These are some essays I wrote in college in various classes towards my psychology degree.
Fine Art 102
April 3, 2012
Things Are Not Always What They Seem
Picasso is well known as one of the greatest artists of the modern era. There are more than 50,000 works of art credited to his name. These works include paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, and even some stage design. To the untrained eye, many of Picasso's works seem chaotic and senseless; however, Picasso was innovative in introducing the world to an avante garde perspective in art culture and forever changed the face of art. In the game of life, things are not always what they seem, yet with closer inspection and understanding, an intricate sense of order can be seen amidst chaos. Through symbolisms and a radical perspective this concept comes to life through Picasso's works.
Pablo Picasso was considered a child prodigy. The death of his sister at age eight affected him greatly leaving him with the idea that God is evil and destiny is the enemy (Huffington 257). The family moved to Barcelona and he was accepted into the School of Fine Arts. Later he lived in France but missed his non-conformist roots in Spain. It is important to note that when he moved to France, he was foreign to culture which gave him an outsiders perception into modern sophistication, yet no other insights. Picasso's works had phases that aligned with his personal life. The Blue Period is described as a phase of "social criticism and adolescent pessimism" (Brighton and Klimowski 28). The Red Period was influenced by his warm relationship with Fernande Olivier. Many of his works during these phases had a theme such as blindness and eroticism, or a subject of choice such as a prostitute, a circus performer or a minotaur shown in commonplace settings. Picasso seduced many women and had many infidelities while in relationships as well. When his women changed, his works also reflected these changes.
Figure 1 Fernande Olivier 1905
Figure 2 Marie Therese Walter 1937
Dusan Djukich explains that a default future is where life will end up if nothing alters the path of life. Picasso's early works were fairly standard of the artists of that time period and he was restless for a change. The turning point in Picasso's career was an instrumental visit to an exhibit of African and Oceanic art in the Ethnographic Museum of the Trocadéro in Paris in 1907. Picasso never connected with the people or the culture of Africa yet his propensity was with the masks and the idea of primitivism that represented "a place where it poses no danger to the purity of modern art" (Gikandi 457). He thought the masks were magical. African art held an element of fear and repulsion in the primitive aspect nevertheless Picasso was drawn to it and this was the beginning of his prominence in modern art. Les Demoiselles d' Avignon was Picasso's first painting to include his newfound fetish influence. Human nature is drawn to similarities and we love what resembles us, yet this controversial painting shows a harem of harlots with a mask on one woman and a profile nose on another full view face. It was during the time of painting Guernica when Picasso explained, "It wasn't the forms of fetishes that influenced me; what they did was make me understand what I expected from painting" (Malraux 126).
Figure 3 Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907
Picasso's African Influence Period made way for Cubism, a concept he shared with fellow artist Georges Braque. Nietzsche is quoted as saying that "in order to be creative one must first blast and destroy all accepted values" (Brighton and Klimowski 149). This seems to be the idea behind Cubism. Analytical Cubism is a concept that takes apart everyday objects and rearranges them in a construed but orderly fashion. A cardboard guitar made in 1912 is an example of analytical cubism.
Figure 4 Cardboard Guitar 1912
Synthetic Cubism is a further development using paper fragments or other elements, and this was the first introduction of collage into modern art. This also made way for artists to use unconventional found objects in an art form called assemblage. An Immanuel Kant philosophy describes Phenomena as "things as they are perceived by human senses" and Noumena as "things as they are in themselves". Cubism is a new kind of realism that sees beyond mere appearance to a reality beneath (Brighton and Klimowski 81) and challenges the perceptions of the viewer. It is evident through the remainder of Picasso's career that the African influence and the concept of Cubism endured throughout his life.
People wear various masks for various reasons. Things are not always as they seem as people may hide parts of themselves, yet they may also display those hidden parts very well for someone who understands human nature. For example, masks used in masquerades "bring together a configuration of the visual, textual, and performative" (Gore). Masks can hide imperfections, and they can also illuminate features. "Genius frees a sacred face from all human characteristics and from its iconography (however respected), just as poetry frees the epic from the tale" (Malraux 189). Picasso's celebrated life seemed sophisticated with his accomplishments, fame, and wealth; yet his personal life was tormented with temperamental relationships and an internal misery. Perhaps this was the basis of his fascination with masks separating the seen and unseen. His final self portrait in 1972 shows a tormented genius full of primordial horror and frozen anguish, unveiling the man under the societal mask he carried through his life (Huffington 465). A famous quote from Picasso states, "Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth". The African masks that Picasso chose to surround himself with in his studio were cultural artifacts, yet this was not the reason Picasso chose them. He selected these pieces for their aesthetic value alone. The distortions and outright simplicity intrigued him.
Figure 5 Self Portrait 1972
In the analogy of the tapestry of life we go through life seeing chaos around us, but looking back over our lives we can see reasons and order for everything in our life lessons. Art is a medium through which an artist expresses a unique perspective and it is up to the viewer to interpret underlying meanings. Picasso influenced art in many ways through innovative and controversial drawings, paintings and sculpture. Picasso's works seem chaotic, but with understanding the artist's influences, together with symbolisms, his works can visualize an intricate sense of order.
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"Africa's Magic That Transformed Modern Art." Economist 378.8464 (2006): 81. Academic Search Premier. Web. 6 Mar. 2012.
This article explores the influences Picasso developed as a result of an African art exhibit in 1907.
Brighton, Andrew and Andrzej Klimowski. Picasso for Beginners. Trumpington: Icon Books Ltd, 1995.
This is a very simple overview of Picasso and his works with many illustrations throughout.
Djukich, Dusan. Straightline Leadership. Bandon, Oregon: Robert D. Reed Publishers, 2011.
This is an excellent book on leadership with many wonderfully useful insights when applied to life.
Gikandi, Simon. "Picasso, Africa, And The Schemata Of Difference." Modernism/Modernity 10.3 (2003): 455-480. Academic Search Premier. Web. 6 Mar. 2012.
This article discusses African art and primitivism and the influence on Picasso.
Gore, Charles. "Masks And Modernities." African Arts 41.4 (2008): 1-7. Academic Search Premier. Web. 6 Mar. 2012.
This article discusses masquerades and masking traditions.
Huffington, Arianna. Picasso Creator and Destroyer. New York: Avon Books, 1988.
This is a biography showing the many facets of a disturbed genius.
Surviving Picasso. Dir. James Ivory. Perf. Anthony Hopkins. 1996. DVD.
This is an excellent movie based on the life of Picasso and narrated through the views of Francoise Gilot.
Malraux, A. (1976). Picasso's Mask. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
This is a translated biography of Pablo Picasso.
Stokstad, Marilyn and Michael W. Cothren. Art History 4th Edition. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2005. Chapter 31.
This chapter includes an overview of Picassos works as well as his influences on modern art.
FINE art 102
January 24, 2012
Julia Whittaker, CNC
Chance Operations 2
Is it possible to collaborate on a work of art without really collaborating? This is the concept explored and brought to life by artists Rodney Konopaki and Rhonda Neufeld in their traveling exhibition Chance Operations 2. This exhibition is based on the quote from John Cage, "I use chance operations instead of operating according to my likes and dislikes". Oftentimes an artist will work alone, or with a partner or team, working towards a specific vision of their finished product. The idea of Chance Operations 2 is to show what happens when two artists come together in their own individual ways allowing for the unexpected to unfold in their work and letting the final design be a collaboration of individual style and unplanned, yet wonderfully adapted, chance. The result is a unique class of chaotic organization.
The collective works of Konopaki and Neufeld started out with a simple dried up potted plant. The series of drawings encompassing Logan's Gift show two unique styles coming together in one work of art demonstrating Konopaki's experience in casual association of elements and Neufeld's sensitivity and love of nature. Over the years, the works of Konopaki and Neufeld progressed to incorporate a concept that included human locomotion in their drawings. A stay in the area of Banff National Park brought a fresh intriguing look at a daily physical journal of their days together. The Walking in Banff series contains twenty one drawings that serve as daily record of their nature walks. They carried a blank canvas between them to archive their adventure using mediums such as graphite, pastels, oil paint, pencil crayons, and other marking utensils to create a continuous account of their walking journey. They even added some grass stain, soil, and some other environmental elements to these works. By exchanging sides periodically through their migration, the works were not left to one artist per side of canvas, but collaborate two artists' unique styles blended together as one. Neufeld admits they are human though and on a day when they were not speaking to each other, their physical diary shows a dividing line of sorts. The human locomotion aspect incorporates the idea that while walking, a simple rock in the path and an altered gait can add emphasis to the drawings in concrete and visible markings. The universal laws of grace, chance, and gravity are woven into the experience. The idea here can be compared to the distinguished Tao in relation to how water flows around obstacles adapting with a combination of power and grace and resulting in a flow of beauty in nature. This metaphor can be thought provoking as to the process of life as well.
