Capitalist Splitting

My unfortunate encounter (work-mandatory) with a personality profile tool and its pseudo-science trappings (no it wasn't Myers-Briggs), led me back, for my own sanity, to tracing out the origins of the split between affect and intellect (which readers of Berneval will see is a deeply disturbing construction for me). I came across "The Split between Affect and Intellect" in The Essential Fromm: Life Between Having and Being edited by Rainer Funk who chose under this rubric to reproduce an excerpt from The Moral Responsibility of Modern Man and this selection provides the following comfort to the poor assaulted soul called upon to sunder heart and brain.

There is not space to discuss this, but it has a great deal to do with our mode of production, with our increasing emphasis on technique, with our necessity to develop intellect for purposes of science and science for the purposes of technique. We cannot quite separate the society, in which production becomes the paramount purpose, from human development in which intellect becomes the paramount value. But if we are to overcome our moral problem today, we must make a very serious effort to overcome the split between affect and intellect. We must restore the person to his totality or, as I would rather say, to his reality. I am not a mind and a body. I am I, and you are you, and my heart and my feelings can be just as rational as my thought, and my thought can be just as irrational as my heart. But, I cannot even speak of my heart and my thought because they are one, they are only two aspects of the same phenomenon. There is one logic, one rationality, and one irrationality that pervades them both. Whether we study psychosomatic illness or whether we study the phenomena of mass hysteria, it is all the same. Thought is made stupid by feeling and thought can be enlightened by feeling and vice versa.
I'm grateful that resistance to dichotomous constructions arising from instrumentalist notions is not new and there is such eloquence to draw on. I am saddened that at this late remove we still must search out great companions because of the persistence of ignorance. I would wish for better motives. Still it's a relief for heart and head to find statements of the vice versa.

And so for day 1630
31.05.2011

Anaphora in the Service of Memento Mori

Marsha Lederman, in reflecting on the announcement that Gord Downie from The Tragically Hip has been diagnosed with fatal brain tumour, closes her piece with a turn that opens as a return to the where and when she first heard the music and veers into a contemplation of life as "hard, huge and haunted".

This week, feeling something more sharp and painful than nostalgia, I pumped Fully Completely at full blast. Nearly a quarter-century and thousands of kilometres from that Hamilton flat, the trees outside my Vancouver home were bursting green, obscuring the mountains. My past came crashing through the window as I contemplated life – hard, huge and haunted.

I thought about the years, so many years, gone by; people gone from my life, people gone from the world, people on their way out of it. What can you do? They’ve all gone. We’ll go, too.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/music/musics-link-to-the-brain-means-when-we-lose-an-artist-we-love-it-hurts/article30187841/
Go. Gone. Going.

And so for day 1629
30.05.2011

North American Indian Ways of Mourning & AIDS

I find myself at odds with At Odds with AIDS by Alexander García Düttmann (translated by Peter Gilgen and Conrad Scott-Curtis). Although he uses the moves of deconstructive criticism he falls short in pushing the analysis. This is especially true for the cross-cultural example he provides in a footnote. First let us recall how he sets this up.

The question of an im-pertinent [sic] existence is the question of a relation to sickness and death that distinguishes itself essentially from the work of mourning, from the perpetuation of the complex of melancholia, and from the idealizing denial of what has been endured.
To this passage is connected a note that begins
That the work of mourning is not necessarily a constant becomes clear to one who turns to other forms of faith and views of the world […] The aporias of mourning in the time of AIDS are described with precision in an article printed in the New York Times in Dec. 1992. Docotrs and therapists are searching for new forms and rites of mourning: "Dr. Terry Tafoya, a psychologist at the University of Washington, and Dr. Leon McKusick, a psychologist a the University of California at San Francisco, have borrowed mourning rituals from American Indian culture to help those suffering from multiple loss. Because American Indians had no immunity to European diseases, 92 percent of them died within two generations of their initial contact with whites, said Dr. Tafoya, an Indian, himself.
Düttermann leaves it at that. No analysis.

Let's look closer at the source
Dr. Terry Tafoya, a psychologist at the University of Washington, and Dr. Leon McKusick, a psychologist at the University of California at San Francisco, have borrowed mourning rituals from American Indian culture to help those suffering from multiple loss.

