Tuesday, November 25th 2008

Spohn 2008b
posted @ 8:57 pm in [ ]

I have a new article out, or rather, a chapter (because it’s in a book) in Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Volume 31. The back cover is already pretty flattering:

“Volume 31 of Studies in Symbolic Interaction inaugurates the ‘Blue Ribbon Paper Series’ under the editorship of Lonnie Athens. The papers in this series celebrate cutting-edge theory and research presented at the Couch-Stone Spring Symposium, and the Annual Meetings of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. New Theoretical developments in the areas of everyday life, race, Native Americans, politics [that would be me], performance, Spartan Superhunks, and Persian Monsters in recent Hollywood film are also included.”

I’m in pretty impressive company, but the nicest part is what Athens himself writes in the introduction, where he discusses each of the essays:

“In our fifth blue-ribbon essay, ‘Considering Violentization on the Societal Scale,’ [Meg] Spohn, a new and savvy scholar, evaluates the possible value of violentization theory for understanding problems of intercommunal conflict now dealt with in the field of international relations. In the process, she not only succinctly summarizes the theory and carefully examines the methodology used in its constructions, but also weighs very thoughtfully the positive and negative reactions of others to the theory. The end result of this arduous effort on her part is the most exhaustive and enlightening discussion of this theory in the literature. As the author of violentization theory, I know that I gained some important new insights into my explanation of violence from reading her fiery essay. Paradoxically, Spohn’s training in the field of international relations worked to her advantage rather than disadvantage. Coming from a discipline other than criminology, she had no prior allegiance to any criminological school of thought. Displaying a rare appreciation for and understanding of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, she had no preinstilled preference for one over the other. Thus, she was in a perfect position to provide an evaluation of the theory that was relatively free of bias, especially by present-day academic standards.”

Nice. It’s always a little nervewracking to have your critique of someone else’s theory in turn critiqued by that someone else himself. I was especially pleased that he seemed to approve of the table I created to explain each of the stages of the theory, because I’ve been using it so much. So now I have a 2008a article (in the January issue of Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences), and a 2008b, too.

Saturday, November 22nd 2008

Dr. Meg alert: syndication
posted @ 10:43 pm in [ ]

I’ll be on KGNU again Monday as Dr. Meg. One can listen in at kgnu.org from 12 - 3 MST. I had a great compliment about it this week–the best one since we got a complaint email during the show–no, better! I met a delightful woman whom I hope to be working with in the near future, and she said she’d had a “driveway moment,” where she sat in her car laughing during the segment. I like knowing I’m entertaining others while I’m entertaining myself, and it gives me a shot in the arm for Monday’s show.

Before the show, D.J. Ironfeather and I are going to meet up at the studio and do a little recording for syndication. With any luck, we’ll distribute these segments and you won’t have to listen to Dr. Meg on the Internet (or miss it completely). You’ll be able to get the most recent terrible lifecoaching advice on your local station.

Friday, November 7th 2008

Poke the Penguin
posted @ 12:39 pm in [ ]

A friend of mine just forwarded this to me, and it is the most hilarious thing I’ve experienced since my auntie sent me the Joe Biden quote, “You may be wondering: who is the best man to lead this country? Well, I may be prejudiced, but I say that man is Barack Obama.”

Now, the friend is a furry, so initially I was worried about the kind of penguin-poking he might have in mind. He scratched my ears on Halloween when I was dressed like a tiger, though, so I figured it’d be all right, and it is. Just some nice, wholesome cartoon violence. I laugh out loud every time I overpoke and the penguin… reacts. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 4th 2008

But I want election results nooooooowwwww!
posted @ 2:42 pm in [ ]

Okay, some of the polls are barely even open. But still, I want more busy newsroom punditry and election returns! I’ve been to the CNN interactive map where you can just make all the states blue, and then I did a more honest representation. I’ve been on Twitter a lot today, but you’d expect folks who are high tech enough to be on Twitter to skew toward Obama. They’re skewing pretty profoundly, though, and that’s good to see.

I am face-leakingly proud of my countrymen and women today, though. Record turnouts everywhere, millions and millions of brand new voters (and you know they don’t register to vote for the first time just to vote for the same old crusty guy), and the pride and hope and possibility of folks waiting reverently to vote and loving it.