The Walking in Banff series of works is a culmination of the years of working together that now show that it is possible to "collaborate without really collaborating". These drawings embody the secret to life itself in how they prove that embracing and adapting to the unknown can lead to beautiful and interesting works of art. The final composition of the Walking in Banff series is devoid of color showing that these two artists removed the distinction of individual uniqueness and blended their talents into one crowning work of art, yet the original concept of an ultimate design was still left to chance.
A well known analogy is that life is like a tapestry, woven with colors of threads including dark colors for emphasis of the good times and bad. Events and people are incorporated into lives in a fascinating array that is as unique as each individual person. As the tapestry of life is woven it is not possible to see the final result, yet through adapting to the curveballs of life and looking back over the process at any given time, a beautiful tapestry can be seen unfolding. The completion of life is where the full tapestry is seen in full glory. The Walking in Banff series of drawings are very much like the analogy of the tapestry of life in how each work of art frames the process of one days walking in nature.
Rodney Konopaki and Rhonda Neufeld have succeeded in their quest to prove that two artists can work together keeping their unique styles, integrating the current environment with adaptability and grace to produce works of art which culminate into a chance operation that can be aesthetically appreciated by anyone.
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Konopaki, Rodney, and Rhonda Neufeld. Chance Operations 2. n.d.
Konopaki, Rodney, and Rhonda Neufeld. "Artists Talk." Prince George, 12 January 2012.
Biological Psychology 209
November 18, 2011
Socioeconomic status and the brain: mechanistic insights from human and animal research
The September 2010 issue of Nature Reviews has an article called Socioeconomic status and the brain: mechanistic insights from human and animal research. This article was written by Daniel A Hackman, Martha J Farah, and Michael J Meany. The publication is a highly regarded peer reviewed journal so we can rightly assume the authors are experts in their field and the information provided is reliable and accurate. There are 152 references used throughout this article showing that there has been extensive research into the topic discussed. The authors explain that the information provided can be useful towards development of programmes and policies that will benefit the developing brain in children detrimentally affected by low socioeconomic status (SES). This article features comprehensive biological detail explaining how the human brain functions in response to the external environment and the stress associated with below average living standards. Particularly, the language and executive functions of the human brain are affected dramatically through the developmental years of childhood through to adulthood. The influences on neural development are as individually unique as the situations that cause them.
Research shows that growing up in a family environment that is subject to low income status can have lasting effects on the cognitive and emotional well-being of children. Low SES children have shown to be deficient in overall health, psychological well-being, and cognitive development. Using human and animal models, researchers have demonstrated the cause-effect relationship between low SES and neural development. Through this research they have also identified possible mediators that will help overcome the detrimental effects that low SES causes in children, which will lead to a more successful individual adulthood and an enriched future for generational families as well.
Comparatively, lower SES children and adolescents show higher rates of depression, anxiety, attention problems, and aggressive/impulsive behaviors which are positively correlated with continued poverty. SES is an elaborate mix of factors including family earnings, material resources, employment, and education. Prenatal care, exposure to toxins or violence, and the availability of positive cognitive stimulation also have a role in SES. While these factors affect the whole spectrum of the population, studies show that there are substantially more problems in the lower SES category with spatial working memory and inhibitory control in children as young as six months. Social causation is now believed to be an important factor in the physical development of the human brain with studies showing differences in hippocampal volume and the number of dendritic synapses.
This article places emphasis on three main factors: prenatal considerations, parental involvement, and cognitive stimulation in the home environment and through other sources. Prenatal care is at the core of human growth. Lower SES in pregnant women contributes to malnutrition, higher infection rates, and higher levels of glucocorticoids which are the main cause of stress. This in turn has become predictive of low birth weights, impaired fetal growth, and subsequently more childhood mental illness and less educative accomplishments. Prenatal maternal stress affects the density of the spine in several brain areas related to the regulation of emotion as well. The impact of poverty is more prominent in the early stages of life, and can follow through to adulthood. Parental stress affects parent child involvement detrimentally often resulting in harsh and inconsistent discipline. However, regardless of stress levels, high quality care giver involvement can create resilience, elevated self esteem, and lower aggression in impoverished environments. Cognitive stimulation in the home environment includes exposure to literary resources, technology, travel, and family communication. This contributes significantly to academic achievement and school readiness. Compelling research has shown that effective mediations at critical points in human brain development can deter some of the detrimental effects of lower social economic status within these areas. Higher education and income status along with lower incarceration rates years later are proof that early interventions have been effective.
The studies in this article are beneficial for those in medical, psychological, and social fields who are at the forefront of creating policies and programmes that can effectively negotiate improvements in prenatal care, parenting skills, and inexpensive cognitive experiences for children as well as financial assistance in certain areas. Some of the programs today include prenatal and maternal educative programs such as Healthiest Babies; provincially funded public health care for all children; and enhanced school curriculums that focus on cognitive development. By finding the underlying causes of societal issues, beginning with human brain development, and implementing adequate support systems, it is possible to overcome many of the problems faced with the lower SES population. At the very least, children can become resilient and adaptive to their environments and have a better chance of a successful adulthood. This is a benefit to society across all generational and socioeconomic spectrums.
Biological Psychology 209
September 28, 2011
The May 2011 issue of Scientific American has an article called The Hidden Organ in our Eyes. This article was written by Ignacio Provencio who is an associate professor of biology at the University of Virginia. He also earned his Ph D at this university. His interest in neuroscience began when he was a student of Jon Copeland at Swarthmore College where he studied fireflies, cockroaches, and crayfish. This magazine article features information that suggests that human eyes are not only used for sight, but are also responsible for adjusting the circadian rhythms that affect day and night cycles, body temperature, and hormones. The retina has been the most studied tissue in the human body since the 1800s. Up until recently, it has been believed that rods and cones were the only photoreceptors sensitive to light. Through a timeline of experiments done on blind and sighted mice, Provencio explains what led to the discovery of separate photoreceptor cells. The conclusions drawn show that scientists have discovered a special neuron in the eyes which responds to light without the presence of rods and cones, the photoreceptors responsible for sight.
Back in the 1920s, Clyde E. Keeler, a Harvard University graduate discovered that the pupils in blind mice constricted in response to light. This was the first suggestion that there may be another photoreceptor present that is not responsible for image formation and sight. There are other species such as tadpoles, minnows, and sparrows that have light sensing receptors in their bodies which cause active camouflage and avoidance of light as safety mechanisms. Mammals apparently have a similar light sensor. Studies done in the 1980s by Randy J. Nelson and Irving Zucker at the University of California showed that mice who lacked eyes altogether did not respond to light, or adjust their circadian rhythms at all. This would suggest that the elusive photoreceptors were located within the eye itself and thus added to the previous discoveries by Keeler.
Michael Menaker at the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1970s did experiments using sparrows that showed that these birds have light sensing cells located in their brain. Later when Menaker moved to the University of Oregon, he and two graduate students experimented with mice that lacked functional rods and cones. These mice were able to adjust to day and night cycles showing further evidence that there may be other photoreceptors within the eyes. In 1999, researchers led by Russell Foster showed that mice completely lacking rods and cones were able to adjust to day and night cycles, confirming the evidence from Menaker.
The author of this article, Provencio, along with Mark D. Rollag at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences went on to confirm Foster's conclusions as correct. Provencio and Rollag worked with tadpoles and the dermal melanophore cells in tadpole tails which darken in response to light. When removed from the tadpole, these cells maintained the response. Through more experiments, Provencio and Rollag discovered a protein in these cells similar to protein pigments in rods and cones that detect light. These pigments are called opsins, so the new protein was dubbed melanopsin. These scientists went on a hunt for melanopsin and found it in retinol ganglion cells. In 2002, Samer Hatter of John Hopkins University found that some axons from the mouse retina connect to the area of the brain that controls circadian rhythm and other axons connect to the pupil dilation area. This is where melanopsin is also found. More studies concluded that rods, cones and the ganglion cells containing melanopsin all work together to transmit non visual light information to the brain. Although these experiments have been done on mice, there is evidence that humans have these same mechanisms since some blind humans are able to adjust their circadian rhythms just as the mice showed in the experiments.