Because American Indians had no immunity to European diseases, 92 percent of them died within two generations of their initial contact with whites, said Dr. Tafoya, an Indian himself. "So there is tremendous parallel in the Native American experience and what the gay community is going through in the 90's."

Dr. Tafoya, dressed in full tribal garb, mesmerized an audience of 500 at the AIDS meeting in Amsterdam last spring as he chanted to a drum, inviting others to share stories of the dead. "There is an old saying that sorrow shared is halved and joy shared is doubled," he said.

The relentless nature of the current losses is compounded by the relative youth of the victims and of those who have survived. Most people who are experiencing multiple losses, largely men and women in their 30's and 40's, viewed death as an academic concept until AIDS arrived.

http://www.nytimes.com/1992/12/06/us/to-a-drumbeat-of-losses-to-aids-a-rethinking-of-traditional-grief.html?pagewanted=all

Elisabeth Rosenthal, To a Drumbeat of Losses to AIDS, A Rethinking of Traditional Grief
We have wandered from the melancholy/mourning considerations. What strikes me here is the tension in the comparative moment: between a universalized acceptance and openness to all cultural practices and the incommensurability of comparing different historical experiences. Düttmann misses the occasion and misses the point.

Sharing stories is not specific to any one culture; the ways do vary.

In its "other forms of faith and views" Düttman's note also references Buddhist understandings which allows him to claim that [w]here the delimitation of reality undergoes such a fundamental removal of limitations and boundaries, there seems to remain little room for a work of mourning in the sense of a "test of reality"" which strikes me as othering the other which is simply impertinent (no hyphen).

And so for day 1628
29.05.2011

Class and Warfare

Judith Martin in Common Curtesy in which Miss Manners solves the problem that baffled Mr. Jefferson recognizes the uses to which etiquette is sometimes put.

This is the sort of thing that gives etiquette a bad name. It is a wonderful instrument of class warfare, although that is only one of the many uses of etiquette. Those who conclude that manners are therefore merely an affectation of the rich to annoy the poor also overlook the fact that codes of manners are employed by all classes going in different directions. The most sophisticated and ruthless inventors of manners, with rigid regulations about dress, speech, and hierarchy, are teenaged street gangs.
She of course does not let this trouble her from her main argument that civilization however artificial is important for individual as well as social well-being. In short, she offers a tract against the encroachment of commercial interests into the domain of private life. And for that we thank her.

And so for day 1627
28.05.2011

Walk to Borrow, Run to Read

Alan Bennett on Libraries (our emphasis)

A library needs to be handy and local; it shouldn't require an expedition. Municipal authorities of all parties point to splendid new and scheduled central libraries as if this discharges them of their obligations. It doesn't. For a child a library needs to be round the corner. And if we lose local libraries it is children who will suffer.

London Review of Books Vol. 33 No. 15 · 28 July 2011
I was put in mind of the small remote fly-in communities in northern Ontario and whether they benefit from interlibrary loan programs. I am blessed to live in a city, Toronto, where the public library is built upon the operation of branch libraries and a wonderful system of holds & loans that have books delivered for pickup at your local library. Yes political will is important for building and maintain intelligent library services.

And so for day 1626
27.05.2011

The Halting Problem Revisited

John Koethe. Sally's Hair. "Continuity and the Counting Numbers"

One let's you trace out what you've been or are
Or might yet become; the other is a row of tombstones
You plow right into them because you are carried by the alternatives of past, present and future. And the future is terminal.

And so for day 1625
26.05.2011

What Colour Is Your Bowl?

I like the enumeration at the end of this passage. It gives you the impression of peering into the cups to appreciate their coloration and the effect it might have on whipped green tea.

The cups Lu Yu liked best had an exquisite blue glaze, so that once the reddish-brown cake tea was served in them, it would look jade green in the cup. The more delicately colored whipped tea inspired Sung ceramicists to come up with strangely beautiful teacups of blue black, black, dark brown, and deep purple.
James Norwood Pratt. The Tea Lover's Treasury.

Reading this presents us with the memory of all the joy in comparing colour swatches and the names invented to distinguish colourings: Brinjal, Black Blue, Pitch Black, Mahogany (names lifted from a purveyor which markets itself as "Craftsmen in Paint and Paper"). Still love the simplicity of Norwood Pratt's listing. Luscious even without the presence of jade tea.

And so for day 1624
25.05.2011

Bovarism Symbolized

Not much of a spoiler to indicate that towards the end of the novel there is a book burning which features a fire-retardant copy of Madame Bovary.

