Lauren Meyers- Unit 8 Assignment 1

“New German Ghetto Show”

!: It is interesting that Martini believed that political freedom could not exist under democracy.

?: Did media censorship arise in response to the RAF or had these practices been ongoing long before?

“Hitler Within You”

!: It is not enough to simply criticize the “old Nazis.” We must also criticize equally oppressive modern ideas and do away with them in order to ensure total political freedom for all. 

?: Doesn’t communism firmly reject the separation of powers? Why does Meinhof call for this?

“Human Dignity is Violable”

!: For Meinhof, nuclear weapons and democracy can never go together, for these weapons directly destroy peace and freedom, two concepts that are foundational to democracy.

?: Was demilitarization a popular idea at the time that the Constitution was written?

“Women in the SDS: Acting on Their Own Behalf”

!: It is a societal, not a personal, failure that makes it impossible for women to simultaneously raise children and work outside of the home.

?: Does the political need to be personal in order to be authentic? 

“Columnism”

!: It is ironic that Meinhof characterizes colomnists as powerless and as stars. 

?: Why did Meinhof choose to be a columnist if she viewed them as “powerless individuals?” 

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

!: I am surprised that the producer had the freedom to critique the press so harshly. Perhaps this is why he added the disclaimer at the end.

?: Was the publisher’s highly hypocritical speech at Tötges’ funeral meant to be humorous? 

Baader-Meinhof Complex

!: Interesting connections between Meinhof and Epstein suicides.

?: Didn’t the first generation of the RAF also kill innocent people? Why did they criticize the later generations for doing this?

Lauren Meyers- Requiem Translations

All members of my AT group preferred the Anderson translation over the Thomas translation. Published in 2004, the Anderson translation contains more modern language than Thomas’s 1976 version. I argue that it is also easier to identify the subject throughout most of Anderson’s piece. For example:

Anderson- The word fell, dropping like a stone

Thomas- Then fell the word of stone

I could not help but wonder which is more important in translation: conveying the message simply or preserving some of the feeling and language found in the original. It seems that Anderson believes the former and Thomas believes the latter. Thomas’s poem struck me as “more poetic,” which I thought was interesting. Perhaps it is because all of the poems that have been included in my past curriculum have more closely resembled the language in Thomas’s translation.

!: In Russia, poetry is respected because it gets people killed.

?: Has poetry ever gotten one killed in America?

“Two Cultures,” Lauren Meyers

?: Snow claims that “the separation between the scientists and non-scientists is much less bridgeable among the young than it was even thirty years ago” (17-18). Has this divide become even more pronounced since 1959? If so, what are some possible reasons for this?

!: At the time that Snow wrote, it seems that the two cultures could agree on the fact that there were certain facts that could bring us closer to the truth about things. With the rise of skepticism during the 1970s postmodernist movement, however, “non-scientists” began calling into question the notions of objective reality and universal truths. It seems that the divide between the two cultures has grown more rigid since this movement, for it is difficult to create a shared body of knowledge between two cultures when one questions the entire notion of objective knowledge.

Scientific Experiments Recognized:

  1. Mendel, Genetics
  2. Newton, Eyes Optics
  3. Pavlov, Conditioned Reflexes
  4. Millikan, Electron Charge

Scientific Theories Recognized:

  1. Game Theory
  2. Plate Tectonics
  3. General Relativity
  4. Quantum Theory
  5. Evolution
  6. Heliocentrism 

Ethnic Notions, Lauren Meyers

Minstrel shows propogated images of black characters to justify slavery. Performance acted as a tool for oppression, and, considering how well we know the Jim Crow figure, it worked very well.

As minstrel shows evolved, African Americans took on performing roles but also a perpetuation of stereotypes. Questions of authenticity, appropriation, and representation began to emerge as African Americans imitated whites’ imitations of themselves. Was this evolution of minstrel shows beneficial in any way for African Americans? If not, why would they take up these performing roles? Was it strictly for monetary purposes?

Lauren Meyers, Unit 5 Post 1

Schneider

!: Oral history seems to be especially important to ethnic groups. Le Goff explains that this term denotes primitivism and refers to people without writing. There is a commonly held conception that performance is not a legitimate means of remembering but rather a primitive, mythic act. Perhaps this is because performance challenges the dominant narratives of the western world, and it is therefore advantageous for archives to discredit performance as a legitimate means of remembering.

?: Why does the archive especially value the sameness of an original? Can’t we gain more insight by viewing multiple renditions and analyzing their differences? Is there not value in what remains and what is changed?

Birns

!: With the early killing of preeminent civil rights activists and the existence of official memorials, we tend to believe that America has recovered from its past. Lemon’s craft challenges this idea and works to construct the past. I find his idea that “any reckoning with the past must both be traumatic and incomplete” to be especially interesting (22). 

