What is “bias” in the education system? This is an important question and pertinent to understanding the problems inside our high schools and colleges. As various websites are starting to focus on whether the higher education system is a gigantic con with students paying too much money to be indoctrinated by politically biased professors, it is important to remember that fixing this system is way more complicated than picketing outside the local state college. Institutional degradation, the cultural understanding that success can only be found with a college degree, and professors who are not objective but politically motivated and overwhelmingly part of a specific political persuasion are all major contributors to the current decline in higher education. Fixing one of these problems will not resolve any of these above problems. The only resolution is to figuratively “blow up” these institutions and allow our “society” to create the best way forward.
Keeping this warning in mind, when it came to my Graduate Degree, the film analysis articles chosen for graduate study in many of my classes were picked to fulfill a specific ideological viewpoint. Once you start reading educational articles, there are literally millions of them written about millions of different subjects. You can find almost any topic that has had a peer-reviewed article published. But the articles chosen by your professors for a seven-week class are very deterministic of the type of information they want you to learn. In an era where objectivity has been taken out into the alley, shot in the head, and dumped into a trash can, there is no reason to believe that these articles are not being used as a form of propaganda or indoctrination. Despite this, my Film Historiography Class was one of the better examples of a class being taught to learn some factual history. But as this series gets deeper into my educational path, some of the worst examples of these above problems are truly shocking and much worse than the examples shown below from this class.
One of the problems with this historiography class is that all the historical research discussed in the lectures were pulled from the same book. The problem is with a historical topic that has such a broad range of material to study like film, it feels lazy and closed-minded to be limited to the essays compiled together in this one book from Paul Grainge, Mark Jancovich, and Sharon Monteith. Film Histories: An Introduction and Reader is a historical compilation of various writings that covers film history from the first images successfully put onto film at the end of the 19th Century and carries us into the 2000s when the book was published. The book has an impressive scope. Almost every topic related to the film industry is covered in some fashion. The six main modules for this class after the introduction were: Technology, Regulation, Politics, Economics, Aesthetics, and Social Life. Every one of these topics is researched inside this novel. The lectures also discussed a broad range of films that were memorable in some sort of historical fashion related to one of these above topics.
Hollywood has always wanted to be loved. Despite the fact that actors are often some of the richest entertainers in the world, the industry exists to make movies that will appeal to the ‘average’ individual. Whether during the Depression when a popular idea was rich people helping out the struggling poor or during World War II when the film industry engaged in propaganda against the fascist Germans, Hollywood has always wanted to stay on the right side of history. The Office of War Information (OWI) was a wartime government regulatory agency that was used to quash any anti-American or fascist propaganda inside movies. It also often acted against any realistic portrayals of violence.
As the novel explains, “The Office of War Information (OWI) worked with the film industry to mobilize support for the war and maintain morale during it. In the process, a whole host of films sought to illustrate the dangers of the menace posed by the Axis powers.”
There is also a wonderful chapter on political radicalism, revolutions and counter cinema that dives into controversial filmmakers and the unique type of films that many of these directors would make that have a specific point of view that they want to reflect. But here lies the problem with this educational research. While 80% of this book was absolutely fascinating, the authors could not help but incorporate some left wing thought into their novel. Whether you believe what these authors say is besides the point. Every individual has their own sense of morality, identity, and believe in a specific form of politics. This first paragraph from this chapter (Despite all the interesting information in the political radicalism section) is one of the first attempts by these novelists to force their political opinions onto the reader about these counter-cultural filmmakers. Because art is subjective and I have seen many of these films, I actually do not agree with the second half of this analysis.
“The success of the postwar art cinema reawakened an awareness of the possibilities of cinema and created a sense of dissatisfaction with established cinematic traditions, particularly those of Hollywood. The second half of the 1960s, therefore, saw a surge in alternative filmmaking around the world. This period also witnessed the growth of left-wing radicalism as revolutionary struggles in the Third World inspired one another and motivated student radicalism in Europe and the United States.”
This article is also the first attempt at bringing up the topic of identity as feminism is discussed through the avant-garde filmmaker Chantal Ackerman. While there is nothing particular wrong with Ackerman’s films, the novelists explain the film’s underlying themes and use them as an explanation for female oppression. Per their quote,
“As the film suggests, the forces that oppress women are integral to the fabric of everyday life and, as a result, far more difficult to identify and oppose.”
