Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Review of a Talk by Democracy Now's Amy Goodman

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Brief Summary.

I always give a ranking between 0 and 100% based on how much they get right.    This one gets a 50%---half right. (If one is a 'negative ' person, with a bad attitude in need of extensive, expensive psychotherapy, who always says 'the glass is half empty', rather than 'half full', then one would say the talk was 'half wrong'.)

For comparison, talks i saw by Marc Kac (mathematical physics), John Wheeler (physics), Herbert Simon (economics) and Michael Freedman (math ) got 90% right.  (The part they got wrong was that I couldn't understand half of what they were talking about ---I'm sure it wasn't my problem since I'm very intelligent--my IQ has been measured and its 6 feet tall though it fluctuates between 140 and 160 pounds).

This lecture reminded me of another one I also gave a 50% to.  This was given by a health professional associated with GWU, about AIDS---prevention, treatment, and how to live with it. I went basically as a       volunteer (it was an AIDS education project) because I'd been invited when I was at some conference on 'urban anthropology' at AU.  The lecture was given in a 'housing project' in SE DC----that project is pretty 'notorious' for the number of homicides and shootings that happen in that area. The people who attended that lecture were all from that project; many had AIDS which they got either through use of contaminated needles to adminster heroin---their medication of choice, opportunity, and neccesity---or unsafe sex. I found the  lecture to be very basic.

 The person who gave it (a self described 'communist') i found to be condescending to me ('i'm a brilliant academic, down with the 'hood, and a communist---and holier than thou), but got along with the people there. She brought along her whole 'crew'---a bunch of white grad students, teachers, and professors---the only white people there besides me.  I realized these people were basically making money or getting college credit. I wasn't getting anything except an introduction to that community---which is good to have.  I was told the lecture wasn't adapted to me--its adapted for people with a low education.  I said, ok, but then  don't ask me to waste my time. We later went out on the street to hand out condoms.

That was how Amy Goodman's lecture was.  She was also making money---selling books and DVD's to fund her 100 city tour around the USA. She repeated the same 'stump speech' i had already heard on the radio and i heard part of it again today.  It wasn't for me.

It was for the people who went---in this case a basically fairly middle class crowd, probably 2/3 white and 2/3 over 50, with the rest a scattering of 'POC's' and millenials.  Given that it was a benefit for WPFW radio. I was a bit surprised---that is a fairly black oriented radio station, and some young people are involved.

I guess if you haven't heard of the Adventures of Amy Goodman this would be a good lecture. She has been everywhere, done everything, nearly been killed quite a few times, like many journalists. She has seen the way the world is more than most people. But its sort of like a lecture about 'how i climbed mount everest'.

Her analyses---that journalism is the key to having a democratic society is off mark in my view..  She went through a whole litany of causes she's covered on her news program Democracy Now---which i personally call Democracy Whenevuh. Occupy Wall Street, Ralph Nader's campaign, the Arab Spring and many more. These from some views were all losing campaigns.  (She noted the Arab Spring is an uncompleted revolution towards a democratic and peaceful mideast, and that all or many of the activists are in jail. On the other hand, Democracy Now is now broadcast on 1000 radio stations and her book is on the NY Time's bestseller list. Not everyone, I guess, wins in the Revolution).

I had got 2 tickets for this--i was going to take someone to see this since the person is strait up 'from the hood' ---with everything that means. I fugured the education might help. Person decided not to go (so i gave the other ticket to someone i knew--an affordable housing advocate).  I also go with this person for security---strength in numbers. To go where  Amy Goodman talked , I have to pass 2 'bad corners' so I like to have someone with me. I went by em yesterday---on the way, in the day,  and coming back, after dark. I noticed very few people were hanging out, which was unusual.  When i got home, I looked up the local police report and it said the police had picked up one guy for a homicide at one of the corners recently, and at the other place yesterday the police noticed someone was driviing without lights on at nite--so they stopped the car, and then shots were fired, people jumped out and fled and were throwing their guns in the bushes. Some got caught.  This is why noone was at those corners.  (The other corner which is near my place, now seems safe, where there is a store I often shop at to pick up a few things---its a nice upscale place owned by Ethiopans----had 2 police out front---one in a van, the other on a bike.  I decided to stop there. The previous owner was killed during a robbery a few years ago on July 4th.)

I did learnfrom Amy G that Donald Rumsfield, and/ or Dick Cheney (of George W Bush)  now own a property near the Chesapeake Bay (a place people used to harvest crabs and ocean bass from but are now worried may turn into an open sewer).  This property was in the past a place where Frederick Douglass (a famous escaped slave who met with Lincoln) was tortured---a perfect place for Rumsfeld and Cheney to party (bring some ho's over there on their government pensions). Its called 'Misery Hill'.

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I'm pretty leniant and negotiable on grading.  We can discuss it.

There are maybe 3 considerations---first, maybe i. didn't get it or missed something.
(I was so bored i just started working on trying to remember my various math problems I've been working on for the last 20 years.  I haven't worked on them recently so I almost have to start from scratch---its like I'm writing a book, have written half of the planned 10 chapters, but don't have the 5 chapters I' have written with me, so I can't remember the plot.  .    Maybe that is why I should raise the grade to 60%).

Also, it does provide 'know nothings' with things they didnt know--many of them likely know a whole lot of other things, and dont have time to learn about what Amy Goodman knows about. So add some points.

Also, one can consider 'payola'.  Supposing I got a job with that organization then I could say journalism improves the (or at least my) world.

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Today's topic at another discussion (fortunately at nite so I can enjoy the nice weather today) is on psychology--3 different speakers, tho again i'm a bit too overeducated to enjoy it, and its actually going to be held in a music venue which has a mixed rep in DC---it often doesn't let local bands play there which is not appreciated---they dont like 'the girl next door' but only the ones from Hollywood or NYC, and also once was almost closed down when they threw out one of its patrons who then proceeded to shoot the windows out and someone got hurt or killed. One speaker will discuss 'deception' (used to work in  army interrogation in iraq), another on 'aphasia' (problems with understanding language and communicating) , and last on 'arousal' or hyperactivity (why people can't sit still---one among many of my problems).

Tomorrow's is on 'can semantics be derived from syntax'. I'd call this 'is there any signal in all that noise'? I hear on CSPAN now they are discussing 'censorship' by Facebook and Google of conservative discussions, and ads for payday loans. One person's wheat is another person's chaff. Vultures live off carcasses.



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