English please (translated texts)

“Of cultural violence, the far right and the multiple genres”

(originally published on May 30, 2017)

In his work “Cultural violence”, Johan Galtung, defines it as “some aspect of culture, susceptible to be used to legitimize violence, direct or structural”; the direct as an event, the structural as a process and the cultural as a constant. (Galtung 1989). With the above, we can specifically identify a hidden cultural violence that is there, but sometimes does not seem like it: Discrimination, as an event, as a process and as a constant.

We have all suffered discrimination at some specific time, at some specific place; however, it is discrimination in its innocuous state, since by definition, the concept refers to this differentiation that exists, either by physical, cultural, or any other type of characteristics, which confirm, precisely, a difference.

For example: We may not be allowed to enter a bar because of our appearance; we can have a derogatory treatment in a restaurant, for our manners; even, the exclusion in some conversation, for not belonging to any guild or academic lineage. In a sensible way, we can understand it, because it is only an event, it is not a constant, and if it is a heterosexual-white-Catholic-man of middle / upper class, the probability of being discriminated against decreases.

On the other hand, there are sectors of society that suffer harmful discrimination, to those who pretend to deny them rights, because they are considered inferior, deviant, sick … crazy.

This discrimination, according to Norberto Bobbio (1994), is based on 3 stages:

– Verification of a difference. Whether physical or cultural.

– Positive evaluation. The characteristic that I possess is positive, if someone lacks it, I consider it negative.

– Judgment of superiority. If it does not have any characteristics, it is legitimate to dominate, submit, use, etc. the other.

When these 3 stages are completed, a “Social Subject” emerges, guilty of all the evils that afflict society.

The following is the articulation of a discourse and its use, in the media, in rallys and in the daily life. These discriminatory discourses are part of a cultural, latent and disguised violence, which becomes visible at a time when these, social subjects or these discriminated minorities, demand rights.

When the Conservative groups, they organize themselves, they become more visible and audible, and then, what they do in the privacy of their homes, they replicate it in public spaces, to defend themselves from the aforementioned Social Subject, which in this case is The Homosexual community, It threatens the existence of the far right.

This social subject is, at the same time, an anonymous individual. He has no face and does not recognize in him a value of a person; it is valued only in terms of behaviors, that is, these behaviors define it, its motivations, personal history are not considered; and all the  individual features.

Thus, a homosexual person is not valuable to the conservative, does not know him, knows nothing about him or his life and does not care, with the assumptions, it is enough to dress him with a veil of sin and depravity.

For example, and to clarify the above, when you know of a Priest who incurred in acts of pedophilia, he has some protection, because he is an important figure for people and with value for the church. He is not condemned in the first instance, but is defended; The same applies to the acts of corruption of the political class and the protection provided by their peers. This contact between people, confers a certain value of “human being”, even if it is incomprehensible to outsiders.

That said, the specific case we are going to address and will be the topic to be developed is that of conservative groups and their conflict with sexual diversity. However, it is imperative to clarify that what is mentioned here does not exclude other social issues and groups in conflict.

Conservative or right-wing groups have developed and perfected an  discourse of exclution, in which the LGBTTTI community, feminist groups and pro-abortion groups are wrong, that is, they do not believe in the psychic experience of gender, they are against union between two people of the same sex, against abortion; and everything else we know.

In the field of discourse, and in its say, rank or scope, external persons are accepted only if they accept the discourse; that is, conservatives will accept the homosexual, only if he accepts that he is wrong, that loving someone of the same sex is wrong and this would mean the total annulment of the subject in his own reality, but existing as a being annulled in the reality of the other , a being annulled, wrong and now accepted as someone who regenerated.

This not only happens with the conservative right. In any situation, in which you want to convince another, it is an attempt to defeat him, to annul him, to enter the reality of the other, like a foreigner. Sometimes there is also a simulation of understanding, where expressions such as: “I understand you, but I disagree.” This is normal, but at the same time, groups organize and go against the rights of a social group, making it clear that they do not understand and are not interested in understanding.

It is worth mentioning that the objective of this text is not to preach love to the other, nor peace among men, but to extract the expressions of violence that, under slogans and standards, seem not to be.

Values? Yes, but conceptual values

One of the crucial points in the conflicts of speech, are the concepts The so-called “loss of values”, this, can be understood as the modification of the concept; It is the same value, but with a wider range or, to put it another way, more holistic. For example, the discussion of whether the term “Family” refers to a man, a woman and children or two people and children. They denote a struggle for the modification of the concept and therefore of the “value” Family.

When talking about Values, we can also talk about Freedoms; for example and continuing with the example: according to conservatives, we can love, but not someone of the same sex; we can have a family, but with man and woman; You can have sex, but only with your partner and after having married; You can educate your children, but not sex education. We can emphasize that, all the examples are of the sexual scope; This is because it is the theme that mobilizes and organizes the conservative right, in its nostalgia and desire for simple things.

They live and inhabit concepts where nobody is welcome if they want to expand the concept. They cover it with a protective aura, they are owners and guardians of the concept, they walled in it, because outside the concept, they inhabit monsters. They defend the Concept and to defend it, they go to where the concept is in danger and position themselves in front of each other and thus, the battle continues, mutates and divides, is forgotten and remembered again.

Conservative groups, who are very attached to the Church, have chosen as their favorite battle what concerns Sexuality. It is not war, it is not bullfighting, it is not sexual slavery in the country; because, precisely, regarding sexuality and specifically sexual practices, they are what gives them identity.

An enemy is chosen by way, someone who is directly on the opposite side. Because our enemies confirm who we are, what we defend and what we believe. The enemy has the precise arguments, the precise aspect and the precise practices. The sexual openness of others diametrically opposed to that of conservative groups. To the conservatives, enjoyment is restricted, this makes the homosexual community, the perfect enemy.

The “trieb”*

With the advance of societies, achievements for oppressed minorities, seemingly irrevocable achievements, inclusive laws are being conquered. A universality is achieved, in which being different, you have the same rights, privileges and obligations.

Therefore, asking for a setback on issues such as abortion, the union of people of the same sex, is practically asking for impossible; and it is precisely this desire impossible to fulfill, the engine that moves the marches and generates cohesion in the conservatives. It would be a catastrophe if those wishes were fulfilled, a catastrophe for all. For them and for others.

