Jackson Warmack, Unit #8, post #1. April 15th.

! (Shadow’s of the Summit Pointing West): It’s intriguing that Meinhof thought the U.S. and USSR could coexist.

? (Shadow’s of the Summit Pointing West): Is it too late for peace between the east and west?

! (Hitler Within You): An interesting preview of social rebellions vs. established societal structures.

? (Hitler Within You): At what point is revolution not worth it (and/or does that point even exist)?

! (Everybody Talks About the Weather): I’m simply struck by how far Meinhof is willing to go in leading a revolution.

? (Everybody Talks About the Weather): How important is family in the time of revolution? Is it inherently wrong for family to not be the #1 priority?

! (Women in the SDS: Acting on Their Own Behalf): It seems rather rare that a female revolutionist is advocating for suicide bombings and similar extreme measures. It’s often that we see male terrorists create extreme violence.

? (Women in the SDS: Acting on Their Own Behalf): Is there a difference between revolting for the public good and revolting for personal gain? It seems as through people revolting for the public good realize they will also reap the spoils.

! (From Protest to Resistance): I think (hope) that Meinhof is playing down the transition from peaceful resistance to violent resistance. I doubt it comes so naturally for most people — or at all.

? (From Protest to Resistance): Does violent resistance really accomplish more than other forms of protest and resistance? Many political systems have been changed without heavy bloodshed.

! (The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum): The rush to mutual protection & love seemed premature and sudden.

? (The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum): To what extent is it morally acceptable to romanticize a terrorist?

! (Baader-Meinhof Komplex): I, quite honestly, had a hard time watching this movie. The producers have come dangerously close to romanticizing a terrorist group.

? (Baader-Meinhof Komplex): Terrorism will never go away. Terrorism will always be somewhat effective. But how can we end the narrative that change can only occur through its use?

Jackson Warmack — March 30th Post — on Poems & Translations

I prefer the Thomas translation. Although it is harder to read, my group agreed it has more vivid imagery and better references to Russia and Russian culture. Most of my group preferred the Anderson translation for its accessibility. To be far, if I had only read the Thomas translation , I wouldn’t understand it very well.

Apart from the differences, my group attempted to identify “the icon” referenced in both poems. Our best two guesses were: Jesus and Stalin. However, there wasn’t enough information for us to come to an undisputed conclusion.

! on March 26th Lecture: I’m surprised Russia idealizes poets so much. Poets are hardly known in the U.S., & poems are largely seen as childish.

? on March 26th Lecture: Why do Russians hold poets in such high regard when a provocative message can be more spelled-out with prose?

Campus Event Commentary, “White Christian Nationalism & Trump” — Jackson Warmack

Most Americans have been led to believe that religious people disproportionately support Donald Trump. Samuel Perry’s findings don’t conform this. While Perry has found that people with religious, racist, sexist, and authoritarian tendencies overwhelmingly support Donald Trump, he has not found a correlation solely between religion and the president. 

Perry dubs people with religious and nationalist tendencies “White Christian Nationalists.” They make up around 20% of the population, and are extremely politicly vocal. Like other religious voters, they claim to practice “value voting.” So why did they vote for Donald Trump?

Because White Christian Nationalists (WCNs) don’t really consider themselves religious. They, more accurately, see themselves as the last line of defense against America-haters (socialists, atheists, minorities, etc.) They don’t support Trump because he attends church and claims to be a Christian — they support him because the two have a common enemy. Trump’s rude, uncouth, and anti-Christian behavior doesn’t really matter; WCNs don’t actually care about “value voting.”

Circling back to Perry’s main findings, WCNs aren’t even very religious. They define themselves as Christians because they like the “traditional values” that Christianity supports. It’s a dog-whistle term for them. Actual religious people (those who read the bible and regularly attend church) are much more open-minded than WCNs. In fact, they’re more open-minded than the average American. 

Nonetheless, religious people and WCNs are considered one in the same by pollsters and public opinion. This is all to say: religious people don’t overwhelmingly support Trump. Alt-right people — who claim to be religious — support Trump. And their guise is working. Perry’s lecture wasn’t a presentation of his findings, it was an expose. And we (the American public) are being exposed. 

?&! On “Two Cultures,” Jackson Warmack

Q: Is it right to say there are only two “academic cultures,” & how do we define them? There are classes in the humanities (such as anthropology and phycology) that use the scientific method & necessitate data-based thinking. Additionally, there’s not very much commonality between calculus and biology.

!: It’s interesting that Snow sees so much contempt and divide between scientists and “non-scientists.” He says (on page 4) “a gulf of mutual incomprehension [exists]. Sometimes (particularly among the young) hostility and dislike, but most of all lack of understanding. They have a curious distorted image of each other. Their attitudes are so different that, even on the level of emotion, they can’t find much common ground.” Academics have never seemed so divided, to me.

I recognize (theories): Game theory, Plate tectonics, Statistical mechanics, Spacial Relativity, Quantum Theory, Evolution, and Heliocentrism.

I recognize (experiments): Genetics, Conditioned Reflexes, Electrons, and Keystone Species.