After watching this movie, I did not see it in the same light. The film is a slow, boring burn that emphasizes the monotony of daily chores which at the time, were often performed by the females of the house. But millions of women (And men) engage in these necessary activities every day without slowly breaking down mentally and stabbing the person that they are working for. The movie was more about mental decline than a film about cultural oppression.
Other themes that will become consistent with the rest of my classes start to appear inside the chapter, The Politics of Polarization: Affluence, Anxiety, and the Cold War, which is an observation of the popular films of the 1950s and how they related to the culture at the time. Anti-imperialism and negativity towards American individualism makes its first appearance here as well as critiques of 1950s American culture. Even though the writers are correct in their analysis, there is an underlying negativity associated with these words.
“The rise of suburbia as a phenomenon in the 1950s also meant that middle-class wives expected to stay at home felt ‘lost’ in the suburbs while husbands commuted to the office. The consumer trap put pressure on both men and women to ensure that the home and family would remain perfect – even as children became teenagers in the 1950s.”
Not every person living in the 1950s was trying to live a consumerist lifestyle. Even if there was pressure to conform to a certain type of life, people were mostly interested in maintaining their families and living a decent life with religion often being the foundation of American society.
Finally, Marxism is widely discussed mostly in two chapters of the book (Realism, Nationalism and ‘Film Culture’ and Postwar Challenges). Here are a couple of quotes. As a person who has read many of Marx’s writings, the political ideas that these novelists are trying to promote distorts Marx’s actual ideas. Also, Marxism is seen as mostly a ‘positive’ force for society while conveniently ignoring the millions of deaths that are directly related to its political practice. Here are just a few of these quotes.
In relation to the commodification of body parts (Mostly of females),
“It has been argued that the fetishization of the female body characterized the representation of female stars in Hollywood. Fetishism can be related to the reproduction of feminine images both in the Marxist sense of commodity fetishism, in terms of the female body as object of patriarchal exchange, and in the more psychoanalytic sense, in terms of the fragmentation and sexualization of parts of the female body in relation to castration anxieties, though these are not necessarily all analogous.”
There is a lot to unpack there. The idea of commodity fetishism is tied into Marxism which is completely off base. Then, they wrap a Freudian concept of fear of castration among males as the excuse for the need to sexualize the feminine body in films. This whole sentence is just completely ridiculous and idiotic. The reason that female bodies attracted viewers is quite simple. It was a tool to attract males who wanted to be with a woman who had a body like the one on screen mixed with females who wish they could be like the woman portrayed on film. The real reason for these images is to lure people into buying a ticket to the cinema. If a little bit of ‘skin’ can bring a few hundred thousand more people to the theater, than why not take the risk? Once again, these novelists are confusing basic capitalistic instincts with psychological solutions wrapped around oppressive masculinity that has no real basis in reality.
The other chapter on Realism also has a bizarre observation about Marx. While making interesting points about the Russians and their usages of montages, the novelists bust off this bizarre quote that starts with Sergei Eisenstein and ends up discussing revolution,
“Eisenstein proposed a theory of montage as the organizing principle for representing abstract concepts and emotions as well as the visible world. Montage draws on Marx’s ideas to formulate a dialectical approach to cinema in which strongly antithetical elements would clash to produce a ‘synesthesia’ that would provoke political and social awareness in filmgoers. That is to say, film culture itself would be a revolution. Film would be located in a materialist context.”
Again, the first idea about Eisenstein is a wonderful theory. But from the second sentence on, the authors seem to be stretching by incorporating their own ideas of how montages could be used to bring about the ‘revolution.’ The whole quote is quite bizarre. Plus, it ends with a final sentence that seems to have nothing to do with the previous three sentences.
I hope you enjoyed this second section of my analysis on the educational system. Stayed tuned for more in the near future.
NOTE: Images of the other birds mentioned here can be seen at the end of the blog.
One of the things that is not often discussed on this blog is my personal affinity for birds. I have my parents to thank for this. Back in the mid-1980s, they bought my sister a Lutino Cockatiel that she named Princess. It was not a financially burdensome purchase for my parents and was a cheap and very loyal pet to own (We also owned hamsters and after my sister and I grew up, moved out, and starting our own families, my parents finally committed to dachshunds, the pet that we REALLY WANTED when we were younger). Princess tragically flew away in 1986 after owning him for three years. We got another Grey Cockatiel named Pepper in 1986 that tragically died a year after we bought him. During my high school and college years, we owned two more Grey Cockatiels that ‘bonded’ with each other and a pesky Lovebird by the name of Mango that we sold to breeders after we moved out and went to college.
