Nations, like narratives, lose their origins in the myths of time and only fully realize their horizons in the mind's eye. Such an image of the nation - or narration - might seem impossibly romantic and excessively metaphorical, but it is from those traditions of political thought and literary language that the nation emerges as a powerful historical idea in the west: An idea whose cultural compulsion lies in the impossible unity of the nation as a symbolic force. This is not to deny the attempt by nationalist discourses persistently to produce the idea of the nation as a continuous narrative of national progress, the narcissism of self-generation, the primeval present of the Volk. Nor have such political ideas been definitively superseded by those new realities of internationalism, multi-nationalism, or even 'late capitalism', once we acknowledge that the rhetoric of these global terms is most often underwritten in that grim prose of power that each nation can wield within its own sphere of influence. What I want to emphasize in that large and liminal image of the nation with which I began is a particular ambivalence that haunts the idea of the nation, the language of those who write of it and the lives of those who live it. It is an ambivalence that emerges from a growing awareness that, despite the certainty with which historians speak of the 'origins' of nation as a sign of the 'modernity' of society, the cultural temporality of the nation inscribes a much more transitional social reality. Benedict Anderson, whose Imagined Communities significantly paved the way for this book, expresses the nation's ambivalent emergence with great clarity:
The century of the Enlightenment, of rationalist secularism, brought with it its own modern darkness. . . . [Few] things were (are) suited to this end better than the idea of nation. If nation states are widely considered to be 'new' and 'historical', the nation states to which they give political expression always loom out of an immemorial past and ... glide into a limitless future. What I am proposing is that Nationalism has to be understood, by aligning it not with self-consciously held political ideologies, but with large cultural systems that preceded it, out of which - as well as against which - it came into being.
Homi K. Bhahba, Introduction ("Narrating the nation") to Nation and Narration
Homi K. Bhabha (born 1949) is the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of English and American Literature and Language, and the Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard University. He is one of the most important figures in contemporary post-colonial studies, and has coined a number of the field's neologisms and key concepts, such as hybridity, mimicry, difference, and ambivalence. Such terms describe ways in which colonized peoples have resisted the power of the colonizer, according to Bhabha's theory. In 2012, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan award in the field of literature and education by the Indian government.
CHALLANGING THE WESTERN NARRATIVE
Net neutrality and a fork in the road for the Internet. We’ll look at what the Internet is really going to be.
One week ago today came a court ruling in Washington that could change almost everything about the Internet. At least, everything important to a lot of people. A Federal appeals court struck down the F.C.C.’s requirement of “net neutrality.” Internet service providers — big phone and cable companies — had been required to treat everything equal on the web. Now they’re not. They can package and tier and privilege and block and charge for web content like cable TV charges for HBO. That is still sinking in. This hour On Point: what the Internet is going to be, and the fate of net neutrality.
– Tom Ashbrook
Washington Post: 11 questions you were too afraid to ask about net neutrality — “Running a network is expensive. Some believe that if you use more data, you should pay for it — in the same way that your utility company charges you for using more water or more electricity. And companies that operate the networks are always looking for new ways to bring in revenue so that they can make more upgrades — or, if you’re a cynic, so that they can line their pockets.”
Los Angeles Times: ’Net neutrality’ ruling could be costly for consumers, advocates... –”The agency will consider appealing the decision or taking other options, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said, ‘to ensure that these networks on which the Internet depends continue to provide a free and open platform for innovation and expression and operate in the interest of all Americans.’ In the short term, the ruling left big telecom companies, small businesses, government agencies and consumers scrambling to understand its effect and making their cases about how they believe the FCC should proceed.”
The Atlantic: No, Netflix Is Not Doomed By the Net Neutrality Decision — “There is an even easier solution for net-neutrality fans. The FCC could decide it has the political cover and popular support to declare broadband providers utilities, like landline phones or roads. This would make Internet providers subject to so-called ‘common carrier’ rules, which would keep them from discriminating against certain services, such as Netflix.”
MAINTAINING THE WESTERN NARRATIVE
Only Post-colonial literary theorists seem to understand narratology. Americans are so naive when it comes to story telling that in most cases they believes any “authorities’” tale place before them. Post-colonialist Manfred Jahn wrote in 2007 that If narratology -- the structural theory and analysis of narrative texts -- were to be divided into just two major parts, then narration and focalization would be very suitable candidates. Narration is the telling of a story in a way that simultaneously respects the needs and enlists the co-operation of its audience; focalization is the submission of (potentially limitless) narrative information to a perspectival filter. Contrary to the standard courtroom injunction to tell “the whole truth,” no one can in fact tell all. Practical reasons require speakers and writers to restrict information to the “right amount” -- not too little, not too much, and if possible only what’s relevant.
