Sunday, October 29, 2006

Berlitz Language Spot

Going back to Foucault

An article in today's SF Chronicle, "Prison tour program tries to keep boys on right path". What technologies, what elements of the three epistemes are operating, and how?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

News from the weekend

SF Gate article, Envoy Sorry for Iraq 'Stupidity' Comment. Did this mean 'the same thing' in Arabic, in the context it was spoken, as it did in Al Jazeera, as it does now in the U.S. media?

The language of remedial education, with Iraq as the child and the U.S. as the principal? SF Gate, "U.S. setting deadlines, goals...penalties if Baghdad fails to deal with sectarian militias"

Interesting article on the NY Times site, "The Starbucks Aesthetic.

Notice the Budweiser crown logo on commercials, 'reflected' in natural shapes everywhere in our everyday environments. Seems advertising feeding us the logic of the similitudes more and more...

Also, it's interesting to compare Budweiser's ad, "The Wave," which shows a massive card show at a football game (go to Bud's website, enter an appropriate date, click on "ENTERTAINMENT," then on "TV COMMERCIALS" on the bottom, and find "The Wave" at right), with the much-criticized and wondered-at stadium card shows in North Korea (video example of a Dan Rather news report from 2005 here, and photo example at, . American commentators seem to wonder at the mind control needed to produce such a uniform populace, subservient to a dominant ideology, yet what is advertising in our capitalist system?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Some recent news links

Some recent news items that relate directly to the Language & Power course material on Foucault and Bourdieu:

SF Chronicle article about the 300 millionth child in the U.S. (An article only possible in an age of representation)

Catherine Ho's column in the Wednesday edition of the Daily Cal, "No, no, no, no, no, and no", which seems like a valiant (futile?) effort to modify the habitus of the UCB population with behavior more befitting of the premier academic institution that we're a part of...

A NY Times article from today, Blair Criticizes Full Islamic Veils as 'Mark of Separation'.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Following up on panopticism

The NY Times had a video on its front page Oct. 10 entitled “The FBI: Reinventing the Bureau,” in which Scott Shane reported about how the bureau has been trying to reinvent itself since 9/11. He sad that whereas the old goal of the FBI was to follow domestic ‘criminals’ and make arrests in specific cases, the new goal is much broader: not to follow crime, but to prevent terrorist activity in the U.S.

Interesting in this situation is that the new director (?) Phil Mudd, a former CIA agent, is developing a policy in the FBI called “domain management,” which involves “not just following cases but understanding everything that’s happening in your domain, in your city, what he calls, ‘the spaces between the cases,’ says Shane. This involves primarily observation and surveillance of ‘terrorist suspects’—a seeming shift from a role of prosecuting crime to one of observation, or “hierarchizing observation and normalizing judgment.”

Shane also noted that in this process the FBI has “doubled the number of analysts, doubled the number of linguists…”

Meanwhile, the SF Chronicle article from Wednesday, October 11, Self-Censorship Threatens the West looks at a series of events over the last few years in which portrayals of icons of the Muslim faith in the Western media and stage performances have incurred great wrath, prompting debate about appropriate notions of ‘freedom of expression’ and self-censorship…