These discoveries are important to modern day science. Our society thrives on high speed lifestyles which are responsible for jet lag and also for working night shifts. As well, people living in extreme north and south latitudes have less sunlight throughout their days. These conditions have been linked to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression, heart disease, digestive issues, cancer, diabetes 2, and stroke. By pinpointing the areas of the brain that are responsible for light sensitivity and circadian rhythms, scientists can develop solutions to these conditions and thereby enhance longevity and peaceful healthy lifestyles.
Science is ever evolving with new discoveries. Neuroplasticity in the brain has also made strides in the last several years as explained in Dr Norman Doidge's book, The Brain that Changes Itself. Doidge's book explains how the brain has shown to be capable of rewiring itself to adapt to hurdles in brain function from damage. Combining the information from Provencio's article along with Doidge's discoveries leads one to wonder of the complexity of the human body and particularly of the human brain in the abilities to function properly and to adapt to the present environment. Scientific American, although not a peer reviewed journal, is a reputable magazine for the average person interested in developing science, along with scientists keeping up with the latest discoveries not yet accepted into textbooks. Provencio has written this informative article in an easy to understand format which is a recommended reading for scientist and layman alike.
Dr Reuben Gabriel
March 13, 2011
Leviathan was written in the mid sixteen hundreds, Thomas Hobbes had many publications before hand; Leviathan being his first English and most famous book. It was an era of change where political structure, social structure, and methods of science could be easily manipulated in a tumultuous world. The writings in Leviathan encompass physics and psychology, the state of nature and its laws, social contract, and undivided sovereignty (Morgan 548). Although Leviathan created controversy upon the time of its publication, it could be argued that it remains today, as one of the most influential writings on philosophical science produced by the seventeenth century.
Hobbes was born in Malmesbury on April 5, 1588, the son to a minor clergyman. He was born prematurely when his mother, fearing the news of the Spanish Armadas approach upon England, was forced into an early labour. He was often noted saying, as he put it “fear and I were born twins together.” (Morgan 548). His philosophical views run abound with references to fear. He suggests that the fear of death is what fuels human actions, particularly in social order. It was this fear which maintained relative peace between modern day Soviet Union and the United States (Ebenstein 406).
“Hobbes depicts the natural condition of mankind–known as the state of nature–as inherently violent and awash with fear. The state of nature is the "war of every man against every man," in which people constantly seek to destroy one another. This state is so horrible that human beings naturally seek peace, and the best way to achieve peace is to construct the Leviathan through social contract”. (SparkNotes). The social contract that Hobbes endorsed was between subjects and subjects, not subjects and sovereign (Ebenstein 400). In other words, Hobbes envisioned a monarchal society, where the subjects themselves had power. Hobbes suggested that mans view of the world largely depended on mans view of himself.
Hobbes maintained a close relationship with the Cavendish family, starting out as a tutor to the son of William Lord Cavendish, first Earl of Devonshire, and later becoming secretary and even an advisor. It was this experience which led him to meet leading politicians and great literary men of his day. Men such as Galileo Galilei, the astronomer and physicist, would greatly influence him in his life and writings. Around 1630 he discovered the intellectual world of mathematics and geometry, no doubt due to his meetings with Galileo, which gave him a new direction to his philosophical views. He maintained that his deductive scientific reasoning provided a better understanding of the universe and society than traditional philosophy and experimental science (SparkNotes).
“The chief merit of Hobbes’s political theory is that it clarifies the distinction between power and authority, and shows that the working of political institutions cannot be understood in terms of power alone” (Raphael 71). Hobbes proposed a monarchy based system where citizens appoint a ruler then follow their chosen leader. He felt this was the best form of state because it suffers less competition for office and power than do aristocracies and democracies (Ebenstein 400). There are many references throughout Leviathan to the body politic, with members of the commonwealth comprising parts of a human body with the leviathan, or sovereign, as the head. This analogy shows how the commonwealth operates together as a full functioning political frame.
The latter part of Leviathan has been attributed to atheism and attacks on the Roman Catholic Church. In 1666 books were burned at Oxford (SparkNotes) and Hobbes was forbidden to publish books in England. Hobbes was also referred to as the “Monster of Malmsbury” and the “Bug bear of the Nation” (SparkNotes). In the latter months of 1979, a celebration to honor Hobbes was held in Malmsbury. Oxford also held several lectures on Hobbes and displayed his works. Although Hobbes was criticized as an atheist, it was December 1979 at the parish church Hault Hucknall that Reverend Charles Brinkworth recognized considerable evidence that Hobbes remained a faithful member of the Church of England. (Rogow 234). It is apparent through the latter chapters of Leviathan that Hobbes knew the Bible very well. “The name Leviathan is taken from the book of Job where the great monster leviathan is called a ‘king over all the children with pride’” (Raphael 14).
“Leviathan is the greatest, perhaps sole, masterpiece of political philosophy written in the English language” (Oakeshott 3). Leviathan appeared in a commonwealth, torn after the politically unstable years of civil wars. Hobbes wrote within its pages ideals that coincided with the Republicans of that era, who were trying to justify the regicide of the king of England, to the rest of Europe. Despite its inherent message to eliminate controversy, Leviathan challenged the views of politics and philosophy. Hobbes created a work that influenced great thinkers yet to be, setting the foundations for political science and has played an essential role for the development of the modern western world as we know it.
Ebenstein, William, Alan C. Ebenstien. Great Political Thinkers Plato the the Present. Fort Worth: Holt, Reinhart and Winston, Inc, 1991.
"Thomas Hobbes." Morgan, Michael. Classics of Moral and Political Theory . Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2005. 548-681.
Oakeshott, Michael. Hobbes on Civil Association. Berkeley and Los Angeles: Universtity of California Press, 1975.
Raphael, D.D. Hobbes Morals and Politics. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1977.
Rogow, Arnold A. Thomas Hobbes Radical in the Service of Reaction. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1986.
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Leviathan.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. n.d.. Web. 24 Feb. 2011.
Dr Reuben Gabriel
January 28, 2011
People should either be caressed or crushed. If you crush them, cripple them in such a way that their vengeance does not come back on you (Wooten 485). This general rule is stated in Machiavelli’s The Prince. Machiavelli also draws a similarity between fortune being like a lady which must be mastered with boldness using beating and striking (Wooten 525). Killing off heirs to the throne of a country is apparently the way to conquer and take over a country. These examples of suggested violence may be why Niccolo Machiavelli was said to appear as the “devil incarnate” in the Elizabethan era (Meyer 1), and has continued to be seen in a bad light in modern society as well. However, Machiavelli had an excellent vantage point to observe major political figures for many years in his occupation as a chancellor. He likened his objective evaluations to a traveler seeing the mountains from the valleys, and the valleys from the mountains (Wooten 482). It is from this respectable distance that he gained so much valuable knowledge. Through his observations of human nature, politics, and his continued learning, Machiavelli compiled a handbook of strategies that are essential to modern philosophical thinking. These strategies are the basis of excellent organization and leadership which promote decisiveness and adaptability as the foundation of success.
Machiavelli’s writings were from an era of violence. Although he can be perceived as promoting violence, it can also be argued that he suggested violence as a means to an end, as a way of using a single act of violence to crush and dominate unruly violence and forces. “Do all the harm you must at one time and the same time, that way the full extent of it will not be noticed and will give least offense. One should do good, on the other hand, little by little, so people can fully appreciate it” (Wooten 497). Machiavelli is one of the first modern devotees of freedom, and this is related directly to his recognition of the beneficial effects of domestic conflict and his acceptance of social competition (Wood 288, 283). “It is more compassionate to impose harsh punishments on a few than, out of excessive compassion, to allow disorder to spread, which leads to murders and looting” (Wooten 509). He wanted men of his time to understand that “what gave the irrational forces of violence and aggression power over their lives was men’s attempts to repress them” (Weiner and Fisher 62). Although modern men are protected from such an experience of violence, they must still come to recognize violence as part of the natural order or nature will make chaos of their lives (Weiner and Fisher 60).