As a person who got older, matured, and started a family, I moved away from owning birds after having my daughter in 1998. But it was a hobby that was always interesting to me. After my son asked to own a bird for his 8th Birthday (Which was a request that came out of “Nowhere”), we bought him a Grey Cockatiel with a Cinnamon Pearl mix named Chili. Like the previous four cockatiels that we owned, Chili has been a fantastic bird. Cockatiels are loyal, curious, much more intelligent than you would believe, and affectionate. But owning this little guy got me interested in purchasing a larger more challenging bird of my own.
The most important aspect of owning a bird is doing your research. Of all the birds to own, parrots are my personal favorite. They are incredibly intelligent birds that remains the only living species on this planet that directly evolved out of small meat-eating dinosaurs. But when you live in a townhouse, noise is one of the most important factors to account for when it comes to bird ownership. African and South American birds, while making amazing pets, can often be quite loud, incredibly active, and noisy. So even though I adore African Grey Parrots and Macaws, these birds were out. Same with the stunningly beautiful Amazonians. Australian parrots have a reputation for not only being great pets (The Cockatiel is native to Australia) but also very mellow and quiet. This list here gives a great breakdown of the behavior and basic scientific stats on Australian Parrots. I wanted a bird that could also live 20 to 25 years. I quickly narrowed my list down to a few birds: The gorgeous Princess Parakeet, the Superb Parrot (Known as a Barraband in Australian), and the Bourke’s Parakeet.
Bourke’s Parakeets are incredibly popular but difficult to find. My local bird store often carries Princess Parakeets and Superb Parrots. But Princess Parakeets can be loud birds if not trained and can have aggressive personalities. So these birds were out. But while studying the Barrabands, I came across a relative of this bird, the Regent Parrot or Rock Pebbler. After researching them, I quickly decided this would be my future pet.
Regent Parrots are stunning birds that fit in nicely with the thriving Australian parrot population. Unlike the cockatiel, these birds require much more effort by the pet owner. The bird needs to move around inside the house for a couple hours a day. He needs social interaction and the ability to move and fly freely. It is an athletic bird that also can mimic sounds very well. It is also hearty and can handle certain weather and environmental conditions that can kill its smaller parrot brethren. They also have a diverse diet. With owning parrots now for over a dozen years, I felt this would be the first medium-sized parrot to tackle as my next challenge.
The Rock Pebbler is a lovely bird. Since bringing him home, he has been enjoyable to watch as he navigates around our townhouse curious about every little detail. He likes to fly from his cage to someone’ s shoulder or perch on top of a computer monitor or couch. He likes to chew on my ear, nose, or hair as a sign of affection. I can already tell that this is going to be a new and wonderful experience.
I will likely post an occasional picture of Basil (His Name) on my blog. If you have any questions about owning one of these wonderful parrots, feel free to reach out. Even though I am not an ornithologist, I understand these parrots very well and can help give advice on which of these spectacular animals you should own. Until next week when I will likely return with Part 4 of my CRT series.
A couple of times a year, I often find myself back in Los Angeles County in the town that I grew up (Torrance & Redondo Beach) as well as in downtown Los Angeles itself. This past weekend was one of those weeks. But this two-day experience inside Los Angeles was unlike anything I have experienced in the town before.
The news would have you believe that Antifa patrols the street enforcing their brand of radical leftism on the streets. The traffic should continue in the Los Angeles tradition of being apocalyptic. Petty thieves and rapists should be hiding behind every nook and cranny waiting for the perfect moment to strike. But this was not the case. In fact, downtown Los Angeles was the quietest I can ever remember it on a Saturday afternoon and evening in my entire life.
My night began, like so many great drunken nights have before, at the Tam O’Shanter, my favorite prime rib place in Los Angeles that has been in its current location since 1922. Part of the Lawry’s Prime Rib family of restaurants, a night out here is not a cheap outing. When I arrived in Atwater Village (North of Interstate 5 and a few miles northeast of the Los Angeles Zoo and Griffith Park), the streets were absolutely dead. Walking into Tam O’Shanter at 7:00 pm on a Saturday night should have been lined out the door. Instead, we were seated right away. Asking the Scottish bartender who was cursing out the English Football Club (His curse kicked in the next night with their epic collapse in the penalty kick shootout) as well as serving one of the best Maple flavored, Bourbon infused Old-Fashioned that a guy could drink, he said that service has been reduced due to the Delta Variant of COVID-19. God bless the scared, self-centered liberals in downtown Los Angeles!