?: Will we ever be able to monumentalize the past? Will the past ever be finished if all of our reckonings with it are incomplete?

Unit 4, Post 2- Lauren Meyers

This image represents the moments following the Freedom Riders’ arrival 5 miles outside of Montgomery, Alabama on May 20th, 1961. Remnants from the battle lie on the street outside of the Greyhound bus station, and this brutal outcome is juxtaposed with text overlay reading “MY COUNTRY, ‘TIS OF THEE.” The masses on the ground look like dead people. Readers are accustomed to seeing violence in this book, so this assumption is easy to make. The masses could very well be people, and I think that this was a strategic move by the illustrator to stress how whites saw the Freedom Riders as inhuman, comparable to nonliving, material things. This text is strategically placed, stretching along the road, portraying the black man’s long journey to justice and freedom. The image, unlike the majority of images in the book, is not confined to borders. It serves as more of a backdrop that represents the outcome of the events occurring in the images confined to borders. There is not much movement or action in this image, creating an atmosphere of hopelessness and defeat. This image stresses the absurdity of the current state of affairs in the United States. Though the US had placed freedom and democracy at the center of its founding documents, this obviously was not being executed. This is stressed by the juxtaposition of the wreckage from the violence imposed upon the black people and the text overlay that dubs the United States as the “Sweet land of liberty” in the next line of the song. Though I had always known that the authors of the law were the ones breaking the law, this image emphasizes the phenomenon’s absurdity. The very violation of the laws that gifted liberty and justice to all citizens were the way that things were supposed to go. Why is the fight necessary? The white man does not need any new legislation or Supreme Court decisions in order to have freedom because he was promised these things when the country was founded. Why does the black man need legislation when he was promised these same things?

Campus Event, Lauren Meyers

Melinda Lopez’s play, “Back the Night,” explores the relevant topic of sexual assault on college campuses. Lopez follows two different women’s paths after being sexually assaulted. While Cassie posts her story on social media, Em represses the event, even making herself believe that it was not an instance of assault. She appeals to Brandon’s seemingly good character and rejects the fact that “good people” are capable of doing bad things. While viewing this play, I continuously thought of the Brock Turner case. Brock Turner was a Stanford swimmer who sexually assaulted Chanel Miller. In the news articles following the story, journalists posted Turner’s times after writing of the details of the assault. Turner’s father spoke of his son’s happy, easy-going personality and welcoming smile that no longer exist due to the event. Rather than emphasizing the victim’s suffering, the articles appeal to Turner’s humanity. They say, he was a good, talented boy. He just messed up this one time. Also, in the interviews, Miller was asked what she was wearing, if she was intoxicated, if she was a party animal, and multiple other questions that were framed to take the blame off of Brock and onto Miller. Both the play and the Turner case remind us that seemingly good people are capable of committing horrific acts. Denying this fact and victim-blaming are much too common, and in order to decrease the occurrence of sexual assaults, we must hold perpetrators accountable.

Campus Event, Lauren Meyers

Raymond Santana, part of the Central Park 5 (now the Exonerated 5), spoke about his disturbing experience with the criminal justice system. At age 14, he and 4 young boys were accused of raping a jogger in Central Park. Law enforcement employed multiple tactics to get the young men to confess to a crime that they did not commit. Police used the Reid Technique which involves direct confrontation, deception, and intimidation during interrogation. This technique is known to elicit a high number of false confessions from innocent people, especially juveniles. After their confessions, the media grabbed ahold of the story and made the five teenagers out to be monsters. People were so convinced that these men raped this woman that even when Matias Reyes, the actual perpetrator, confessed, he had to prove that he was guilty. The evidence against Reyes was overwhelming; he had raped multiple women and had even attacked and began to rape a woman two nights before in Central Park. It is unsettling that law enforcement never thought that this, perhaps, could have been their man. Santana encouraged the young audience to affect change from within. The system will continue to win if we do not take up jobs in law enforcement. For Santana, the best revenge is success. This is how you keep a positive attitude in a world in which you were imprisoned for 5 years for a crime that you did not commit.

Unit 4 Assignment 1- Lauren Meyers

Mary Church Terrell was a women’s suffrage and racial equality activist that was born to former slaves. She used her position as a member of the rising middle/upper class to fight gender and race discrimination. Terrell’s activism was sparked in 1892 when her friend, Thomas Moss, was lynched solely because his business was successful and competed with the whites’ business. Ida B. Wells was born into slavery during the Civil War. After the war, her friend was lynched, and she turned her attention to white mob violence. Wells used her writing skills to combat sexism, racism, and violence. 

