President Obama’s historic inaugural speech on20th January, 2009was powerful and persuasive. Coming at a time when the nation was confronting the worst economic slump in seventy years, the speech contained within it the necessary reassurance and the promise of change that were so desperately needed. To his credit, the new President was mild in his criticism of his predecessor George W. Bush. To the contrary, the speech appeared to focus on the progress and prosperity in the years ahead rather than point finger at the perpetrators of the present state of chaos. In the very beginning of his address, President Obama displays this forgiving attitude when he said “I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition”.
The other discernible quality of the speech is its minimal rhetoric. President Obama, having spent close to two years on the campaign trail – initially for the . . . Read More
Women’s issues have been, to an extent, independent from the broader socio-history changes witnessed in twentieth century America. The foremost issue that had not found suitable resolution since the 1920s is the wage disparity between men and women in America. While at the beginning of the century the percentage of women who participated in mainstream economy was negligible, this situation changed with the two world wars. As men were waging battle in the war front, women undertook jobs that were erstwhile only done by men. Emboldened and encouraged by their success, the social norms concerning the role of women had undergone a radical change. Yet, business enterprises did not easily accept the notion that women deserve equal remuneration as that of their male colleagues. While the magnitude of the disparity had eased up during the subsequent decades of the century, the issue is not satisfactorily resolved.
The disparity is . . . Read More
In the book Affluenza, John de Graaf and his team of authors also present an analysis of other symptoms of Affluenza, such as commercial television, inhumane working and living conditions for the lower classes and the culture of living in perpetual debt. Commercialized television, for instance, has been the preferred medium for advertisers to encourage consumption of their products. The authors assert that the program content is secondary to the advertisement slots being filled. In what is a radically new way of looking at television programs, the soap operas or reality shows were so construed to keep the audience glued to their seats when the commercials arrive on screen. In this context, it is not difficult to imagine the basis and thrust of the program content. The steady decline in the quality of television programs can be understood within this analytic framework. Moreover, mainstream broadcast content is full of portrayals of physical violence. The car chases . . . Read More
The city of London has historically been the heart of Western Europe. While across the channel Paris grew in reputation as the favored hub for artists, musicians and litterateurs, London was (and still is) the financial centre of Western European democracies. Given this background, the confines of metropolitan London had expanded gradually. Needless to say, there are limitations to any urban township and the case of London proved to be no exception. With advances in modes of commotion, ever greater numbers of people migrated to London in search of economic opportunity. In the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, these influxes of people originated within continental Europe. This was also a time when the British Empire reached its peak on back of its superior naval force. But, the twentieth century was markedly different, in that the émigré’s were from erstwhile colonies spanning all continents. Such patterns of migration have overwhelmed the city of London, that . . . Read More
In the Newport Folk Festival of 1965, the 16 minute performance given by Bob Dylan was disapproved by certain sections of the audience. In a break away from tradition, Dylan used an electric guitar in a live folk concert for the first time, which many fans came to regard as unauthentic. This event is said to have affected the further evolution of the folk genre, as well as the rock ‘n’ roll genre.
The . . . Read More
Educating Rita, both in its version of a motion picture as well as a play, is a comedy contrived from class based differences of the lead protagonists. Rita, played by Julie Walters is a twenty six year old hairdresser, ailing from working classLiverpool. To the role of her tutor, played by Michael Caine, are associated middle-class markers of education, job security and social status. Having emerged from different socio-economic backgrounds, the meeting of the tutor and the pupil induces refreshing changes in both their lives. For instance, Rita aspires to overcome the attendant disadvantages of her working class background through her enrolment in the Open University. The education she would receive there, she believes, would liberate and enlighten her; by way of which she hopes to move away from the social strata of her birth. Professor Frank Bryant, on the other hand, is a middle-aged alcoholic, who has no interest what so ever in his professorship. Instead he . . . Read More
The underlying principle behind the framing of the Double Jeopardy Clause is the universal maxim of the common-law of England which is still being referred to in the United States. In the U.S, the common law rule was integrated into the Bill of Rights and hence was given constitutional importance. The Clause in question is included in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The Double Jeopardy Clause of the American Constitution that states “[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb ….” has always been a topic of debate and disagreement within the community of lawyers in the country. Many instances of confusion had risen from the interpretation of the words “same offense”, where at times the Court casually applies the Clause to offenses that are not the same but obviously different (Dibianco, 1995). For example, “premeditated murder is not the same as attempted murder or manslaughter; armed robbery . . . Read More
Scott Fitzgerald’s well-crafted short story ‘Winter Dreams’ is set in the 1920s, which is also referred to as the Jazz Age in American history. Following the lull and chaos of the First World War, American society was primed to embrace a liberal and materialistic culture. The conventional structure of society was shaken up and new attitudes toward religion, morality and personal relations emerged. The widespread patronage of art and artists was central to this cultural upheaval. An important aspect of the short story is its masterly depiction of this changing cultural milieu.
The plot of the story serves as a narrative foundation and gives coherence to it. Alongside elements of fiction also lie historical facts about the 1920s America. In this respect, the story is both a well-crafted piece of art and a historical document. Through the characters of Dexter and Judy, Fitzgerald portrays the shallowness of the then American society. Judy Jones is a wealthy and attractive . . . Read More
Gloria Steinem is one of the most well known and respected leader of the feminist movement in America. Her writings and speeches have impacted the way women’s issues are perceived and understood in the last half a century or so. Alongside Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm, Steinem has carved a unique place for herself in the pantheon of feminist leaders.
Born on 25th March, 1934 in mid-western state of Ohio, Steinem had a difficult childhood. Her father was an antique dealer and as a result traveled frequently, while her mother worked for a publisher. Her grandmother Pauline Steinem was a revered suffragette in her day. But in the early years of Gloria’s life, there was little evidence to suggest that she would uphold her grandmother’s legacy. Since her father had to relocate to new cities very frequently, the young Gloria Steinem could not be enrolled in a regular school. All her early education was provided by her mom at home. This delicate family . . . Read More
The Multinational Enterprise has become ubiquitous in the new neo-liberal world order of the early twenty first century. However, all too often, these enterprises’ activities have lacked prudence and foresight in terms of the consequences for the local populations. Moreover, the loopholes of international business law allow these companies to go scot-free and evade accountability toward the citizens of the countries in which they operate on. The activities of Multinational Enterprises in developing countries can either be beneficial or disadvantageous to the country. Recent evidence suggests that there are more cases of the latte than the former. This essay tries to find out how far true the criticisms directed at multinational enterprises (MNEs) as a result of their activities in lesser developed parts of the world. This is done by citing examples from particular developing nations.
The primary criticism leveled against MNEs is their lack of responsibility . . . Read More