Noam Chomsky y Michel Foucault (en tres momentos)

Noam Chomsky y Michel Foucault (en tres momentos)

 

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Juan Goytisolo

Disfrutable. Al comienzo, cuando se refiere a la política de las últimas décadas en España no dice nada relevante (al final es diferente). Creo que él mismo estaría de acuerdo con esto. Ocurre en entrevistas de este tipo, hay un momento en que el motor está frio y uno sabe que no está diciendo nada rescatable. Sin embargo, luego se calientan los motores y cuando Goytisolo va a temas más profundos de la cultura y la historia es de una claridad irreprochable. Para algunos especialistas, sobre todo de la academia norteamericana y para varios amigos colegas de España, no dice nada nuevo. Pero no es nada nuevo para nosotros ahora porque poquísimos como Goytisolo abrieron camino mucho antes.

Biographical

Name: Juan GOYTISOLO
Nationality: Spanish
Born: 5 January, 1931
  • Attended University of Barcelona and University of Madrid
  • Has largely lived in exile since the late 1950s, mainly in Paris and Marrakesh
  • Visiting professor at the University of California, San Diego (1969), Boston University (1970), McGill (1972), NYU (1973-4)

Quotes

What others have to
say about
Juan Goytisolo:

  • “What distinguishes Goytisolo from other writers in the ever-widening international confraternity of young protesters is the clinical objectivity of his vision and the vigorous control he displays over his powerful, driving style. His works — short, violent and frightening — are like pages torn out of the book of experience.” – Helen Cantarella, The New York Times Book Review (18/3/1962)
  • “(T)he foremost novelist of contemporary Spain” – Carlos Fuentes, The New York Times Book Review (5/5/1974)
  • “The quality of Goytisolo’s translations has varied over the years, from the disastrous version of Marks of Identity by Gregory Rabassa to the masterpieces that Helen Lane made of Count Julian and others. Peter Bush [in The Marx Family Saga] does not reach Lane’s heights or sink to Rabassa’s depths.” – Abigail Lee Six, New Statesman (9/8/1996)
  • “Now in his late 60s, Goytisolo remains a marginal man, at least in America, because of his nervy depictions of homosexuality, elliptical Modernism, his mordant sense of history, and an unfashionable multiculturalism — he knows and admires Islamic traditions. A self-exile from Franco’s Spain, Goytisolo proffers a ferocious critique of power as oppression: his dialectical standoffs between West and East, European and Arab temperaments, waver between positing irreconcilable differences, the result of centuries of injustice and misunderstanding, and tantalizing intimations of cultural synthesis.” – Bill Marx, Boston Globe (29/4/1999)
  • “Goytisolo is one the finest masters of the postmodern.” -Sophie McClennen, Review of Contemporary Fiction (Fall/1999)
  • “His greatest achievement to date is his trilogy consisting ofMasks of IdentityCount Julian and Juan the Landless. These three books can be considered together; though fictional, they are unashamedly autobiographical, and they reflect Goytisolo’s sense of alienation experienced both in Spain and in exile. Cumulatively, they provide a debunking of Spanish culture, ideology and language, and a rejection not only of realist fiction but of the very idea of literary genres.” -Shomit Dutta, Times Literary Supplement (17/11/2000)
  • “Goytisolo’s fiction parodies traditions, dwells on solipsistic estrangement, and with coy postmodern irony questions the attempt to represent reality. But his journalism bleeds sincerity, and it uncompromisingly insists that ideals like toleration, respect, and magnanimity be put into political practice.” – Thomas Hove, Review of Contemporary Fiction (Fall/2001)
  • “Thoroughly seduced by literary theory, Goytisolo maintains that a fiction writer should respond to movements in poetics and he invokes Russian formalists and French structuralists as patron saints. He tests his readers with punctuation-free interior monologues, citations in Latin and Arabic, dialogues in foreign languages, passages in mock Old Spanish, pastiche, unreliable narrators. The result is at times dazzling, but readability can hardly be counted among its merits. This may be intentional. One is not expected to curl up by the fire with a book by Goytisolo, but rather to be jolted out of any such bourgeois complacency in the first place.” – Martin Schifino, Times Literary Supplement (22/11/2002)
  • “Juan Goytisolo is a literary philosopher of the highest type — a writer interested in destroying hypocrisy and its old guard.” – Joe Woodward, San Francisco Chronicle (12/2/2006)

 

Source: http://www.complete-review.com/authors/goytisoloj.htm


À quoi sert la littérature ?

La Nausée

Image via Wikipedia

¿Para qué sirve la literatura? (Spanish)

What good is literature, anyway? (English)

¿Para qué sirve la literatura? (II) (Spanish)

What good is literature? (II) (English)

À quoi sert la littérature ?

par Jorge Majfud


Vous avez certainement, à de nombreuses reprises, essuyé la provocante question : « Bon, et à quoi sert la littérature ? », presque toujours dans la bouche d’un pragmatique homme d’affaires, ou, pire encore, d’un Goering de service, un de ces demi-dieux qui attendent toujours tapis dans les recoins de l’histoire, pour, dans les moments de plus grande faiblesse, sauver la patrie et l’humanité en brûlant des livres et en montrant aux hommes comment être des hommes. Et pour l’écrivain des coups ! Puisque rien n’est pire pour une personne avec des complexes d’infériorité que la proximité de quelqu’un qui écrit. Parce que s’il est vrai que notre financial time a fait de la plus grande partie de la littérature une pratique odieuse grâce à l’industrie du divertissement, il reste encore dans l’inconscient collectif l’idée qu’un écrivain est un subversif, un apprenti sorcier qui va çà et là mettant le doigt où ça fait mal, en disant des absurdités, dérangeant comme le ferait un enfant turbulent à l’heure de la sieste. Et il est assurément tout cela s’il prétend à une certaine valeur. N’est-ce pas la mission la plus profonde de la littérature au cours des cinq cents dernières années ? Pour ne pas remonter aux Grecs anciens désormais hors de portée pour un esprit humain qui tel un chien s’est finalement fatigué de courir après la voiture de son maître et se laisse emmener par le collier qui lui serre le cou.

Et pourtant, la littérature est toujours là, dérangeante depuis le début, vu que pour dire ses vérités il lui suffit d’un crayon et un papier. Sa valeur insigne est toujours la même : ne pas se résigner ni à la complaisance du peuple ni à la tentation de la barbarie. Pour tout cela il y a la politique et la télévision. Alors oui définitivement nous pourrions dire que la littérature sert à beaucoup de choses. Mais comme nous savons que nos inquisiteurs de service sont spécialement préoccupés par l’utilité et les bénéfices, il faudrait leur rappeler qu’il est bien difficile que, dans un esprit étroit, réside une grande intelligence. Une grande intelligence dans un esprit étriqué, tôt ou tard, finit étouffée. Ou elle devient haineuse et perverse. Mais, évidemment, une grande intelligence, perverse et haineuse, peut difficilement comprendre cela. Alors quand il ne s’agit même pas d’une grande intelligence…

De temps à autre, un politicien, un bureaucrate, un investisseur malin décide d’étrangler les humanités grâce à une coupe dans le budget de l’éducation, dans un ministère de la culture ou simplement en déchargeant toute la force du marché sur les très actives fabriques de sensibilités préfabriquées.

Bien plus sincères sont les fossoyeurs qui nous regardent dans les yeux et, avec amertume ou simple ressentiment, nous jettent à la figure leurs convictions comme s’ils n’étaient habités que d’une seule question : à quoi sert la littérature ?

Certains brandissent ce type d’instruments non comme doute philosophique mais comme une pelle mécanique qui, lentement, élargit une fosse pleine de cadavres vivants.