Campus Event Commentary on Susan Rice — Jackson Warmack

Susan Rice, much like John Kasich, didn’t want to spend her time talking politics. However, where Kasich gave a corny motivational speech, Rice self-reflected, dolling out insights on bigotry, leadership, and patriotism. She did this through stories, recalling the many mistakes she has made and the many barriers she has hurdled. Rice was honest and open, criticizing people (sometimes herself), systems, and institutions whenever she felt it necessary

 Rice displayed tough love. The title of her memoir could easily be her life motto – and that’s what made Rice such a captivating speaker. Everything she said, she believed. She held nothing back. And yet, she didn’t criticize people to put them down — she criticized people in hopes they would get better.

For example, in many instances last night, it was made clear that the Audience didn’t like Trump. They were content to laugh at him, and largely give up on him. Rice, though not a Trump supporter, continually hoped things in the administration would get better – she doesn’t want to see Trump fail so she can get a good laugh in.

This sort of sentiment is what’s missing in current American politics, and Rice was quick to point this out. We’re free to criticize, and we’re free to dislike. However, we’re not free to hope for another’s failure. No matter what side of the aisle a person is on, they all want to help improve America. This is important to keep in mind, and it’s the elusive “love” in “tough love.” Thanks for reminding us of that, Susan Rice.

!&? On “Ethnic Notions,” Jackson Warmack

It seems as though racial stereotypes don’t reflect actual people at all. As time passes, black stereotypes change (in some cases, making a near 180) so whites can continue justifying their superiority. How does modern society assign negative traits to certain groups of people, and how can we shake always-evolving stereotypes?

Jackson Warmack, campus event commentary, on John Kasich (November 11th)

I expected Kasich to be a great political speaker. Unfortunately, he wasn’t all that great, and he was disappointingly unpolitical. I knew he wouldn’t adopt traditional right-wing talking points, or identify himself with the current Republican Party – after all, his claim to fame is being a centrist. But I was hard-pressed to find many talking points in his speech at all. I guess the main takeaway from his lecture is that people, and their opinions, matter. But, c’mon Kasich, any motivational speaker could have said that (and most of them would command far less than forty thousand dollars, to boot.)

I’d expected to be most disappointed with the audience. All of last week I’ve heard rumors of unflattering questions to be directed at Kasich. And I should admit, the audience questions weren’t great – but they were much deeper than the pointless leading questions that I was anticipating. Thankfully, Kasich seemed up to the task of entertaining them. He certainly stepped up his game in the question-answering phase of the program. His answers had political substance, and he revealed his thoughts on the current state of the Republican Party (demagoguery) and its future (bright, assuming that prominent politicians can ditch Trumpism soon). I was, in fact, incredibly relieved to hear Kasich tell the audience that the oval office wasn’t the end-all-be-all of US Politics.

            It was a shame that it took Kasich until the end of the night to shine. And it was a shame that the other speakers on the panel didn’t shine as bright as he. Bill Kristol’s frequent interjections seemed to annoy everybody on stage, and Issac Bailey repeated, for a third time in three months, the story of him leaving his predominantly white church in the wake of Trump’s rise. Neither of these two panelists added much to the conversation that Kasich couldn’t, and I’m still scratching my head on why the college allowed people talk over a $40,000 speaker, in the first place. You’ve payed $40,000 for 90 minutes, and you’re really giving 30 of these minutes away?

            Despite my various complaints and negative reactions, I actually found the whole affair to be riveting. Although there was a large share of platitudes, and only a small helping of productive political discussion, Kasich was an entertaining speaker who will have campus talking for a while. Overall: it wasn’t bad. And it wasn’t great. But it sure-as-hell wasn’t “a-brand-new-Mercedes-Benz” great.

October 6th. On Bullshit and Conceptual Schemes. Jackson W.

            Option 2. Everyone says that the truth is important. But we value the truth less than personal gain — that’s why there’s so much bullshit. If you could press a button and cut out all the bullshit in the world, would you press it? I don’t think anyone would. Salesmen wouldn’t: they’d have to answer a day’s worth of questions with “I don’t know.” Students wouldn’t: they’d be doomed to silence in class discussions. Politicians wouldn’t: they’d look useless and unknowing at every public event. We hate to hear bullshit, but we love to do it. It’s the easiest way out of a sticky situation, because the truth doesn’t matter. Rambling is a lot easier than crafting a lie or coming out with a painful truth. We can’t expect to reduce the amount bullshit in our society when we all love it so much. Nobody else is going to stop bullshitting, so why should we? Leading by example isn’t going to do much when nobody follows the lead. Bullshit, I’m afraid, is a fact of life. 

Option 3. Why do we insist on conceptual schemes? Having a coherent, followable set of beliefs is an admirable goal. But is it wrong to have ideas/answers without having an underlying philosophy to explain them? We don’t all agree on the answers to life’s essential questions, so why do we spend so much time trying to create our conceptual schemes? We’re not going to convert anyone into our school of thought with them. I unstained questioning our beliefs, but I don’t necessarily see why all our beliefs must stem from some grand overarching belief/way-of-thinking. I suppose I’m with James — this all seems so impractical. Why bother?