Archive for March 5th, 2013

March 5, 2013

Bitch Wars

The Bitch Wars occurred within the Soviet labor camp system between 1945 and 1953 (around the death of Joseph Stalin). The Russian word ‘suka’ (literally, ‘bitch’) has a stronger negative connotation than its English equivalent.

In Russian criminal argot, it specifically refers to a person from the criminal world who had cooperated with law enforcement or the government, or ‘went bitch.’ Within the Russian prison system, there was a historical and social structure that had existed since the Tsarist era. One of the important tenets of the system was that members would not serve or collaborate with the Tsarist and later Soviet government. This rule encompassed any kind of collaboration, not only ‘snitching’ or ‘ratting.’

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March 5, 2013

Mat

Mat is a term for strong obscene profanity in Russian and some other Slavic language communities. Mat is censored in the media and the use of mat in public constitutes a form of disorderly conduct, or mild hooliganism (although, such laws are only enforced episodically, in particular due to the vagueness of the legal definition).

However, despite the public ban, mat is used by Russians of all ages and nearly all social groups, with particular fervor in male-dominated military and the structurally similar social strata.

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March 5, 2013

Humor in Freud

Sigmund Freud noticed that humor, like dreams, can be related to unconscious content. In the 1905 book ‘The Joke and Its Relation to The Unconscious,’ as well as in the 1928 journal article ‘Humor,’ Freud distinguished contentious jokes from non-contentious or silly humor. In fact, he sorted humor into three categories that could be translated as: joke, comic, and mimetic (imitation).

In Freud’s view, jokes (the verbal and interpersonal form of humor) happened when the conscious allowed the expression of thoughts that society usually suppressed or forbade. The superego (conscience) allowed the ego (self) to generate humor. A benevolent superego allowed a light and comforting type of humor, while a harsh superego created a biting and sarcastic type of humor. A very harsh superego suppressed humor altogether.

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March 5, 2013

Quotation

quote by Gail Anderson and Joe Newton

A quotation is the repetition of one expression as part of another one, particularly when the quoted expression is well-known or explicitly attributed by citation to its original source, and it is indicated by (punctuated with) quotation marks. A quotation can also refer to the repeated use of units of any other form of expression, especially parts of artistic works: elements of a painting, scenes from a movie or sections from a musical composition.

Quotations are used for a variety of reasons: to illuminate the meaning or to support the arguments of the work in which it is being quoted, to provide direct information about the work being quoted(whether in order to discuss it, positively or negatively), to pay homage to the original work or author, to make the user of the quotation seem well-read, and/or to comply with copyright law. Quotations are also commonly printed as a means of inspiration and to invoke philosophical thoughts from the reader.

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March 5, 2013

Shooting the Messenger

Scapegoat

Shooting the messenger‘ is a metaphoric phrase used to describe the act of lashing out at the (blameless) bearer of bad news. In earlier times, messages were usually delivered in person by a human envoy. Sometimes, as in war, for example, the messenger was sent from the enemy camp.

An easily provoked combatant receiving such an overture could more easily vent anger (or otherwise retaliate) on the deliverer of the unpopular message than on its author. ‘Attacking the messenger’ is a subdivision of the ad hominem logical fallacy (making an argument personally against an opponent instead of against their argument).

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March 5, 2013

Social Proof

Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.

The effects of social influence can be seen in the tendency of large groups to conform to choices which may be either correct or mistaken, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as herd behavior. Although social proof reflects a rational motive to take into account the information possessed by others, formal analysis shows that it can cause people to converge too quickly upon a single choice, so that decisions of even large groups of individuals may be grounded in very little information (i.e. information cascades).

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