Les fossoyeurs sont de vieilles connaissances. Ils vivent ou font semblant de vivre mais ils sont toujours agrippés au pouvoir du moment. En haut ou en bas, ils ne cessent de répéter, avec des voix de morts-vivants, des superstitions utilitaristes sur le progrès et la nécessité.

Répondre sur l’inutilité de la littérature dépend de ce qu’on entend par « utilité », non de ce qu’on entend par « littérature ». L’épitaphe est-elle utile ? Et la pierre tombale sculptée, le maquillage, le sexe avec amour, les adieux, les pleurs, le rire, le café ? Est-ce que le football est utile, les programmes de télévision, les photos qui s’échangent sur les réseaux sociaux, les courses de chevaux, le whisky, les diamants, les trente pièces de Judas et le repentir ?

Rares sont ceux qui s’interrogent sérieusement sur l’utilité du football ou de la cupidité de Madoff. Ils ne sont pas rares (ou ils n’ont pas eu le temps suffisant) ceux qui demandent ou assènent à quoi sert la littérature ? Le foot est, dans le meilleur des cas, innocent. Bien souvent il s’est fait le complice des manipulateurs et des fossoyeurs.

La littérature, lorsqu’elle n’a pas été complice des manipulateurs, a été de la littérature. Ses détracteurs ne font pas allusion au respectable marché des best-sellers des émotions préfabriquées. Jamais personne n’a demandé avec autant d’insistance à quoi sert une bonne affaire ? Dans le fond, ce type de littérature n’est pas un souci pour les détracteurs de la littérature. C’est autre chose qui les inquiète. Ce qui les inquiète c’est la littérature.

Les meilleurs athlètes olympiques ont montré jusqu’où peut aller le corps humain. Les coureurs de Formule 1 également, moyennant quelques artifices. Même chose pour les astronautes qui ont marché sur la Lune, la pelle qui construit et détruit. Les grands auteurs ont montré tout au long de l’histoire jusqu’où peut aller l’expérience humaine, celle qui importe vraiment, l’expérience émotionnelle, le vertige des idées et la multiple profondeur des émotions.

Pour les fossoyeurs, seule la pelle est utile. Pour les morts-vivants aussi.

Pour les autres qui n’ont pas oublié leur condition d’êtres humains et qui osent aller plus loin que les limites étroites de leur propre expérience, pour les condamnés qui déambulent parmi les fosses communes mais ont retrouvé la passion et la dignité d’êtres humains, pour eux, c’est la littérature qui est utile.

Jorge Majfud, 4 de marzo de 2011

majfud.org

Traduit de l’espagnol pour El Correo par : Antonio Lopez.

Oulala (France)


La peor canción de la historia es la más exitosa del mundo

Según Lady Gaga (una de las personas más influyentes del mundo, según TIME, cosa de la que he dejado de dudar), Rebecca Black “is a genius” (en suma, dos genios de La cultura Pooph). [fuente >>]

La canción obtuvo 18.000.000 de visitas en youtube sólo en la primera semana.

Para un análisis m’as profundo del genio, aquí va la letra:

(Yeah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ark)
Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Seven a.m., waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
Seein’ everything, the time is goin’
Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)

Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

7:45, we’re drivin’ on the highway
Cruisin’ so fast, I want time to fly
Fun, fun, think about fun
You know what it is
I got this, you got this
My friend is by my right, ay
I got this, you got this
Now you know it

Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

[ From: http://www.metrolyrics.com/friday-lyrics-rebecca-black.html ]

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today

Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes after … wards
I don’t want this weekend to end

R-B, Rebecca Black
So chillin’ in the front seat (In the front seat)
In the back seat (In the back seat)
I’m drivin’, cruisin’ (Yeah, yeah)
Fast lanes, switchin’ lanes
Wit’ a car up on my side (Woo!)
(C’mon) Passin’ by is a school bus in front of me
Makes tick tock, tick tock, wanna scream
Check my time, it’s Friday, it’s a weekend
We gonna have fun, c’mon, c’mon, y’all

It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

 

How not to change a climate sceptic’s mind

The Pandemic of Consumerism

HOW do you get your point across over an issue as contentious as climate change? As a hearing in the US Congress last week showed, the evidence alone is not enough.

At issue was the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Republicans in the House and Senate are backing bills that would strip the EPA of that right, which is based on findings that rising carbon dioxide levels pose a threat to health and the environment.

At the hearing, House Democrats hoped to counter these moves by calling a cast of climatologists to explain the weight of scientific evidence for climate change. A meeting of minds it was not. The effort seemed only to harden Republican scepticism.

For Dan Kahan of the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University, the result was predictable. He has previously shown that simply explaining the science behind contentious issues drives the two sides further apart. But Kahan’s work also suggests how warring parties can move towards consensus.

Kahan grades people on two scales of cultural belief: individualists versus communitarians, based on the different importance people attach to the public good when balanced against individual rights; and hierarchists versus egalitarians, based on their views on the stratification of society. Republicans are more likely to be hierarchical-individualist, while Democrats are more often egalitarian-communitarian.

People’s views on contentious scientific issues tend to reflect their position on these scales. For example, egalitarian-communitarians tend to accept the evidence that climate change is a threat, while hierarchical-individualists reject it.

Yet people’s views do change if the right person is offering the evidence. Kahan investigated attitudes for and against giving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to schoolgirls to prevent cervical cancer – another divisive issue. After he presented people with both sides of the argument, he found that 70 per cent of egalitarian-communitarians thought it was safe, compared with 56 per cent of hierarchical-individualists.

When the “pro” argument was presented as coming from an expert painted as being in the egalitarian-communitarian camp, and the “anti” view came from a hierarchical-individualist, the split widened to 71 versus 47 per cent. But strikingly, swapping the experts around caused a big shift: 61 per cent of hierarchical-individualists then rated the vaccine as safe, compared to 58 per cent of egalitarian-communitarians. In short, evidence from someone you identify with sways your view.

In practice, it is hard to find experts who will give “unexpected” testimony. But when the evidence was presented by experts with a variety of backgrounds, views were not so starkly polarised, with 65 per cent of egalitarian-communitarians and 54 per cent of hierarchical-individualists agreeing that the vaccine is safe.

[…]

New Scientist: Fossil fuels are far deadlier than nuclear power

This graph illustrates the potential rise in C...

Image via Wikipedia

IN THE wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan, Germany has temporarily shut down seven of its reactors and China, which is building more nuclear power plants than the rest of the world combined, has suspended approval for all new facilities. But this reaction may be more motivated by politics than by fear of a catastrophic death toll. It may be little consolation to those living around Fukushima, but nuclear power kills far fewer people than other energy sources, according to a review by the International Energy Agency (IAE).

“There is no question,” says Joseph Romm, an energy expert at the Center for American Progress in Washington DC. “Nothing is worse than fossil fuels for killing people.”

A 2002 review by the IAE put together existing studies to compare fatalities per unit of power produced for several leading energy sources. The agency examined the life cycle of each fuel from extraction to post-use and included deaths from accidents as well as long-term exposure to emissions or radiation. Nuclear came out best, and coal was the deadliest energy source.

The explanation lies in the large number of deaths caused by pollution. “It’s the whole life cycle that leads to a trail of injuries, illness and death,” saysPaul Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. Fine particles from coal power plantskill an estimated 13,200 people each year in the US alone, according to the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force (The Toll from Coal, 2010). Additional fatalities come from mining and transporting coal, and other forms of pollution associated with coal. In contrast, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN estimate that the death toll from cancer following the 1986 meltdown at Chernobyl will reach around 9000.

