Monthly Archives: February 2007

Dr. Ray Hagins: Keeping It Real

the show with zefrank
Ray knows a thing or two about respect. And about applied anthropology.

UPDATE: Transcript of that episode. And more info about Ray a.k.a. Sa Ra.

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Closer to Fair Use Codification?

Digital Fair Use bill introduced to US House (sans teeth)

If passed, the FAIR USE Act will amend the DMCA to codify recent exceptions granted to the anti-circumvention rules by the Register of Copyrights, which include some allowances for obsolete technologies and cell phone unlocking.

Doesn’t sound like a whole lot, especially since the bill specifically does not address some of the most controversial parts of the DMCA. But if codifying fair use is the goal (as fair use is not yet guaranteed, in the United States), maybe this bill can shake things up at least a bit.

It’s quite interesting to see how a large majority of citizens agree that things need to change yet a handful of corporate entities enforce the status quo without much apparent effort.

It’s also quite funny how many bills in the U.S. have acronyms designed to work as expressions. This one is:  Freedom And Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007. Catchy!


Research and Regulations

Talk about chilling effects

Colleges and Universities – Institutional Review Boards – Ethics – New York Times

Interesting that the NYT should take this issue on. Because of its readership, it might have an impact. Many researchers have, in fact, been having these discussions, including in ethnographic disciplines.


Self-Help and Sociology

On a recent episode of his video podcast, ze frank made some parallels between “changing your life” and “being perceived by others”: the show with zefrank: most popular.

To me, ze’s ideas connect the sociological perspective on “labeling” (especially in Howie Becker‘s approach) with the notion of “networking for social mobility” in the context of “self-help” or “self-improvement” (typical of U.S.-style Calvinism).

What struck me is that these ideas are quite related to what I perceive to be at stake in much craft beer culture, especially in terms of cultural and social identity.


CAs and Heroism

Watched George Stroumboulopoulos’s The Hour last night. He did an interview with Canada’s Auditor General Sheila Fraser who is widely known for her role in unveiling the sponshorship scandal which rocked Canadian politics during the past few years.

Not sure what other people’s reaction has been but, the first time I saw Fraser, her approach and behaviour impressed me as heroic. I don’t tend to have heroes, idols, or even role models (apart from my mother, my paternal grand-mother, and my wife). But I’m touched by people’s sense of duty and Fraser seems to have exactly that.

This isn’t to say that Fraser is a better person than anybody else. But there’s something truly glorious about her work. Maybe there’s something in her attitude which oozes both self-confidence and selflessness. At any rate, I get the feeling that we need more people like her. And I wish she won’t go into partisan politics.

What’s interesting here is that, in her interview with Stroumboulopoulos, Fraser addressed the issue of how chartered accountants (CAs) are perceived. Typically, accountants are thought to be boring, uncool people. Currently, there’s a campaign in Quebec to fight this perception. Some ad agency (Cossette, most likely) has been putting posters in metro cars with actual CAs pictured as glamourous Stars on the covers of fake gossip magazines. There’s also a TV show about CAs (haven’t watched it but it seems to approach the same idea of glamour).

Can glamour backfire on the definition of what a CA should be?

In anthropology, we often have the “Indiana Jones Effect” as people take anthropology to be all about a sense of adventure. There’s also the “CSI Effect” about forensics, which influences the way some people interpret forensic evidence.

Mass media may tend to produce heroes of a specific kind. Is this process detrimental to the type of heroism displayed by Sheila Fraser and, say, Louise Arbour?

Is heroism defined by the epic genre or is the epic genre defined by heroic characters?


Food and Satisfaction

Catherine and I have a lot to celebrate. Her recent offer from Austin, her less recent doctoral defense, ten years of living together… We had promised ourselves one truly good restaurant meal. In fact, this promise was made several times over the past year or so but we had never been able to fulfill it. Continue reading


Jobs and Satisfaction

This one is more of a web log entry than my usual ramblings.

Executive Summary: Life Is Good.

Continue reading