After eating at the Tam O’Shanter, we went to the nearby Indian market which has the best spice selection I have ever seen in a store. Everything was super cheap. This market remains one of the few places left where you can eat a full meal for around three dollars. We went into nearby Silver Lake to peruse the scene. Again, it was a quiet evening with minimal activity at the bars and shops. After driving by Walt Disney’s first house, we went into Los Feliz Village and took a look into the Dresden. It was absolutely dead. We finally concluded our night at the House of Pies before walking around a frighteningly quiet Los Feliz while reminiscing about the amazing times I had at THE DERBY which has now been replaced by a Chase Bank.
When Los Angeles is as quiet as my current hometown of Murrieta, the city is a charming place. I fell back in love with a city that consumed the first twenty-one years of my life. Los Angeles is grimy, dirty, and undergoing lots of gentrification that is destroying its history. But despite all these problems, I still love the culture and food in the city. In terms of the scared Angelenos who will not go out because of a COVID mutation, I want to continue to encourage this behavior. Keep staying home while individuals who actually have a backbone can go out and enjoy the finer things that the city has to offer. Since Californians are more likely to have been vaccinated, the Delta variant is apparently deadlier for the vaccinated than unvaccinated. For the unvaccinated, the variant is more contagious but less deadly than the seasonal flu. So stay home with your less than .7% chance of dying while I party at a night club enjoying some magic “mushrooms.” I still love my hometown. Now, if there was only something we could do about the politicians!
PART 3 : THE EDUCATIONAL OPINIONS THAT DISTORT REALITY IN MY FIRST CLASS, 'LOS ANGELES: FILM AND CULTURE"
“Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.” ― George Orwell
So begins my evaluation of our educational system with some actual evidence. As I began my Master’s Degree back in 2019, I will admit to a certain amount of ignorance. I often dismissed the warnings by some of the more ‘radical’ elements of conservatism about how much the education system had changed. These neo-cons are the same idiots who lied us into Middle Eastern Wars and have done more to destroy individual freedom in this country than anyone else in our contemporary times. But they were absolutely correct about this one topic. It did not take long for me to be surrounded by educational articles that focus all the problems of our culture on racism and sexism.
My first class was going to be an easy one. Growing up in the Los Angeles suburbs of Torrance and Redondo Beach, I am familiar with Los Angeles culture having spent my first 21 years inside the city. I experienced some of the most chaotic events in the city’s history including the CIA funneling drugs into the inner city that created a gang war which made Los Angeles the most violent town in the United States, multiple tragic earthquakes, riots, occasional flooding, wildfires, and some of the most entitled people on the planet. Despite all of this, growing up on the ocean and the freedom this provided, the diverse culture, the amazing food, the great education, and the unbelievably perfect weather made so many of these issues like the incredible traffic problems worth all the effort. My first class was called LOS ANGELES: FILM AND CULTURE. Since my familiarity with this topic is superior due to my own personal experiences, I figured this would be a good introductory class to ease me into my Graduate degree.
In terms of my classes and how this relates to Critical Race Theory, this class was one of the better ones due to the content. Even though I had seen almost every movie that was recommended by the professor, some of the educational research and in-depth cultural articles were intriguing. The one problem I quickly noticed was an underlying negativity and cynicism revolving around the city of Los Angeles involving all the material. This surprised me. Los Angeles, while an incredibly flawed place, holds a special place in my mind especially revolving around the town’s historic diversity. I quickly realized that this cynicism would become the norm in my post-graduate education.