Despite the reputation of promoting violence, it is the continued study of human nature and life circumstances that makes Machiavelli’s writings so useful to modern society. The Prince is a compilation of the successes and failures of major political leaders and his suggestions to emulate success or resist failure based on his observances. He offers on the subject of justice that when choosing a ruler, people no longer obeyed the strongest, but he who was most prudent and just (Wooten 532).
These are excellent bits of wisdom useful even to modern leaders:
• “Employ policies that are moderated by prudence and sympathy. Avoid excessive self-confidence, which leads to carelessness, and avoid excessive timidity, which will make you insupportable” (Wooten 510).
• Nothing is as fragile as a reputation for strength that does not correspond to one’s real capacities (Wooten 506).
• “He who is the cause of someone else’s becoming powerful is the agent of his own destruction” (Wooten 487).
• One should be like an experienced archer, aiming high so he can reach his objective (Wooten 490).
• “Both luck and skill enable you to overcome difficulties but he who relies least on luck has the best prospect of success” (Wooten 490).
• “If you want to make sound judgments, you should admire those who are generous in spirit, not those who have the resources to be generous in spirit, respect those who know how to rule, not those who have no idea how to rule, but are in power” (Wooten 527).
• “Men act either out of necessity or free choice. Since it seems that men are the most admirable where they have the least freedom of choice, one must consider whether it might not be better to choose an infertile region for the construction of a city so its inhabitants will be forced to be industrious and prevented from being self indulgent, and so they will be more united, having less occasion for conflict because of the poverty of their land” (Wooten 530).
• “A wise ruler will seek to ensure that his citizens always, no matter what the circumstances, have an interest in preserving both him and his authority. If he can do this, they will always be faithful to him (Wooten 499).
• “People are by nature inconsistent. It is easy to persuade them of something, but it is difficult to stop them from changing their minds. So you have to be prepared for the moment when they no longer believe: Then you have to force them to believe” (Wooten 491).
• Psychologically man is a mass of insatiable desires with reason their instrument (Wood 288).
• There are three types of brains: One understands itself, one follows the explanation of others, and one neither understands nor follows. The first is best, the second excellent and the third useless (Wooten 521).
• “The cautious man, when it is time to be headstrong, does not know how to act and is destroyed. But, if one knew how to change one’s character as times and circumstances change, one’s luck would never change” (Wooten 524).
Machiavelli recognized that there are many opposites in life: good versus evil, virtue versus vice, and love versus hate. These opposites revolve in cycles which a good leader will recognize and take into account throughout his reign. Similarly, the types of constitutions can easily turn into their opposites: monarchies, aristocracies, and democracies can turn into tyrannies, oligarchies, and anarchies (Wooten 531). Corruption will come about at some point within republics, political parties, and religious sects. They need to reform often and return to the founding principles and original reputation to amend corruption (Wooten 544).
In writing Discourses, Machiavelli states that he is spurred on by an instinctive desire to do those things that further the common good and benefit everybody (Wooten 528). He gives examples throughout Discourses of human nature and how to adapt to changing circumstances. Reference is made to balancing man and beast. Men need to have the qualities of both a fox to avoid traps and a lion to make wolves turn tail (Wooten 511). Perhaps Machiavelli could be accused of manipulation and coercion as well. Paradoxically he says “there are some ways of behaving that are supposed to be virtuous, but will lead to your downfall, and others that are supposed to be wicked, but will lead to your welfare and peace of mind” (Wooten 508). He also uses an analogy of fortune being like a torrential river that demonstrates power where precautions have not been taken to resist her with banks and barriers (Wooten 523), but it is possible to prepare for the future and also repair damage when necessary.
When the time period of Machiavelli’s writings is taken into consideration, the perception of promoting violence can be reasoned with simply a strong sense of being decisive, and adaptable to changing times and life circumstances. Machiavelli was attacked bitterly by astute practitioners of tyranny who disliked him because he gave away their trade secrets (Thompson 277). Modern leaders can gain not only leadership principles for themselves, but also knowledge of how to anticipate opposition. “Only a few viewed Machiavelli favorably, and these pointed to his republicanism, maintaining that he had merely described princes as they were”, yet he was perceived as a scoundrel and an atheist for publicizing them (Sonnino 5).
“We can summarize Machiavelli’s purpose in writing his major works as the desire to discover beneath the disorder of contemporary life the underlying forces which create that disorder, and on that basis to lead men to a new order which could dominate force and violence instead of being dominated by them” (Weiner and Fisher 51). Niccolo Machiavelli was a wise and observant man who used his position to gain knowledge which he shared with important leaders of his time. He has been criticized throughout the ages, yet so much of his writings are invaluable to modern society and that should be celebrated.
Meyer, Edward. Machiavelli and the Elizabethan Drama. New York: Burt Franklin, 1897.
Sonnino, Paul. Frederick of Prussia Anti-Machiavel. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1981.
Thompson, Karl F. "Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince." Thompson, Karl F. Classics of Western Thought Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc, 1988. 277-293.
Weiner, Philip P. and John Fisher. Violence and Aggression in the History of Ideas. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1974.
Wood, Neal. "The Value of Asocial Sociability: Contributions of Machiavelli, Sidney and Montesquieu." Fleisher, Martin. Machiavelli and the Nature of Political Thought. New York: Kingsport Press, 1972. 282-307.
Wooten, David. "Niccolo Machiavelli." Morgan, Michael. Classics of Moral and Political Theory. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2005. 477-547.
Fine Arts 104
2 Oct. 2010
The Power of Images
“There is a sucker born every minute”. P.T.Barnum’s famous quote encapsulates a well known fact that advertisers utilize to their advantage. Humans have some basic emotional needs in their existence which are associated with virtues. One of those needs is acceptance, the need to belong. People are drawn to the idea that if you are ‘good’ you will be accepted and your basic needs will be met. This is derived from childhood dependence and the attempts at pleasing parents. People want to fit in and to be a part of the lifestyle or feelings that make them feel good and acceptable. Images in advertising are an impactful way of evoking emotion within the human psyche and spurring people to take action to fulfill their needs by buying and consuming products and services being advertised.
Society is constantly inundated with advertising through print media, billboards, television and radio. Talk is cheap and can be tuned out. A plain, literal image of a house, plant, or car generally doesn’t evoke a significant reaction in most of the general public. However, there are people who gain popularity, and simple structures or shapes that become associated with memorable events which make them all become more familiar and representative of particular themes and emotions. Over time, a morphic resonance emerges which creates symbolic associations with these literal images and they become iconic. Iconic images have the power to deliver a punch and to evoke the necessary emotions that spur action.
As an example, not many people would take notice of two simple pieces of wood. When these two pieces of wood are used to construct a cross shape, they take on a whole different symbolic meaning. In Biblical times, a cross was used to crucify criminals. Jesus Christ, the most celebrated prophet of the Christian faith, was also crucified on a cross at Golgotha. Since then, the cross has become a symbol of the Christian religion related to forgiveness, redemption, faith, sacred death, and reverence. There are numerous companies that use a cross in their advertising of books, trinkets and jewelry which seems to evoke a sense of authenticity and trustworthiness that correlates with the Christian religion as well.
Iconic images are everywhere in our everyday lives. Modern day government buildings are structured similar to those of ages past which infer an enduring sense of power, protection, and responsibility. Commercials show products in a stylish home, a back yard barbeque, a beach, or an upscale office setting as a backdrop to invoke a sense of coveted lifestyle. Advertisers use sports celebrities to convey a sense of health and vitality in selling cereals and other foods.
General Paint has a mural outside their establishment which is similar to the ‘Hall of Bulls’ cave painting in Lascaux, France. The caption on this mural is “Lasts for Ages”. Since the original cave paintings are dated back to 22,000 BCE, the iconic imagery in this mural represents a connection that General Paint has a quality of endurance. A small rainbow, another iconic symbol used as the General Paint logo, has been added at the bottom of the painting. A rainbow only has seven colors but the symbolic representation of “all the colors of the rainbow” suggests a much wider spectrum of colors which would suggest that General Paint also has an extensive variety of colors to choose from.
