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Slee's blog: "school stuff"

created on 06/28/2007  |  http://fubar.com/school-stuff/b96492
Yah, I do the whole reppitition thing. I say the same thing over again using different words and examples for several pages. If people don't quite get it by the end of the paper, they probably ain't going to. America’s Materialism- Crafted by the socially acceptable prejudice against the “ have-nots “ An American child’s first words are generally object words. They learn the names of things, rather than descriptions of them, or actions people take. A psychology teacher I had asked the class why children first learned object words before they learned other words. My answer was that it was because we live in a materialistic society. The “ real “ answer was that we emphasize these important words at the enc of sentences with our voices. The question I didn’t ask, ( because it’s a brutal process trying to ask this teacher questions ) is why do we emphasize object words at the end of our sentences instead of descriptive words, or action words when talking to children?? From the time we are children, we are taught the importance of things. Often times we are taught to, and how to take care of our things more, and before we are taught to take care of ourselves. Toys cost money, so be careful not to break them. Objects of every kind become our rewards for being good. These two aspects emphasize the importance of things and the roles they play in happiness. Even as children we begin to form distinctions between the “ haves “and the “ have-nots “. The things people posses are what makes them cool or uncool. People are cool if they have cool toys, they are somehow elevated in our minds if they have something we want but don’t have. The thing that makes this sick and sad, and hard for me to understand is people fuckin discriminate against themselves!!!! Or against people like themselves. If people walk in somewhere, and they make about as much as the service attendant, the service attendant will treat them worse than the guy who makes a whole lot more than they do. They might not even acknowledge them in some cases. Even the have-nots discriminate against the have-nots. The things we have, or at least the things people know we have, determine how people treat us. If you don’t believe me, dress up in old poor-person looking clothes and walk around town. Then dress up in richer nicer looking clothes and drive around in a nice car. Go to a strip-club in old jeans and a t-shit. Then go to one wearing black pants and a “nice” shirt. . “ Today our means of competition is the accumulation and display of symbols of status. “ ( Joan Kron 112 ) People have a need to acquire more things, and better things because they believe those things make them who they are. ( Sometimes people get those things to try to make them who they are not ). It makes sense that people think this, because people treat them differently depending on the things they display, and they treat other people differently depending on what other people display. “ That’s just how the world works. “ People accept this bullshit blindly, follow it and perpetuate is as if they have no real conscious, or at least not one with a spine. ( The ability to function, and sometimes the increased ability to function in the world while missing what would seem to be key pieces of anatomy has always bewildered me. ) “ The ethic of decency has been upstaged by the ethic of success.” ( Shame 78 ). We measure ourselves by our money and our stuff, and then in turn measure other people the same way. “ We human beings are not only toolmakers but symbol makers as well, and we use out possessions in the same way we use language- the quintessential symbol – to communicate with one another. “ ( Joan Kron 115) Possessions speak a language we all understand and we pay close attention to the inflections, vernacular, and exclamations. “ (Kron 115 ) So basically, we are judged by our things and so we do the same to others. It’s important to realize that every one uses language in their own way. People have their different wavelengths. It’s also important to remember the communication model. We filter out information through our experiences ant thoughts, then it comes out our mouths and through the other person’s filters created by their experiences and thoughts, eventually reaching them. This happens the same way in our communication with your symbols. I color my hair about once a month. Before it comes about, it passes through my filters- I’m an artist, I like colorful things, I don’t like brown, ( it’s the color my hair grows, some refer to it as my “natural” hair color. It’s not though. I have to vigorously fight my nature to keep my hair brown. It’s completely against my nature, and there for unnatural. ) I can have my hair any color I want it, and it helps satisfy my need to be creative, that I don’t have much time to get met because I’m busy with school. So then I color my hair. It’s something I can enjoy having done every time my hair gets in my eyes, or when I pass by a mirror. It passes through someone’s filters - It draws their attention, and maybe other people they know have done it to get attention, they may have been taught contempt, or a disdain towards people with colored hair, they may have known someone they did, or didn’t like with colored hair, they may envy the fact that other people “ can “ ( everyone can color their hair, it’s just some people are brainwashed, or spineless, or are just evil people who feel it’s good to perpetuate social stigmas, and socially acceptable prejudice often covered up by the use of the “P” word ( professional/ism ) or the “A” word ( appropriate ) ) color their hair, or many other filters. It finally gets to them as I’m stupid, childish, or I color my hair for attention. Or sometimes people might interpret it as I’m gay because my hair is pink, or purple, or some other “ gay “ or “ girly “ color. I really don’t like much attention. I have a great deal of social anxiety, It took me a year after getting out of the army to get into school because of it. I uste ( I hate the word Used in that context, so I made my own word. ) to spray my hair colors in my room and not ever even go anywhere. It was fun though, it was artwork on my hair. As far as being gay, I can admire the beauty or handsomeness of some men, however I’m no fan of their lips, mouths, voices, or reproductive organs. I am no way sexually attracted to them. I know, you are probably thinking “ That’s more than I really wanted to know. “ . It is a firsthand example of how these symbols can be misinterpreted though. Joan Kron talks about how this system of symbols communicates well. ( 116 ) It may communicate about as well as regular communication, but only if people who are actively using it to communicate. I may be a minority, but there