Some of the articles that were published about Los Angeles culture were superb. During the two-week study about Los Angeles youth and the city’s multiculturalism, the stories about African American Nerd Culture seen in the movie DOPE and the young college-aged criminals that robbed celebrities and the inspiration behind this crime spree which can be seen in the Sofia Coppola movie THE BLING RING were incredibly interesting. The famous NEW YORKER article on the corruption inside the LAPD which was published back in 2001 still holds up to this day during the week that we studied Law Enforcement inside the city. The best research articles evaluated aspects of thematic elements in films like the Chapter 3 section titled “Women in Film Noir” written by Janey Place from the 1978 book publication “Women in Film Noir”. It revolves around the specific roles that females were forced to play in 1940s/1950s noir films and how the different roles that they played fit into a specific formula. Another wonderful article was an evaluation of the film Chinatown (Quick note: This is one of my favorite movies of all-time) that did not portray Los Angeles in a utopian light but embraced the historically corrupted politics, grittiness and sleaze of the city, and the general cultural ‘darkness’ that exists behind the scenes in a city that wants you to focus on its beautiful beaches and evening sunsets over the Pacific. But besides these fantastic articles, there were some that seemed to want to prove a specific ideological point. The pattern you will quickly realize is that every topic that is written about in the educational system is based on some historical facts or will focus on an opinion that holds merit. What happens is that after listing these facts and doing a tremendous amount of research to prove their point of view, the author’s opinion descends into an ideology that strays from the purpose of the article. A few examples of this problem are listed below.
The problem with these articles is not the historical aspect. The entire history of the West Coast is based on a displaced utopianism that has existed since the first miners started hauling gold and silver out of the region in the early 1800s. No three cities in this country have a more utopian identity than Los Angeles (The home of Hollywood and until the 1990s, the defense contracting industry), Silicon Valley (The home of technology), and Las Vegas (The home of vice and dreams) that was built by the mafia. Because the West is such a massive place with cities scattered between hundreds of miles of desert, mountains, and large prairies, there are crazy stories of reinvention that exist everywhere in the state. The first problem in my class relates to the well-researched novel THE CITY OF QUARTZ by Mike Davis. It dives into all these fake ideals that surround the city of Los Angeles. The reason why the book qualifies as an element of critical race theory is because of the language used. Is Los Angeles a sleazy place despite the media portraying it otherwise? This is true for many parts of it. Was Los Angeles glorified by property developers and media entities as a place to settle in the middle 20th Century? Yes. Has the city always been politically controlled by powerfully rich individuals? There is truth to this argument. Due to “voluntary” segregation, Los Angeles also has more ethnic areas in the city than any other place in the country (Off the top of my head, there is Little Ethiopia, Little Armenia, Little Tokyo, Little Persia, Historical Chinatown, Little Saigon in Orange County, Cambodia Town in Long Beach, Koreatown, Olvera Street (El Pueblo) which celebrates Mexican culture, Historic Filipinotown, and Thai Town). Mike Davis’s book came up with the term “White Flight” to explain a cultural phenomenon that occurred in Los Angeles between the 1950s and 1970s. This term is misleading due to the nature of Los Angeles. Is it true that there were ‘white people’ that fled the inner city to live the American Dream in the suburbs? Absolutely. My own grandfather moved from New Jersey to Inglewood in the late 1940s to pursue his own California dreams. While racism was a cultural problem, couldn’t more blame be placed on the corporations and individuals who sold the idea of the American dream to these people in the suburban communities? In my own hometown of Torrance (A suburb), this whole ideal is ‘whitewashed’ (Pun intended). Torrance had the largest Japanese population in the United States during my childhood (Due to Toyota and Honda being based there at one time). So were suburbs created as a result of normal capitalistic tendencies or was it because of white racism that has existed inside the city dating back to the Spanish “Mission” era? According to Mike Davis, the latter is the REAL REASON.
The article from BRIGHT LIGHT FILM JOURNAL on LA LA LAND is another case in point. While criticizing the perception of the city through Damien Chazelle’s eyes as too utopian which is a valid argument, the article goes onto prove that Los Angeles is perceived in the media as a perfect locale for dreamers. Right after this, he contradicts this argument by listing the DOZENS OF FILMS that show another more realistic perspective of the town. The biased hatred that the author has for the city can not be overlooked inside of his writing. For every movie or television show that glorifies Los Angeles like 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, VALLEY GIRL and BEVERLY HILLS 90210, there is a BOYZ N THE HOOD, CHINATOWN, BARTON FINK, and SNOWFALL that shows the other side of the city. From this aspect, I believe the treatment of Los Angeles in the media has been quite fair. It just depends on how much you look into cultural entertainment. LA LA LAND is about dreamers and trying to achieve success in a town that seems like it came from a fictional reality. SPOILERS: But despite this theme, the movie also has a humbling ending where the success that Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone achieve with their careers occurs outside of their failed relationship. In a town like Los Angeles, to achieve success, you often have to leave behind the people you care about to reach your goal. There is absolutely nothing utopian about the finale to this film. But the article than starts diving into a problem that exists with all journalistic writing. It starts creating false outrage about social topics that have nothing to do with this type of film. The writer starts talking about cultural appropriation of black music by Ryan Gosling’s character. Could it be possible that the main character just has an appreciation for this historical music and wants to put his own imprint on the sound? Instead, the writer says this,
“The racial issues go beyond cultural appropriation in a movie that systematically erases and marginalizes blackness not only through its narrative but also its formal film elements. During Seb’s jazzsplaining, Seb and Mia are foregrounded in close-ups while the musicians are out of focus behind them. Seb and Mia’s whiteness is further emphasized by their white shirts, which gleam under the bright lights, while the musicians’ blackness is emphasized by their black suits.”