The sixth match dealt with Madame Bovary. But the flame refused to set fire to the page where Emma lies in bed with her lover in the hotel at Rouen, smoking a cigarette and murmuring "you'll leave me …" This final match was more selective in its fury, choosing to attack the end of the book, where Emma, in the agony of death, fancies she hears a blind man singing:
The beat of the sun of a summer day
Warms a young girl in an amorous way.
This fine twist of incorporating an intertextual quotation into the heart of the diegesis is from Dai Sijie Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

And so for day 1623
24.05.2011

Adhesions

Kate Daniels
"Reading a Biography of Thomas Jefferson in the Months of My Son's Recovery"

As the poem wends its way through reading and recovery, it presents an image of origin that is as startling as it is unsettling.

Before he was my son, he was contained
Within a clutch of dangling eggs that waited,
All atremble, for his father's transforming glob
Of universal glue.
Cells glued to cells.
History glued to present possibilities.

The poem appears in Monticello in Mind: Fifty Contemporary Poems on Jefferson edited by Lisa Russ Spaar.

And so for day 1622
23.05.2011

Chacone Encounter

As befitting an event worthy of folklore this piece of reporting has picked up variants in the retelling (so much so that Gene Weingarten wrote a piece for the Washington Post correcting erroneous claims [Gene Weingarten: Setting the record straight on the Joshua Bell experiment). Here are quotations from the original news story — it's a reverberating tale which I like to recall as the Chacone Encounter.

He’d clearly meant it when he promised not to cheap out this performance: He played with acrobatic enthusiasm, his body leaning into the music and arching on tiptoes at the high notes. The sound was nearly symphonic, carrying to all parts of the homely arcade as the pedestrian traffic filed past.

Three minutes went by before something happened. Sixty-three people had already passed when, finally, there was a breakthrough of sorts. A middle-age man altered his gait for a split second, turning his head to notice that there seemed to be some guy playing music. Yes, the man kept walking, but it was something. A half-minute later, Bell got his first donation. A woman threw in a buck and scooted off. It was not until six minutes into the performance that someone actually stood against a wall, and listened.

Things never got much better. In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run — for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.

[….]

There was no ethnic or demographic pattern to distinguish the people who stayed to watch Bell, or the ones who gave money, from that vast majority who hurried on past, unheeding. Whites, blacks and Asians, young and old, men and women, were represented in all three groups. But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.
Setting conditions response and an important part of setting is the constraints placed on time. Gives new import to the expression "free time". I want me some of the kind of attention that kids have (minus the parental oversight).

And so for day 1621
22.05.2011

XoX 1985 XoX

You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by
[...]
Thanks to the kind folks at OPIRG Kingston, a piece of local history enter the online world — Anti-Nuke-Kiss-In. I do grin that one of the participant's names morphs from Ford to Fred. The essentials are correct: two men kissing on the steps of City Hall in a make-love-not-war demonstration. The story is part of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group's "People's History Project" and it begins thus
On August 9, 1985, controversy was sparked when a lesbian and gay kiss-in on the steps of Kingston’s City Hall was included as a part of a three-day anti-nuclear vigil to mark the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Elsewhere there's even an audio tour as part of "The Gay and Lesbian History of Kingston, 1940 to 2000" on the Stones [of Kingston] site.
[...]
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by
And so for day 1620
21.05.2011

Alternatives

Phil Hall
Why I Haven't Written
"Assessing the Damage"

I could try to go home,
or I could try to change.

Not both.
Being at home and not being changed.
Chrysalised and homeless.

And so for day 1619
20.05.2011

Two Wheels Keep on Rolling

I was intrigued by the account I encountered in Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire and went on to check out the search engines for artwork — it was glorious.

Bicycle Day is an international holiday that commemorates the date that Dr. Albert Hofmann first tripped on LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-25) and bicycled home from his lab in Basel, Switzerland on April 19th, 1943. During the bicycle ride home, he experienced the psychedelic effects of LSD, making this the date of the first acid trip in history, propelling the West into the Psychedelic Age.

http://bicycleday.la
And to be expected there is a ton of images to view and trip out on to the tune of Queen's "Bicycle Race".

And so for day 1618
19.05.2011

Pourquoi cuisiner?

Nigel Slater. Appetite. In answer to the question "why cook?" he takes us on a ride of enumeration piled on enumeration.

