Conventional knowledge, as gathered from history, mythology and literature, has always differentiated human personality types based on the birth order. But it is only in the recent century that scientific evidence is brought to bear on the subject. Today, based upon numerous surveys and scholarly studies conducted on the subject, it is fairly clear that birth order impacts aspects of personality. But there is disagreement among scholars as to the exact correlations between personality traits and birth order. The rest of this essay will peruse source work and Internet sources to arrive at current understanding on the relationship between birth order and personality.
The CBS News article titled Birth Order Affects Smarts, Personality (2010) forwards the view that the eldest among siblings tend to have superior intelligence while the younger ones “get better grades and are more outgoing”. Using robust methodology, a team of researchers from Lawrence High . . . Read More
The animated sitcom series Family Guy, which began broadcasting on American television channels in 1999, has always courted controversy. The perceived crude humor and lack of inhibitions in the characters of the show have offended the conservative sections of American society. At times unfavorably compared to The Simpsons, an animated family comedy which preceded it, Family Guy has many defining qualities of its own. The show has also had issues with commercial viability, as its producers have at times hesitated to begin a new season. Yet, the show has left a mark on American television scene by drawing and sustaining dedicated fans. It has also left an impression on the broader popular culture, as some of the themes and motifs of the show are adopted and discussed in other shows and other media. This essay will argue that despite the controversial elements in its makeup, Family Guy is a valuable tool to understand American culture and . . . Read More
Commercial advertising is a phenomenon closely associated with capitalist consumer culture. The ubiquitous ad space that engulfs urban human habitation has no parallels in terms of its reach and influence. Advertising performs a key role in industrial economies and its infiltration into both print and online formats is unlikely to abate. With ad spends always on ascent it is not difficult to understand why advertising businesses expect maximum Return on Investment (ROI) on their ad spends. Advertisers’ intention is to make their products/services appear very attractive to a broad consumer base. Advertising is not inherently sinister, but its practical application as of today makes it ethically dubious. In other words, the concept of marketing commodities in a consumer market had long drawn the criticism of ethicists. The fundamentally weak moral imperative of capitalist culture makes this outcome inevitable. As a result, marketing strategies in industrial societies have attracted . . . Read More
First coined by social psychologist Leon Festinger in his 1956 book When Prophecy Fails, Cognitive Dissonance describes the state of conflict arising in the human mind as it tries to accommodate two opposing realities. This concept is best illustrated through Aesop’s fable of the hungry wolf. As the wolf’s attempts to get hold of the bunch of grapes fails repeatedly, it eventually gives up. But instead of smarting from the failure, it perks itself by thinking that the grapes were not needed after all. For all it knows they could turn out to be bitter and sour. The theory of Cognitive Dissonance is quite fundamental to the study of social psychology, as it is applicable to a vast array of everyday situations faced by people.
In my life so far, there have been many instance of Cognitive Dissonance. But I would regard a few of them to be particularly instructive and formative. One such is the high school prom event that happened last year. I am usually a . . . Read More
Belly Dance originated from the Middle East, where it is referred to as Raqs Sharqi. Other alternative names for it are Middle Eastern dance and Arabic dance. Belly dance originated in the royal courtyards of Ottoman Empire and beyond. In the glory days of the empire, it used to be performed by members of a harem, thus having association with eroticism. But in contemporary times, it is more widely performed and has evolved into new innovative styles.
The popularization of Belly dance in the West began in the Victorian era and the Romantic Movement in art that flourished at the time. During this time, artists from the Orient brought to Europe idealized and romanticized images of harem life in Arabic Kingdoms. Simultaneously, performing dancers from North Africa and Middle East began to tour across the world and attracted huge fanfare. Popular French authors such as Colette also learnt belly dance and added her own stylistic elements to the dance. From then on, . . . Read More
In the early years of the twenty first century, with so much evolution in sociological thought having already taken place, no scholar can dismiss theories concerning health inequalities in society. All societies of past and present exhibited fissures in terms of class, gender, age groups, etc. Sociologists have discovered valid correlations between these social parameters and indicators of wellbeing. In this respect, all four prominent sociological approaches to studying health and wellbeing offer their own insights and inputs about the correlations. In other words, the Social Constructionist/Artefact approach, the Social/Natural Selection approach, Cultural/Behavioural approach and the Materialist/Structuralist approach offer different perspectives on health inequalities in past and present societies.
The Biomedical model of health preceded modern sociological health paradigm, where freedom from disease, pain or defect is the core focus. The physician typically . . . Read More
The use of fur in fashion has always been an ethically dubious practice. The fashion industry has been growing at a scorching pace across economies, and so has the controversial practice of using animal products in dresses and accessories. When it comes to making a moral assessment of this practice, one has to give fair and balanced consideration to the lives of the animals involved. Wool, for example, is an acceptable product, for it is ‘sheared’ off a sheep and allowing it to live. On the other hand fur-coats made from the process of ‘skinning’ an animal is outright cruelty to animals. Since each fur-coat is the result of killing an animal, the practice throws up several moral conundrums to consumers.
Historically, fur-coats used to be key for people to survive in cold climes. Even today, many indigenous populations depend on fur-coats for survival. But the continued use of fur in urban societies is not called for, when one takes into consideration the availability . . . Read More
The article titled ‘Ending an Epidemic’ by Sadie F. Dingfelder first appeared in the March 2010 (Vol 41, No.3) edition of Monitor. It talks about the phenomenon of teen violence, especially carried out by their boyfriends or dates. Upon reading it, I felt appalled by what is happening to teenage girls across the country. The article presents some alarming statistics about the occurrence of teen violence. One in five surveyed teenagers has been either “hit, slapped or pushed” by their partners. One in three said that they were involved in an emotionally abusive relationship. One in 11 high-school students suffered violence during a date in the previous year. (Dingfelder, 2010, paragraph 4) I find these statistics alarming in and of themselves. But what worries me more is the fact that parents are largely unaware of the abuse and danger faced by their teenage daughters. I felt a great sense of unease with the situation facing adolescent girls in our . . . Read More
Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727), English mathematician and natural philosopher (physicist) is arguably one of the most influential scientists of the last millennium. His discoveries on a range of subjects have ushered in a new era for scientific inquiry. Indeed, Newton’s discoveries in optics, general physics and mathematics would place him alongside such luminaries as Thomas Aquinas, Johann Gutenberg, Christopher Columbus and the Founding Fathers of the United States in terms of the impact he’s had on Western intellectual culture. It is thus no exaggeration to say that Newton paved the way for Modern Physics. The rest of this essay will flesh out this claim.
Although retrospectively, Isaac Newton’s genius and legacy are now accepted facts, there was no inkling during his early years that this was destined him. Born in Woolsthorpe, England on a Christmas Day in 1642, there were odds stacked against Newton’s survival. He was born premature and his survival was . . . Read More
The 2006 released film Stranger Than Fiction is one of the most intelligent and thought-provoking films to have come out of Hollywood in recent years. Starring Will Ferrell in the lead role, the cast includes Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson in support roles. This essay will confine itself to comic aspects of the film and pick out 3 types of comedy evident therein. Considering that the plot structure as well as the unfolding narrative is unusual vis-a-vis run-of-the-mill Hollywood fare, one has to broaden the analysis beyond major comedy genres.
Firstly, the most pronounced comic aspect of the film is its sense of ‘irony’. Unlike other genres of comedy like slapstick, madcap, satire, etc, ‘irony’ tends to work subcutaneous to the narrative. As a result, only an audience with a refined taste for humour can identify and appreciate it. But the very premise of interplay between ‘fiction’ and ‘reality’, that too as it unfolds . . . Read More