Who notices these things? Is this an important aspect of the narrative? The lack of representation in the movie is followed by this bizarre observation.
“In another scene, Gosling plays piano with a black band in a club. The spotlight is literally on him, and the camera cuts and whip pans between close-ups and medium shots of him and Mia, who is dancing alone, and for whom the club’s black patrons have cleared a space so that she can do her clumsy self-conscious moves to their deferential encouragement. The lighting and the pans between the two leads emphasizes them while literally blurring out the black dancers.”
The writer than gripes about the lack of Asian and Latino/a American actors in the film especially the latter since they do make up the ethnic majority inside of the Los Angeles city area now. This is perfectly fine but since the writer of the movie is a ‘white’ man, will he not be accused of cultural appropriation if he decides to write a musical about a Hispanic couple? Is there anyway this issue can be broached by a Caucasian director without begin attacked by the media?
Finally, the author criticizes the lack of LAPD corruption which again is not the focus of the movie, Then, they proceed to list a good number of films that show this exact corruption. Again, is the movie about police corruption? Apparently, this movie fails because it did not show a police beating.
“For people of those communities, getting out of your car on the freeway is a good way to find yourself on the receiving end of some police brutality. Movies such as Boyz n the Hood, Crash (2005), The Glass Shield (1994), L.A. Confidential, Training Day (2001), Rampart (2011), and Straight Outta Compton (2015) dramatize the regular occurrence of LAPD excessive force and racial profiling. La La Land is unacquainted with even a passing idea of it.”
Why is this even discussed as a problem when this musical has nothing to do with the above topic? This is just terribly divisive writing getting published as an expert’s opinion.
I will leave this quote from Eric Avila’s article: Dark City: White Flight and Urban Science Fiction Film in Postwar America to explain my basic issues with his research.
“Typically, white flight refers to political practices and economic processes that enforce the racial divide between the suburbs and the city. However, there is a cultural dimension to this process that has been overlooked. As an ideology rooted both in a historical preference for private rather than public life and in contemporary anxieties about subversion and deviance, white flight penetrated the sphere of American popular culture and affirmed whiteness often at the expense of racialized minorities. The rise of Hollywood science fiction paralleled the acceleration of white flight in postwar America and not only recorded popular anxieties about political and sexual deviants, but also captured white preoccupations with the increasing visibility of the alien Other.”
This poor author does not acknowledge how far this country has come during my own lifetime towards addressing racism and confuses capitalistic and cultural practices of the past to a blank term called “whiteness” that has no other purpose than to demonize a race of people as racists. Something that only ‘racists’ actually do. The whole article gets worse from there.
Another problem is the book ETHNIC LOS ANGELES. Written during the time of the failed government legislation passed in California known as Proposition 187 (Which was overturned in court as Unconstitutional in the late 1990s), it is a novel that tries to understand the ethnic communities of Los Angeles. While the book does have many positive things to say about multiculturalism in the city, it also is tainted with the stink of a collectivist mindset by grouping all minorities into a specific economic group to explain the circumstances of each minority. While many of the facts can be proven true, the problem is that it is looking at racial statistics from a collectivist viewpoint. Just because the Vietnamese are not as well off as the Japanese in Los Angeles does not mean that the community can not thrive in its own way (It has) or certain individuals of the community can not succeed above the levels that are listed inside of the book? When it comes to many ‘leftist’ type novels, why do liberals that defend the ideology of individualism like to label “individuals” into groups for economic analysis? Is this proper analysis or just a collectivist summary? But again, even though the author explains that Anglo-Americans supported Proposition 187 the most in 1994, he also explains that the measure had a large amount of support among ethnic populations,
“Though 187 did best among Anglo voters, the proposition had broad appeal. Half the Black and Asian voters and more than one quarter of Latino votes voted yes.”