In its original conception, dating back to the late 1960s, narratology is a timeless and culture-independent discipline. Yet narratologists have increasingly become aware of the fact that their seemingly neutral theoretical models may have been shaped by cultural and historical contingencies.[i] This is definitely so in the case of focalization because our present notions about perspectival filtering would hardly exist without the psychological interest that informs Western narrative literature from roughly the eighteenth-century novel onwards. The psychological turn reaches its height with the institution of psychology as a discipline and the flowering of the modernist literary movement in the period of 1900 to 1950.
The narrative of the Holocaust portrays the Holocaust as a unique event, not just European behavior towards a non-white group. And this narration held up as long as there were three major privately owned news networks and two new line services as well as all the major press being in limited hands. Americans were only fed one side of news based on the Western Eurocentric point of view. The Internet disrupted this pattern and finally fulfilled the First Amendment: The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights.
Christopher Wolf (born Washington, DC 1954) is an American attorney specializing in Internet and privacy law. He is a partner in the international law firm of Hogan Lovells US LLP. He is the founding editor and lead author of the first Practicing Law Institute (PLI) legal treatise on privacy and information security law. He is the founder and co-chair of a think tank devoted to emerging privacy issues, the Future of Privacy Forum. He also has chaired an international consortium of NGO's fighting online hate speech, the International Network Against Cyber-hate (INACH), on whose board her serves and he leads the work of the Anti-Defamation League in fighting online hate speech. Wolf graduated from Bowdoin College in 1976, and magna cum laude from Washington & Lee University School of Law in 1980. He clerked with the Hon. Aubrey E. Robinson, Jr., United States District Court, District of Columbia, 1980-1982.
In 2013, Wolf co-authored (with Abraham Foxman) a book entitled Viral Hate: Containing its Spread on the Internet (Macmillan Palgrave).
Wolf is chairman emeritus of the International Network Against Cyber-Hate (INACH) and chairs the Anti-Defamation League's National Committee on the Internet. He chairs the ADL Technology Committee and previously was regional chair of the Washington, DC ADL Board (1998–2002) as well as the national ADL Strategic Planning Committee. He is on the National Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors, and the Board of Directors of Food & Friends, where he was Board President (1996–1998). He also serves on the Boards of WETA Radio and Television, Young Concert Artists and the George Washington University Hospital. Wolf was the first president of Responsible Electronic Communication Alliance (RECA), an organization started to promote professional standards for online communication and marketing. He is also co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, a think tank dedicated to examining emerging privacy issues. Wolf was made a member of the American Law Institute in 2012.
Foxman, an only son, was born in Baranovichi, just months after the Soviet Union took the town from Poland in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and incorporated it into the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. The town is now in Belarus. Foxman had Polish Jewish parents: Helen and Joseph Foxman.
Foxman's parents left him with his Polish Catholic nanny Bronislawa Kurpi in 1940 when they were ordered by Germans to enter a ghetto. Foxman was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church as Henryk Stanislaw Kurpi, and raised as a Catholic in Vilnius between 1940 and 1944 when (after several legal custody battles) he was returned to his parents.
Foxman immigrated to the United States in 1950 with his parents. He graduated from the Yeshivah of Flatbush in Brooklyn, New York City. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the City College of New York and graduated with honors in history. Foxman also holds a law degree from the New York University School of Law. He did graduate work in Jewish studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and in international economics at New School University.
Foxman joined the Anti-Defamation League in 1965 in its international affairs division. In 1987, he was the consensus choice of the Board to become its new National Director, replacing long-time director Nathan Perlmutter.
In July 2007, Foxman's opposition to a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide drew much criticism. "I don't think congressional action will help reconcile the issue. The resolution takes a position; it comes to a judgment," said Foxman in a statement issued to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. "The Turks and Armenians need to revisit their past. The Jewish community shouldn't be the arbiter of that history, nor should the U.S. Congress." Sharistan Melkonian, chairwoman of the Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts, accused Foxman of engaging in "genocide denial" in an interview with the Boston Globe. Various New England communities threatened to sever ties with the ADL-sponsored "No Place for Hate" program in response. In August 2007, Foxman publicly affirmed the position of the Anti-Defamation League, "that the consequences of [the Ottoman government's] actions were indeed tantamount to genocide," but that a United States Congressional recognition of this history was unnecessary and not helpful. He went on to state, "we continue to firmly believe that a Congressional Resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians. We will not hesitate to apply the term 'genocide' in the future." Foxman additionally sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing regret over the difficulty his position caused for the government of Turkey: "We had no intention to put the Turkish people or its leaders in a difficult position."