When the freedom to enjoy, (which the other has) is a freedom that conservatives do not have, (even when this is of their own accord), they demand that the other not enjoy.

The enjoyment of sexuality in conservative groups, moved to another place, leaving a void that is sometimes filled with guilt. And a discourse is generated that is that of a controlled body. For an enjoyment only to procreate; for a specific enjoyment of a single erogenous zone; for a mandatory enjoyment of pregnancy; for a pleasure of the flesh without latex barriers. Speech that reveals the incomplete.

The conservatives inhabit a beyond, yearn out something real  to  being able to be close to it. So, where there are feminists, abortion, sexual diversity; they will throw themselves on it, to demand the impossible: That it disappears. They need the bad ones, to recongnice the good in them.

The universality among the genders

Both the far right and the sexual diversity community,  are important figures of culture. Conservatives enjoyed the monopoly of behavior and little by little the diversity advanced, to the point of taking away that hegemonic power.

The messages on television, radio, internet and rallys, are an example that social groups, seeing their way of life threatened, will do what is necessary to preserve and perpetuate it, whether they are conservatives or the LGBTTTI community.

With the division of the homosexual community and other expressions of sexuality and their specific problems and characteristics, they provoked again the need to find “universities”, elements in common, both with conservatives and neutral population.

Its the goverment that has this responsibility, to give the same rights and obligations to all, since equality resides in the laws (and in the words of Slavoj Zizek, in economic capital). But, this intention to ridicule the other, generates absurd speeches, which incredibly, become dominant speeches.

A fraction of the conservative right, see these movements, whether feminist; pro-abortion; or of sexual diversity, as an instrument of populist governments, to obtain and / or retain power. Sounds like something possible, even business sectors can capitalize on these movements. But in parallel, these movements become more visible, local boundaries are crossed, specific issues of oppressed minorities come to light.

Let us keep in mind that Corporations, companies and brands, appropriate culture; talk about drug trafficking (with soap operas, series and music), sexual diversity, (television programs, music), including public spaces (shopping malls, green areas). When corporations appropriate something from culture, they legitimize it in a certain way while capitalizing it and vice versa.

The conservative right refers to the manipulation of the masses or certain sectors, in an attempt to discredit the movements of the oppressed sectors.

Finally, they say that gender ideology is another strategy for domination. This fear of the right, of the expansion of the term “gender”, is for the loss of heterosexual hegemony and they have adopted the term Heterophobia, to explain the existence of the various expressions of sexuality.

If gender is in simple words: ways of relating, and socio-cultural experiences; Homosexuality and the various expressions of sexuality, (it is proposed) are other genres, with their characteristics and their specific sociocultural experiences.

And the disputes will never end

When Francis Fukuyama proposes “the end of history”, he did so in reference to the end of ideologies (capitalism and communism); said that after the fall of the Berlin wall, everything that comes is a consequence of Capitalism; Today with the “gender ideology”, which I have my doubts about whether or not it is a product of capitalism (but that it, finally participates to generate profits), generates new struggles, social changes, new concepts and the expansion of existing concepts and even the disuse of others.

Societies must develop, in order to provide equality between the genders, that is, guarantee universality, regardless of the class fraction or the expression of sexuality; Because we are different, we need universalitys, beyond the biological sex.

References:

* Freud defines the trieb as psychic energy directed towards an end, but without the need to fulfill it.

Galtung, J. (1989) Cultural violence. Peace Research Center. Oslo, Norway

Salazar L. (2008) Democracy and discrimination. Notebooks of equality no.5. CONPADRED.

Image taken from: Political Animal: The story behind the Gay flag.

There is no longer (double) standard

(originally published on October 3, 2016)

Before getting lost in the labyrinth of subjectivity and with the aim of trying to be clear, we will use the concept of Moral, as we understand it in our culture. It is the set of rules and modes shared by society, for its well-being and operation. So, we have the notion that morality represents good customs and good manners. It refers to the kindness and generosity of people.

However, there are various moral codes, some opposed to each other, others with small differences, others more current than others. Here, we can name for example two moral values:

To give information about sexuality to minors, to generate informed people. Or on the contrary, the moral value of the prohibition of such information to minors.

Even so, whenever the moral word is heard, it refers us to a conservative posture. But then, how do you know if you are immoral? For this, it is important to differentiate and identify the amoral from the immoral.

The Immoral, deals with conscious acts that go against what is established by society; on the other hand, the amoral, are acts that escape consciousness or will.

Now, by making aware that our moral values ​​enter into a social group, it does not mean that it is a kind of moral independent of the morals of others, it is not that there are 1,2 or 3 types of morals. But, although we are in favor of contraceptive methods, abortion or union between two people of the same sex; We can share the moral values ​​of not stealing and being honest.

It is impossible for us to talk about morality without thinking about the Catholic religion, since it is a fundamental part of our roots. Culturally we are Catholics, although individually, we are atheists, Christians, Jews or worshipers of satan.

Double standard?

We understand that the term “double standard” refers to a person (or society) who claims to do good, be kind and love everyone, and that in practice is the opposite. But consider this: No individual has two morals, it is only one, the same. Then you may think that it is an Incongruent. Understanding incongruity as the lack of harmony of what is thought, what is said and what is done.

Although congruence, it is also a misunderstood issue. Imagine a situation in which you are facing a person who happens to be your boss and you hate and think you are an idiot. You will not tell him, not because you are hypocritical, but because by codes, or rules or morals, you are not someone who insults people. Although there are people, of course they would.

When another is told that it is double-standard, it is because, or we dislike it or because we consider ourselves to have a higher morality. Even if the same moral codes are shared, we tend to consider the morality of the other inferior, of the one who is wrong or does what we do not dare, for our supposed superior moral.

Photography: Liliana Bern

When being “Lady” or “Lord” is a bad thing.*

Now that privacy is in danger of disappearing, we find out events in someone’s private life, famous or not famous. And it is “viralized”, that is, it becomes a topic of common interest and incidentally, he also finds out who does not care.

And what goes viral, let’s accept it, they are generally events that don’t matter to us, don’t concern us, don’t affect our life in any way, and besides, we don’t understand the context.

