Tag Archives | Culture

Standards of Beauty Under The Knife

Pic: Sarang (PD)

Pic: Sarang (PD)

By now, you have probably heard some of the outsider outrage, confusion and consternation. “Everyone in Korea wants the same face!”

It seems, pardon the pun, cut and dry, but as you’ll see it is anything but. Any cultural slant might be laid bare through similar scrutiny, so beware: those publications that seem to want to the headline to read “Dumb Asians All Want to Look The Same” are incapable of seeing their own cultural bias. We are all, in a sense, blind to ourselves.

Let’s try to open our eyes a little. I want to look at this, leading off with one of the better articles I’ve found on this phenomenon,

“There’s a real problem when you make generalizations about a whole country full of women, that they’re all culturally duped,” Hejiin Lee said in an interview. “There are certain economic situations happening in Korea and America that might impel different choices.

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Color-Blind Racial Ideology Linked to Racism, Both Online and Offline

grayscaleVia ScienceDaily:

In a study that examined the associations between responses to racial theme party images on social networking sites and a color-blind racial ideology, Brendesha Tynes, a professor of educational psychology and of African American studies at Illinois, discovered that white students and those who rated highly in color-blind racial attitudes were more likely not to be offended by images from racially themed parties at which attendees dressed and acted as caricatures of racial stereotypes (for example, photos of students dressed in blackface make-up attending a “gangsta party” to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day).

“People who reported higher racial color-blind attitudes were more likely to be white, and more likely to condone or not be bothered by racial-theme party images,” Tynes said. “In fact, some even encouraged the photos by adding comments of their own such as ‘Where’s the Colt 45?’ or ‘Party like a rock star.’ ”

To conduct the study, Tynes showed 217 ethnically diverse college students images from racially themed parties and prompted them to respond as if they were writing on a friend’s Facebook or MySpace page.

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Scott McCloud’s Four Types of Artists

artquadHere’s a fun scheme of classifying different types of artists. The scheme is Scott McCloud’s, mapped onto Ken Wilber’s quadrants. Can you think of any more examples?

From FC Student Blog:

In his book, Making Comics, Scott McCloud created a chart categorizing artists according to four intentions — what artists are most interested in, in creating art. His categories are:

  • Formalist — The Formalist is interested in examining the boundaries of an art form, stretching them, exploring what the form is capable of. The Formalist is interested in experimenting, turning the form upside-down and inside-out, moving in new, bold, untried directions, inventing and innovating. Formalists are the cutting edge, the avant-garde, the ones willing to break tradition and established ways. Strict narrative or craft is not as important as trying something new and unexpected, playing with and breaking traditional concepts, getting to the heart of understanding what art itself is.
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‘The Great Beauty’: High Culture Without the Highbrowness

The Great BeautyYears ago, while a student at USC’s Cinema Production Department, I took a class taught by Arthur Knight, whose The Liveliest Art: A Panoramic History of the Movies was a standard textbook at colleges and universities all over the world. In it he argued that cinema was the liveliest art because it incorporated all arts. It’s a notion that was dear and sacrosanct to all of us cinephiles. For centuries it was cathedrals that incorporated all arts; then it was opera; in the 20th century, supposedly, cinema. Nowadays that’s hardly the case. Hollywood blockbusters are made for the PG-13 audience, except for a few “serious” movies that aim at Academy Awards recognition and, under the pretense of being socially or culturally relevant, are generally platitudinous. Then there are the inevitably marginal “independent” movies that, far from incorporating all arts, are minimalistic not only in production values but above all in content.… Read the rest

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The Apocalypse Industry

page230050mvc-003sJerry Lembcke writes at CounterPunch:

Writing for his October 25, 2013 New York Times column, Paul Krugman noted the attraction that apocalyptic scenarios had for American investors, policy makers, and economists. He named Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles as “deficit-scolds” whose doomsaying has been overwrought, and he reprised a 2010 article by Alan Greenspan in which the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve warned that the national budget deficit would lead to soaring inflation and interest rates, trends that we have not yet seen.

Mr. Krugman is an economist so it is understandable that it would be the scaremongers in his own area of expertise that catch his attention. His concern that the “debt-apocalypse community,” as he calls it, includes powerful people whose technical judgment might be clouded by irrational fears is legitimate. A single policy enunciation by any one of them, after all, can make or break the life-chances of millions of people around the globe.