In fact, the numbers show that catastrophic events are not the leading cause of deaths associated with nuclear power. More than half of all deaths stem from uranium mining, says the IEA. But even when this is included, the overall toll remains significantly lower than for all other fuel sources.

So why do people fixate on nuclear power? “From coal we have a steady progression of deaths year after year that are invisible to us, things like heart attacks, whereas a large-scale nuclear release is a catastrophic event that we are rightly scared about,” says James Hammitt of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis in Boston.

Yet again, popular perceptions are wrong. When, in 1975, about 30 dams in central China failed in short succession due to severe flooding, an estimated 230,000 people died. Include the toll from this single event, and fatalities from hydropower far exceed the number of deaths from all other energy sources.

Read more: Our interview with David Spiegelhalter, “Risk expert: Why radiation fears are often exaggerated”

Source: New Scientist>>

 


Más de 50 millones de hispanos

'The Union', United States, New York, New York...

Image by WanderingtheWorld (www.LostManProject.com) via Flickr

Por: Cristina F. Pereda

Quedan tres décadas para que los blancos norteamericanos sean una minoría en Estados Unidos. Esa es la estimación del Censo, por ahora. Pero el organismo encargado de determinar la población cada diez años también estimaba un crecimiento menor de la comunidad hispana. Ysegún los datos publicados este juevesla comunidad hispana creció un 43 por ciento en la última década, pasando de 35 a 50.5 millones en 2010.

Son uno de cada seis norteamericanos -la población de Estados Unidos alcanzó los 308.7 millones también en 2010. Son 50.5 millones de hispanosque se identificaron con las casillas del cuestionario del censo que indican “hispano o latino”, en referencia a personas de origen cubano, mexicano, puertorriqueño, latinoamericano o de otra cultura de origen español independientemente de su raza.

El censo también confirma así que más de la mitad del crecimiento de la población norteamericana estos diez años ha sido gracias a la contribución de los hispanos. Los últimos datos dibujan un mapa completo de lo que hasta ahora habíamos intuido a trozos.

Desde que se realizara el último censo en abril de 2010, hemos sabido que en estados como California, los hispanos ya son mayoría entre los menores de 18 años. En algunos condados la población latina es mayoría, liderando la tendencia que poco a poco se extiende por todo el país. La semana pasada la Oficina del Censo admitía que este grupo ha crecido “de forma inesperada“. Los hispanos han contribuído -gracias a niveles de natalidad más altos que el resto de la población- a que también aumenten las cifras totales de Estados Unidos.

El cambio tiene importantes consecuencias para el futuro del país. Son el grupo de población de mayor y más rápido crecimiento. Su poder adquisitivo y sus diferentes hábitos de consumo con respecto a otros grupos suponen un reto para empresas y anunciantes. Están cambiando el rostro de las escuelas de todo el país. El español crece con ellos.

Y a los políticos ya no les basta con hacer anuncios en español durante la campaña electoral. Cualquier candidato tiene que hacer malabares con los intereses de la comunidad hispana, el idioma y las características de un conjunto poblacional nada homogéneo y nada conformista. Desde hace dos años reclaman la promesa de Obama sobre la reforma migratoria. Una promesa incumplida que puede marcar diferencias en las elecciones de 2012. Como lo hizo la inmigración en 2010. Los hispanos ya deciden convocatorias electorales, como decidieron en Nevada, Florida o Nuevo México el pasado noviembre.

“Se trata de un grupo muy joven y que está creciendo por la natalidad, no por la inmigración. Se están extendiendo prácticamente por todos los condados del país, y crecen especialmente en estados donde los latinos no estaban presentes hace diez años”, explicaba a la agencia Reuters la experta del Centro Pew de Investigación, D’Vera Cohn.

Ha sido esa migración interna la que ha sorprendido al censo. Los hispanos han contribuído al aumento de la población en 13 de los 16 estados del sur. Como contábamos en el estreno de este blog, el estado de Martin Luther King habla español. Los primeros datos del censo detallaban que en tres condados de Georgia -como después supimos sobre California- los blancos han cedido la mayoría a otras comunidades. Hace sólo 20 años el 88 por ciento de los menores eran blancos no hispanos. Ahora los latinos son mayoría.

[fuente/leer mas >>]

Latinos Fuel Growth in Decade

By SUDEEP REDDY

In a demographic shift touching every corner of the U.S., the Hispanic population grew faster than expected and accounted for more than half of the nation’s growth over the past decade, with the group’s increase driven by births and immigration.

Growing Diversity

See population and growth rates by race for every state.

The Census Bureau—in its first nationwide demographic tally from the 2010 headcount—said Thursday the U.S. Hispanic population surged 43%, rising to 50.5 million in 2010 from 35.3 million in 2000. Latinos now constitute 16% of the nation’s total population of 308.7 million.

The Census Bureau has estimated that the non-Hispanic white population would drop to 50.8% of the total population by 2040—then drop to 46.3% by 2050. This demographic transformation—Latinos now account for about one in four people under age 18—holds the potential to shift the political dynamics across the country.

“The Hispanic population is under-represented in the electorate and politically because of demographic factors,” including the high share under age 18 and the high number of immigrants, said Jeffrey Passel, a demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center. “Their presence in the electorate will increase over time.”

Nearly 92% of the nation’s population growth over the past decade—25.1 million people—came from minorities of all types, including those who identified themselves as mixed race. Nine million people, or 3%, reported more than one race.

In addition to the 16.3% of people who identified as Hispanic or Latino of any race, 63.7% identified as white; 12.2% identified as black; 4.7% as Asian; and 0.7% as American Indians or Alaska Natives. Other races made up the rest.

States in the South and West posted the sharpest growth rates during the decade, with the population of the West surpassing the Midwest for the first time. More than half the U.S. lived in the 10 most populous states, with about a quarter in the three largest states: California, Texas and New York.

The Census Bureau said the population continued shifting toward the South and West, which together accounted for 84% of the decade’s population growth. The nation’s center of population—the balancing point if all 308 million people weighed the same—moved about 25 miles south to just outside Plato, Mo. In 1790, the year of the first Census, the population center was near Chestertown, Md.

The Census data also showed blacks moving out of big cities in the North and into suburbs and the South, marking more black-white integration.

Two cities, New York and Washington, saw their black populations decline. The District of Columbia notched its first decennial population increase since the 1940s, rising to 601,700 despite an 11% drop in blacks. But the non-Hispanic black population in the nation’s capital was just 50% in 2010, as the non-Hispanic white population jumped almost a third to 209,000.

Orange County Register/Associated PressWorkers in California, a state where Latino population growth has risen.

CENSUS

CENSUS

New York City’s population inched up 2.1%, bringing the 2010 total to 8.2 million. The city’s non-Hispanic black population declined for the first time since 1860, according to William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. While not substantial, the 5.1 % decline is in line with other urban centers that posted declines, Mr. Frey said. New York City’s growth was fueled by increases in its Asian and Hispanic populations. The city’s white population fell slightly, by 2.8%.

“We’ve moved to an African-American population that, at least for a lot of young people, is becoming much more mainstream than 20 years ago in terms of where they want to live and how they see themselves in American life,” Mr. Frey said. “It’s affecting the way suburbs are growing. It’s changing the way the South is growing.”

The increasing racial diversity among U.S. children underscored a shift that is likely to make whites a minority in the early 2040s. Of the entire Hispanic population, children make up about one-third, compared with one-fifth among whites.

The total number of people under age 18 rose by nearly two million over the decade. But the number of white children fell, while the number of Hispanic children rose sharply. During the decade, Texas alone added 979,000 individuals under age 18, of which 931,000 were Hispanic.

“That can tell you as much as anything how important Hispanics are for the future of children in the United States,” Mr. Frey said. Of the states gaining people, “they owe it to Hispanics.”

