Archive for February 2008

[Youtube] Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood

February 29, 2008

For John Louie, not that he reads this blog.


[Eugene] Margaret B. Jones

February 29, 2008

Who knew?

[Autism] "Not damaged. Not dysfunctional. Just different."

February 28, 2008

Found via BB, this Wired article on autism:

Should autism be treated? Yes, says Baggs, it should be treated with respect. “People aren’t interested in us functioning with the brains we have,” she says, because autism is considered to be outside the range of normal variability. “I don’t fit the stereotype of autism. But who does?” she asks, hammering especially hard on the keyboard. “The definition of autism is so fluid and changing every few years.” What’s exciting, she says, is that Mottron and other scientists have “found universal strengths where others usually look for universal deficits.” Neuro-cognitive science, she says, is finally catching up to what she and many other adults with autism have been saying all along.

Baggs is working on some new videos. One project is tentatively titled “Am I a Person Yet?” She’ll explore communication, empathy, self-reflection — core elements of the human experience that have at times been used to define personhood itself. And at various points during the clip, she’ll ask: “Am I a person yet?” It’s a provocative idea, and you might find yourself thinking: She has a point.

It’s an amazing article, one that rocked me. Take a look.

… I should say, too, that there is a ton of precedent for scientists catching up to what a stigmatized group has been saying all along: For a long time, people of color were not considered people by scientists (and yes, that does make me want to put scientists in quotation marks). Neither were people with disabilities. People with HIV/AIDS were consistently coming out ahead of the (really bad) scientific research that was being done in the early and mid 1980s.

I suspect that this will turn out to be similar – the biases and blind spots of the people doing the science are slowly being torn away, only to reveal a truth that flies in the face of decades of established “truth.”

My questions: Why does this keep happening? Doesn’t science as an institution need to interrogate itself as to the presence of a very disturbing pattern of events? What about the vaunted “scientific method?”

[Almost Blogtastic Navel-Gazing] The Perfect Summing-up

February 27, 2008

Atrios encapsulates the absurdity of the last eight years in perhaps the best way I’ve ever seen:

There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said — no. But, somehow we missed it.

Well, we’ll know better next time.

-Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

My god, he’s good.

I kind of want to cry. Existentialism and all that.

[Youtube] Animator vs. Animation

February 27, 2008


Somehow, it seems old-school in its creativity. Simple, unreliant on effects (despite the medium), etc. Fantasia-like, even.

OK, maybe that last was a bit overboard. But it’s neat nonetheless.

[Lebanon Truth] A Response to A Particularly Frustrating Comment

February 27, 2008

This post is written as a response to a comment on this post over at LT’s.

Anonymous @ 5:30 PM…. I don’t even know where to begin, except to say that my experience does not match your impression of LHS. At all.

I’m going to go through all the claims you make one by one… let’s see:

Kids wander the hall regularly and in groups without hall passes.

Sometimes. And often, they get busted for it. How is this a giant problem again?

Kids smoke in the church parking lot, bathrooms, stadium, behind the school and anywhere no one is looking.

And? That’s been happening for decades. It’s also more of a police function, don’t you think? I return to the fact that a rotating cast of dozens smoke in the church parking lot behind the school every day and the police don’t do anything about it. Why blame the school?

Open PDA is prevalent.

Hm. I saw very little that was unacceptable, unless “open PDA” includes things like holding hands and hugging. If you have a problem with those, I suggest you stop paying attention to a public school and start paying attention to something a little less grounded in reality, because the only way to prevent such harmless gestures is to turn LHS into a police state.

The dress code is a joke.

Why is there even a dress code in the first place?

Disrespect to staff members is rampant.

And has been for years; the present is only different in that staff are not allowed to hit students (and rightly so). This is a school, not the Army. A little (or even a lot) of healthy disrespect for authority is fine.

Total disregard for district property is the norm.

Again, this is not new, and “enforcing the rules” isn’t going to do a damn thing to change this. If anything, this is a symptom of something else.

Vulgar language is the way to communicate.

For the third time, this is not new. If you’re suggesting this is a “problem” solvable by anything short of police-state tactics, then I would politely suggest you’re in error. It’s certainly also a symptom.

And besides, students have a lot to be angry about. They perceive that many adults in the community don’t care about them and are more interested in playing games with their futures. I’d be mad too if I thought I was in that situation.

Confront them and face the tidal flow of curse words, laughter and total apathy towrds authority.

Really? I never had that happen, and I worked with just about every student in the school at one point or another. I don’t think “respect for authority” should even be a goal in and of itself – blind obedience and subservience is the antithesis of a good education, after all.

These kids are out of control.
And no one is there to control them.

That’s just insulting to the entire staff.

There are alot of really good kids there who want to learn.

There are also a lot of really “bad” kids who want to learn, but are facing a variety of barriers. Let’s talk about removing those barriers rather than trying to control behavior. Please?

But, too many students there would rather be at the mall.

Why is this the school’s problem? How would the school even begin to solve it? Thousands – hundreds of thousands – of teachers, administrators, staff and other education professionals have tried to fight this. It’s largely out of the hands of educators.

There should be zero tolerance for disregard of established policies
(which are outlined and approved by the school board).

What happens with zero tolerance? LHS starts kicking kids out for chewing gum or wearing the wrong T-shirts? Who wins then? Certainly not the students.

Let’s start by enforcing the rules.

Another parting shot at the staff, huh?

Honestly, Anonymous, it sounds like you have some expectations for student behavior that are way out of line with what’s possible – or even desirable. For the sake of the sanity of the students, I hope you don’t work anywhere near a school.

[NYT] Diablo Cody in the NYT

February 26, 2008

She was in there, of course, because Juno won Best Original Screenplay, and she wrote it.

But tell me how, Mssrs. Halbfinger and Cieply, is this relevant:

The indie delight “Juno,” about a pregnant teenager with a mouth on her, won for best original screenplay, by Diablo Cody, who once worked as a stripper. She tearfully thanked her family for “loving me for who I am.”

She was a stripper? Oh Noes!


Get over it. There is no justifiable journalistic reason to include this. It’s not related to the content of the movie, it’s sensationalist and – dare I say it – sexist, designed simply to get a rise out of readers (and, perhaps, simultaneously inspire a sense of righteousness).