But, once the interest is aroused, the actors are always condemned (because most of the time, what is viralized is an unfortunate event) and those involved are required not to make “mistakes”, understanding this as: Do not do what others do not, do not say what others do not say or do not think as others do not think.

And under the protective layer of the speech “we must display it so that it does not do it again”, it is judged equally to who committed a crime and who only made a decision in his personal life (that is, I only make a decision) and It is condemned by some and defended by some, thus generating the phenomenon of the viral. Because the phenomenon of the viral, begins with an event that generates speeches in favor, against and neutral. Speeches that are useless. Thus creating a viral side effect: False problems. We are exposed to a stalking society that exhibits and exceeds its punishments.

Watch (upload to the network [and punish] and punish) and punish.

Foucault in ” Discipline and Punish,” reveals this progression of (public) punishment from the body of the accused, to the punishment of his soul and life, rather than his body. Now the punishment continues to be the existence of the accused, what he is, what has been and what will be, but has returned to the sphere of the public; likewise, “passions and desires are punished” 1

The “viral phenomenon”  is part of a ritual of harassment, it is what Foucault called “the servitude of power” 2. Not only does the State, or the Police or Companies, watch over us; now we are also watched by citizens, who can become more cruel in their punishment, because “in punishing, there is a cruel pleasure” .3

Speaking specifically of surveillance through video cameras, there are different layers of surveillance, the highest one, it is precisely made up of government surveillance cameras, they are located on all streets, they follow the surveillance of companies, they monitor us from the moment we are about to enter their establishments and finally, social surveillance, carried out through personal video capture devices. This surveillance, unlike the first two, aims at public exposure.

Digital Panoptic

The architectural figure of the Panoptic, reaches a point where his presence in the physical space is no longer necessary, that is, a tower with someone inside who is constantly watching us is no longer necessary. Now we are being watched all the time and we don’t know where this surveillance is taking place or who does it. We learned of our “lack of morals”, as soon as the punishment for the social media exhibition begins.

I do not question the effectiveness of the citizen complaint, the questionable is its excessive and absurd use. Finally quoting Slavoj Zizek, society “accepts the need for repression, to preserve social stability.”

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* In Mexico, when a person is caught in a situation that involves problems, discussion or even a crime, is named in the media as “Lord” or “Lady” (referring to royalty) and is complemented by a word that refers to his “crime”: for example, if a man argued with a waiter “Lord restaurant”, or if a woman crashed his car and began discussing “Lady accident”

1,2,3. Foucault, M (1975) Discipline and punish.

Memes and the ultimate conquest of pleasure

(originally published on February 9, 2016)

The supremacy of the image is a fact, and the increasingly wide variety of screens and the range they cover is increasing. Now, digital images, a photograph, whether they contain a poem, or a phrase from some historical or literature personage, or from television or a joke, you find them plaguing social networks.

Above all, image jokes have been widely accepted in broad sectors of the active population in social networks (even if their activity is minimal). And although we will not address the creation of the term Meme, nor its history and popularity in social networks; We will address the Meme and its participation in the social act.

From (who tell a) joke to (who does a) Meme

At a party, someone with oral and histrionic skills, used to ask the attention and tell jokes, one after another and with natural grace; there were also other individuals who try hard, however, did not have the grace to be able to convey the grace of the joke; Sometimes the joke was the same rapporteur and his clumsy and messy way of telling jokes.

Today with the penetration of the screen in the most intimate corners of existence, telling jokes has been reduced to comment: Have you seen the Meme of this or that person? And you will get a favorable response and laughs just remembering it. In case the answer is negative, the screen to generate laughter will immediately be displayed.

The characteristics of a Meme (generally) are the following:

*Familiar images Fragments of films, cartoons, photographs of some character; or of a specific situation.

*A phrase or comment that refers us to the current event that is being popular. Or failing that, a phrase that compares it to reality is ironic.

*They are mutable. You can make use of a Meme in different scenarios, or refer to it.

*They are ephemeral. Caused by the rapid transit of information, the Meme has prompt expiration.

On the one hand we have the urgency of the interpretation of new facts and on the other, the urgency of making the joke faster and more funny, which leads us to the approach of Sigmund Freud (The joke and his relationship with the Unconscious. 1905) as to that the joke, is a “saving in the psychic expense”. The proof that could confirm this is obvious: You don’t need to know the fact, you just have to know the Meme to be able to laugh and assume that you know what the joke is about.

A large part of the news agencies, or journalistic portals, publish their headings on social networks, and due to the speed of the Internet, the only thing that is read is just the headline , the reader will assume that he understands the situation, most of the time wrong way, just by reading the manifest message.

Memes condense an entire event; the understanding of the joke causes it to “go through” at the end of the information, (that attention is directed to a certain interpretation in a straight line), making the “viewer” believe that he knows the final consequences or that he has awareness of each of the implications of the event in question. The Meme is a shortcut to find out about unread events. By understanding the joke, it is assumed that we know what they are talking about.

It is increasingly common to hear comments such as: “I only read the header” or “I have only seen the Memes”. And if you can think that Memes, in a way, fulfill a function as a means of information, it is not so. (maybe disclosure in any case).

Within the category of Memes, (as there are philosophical, literary, historiographic, psychoanalytic, [all {of course} with a watermark], medicine, lawyers, etc.) it usually contains a literal, simplistic joke, which plays only a little with the words, with the situation or two-way; jokes that occur in the realm of immediate thoughts. They require little explanation; Once again: Psychic spending savings.

The Meme, is fast, (a fundamental quality of the joke), but, as previously mentioned, it is ephemeral, fleeting; It blooms, it is decadent and it is forgotten. Giving way to the next event.

Ignominy

In today’s societies, it is common to find Social Affront events: Impunity, White-collar thieves, the precarious work, the transformation of the Proletariat to Precarious (term created by Guy Standing), theft of large capitals, the privatization of services, corruption and endless situations that outrage and fill with anger.

However, this anger is repressed, then, the one who experiences these situations closely is not heard and the one who is not in direct contact becomes angry at the Political Class; but as the Political Class are many and at the same time nobody, we get angry at nothing, having to suppress those feelings of anger, and despair. (Usually).