(source) Wall Street Journal>> read more>>

Hispanic population exceeds 50 million, firmly nation’s No. 2 group

U.S. Census Bureau Regions, Partnership and Da...

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By Michael Martinez and David Ariosto, CNN
March 24, 2011 4:08 p.m. EDT

(CNN) — The growing Hispanic population in the United States has reached a new milestone, topping 50 million, or 16.3% of the nation, officially solidifying its position as the country’s second-largest group, U.S. Census Bureau officials said Thursday.

“Overall, we’ve learned that our nation’s population has become more racially and ethnically diverse over the past 10 years,” said Nicholas A. Jones, chief of the bureau’s racial statistics branch.

Several trends emerged from the 2010 census, according to Robert M. Groves, director of the Census Bureau, and Marc J. Perry, chief of the population distribution branch.

The country is growing at a smaller rate. Growth is concentrated in metropolitan areas and in the American West and South. The fastest-growing communities are suburbs such as Lincoln, California, outside Sacramento. And standard-bearer cities such as Boston, Baltimore and Milwaukee are no longer in the top 20 for population, replaced by upstarts such as El Paso, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, the officials said.

The most significant trend, however, appeared to be the nation’s new count of 50.5 million Latinos, whose massive expansion accounted for more than half of the nation’s overall growth of 27.3 million people, to a new overall U.S. population of 308.7 million, officials said.

The Hispanic population grew 43% since 2000, officials said.

In stark contrast, all other populations together grew by only about 5%, officials said. The nation as a whole expanded by 9.7%.

Bureau officials declined Thursday to say how much illegal immigration has spurred growth among Latinos and other minorities, saying the sources of the growth are still being studied.

“Those are actually very excellent questions,” said Roberto Ramirez, chief of the bureau’s ethnicity and ancestry branch. “We are actually in the middle of the process of investigating that.”

D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer at the Pew Research Center in Washington, said the birth rate, rather than immigration, is the primary driving factor in the Latino boom.

Hispanics now account for nearly one-quarter of children under the age of 18, Cohn said.

“Hispanics are a younger population, and there are just more women of a child-bearing age,” she said.

Although immigration remains a major contributor to Hispanic population growth, the recent recession and high employment rates may have prompted a tapering off in the rate of foreign-born nationals seeking U.S. residence, analysts said.

Intensified border patrols may have reduced illegal immigration, but those measures “remain at the margins,” said William Frey, a demographer at The Brookings Institution.

He added that America’s overall undocumented immigrant population — estimated at between 10 million and 11 million people — may have even declined in recent years, though accurate numbers are difficult to acquire.

While the white population increased by 2.2 million to 196.8 million, its share of the total population dropped to 64% from 69%, officials said.

The Asian population also grew 43%, increasing from 10.2 million in 2000 to 14.7 million in 2010, officials said. Asians now account for about 5% of the nation’s population.

The African-American population, which grew by about 4.3 million, is now about 40 million, or 12.6% of the population, a slight increase over 12.3% in 2000, officials said.

Persons reporting “some other race” grew by 3.7 million, to 19 million, or 5.5% of the nation, figures show.

The vast majority of Americans, 97%, reported only one race, with whites as the largest group, accounting for about seven out of 10 Americans.

The remaining 3% of the population reported multiple races, and almost all of them listed exactly two races. White and black was the leading biracial combination, figures show.

“The face of the country is changing,” said Jeffrey Passel, demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center.

Demographic data had already been released for all states except New York and Maine and for the District of Columbia.

In fast-growing states where whites and blacks dominated past growth, Hispanics are now the greatest growth engine, Frey said.

The significance of the numbers to the United States is more than just an increase of an ethnicity. Research shows that along with the changing demographics, the country has become more diverse in other ways, Passel said. For instance, there is a substantial mixing of the American population through interracial marriage, he said.

Another change is the concentration of the growing populations.

Previously, the Hispanic population was concentrated in eight or nine states; it is now spread throughout the country, Passel said.

Meanwhile, most of the data released so far show decreases in the population of white children, Frey said.

Minorities will have a greater presence among future generations, he said. For example, in Nevada, 61% of children are minorities, compared with 41% of adults.

In border states like Texas, demographers say, Hispanic populations are expected to surpass non-Hispanic populations within the next decade.

“Without question, we are becoming a Hispanic state,” said Texas state demographer Lloyd Potter.

“I live in San Antonio, and there you see Spanish advertisements, television shows and newspapers everywhere,” he said.

source: read more>>

Revoluciones, nuevas tecnologías y el factor etario

Heridos en Egipto

Revoluciones, nuevas tecnologías y el factor etario

El común acuerdo en nuestros días es que la reciente revolución árabe se debe principalmente a las nuevas tecnologías. Sin embargo, revoluciones sociales han existido a lo largo de toda la Era Moderna (de hecho es uno de sus pilares fundamentales) mucho antes de Internet o las redes sociales.

Al igual que la imprenta de piezas móviles en el siglo XV o los periódicos en el siglo XVIII, las nuevas tecnologías de la información y de la difusión cultural han sido siempre factores de precipitación de un fenómeno, pero rara vez su primera causa. Por el contrario, la imprenta surge después de la maduración de la revolución humanista, iniciada un siglo antes. La reforma de Lutero (paradójicamente consecuencia de la revolución humanista y más tarde paradigma de los conservadores antihumanistas más radicales) y la no menos violenta contrarreforma, hicieron de casi todo el siglo XVI un siglo reaccionario en términos sociales.  Pero luego de este inmenso paréntesis reaccionario, en el siglo XVIII los ilustrados y los filósofos iluministas, fundadores de nuestro mundo moderno y posmoderno, retomaron el legado humanista, le pusieron un énfasis a la razón critica (aunque no al racionalismo) y agregaron el anticlericalismo que no estaba presente en los anteriores humanistas. Básicamente, los ilustrados o el iluminismo provocan una de las revoluciones más trascendentes de la historia mundial que tiene como consecuencia práctica y teórica la Revolución americana primero y la francesa después (aunque esta última sin continuidad política), modelos de las subsiguientes revoluciones políticas, sociales y hasta artísticas en todo el mundo.

La difusión de periódicos se hace común entre las clases educadas de Europa, sobre todo en la Francia del siglo XVIII, cuando estos filósofos ilustrados ya habían comenzado su propia revolución. Revolución que necesitaba de estos nuevos medios ya que, como todas las revoluciones modernas, estaba afectada por el mismo espíritu proselitista de cristianos y musulmanes.

Se acusa también que el nazismo se convirtió en un fenómeno social e histórico gracias a los nuevos medios de difusión, como la radio y el cine, y las nuevas teorías y prácticas de propaganda, lo cual es cierto pero insuficiente. Muchos otros países contaban con los mismos medios. Por otra parte, el nazismo tuvo sus raíces en décadas anteriores (los nazis cuentan milenios) y en razones que van mas allá de la mera innovación tecnológica y la necesidad histórica.

Los actuales levantamientos en el mundo árabe no son siquiera revoluciones. Son rebeliones. En algunos casos ni eso, apenas revueltas. Podemos aceptar que han sido estimuladas por los nuevos medios de comunicación, es cierto, pero no creo que éste sea el factor central. También podríamos especular que todo ha sido producto de una manipulación sociológica por parte de alguna central de inteligencia que tomó ventaja de las “inocentes” redes sociales, pero al menos en el momento no disponemos de datos suficientes.

Para comprender una revolución es necesario mirar a la historia previa de las ideas. Para comprender una rebelión basta con mirar la pirámide etaria y el grado de status quo del poder político y social de turno.