Cooking can be as passionate, creative, life-enhancing, uplifting, satisfying, and downright exhilarating as anything else you can do with your life. Feeling, sniffing, chopping, sizzling, grilling, frying, roasting, baking, tasting, licking, sucking, biting, savoring, and swallowing food are pleasures that would, to put it mildly, be a crime to miss out on. Add to that the buzz, the satisfying tingle that goes down your spine when you watch someone eating something you have made for them, and you have one of the greatest joys know to man.
Food porn !

And so for day 1617
18.05.2011

Really? Only once?

It was James Longenbach's The Art of the Poetic Line that brought me to Louise Glück's "Nostos" and its ending that speaks of or to a kind of ironic enlargement.

As one expects of a lyric poet.
We look at the world once, in childhood.
The rest is memory.
The sentence fragment about expectations about lyric poets could be a comment on all the description that precedes or it could be announcing the procedure of observation-rememoration, a conniving between the reader and the writer — that "we" that is all grown up.

And so for day 1616
17.05.2011

Eco-Kantian Thoughts on the Nature of Experience of Nature

The poem circles round the notation, more like a sandwich with a filling of self-quotation. The frame in David Kachinski "A Reflection on Experience in the Natural World" invokes the sound of a Chrysler speeding through the night. But any man-made sound could suite the argument ...

I take up my pen and I write:
"Nature is necessarily what connects us to past generations. Aside from all-eclipsing moments of extreme fear and pure pleasure, the only experiences which can be said to be reasonably close to those of someone who has lived fifty, or two-hundred, or three-thousand years ago, are those of one alone in Nature, where there is no sign of civilization whatsoever (civilization has changed too much, too quickly, but while we have altered Nature, her essential forces remain as they always have). These experiences are rare and ephemeral indeed. A plane passing silently overhead or the groan of a distant engine are enough to remind one of their tenuous place —"
from Traffic Cone Quarterly No. 1

And so for day 1615
16.05.2011

The Return of Waterboarding

He has a wide understanding of what constitutes "nationalism" to accompany this colour theory.

All nationalisms have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. […] Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by 'our' side.
George Orwell
Notes on Nationalism

And so for day 1614
15.05.2011

When Saying "First" Is Not Enough

In the section on "Claiming Precedence", Iona and Peter Opie record in Lore and Language of Schoolchildren that the terms "for gaining possession of an object [are] also commonly used for securing a privilege of first place" and they include "ferry" and "foggy".

I adore the map that accompanies this exposition.

The terms for claiming precedence are found in a section in the chapter devoted to what the Opies call the Code of Oral Legislation which opens with this brilliant beginning:
The schoolchild, in his primitive community, conducts his business with his fellows by ritual declaration. His affidavits, promissory notes, claims, deeds of conveyance, receipts, and notices of resignation, are verbal, and are sealed by the utterance of ancient words which are recognized and considered binding by the whole community.
The Opie opera and collections are indeed a "firsy".

And so for day 1613
14.05.2011

The Vagaries of Vulgarity

I recall from childhood a parody of Whistle While You Work.

Whistle while you work
Hitler is a jerk
Eisenhower lost his power
Deifenbaker is a faker
I know Trudeau flunked his judo
Whistle while you work
I appears that Eisenhower losing his power may be a veiled reference to castration since one encounters many reports of a version with Mussolini and weenies and all sorts of verbs to de/link the two.

And so for day 1612
13.05.2011

Sipped and Slurped

Perusing Perla Meyers The Peasant Kitchen I was intrigued by the category of foods called "sdnos" — a course I had never heard of before. As I oriented myself to the rest of the cookbook I realised that what I was looking at was the chapter on "soups".

And so for day 1611
12.05.2011

Bird Behaviour Notation from the Three Kindgoms

From the third of Fifteen Poems of My Heart by Juan Chi [Ruan Ji] translated by Jerome Ch'ên and Michael Bullock in Poems of Solitude.