The joke is that mechanism that helps us disguise this repressed anger (among some other repressions) and be able to release it. Thus, we can make fun of the President in turn, or drug lords, or statements of the Famous Class. In the face of constant ignominy, the search for pleasure is constant. Another function of the joke described by Freud, is precisely that the joke is a source of pleasure. Provide enjoyment. He enjoys the joke, repeating it, sharing it; we enjoy hating Legarreta and the President; we enjoy the humiliation of the different, we enjoy because we understood the joke, we enjoy because it is our revenge, it is our victory!

The pleasure is in the one who does the Meme (with watermark of course) and in the one who sees it, understands it, and shares it.

Finally and to clarify that, it is not a discourse against this, lets say, form of expression. Of course we enjoy a good joke, or a vulgar joke, or make fun of Authors that we will never read. Memes are another form of pleasure, in the society of  pleasure

It is recommended to read:

 Freud, S. (1905), The joke and its relationship with the Unconscious

The purpose of the ends

(originally published on October 27, 2015)

World’s End?

After December 21, 2012, we no longer have a global prophecy about the end of the world … all those prophets and seers failed us, made fun of us leaving us condemned to existence. Where are those who promised us an end and more important, where is the brave one to save us (by killing us)?

Just as it is necessary to know that there was a beginning, (that is, a specific point of existence where everything began), it is also necessary that there be an end. The church gives us its arguments of where everything began and even gives us its theories of its endings (if only the end of suffering), the pre-Socratic philosophers spoke of the origin of life, Nostradamus the end of the world.

It´s discussed the end of civilization, the end of an era, that the world ends for the one who dies, of atomic bombs, of Third World Wars, of Holocausts, earthquakes, horsemen of the apocalypse, of the coming of the savior, ; And what happened? Here we continue as race and as individuals.

But The end of which I speak also implies death, this death that is hard, which is loved, denied, dressed, given face and even given a day to celebrate; Jokes are made at her expense to make her more bearable. Death means going to another world (better or worse), a journey of the soul, leaving the body, of that body that feels pain, that produces pain and that causes pain to others. We all suffer, they make us suffer, we make suffer; the body and the soul are punished and it is necessary to know that someday this suffering will stop. In the movie “Martyrs”, the body is put to the test and torture the soul, it makes us want the end and when it arrives we are revealed the truth: “Today we all suffer, now we need martyrs.”

When Lacan asks: If you didn’t know you were going to die, could you have the life you lead? We can answer: “I am very happy, that’s why I want to live forever.” And it is an understandable answer since we live in this culture in which it is almost obligatory to be happy. (But not much, and not for so long).

This immediate and ephemeral happiness is always new and is updated every moment but sadly, the body is not updated and in certain situations (secretly) we want our own death. You no longer know (or you can’t [or don’t want to] or you´re not capable) deal with sadness.

Here is the time to talk about violence (all violence), so exalted, so alive and imminent, so rational, so irrational; It can cause hopelessness, confusion, fear, even pleasure. And the forced question: What about the world? (The same has always happened with the plus that we now learn more about violence anywhere in the world, that there are already more violent cataloged behaviors and the new prohibitions of the law).

We already love more, so we suffer more: “We have never been so at the mercy of suffering as when we love” (The malaise in the culture. S. Freud) and not only just love people, we love the dog, the cat, the white tiger that is about to become extinct, to electronic devices, etc.

The end of the history. (No, the end of ideologies) No, the end of stories?

If “the engine of history is the class struggle,” then it is understood that history will not stop (for this and technological advances of course). It is understood that the term “class” designated (among many other things) an ideology and each class has a different and most likely contrary; one using the other and as a consequence of the other.

When Francis Fukuyama speaks of the “end of History” (1988), it was in the sense that, as well as with the triumph of the French Revolution (which proclaimed that the ideological evolution of humanity ended with the ideals of the Revolution French ”), With the fall of the Berlin wall, ideologies would collapse and run out and this would bring the end of history.

Thus, if the end has already been experienced, then we can understand what we find in a “post-historical” moment or rather: NEOHISTORIC, known for this tendency to not only reaffirm capitalism as a dominant ideology and that we love, but also to tear down the columns of history, refute what has been said, deny it, even change to another direction contrary to historical events.

They break down with the new theories, and with the help of science, today everything is refutable. You can think of any event in history and find that there is already an argument that cancels or modifies it.

 Now Jesus, Judas, God; They are no longer what they were before.

On the most personal level, more immediate to us, more everyday; Any idea exposed to another is born with its opposite, not as a product of this (idea) or as a counterpart. The other seeks an opposition to eliminate it. It seems that an idea from someone else is no longer accepted and mental resources are used to prove to the other that he is wrong. Intellectual progress stops itself, eliminates itself. (Or so it seems to be).

The end of mankind?

Today, many (concepts) are dead; God, the devil, the man, the rock, the grunge, the father, the state, the cinema; and in the future (maybe) television, radio and even the internet. And at the same time (and on another plane) Pedro Infante is not dead, Elvis lives, Tupac Shakur is not dead, Kurt is not dead, Andy Kaufman is not dead; Even Yeny Rivera is alive. (And Chabelo … still alive).

There are no longer solid figures, concepts or ideas, everything fades, so the end of the world is already necessary (in order to be solid), but let’s not be so optimistic, the world is not going to end.

Goodbye to the Kelloggs family (New facts about television)

(originally published on October 20, 2015

Over time, new phenomena are generated and some others that already existed come to light; The purpose here is to briefly address some television phenomena, because each one separately is complex, extensive and with its particularities, however, it is connected in one way or another with all other television phenomena.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, some are new phenomena that may even be inevitable, which dictate new trends (cartoons or new program formats, ways of speaking, expressing or thinking) and even necessary for the survival and adaptation of people to society; others are phenomena that have arisen but were already there (hidden), but there was no adequate analysis for their interpretation, or it was simply not the time for them to come to light, for social or commercial reasons.

Television has generated a lot of bibliography, studies and postures; there will be those who think: “and where is the family?” and although we know that the family is the first guard of the child, we will leave it aside (for this occasion) with the desire to highlight just the phenomenon of television.

Life (also) is in HD

In a study conducted by Antonio García and Isidro Moreno in 2006 called “Multimedia Guide: Healthy Screens”, among many other things, it is mentioned that television has currently lost its followers due to the so-called “screens”, which are nothing more than these new portable gadgets that give the “viewer” a more active role in terms of content selection.