Both Terrell and Wells were involved in the anti-lynching campaigns, but they had different ideas on how to end racial discrimination. Wells openly confronted white women who remained idle during the black lynchings. Terrell, however, worked to inspire black people and advocated for racial uplift, the notion that discrimination could be stopped if blacks advanced themselves through work, activism, and education. Terrell believed that this could only be achieved through unity. Though Terrell championed suffrage for all women, black or white, she placed a strong emphasis on black women’s suffrage, for within the women’s rights movement, there was a great disregard for African American women. She believed that women’s suffrage would help to better the position of black women and in turn help the entire race. Wells recognized that lynching was a means to repress blacks and also found that many women who had claimed to be raped by black men had actually consented to sex. While Terrell seems to propose solutions to ending racial discrimination, Wells focuses on responses to individual acts of violence. Punishment for these acts of violence, however, could deter future actions of the same nature from happening, ultimately serving as a solution to ending anti-black violence.

Unit 3 Assignment 3 – Lauren Meyers

The United States fought against fascist aggression, not the genocide of some 6 million Jews. The international community fought against health problems imposed by the corpse eating dogs, not the slaughter of the Tutsi minority. States do not solely act for humanitarian reasons, for this is not in their interest. Not only do they remain inactive, but they also do everything in their power to remain inactive, even if this means denying the fact that there was even a genocide in Rwanda. Gourevitch raises all of these points, and we are bound to search for a justification for our immorality. What is the psychology behind our decisions to allow genocide to carry on? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with human life than certain advantages our country may reap from joining a war? Sontag explains the philosophy behind our indifference to the events in Rwanda. She acknowledges that viewing a photograph will never help us (us being everyone who has not experienced anything that they have gone through) understand what the dead went through. The ubiquity of these photos cause us to view these tragedies as inevitable, and when we believe this, we believe that there is nothing we can do to stop them from happening. The most gruesome photographs tend to come from events in Asia and Africa though we experience tragedies on the same scale. We overlook considerations that prevent us from displaying our own dead victims. When we fail to recognize that these people from remote, exotic places are just like us, we justify our complacency during national tragedies.

Make Your Own Passport- Lauren Meyers

Attending the Make Your Own Passport event helped me to realize my privilege as a United States citizen. At my table, there was a woman named Mona who was born stateless and had no rights. She was part of the Bedoon tribe, and belonging to this tribe meant having no rights in her birthplace, Kuwait. It is sad that you can be born into a country and not have birthright citizenship. I learned that Kuwait has a very restrictive nationalization process. Citizenship is passed solely through the father, and those wanting to become a citizen must reside in the country for 20 years, speak Arabic, and be Muslim by birth. I am fortunate to have natural citizenship, and this event made me aware of the great struggle that some people go through to attain something that I was born with.

Susan Sontag, Ch. 1, 6, 8- Lauren Meyers

Chapter 1: Photographs of atrocities do not only vivify the condemnation of war but, when politics are involved, also inspire calls for revenge, feelings of heroism, etc. 

Sontag begins with a critique on Woolf’s idea that men and women have different views of war. She states that we should rather study the phenomenon that different artifacts lead people to draw different conclusions regarding war. Gruesome depictions in photographs can yes, lead to an abhorrence of war for viewers (as Woolf acknowledges), but also inspire thoughts of revenge or courage or an appraisal of heroic action within viewers. The destructiveness of war cannot be used as an argument against war unless one believes that violence is unjustifiable. We should remember that the photographer only captures what he/she wants to be seen. Sontag also reminds us that no amount of horror could be made vivid enough to make people stop war altogether.

Chapter 6: Our interest in images of suffering leads us to believe that we are innocent and compassionate, but this is not necessarily true.

People are drawn to sights of pain and mutilation. In viewing the misfortunes of others, we make ourselves more numb and indifferent to atrocities. Whenever we are in a position of safety, we are indifferent to the struggles of others. We are simply glad that we are not in their position. Our unwillingness to act on our supposed compassion for people in photographs is caused by our feelings of helplessness and fear. When we feel sympathy, we believe that we are innocent and not responsible for others’ agony. However, our privileges are linked to their suffering in more ways than we would like to acknowledge. 

Chapter 8: Rather than remembering every account of violence in human history, we should simply think, for it is difficult for us to commit atrocities when we are aware. 

We must be aware of the fact that humans all around the world cause suffering. To remain blind to this fact is to remain ignorant. Memory is important in that it connects us with the dead. However, we are able to make peace by forgetting, and a faulty memory can lead us to reconciliation. We do not have the capacity to remember every instance of evil. Rather, we should understand that humans everywhere do terrible things, and these photographs remind us of this fact. Due to improved means of communication, some may have the impression that there is more violence now than there once was, but this is probably an illusion. Since we have so many things to look at, it makes sense that we turn away when we see gruesome images, and we should not shame ourselves for doing this.