Las revoluciones latinoamericanas se caracterizaron, entre otras cosas, por su juventud. El mismo Ernesto Che Guevara observó un día, en la facultad de arquitectura, con la poca ortodoxia marxista que lo caracterizó los últimos años: “había olvidado yo que hay algo más importante que la clase social a la que pertenece el individuo: la juventud, la frescura de ideales, la cultura que en el momento en que se sale de la adolescencia se pone al servicio de los ideales más puros” (Obra, 1967, 194).

Al igual que las revueltas de fines de los ’60 en Europa y América, las revueltas árabes de hoy en día tienen un efecto dominó y se explican principalmente por el gran porcentaje de de su población juvenil. El Mayo francés, las revueltas de Praga y Tlatelolco, de Chicago y Nueva York son, sobre todo, revueltas juveniles. La proporción de jóvenes en América y en Europa era mayor en los ‘60 que poco después de la Segunda Guerra, que dejó poblaciones más envejecidas y estimuló el conformismo suburbano de los ‘50.

Uno podría pensar que aun un bajo porcentaje de jóvenes representan millones en cualquier país, y basta con unos miles para tener una revuelta con alguna consecuencia concreta. Pero es posible que el un porcentaje X de adultos y viejos funcione como contenedor de las energías juveniles.

A fines del siglo XX decíamos, respondiendo a Francis Fukuyama y a Samuel Huntington, que el problema geopolítico de la única potencia mundial del momento, Estados Unidos, no eran tanto los conflictos de intereses con el mundo islámico (entonces presentados como conflictos culturales) sino el conflicto de intereses con China, que hoy se califican como colaboración estratégica. Entonces fechábamos en 2015 como un probable año en que esos conflictos comenzarían a hacerse críticos o al menos evidente. Luego señalamos una aceleración del declive de la influencia mundial de la primera potencia con el inicio de la guerra de Irak.

A Estados Unidos todavía lo salva no sólo cierta cultura de la innovación, el riesgo y la practicidad, sino también el hecho de ser todavía el único país industrializado (antigua denominación moderna) con una tasa de nacimientos aceptable en términos económicos y una población que dista mucho de ser tan vieja como la europea o la japonesa.

Más tarde, cuando todo esto pasó a formar parte del consenso general, estuvimos de lado de quienes advertían ciertas contradicciones en la imparable maquinaria China. Más allá de que su régimen político dista mucho de ser una inspiración procedente de la tradición humanista e iluminista, su ventaja es que todavía no es el imperio que alguna vez fue y que siempre quiso ser. Su próximo posicionamiento como primera potencia económica del mundo es inevitable, al menos por un par de décadas, antes que India le dispute ese obsesivo y absurdo privilegio que no dice mucho sobre el desarrollo de un país o de una sociedad.

Por las limitaciones de su sistema político (obviamente, esto es materia de discusión desde algunas perspectivas ideológicas), uno podría esperar que en cinco o diez años China tuviese alguna revuelta demandando más participación popular en la administración del futuro político y económico de su país y de sus provincias apenas se enfriase el acelerado ritmo de su crecimiento económico o sufriese algún desequilibrio inflacionario. En un país tan populoso donde la mayoría son pobres, el precio de los alimentos es un factor de alta sensibilidad.

No obstante, el creciente envejecimiento de su población por un lado acelera ese enfriamiento económico y por el otro hace pensar que, a pesar de la diversidad y de los números astronómicos de su población, a pesar de las nuevas tecnologías de comunicación e interacción, esta revuelta contra el estatus quo de un gobierno central es más bien improbable.

No imposible, pero es mucho menos predecible que la actual rebelión de las jóvenes sociedades árabes de hoy en día, gobernadas por regímenes faraónicos y por los mismos nombres del siglo pasado.

Claro, un complemento válido sería observar que también las potencias actuales son las mismas que las del siglo pasado y se rigen, al menos en política internacional, con la mentalidad misma del Ancien régime. Pero ese tema merece un espacio propio.

Jorge Majfud

La República (Uruguay)

Milenio (Mexico)

Gara (España)

Panama America (Panama)

Lecturas: 1486. Fernando de Pulgar, cronista de los reyes

Wedding portrait of King Ferdinand II of Aragó...

Image via Wikipedia

Pulgar, Fernando del. Claros varones de Castilla. [1486] Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1942.

Fernando de Pulgar, cronista de los reyes

Fernando de Pulgar fue “cronista oficial” del rey castellano Juan II y de su hijo, Enrique IV, antes de servir como embajador en Roma de los reyes católicos de España, Fernando e Isabel; los reyes más importantes en la península Ibérica. Probablemente este hombre, que para nosotros es apenas un nombre, nació en Toledo, en 1430, en una familia judía y murió o desapareció en 1493, mucho después de convertirse al cristianismo. Como todos saben, 1492 fue el año del descubrimiento de América, de la expulsión de moros y judíos de España y el año de la primera publicación de la Gramática de la lengua castellana de Antonio Nebrija, primera gramática europea sobre una lengua vulgar. Algunos críticos y biógrafos lo han definido como humanista.

Este libro se compone de una serie de biografías minúsculas sobre personajes de su siglo, aparentemente poco objetivas y muy probablemente con el objetivo de adular a algún hombre poderoso de la época, además de la no menos poderosa Isabel.

Sobre el almirante Don Fadrique.

El almirante don Fadrique era abuelo de Fernando de Aragón. A las pocas líneas de recorrido ya apreciamos un rasgo común en la literatura y en la cultura hispánica de siglos posteriores: aparecen las figuras “intermedias” del poder. Los malos y excesivos son los “condestables”, como el de Castilla. El rey, en cabio, es incuestionable. El héroe (víctima) que estaba por debajo de los estamentos del poder, también.

Otra particularidad del relato, sobre todo considerando la época y su condición de converso, es la narración en primera persona. El narrador se convierte en autor: opina. Fernando Pulgar se entretiene analizando la conducta de un lejano romano que se suicidó, a diferencia del almirante Fadrique que vivió hasta viejo: “Si hay razones para alabar su vida no la hay para alabar su muerte”, ya que fue suicidio. Luego siguen largos discursos moralizantes.

El marqués de Santillana

Ya leímos con algún cuidado la Carta del Marqués de Santillana. Como era común e importante por demás en su época, Pulgar se detiene en las virtudes físicas de esta alma extraordinaria. Era “hermoso en las faciones de su rostro, de linaje noble castellano e muy antiguo” y admirador de los “ommes de ciencia” (36).

Huérfano de madre y padre perdió sus tierras y luego las recuperó. Pulgar refiere que el famoso poeta era alabado como hombre de ciencias y de armas y no escatima elogios por su valor ante el combate. Fue capitán en batallas contra cristianos y moros, donde fue vencedor y vencido. (39). Cuando el rey don Juan lo elige para luchar contra los moros, recibió la noticia “con alegre cara” (40).

Otra vez, como volverá a hacerlo cuando se describa a don Narváez (104) Pulgar hace referencia a los romanos como contraejemplo moral. Menciona a un capitán que debía degollar (hasta su propio “fijo”) para ser obedecido (42). El marqués de Santillana “en corte era grand Febo, por su clara gouernación, e en campo era Anibal, por su grand esfuerço” (43).

Un dicho de la época (podemos sospechar que no era de origen cristiano) aseguraba que las virtudes traen alegría y los vicios tristeza. Y como el marqués la mayor parte del tiempo estaba alegre, entonces debía ser virtuoso (46).

Feneció sus días a la edad de 65 años.

El conde Don Rodrigo de Villandrando

Para resaltar las virtudes de su biografiado, el autor, a pesar de ser un converso, se esmera en presentar a su personaje con orígenes “fijodalgo” aunque sea hijo de un escudero. El otro recurso es la descripción física: buen estado, fuerte, etc.