My very, very favorite part, though, is all the African-American kids who, just in the last few months, really started to believe. I saw an interview of a handful of random schoolkids on TV recently, and they just beamed with fresh hope and possibility. A few things struck me all at once: the magic of the moment; that as hopeful as Obama makes me, that blaze of hope is nothing compared the roaring bonfire those kids were experiencing; that if these kids didn’t believe they could do anything or be the President before now, Affirmative Action has not yet outlived its usefulness; that we as a nation will never be the same again.

I am fiercely proud of all my fellow Americans, young and old, born and naturalized, who have voted, or will today, for the first time or the thousandth. After the partial theft of our country these last years, I am even more proud of all of you who are waiting in line, because you know there is nothing more important right now than your vote, and you honor us all with your patience. Snatch our nation back, my fellow citizens! Snatch it back and hold it!

Monday, November 3rd 2008

Tomorrow is a wonderful day!
posted @ 11:35 pm in [ ]

I have been looking forward to tomorrow my whole life. I’m not sure what it will feel like to have an incredible, inspiring president, but I’m keen to find out. Vote if you haven’t already (you know I have–weeks ago!), and get everybody you know to vote (correctly), too.

A number of folks have contacted me in the last few weeks, nervously inquiring about which way Colorado might be leaning. It’s been really wild living in a swing state. Living in Massachusetts, I rarely ever saw a national political ad. Here, though, I feel like I haven’t seen a commercial for an actual product in weeks. Colorado is sort of always a swing state, though, even if Washington-based pundits don’t really seem to get that.

Democratic Governor Bill Ritter won here in no small part because he really understands the political affections of Coloradans (my computer’s speller says “Coloradoans,” but that just looks so weird, and I know local media has been saying “Coloradans” for years… oh, well). Folks here don’t tend to be fiercely party-affiliated like east coasters—it’s more like a spectrum of Independents. The “conservatives” hereabouts are also less like the hard-core right-wingers I grew up with and more like Libertarians. Ritter was so smart not to link up issues and party affiliations too much. Here, party affiliation is fluid and issues define politics and votes, not the other way around.

It’s also a funny thing with the kinds of issues that come up here. In New England, conservationists are liberal to the core. Here, they transcend parties, because of things like mineral rights, outdoor sports and preservation efforts, Colorado pride in its almost alarming, in-your-face natural beauty, and open attitudes about hunting and fishing. Folks who would identify themselves as very liberal are often “green” because they consider it politically right, and they care about the environment on principle. But the most conservative self-identified Colorado Springs holy-roller would likely vote similarly on a lot of the same “green” legislation because he likes to go camping with his family and doesn’t want to see their favorite spots get overdeveloped. Or because his dad will get screwed out of land and mineral rights or might not be able to hunt on his own land later on if that legislation gets passed. The “traditional” alliances around issues don’t fall along party lines here.

Bill Ritter called it right because he didn’t make any bigger a deal out of party affiliations than was necessary, he is concerned with issues everyone cares about (and about which many Coloradans are of the same mind, even if they’re not convinced about the details of how to get there), and he’s awash in western modesty. I voted for him, and he exceeded my expectations.

I have similar hopes for Mark Udall tomorrow. He’s a good guy. He was one of the guests during the C-SPAN class as well as being the Rep from the district right up the street from me. His message of rejecting partisan bickering and focusing on what’s good for Colorado in general, along with a strong dose of basic fairness, is likely to go a very long way with local voters. He’s also hot in that rugged, friendly Colorado way. Besides, his opponent comes off like a rich, snarky jerk. Good luck to ya, Mark! You take that high road!

Am I seeing some McCain signs around? Yes. And although I cannot fathom why they’re there (all his support seems to be based on misinformation), I’m still not worried. Colorado got hit hard in the mortgage crisis, and a lot of folks here have really gotten hosed over the last eight years. They’re fed up in that quiet, western, rational way. The last guy screwed us. We want nothing to do with him, his policies, or people who might do similar things. It’s not rocket science. Take heart, my fellow Americans. Colorado is looking mighty blue from here. In a happy way.