These devices, which have content preloaded by the same user, let us see a bias of their psychic reality, because they decide what to “load and download” on their computers, however these contents are not far from what is go on television and the people who do not have the access to a certaint technology see.

And I mention the word “must” because it seems to be an obligation to have the television on, although there is no interesting content for the viewer and even knowing that the content is absurd, the answer is the same when questioning the reason for the television turned on and is: “Well, there is nothing else to see.”

If our mind functions with images, are the screens thinking for us?

It`s Giovanni Sartori who mentions “the thought goes as far as the image begins”.  The thought stops producing to just start receiving. So how do we expect after the child to conceptualize independently, if he is used to seeing more than 4 hours a day of screens, and is not taught anything worthy?

Of these 4 hours that are seen, at least 1 of those hours are commercial, and although it is not the central issue, it`s important to mention that, if the commercials are analyzed, at the beginning of their history the commercials showed and taught how to use the product and the benefits that the products provides us and they gave us the order to buy, take smoking, etc.

Later, the commercials showed us that sensational, unforeseen and fun things happened if we had in our possession this or that product; (Also at this time is where the perfect [and impossible] kellog’s family was radiant, happy and fun). Today the commercials say that our existence (and the world) will be better if we buy.

Zapping

In this era full of stimuli such as advertisements in the streets, noise, television, the Internet and all other screens; concentrating is more difficult; We move from one focus to another for brief periods of time. After a while, the thought is configured to work like this, by zapping (that’s why it costs us so much work to read, because it requires focusing our concentration on a single stimulus.)

The cartoons are becoming faster in their development and shorter in duration; in a 15-minute episode there is a beginning, a development and the end; all this at a dizzying pace that does not give opportunity for analysis or reflection. The child will not filter anything, only an accumulation of images will be given in his mind, to which he will give an interpretation based on his limited mental tools.

Currently there are no animated series that have a continuity or with a story that goes beyond two chapters, the chapters are independent and you don’t miss anything if you didn’t watch the one from a previous day and you can watch tomorrow’s without any problem. The cartoons used to be long stories with characters that were growing and constantly changing, coming and going between situations, containing scenes without dialogues but suggesting that something was happening, were a type of more contemplative scenes.

Now a video of more than 4 minutes is difficult to see from beginning to end and reading a text with more than 5 paragraphs is a great feat.

Reality or fiction.

The child considers that what happens on television is real and that it can happen to anyone; In part he is right, because the situations that arise on television are usually real, but they are not really happening, all this is fiction but the child does not know it and it takes time to understand it.

What television does is rubbing popular culture in our faces, which is not questioned by adults and much less by children. We are shown and educated for irrationality; the screens do it and the parents (absent at home and on TV) either follow the same line of behavior or don’t care.

The reality of the screen becomes the real reality and no one (or at least not many) wants to live outside of reality, they want to be able to talk with others about the chapter last night in the soap opera at 10, or the fashion news, or the Spanish soccer league match in which the best player in the world plays, or the cartoon of the moment. Moreover, nobody wants to stay out of history which is available on the screens.

And the family?

Another issue is that it is inevitable that children watch television and even more inevitable, is that they watch it without adult supervision, and what is it currently seen on television? The answer is (among [many] others), they see a way of life in which the family does not exist or they are a bunch of idiots. This message is repetitive, systematic and constant 24 hours. 365 days a year, that adults are a limitation for their fun.

Children’s programs lack parental figures, a situation that is explained sporadically in some chapter, however the child does not understand, because he sees only the actions more “does not understand the motivations of the characters” (C. Popper. “Television is bad teacher “), because at an early age (and even some [ so called] adults) have a limited understanding of the world.

Television is not the first to “get up in arms” against the family, Ariel Dorfman (1971) in his book: “To read Donald Duck”, he touches the subject, however he does not delve into it and shows us that, it is in the Disney comics where for more than 40 years, the nuclear family has been completely eliminated; there are no fathers or mothers, only uncles and the only mother that exists is “Bad Mom” ​​along with her bad boys for giving a brief example.

It can be said that television is being given full power (and as a factual power [another complex subject] of course it has) and that it set aside the television family, and at the same time the family in real life He has stepped aside to make way for television.

The child must know that what he is seeing is not real, that everything is a lie, that everything is due to a script and that everything was planned with premeditation; he needs to know that on television you see, what they want us to see, and for this to happen and the child knows it, it is necessary that the adult also knows and tells him

Since its inception, television and its screen, was destined to be influence, to modify people’s lives, to show the world to everyone, to make the “show” a “monster”, to watch over us, to exercise power, to show what they want us to see, to take care… to teach.

However, it does not teach anything that the individual does not already have within himself and that is part of his mental tools, (in any case he reinforces knowledge with programs like Dora the Explorer); That is why it is NECESSARY to learn to watch television, in order to make a critique and an appreciation of television. It would not be wrong to establish in schools a subject that exclusively teaches the child or the young man to watch television.

Finally, and quoting Carl Popper: “If television were a person, would you let it be near your children?

To play, is a serious thing

(originally published on October 19, 2015

Even with the proliferation of electronic equipment with demand from children (cell phones and Ipads), the sale of action figures, dolls or countless toys for the manipulation of children continues; Of course they are sold with specific themes, such as adolescent monster dolls that attend high school, which are fashionable, or there are princesses or action figures such as super heroes, planet defenders or cartoon heroes.

You could think of the limitation of the imagination with this type of toys (of television characters) and that the child will only end up playing some television chapter previously seen, however for the child, this game (whatever) is of utmost importance for your mental health.

All (absolutely all) children in normal conditions play. From a simple game, to an elaborate one, even through the grotesque, which gives us signs of the child’s physical development and mental healt. We can remember our years as children and rediscover those worlds created by the imagination in which we were a kind of little gods controlling the universe; We were there, safe … and everything always went according to plan.

Why do kids play?

One of the best answers that exist is that which tells us that the child, at an early age, does not have enough language to express himself, and even more, certain emotions cannot be explained, since he dont have the words to connect with some emotions, and what does the child do? … Play, and thus, without speaking, expresses freely.

There could be a problem in the form of a “symptom” replacing the words that the child does not know how to say, this will be maladaptive behavior, but that the child will help (as it were in some way) as a form of expression. Express himsself trough a sickness

Returning to the game, the child will have in his hands a means of expression motivated by “something” that is in there but that he cannot name and that works as a game generating mechanism.