Por supuesto, también aquí se alaba el “estrago” y matanzas que hace el héroe al enemigo en la guerra. La guerra era la principal fuente de honor de la nobleza, y el honor el principal código moral. Así, don Rodrigo guerra en Francia y contra los ingleses. Rechaza la oferta de un capitán inglés para compartir el pan y el vino, porque después no le tendría tanta “ira” y no podría hacer tanto daño como debiera.

De grandes virtudes físicas y morales, murió muy anciano, a los 70.

El conde Cifuentes

Más descripciones físicas. Tenía la lengua çeçeosa. “Era ijodalgo [sin ache] de limpia sangre” (72). Es decir, no tenía una gota de sangre judía o sangre mora.

En uso de algunos valores o poses posmodernas, este autor del siglo XV destaca en el conde Cifuentes la franqueza, porque decía lo que le parecía con elegancia cuando otros callaban por no molestar. Alaba el hecho de que cuando recibió riquezas y el título de conde de la villa de Cifuentes [sic] por parte del rey Enrrique [sic], no cambió su persona ni hizo extravagancias, como si siempre hubiese sido noble y rico (77).

Murió muy anciano, a los 65 años, “al fin, entrado ya en los días de la vejez, en los cuales suele más reinar en los ommes la auaricia” (77).

El maestre Don Rodrigo Manrique, conde de Paredes

Actuó en tierras de moros eventualmente. Batallas con moros e con cristianos (igual que los otros). Entra en Granada y asalta los muros. Lucha contra los moros pero no recibe la ayuda que esperaba de los cristianos. Se elogia el arrojo y la disposición para la guerra. Muere a los 70 años.

Don Rodríguez de Narváez

Peleó contra los moros, los cuales, según Pulgar, eran mañosos en este arte, los sometió y los obligó a someterse como vasallos y a pagar impuestos al rey (104).

Si los romanos eran crueles, los castellanos eran muy apreciados por su valor. Eso quedó demostrado cuando hubo guerra en otros países cristianos. “sope que ouo guerra en Francia, e en Nápoles, e en otras partes, donde concurrieron gentes de muchas naciones, e fui informado que el capitán francés o italiano tenía entonces por muy bien fornecida la escuadra de su gente, cuando podía aver en ella algunos caballeros castellanos, porque conoscía dellos tener esfuerzo e constancia de los peligros más que los de otras naciones” (106).

Sin embargo, cuando hubo guerras en Castilla no llegaron guerreros de otras partes. La explicación del autor es que así como no se lleva hierro a Vizcaya, donde abunda, los guerreros extranjeros no iban a Castilla porque allí había muchos caballeros valerosos y así su valor sería poco estimado (106).

Del cardenal de San Sixto

Después de Narváez, Pulgar deja los guerreros y se ocupa de la otra clase honorable, los religiosos profesionales.

También en estos casos abundará en descripciones físicas (otro hombre alto) y en aclaraciones étnicas: el santo era de linaje de judíos, pero convertidos a “nuestra sancta fe Católica” (108). Seguidamente, alaba sus conocimientos en la ciencia de la teología.

Del cardenal San Ángelo

El cardenal era un hombre alto, “hermoso” y de linaje de fijosdalgo. Se resalta la falta cobdicia y la permanente alegría como virtudes. También algunas virtudes pr’acticas, lo cual es una rareza, tal vez porque recordaba a los crueles romanos, aficionados a las obras civiles: el cardenal también promovió la construcción de un puente.

Murió en Roma, a los 80 años.

El arzobispo de Sevilla

Tomó el apellido de su madre. De linaje de fijosdalgo de Galicia, tenía el sentido de la vista desarrollado y por eso gustaba de las perlas y las joyas. Procuraba la honra y la cercanía del rey Juan y luego de Enrique. Por ello cosechó celos y enemistades hasta que murió a los 55 años.

El arzobispo de Burgos

Hijo de Pablo, obispo de Burgos, lo tuvo legítimo antes de entrar en religión. También de linaje de judíos, como era común. Hablaba muy bien, aunque como otros ilustres de la ‘epoca ten’ia el defecto que “çeçeaua un poco”. El rey Juan le mandó tornar de lengua latina a lengua vulgar obras de Séneca. Se fue a los 60 años.

Semblanza de los reyes católicos

Rey Don Fernando el católico de cabellos prietos. Un siglo más tarde, en 1575, el médico Juan Huarte descubriría que el cabello rubio era consecuencia de los vapores que despedía la inteligencia de algunos españoles, sobre todo los hombres rubios que estaban en la corte y en el trono.

Moderado en sus gestos, el rey montaba a caballo en silla de la guisa e a la jineta, como hacían entonces los árabes y hacen hoy los jockeys. Escuchaba consejos, especialmente de su mujer, la reina Isabel. Había sido criado en la guerra. Gastaba demasiado tiempo en juegos de pelota y de ajedrez. Como buen marido, amaba a su esposa pero se daba a otras mujeres (148).

Cierre

Todas estas semblanzas de varones terminan con una mujer. La reina Doña Isabel la Católica. Rubia de ojos verde-azules. No bebía vino pero hablaba latín. Cuando asumió encontró una gran corrupción y diversos crímenes. Era una mujer derecha, recta al juzgar, pero no compasiva. Acabó con la herejía del reino de Aragón, realizada por los cristianos judíos, como el autor, que judaizaban, contaminaban, la religión católica.

Jorge Majfud

Avalancha estudiantil en la Facultad de Ingeniería de Uruguay

Puede leerse como una conducta incivilizada, como un signo de carencia estructural, de recursos, etc. Se pueden organizar mejor, claro. Pero en el fondo hay que felicitar a estos muchachos. Pelearse por un lugar cerca del profesor…

Aquí en Estados Unidos un 10 o un 20 por ciento son muy buenos, un cinco por ciento geniales y el resto hace lo posible por terminar con el minimo esfuerzo en medio de un máximo de recursos.

Avalancha estudiantil en Facultad de Ingeniería

Este mediodía se produjo una avalancha estudiantil en un local de la Facultad de Ingeniería, compartido por Ciencias Económicas y Arquitectura en la zona del Parque Rodó.

Cientos de estudiantes ingresaron corriendo y en forma descontrolada al centro de estudio por la desesperación de conseguir un asiento cerca del profesor o no quedarse parados, explicó a EL PAÍS digital una fuente del local educativo.

Este funcionario, que pidió no revelar su nombre, dijo que no es la primera vez que esto pasa y que algunos estudiantes terminan muy golpeados. “Por suerte no hubo heridos de gravedad pero una estudiante cayó al lado mío y te puedo asegurar que le dolió”, dijo.

“Yo les grité, los insulté para ver si frenaban pero no me dieron pelota. Me pasaban a mí por encima igual”, agregó la fuente y dijo que esto ocurre cada lunes, miércoles y viernes, días en que se dictan clases que convocan a muchos estudiantes.

El decano de la Facultad de Economía, Rodrigo Arim, dijo a Canal 4 que la puerta es pequeña y que la preocupación de que algún día ocurra una desgracia mayor es algo “permanente” en esa casa de estudios.

El jerarca dijo que se intenta hacerles entender a los estudiantes los riesgos de ingresar con esa “estrategia de avalancha” pero que no siempre tienen éxito.

Ya avanzado el año esta situación no se registra ya que baja la cantidad de estudiantes. Arim explicó que muchos abandonan los estudios o terminan en otras facultades. “El problema locativo es uno de los factores que se deben atender para evitar el abandono”, puntualizó.

