April 17th, 2012

No contest: the case against competition, by Alfie Kohn (book review ), Share International Archives

The book reviewed at the link below became my bible as i wondered and worried about competitiveness and inequality in our society.  Alfie Kohn's 1986 book does not address inequality but the implications for me were clear.  If one of the outcomes of competition is the division of life into winners and losers, and the process of creating this outcome has so many dangers and so few benefits, doesn't that suggest that inequality itself is a process and state with many dangers and few benefits?

"Kohn quotes the late anthropologist Jules Henry who tells a story of an episode repeated daily in classrooms throughout the world. Boris is unable to solve an arithmetic problem. The teacher asks him to think harder while the rest of the class responds with a forest of waving hands and much sighing. Finally Peggy is called upon and proudly delivers the correct solution. 'Thus Boris' failure has made it possible for Peggy to succeed; his depression is the price of her exhilaration; his misery the occasion of her rejoicing ... To a Zuni, Hopi, or Dakota Indian, Peggy's performance would seem cruel beyond belief.'"  --from the review below.

No contest: the case against competition, by Alfie Kohn (book review ), Share International Archives

The Syphilis Movie

The movie "Bully" is in town and adults who work with children or are parents are urged to attend..  They are asked to come alone.
I wondered why.  Parents and children watching together might accomplish more.  Perhaps those promoting the movie have some moral scruples?  Perhaps the movie was rated "R" by the motion picture censors?  Its funny how things like this trigger old memories, things i never remember remembering before.

When i was a kid, maybe 13 (1946 or 47) the syphilis movie came to town.  That was not its title.  It might have been a WWII public information film or a 1930s - 40s sexploitation film--maybe even Dwain Esper's "Sex Madness".  It was shown at the local theater for two nights: one night dads were supposed to come with their sons, next night was for mothers and daughters.  I have no idea why, but my father decided that he and i should go.

Dwain Esper, the Father of the Exploitation Flick - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com    

My father and i just did not do things together.  We went hunting together once and that was quite enough togetherness for both of us.  But he wanted to be a good father and shield me from the dangers of VD (later to become STD)  All i can remember is huge images of genitalia in various stages of deterioration and a stern voice warning about blindness, infected children and early death and a whole list of other evils.  We sat in stony silence and later not a word about the movie was spoken.

Maybe the movie had a good effect.  I have never had a venereal disease.  However, i did shortly thereafter develop an obsession with genitalia and mutilation which continued for several years.  You never know what an undiagnosed autistic kid is going to  bring home from a movie.