Opposition to Park51
Several critics have spoken against Foxman's opposition to the Park51 Islamic community center near World Trade Center site citing hypocrisy since ADL's mission statement says it seeks "to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens." Fareed Zakaria, a recipient of ADL's Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize, has returned the prize and the $10,000 honorarium saying that he "cannot in good conscience hold onto the award or the honorarium that came with it" and is returning both to ADL. Zakaria has "urged the ADL to reverse its decision."
Foxman has defended the use of racial profiling against Muslims and surveillance of communities. In an interview with Haaretz, he said, "Should we follow the ethnic communities? Should we be monitoring mosques? This isn’t Muslim-baiting—it’s driven by fear, by a desire for safety and security." He did not advocate racial profiling, saying "It may be wise or unwise."
SILENCING OTHER NARRATIONS~VIRAL HATE
Abraham H. Foxman writes in Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread On The Internet (2013) writes that the haters and the bigots were among the first to create web sites devoted to racist and anti-Semitic messages. And it was the Internet—this incredible tool for social interaction, information sharing, and commerce—that brought the distribution of prejudice and bigotry into the twenty-first century. As hate spread virally, the Internet, out of force of necessity, became a major new focus of our work at the Anti-Defamation League. Then he and Christopher Wolf go on to name various hate groups including The New Black Panther Party for Self Defense (NBPP), the largest organized anti-Semitic and racist black militant group n America, computer games and merchandise sales. However, they point out the vast majority of African American and civil rights groups and leaders have rejected its racist orientation and its calls, for revolution against “the hells of Amerikkka.” [This is not news because even during the Black Power Movement the majority of Africans Americans were for integration, not separation; even Malcolm X himself].
Merchandise Sales & Mein Kampf
Fox and Wolf posit that among the huge numbers of online sites that sell hate-oriented books, games, records, movies, poster, Nazi memorabilia and other products that very few reputable retailers would stock, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the 1978 novel The Turner Diaries by William Pierce are major sellers.
What Is Internet Hate?
Fox and Wolf asks, do all of these types of materials fall under the broad heading of hate speech? Where would you draw the line? And even within a single category, where exactly does the line between “fair speech” and “hate speech” go?
When it comes to crafting such definitions, everyone has his or her sensitive spots. For example, in debating Middle East politics [and policies], vicious slanders that challenge the legitimacy of Israel’s very existence by playing on age-old stereotypes of Jews as bloody-minded conspirators bent on world domination clearly fall on one side of the line and qualify as hate speech, whereas serious, fair-minded critiques of Israeli government policies clearly fall on the other. But where exactly does the line lie, especially when the statements made and the images conjured up are not as black and white….
In discussions of twentieth-century history, is there a line between Holocaust denial, which claims that the death camps never existed and that Hitler and the Nazis have been unfairly maligned by Jews seeking sympathy for their self-serving agenda, on the one hand, and some form of “historical revisionism” that re-examines accepted theories of the Holocaust in a way that is respectably nuanced and honest, on the other? If so, who would we trust to draw that line, [certainly not the US Congress].
Pseudo-Scientifics Race Theory
Fox and Wolf write that most people recognize the anti-black propaganda promulgated by groups like the Ku Klux Klan or the Aryan Nation as out-and-out racism, [supported by the Irving Kristol and his Public Interest publication]. But what about the racially tinged theories of intelligence that were promoted by scientist like William Shockley? Or the more respectable but still controversial ideas about genetic inheritance of mental traits found in the writings of scholars like [Richard J. Herrnstein (May 20, 1930 – September 13, 1994) was an American researcher in animal learning in the Skinnerian tradition. He was one of the founders of quantitative analysis of behavior.
His major research finding as an experimental psychologist is called "matching law"—the tendency of animals to allocate their choices in direct proportion to the rewards they provide. To illustrate the phenomenon, imagine that there are two sources of reward, one of which is twice as rich as the other. Herrnstein found in his research that animals often chose at twice the frequency the alternative that was seemingly twice as valuable. This is known as "matching," both in quantitative analysis of behavior and mathematical psychology". He also developed melioration theory with William Vaughan, Jr.
He was the Edgar Pierce Professor of psychology at Harvard University and worked with B. F. Skinner in the Harvard pigeon lab, where he did research on choice behavior and behavioral economics. In 1965, and with Edwin Boring, Herrnstein authored A Source Book in the History of Psychology.