PROBLEMA COMÚN. Este tipo de situaciones no es anormal para los estudiantes, no sólo de Ciencias Económicas, sino también de otras carreras, de acuerdo a lo que los propios afectados afirman en las redes sociales.

Tanto en el Facebook de EL PAÍS digital como por correo electrónico están llegando mensajes de estudiantes o ex estudiantes que se enfrentaban a este tipo de riesgos todos los días.

Uno de los mensajes recuerda que el año pasado, en la facultad de Psicología, una estudiante sufrió una quebradura en una pierna cuando cayó de la escalera en medio de una masa de estudiantes que esperaba para ingresar a los salones.

[fuente>>]

Latinos Nix Violence

Latinos Nix Violence

Harvard Magazine

First-generation immigrants are more likely to be law-abiding than third-generation Americans of similar socioeconomic status, reports Robert Sampson, Ford professor of the social sciences. These new findings run counter to conventional wisdom, which holds that immigration creates chaos. The prevailing “social disorganization theory” first gained traction in the 1920s and ’30s, after the last big wave of European immigrants poured into the United States. Scholars have maintained that the resulting heterogeneity harmed society. “They weren’t saying that this was caused by any trait of a particular group,” Sampson explains. “Rather, they were saying that lots of mixing would make communication accross groups difficult, make it hard to achieve consensus, and create more crime.”

Yet in Sampson’s recent study, first-generation Latino immigrants offer a particularly vivid counterexample to this common assumption. “They come into the country with low resources and high poverty, so you would expect a high propensity to violence,” Sampson says. But Latinos were less prone to such actions than either blacks or whites—providing the latest evidence that Latinos do better on a range of social indicators, a phenomenon sociologists call the “Latino paradox.”

With colleagues Jeffrey Morenoff of the University of Michigan and Stephen Raudenbush, now of the University of Chicago, Sampson followed 3,000 young people in 180 Chicago neighborhoods from 1995 to 2002. They ranged in age from eight to 25, and came from a full range of income levels and from neighborhoods with varying degrees of integration. Chicago was a deliberate choice: “We felt it was representative of where the country was going,” Sampson explains. The number of Mexican immigrants in the city skyrocketed in the 1990s, and immigration from Poland and Russia also increased, creating an almost equal three-way split in Chicago’s general population among whites, blacks, and Latinos.

During the course of their study, Sampson and his colleagues periodically interviewed the young people on a range of subjects, including asking whether they had been involved in such violent acts as fighting or robbery. The researchers supplemented this data with census, crime, and poverty statistics, and with a separate survey that asked 9,000 Chicago adults about the strength of social networks in their neighborhoods. The investigators then developed mathematical models to determine the probability that a given child would engage in a violent act, and to understand which factors raised or lowered his or her likelihood of violence.

Sampson was surprised to discover that a person’s immigrant status emerged as a stronger indicator of a dispropensity to violence than any other factor, including poverty, ethnic background, and IQ. “It’s just a whopping effect,” he says. Of people born in other countries, he notes, “First-generation immigrants are 45 percent less likely to commit violence than third-generation immigrants, and second-generation immigrants are about 22 percent less likely [to do so] than the third generation.” Mexican Americans were the least violent among those studied, in large part because they were the most likely to be first-generation immigrants, Sampson adds. The study also revealed that neighborhoods matter. “Kids living in neighborhoods with a high concentration of first-generation immigrants have lower rates of violence,” he explains, “even if they aren’t immigrants themselves.”

[…]

read more >>

~Erin O ’Donnell

 

Hurricane Katrina and the Hyperreality of the Image

Post-Katrina School Bus

Image by laffy4k via Flickr

Katrina y la hiperrealidad de la imagen (Spanish)

Hurricane Katrina and the Hyperreality of the Image

by Jorge Majfud

Translated by Bruce Campbell

September 2, 2005

In the 16th century, the Dominican brother Bartolomé de las Casas wrote an empassioned chronicle about the brutal conquest by the Spanish Empire of the new world. The denunciation by this Christian convert (which is to say, “of impure blood”) in behalf of a universal humanism, resulted in the Juntas de Valladolid (1550) in which he faced off, before the public and the king, with Ginés de Sepúlveda. Using a biblical quotation taken from Proverbs, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda and his partisans defended the right of the Empire to enslave indigenous peoples, not only because they did it in the name of the “true faith” but, above all, because the Bible said that the intelligent man must subjugate the idiot. We will not go into who were the intelligent men. What matters now is knowing that over the centuries, a debate resulted among the “chroniclers” (the only literary genre permitted by the Spanish Inquisition in the Americas). As always, only a minority promoted a new ethics based on ethical “principles.” In this case the humanists and defenders of the “natural right” of the indigenous peoples. One had to wait until the 19th century for these “principles” to become reality by the force of “necessity.” In other words, the Industrial Revolution needed wage laborers, not free labor that competed with standardized production and that, besides, had no consumption power. From that point on, as always, “necessity” quickly universalized the “principles,” so that today we all consider ourselves “anti-slavery,” based on ethical “principles” and not by “necessity.”* I have explained this elsewhere, but what is important to me now is to briefly analyze the power of the written text and, beyond this, the power of dialectical (and sometimes sophistic) analysis.

Using the denunciations of father Bartolomé de las Casas, a nascent empire (the British) quickly found writers to create the “black legend” of Spain’s colonial enterprise. Then, like any new empire, it presumed an advanced morality: it presented itself as the champion of the anti-slavery struggle (which – what a coincidence – only became a reality when its industries developed in the 19th century) and pretended to give moral lessons without the necessary authority, which was denied by its own history of brutal oppression, equally as brutal as that of the old Spanish empire.

Shortly after the De las Casas-Supúlveda controversy and following the approval of the New Laws governing treatment of the indians as a consequence (although the laws weren’t worth the paper they were printed on), Guamán Poma Ayala denounced a similar history of rapes, torture and mass murder. But he did it, in contrast, with a collection of drawings, which at the time was a form of chronicle as valid as the written word. These drawing can be studied in detail today, but we would have to say that there impact and interest was minimal in their own time, despite the starkness of the images. In those days, just as during the Middle Ages, images had a special usefulness because the majority of the population did not know how to read. Nevertheless, and for that very reason, it is easy to explain why Guamán Poma’s chronicle was of no great consequence: because the “masses,” the population, didn’t matter as an agent of change. Or it simply didn’t matter. Rebellion might be headed by a cacique, like Tupac Amaru, but the population was not a protagonist of its own story.

Now here’s where I’m going with this: this process has been reversed today. The “masses” are no longer “masses” and have begun to matter: citing Ortega y Gasset, we might say that we had a “rebellion of the masses” but now can longer speak of “masses” but of a population composed of individuals that have started to question, to make demands, and to rebel. Nonetheless, the struggle is rooted on this front: as the masses (now subjects in rebellion) matter in the generation of the story, those who still belong to the old order seek to dominate them with their own language: the image. And often they succeed to perfection. Let’s take a look.

Our Western popular culture is based (at times trapped) in visual codes and a visual sensibility. We know that the culture of the ruling (or dominant) classes continues to be based on the complexities of the written text. Even the experts on images base their studies and theories on the written word. If in Latin America public opinion and sensibility are strongly conditioned by an ideological tradition (formed from the time of the Conquest, in the 16th century, and exploited by opposing political groups in the 20th century), here, in the United States, the relationship with the past is less conflict-oriented, and hence the lack of historical memory can, in some cases, facilitate the work of the proselytizers. We will not get into that issue here. Suffice it to say that the United States is a complex and contradictory country, and therefore any judgement about “Americanness” is as arbitrary and unfair as speaking of “Latinamericanness” without recognizing the great diversity that exists within that mythological construct. We must not forget that all ideology (of the left or of the right, liberal or conservative) sustains itself via a strategic simplification of the reality it analyzes or creates.