Television shows have turned many people and simple things into icons. The hit television series, “Dukes of Hazzard”, immediately brings to mind the artistically iconic 1969 Dodge Charger “General Lee” with its signature orange paint, “01” on the side, and confederate flag on the roof. The stars of the show, Bo and Luke Duke, were simple minded, red neck cousins who constantly seemed to stumble upon trouble inadvertently. The series was so popular that a movie was made in 2005 which revived the whole crazed era of adventure and bending-the-rules freedom. The car and cast members are licensed iconic images that helped rocket the sales of toy companies such as Hasbro and Mattel.
Music is an ephemeral art form which also has iconic artists used in advertising. The soft drink, Dr. Pepper, had an advertising campaign promoting the “kiss of cherry” flavor of their already popular refreshment. The commercial had the rock band, KISS, playing their song, “Dr Love”, along with the caption, “Trust me, I’m a doctor”. KISS is well known for their music as well as their entire persona of signature make up and costumes. The result of this commercial was a stroke of “Gene-ious” which had a powerful impact that overflowed into the print media of this successful soft drink campaign.
Advertising is a cunning form of psychological manipulation and con artistry. One would do well to understand some of the methods behind advertising to avoid spending hard earned cash on a whim. Health and vitality, endurance, reverence, responsibility, trustworthiness, adventure; all are virtues most people aspire to and will be drawn towards. P.T. Barnum understood this concept in his successful days of running a circus. There are no guarantees that advertised products or services will meet the needs of a particular person, but advertising campaigns prosper in using the illusion and power of esthetically pleasing images to sway human nature easily. By utilizing the human need of acceptance and a sense of belonging, advertisers manage to sell products and services to a multitude of suckers.
Fine Arts 101
30 Nov 2010
A Vision of Heaven
The magnificent cathedrals built in the Gothic era of Europe still evoke a sense of admiration and appreciation in our modern times. It was an era of both communal achievement and social change (Stokstad 492). The cathedral is the seat of the bishop, who is charged with the care of the souls within a designated territory (the diocese). Cathedra is a Latin word meaning the bishops throne (Scott 251). The appearance of the new Gothic style and technique of building coincided with the emergence of the monarchy as a powerful guiding force (Stokstad 492). “This revolution [of using more glass than masonry] favored the elaboration of vast programs illustrating Christian thought of the period as well as the devotions that were specific to a particular church or community” (Icher 131,132). Stained glass played an integral part in the architecture and design of Gothic Cathedrals. Christian beliefs of that era, importance of lighting, and the financing of the building of cathedrals affected the use of stained glass within these cathedrals.
Gothic cathedrals were built at a time when “ordinary people managed such tremendous feats of physical and creative energy” (Scott i) and “technology was rudimentary, famine and disease were rampant, the climate was often harsh, and communal life was unstable and incessantly violent” (Scott i). The sheer magnitude of building Gothic cathedrals in harsh times involved a lengthy span of years. In France, the Auxerre, Countances, and Lemans cathedrals took less than four decades to build (Scott 38). In England. Bristol cathedral holds the record involving a period of 688 years from 1218 to 1905 (Scott 39). The average span took 250-300 years to build a cathedral (Scott 39). Chartres cathedral took sixty-six years to complete (Scott 38).
“In its own day the Gothic style was simply called ‘modern art’ or the ‘French style’” (Stokstad 492). Many of these large churches were built on the Latin cross plan (Stokstad 499). One of the “main aim[s] of the Gothic style was to flood the interior with light, so builders had to devise new ways of constructing vaults, buttresses, and arches that would allow them to open the side walls for windows” (Scott 17). “The quest to achieve greater openings to admit more light… led builders to perfect the coordinated interplay between ribbed vaults, pointed arches, and flying buttresses that distinguished the Gothic style” (Scott 133). The impressive and highly decorative details in design included gargoyles which served to divert rain water away from the building (Icher 126).
Christian beliefs were based on the idea that light is associated with good, darkness is associated with evil. It was also believed that light was transparent as it left the creator, acquiring color in the material world and therefore “representing the diversity and imperfection of creatures” (Raguin 13). “The theological vision of the cathedral was of an interior space where people could [get a] glimpse [of] heaven. Consistent with [this] view of heaven, [the] great church was to be geometrically regular, orderly, coherent, enduring, and filled with light. It would symbolize a place where diverse and seemingly contradictory forces and elements could be reconciled under one all embracing canopy” (Scott 86,88). Stained glass offered a bright and colorful solution in keeping out rain and wind but allowing the sun, representing God, into the church (Raguin 10). It also created “a kinetic environment responding to intensity of light, times of day, and passage of seasons” (Raguin 13). The hierarchy of the Christian faith is “God [is] at the top, with Christ at His right hand, the Virgin nearby, and apostles, saints and other exemplary Christians arrayed beneath. This vision is depicted in the arrangement of statuary on the west fronts of cathedrals, on altarpieces, and in stained glass windows” (Scott 219).
There was a high illiteracy rate in the society of that era and stained glass presented a way to tell stories in pictures so that all could understand the bible stories and the current events of the day. Although many pictures were compared to divine scriptures (Icher 132), there are many stained glass windows that are not only related to Bible stories, but also depict pictures of blacksmiths or other workers who had contributed to the financing and work of the cathedral. Guilds donated stained glass windows (Icher 44) and in this way builders sought eternal glory through the stained glass (Icher 47). For example, the Redemption window at Chartres cathedral was financed by blacksmiths and shows them working. Similarly, the Apostles window was from donations from bakers (Icher 42,43). Chartres has 160 windows, and three rose windows (Icher 132) . The rose window on the west façade shows the Last Judgment with Christ in the center with angels circling out from the center and calling the dead who rise from tombs to heaven or hell (Raguin 13).
The Gothic architecture alone is breathtaking, but the efforts put into the glass making are astounding. “Glass was obtained by heating in a wood fire at almost 1500 [degrees Celsius], a blend of one part river sand to two parts fern and beechwood ashes” (Icher 136). Wooden templates were used (Icher 62) and glass was cut with heated knife (Icher 136). Stained glass was colored by use of powders derived from plants and minerals through processes highly secretive and passed orally through the generations (Icher 137). For this reason, there are many colors in the stained glass that cannot be duplicated because it is not known today how they were made then. What is known is that ground sapphires produced an azure blue color (Icher 132) and copper or gold produced a red color. Lead was used in assembly of stained glass because it was malleable enough to work with glass, but also could function well within the architecture to absorb gusts of wind and prevent glass from cracking under pressure (Stokstad 497).
The financial costs of building a cathedral were enormous. People were obliged through their faith to contribute vast donations towards the building of cathedrals in order to save their souls. For a substantial contribution, some donators were immortalized by having their name engraved in stained glass (Icher 41). Some people were also buried inside the cathedral if their donations were extraordinary enough. “Cathedrals stood at the very center of the world of the dead, because they housed many of the shrines that pilgrims came to visit” (Scott 208). Donations were solicited from these pilgrims as well. Chartres cathedral was known as the earthly home of the Virgin Mary (Scott 190) and housed the Tunic that Mary wore during Christ’s birth (Stokstad 501). Contributions were also gathered by sending relics and the Tunic on tour (Stokstad 501). This Tunic gained even more notoriety when Chartres cathedral burned down in 1194 but the Tunic was not destroyed in the fire (Scott 163).
Cathedrals have had many purposes. They invite reflection of the meaning of life and stimulate reconsideration of our place and of the meaning of our actions in society (Icher 186). Cathedrals fostered community (Scott 235,236) and conveyed commitment to an aesthetic and an explicit statement of the political and religious tenets of their time (Raguin 30). They are there to make a profound statement about the power of the community and the constituent institutions out of which it grows (Scott 250). The Gothic era of building these cathedrals is awe inspiring. The stained glass within these cathedrals supplements the beauty of these monuments and was an integral part of helping to finance the building while emulating the Christian faith.
Icher, Francois. Building the Great Cathedrals. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1998.
This volume is an informative narrative written by a “historian who specializes in the study of the craftsmen’s guilds of Europe”. It focuses on the people who built the cathedrals, the actual construction and architecture, and the financing which affected the building of the great cathedrals.
Raguin, Virginia Chieffo. The History of Stained Glass. London: Quintet Publishing, 2003.
This book explains how the use of stained glass was influenced throughout history to present day. There is also information on how stained glass was particularly used within the architecture of cathedrals.