are enough people who don’t, or rarely use things as symbols to communicate, to make it an unreliable means of communicating, or thinking someone is communicating. I think it was Sigmund Froid who said “ Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. “ And George Carlon said “ And sometimes it’s a big brown dick!! “ “American companies manufacture status symbols because American consumers want them. “ ( Jack Solomon 411 ) If it weren’t for his Mercedes-bens and Manhattan townhouse, the parvenu Wall Street millionaire often couldn’t b4 distinguished from the man who tailor his suits. Hence the demand for status symbols, for the objects that mark one off as a social success, is particularly strong in democratic nations – stronger even than in aristocratic societies, where the aristocrat so often looks and sound different from every else. – ( Solomon 411 ) People buy things to prove their status to others. Marketers know this and then make products to make them feel special and/or allow them to show their status? What really came first, the chicken or the egg? Maybe marketers created the idea that stuff, and particularly their stuff, would make us “ cooler “, or seem more socially elite. Either way, people often by things to feel special and to show other people that they are special. Some people have that need for recognition, and the attention it brings them. ( That may be why they assume I color my hair for attention. ) They know other people will treat them differently depending on the stuff they have, and they like to be treated well. Buying nice things to get treated better is easier for some people than simply treating other people pleasantly to get pleasingly themselves. Instead of simply treating people with respect, they demand to be treated with respect because of their objects. It has become the expectation because people have seen it work for other people, and sometimes, ( if not most of the time ) it works for them, The funny part to these “ symbols “ is they can backfire. People see these symbols and they see dollar signs. They will charge people with these symbols more than ordinary people because they know they can get it. The prices of these important symbols are often inflated because the demand is so high for them. Jewelry is a good example of this, I’ve heard the mark-up is a few hundred percent. Luxury versions of normal cars are a good example too. Ford executive decided to build a luxury version of the Expedition, the Lincoln Navigator. They bolted a new grill on the expedition, changed a few body panels, add some sound insulation, took a deep breath, and charged forty-five thousand dollars-and soon Navigator were flying out the door nearly as fast as expeditions. ( Malcolm Gladwell 1) These same symbols can be misinterpreted and cause problems. My brother has and old Jaguar. ( It’s about ten years old ) Parts for it are expensive. When people see it, or hear he has it when he’s asking how much something on it would cost to fix, he can see dollars signs in their eyes and hear them in their voice. If he had lots of money, he’s have a new car, not one that is ten years old!! I bought my earrings partly because I really liked them, and partly to be my own personal status symbol. I have no idea the actual message they send out, if any. Marketers present us with stuff as symbols. They tell us what it means, and how it will make us look. Then “ we “ decided whether we want to convey that meaning about ourselves. We also attach our own meanings on to things we and other people have. “ We “ then treat other people according to the meanings the symbols they have conveyed. This makes us value and strive for these objects more, due to how we are treated by having them or not having them. It helps make the getting of these objects more important than anything else. It also breeds contempt for those who don’t care about, and so don’t acquire these status symbols. They ( help to ) create the miscommunication that comes from misinterpreting the status symbols. “ I leave the symbols for the symbol minded. “ my hero again, George Carlon. ( He was talking about other symbols, but I think it still fits this situation. ) The people who don’t have status symbols, whether by choice, or by lack of funds or connections are then discriminated against because society places so much value on these symbols. People look down on you if you don’t have an “ acceptable” car, “ nice “ clothes, or sometimes people will even discriminate against you based on your shoes… I’m guessing someone saw the human nature, made the ads, the ads capitalize on and amplify this part of human nature, and the cycle has continued for many years. An in-group/out-group bias is somewhat normal. “ We “ ( as in – it seems to be in most people’s nature to ) discriminate or at least have prejudices against people not in our group. The status symbol phenomenon has transcended this. It has made both the “ In-group “ or cool people, the “haves” ( or whatever you want to call them ) discriminate against the “ Have-Nots ” as well as the “ Have-nots “ discriminate against the “ Have-Nots “. Somehow it has fooled people into thinking they really aren’t as good as the other people. This somewhat happened with early segregation in schools. Some of the minority children ended up thinking the other children were “ better “ than them. ( Probably due to how each was treated ) I’ve seen the same thing growing up in Utah. Many members of the dominant religion act like there is something wrong with the people who aren’t part of it, and then some of those people come to believe it They then begin to measure themselves by “ standards ” they don’t even believe in. Again, it’s the majority dominating the majority. In the special status symbol case however, IT’S THE MINORATY DISCRIMINATING AGAINST THE MAJORATY!!!!! Not only that but it’s the MAJORATY DISCRIMINATING AGAINST THE MAJORATY !!! The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer, and not even the poor like the poor. I’ve heard fat people making comments about fat people, and there’s some minorities who have been discriminated against discriminate against other minorities. Religions that have been chased out of other states then settle and have no respect for other religions and cultures. So I guess ether bottom line is- people suck, it doesn’t really matter what group they are in. .References Maasik, Sonia, and Jack Solomon, ed. Signs of Life in the USA. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2006. Kron, Joan, “ The semiotics of Home Décor “Maasik and Solomon 109-119 Shames, Laurence. “The More Factor.” Maasik and Solomon 76-82 Solomon Jack, “ Masters of Desire: The culture of American Advertising” Maasik and Solomon 409-419 Gladwell,Malcom “ Commerce & Culture Big And Bad How the S.U.V. ran over automotive safety “
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