I quoted aloud the last lines to my lover who remarked the the speaker was lazy…

I prefer to fly with jays and tits,
Not with hoary herons.
For they travel high and far,
Making the return too hard.
But let us recall the cold from the opening lines
The last rays of the setting sun,
Which once shone upon me warmly, have now gone
The wind keeps returning to strike the walls
While cold birds seek warmth in one another's breast.
and realize that to hang out with the jays and tits is still to be active in winter which is an image with moral import for the middle of the poem characterizes the cold birds as emblems of "men of influence" perhaps beyond their prime
Clinging to their feathers,
They fear hunger in silence.
O, men of influence
Remember to withdraw in time!
You look sad and frail
Is it because of power and fame?
And so I was to turn again to the poem as a whole after having read a piece aloud — having been delighted by the alliteration of "hoary herons" — and return less to laziness more to admiring orientation mechanisms in non-migratory birds … "Studies on species that cache food (such as jays and tits) have shown that these species may even use a sun compass in order to retrace hidden food (Sherry and Duff, 1996*)" Bird Migration: A General Survey by Peter Berthold.

*Sherry, D. F., and S. J. Duff. (1996). "Behavioural and neural bases of orientation in food storing birds." The Journal of Experimental Biology.

And so we store little bits to read later and recall Chinese poetry from the Three Kingdoms.

And so for day 1610
11.05.2011

From Alienation to Participation

I like the resonances that are set up in endings to two lectures, the penultimate and the ultimate, given by Robert Heilbroner as part of his CBC Massey Lectures. First he rifts off Marx's notion of alienation and then offers a scenario of participation.

Alienation thus not only blinds us to whatever losses may result from our surrender to a commodified world, but dulls any awareness that the very vocabulary in which we appraise the performance of the economy — "efficiency," "cost," "value" — smuggles into the evaluation process the prerogatives and requirements of the social order to which that economy caters. Smith anticipated Marx when he pointed out that "efficiency" appears to be socially useful because we are blinded to its cost in the degradation of the labourer.

Participation thus envisages a world in which widely shared decision-making by discussion and vote displaces self-interest alone, or by persons privileged by wealth or position to make unilateral determinations. It assumes that social and economic equality has replaced social and economic inequality as the widely endorsed norm of the society, because equality seems best suited to enable individuals to lead the most rewarding lives they can.
Robert Heilbroner. Twenty-First Century Capitalism. CBC Massey Lectures.

And so for day 1609
10.05.2011

Biome Dharma

Travel in both time and space through an aquatic meditation on interconnection appealing to readers of all ages.

The water that makes up more than two-thirds of your body weight, that flows in your blood, that bathes your cells, and that you cry as tears, may once have flowed in a river. It may have floated as a cloud, fallen as a snowflake, bobbed in ocean waves, or been drunk by a dinosaur from an ancient lake. All this is possible because the water that's presently on earth has always been here — except for ice brought by comets hitting the earth's atmosphere. And all the water on earth is connected in a global cycle. This cycle is called the water cycle, or the hydrologic cycle.
April Pulley Sayre Wetland

And so for day 1608
09.05.2011

Raster Nostalgia

When I came across the following description, I was reminded of the days when raster images took a while to appear on screen -- line by line.

I recall the afternoon in the archive when I first unfolded one of the large format plates interleaved perpendicularly into a copy of The Natural History of Jamaica (1725) by the British physician Hans Sloane and watched a palm tree grow sideways out of the book. This fantastic remnant of the dream enterprise of colonization takes the form of a condensed surprise. To swing open this relatively gigantic plate is to be confronted by the sensation of mixed emotion, the complicity of pleasure and disgust. To unfold the palm tree plate is to be confronted by the materializing aesthetic prospect of palms forcibly proliferated to signify boundary and property in their use as “natural fences” and its enfolding with conflicting dreams for the production of a paradise in the tropics, and countercolonial knowledges and practices not entirely contained by the textual and planting apparatus of imperial landscaping.
from Sowing Empire: Landscape and Colonization by Jill H. Casid

And so for day 1607
08.05.2011

The Beginnings of Odyssey

What I find particularly fetching in this meditation on loss is that the many paths become subsumed under one archetype: the journey.

What of the people who don't come back? Who leave home and they die or else they don't die but something happens and they are never seen again. What of them?

             They become the journey.
Lisa Pasold
Any Bright Horse

And so for day 1606
07.05.2011

Strands

Like one strand in a braid of sweetgrass

soot in a state of continual / atonement
Like another strand in a braid of sweetgrass
day made animate the dust
From Christopher Patton Ox

And so for day 1605
06.05.2011

Pebbles from the Shingle

Reading Keith Garebian Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems is like walking the beach at Dungeness collecting interesting bits for the cottage garden and installations.