An example of this can be found in the movie Totoro, where we see this enormous being that does not speak, but that produces a monstrous sound and that would come to represent what the child cannot designate because he does not know, but that it is there … as a Dumb and playful monster.

What does the child play for?

Fulfillment of desire:

When you play you can access a fantasy, in which the child experiences satisfaction and gets pleasure from having what he craves; it could be having a family, having super powers or performing incredible feats.

It`s a serious job that gives the child security, gets immediate pleasure, it is not necessary to wait to see a cartoon if he can be the director and write a chapter of his favorite series in his mind. He has a desire to show his creativity and be applauded for it, that’s why he always has to show his father, mother or brother, his creation with pride. Seek approval and thus confirm that he has done a good job.

Problem solving:

As we see in Lego (the movie), the little one poses a real problem; a father who threatens to end the fun and eliminate the playfulness of the lego pieces. The child`s creativity is threatened, so he plans to cover the glue.

The child reproduces his world within the game, ideas and solutions, moves pieces and analyzes what to do and how to do it; He turns his mind out trying, with his resources, to find a solution (or an explanation).

It`s an important part of the child’s mood, it is the metaphor of his life. It reproduces the conflict, real or imaginary in which, the child demonstrates its evolutionary development. It helps to externalize any situation that experiences and at the same time develops, to some extent, social skills; You can see a bias in his attitude towards life.

The game will help the child learn a role, develop thinking and ideas, and I do not talk about the (outdated) stance of whether playing with dolls or tools will make little girls slaves or little boys chauvinist . In the game, also a social function is played (mom, dad, nurse or mechanic).

A positive attitude of the adult to the child’s play is important, as it is the prelude to cultural, personal, social and psychic development; It`s important to respect the game, believe and trust the children. The childrens play what they think, what they see, what they experience, what they believe, what they want; The childrens faces the world with toys in their hands as their only weapon.

For our Chris Crocker … inside of us and outside of us

(originally published on October 15, 2015

It is common that at some point in your life you try to dress like a television character, actor or singer and you could also have thought that you had some resemblance to him or that you shared the same ideas or gestures; You researched his personal history with the desire to connect the events of his life with yours and to prove to yourself (and others) that you were (or are) the living image of the chosen character (can be consciously or unconsciously). It is a phenomenon that occurs, and depending on the history of his life (and several factors), a role model will be chosen and could be repeated more than once in its existence.

Young children and adults identify in some way with someone, as a way of doing things, of seeing life; at least in an imaginary way, like a fantasy and like every fantasy, the further from reality it is better and more satisfying. It is an escape within ourselves where only what we want to happen happens.

In our minds we are singers, soccer players, broadcasters, pilots, narcos, doctors, teachers, superheroes, soap opera stars, reggaeton singers or even actors or actresses of films. (even pornfilms, maybe)

There is a thin line that separates us from that; It is not strange to know of someone who does not know that mediating distance and merges with his fantasy, which makes him believe that it is what it is not, what happens what does not happen.

From children’s parties to parties of XV years (great celebration for Mexican girls)

At an early age, boys and girls celebrate birthday themed parties, in which everything, from plastic cups to piñatas, is of a specific character. (Perhaps chosen by the parents and the child believes he wants it too).

The disguised child destroys, eliminates and tears his chosen character;

Here, with the fear of being paranoid, exaggerated and overly analytical, the child will become the only and authentic character, once he ate (in cake) and destroyed (in piñata) his equal.

He assaulted and destroyed a loved one. Now, saying this will not turn a child into a beater of their loved ones, nor will mistreating an animal make him a murderer (unless he enjoys animal abuse, then if it becomes a focus of attention).

In other occasions, the child will feel nostalgia and love towards the character, refusing to split the cake (because there is the admired image) or to hit his piñata.

Something similar at the parties of XV years, when the young woman in her “surprise dance” imitates the choreography and will dance to the rhythm of a song by (for example) Lady Gaga. For an instant she is, in her imagination, Lady Gaga; although the young woman has a totally Hispanic morphology.

Teen Egocentrism

In the adolescence stage an identity begins to form, a becoming of the personality; However, this process does not start here and in no way ends here, but it is a process that is tied with other processes of mental development.

As thought becomes more complex, many concepts become abstract; the adolescent is now more critical and idealistic and for example: what was once tought god was, now as a teenager is a more extensive and divided conception; The same happens with the love, war and friendship. Now they are dedicated to creating an identity for themselves.

At this stage there is a phenomenon that David Elkind (1) calls “adolescent Egocentrism”, characterized by being the exact science of themselves; and it divides it into two types: the imaginary audience and the personal fable.

Broadly speaking, “the imaginary audience” occurs when the young man is convinced that he arouses the interest of other people, as well as with the same interest he has; Therefore, a pimple or a bad hairstyle will be visible miles away. Similarly, they will have behaviors to attract attention and be noticed.

On the other hand, the personal fable consists in that “thought of being unique, invincible and sometimes misunderstood; and therefore, everything that happens to them is unique and nobody can understand it ”.

From Aimeé to Miley Cyrus. (going through [leave] Chris Croker [alone])

In his Ph.D. thesis, Jacques Lacan exposes the abnormal development of Aimeé (Marguerite Pantaine 1892-1981) and his paranoid psychosis and also helps us in the field of identification, since Aimeé in an episode attacks with a knife a famous Actress: Huguette Duflos in the year 1931. This is because Mrs. Pataine was convinced that Duflos threatened her son’s life.

Without going into the case, the election by Aimeé implies an identification, since he had tried to be successful writing novels; and Being Huguette Duflos the famous woman who leads a lifestyle desired by Mrs. Pataine, and she not having it, represented a threat to her current lifestyle, so she must eliminate the actress.

in a modern case is the one of the Young Chris Croker, who in 2007, uploaded to youtube a video where he appears clearly altered against the ones who attacks or makes hurtful comments to singer Britney Spears; screaming and crying says: “whoever messes with her messes with me”. This alteration is because the attack on Britney is also for him. There is no distance between Young Chris and the singer. “Leave Britney alone. It means: leave me alone.

