Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) was a Canadian philosopher, linguist, literary critic, communications theorist and a professor of English literature. He is the founding father of the field of study now termed “media ecology”.
In Marshall McLuhan’s pioneering work on print culture, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man, he presents the view that communication technology profoundly affects cognitive action and ultimately affects social organization.
For instance, the speed . . . Read More
The movie North Country was based on the book ”Class Action: The Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law” which tells the story of Lois Jenson, who filed the first class action lawsuit for sexual harassment in American history. In the film, Theron plays the daughter of an iron miner (Richard Jenkins) working in a mine in Northern Minnesota Mesabi Iron Range. When Josey leaves an abusive husband and moves back to her hometown into her parents’ house, she was not welcomed. Her father assumes, without even interrogating his daughter, that it was her infidelity to her husband that had created the situation. Even her own son thinks that she is a whore. What this shows is the tendency to assume that it’s the woman’s fault in any conflict with men. Such biases were more prevalent in the chronological setting of the film, which covers the last few decades of the 20th century (Rosen).
All Josey . . . Read More
The 350 years of association with the United States have provided Jews with certain unique freedoms and advantages compared to minorities in other parts of the world. However, the challenges they had to surmount had been quite considerable. Not least of which is the Catholic and Protestant theologies, which label Jews as the “Children of Darkness” (Kampelman 585). The Jewish community including the Eastern European group was subject to hatred crimes throughout their American history.
The first Jewish settlers arrived on the shores of America in 1654. They were greeted with hostility the moment they landed in New Amsterdam. The government of the day also treated them with contempt and denied them religious freedom as is evident from Governor Peter Stuyvesant’s view that “If we grant liberties to the Jews, we will have to grant them also to the Lutherans and the Papists” (Kampelman 586). It was indeed a long and hard struggle for the community to gain basic . . . Read More
Synopsis: The film is a narration of various events in the life of an android – Andrew Martin (Robin Williams). Though the robot was programmed to perform menial household tasks, it soon starts to show signs of sentience. The Martins take note of this and allow Andrew to express his creativity. They make millions selling Andrew’s works. The story spans 200 years, during which Andrew learns the characteristics of human beings and longs to become one. Parallely, he battles to prevent his creators from terminating him.
Review: Bicentennial Man is an adaptation of a novella by Issac Asimov in the Robot Series. The novel ‘The Positronic Man’ was based on this earlier novella and co-authored by Robert Silverberg. It is directed by Chris Columbus, whose previous projects include the Home Alone series, Step-mom, Dare Devil, Fantastic Four, etc.
Soon after being ported to the Martin household Andrew develops a taste for music. Moreover, he shows curiosity and a . . . Read More
Lying only 145 km from the coast of the USA, Cuba had always been of concern to the United States (America still maintains a naval base there to the present day at Guantanamo). The relations between the two nations took a U-turn with the onset of the communist revolution in 1959. Fidel Castro’s consequent rise to power made Cuba a real and present danger. The pressing concern for the United States was the potential symbolic threat that a communist neighbor would prove to be. The fiasco that was the Bay of Pigs invasion, intended to dispel and if possible eliminate Castro, was an affair of big embarrassment for the Kennedy Administration. This further strained the diplomatic relations between the two countries. (Frankel 53)
At this juncture Castro was left with little option but to strengthen relations with the Soviet Union. It benefited the Soviet Union to respond to Cuba’s call for protection, as setting up a base so near the American coast was of strategic . . . Read More
Let us analyze the ethical aspects of human genetic engineering from a utilitarian view point. The practical implications of utilitarianism can best be conveyed in the context of recent advances in biotechnology. Now that the human genome has been decoded, the ramifications of a utilitarian ethic go far beyond socioeconomic and legislative reform. In a period of post-genomic medical progress, they extend to the influence of the pleasure-pain axis itself. By unscrambling the molecular substrates of emotion, biotechnology allied to nano-medicine permits the magnitude, value, duration and allocation of happiness and misery in the world to be controlled eventually at will. More controversially, the dilemmas of traditional casuistry will lose their relevance (Utilitarian Bioethics). This is because our imminent mastery of the reward centers ensures that everyone can be heritably better specimens – a utopian-sounding prediction that currently still strikes most of us as comically . . . Read More
The concept behind simple utilitarian thinking is that the good society is one that promotes human well-being and happiness and that right actions are those that maximize that total happiness of all persons affected by the action. This is the “principle of utility.” It means that in any situation one should identify all of the consequences of that action for human happiness, weigh the total impact of each option on happiness, and select the option that best satisfies the principle of utility. What one expects to find in a principle is something that points out some external consideration as a means of warranting and guiding the internal sentiments of approbation and disapprobation; this expectation is fulfilled by a proposition which hold up each of those sentiments as a ground and standard itself (Clark and Elliott 273). So the concept of utilitarianism is a suitable tool for making moral decisions.
Furthermore, the utilitarian view can be applied either to all . . . Read More
The supporters of Proportional Representation for General Elections claim that it is fairer to ethnic, religious and racial minorities compared to other systems. This is generally true. Studies conducted on continental European democracies support this view. Another advantage of this system is that it gives incentives for runners-up in elections, who traditionally ended up at the wrong end of a zero-sum game. In this regard it provides a fairer playing field compared to Majority and Plurality systems of elections. Several factors contribute towards making Proportional Representation a better alternative when electoral competition takes place under majority rule than when it does under plurality. Firstly, the voter is empowered to vote strategically, which is not always possible in other alternative systems. It is supported by the fact that,
“In top-two majority runoff elections with three or more candidates, voters always face incentives to vote . . . Read More
The uniqueness of the British political system is its association with the Crown, on whose behalf most powers are exercised. It is notable that unlike others entities the Crown is not subject to legal regulation due to the sense of dignity it evokes. Also, the prerogatives of the crown include the “power to conduct foreign relations, to conclude treaties that are binding in international law, and prerogatives of mercy and pardon (Shell 1994, p.301). This is in addition to the Crown’s extensive residual common law powers and its status as a legal personality. The latter privilege allows it to acquire and dispose of land, etc., the way ordinary individuals can. In contrast to this, the powers of local authorities are very much subject to statutes and regulations. In this sense, the executive powers of the local government is limited and constrained when compared with the powers of the Crown.
“The power to order and reorganize the civil service derives either . . . Read More
Human communication is remarkably universal, in spite of the apparent differences that exist between languages and cultures. This essay deals with the various modes of communication, verbal or nonverbal and elicits their differences across distinct sociolinguistic environments. Having stated that, it goes on to prove how minor and insignificant such differences actually are. The scholarly work of linguists like Noam Chomsky and Benjamin Lee Whorf are made use of to substantiate the claims.
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis claims that people’s interpretation of the world around them is restricted by the scope their language would provide. This is partially true in that an individual’s world view is limited to the extent the vocabulary would permit. For example, some tribal cultures use languages that are a little different to the languages of the civilized world. When asked to label various colors, some primitive people approximated all presented shades into a few categories. . . . Read More