Film/Video/New Media · Human-ities · Public Space · Social/Politics · Theory

The Pornography of Equality

When Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique in 1963, “the problem that has no name” was the problem of college-educated housewives sitting at home being bored to death. Today, the “problem that has no name” is more widespread, more alluring and more aggressive. Its most insidious aspect is how close it comes to the licit ways in which women are used to lure, seduce, persuade and sweetly tease those who see them. To buy more. And more. Promising to make us sexy and our eyes glaze in pleasure. In the commercials saturating our public spaces. The bestselling novel now rising high on sadomasochistic frisson. The film crossing and uncrossing its legs.

We like to think that these are metaphors. That the impossibly beautiful things calling out to us, seductively and low-voiced – to be them, to desire them, to touch and possess that thing they have, their hot sexiness on the edge or pure life itself – don’t literally mean it. Or do mean it, but then only in order to sell us sandwiches and Victoria’s secrets. Or as a bit of diversion from boredom. And yet, the constant presence of their siren-calls wherever we look, day in and day out doing their best to arouse in us some amalgam of desire to be, to possess, to have what they have, is striking.

Excerpt from an article written by Markha Valenta at Berfrois. Continue HERE

Human-ities · Performativity · Philosophy · Social/Politics · Theory

Forum: The Port Huron Statement at 50

In 1962, an undergraduate at the University of Michigan named Tom Hayden drafted a document that would launch a decade of student protest and mass action for a more democratic society.

Five decades later, we assess its impact and enduring legacy. — Boston Review

Tom Hayden
The Port Huron Statement’s core message is timeless but not dogmatic: we all need participatory democracy.

Kim Phillips-Fein
The economic inequalities of our own day were anticipated even at the height of postwar affluence.

Bill Ayers
The ’60s remain a prelude to the necessary fundamental changes to come.

Angus Johnston
Advances in student power have shaped the course of American higher education and the nation.

Eric Mann
Like the signatories of the Port Huron Statement, the Occupiers need to expand beyond the narrower interests of their original members.

Kirkpatrick Sale

The Statement was nothing less than a proto-ideology for a New Left.

Danielle Allen

We cannot be free without being equal.

Jennifer Hochschild

On the left we see a vacuum where traditional class-oriented populism used to be.

Trevor Stutz
Only moral clarity will transform alienation and apathy into action.

Bernardine Dohrn
The Statement was a clarion call for people to take control of key social institutions and of their own lives.

Via Boston Review

Education · Philosophy · Social/Politics

Citizen Philosophers: Teaching Justice in Brazil

Getting out of the cave and seeing things as they really are: that’s what philosophy is about, according to Almira Ribeiro. Ribeiro teaches the subject in a high school in Itapuã, a beautiful, poor, violent neighborhood on the periphery of Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia in Brazil’s northeast. She is the most philosophically passionate person I’ve ever met.

Most of the four million slaves shipped from Africa to Brazil were sold in Salvador, the first residence of Portugal’s colonial rulers. It’s still Brazil’s blackest city. In Ribeiro’s neighborhood, children play football or do capoeira, pray in Pentecostal Churches or worship African gods. Many are involved with drugs; “every year we lose students to crack,” she tells me. And they study philosophy two hours each week because of a 2008 law that mandates philosophy instruction in all Brazilian high schools. Nine million teenagers now take philosophy classes for three years.

“But seeing things as they really are isn’t enough,” Ribeiro insists. As in Plato’s parable in The Republic, the students must go back to the cave and apply what they’ve learned. Their lives give them rich opportunities for such application. The contrast between the new luxury hotels along the beach and Itapuã’s overcrowded streets gives rise to questions about equality and justice. Children kicking around a can introduce a discussion about democracy: football is one of the few truly democratic practices here; success depends on merit, not class privilege. Moving between philosophy and practice, the students can revise their views in light of what Plato, Hobbes, or Locke had to say about equality, justice, and democracy and discuss their own roles as political agents.

Written by Carlos Fraenkel, Boston Review. Continue HERE