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Monday, August 20, 2012

Quantum Psychology, Chapter 9

(I enjoyed Chapter 9, and I will simply reproduce the exercizes here; if you think any of them are hard to do on the Internet, just skip the ones you don't like -- Tom)

1. Try to explain the difference between a Playboy centerfold and a nude by Renoir. Discuss among the whole group and see if you can arrive at a conclusion that makes sense when stated in operational-existential language.

2. Perform the same delicate semantic analysis upon a soft-core porn movie and a hard-cover porn movie. Remember: try to keep your sentences operational, and avoid Aristotelian essences and spooks.

3. When U.S. troops entered Cambodia, the Nixon administration claimed this "was not" an invasion, because it "was only" an incursion. See if anybody can restate this difference in operational language.

4. The C.I.A. refers to certain acts as "termination with maximum prejudice." The press describes these acts as "assassinations." Try to explain to teach other the difference.

Also, imagine yourselves as the victims. Do you care deeply whether your death gets called "termination with maximum prejudice" or "assassination"?

5. In the 1950s, the film The Moon is Blue became a center of controversy and actually got banned in some cities because it contained the word "virgin." How does this seem in retrospect? Discuss. (If anybody finds Mr. Carlin's paraphrased jokes offensive let them explain why the above film no longer seems offensive.)


Unknown said...

The difference lies in the intent of the creator. However the aesthetic value of traditional nudes were more tangible while playboy can be purchased at a convenient store.

One shows sex organs and the other does not. This allows soft core to be shown on television more easily than hardcore. Soft core is a euphemism for hardcore.

I'm not familiar with this mission however I believe the intent is once again a deciding factor. US troops were not there to dismantle a government or occupy sovereign territory for extended time, thus Nixon deemed the event as not an invasion. Once again I don't know enough about the particular incident and am unable to research currently. 

The term is just an euphemism that the CIA feels may garner less blowback from americans. I would not care what term was used on me.

This seems silly to have occurred. Was the virgin mary also regarded negatively? I think not. I once again refer to the intent or lack of "holy" intent as the reasoning of those doing the banning.

I speculate on all of these and offer My thoughts as such and not as a defense of actions.

Eric Wagner said...

Duality suggestion: good and bad.

Eric Wagner said...

1. Today when I think about Renoir, I think about him in relationship with his son the film director, whereas the last time I worked through this book I just thought about him as a painter. I tend to encounter nudes by the elder Renoir in art museums and/or "art" books, whereas I have encountered Playboy centerfolds in magazine regarded by some as "sexist" or "pornographic."

2. A "soft-core" film doesn't show full frontal male nudity or penetration.

3. I think perhaps the Nixon adminstration meant they did not intend for a state of war to exist between the US and Cambodia. They just wanted to pursue some hostile non-Cambodian forces.

4. I don't feel up to this one today.

5. I haven't seen "The Moon Is Blue," but standards change. The word "shift" provoked a riot in Dublin a century ago. (A shift refers to a woman's undergarment.)

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I'll try this myself, then look at the other answers. Let's see how many of these I feel comfortable tackling:

1. A "Playboy" nude reflects what many Americans considered "sexy" during a certain time: A young woman 18-25, usually white, who is slender, pretty and has large breasts.

2. A hard core movie would be one that explicitly depicts the genitals performing sexual acts.

3. Nixon makes an easy target, but I think the difference is clear here: The troops were in Cambodia for a raid, not to occupy the territory.

4. I'll need some help with the difference.

5. In retrospect, I wonder if there are certain Muslim countries where the film would still be controversial.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

1. I like the distinction that Eric draws between the source and intent of the two kinds of nudes. If I look at a nude in a museum and say, "Gee, she's kind of hot," am I a "bad" viewer of art? What about if I look at a centerfold and instead of focusing on the attributes of the woman, I say, "this was artfully posed." Am I missing the "point"?

Thom Foolery said...

Better late than never, right.

1. A Playboy centerfold has a staple in the middle, a Renoir nude does not. To me, that is the fundamental difference. One could argue that the Playboy isn't art, while the Renoir is, but last time I checked, there is no consensus on what constitutes art. (Also interesting to note--my fundamentalist Christian father once saw a poster of a Renoir nude in the window of a campustown shop in Madison, WI, and complained about them putting porn in the windows, and he wasn't being facetious. So not everyone sees a difference between Hugh Hefner and Renoir on this issue.)

2. Agreed with you all on this one. Soft-core (or "hairy, bobbing man-ass" in the words of Bill Hicks) pornography doesn't show explicit sexual intercourse (i.e., male genitals, penetration, etc.). Whether explicit sexuality makes it hard-core porn or "legitimate" film is explored by director Catherine Breillat, among others.

3. Perhaps an invasion differs from an incursion because of the intent. I also think the definition depends on precisely whom is doing the invading/"incursioning" (in the same way that dichotomies like guerilla/freedom fighter, etc., depend on the a priori ideological commitments of the one choosing the terms).

4. I agree with Mike. The difference is that "termination with maximum prejudice" is a euphemism to make the reality more palatable. I don't think I would care whether I were terminated with extreme prejudice or assassinated, because in either case I would be dead.

5. In retrospect, it seems quaint and naive. Of course, that makes me wonder which truths that we take for granted will be seen as quaint and naive a half-century from now...

phodecidus said...

1. Renoir hasn't painted a Playboy centerfold.

2. Renoir hasn't painted one of these either. Though I'd probably watch a pornographic film with animated watercolors or oil-paints.

3. I'm with Eric on this one.

4. Interesting because I work in entry-level corporate retail where employees get 'terminated' rather than 'fired'. I'd rather get fired, which sounds like it might hurt, than terminated, which sounds like an assassination.

5. I haven't seen The Moon is Blue and it doesn't seem like anyone else commenting here has either. Do I smell a conspiracy? Someone needs to track down this film and find out why THEY don't want us watching it.