What Democracy Looks Like

Women’s March on Chicago 2017

I decided to attend the Chicago Women’s March last weekend after listening to inaugural day speeches.

President Trump, in his inaugural address, endorsed a “new vision” of “only America first” at a time of unprecedented interconnectivity. Former President Obama later affirmed his “faith in American people” and belief in “bottom-up” change to his staff and supporters, who, he said, “proved the power of hope” throughout his campaign and terms.  Continue reading “What Democracy Looks Like”

O Holy Night

So much debate about the reason for the season, such as the Starbucks cup kerfuffle, seems incomplete at best. Christmas, I learned from Stephen Nissenbaum, originates as a pagan carnival for drinking, eating, and gift-giving, and it was initially banned by American Puritans and later appropriated by them and others, such as entrepreneurs. It’s beginning to look like a good holiday again, a time when the faithful come a-wassailing and bearing gifts to jingle bells, deck the halls, and wish a Merry Christmas to all.

Mixing It Up

Researchers suggest that codeswitching, or mixing two languages, is often constrained by age or ethnicity or location, but people in Beirut reportedly codeswitch in everyday interactions even though the interlocutors are both Lebanese, which could have some intriguing implications for cultural identity.

Cultural identity has historically been defined by linguistic boundaries and textual traditions that, though arbitrary (see Wright 2004), have been indexed to nationalist norms as imagined communities (Anderson 2006), in which print and other media encourage the belief in shared identities and shared values. French people, especially those who are cultured and, thus, epitomize the identity, speak French, for example, and are familiar with French literature.  Continue reading “Mixing It Up”

Milking Markets

Marketplace from American Public Media and Kate Wells from Michigan Public Radio recently reported the efforts of Medolac Laboratories, a Delaware corporation with Oregon headquarters that sells breast milk to critically ill newborns and infants around the world. Some object that Medolac doesn’t disclose where it sends the milk while others suggest that it could encourage mothers to sell all their milk and, in so doing, neglect their own children. Continue reading “Milking Markets”

Local Global

I needed new running shoes for one of my kids, so we went to a nearly big box athletic store. On a whim, I decided to check Amazon with my phone, which offered the same shoes, once taxes were included, for half the price. However, I’ve been wondering, since ordering them online, whether I’m contributing to the demise of local retail.

I apparently am not the only one who is using these online options. Ten million people, according to Amazon, tried its Prime subscription service for the first time this holiday season, and Amazon customers placed ten times the orders with same day shipping this year over last year. At the same time, Amazon shipped to 185 countries this holiday season, and its total US holiday sales with its smartphone app doubled this year. Continue reading “Local Global”