Thursday, October 08, 2009

Um, Seriously?

Ok, here's one for the "What in the hell is the world coming to?" file. Apparently Levi Johnston is planning to pose Playgirl. Chew on that one for a while, Situationers.

New York Calorie Count

Last year, NY State enacted a policy that gave consumers information on the number of calories in every dish at restaurants throughout the state. Because of the knowledge imbalance between consumer and restaurant, NYS thought by providing people more information on what they eat they would be able to make better decisions, especially in regards to their calorie intake.

After the first year, studies show that the calorie labeling did not reduce calorie intake. In fact, calorie intake increased. In response, libertarians attempt to be first in line to proclaim the nanny state and nanny state legislation does not work.

Yet, something seems odd with the findings. According to the Times:
The study, by several professors at New York University and Yale, tracked customers at four fast-food chains — McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken — in poor neighborhoods of New York City where there are high rates of obesity.

It found that about half the customers noticed the calorie counts, which were prominently posted on menu boards. About 28 percent of those who noticed them said the information had influenced their ordering, and 9 out of 10 of those said they had made healthier choices as a result.

But when the researchers checked receipts afterward, they found that people had, in fact, ordered slightly more calories than the typical customer had before the labeling law went into effect, in July 2008.

The findings, to be published Tuesday in the online version of the journal Health Affairs come amid the spreading popularity of calorie-counting proposals as a way to improve public health across the country.

There seems to be very little discussion of the economic climate and the connection between fast food sales and poverty stricken areas. While this study tentatively shows that, even with better information about food, consumers may not make better choices, the commentary does not discuss the context of the study as well as a Queens resident, interviewed by the Times, who was in Harlem for a job interview and, while at a McDonalds, ordered two cheeseburgers, which contain 600 calories, for two dollars:

When asked if he had checked the calories, he said: “It’s just cheap, so I buy it. I’m looking for the cheapest meal I can.”

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Comps Topic #1: Visual Rhetoric & Ideology

Analyze the following interactive painting from McNaughton Fine Art, playing close attention to the development of a political ideology that constitutes the American Polity. After analyzing the painting, provide an answer to the following question: What is the construction of the American ethos revealed by this painting?

When writing this essay, it is important to note who is included, who is excluded, and who has been represented? Furthermore, you need to identify the god and devil terms and the consequences of those terms as revealed in this painting.

You should complete this answer in two hours.

Thanks to Sully for the link.

Monday, October 05, 2009

There's inherent and there's ideology

Some writers at Conservapedia started the Conservative Bible Project to remove the liberal bias in the Bible and promote Conservative ideology.

At this point, I wish this were a joke. Seriously. The first line in the entry, "Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations," makes about little sense unless of course there is one institution that interprets the different versions of the Bible for all people. But what do I know. Maybe King James, who wore gloves when touching the Bible and asked his writers to include the notion of the Divine Rights of Kings, was liberal after all.

Oh well. At least this projects admits that the Bible is far from inherent and only contains some decent stories. What's best is not to live out the lessons or the stories but instead to change the stories to fit your own ideological precepts.

But, if you still need evidence to adhere to the Conservapedia complaint against liberal bias, here are the arguments that prove liberal bias:

The earliest, most authentic manuscripts lack this verse set forth at Luke 23:34:

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Is this a liberal corruption of the original? This does not appear in any other Gospel, and the simple fact is that some of the persecutors of Jesus did know what they were doing. This quotation is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible.

At Luke 16:8, the NIV describes an enigmatic parable in which the "master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly." But is "shrewdly", which has connotations of dishonesty, the best term here? Being dishonestly shrewd is not an admirable trait.

The better conservative term, which became available only in 1851, is "resourceful". The manager was praised for being "resourceful", which is very different from dishonesty. Yet not even the ESV, which was published in 2001, contains a single use of the term "resourceful" in its entire translation of the Bible.

Socialistic terminology permeates English translations of the Bible, without justification. This improperly encourages the "social justice" movement among Christians.

For example, the conservative word "volunteer" is mentioned only once in the ESV, yet the socialistic word "comrade" is used three times, "laborer(s)" is used 13 times, "labored" 15 times, and "fellow" (as in "fellow worker") is used 55 times.

Well, I hope in the Conservative rewrite, Jesus becomes a CEO rather than a useless vagrant that walks around from town to town, upsetting the locals in the way Socrates did. I mean what type of authority figure, regardless of whether or not he is the Son of G-d, does not have a job or work for a living; is married with children; own guns and hunt; reject homosexuals as the scourges of the earth; support the War in Iraq; and rejects the political authority of his historical time. What kind of role model is this Jesus person any way. And why does he hate markets, private property, and rich people? What a Jackass!!!

"Hear, Hear" to Conservapedia and their ideological crusade!!!

Nut up or shut up

Every evening after Wild Man goes to bed, PW and I watch a little TV, generally while we do various other things around the house or work. In the past few weeks we've seen a lot of commercials for Woody Harrelson's new movie Zombieland. Most of the trailers have included what is apparently Harrelson's character's catch phrase in the film: "Nut up or shut up." Last night, as I was prepping for today's class, PW was watching a football game. And again, we saw a trailer for the movie. This time, however, the catch phrase was changed to "Put up or shut up," and the change had clearly been looped in. It was a very, very noticeable change. Since then I've been wondering what is so offensive about the original phrase that it had to be changed. Is this only an American issue? Last night we were watching an American channel, and we'd always seen the trailers on Canadian channels previously. Why the change? In what rhetorical situation is this particular phrase inappropriate or worthy of censoring?