So even though Anglo Americans did vote for the law in a larger percentage than the rest of the races, how do you explain this behavior from a “collectivist” mindset? Then, there is the broad belief that “Most” White people want to hold the black community down. Again, it is a difficult fact to prove.
“The notion that ethnic change occurs through a natural process of generational adjustment shifts the burden of explanation away from whites and their resistance to black progress, and on the other hand, that African Americans should change by abandoning their group affiliations, appears inherently and unacceptably ethnocentric.”
As an example, my grandfather, when he immigrated from Croatia (Part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire) in 1914 put his culture behind him when he went to the United States to create a new life. Making a comment like this is just ignorant of the immigration history of this country. The United States has always had its own culture and over time, it has become more accepting of multi-culturalism because the demographics have changed.
Finally, the novel that disturbed me the most was this one about skater culture. Since many of my personal friends came out of this scene, the author of this research completely misses the point and purpose of this cultural movement. Despite the fact that the author does discuss the overwhelming number of males that participate in skater culture (Which is a provable fact), the author begins the book off with this statement which informs where the discussion is heading.
“Skate Life develops an analysis of the identity politics of skate culture and the media related to it.”
The author than discusses her outsider status being a female in the male-dominated skater culture. While not dismissing her experience, does this really speak for all females that participated in this alternative culture? Personally, I befriended many females who seemed quite comfortable being part of the late 20th Century skater, punk, and surfer cultures. Again, the author makes a lot of amazing points. She discusses the alternative lifestyle outside of the corporate norms that skaters naturally flocked to (Shared with the punk and surfer cultures also) which was later corporatized by the media. She discusses that the majority of skaters came from a diverse background of economic circumstances, and many came from broken homes. Many skaters are also looking to identify with a movement outside of the mainstream and find solace hanging out with others who think in a similar way that they do. These are all signs of Southern California culture. This is also why skaters blended well with punk rockers, surfers, and the gangster rap communities while having issues with mainstream cultures of the time like practitioners of heavy metal. Skaters are strong individualists with politically anarchist sensibilities. This individualism is what caused the culture to initially thrive in the late 1970s. Despite making these points, she then breaks off into a tangent that seems contradictory to the research that she is discussing.
“Masculinity was consistently the salient identity around which skateboarders were organized. As such, when skaters produced critiques of dominant society, they focused not on class and the capitalist system (Get used to this critique. “Capitalism” is something always under attack by the educational establishment) but on masculinity and patriarchal norms.”
So begins the decline of her argument into an opinion piece about how skater culture is just a re-definition of the existing patriarchal structure through their chosen alternative lifestyles that helps to reinforce the patriarchy. There are multiple chapters on this topic. Let me give you a few quotes.
On the chapter FREEDOM ON FOUR WHEELS: INDIVIDUALITY, SELF-EXPRESSION, AND AUTHENTIC MASCULINITY IN A SKATEBOARDING COMMUNITY, she starts her attack on individualism.
“Skaters’ alternative masculinities rely on the high value they place on individuality and freedom and that in this reliance, they produce a not necessarily anti-patriarchal critique of patriarchy.”
On the chapter NEVER-ENDING ADOLESCENCE AND THE (DE)STABILIZING OF WHITE MASCULINE POWER ON MTV, she attacks the portrayal of skater culture in the media as just another tool that maintains the power of white masculinity.
“Presenting alternative masculinities and mocking masculinity as a construct, these shows ensure their white male stars’ power by constantly making fun of non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual Others.”
She concludes her incredibly stupid analysis (And total lack of perception on the history of skater culture) with this chapter titled CORRESPONDING CULTURES AND (ANTI)PATRIARCHAL MASCULINITY. She opines that,
“I call for further theorization of identity and power relations, noting that changes in the construction of identity do not necessarily alter or eliminate the power tied up with masculinity, whiteness, middle-classness, and heterosexuality.”
I don’t know what to tell you other than that this analysis of the ever evolving and complicated skater culture can apparently be described as just another form of masculine oppression imposed on the Others. This is just another sample of how incredibly stupid educational analysis has gotten in our present day.
Thanks for reading all the way to the end. This is just a taste of some of the garbage that our graduate instructors are hoisting onto our students. This is just one class. Wait till you see some of the research that was given to me in other classes. Enjoy!
EXPERT OF SOME