Archive for February 23rd, 2012

February 23, 2012

Free Speech Zone

no speech

Free speech zones (also known as ‘First Amendment Zones’) are areas set aside in public places for political activists to exercise their right of free speech in the US. The First Amendment states that ‘Congress shall make no law… abridging… the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’ The existence of free speech zones is based on court decisions stipulating that the government may regulate the time, place, and manner—but not content—of expression.

The stated purpose is to protect the safety of those attending the political gathering, or for the safety of the protesters themselves. Critics, however, suggest that such zones are ‘Orwellian,’ and that authorities use them in a heavy-handed manner to censor protesters by putting them literally out of sight of the mass media, hence the public, as well as visiting dignitaries.  Civil libertarians claim that such areas are used as a form of censorship and public relations management to conceal the existence of popular opposition from the mass public and elected officials.

February 23, 2012


part time punks

Poseur is a pejorative term which describes a person who copies the dress, speech, and mannerisms of a subculture without understanding the values or philosophy of the group they are mimicking. A poseur habitually pretends to be something they are not (an insincere person), or tries to impress others by behaving in an affected way (a pretentious person).

While the term is most associated with the 1970s- and 1980s-era punk and hardcore subculture, English use originates in the late 19th century. The English term is a loanword from French, where it refers to people who ‘affect an attitude or pose.’ One could say ‘poseur’ is merely the English word ‘poser’ in French garb and thus could itself be considered an affectation.

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February 23, 2012



Gravitropism [gra-vitre-pizm] is a turning or growth movement by a plant or fungus in response to gravity.

Charles Darwin was one of the first to scientifically document that roots show positive gravitropism and stems show negative gravitropism. That is, roots grow in the direction of gravitational pull (i.e., downward) and stems grow in the opposite direction (i.e., upwards).

February 23, 2012

Jewish Humor

larry by deer dana

Jewish humor is self-deprecating, crude, and often anecdotal humor originating in Eastern Europe, which took root in the United States over the last hundred years. Beginning with vaudeville, and continuing through radio, stand-up comedy, film, and television, a disproportionately high percentage of American and Russian comedians have been Jewish.

Jewish humor is rooted in several traditions. The first is the intellectual and legal methods of the Talmud, which uses elaborate arguments and situations often seen as so absurd as to be humorous in order to tease out the meaning of religious law. There is an egalitarian tradition among the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe in which the powerful were often mocked subtly, rather than attacked overtly—as Saul Bellow once put it, ‘oppressed people tend to be witty.’ Jesters known as badchens used to poke fun at prominent members of the community during weddings, creating a good-natured tradition of humor as a levelling device.

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