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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Interruption of This Blog

I will be traveling for two weeks, and I will not post anything here during that time.

I will return home on July 25.

Sometimes you see things you don't want to see

The following article was contributed by reader Nirmala.


Baby and Neil see Lisa and Robbie

Neil and Baby see a disheveled Lisa rushing out of the woods, followed by Robbie. Neil remarks to Baby:
Sometimes in this world,
you see things
you don't want to see.
Listed below are other moments when characters see things they don't want to see.


Penny sees Robbie and Lisa

When the ladies are trying on wigs, Penny looks at Robbie with disdain as he flirts with Lisa.


Baby sees Johnny and Vivian

In the gazebo, Baby watches Johnny dance with Vivian, as Max calls Vivian a "bungalow bunny".


Baby sees Penny

When Neil invites Baby to the kitchen to have something to eat, Baby spots Penny crouched up in a corner, looking distressed.


Baby and Johnny see the Schumachers

While Baby and Johnny are ending their gig at the Sheldrake Hotel, she spots the Schumachers in the audience. Baby fears that the Schumachers might inform Max. As Baby and Johnny drive back to Kellerman's, Johnny remarks that he too noticed them in the audience.


Dr Houseman sees Baby and Johnny

While Penny is suffering from a botched abortion, Dr Houseman asks who is responsible her. Johnny says he is responsible, and Dr. Houseman sees Baby holding onto Johnny’s arm.


Lisa sees Vivian and Robbie

After Lisa confides to Baby that she will "go all the way" with Robbie, Lisa shows up outside his cabin to surprise him. She opens the door and is shocked by the sight of Vivian and Robbie in bed together.


Vivian sees Baby and Johnny

On the following morning, Vivian comes out of Robbie's cabin and notices Baby coming out of Johnny's cabin. Vivian watches Baby and Johnny reluctantly taking leave from each other.


Nirmala contributed previous articles about dog calls and mirrors.

Anyone can submit essays or ideas to me at

Baby Houseman's Thinking About Social Justice -- Part 3

This post follows up Part 1 and Part 2.


Baby Houseman's decision to attend an all-women college suggests some of her thinking about social disadvantages suffered by women.

An article titled Why You Should Consider a Women’s College, written by Carrie Wofford, includes the following passage.
... there are well-documented findings that classrooms of only (or mainly) women students result in those students participating more actively in the classroom, and reporting higher levels of active learning, higher order thinking, and more academic challenge throughout their four years than women in coed settings report.

Students at women's colleges also report more interaction with faculty. It may simply be that faculty take women more seriously and spend more time nurturing their learning when impressive young men aren't around to dominate the classroom and the faculty members' attention. Just ask the women at Harvard Business School, who've been struggling to break through in classroom discussions and professors' eyes.

In women's colleges, faculty and administrators set high standards for the women students and make clear their expectation that the graduates will achieve great things. This surely leaves a lasting impact on the students.

Studies also show that students at women's colleges ... are dozens of times more likely to stick with math and hard science studies than women who attend coed colleges. Not twice as likely to stick with it but dozens of times more likely. Nobody knows why, but the vast majority of women who enter coed colleges thinking they will major in math or chemistry or some other hard science drop out of those fields (as compared to the "soft sciences" such as sociology and psychology). In contrast, women stick with those studies in women's colleges, and go on to careers in those fields. ...
In a coed college, which includes students of both sexes, many female students are impeded by various social factors. Some women feel -- subconsciously or even consciously -- that they should remain subordinate to men, who naturally are the superior sex in society. In this regard, men enjoy social advantages while women suffer social disadvantages, and so society is not fair to women.

Baby perceives this unfairness, but she intends to ameliorate it for herself by attending an all-women college.

Baby's opinions contrast with many other women's opinions, for example:
* women are not disadvantaged in a both-sexes college

* women should reconcile themselves to such disadvantages

* women should enjoy their conventional, subordinate female roles

* men generally excel over women in many activities

* sexual differences should not be considered to be "unfair".
Baby perceives her disadvantage and the unfairness, and she resolves herself to rise above her disadvantaged, unfair situation -- most importantly by attending an all-women college.

Furthermore, Baby perceives that other women's passive acceptance of such disadvantages and unfairness is the consequence of society's persistent, overwhelming "brainwashing" of females from infancy. Females are taught to accept and adopt their own passivity subordination and dependency.  


Michael Harrington's 1962 book The Other America: Poverty in the United States, argued that many poor people remain mired in poverty because of their so-called "Culture of Poverty". This concept had been formulated in the preceding years by sociologist Oscar Lewis, who wrote a series of books about his interviews of poor people in Latin America. Lewis summarized the Culture of Poverty as follows:
The people in the culture of poverty have a strong feeling of marginality, of helplessness, of dependency, of not belonging. They are like aliens in their own country, convinced that the existing institutions do not serve their interests and needs. Along with this feeling of powerlessness is a widespread feeling of inferiority, of personal unworthiness.

This is true of the slum dwellers of Mexico City, who do not constitute a distinct ethnic or racial group and do not suffer from racial discrimination. In the United States the culture of poverty that exists in the black community has the additional disadvantage of perceived racial discrimination.

People with a culture of poverty have very little sense of history. They are a marginal people who know only their own troubles, their own local conditions, their own neighborhood, their own way of life. Usually, they have neither the knowledge, the vision nor the ideology to see the similarities between their problems and those of others like themselves elsewhere in the world.

In other words, they are not class-conscious, although they are very sensitive indeed to status distinctions. When the poor become class-conscious or members of trade union organizations, or when they adopt an internationalist outlook on the world they are, in my view, no longer part of the culture of poverty although they may still be desperately poor.
Harrington's description of the Culture of Poverty was a major reason why his book The Other America became so influential in the early 1960s. In later decades, this aspect of his book has been criticized as "blaming the victims" of poverty. Those critics should read Lewis's books on the subject.


Lewis's description of the Culture of Poverty is confirmed convincingly by Arnulfo C. Hernández Ojeda, a social worker who for many years has counseled poor adolescents in juvenile detention in San Antonio, Texas.

This superb speech about the Culture of Poverty is continued in Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.


Baby Houseman would have recognized the Culture of Poverty, just as she recognized a similar phenomenon which might be called the Culture of Feminine Disadvantage.

Baby might have recognized some characteristics of the Culture of Poverty in Johnny Castle and Penny Johnson.


In contrast to Baby's agreement with Michael Harrington's thinking about poverty in the USA, her father would have agreed largely with Milton Friedman's thinking.


This post concludes my three-part series about Baby Houseman's Thinking About Social Justice.