After the first shock-wave hit the internet—Stormy Daniels’ tell-all on 60 Minutes about her sexual encounter with the US president—media pundits turned their gaze to thuggery.
Editorials surfaced in the second shock-wave that focused on threats made to Daniels to keep mum on the affair, once she told Anderson Cooper that a stranger pulled a Sopranos move.
The stranger “looked at my daughter and said: ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom’,” Daniels says.
And a moniker takes hold: President-as-thug.
Armed with the headline, All the Presidents’ Thugs, The New York Times’ Editorial Board chastised the thug-in-charge, observing:
We live at a time when a porn star displays more credibility and class than a president, his lawyers distinguish themselves through swagger more than legal skill, and we seriously wonder just how thuggish the man in the Oval Office is. It seems like a bad dream.
The word thug originated in India, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Continue reading
It’s all about Semantics
Some words we toss around with abandon, having little idea what they mean:
We often use them incorrectly.
We think of hegemony as power over us, but Antonio Gramsci had a keener sense of the word.
Hegemony refers to domination we muggles accept blithely.
He wrote, “Ruling groups dominate not by pure force but through a structure of consent.”
Rhetoric just means speech, but it is often assumed to mean false speech or speech with a hidden agenda.
Semantics is the study of language.
A closeted French philosopher, an immigrant from Jamaica, a Jew who fled the Nazis then killed himself, and a feminist who writes about film.
Does this sound like the foundation for a college communication course?
When my communication class starts in April, students will be mystified: what do these folks have to do with communication?
Taking baby steps, students learn a French philosopher (Michel Foucault) says that communication itself is a form of power—that those who frame public discourse help frame what we think is important.
The immigrant from Jamaica (Stuart Hall) points out in an often-cited article that people decode messages in ways that reflect their cultural knowledge.
As spring finally arrives in the Northwest, the daffodils poke out of the last clump of neighborhood snow and Girl Scout cookies arrive.
My sweetheart and I share a sleeve of thin mints that disappear in a flash.
Tucking the green box into the freezer offers little protection to the cache of cookies because we’ll eat ‘em icy.
My sisters and I enrolled as Brownies, and then Girl Scouts, when we were young.
Our mum thought Girls Scouts offered avenues for personal growth and she saved money to buy uniforms.
We wore our outfits once a month, earned badges for our sashes, and learned how to make a kit-bag for camping.
When we were urged to venture door-to-door to sell cookies to neighbors, I balked.
… and it is personal
In writing about science, reasoning, and power of place, two scholars observe:
“The universe is alive, and it is personal.”
Vine Deloria Jr. and Daniel Wildcat make a strong case in their book that Native American peoples extract meaning from their experiences, much in the way that Western scientists glean information from their experiences.
Problem arise, however, when we ignore the cultural underpinnings of the way we see our experiences.
Too often we forget Western science is fraught with mythical and magical thinking.
This weekend I learned my new chapter on the cultural divisions in scientific thinking is hot off the presses.
I talk about how discourse—news, books and media—shows ruptures arise in scientific and cultural reasonings in Western thinking.
Doing science—what I call “sciencing”—is often mistaken as the only avenue for sound reasoning.
Reasoning and rational thinking are profound in American Indian cultures, even though we may not call it “sciencing.”