Lauren Meyers: Unit 3, Assignment 1


Hannah Arendt and “Banality of Evil”

  • “banality” of evil = an insight into the commonplace motives of perpetrators of evil
  • How do you uphold your standards of humanity in a world that seems to be falling apart? Is the person that commits evil acts under these circumstances less guilty than that who commits evil during a peaceful time? 
  • “under conditions of terror most people will comply but some people will not”
  • Evil does not possess any depth… this is why it is “banal”

https://aeon.co/ideas/what-did-hannah-arendt-really-mean-by-the-banality-of-evil

  • Eichmann “performed evil deeds without evil intentions, a fact connected to his ‘thoughtlessness’, a disengagement from the reality of his evil acts”
  • He was not a psychopath, but a normal human.
  • Banality= thoughtlessness, disengagement from reality (holes of oblivion), “joiner”
  • Moral responsibility and Indeterminism… under indeterminism, nothing causes the action. Responsibility requires someone bringing about an act. Should we hold Eichmann responsible for his actions if he had no intention or evil motive?
  • Arendt says yes. Though his motives were thought-defying, his genocidal actions were not.

The Origins of Totalitarianism

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/17/how-hannah-arendts-classic-work/

  • Published in 1951, based on research and writings from the 1940s
  • Purpose: understand the origins of totalitarianism, not its causes
  • The disparity between cause and effect resulted in surprising horrors
  • The “bads” that seem insignificant come together and create a “maelstrom of evil”
  • Great social alienation led to mob mentality. Collectively hate society from which they are excluded.
  • Easier to manipulate a society that is full of resentment
  • https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/arendt-matters-revisiting-origins-totalitarianism/
  • These movements thrived on destruction of reality. 
  • “Nazis’ promise of Aryan superiority is stabilizing”… people would overlook lies and murder if it benefitted them 
  • People like promises of consistency

Adolf Eichmann

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Adolf-Eichmann

  • 1906-1962, hanged by state of Israel for part in Holocaust
  • Joined Nazi Party in 1932 in Linz
  • Chief executioner of “final solution.” Organized identification, assembly, and transportation of Jews to extermination camps
  • US troops captured him but he escaped from a prison camp in 1946. He was arrested by Israeli secret service agents in Argentina in 1960. .
  • Under questioning, he said that he disagreed with vulgar anti-Semitism 
  • Claimed he was more interested in Jews than Arabs.. Argued obedience and said he was only carrying out his assigned duties. However, he actually was innovative and found ways to deal with equipment shortages so that he could transport more Jews.
  • Controversy followed the trial… Arendt’s “portrayal of Eichmann as banal rather than demonic provoked a storm of debate that lasted for almost a decade”
  • Was Eichmann really just a functionary?

https://www.history.com/news/adolf-eichmann-nazi-capture-holocaust-trial-mossad

  • Herrmann, a blind Jewish refugee, learned about Eichmann’s whereabouts through his daughter Sylvia who dated one of Eichmann’s sons. He wrote to Germany with the information.
  • Bauer, a German-Jewish judge, covertly tipped off the Israeli secret service because he was worried that “Nazi sympathizers would alert Eichmann to any German investigation”
  • The snatch team was made up of people who had had family members die in the Holocaust.
  • They observed him and discovered that his routine was predictable. They captured him as he walked home after getting off a city bus after work.
  • “They took him to a ‘safe house’ in Buenos Aires, where he was interrogated for days before he was drugged and put on a plane to Israel” for the trial.

Being Human: Rational Models of Sapience – Lauren Meyers

In his lecture, Dr. Suresh used an economic approach to explore what it means to be human. When making their models, economists often assume that people are rational and act to maximize utility. However, humans do not behave in this way! Dr. Suresh explained that humans are really like Homer Simpson—that is, we are irrational, lazy, impatient satisficers. We do what is good enough and move onto our other tasks. These models do not account for our animal spirits. We think with our emotions are prone to react to psychological influences. When firms are excited by what is going on around them, they will likely be more ambitious. This heterogeneity and apparent unpredictability of human behavior lead to a profusion of results. However, Dr. Suresh argued that humans are identical through time. Only their environments and situations are different. We are irrational in predictable ways, and there are evolutionary bases for our behavioral biases. In a fairness study, scientists gave one monkey grapes and the other monkey cucumbers. The latter monkey was outraged at this inequity and began throwing the cucumbers back at the scientist. Economists have not yet discovered how to account for this human concern for fairness. In his research, Dr. Suresh is using simulation agent-based modeling in hopes of creating more realistic models. I do not think that we will ever be able to perfectly model human behavior in our economic models. However, every model should have some realism in terms of the question.