Soon you will fall into a pool of questions

You always look for an aesthetic exit
will never be caught in a hotel room
like Wilde with the wrong wallpaper

madness under a varnish of history

Even the largest canvas is smaller
than the hours in a spool of film,
which reads all the values of blue

the romance of God's angel worth violating

The ladder waits, unclimbed.
And so for day 1604
05.05.2011

Carrying On Carrying On

Culled from Lisa Pasold A Bad Year for Journalists, a line that becomes stark in its isolation:

a genocide doesn't suddenly stop like a football game.
And poised here beside the recollection of the ending of Derek by Isaac Julien that fade into the white-painted brick wall with the voice over of Tilda Swinton about her friend and collaborator, Derek Jarman.
That the example you set us is as simple as a logo to sell a sports shoe; less chat, more action, less fiscal reports, more films, less paralysis, more process. Less deference. More dignity. Less money. More work. Less rules. More examples. Less dependence. More love.
Which are lines taken from a keynote speech given by Tilda Swinton at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Saturday 17th August 2002 and published in Vertigo Volume 2, Issue 4 (Spring 2003).

Suffice it to say that that genocide (not being like football) line is not the end of Pasold's book nor the end of her books.

And so for day 1603
04.05.2011

Musing a Little Space and Appreciating Pace

One can find various versions of Loreena McKennitt's "The Lady of Shalott" from her 1991 album The Visit which runs at 11:05. Shorter versions are found in recordings of live concerts.

Curious comparers will find that McKennitt's version is shorter than the poem upon which is is based: Alfred Tennyson's 1842 poem which is itself shorter than 1833 version.

I recently heard the song again and was quite taken by McKennitt's performance: it provides the listener with time to absorb lyrics and the music flows on like the tranquil river leading to Camelot. There is something inexorable in the intertwining of voice and strings leading to Lancelot's musing a little space and for this reader/listener to a slower re-reading and a great appreciation for the prunning.

And so for day 1602
03.05.2011

Begrudgingly

A comment on bourgeois realism?

If language is generated out of conventions, those conventions are simply tactics. They are methods of allowing a reproduction of the world. They do not cause problems. They are not material. They are naturalistic.
Bruce Andrews "Constitution / Writing, Politics, Language, The Body"
in Paradise & Method: Poetics & Praxis

What opens up for me here is a way of thinking not in terms of "allowing" reproduction but of "inducing" reproduction. And not only of the world as it is but as it might become.

As well, tactics call for strategies.
The political dimension of writing isn't just based on the idea of challenging specific problems or mobilizing specific groups to challenge specific problems; it's based on the notion of a systemic grasp — not of language described as a fixed system but of language as a kind of agenda or system of capabilities and uses.

"Total Equals What: Poetics & Praxis"
"And reception is by bodies" - a turn of the page again to reproduction in its expansive sense.

And so for day 1601
02.05.2011

Play in Diverse Environments

The copy writer captures the spirit of indignation while weaving in a quotation from Susan G. Solomon on the American playground:

[T]oday's playgrounds, "defined by a sizable, colorful piece of commercial equipment that links steps, deck, and slides," discourages creativity. Climb up, Careful. Now, slide! Repeat. (Get bored. Get cranky. Throw sand.)

SEE: The Potential of Place. Issue 6 Spring 2007
The article goes on to attribute the overly cautious (and boring) design to a litigious environment (which we know is linked to the lack of universal medical insurance): "Swings, monkey bars, and seesaws are passé, considered overly dangerous, liability lawsuits waiting to happen."

The point is also made in a comparative mode by Solomon in her The Science of Play: How to Build Playgrounds That Enhance Children's Development
Parents feel that the smallest injury can be blamed on someone other than their own child. The American legal system sometimes allows generous damages for an injury, and parents often pursue financial remuneration. In Europe or Japan there is minimal financial compensation; the legal system restricts tort damages. Instead, the European or Japanese child is expected to take stock of his actions and consider his own and communal safety. After an accident, the European or Japanese child would probably say, "What did I do wrong?"; The American child (or his parents) might ask, "Where is my lawyer?"
Might I suggest that a visit to the Corktown Common is in order. Catch sight of a butterfly, run through the splash pad and of course climb and slide. All without the irritating problem of prohibitive repetition.

And so for day 1600
01.05.2011