Herrnstein's research focused first on natural concepts and human intelligence in the 1970s, and peaked in prolificacy with the publication of his and Charles Murray's controversial best-selling book, The Bell Curve. Herrnstein died of peritoneal mesothelioma shortly before the book was released].
And his partner in Charles Murray [member and Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, who is an American libertarian political scientist, author, columnist, and pundit currently working as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC. He is best known for his controversial book The Bell Curve, co-authored with Richard Herrnstein in 1994, which argues that intelligence plays a central role in American society.
He first became well known for his Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950–1980 in 1984, which discussed the American welfare system. Murray has also written In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government (1988), What It Means to be a Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation (1996), Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 (2003), and In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State (2006). He published Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality in 2008.
HATE SPEECH AND THE GATEKEEPERS OF THE INTERNET & ONLINE COMMUNITIES: THE WORLDS OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND NARRATIVE CONTROL
Fox and Wolf write that as the Internet has evolved beyond the Web 1.0 world of websites and search engines to the Web 2.0 world of social media, the intermediaries with a vitally important role—perhaps the most important role—are the big social media companies, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. For billions of people around the world, these have become primary portals into the online world—which means that user-generated hate speech [such as that which sparked the Arab Spring and the Orange Revolution], incendiary images [such as white phosphorous being dropped out of bombers on civilians], and other offensive content available through these media can spread with astonishing speed into countless homes [and cell phones via the Internet].
Many assume that social media companies are open portals that exercise no control over the content of their pages. This impression is strengthened by the ease with which individuals can add content at will—writings, pictures, music, videos, links to outside sources, and much more. Members are free to create groups, connect to other individuals, and promote causes, products, or activities they like. A social media site like Facebook appears to be no more than a blank slate, like an empty bulletin board in a public park on which anyone can post any sort of notice with no prior control or editorial oversight.
All of this is true—to a point. But in fact the popular social media sites are businesses that have the power, [US power], the right, and (most would say) the obligation to exercise a degree of control over how their pages are used. They are more like the community bulletin board you might find in the entrance-way of your local supermarket, where the store manager retains the ability to scan [censor] posted notices and remove those he deems unsuitable.
Placing A Limit On Access To Control The Narrative
Fox and Wolf declare that one way the sites exercise their right of control is by limiting access. Facebook, for example, theoretically restricts access to those over age thirteen—but many younger kids are known to find a way to participate, with or without their parents’ permission, [as the GOP accuses the “Nanny State” of doing for adults].
Another way is by limiting the kinds of content can post. Take YouTube, for example. Although the number and variety of video content it contains are mind-bogglingly vast, it is not unlimited. One reason is that copyright law imposes liability on YouTube for the posting of illegal content by its users, unless the company takes certain steps to prevent it or take it down. YouTube makes enormous efforts to make sure that movies and TV shows are not available without the permission of the copyright holder. And YouTube goes to great lengths to ensure that pornography is not broadcast through its service. A cleaver automatic algorithm, for example, is used to detect and eliminate pornography even before anyone spots it and complains about it.
YouTube also has a list of other specific types of content it tries to ban. The list, as posted on YouTube’s community guidelines page, include “gross-out” videos. Most relevant to Fox and Wolf’s theme, users are warned to avoid “hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity).” Helpful examples of each of these categories of barred content are provided on the site. Nonetheless, these guidelines undoubtedly have a subjective element, which means they would be exceedingly difficult or impossible to enforce through the use of technological systems or content-analysis algorithms. Actively engaged human intelligence must be employed in the process.
OTHER INTERNET NARRATIVES OF INTEREST THAT CANNOT BE CENSORED
BBC WORLD SERVICE
Fri, 24 Jan 14
7 days remaining
Tunisia's first constitution / The new German edition of Mein Kampf / Married but living apart
Peace Conference On Syria Opens In Switzerland
The Syrian peace conference is underway as diplomats make public statements filled with accusations and acrimony. The civil war has gone on nearly three years — killing more than 130,000 people and displacing some 9 million others. Much of the fight hinges on whether Syrian President Bashar Assad should remain power. http://www.npr.org/2014/01/22/264742809/peace-conference-on-syria-o...
Steve Inskeep talks to former State Department official Nicholas Burns about the Syrian peace talks which got underway Wednesday at a Swiss resort. No one thinks the conference will end the war but it could resolve issues like humanitarian aid and a temporary stop to the fighting. http://www.npr.org/2014/01/22/264742935/will-peace-conference-on-sy...
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