybridization is the “solvent between the polar perspectives”, it derives its “existence” from the paradigm of polarization and the paradigm of homogenization, and derives meaning only in relation to them.[26] “It resolves the tension between purity and emanation, between the local and the global, in the dialectic according to which the local is in the global and the global is in the local.”[27] Hybridization, according to Nederveen Pieterse, views globalization as an open-ended process of interconnection of cultural influences (eastern as well as western). “The growing awareness of cultural difference” and globalization are interdependent.[28] There is both cultural difference and a “striving for recognition” on the global scale. This “striving for recognition” for Nederveen Pieterse, “implies a claim to equality, equal rights, same treatment: in other words a common universe of difference”.[29]
Furthermore, Holton writes that hybridization refers to “cultural forms that are somehow transcontextual but less than cosmopolitan in scope.”[30] In this sense, we can still speak of different “cultures”, as they are not cosmopolitan culture, but we must recognize that they are some of the cultural forms are transcontextual, therefore “cultures have become so intermixed that there is no longer any pure or authentic culture distinct from others.”[31] For Nederveen Pieterse, hybridization privileges border crossing and begins in the “fuzziness of boundaries” and therefore subverts both nationalism and identity politics.[32] The importance of the hybridization of cultures, for Nederveen Pieterse, “is that it problematizes boundaries.”[33]
[1] Benjamin Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld, Ballantine Books, 1995.
[2] Quoted in Nederveen Pieterse’s Globalization and Culture, 42-43.
[3] Quoted in Nederveen Pieterse’s Globalization and Culture, 44.
[4] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 44.
[5] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 44-45.
[6] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 45.
[7] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 46.
[8] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 46.
[9] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 46.
[10] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 47.
[11] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 47.
[12] Robert Holton, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 570, July 2000, 142.
[13] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 49.
[14] Holton, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, 142.
[15] Holton, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, 142.
[16] Holton, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, 143.
[17] Holton, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, 143.
[18] Jonathon Friedman, Cultural Identity and Global Process, Sage, 1994.
[19] Holton, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, 143.
[20] Shannon Peters Talbott, “Analysis of Corporate Culture in the Global Market-place: Case Study of McDonald’s in Moscow”, Paper Presented at International Institute of Sociology Conference, Trieste, 1995 cited in Nederveen Pieterse’s Globalization and Culture, 50.
[21] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 50.
[22] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 51.
[23] Holton, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, 144.
[24] Arjun Appadurai, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy”, Global Culture, M. Featherstone, ed., Sage, 1990, 170.
[25] Holton, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, 148.
[26] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 57.
[27] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 57.
[28] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 57.
[29] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 58.
[30] Holton, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, 150.
[31] Holton, “Globalization’s Cultural Consequences”, 150.
[32] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 53.
[33] Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 86.