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Problems with the Conspiratist World View

Via ZapOracle.com

The conspiratist world view—the belief that a unified cabal of elitists is manipulating world events, mind controlling the population,that the main stream media is nothing but lies and that we already live in a police state and a New World Order, etc. has become ubiquitous in global culture. It is the premise of so many Facebook posts, viral memes, websites, radio shows and movies. It transcends red and blue and is as likely to be heard amongst the far right and the far left. It is a perspective widely held in Europe, Central and South America, the Arab world, Australia, New Zealand and almost any place you can think of. Typically, the purveyors of this point of view think they are daring revolutionaries waking up the sheeple, etc. and don’t seem to notice that they are actually just one more of a vast and growing multitude who hold this perspective.

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R.U. Sirius on Joaquin Phoenix And Stealing the Singularity

im_still_here_xlgTech philosopher, thinker and cultural provocateur Ken “R.U. Sirous” Goffman considers the necessity of the Trickster in the march toward the Singularity.

StealThisSingularity:

Once home, I decided to finally watch I’m Still Here — the Casey Affleck film documenting Joaquin Phoenix’ supposed attempt to leave behind his acting career to become a rap star. Fat; with long uncombed hair and scraggly beard, dressed like a particularly disheveled street person — throughout the film, Phoenix, along with some of his “handlers,” displays a full repertoire of coarse, vulgar, moronic human behaviors as he tries to pursue his new career. He also appears in onstage performances, rapping… badly. Various media commentators suspect that it’s a hoax, but Phoenix remains in character. He puts Ben Stiller — trying to get Phoenix to consider a script — through the ringer. He acts pathetic and nuts in a famous Letterman appearance. He’s trying to get Sean Combs to produce a rap album for him.

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Living Today With Replicant Memories

arminjar 18-17-23Via OMNI Reboot, Roy Christopher ponders whether total media saturation has programmed our memories:

In his 1999 book Culture Jam, Kalle Lasn describes a scene in which two people are embarking on a road trip and speak to each other along the way using only quotations from movies.

We’ve all felt our lived experience slip into technological mediation and representation. Based on this idea—and the rampant branding and advertising covering every visible surface— Lasn argues that our culture has inducted us into a cult. “By consensus, cult members speak a kind of corporate Esperanto,” he writes, “words and ideas sucked up from TV and advertising.”

Indeed, we quote television shows, allude to fictional characters and situations, and repeat song lyrics and slogans in everyday conversation. Lasn argues, “We have been recruited into roles and behavior patterns we did not consciously choose.” Lasn presents this scenario as if it were a nightmare.

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What Will The Mainstream Make of Polyamory

A recent post on Modern Mythology raises questions about the recent mainstream obsession with polyamory:

Thanks in part to the Showtime series “Polyamory: Married and Dating,” it seems yet another subaltern is coming out of the closet (or bedroom) and into the mainstream.

It is predictable enough that it would be presented on SHO in a way that is easiest to digest for the American mainstream. Yet the examples posed there are staid modifications to the familiar. I would prefer the actual gamut of possibilities be presented. The show reads as another variation on swingers. So, what are White American suburbanites (or urbanites) to make of this new “fad”?

One of the challenges presented by this desire, (as was discussed in an earlier tongue-in-cheek article, “Postmodernogamy“): at its core polyamory presents not an alternate model to monogamy so much as a revolution against all formal and static cultural mores which say “this way and no other.”

Now that gay marriage seems to be approaching normalcy, new labels are needed to keep the relationship news cycle churning, all the while missing the only radical point presented by what is otherwise nothing more than the simple result of modernization on outdated cultural edifices: There is no model of “typical” polyamory, as it is and should be specific to every unique individual and their unique interactions.… Read the rest

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Veiled Threats and the Danger of Ideology

Via orwellwasright:

The controversy over the wearing of the niqab, hijab and burka in Western nations is picking up once again. For many Westerners, the wearing of the veil is a mark of a repressive medieval religion – the recent case in the UK where a Muslim school forced its female teachers to wear the hijab and the subsequent condemnation by officials at the National Union of Teachers is indicative of the backlash Muslim traditions face. Al-Madinah School in Derby is also accused of practicing discrimination between male and female pupils, forcing girls to sit at the back of the class – hardly a ringing endorsement for modern Islam’s commitment to contemporary values on gender equality.

Another recent controversy emerged over the issue of Muslim wearing the veil while giving evidence in court, and similar issues were raised about whether or not Muslims working for the National Health Service should cover their faces when treating patients.… Read the rest

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