The "C" Branch

Jaded commentary on random shit, with an extra helping of cynicism, satire and general contempt for society & Western culture, religion, politics, celebrities, technology, business & more.

Dec 27

American Society Deems Affection “Tacky”

This is the first of a two-part series.

Or at least it seems so. Last month, a thirteen-year old Middle School student from Illinois received two detentions for hugging her friends while saying goodbye for the weekend. Sam McGowen, the school district’s superintendent, was addressed regarding the issue. He contended that the punishment was in fact fair, referring to the school’s student handbook. So, referring to the handbook, one will find the following clause:

“Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved.�

This is simply appalling. Affection, apparently, is now considered “poor taste,” and “poor judgement.” This handbook does not seem to say that is it bad to show affection only at the school, but appears instead to state that this is true of affection in general. So, remember as you hug your son or daughter before they go to bed tonight, the next time you see your boy/girlfriend, or the next time you see grandma, don’t show affection! Be American and give them a good, cold and impersonal American greeting.

Perhaps this seems outrageous to many, who still believe in the importance of affection, interaction, and human embrace. Unfortunately, however, it truly does reflect changes that are taking place in American society as a whole. Compared to many other countries, the physical interaction between Americans is quite cold. It is not customary in American society for people to embrace each other, show their affection for one another, or even communicate sufficiently with one another. This, not coincidentally, reflects many of the widespread problems that plague American society. Without live communication, affection, and other personal interaction among people, it is simply impossible for a society to exist.

The definition of society simply requires that. Virtually all the definitions I found of society demanded “interaction,” and “similar interest.” My favorite, however, came from a Bioethics dictionary:

1. an enduring and co-operating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another. 2. a community or broad grouping of people having common tradition, institutions and collective activities and interests;

Society implies community. You simply cannot have society without community. A group of people living in the same spot under the same government may be part of the definition of society, but it is not complete. Unfortunately, it seems that America is losing the sense of what community is. This can be demonstrated in basically all aspects of American society, particularly the family – the most basic unit of society.

In a society where we communicate less and less, are so busy that we have less and less time to spend with people, and are discouraged from showing affection to one another, it should be no surprise to us that the divorce rate continues to rise at an alarming rate, that crime and murder rates are rising, that kids are bringing guns and other weapons to schools, that domestic abuse is rampant, that we are running out of space in prisons, and that more and more people are walking the streets at night, homeless and hungry.

How can we expect people to spend the rest of their lives together happily when they simply cannot communicate, and have little time to spend together?

How can we expect children to get along peacefully when their socialization comes more from movies, video games, and television shows filled with violence, conflict, and poor taste more than it comes from us teaching them to love and embrace? Should we really be surprised when they show up at school with guns? I mean, it’s not like they spend more time texting and talking with people on IM than they do in real person. After all, we were too busy to teach them the right way anyways, right?

And of course, how could we possibly address the needs of those around us when we’re clearly so busy? Besides, we can’t possibly afford to give away any of our money, possessions, or resources. We need those for ourselves!

So, in the end, should we really be surprised when we look around at all the problems that face us and our so called “society” or whatever it has become now?

Continue with Part 2: Taking Our Society Back.

Dec 12

Maybe They’ll Name Him “John”

I came across quite an article this morning, which you can see here. Apparently, a woman from Tai Dong managed to deliver her own baby, in the bathroom of a train…and then flush him down a toilet.

I am still trying to desperately fathom how on earth this would be possible. The baby was 6 pounds. How on earth does a 6 pound baby even begin to fit through the hole in a toilet?

Even more shocking, rescuers came and were successfully able to cut the baby out of the pipes and save it.

So, is this story plausible? It seems highly unlikely, but we might never know if it was just made up or really happened.

At any rate, maybe they’ll name him “John.”

Dec 03

Wikipedia to Pay Contributors

Wikipedia has just announced that it will be offering payment for its contributors. Don’t get too excited just yet, though, thinking that you can go write articles on Wikipedia and make money for them. Wikipedia is only offering payment for needed diagrams and other images, a list for which it will release soon.

Basically, this is possible because a man named Philip Greenspun discovered information – information that he originally published online – published in a book. Something was very different about the information’s presentation in the book, however, and that was the use of diagrams, pictures, and illustrations used to compliment his text. So, Greenspun has decided to donate $20,000 to Wikipedia so that it can pay people to create diagrams, pictures, and illustrations for its articles. He and Wikipedia are hoping that this will help give Wikipedia an edge in its competition with other encyclopedias, like Britannica.

Wikipedia will soon be releasing a list of 50 such illustrations that it would like created. People will be able to submit their work, and if Wikipedia chooses it for the article, that person will earn $40. So here’s a fair heads-up to any interested graphic designers out there…watch for that list!

To read more, see The New York Times’ article here.