In the 2001 movie “Rockstar”, Mark Walhberg plays a Young Singer from a “Steel Dragon” tribute band; wears the same clothes, the same hairstyle and imitates the same gestures of the band’s vocalist. For situations that obey the script, Walhberg becomes the singer of Steel Dragon and thus can live in the context of his rock star.

Let’s take the opportunity to deviate a little and talk (a little) about fame. If we understand it as the social behavior of a famous person (which is generally far from individual behavior), we can explain the beautiful illusion that makes us feel; since the famous person has the privilege of doing and saying things that capture our imagination and that sometimes we try to imitate.

So we can see Lady Gaga wearing extravagant dresses with the banner of: “Accept as I am” or Miley Cyrus as a “model” of freedom of expression and demonstrating, not a “wake up of your sexuality”, but a regression to a primitive state of his sexuality, (so to speak) in which he rubs, strips and sticks out his tongue. (And it is not that I am shocked, I only note that, contrary to what is thought, the physical growth of cyrus is diametrically opposed to their sexuality.)

(As a comment) The Makeover

In an article of “Self-referential system”, Juan Larrosa briefly exposes the work of Katherine Sender and his book “The Makeover: Reality television and reflexive audiences” (2), in which, contrary to what is thought about the Reality shows and the viewers, “many of the people who watch these programs are aware of the (epistemological) trap that embodies the concept of tele reality.”

They are programs with people with common problems and that easily catch the viewer’s attention; The audience will find an answer, a fashion tip, health advice or even paternity advice.

It is worth mentioning that it is not necessary to feel identify to emulate or imitate certain aspects of another person. We are in a process of constant change and there are few things defined in our personality.

Fantasy is necessary at any age and know how to position ourselves at a distance from them; to be free among fantasy, so then (paraphrasing Lacan) “Madness is the limit of freedom”

(1) Santrock, J. (2006). Developmental Psychology: The Life Cycle.

(2) https://autorreferencial.wordpress.com/?s=the+make+over

The class struggle. (The Proletariat VS. The Little Bourgeois)

(originally published on October 14, 2015)

The little bourgeois

The proletariat, those who sell their labor power to the Employer, do not have the necessary or sufficient means to produce or generate profits; It is the class to which the majority belong. With this definition (quite small) we can distrust this definition, since we all fit into it, and yet we do not consider ourselves to be equal to the public transport driver, or the school teacher, or the young man who He sells us tortillas.

So we are or we are not?  The answer is that we belong to a specific class fraction. It is what is called Medium low, medium high, etc … Now, each fraction has its own characteristics: thoughts, perceptions, aspirations, language and, above all, ways of relating to each other and others. Each fraction does what is necessary to perpetuate, preserve or transform; It is where we can locate the one who Pierre Bourdieu defines as the Little Bourgeois:

“The little bourgeois is a proletarian who dwarfs to become bourgeois. Renouncing the prolific nature of the Proletariat … it must dwarfs itself to pass through the narrow door that gives access to the Bourgeoisie. “

The little bourgeois, as Bourdieu mentions, “unable to increase their income, has to reduce their expenses.” And in addition to this, he has clear the need for certain cultural resources for his social ascent.

Taxi (driver) s

Every social need generates goods and / or services that have, in the case of the taxi service, a use value. This value is shaped by the physical wear of the Driver and the material wear of the Vehicle. The users add to the value, the trip and the good service that the Driver must provide. When the Citizenship considers that the Taxis services are not adequate, they will opt for other means to move.

With the arrival of Uber or Cabify, creates the offer of a private taxi service and like any private service, it is the decision of the User to contract or not such service. Of course, it is necessary to have certain individual characteristics to be able to hire this service, as is well known: a smartphone, credit card (and even debit card) and move to certain areas. (It is not the same to move to a poor area, than to a commercial plaza).

Preserve or improve

On the one hand, an individual who wishes to improve his travel experience, with air conditioning, bottled water, friendly service, a fair charge, security and even his own music; After gathering what was necessary, he could do it. On the other hand, a taxi driver clearly sees a threat to his lifestyle, (to his economy and even his work, since it generates an expectation of service from the Uber service).

And after this, the confrontation: verbal, opinion, institutional and (of course) physical confrontation. The opinion is divided, the fractions find valid arguments both for the preservation of the taxi service and for the improvements. If it is legal or illegal and if you must regularize Uber, and also if taxis should use a meter, if taxi divers need to be protected against theft and kidnapping and an extensive etcetera.

It is mentioned that, only a small sector of the population uses the services of private taxi (at the moment approximately 10%) and that it does not represent a great loss for the taxi drivers’ union; but with an economic situation that all the time threatens to push us to the bottom of the ravine, any event that stands between the money and us is a threat. Taxi drivers have family to whom to respond (among other things in an economic way) the Uber drivers too; so it is natural that the subject is polarized, and if we add the third element that are the Users, there will be supporters, defenders or detractors of each service.

We understood that taking a taxi usually worked as follows: A Taxi Driver travels through the streets and a Passenger requests the service, wondered a fee, both negotiate and finally the service was finalized or not; or on the other hand, only the unit was approached and the meter was allowed to calculate the cost of the service.

You could also request the taxi service by calling, or a card previously provided by a driver and waiting for the taxi driver to arrive; It was understood that this service would increase the cost of the trip.

Currently with the ease of an application on the mobile device, you can also request a taxi service, but private. Despite the fact that other private services already existed, the arrival of the platforms for these services has aroused in taxi drivers the idea that they are taking their jobs away, or  that the platforms are are illegal and that obviously, (in a bureaucratic society) they must be regulated , adhering to labor and business laws.

The (taxi) violence (does not wait)

In the highest strata of society (Businessmen and State workers), the problem will be solved through regularization and insertion into the structure of private taxi services. While this happens, the delay in the response and the null capacity of the Authorities to control the situation, has generated the (un) expected: Violence.

As already mentioned, the strategies of the various social groups are aimed at preserving or changing, to maintain their practices. This negotiation interaction between Taxi Driver and User is what they want to keep, as well as the interaction between vehicle owners and Drivers. And on the other hand this evolution is an improvement for another sector of the population, which through its cell phone, wants to establish a commercial transaction.