Scott, Robert A. The Gothic Enterprise, a Guide to Understanding the Medieval Cathedral. London: University of California Press, 2003.
This book details the visions behind the making of the cathedrals and explains the reasons they came to fruition.
Stokstad, Marilyn and Michael W. Cothren. Art History 4th Edition. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2005. Chapter 16, Gothic Art of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, explains the emergence of the Gothic style in France, England, Germany, and Italy. The Gothic Era in France centers on cathedrals with respect to architecture, techniques, and the use of stained glass.
6 Oct 2010
She’s Only a Girl
“Boys and Girls” by Alice Munro, and “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, are two short stories dealing with the initiation of womanhood. Both stories show how past society had specific ideals for women to follow. They are written in different narratives, but the chosen narrative focus is fitting for the individual story. Both Munro and Kincaid prove that temporal setting and narrative voice can have a dramatic effect on the comprehension of the topic of gender expectations.
“Boys and Girls” is a typical plot structured story about a young girl raised on a fox farm who goes through the phase of coming to terms with her true feminine qualities. This memoir was written in 1968 and the exposition describes the indoor sleeping quarters as having a “roll of linoleum” and a “wicker baby carriage” (4) suggesting that the temporal setting may be about 1950’s.
Munro starts out being so helpful and proud of assuming some responsibilities of outdoor farm work with her father while resenting her mother’s indoor chores. When her mother comes out to the barn, Munro describes her mother “looked out of place” (13), “had no business down here” (15), and “was not to be trusted” (17). When she helped with the indoor chores, she ran out of the house “trying to get out of earshot before my mother thought of what she wanted me to do next” (13). Munro goes on to say that “work in the house was endless, dreary, and particularly depressing; work done out of doors, and in my father’s service was ritualistically important” (13). Furthermore, she reflected that “(t)he word girl had seemed… innocent and unburdened …now it appeared that it was no such thing. A girl was not as I had supposed, simply what I was; it was what I had to become” (21).
When a feed salesman comes by, her father introduces her as “the new hired man” (10). The salesman comments, “’I thought it was only a girl’” (11). In this temporal setting, this was not an unusual comment or situation, but in modern society, it may be grounds for gender discrimination. There is a turning point where the narrator secretly watches a horse being shot for fox food (35, 36). This is where she starts to recognize her emotional feminine side and also the idea that she is trapped into gender conformity. She symbolically escapes when she opens the gate to let the horse, Flora, escape to temporary freedom before being shot (48). When the truth of the escape comes to light, she hangs her head and cries, accepting her father’s dismissal, “’She’s only a girl’” (64).
The temporal setting is instrumental because gender roles were more specifically defined in the 1950’s and the initiation into womanhood is more apparent. Munro uses a first person narrative which evokes more emotion in the reader particularly when she watches the horse being shot and when she accepts her final fate of being a girl. It is more personalized than if the story had been told in third person narrative.
“Girl” is a didactic poem, also known as wisdom literature. It is a series of instructions and admonitions focused on housework, hygiene, and growing up to be a woman that would fit into polite society. Kincaid uses the less common second person narrative which is actually quite fitting to the context of “Girl”. The narrator seems ambiguous and may be a nursemaid or other mentor. There are also two italicized responses to all the admonitions which are also ambiguous. The story would not create the same effect in the reader if it had been written in first or third person narrative voice, in fact, the story would probably be boring. By utilizing the second person narrative, Kincaid shows an abrupt tone throughout the text which conveys a sense of the rigid expectations of that era. The didactic style of writing leaves out defined characters and gives the reader something to think about.
The temporal setting of “Girl” is fitting for this piece because of the language used and the didactic style. The phrase “put clothes on the stone heap”, and the words “doukana” and “benna”, may suggest the time period to be turn of the century in Southern United States. There is also a reference made three times to “the slut you are bent on becoming”. Due to the connotations of the word “slut” in modern society meaning a promiscuous woman, the initial reading of this text can be disturbing. By understanding the original connotations of the word in a bygone era meaning “a bad housekeeper”, the entire text is more comprehensible. There are instructions on ironing “khaki pants so that they don’t have a crease”; specific cooking of regional foods; yard work; self care, “wash every day, even with your own spit”; and etiquette “this is how you smile”. These certainly have no relation to the current degrading context of the word “slut”. The end of this story shows how women were just expected to conform to these ideals, “you mean after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won’t let near the bread”.
Although each of these stories presents a similar version of gender expectations, they have different ways of showing the transition of childhood to womanhood and the tendency for girls to go through a tomboy period which needs cultivating before they grow to be in tune with their feminine side. The different styles of writing convey a similar theme, yet the narrative voice and temporal setting do have a dramatic effect on the comprehension of the literature. The meaning and impact of both stories would be lost if they were written in a more modern context because gender roles are not so specifically defined now. The attitudes and language used in these stories definitely show how far women have come in modern society.
December 9, 2009
The Return of Midwifery
The choice of using the services of a midwife has come full circle in the last century. It was only a hundred years ago when midwifery was the only choice in assisted childbirth. Advances in the medical
field in the early 1900s changed to the point that family doctors and obstetricians were the only accepted and qualified people to deliver babies. Over time the needs of the mother and baby have become more important again, and the acceptance of midwifery is widespread once again. Mothers and babies thrive much better with the personalized care that midwifery offers. More recently, medical advances have changed to encompass midwifery as a good alternative to assisted childbirth. There is more focus now on the emotional and bonding needs of the mother and newborn, and this is the expertise of midwifery.
The focus on the emotional needs of the mother has made way for choices in the methods of assisted childbirth. A birthing mother may choose a midwife, a physician, or an obstetrician to deliver her baby. Another choice is to have a doula available for support through the pregnancy and birth. Each of these choices have particular roles to play in the process of childbirth. It is important to look at what services each of these choices provide and weigh this with needs of the mother and her family.
Doula is a Greek term meaning 'woman of service'. This is a labor coach who can work with a midwife or a doctor. A doula can help with communication between mother and the clinical professionals and also help the spouse feel more at ease throughout the delivery process. Doulas are not trained to deliver babies, but they can help support the mother emotionally throughout the delivery time and after the birth as well. It is important to choose a doula who can work with your choice of a delivery person as doulas are not regulated and there have been some problems with overstepping boundaries. However, there are many mothers who have appreciated the services of a doula (Murphy)
Midwife means 'with woman' and is an ancient form of women's healing art . Midwives are trained to deliver babies and offer support throughout a pregnancy and also after the baby is born depending on the arrangements made with the mother. They are focused on the care of the mother and newborn throughout pregnancy and beyond the actual birth. This may include home support and newborn care as well (Kearns 427). The title of midwife is not taken lightly. “The evidence shows that not all women who attended births were called midwives: rather the title of midwife, more often, was reserved for those women who had acquired a specialized set of skills either formally or through years of experience and was conferred by the Crown, Church, or by a community under specific circumstances” (Biggs 18). A physician is a general practitioner or regular family doctor who does not specialize in childbirth, but can deliver babies if necessary. An obstetrician is specially trained in all aspects of the birthing process in medical terms but does not offer the same personalized service that a midwife offers. Physicians and obstetricians mainly deal the medical aspects of the birth. Doctors may be prepared for any emergencies that may arise, but this approach seems sterile and cold in terms of the emotional needs of a woman and the whole bonding experience between mother and baby.
For this reason, midwifery practices have become more widely accepted as an alternative method of childbirth. Mary Carolan and Ellen Hodnett state that: “Midwives often strive… to foster a sense of belonging and continuity, which harks back to earlier simpler times when, traditionally, childbearing was the province of ‘wise women’ within a community”, and “… the midwife–woman relationship is portrayed as going beyond more usual professional relationships in terms of importance, intimacy and intensity”, and “…there is little suggestion that the formation of this relationship is ever other than seamless and it is difficult to find studies that critique the bond” (146,147). The birth experience is all about trying to keep the birth as natural as possible and about bonding with your newborn. Midwives uphold this focus on childbirth. Midwives were licensed by a church back in the Middle Ages and took an oath of office. Home births with midwives were the only choice up until the 1920s when medical doctors began to offer childbirth services. “Nurse-midwives in the United States were virtually absorbed into the medical system in the 1940s and 1950s in their bid to gain acceptance. In the 1960s there was a return to the practice of midwifery” (Kornelson 12,13).
