Alan Wilson


Final Project

Part 1) Religion is what we believe. In western culture we believe in Media.

The religious artifacts housed in the Cloisters represent not just christianity; they represent of a belief structure. Now these artifacts are considered by tourists from a distance of another belief system. Even though the Cloisters is meant to be a whole representation of a culture in that it houses European christian artifacts from the middle ages at one site (and that site is also an artifact). The artifacts can not help but be decontextualized. They were once a part of an active culture. Now little placards with historical factoids intellectually situate the artifacts within our distant culture. We are seeing these artifacts through a cultural telescope. In an ironic way, the factoids recontextualize the artifacts. The artifacts have a new life. They are no longer living icons imbued with religiosity; they are art-works. But this is the nature of our being. We can not know everything from every angle. We must know things from our perspective. And that perspective is our cultural mythology.

How we know the facts that the news selects for us is contextualized by the nature of the motion graphics that house the talking heads.

Part 2) This is the Circus that sells the mythology. Each sub-culture buys into it’s own mythology. Mythology is manufactured by owners of cultural production in order to establish cultural hegemony. But the owners of cultural production are not necessarily a monolithic power. There are times when there are cracks in the power structure. There are times when democracy is more democratic and more people are enfranchised. Establishing and maintaining and growing enfranchisement begins with literacy in the production of cultural mythology.

Bosco was a popular Loony Tunes character produced by Warner Brothers during the Great Depression. Warner Brothers is now part of Time Warner Inc. Time Warner Inc is traded on The NYSE as TWX. This is their current value:

Current $83.89 Change -0.33 -0.39% on Volume 916,286 Previous close $ 84.23 Day low $83.84 Day high $84.67

Time Warner also produces news.

Part3) These are the others. They are other from each other because they have different belief systems. Those belief systems are to some extent based on mythologies. Particular mythologies target each group according to what market the owners of production have calculated they are in. There are profits to be made in differentiating and perpetuating otherness.

The police in Ferguson have a coherent view of the way society should be ordered. The protesters (Mostly African American) also have a coherent view of the way that society should be ordered. I have my own view of how society should be ordered which probably more closely coincides with the view point of the protesters. This means that for me the police are more the other than the protesters. But both sides, to some extent are others from me.

Like many people, I could not understand how the militarized police could not see themselves as I saw them. I saw a clear asymmetry of power. I saw systems of power that had abused power in order to make profit and that were posturing righteously in order to protect their station. They were posturing righteously in order to offensively defend their sense of honor. But rather than seeing an unfair and unjust situation, the police who geared up for battle, saw lawlessness that had to be quelled. But their sense had to be based only on the present situation at hand. In order to maintain their view and do the job that they felt was necessary they had to disregard the culture that gave rise to the situation.

I am white. I have a European heritage. Because I am in a mixed race marriage I have personally experienced redlining. But I don't have to personally worry about getting pulled over every other time I drive a car. I don't get followed by grocery store security when I go to buy a snickers. I can see it happening to others who I am close to, but I don't feel it in the same way as if it happened to me personally. The African American residents of Ferguson were disproportionately subject to these indignities.

It is hard to know exactly how people close to you feel. You might know their opinions. But even in close relationships there are failures of understanding. How much more difficult is it to see through the eyes of the distant other?