When the stability of the group is threatened, they can try to convince the rest of the population of the fairness of their demands, and even (as has been seen) to exercise direct violence against those they consider a threat; We have seen images of taxi drivers preventing the passage of private drivers, hitting them (men and a woman), destroying their vehicles, deceiving them requesting a service and then stopping these private taxi drivers, who are also working.

The simple suspicion of meeting the enemy is enough to destroy him, no matter if he is a woman or a man, whether he is a private taxi driver or not. Another option is to improve your own service, but it is always easier to destroy the other, than to offer something better. (or improve your own.) The relationship between User-platform-taxi driver, will be incorporated into the vehicle mobility structure or disappear.

Commercial interests to regularize Uber or Cabify, will result if these services prove their usefulness to society (or the [small] sector that uses them), as something useful always prevails. The authorities will be in charge of what Bourdieu calls “legitimizing the relationship” between Users and private taxi platforms, and in turn, these platforms with the Authorities.

Regularization is a matter of time and it is also a matter of time that this gets out of hand and blood (or gasoline) is spilled. Hopefully, the taxi drivers’ conscious decision to harm others, will become in the conscious decision to improve their transportation services.

MARXIEU

(originally published on October 14, 2015)

(Note: The ideas expressed here are not mine; they belong to Karl Marx and Pierre Bourdieu; I only make attempts to make them modern by mentioning I phones and LED screens.)

Everyone can buy an IPhone or a LED tv, but such purchase will mean something very different for individuals, depending on their economic status. Is obvious that it´s not the same situation for an Employee who earns a minimum wage and that would currently cost 292 Daily wages to can buy an iPhone, that an Employee who can buy it with his 30-day job.

According to Marx, the value of the goods is generated as follows:

Firstly, there is the acquisition of raw materials, secondly, the hiring of the labor force (which generally receives little economic compensation). Third is the technology necessary to program and manufacture the pieces, as well as the place where this will take place and finally (this is pure deduction), the advertising campaign and all the logistics. This gives us a production value and advertising expenses.

The remainder is the “imaginary value” that the Companies decide to assign to the objects. As the iPhone has a high use value (it seems to be very useful), people consider that this amount is worth it. We can observe then that the value of the merchandise, as Marx mentions it, has a social origin.

We can say that certain goods are considered as symbols of modernity and abundance. (Call them flat screen TVs, smart phones, [electronic] tablets or any other gadget.)

When a merchandise is useful, it obtains a “use value”, and in the case of the cell phone that is so useful to us (apparently), the value is quite high because it determines our emotional, romantic, erotic, labor and social relationships around it.

There is a kind of competition to see who is the first to acquires a good, either through whatever mechanisms (for the middle class this means credit purchases). Acquiring them, is considered a kind of “social ascent”, but is it really an ascent to position oneself alongside others? Or rather a practice not to be left behind in the competition.

Faced with so many purchase offers in the market, which can be considered a potential capital flight and a threat (for those who want the social ascent), the Little Bourgeois (named after Pierre Bourdieu) becomes a proletarian who “dwarfs himself” in order  to become a bourgeois, it loss as it were, of the proletariat’s honeys.

The decision to buy products is finally an “individual decision.” So let’s buy and stick to the consequences.

An afternoon with Sophocles, Foucault and Peña Nieto

(originally published on October 07, 2015)

“I think there is really an Oedipus complex in our civilization. But this complex has nothing to do with our unconscious and our desire, nor with relationships between one another. If there is something similar to the Oedipus complex, it does not occur at the individual level but at the collective level; not for the purpose of desire and the unconscious but for the purpose of power and knowledge ”(Michel Foucault)

In order to understand each other, we will briefly (and [very] superficially) address the dramatic play “Oedipus king” by Sophocles (which in itself is a trilogy) and its descriptive power as to the different instances of truth, (which is not the goal of Sophocles), but that Foucault clearly described in “The truth and legal forms”

As you know, it tells the story that Laius (King of Thebes) and Jocasta will have a son who, according to the oracle, would kill his father and marry his mother. When the little one is born, the King, taking into account such a prophecy, decides to hand him over to one of his subjects to get rid of the child.

This man cannot end the life of the infant, so he leaves him in a field where he is found by a shepherd, who in turn takes him to Polibo, King of Corinth, and his wife, who did not have an heir and decided to keep and baptize the child with the name – Oedipus.

When the child comes of age, he finds out that the king and queen are not his real parents. At that point, he decides to go with the oracle to reveal the truth, thereby obtaining only a dramatic foreshadowing: You will kill your father and will marry your mother. Terrified, he decides to run away, so that this prophecy was not fulfilled.

The summary of the story is, that Oedipus kills Laius (his Biological father) in a battle, solves the riddle of the Sphinx, is proclaimed king of Thebes, and marries Jocasta. With the prophecy being fulfilled, a plague falls upon the people.

Oedipus, seeks help of the oracle, and learns that he has actually killed his father and married his mother and thus, the people suffering from that fateful destiny. Jocasta commits suicide, Oedipus takes his eyes out, is exiled, and their children inherit the kingdom.

Now we have here our points of interest: The truth (and its versions). First, we have the truth that the GODS announced to King Laius; then follow the truth of the KING, who by knowing this truth, transfers it anonymously to a SERVANT, to hide it or run away from it; and then consequently, this truth is known by an INHABITANT of the village.

The truth was changing forms because they are not equal; there’s the celestial truth, the truth of royalty, and the truth of the people. The same truth is spoken, however, the statement is different.

For example, let’s think about Mexico, 2012 elections and we will find clear similarities between our history and that written by Sophocles: A truth announced by the gods (about an unavoidable reality) through oracles; known and denied by kings (it is accepted and made into deception); and finally known by the people. It may seem familiar if we think of presidents imposed by an all-powerful political class, with TV stations who deny the facts, and people who know what they see (like the shepherd who found the baby in the field). Different layers of truth.

It’s not about comparing President Enrique Peña Nieto with Oedipus, but his victory was something that showed itself as a fateful prophecy. Since 2008 (or maybe years before), it was clear that Peña Nieto was emerging to be the President of Mexico.

The television stations gave us Peña in the nightly news (like a servant leaving the baby in the forest) and we the people, saw (or those who managed to see) him like that handsome doll, that shouldn´t be president, being president.

When the fateful prophecy is fulfilled, the tragedy of the people of Thebes now floats over Mexico.

Translator: Chris Martin.