Registering midwives and new regulations have made way for midwifery to be more widely accepted in most areas of the country. “In Australia and elsewhere, the midwifery profession is undergoing a process of change and redefinition and there is considerable evidence to suggest that this change is responsive to women’s needs and will also aid the advancement of the profession” (Carolan 148). There has also been some concern as to the financial benefits of using midwives and the suppression of the pressures on the health care system. “Midwives seemed the obvious answer, not just to the financial problems of using specialists to provide primary care but to the overuse of technological and pharmaceutical interventions in maternity care” (Van Wagner 76). There are still some hurdles to overcome, such as, some provinces do not cover midwifery under government health care plans (Zelmer 22).
Canadian midwives Kerstin Martin and Rosalind Lydiate state that “Membership in the Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM), including students, now stands at 800 — an increase of 50% within the last three years”(13). They also claim:
In the majority of Canadian provinces and territories today, the regulation and integration of midwives in the health care system is either established or underway. The western prairie province of Saskatchewan recently proclaimed its Midwifery Act in March 2008; Nova Scotia on the Atlantic coast has also passed legislation and expects to implement midwifery in 2008 – bringing us closer to the goal of regulated midwifery all across the country. Considering that midwives were not legally recognized anywhere in Canada only 20 years ago, these developments represent tremendous and rapid change (13).
These changes have made a significant impact on birthing mothers. A maternity experiences survey found that 71% of women whose primary caregiver at birth was a midwife rated their labour and birth experience as “very positive” compared to those cared for by obstetrician/gynecologists, family doctors or nurses and nurse practitioners (53%) (Statistics Canada, 2007).
When a mother chooses a midwife, she can also have the choice of where to have her baby. A mother can choose to have her baby at home, at a birthing centre or in a hospital. A midwife can work in any of these situations. It is important to consider possible complications with labor and delivery in choosing where to give birth to your newborn, but most often childbirth can be a wonderful and positive experience with the attendance of a midwife in any setting chosen.
A home birth is ideally the most comfortable for the mother and baby with familiar surroundings. A study done from Jan. 1, 2000, to Dec. 31, 2004, in British Columbia, Canada showed that:
planned home birth attended by a registered midwife was associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death and reduced rates of obstetric interventions and adverse maternal outcomes compared with planned hospital birth attended by a midwife or physician. Our population rate of less than 1 perinatal death per 1000 births may serve as a benchmark to other jurisdictions as they evaluate their home-birth programs (Janssen 383).
Websters online dictionary defines a birth centre as “a facility usually staffed by nurse-midwives that provides a less institutionalized setting than a hospital for women who wish to deliver by natural childbirth” (www.merriam-webster.com). A birthing centre may offer such things family accommodation or water pools for the choice of a water birth (Baby Centre). Hospitals are sterile institutions that have begun to recognize the need for a mothers choices, and are also ready for emergencies. Many maternity wards now have the appearance of less institutionalized looking decor that make the surroundings seem more home like and comfortable.
Midwifery and home delivery was the only method of childbirth just over a hundred years ago. Medical advances have recognized the benefits of home delivery and mother care to the point that hospitals are offering comfortable home like surroundings and midwives are now allowed to practice within hospitals. There are some significant factors to consider when having a child with the health and care of both mother and baby being the most important consideration. Trying to keep the birth as simple as possible without unnecessary medical interventions is also a crucial element in making choices. Mothers who are kept comfortable have an easier time throughout their labor and delivery as well. Enhancing the bonding experience between parents, newborn and siblings is beneficial to everyone in the family. All of these factors are the expertise of a midwife. The birthing experience is something to be cherished. Having a midwife to keep the experience as natural as possible would be the best way to bring a child into this world.
Baby Center Medical Advisory. “All About Birth Centres.” Baby Centre. [London]: Baby Centre, 2009. Web. 9 December 2009.
Birth Centre Merriam-Webster. 2009. Web. 1 December 2009.
Biggs, L., “Rethinking the History of Midwifery in Canada.” Reconceiving Midwifery, ed. Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, Cecilia Benoit, and Robbie Davis-Floyd. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2004. 17- 45.
Carolan, M., Hodnett, E. ‘With Woman’ Philosophy: Examining the Evidence, Answering the Questions. Nursing Inquiry, 14.2 (2007). p140-152
Janssen, P., L. Saxell, L. Page, M. Klein, R. Liston, and S. Lee. “Outcomes of Planned Home Birth with Registered Midwife versus Planned Hospital Birth with Midwife or Physician.” Canadian Medical Association. Journal 181.6/7 (2009): 377-383. CBCA Reference, ProQuest. Web. 30 Nov. 2009.
Kearns, K. “Midwifery”. The Encyclopedia of Complementary Health Practice. New York: Springer, 1999. Print.
Kornelson, J., Pushing for Change. Vancouver: BC Centre of Excellence for Women's Health, 2000.
Martin K, Lydiate R. Canada: 'Closer to the Goal of Regulated Midwifery Across the Country'. International Midwifery, 21.1.(2008). p13
Murphy, C. Doulas: Holding Hands or Stepping on Toes. BBC News. London: BBC, 2 December 2009. Web. 4 December 2009
Statistics Canada. Maternity Experiences Survey. Ottawa. Statistics Canada, 2007. Web. 30 Novembe 2009.
Van Wagner, V., “Why Legislation?: Using Regulation to Strengthen Midwifery.” Reconceiving Midwifery, ed. Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, Cecilia Benoit, and Robbie Davis-Floyd. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2004. 71- 90.
Zelmer, J., Leeb, K. “Challenges for Providing Maternity Services: The Impact of Changing Birthing Practices. Healthcare Quarterly. 7.3 (2004): 21-23. Academic Search Premiere. Web. 30 November 2009
November 3, 2009
Art or Art Not to Be
Graffiti Zone defines graffiti as a drawing or scribbling on a flat surface, originally referred to those marks found on ancient Roman architecture. Art tells the story of our lives. Where would we be if those who came before us did not share their stories? (par 2,3) Everyone needs a sense of belonging and purpose. This is such a basic human need that the “International Rights of a Child” states that children should be able to express themselves as long as it is not damaging to others. They have right to believe in what they want and to share that information. While driving around in many communities these days, murals, graffiti and other works of art can be seen adorning empty spaces of walls and other open surfaces. Murals are usually well organized and often a painter is paid to do that work. Graffiti is usually done by some budding artist hopeful from an impoverished background with nowhere to express themselves. Some of this so called artwork may the plights of gangs, and their territorial markers. Some may be the whims of puppy love in declaring undying love for the current object of affection such as “Tommy loves Sue 4ever”. Some may actually be pleasing attempts at expressing artistic styles. Who decides what is art and what is not? We are constantly bombarded with advertisements along highways and boulevards. Is that also considered artwork? Is it because someone pays money that they are allowed to invade our country's beautiful scenery in hopes that we will part with our hard earned money for their wares and services? Or is it when someone gets paid that their work is considered art. Is payment a consideration or is it all just about artistic expression and something pleasing to the eye of the beholder? Generally when there are racial slurs and degrading words, society deems this as offensive. Property owners are often not pleased with uninvited artwork of any sort. There is a solution that has proven to help combat some of the offensive graffiti and also to give youth an acceptable form of expression.
In years past, the solution was more of a war on graffiti where officials would spend copious amounts of money trying to clean up graffiti and restore the damage done by vandals. This was a fruitless attempt to deter troubled teens. The majority of offenders are adolescents who are fighting their own inner turmoil of finding their own identity. Basic human nature is to push back when pushed. In the efforts to combat graffiti, the problem only came out in other criminal activities. There are many street youth programs and shelters available nowadays. These are places where under privileged youth can gain a much needed sense of belonging. Creating artwork programs within these resources has proven to be a good way to deter much of the problem of young people finding an inappropriate outlet for their repressed emotions. Some cities have created specific graffiti zones for young people to express themselves without damaging public property in unwanted areas. This seems to have curbed a great deal of the problem. While this may not deter all of the problem of vandals leaving their mark in disrespectful ways, it may possibly give young people a sense of purpose and belonging and also brighten up our landscape in wonderful ways.