I understand that these factors should be taken into account when we want to understand why the image is a basic “text” for capitalist societies: its “consumption” is quick, disposable, and therefore “comfortable.” The problem arises when this image (the sign, the text) ceases to be comfortable and pleasant. When this happens the public reacts, becomes aware. That is to say, the understanding, the awareness, enters through the eyes: a photograph of a girl fleeing the napalm bombs in Viet Nam, for example. For the same reason it was “recommended” to not show the public images of the war in Iraq that included children torn apart by bombs (see the daily papers of the rest of the world in 2003), the coffins of American soldiers returning home, etc. By contrast, the Terri Schiavo case occupied the time and concern of the American public for many weeks, day after day, hour after hour; the president and governor Bush of Florida signed “exceptions” that were rejected by the judiciary, until the poor woman died to rest in peace from so many obscene images of which she was the unknowing and unwilling victim. Despite it all, during thos same weeks hundreds of Iraqis, as well as American soldiers, continued to die and they didn’t even make the news, beyond the publication of the daily statistic. Why? Because they aren’t persons, they are numbers for a sensibility that is only moved by images. And this was proved by the photographs of Abu Graib and with a video that showed an American soldier shooting a wounded man. Those were the only two moments in which the American public reacted with indignation. But we should ask ourselves, does anyone really believe that these things don’t happen in war? Does anyone still believe in that postmodern story about hygienic wars, where there are “special effects” but no blood, death and pain? Yes. Many people do. Lamentably, a majority. And it’s not due to lack of intelligence but to lack of interest.

We can analyze the same process at work with the recent problem of New Orleans. The catastrophe was not grasped when the meteorologists warned of the scale of the tragedy, several days before. Nor was there broad awareness of the problem when reports spoke of tens of dead. Four days after, we knew that the number of dead could rise into the hundreds. Possibly thousands, if we consider those wuo will die for lack of dialysis, lack of insulin and other emergency medicines. But television did not show a single dead person. Anyone can search the pages of the principal daily newspapers of the United States and they will not find an “offensive” image, one of those photographs that we can view in daily papers from other parts of the world: bodies floating, children dying “like in Africa,” violence, rapes, etc. Because if there is one thing in abundance it is digital cameras; but there is even more “modesty.” I am no advocate of morbid gratuitousness, nor of showing blood over and over again unnecessarily: I am an advocate of showing everything. As a U.S. citizen said with reference to the war, “if we were capable of doing it we should be capable of seeing it.”

A natural tragedy like this one (or like the tsunami in Asia) is a disgrace for which we cannot hold anyone responsible. (Let’s set aside, for a moment, the share of responsibility that societies have in the global warming of the oceans.) Nonetheless, the tragedy of New Orleans demonstrates that a superpower like the United States can mobilize tens of thousands of soldiers, the most advanced technology in the world, the most effective machinery of assault in human history in order to remove a foreign president (or dictator), but prove incapable of reaching thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina, in a city within its own country. In New Orleans, there were acts of vandalism and violence, rapes and general chaos while victims complained that there were no policemen or soldiers to help them, in an area that found itself under martial law. This complaint was made in front of the cameras, and so we can believe that at least the journalists were able to gain access to those places. Some loot because they are opportunists, others out of desperation, as they begin to experience a situation of struggle for survival previously not seen in the most powerful country in the world. On September 1 president G.W. Bush appealed for private aid and on September 2 he said it was not sufficient. There is no lack of resources, of course (the war in Iraq cost more than three hundred billion dollars, ten times more than all the damages produced by the hurricane in this tragedy); the Congress voted for economic aid of ten billion dollars for the victims. But the latter continued to die, trapped in stadiums, on bridges, without shelter, offering up a jarring image for a country whose poor suffer from problems of overeating, where beggars are fined a thousand dollars for asking for things they don’t need (since the State supposedly provides them everything necessary to survive without desperation in case they can’t do so by their own means). Undocumented Hispanics suffer a double tragedy: they will not receive compensation like their neighbors, but rest assured that they will be the first to take up the task of reconstruction. Who else? What other social group in this country has the physical, moral and spiritual toughness to work under conditions of survival and hopelessness? Or do we still believe in fairy tales?

The people of the United States will become aware of the objectives and priorities of this government when they compare its efficiency or inefficiency in different places and moments. But for that to happen they must “see it” on their television sets, in the English-language news media on the Internet, to which they turn out of habit. Because it is of little or no use for them to read it in written texts, since the critical analyses of the New York Times are seemingly useless – a paper that, with a large number of brilliant analysts noting one by one the contradictions of this government, took sides publicly against the the reelection of G. W. Bush. Now, when there is a “fatigue” in public opinion, the majority of the country’s population understands that the intervention in Iraq was a mistake. Of course, as my grandfather used to say, you chirped too late.

U.S. public opinion will become aware of what is happening in New Orleans (and of what is happening beyond the natural phenomenon) when people can see images; a part of what the victims see and tell orally to a public that listens but is unmoved by a dialectical analysis that doesn’t appeal to images or biblical metaphors. The U.S. public will realize what is happening when its sees “raw” images, as long as they don’t confuse those images with the chaos of some underdeveloped country.

The brilliant Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, exiled by the dictatorship of his country “out of ignorance,” published in 1971 The Pedagogy of the Oppressed with a publishing house in Montevideo, Uruguay. He mentioned there the pedagogical experience of a colleague. The teacher had shown to a student an alley of New York City filled with garbage and asked him what he saw. The boy said that he saw a street in Africa or Latin America. “And why not a street in New York City?” observed the teacher. A short timearlier, in the 1950s, Roland Barthes had done an interesting analysis of a photograph in which a black soldier saluted “patriotically” the flag of the empire that oppressed Africa (the French empire), and concluded, among other things, that the image was conditioned by the (written) text that accompanies it and that it is the latter that confers on the image (ideological) meaning. We might think that the semantic (or semiotic) problem is a bit more complex than this, and arises from other unwritten “texts,” other images, other (hegemonic) discourses, etc. But the “raw” image also has a revelatory, or at least critical, function. What do I mean by “raw”? “Raw” images are precisely those images censored (or repressed, to use a psychoanalytic term) by the dominant discourse. For this reason those of us who use dialectics and analysis related historically to thought and language must recognize, at the same time, the power of those others who control visual language. To dominate or to liberate, to hide or to reveal.

Once, in an African village, a Macua man told me how a sorceress had transformed a sack of sand into a sack of sugar, and how another sorcerer had come flying down from the sky. I asked him if he remembered any strange, recent dream. The Macua man told me he had dreamed that he saw his village from an airplane. “Have you ever flown in a plane?” I asked. Obviously not. He hadn’t even been close to one of those machines. “But you say that you saw it,” I observed. “Yes, but it was a dream,” he told me. Spirits in the bodies of lions, flying men, sand turned into sugar aren’t dreams. Stories like these can be read in the chronicles of the Spaniards who conquered Latin America in the 16th century. We can also see them today in many regions of Central America. My response to my Macua friend was the same as I would give to the more “evolved” U.S. public: we must always be aware that not everything we see is true, nor is can everything true be seen.

*This same principal that I call “necessity” was identified in the 19th century by Bautista Alberdi, when he recognized that laicism in the Rio de la Plata was (and had to be) a consequence of the great diversity of religions, a product of immigration. It was not possible to expel or engage in “ethnic cleansing,” as Spain did in the 15th century, since in Alberdi’s time we were in a different arena of history, and of the concept of “necessary resources.”

Translated by Bruce Campbell