These programs have finally realized that it is more beneficial to get to the root of the problem of unwanted graffiti and then channel it into something positive. Through youth outreach programs, adults have managed to bridge the age distance gap and create a positive environment of communication with these adolescents. Incorporating safe graffiti zones and a channeling youth energy into an acceptable form of expression has turned into art therapy which has benefited many young people (Rothman, Hoshino). In 1999, in Bridgeport, Connecticut a youth program was developed called United Youth Arts Partnership, Inc. (UYAP). Police Officer Mike Gosha is involved with this Program and was named Officer of the Year in 1999. He advocates working with troubled youth rather than dealing with them. These youth have been looking for a voice and to 'catch fame'. Gosha says, “For children looking for a voice, punishment and arrests just give them notoriety and actually fuel future acts of vandalism without addressing the deeper issues of abandonment, self-esteem and identity (Johnson).
The 1986 grad class in Terrace, British Columbia was one of many grad classes who adopted an alternative solution to the previous defacing of public property with spray cans. In the past, the expressions of grad achievements could be seen all over town, and some in not so welcome areas. Students were supplied with sheets of plywood upon which they could display their artistic talents and celebrate their achievements in a non invasive way. The plywood could be painted and then hung in various places around town. After a time, the grads could retrieve these works of art and take them home as a cherished keepsake. The Ottawa Citizen reported in September 2009 that legal graffiti zones were not working as well as anticipated in curbing all graffiti type vandalism. While this may be true, the proposal to not establish any more legal graffiti walls was rejected because Councilor Diane Deans believes the walls have been working in the three areas already established. The graffiti arts community fought and won the right to keep the current legal graffiti walls (Drudi). Over time, the youth outreach programs that have implemented a graffiti art outlet for adolescents have managed to turn something thought to be negative into something positive. Troubled youth have gained a sense of belonging and purpose, and communities have benefited in reduced vandalism and increased artistic expression.
Drudi, Cassandra. Graffiti walls do not stop vandalism: study. Ottawa Citizen, 4 September 2009. 3
Nov. 2009 <http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/basketball/Graffiti+walls+stop+vandalism+study/1960207/story.html>
Graffiti Zone. Art Making and Arts Promotion. Graffiti Zone, 2009. 3 Nov. 2009 <http://www.graffitizone.org/>
Johnson, Caitlin. Making Connections, Not Arrests. Connect for Kids, 2009. 3 Nov. 2009 <http://www.connectforkids.org/node/203>
Rothman, Ezekiel-Eric and Hoshino, Janice. Graffiti Art Therapy, 2002. 3 Nov. 2009 <http://www.graffitiverite.com/graffitiartTherapy.htm>
(We had to watch a movie then write an essay on it)
6 Dec 2010
Wings for the Soul
Dreams are the very fibre of what gives life meaning and purpose. Without dreams, there would be no hope and nothing to look forward to in life. Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun is a well written play all about dreams. Through the scenes it becomes apparent that each character has a unique vision of their own, and by the end of the play, they learn the true essence of making dreams a reality. It is human nature to have visions of the future as something to strive for, and it is natural for people to have their own perception of dreams based on their own experiences which someone else may not necessarily understand. In this play there are several characters that have individual dreams which sometimes appear shattered. However, the hurdles of these shattered dreams are also the lessons in making these aspirations come true.
Big Walter had dreams of a future looking after his family and their respective futures. This dream was crushed with the loss of a child, and with his own demise. He loved his children dearly, and he worked hard all his life to support them. Mama and Ruth discuss Big Walter’s implied dreams and Mama quotes Big Walter saying “Seem like God didn’t see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams–but He did give us children to make them dreams seem worthwhile” (1595).
Lena, also referred to as Mama, wanted a “little place out in Morgan Park” (1595). Over the years, she put her needs aside, as any mother would, in making a more comfortable life for her children using the resources she had on hand. She always wanted a garden; however, the feeble plant in the window has been the only indication of this dream (1592, 1599). Parents naturally have hopes of their own that change over the course of family life and often these ambitions are deferred to their children’s futures. With the insurance money, she has finally visualized a definitive way of making the materialization of a new home come to fruition, as well as being able to afford Beneatha’s schooling. These ideas are a dream that now includes all her family (1595). She is thrilled with the gifts of gardening tools and a gardening hat from her family which represent a nearly materialized dream of her own garden (1630).
Walter Lee has big dreams of investing and an accelerated road to success. He works all day as a chauffeur who sees the rich living a luxurious life that he envies because all he has to give his son is “stories about how rich white people live” (1590). He has a man’s ego and is disappointed in the lack of support from his more sensible wife because she “[d]on’t understand about building…men up and making ‘em feel like they somebody. Like they can do something” (1590). Although Walter Lee has an admirable dream of a better life for his family, his dreams are based in hopes of a quick and easy method of attainment because he views the rich white people as having their successful lives obtained simply by “turning deals worth millions of dollars” (1608). He does not seem to understand that investments require respectable contacts and wise decisions, and therefore misunderstands Ruth’s hesitance to go along with his suspicious dealings (1589). He also does not respect Mama’s reluctance to invest in an unchristian venture such as a liquor store (1594, 1608).
Ruth is a settled housewife who had bigger dreams but has resigned to just accepting a comfortable laborer life. She would have preferred “Buckingham Palace” (1590), but seems content to just have a peaceful household. Her marriage is a concern in not being able to meet her husband’s needs (1594), consequently she is thrilled to tell Beneatha about an evening out at the movies when she held hands with her husband (1624). Dreams can be monumental in physical form, but can be just as important in the small moments of kindred hearts.
Beneatha has a goal of becoming a doctor. She is a young woman who is rebelling against the usual settled housewife stigma of that generation and does not want to accept the idea of marrying George Murchison because he is rich (1597). She also wants to “experiment with different forms of expression” in trying various pastimes (1596). The idea of going to Africa to cure people there is also an entertained notion (1635). It is not until further into the play that she articulates why she wants to become a doctor: she had a childhood experience of witnessing someone “split open” and “fixed up” with only a scar left. Correspondingly, she views this as a “concrete” way of “being God” in curing people (1634). Her dream appears dissipated when Walter Lee loses the insurance money on a bad investment because he trusted a shady friend (1633, 1635).
Although these individual dreams appeared shattered when Walter Lee squandered the insurance money, this was also a turning point where he learned to stand by his good morals and family pride rather than making things worse by accepting the offer from Mr. Lindner (1642). Overall it seems he has learned an important lesson in life: making dreams come true requires a person keeping true to himself and working ethically toward dreams. As well, obstacles are not meant to deter dreams, rather they are meant to show how important dreams are, and whether a person has the strength to endure hardships in making them come true so they will actually be appreciated when they are attained. The common dream these characters all have is moving to the new home. The final act of the play shows that they all have accepted the fate of losing the money, but they also are prepared to face the difficulties in an unwelcome neighborhood and having to work harder to pay for the new house. This is symbolized in the indomitable little plant that Lena takes with her to the new home (1643). Dreams are wings for the soul, let your dreams soar!
Hansberry, Lorraine. “A Raisin in the Sun.” Norton Introduction to Literature. Allison Booth and Kelly J Mays. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2010. 583-1643. Print.
College of New Caledonia
Restorative Justice and Youth
Everyone needs to have a sense of belonging. This is such a basic human need that it was one of the main foundations of early small scale societies. In these communities, everyone had a purpose and sense of belonging. Society evolved with people gaining property and possessions. This made way for crimes against others in the way of property damage and theft. These acts of crime were usually done by those less fortunate and by errant youth.. There were ways of dealing with crimes and perpetrators through shaming rituals, temporary ostracism, and reprisal killings (Linden, 2009, chap 2). As society has evolved even more, crimes were dealt with in the way of fines and other punishments which were paid to the state or to the king rather than having some form of compensation to the victim of the crime. Our current society still deals with crimes in this manner. In recent years there has been a shift and a return to some forms of restorative justice. This manner of dealing with crimes against others is a much healthier approach that is best for both the victim and perpetrator. Simon Fraser University has a centre for restorative justice. They define restorative justice as:
“… an old idea with a new name. Its roots can be found in Aboriginal healing traditions and the non-
retaliatory responses to violence endorsed by many faith communities. It represents a return of the
simple wisdom of viewing conflict as an opportunity for a community to learn and grow. It operates
on the premise that conflict, even criminal conflict, inflicts harm, and therefore individuals must
accept responsibility for repairing that harm. Communities are empowered to choose their response
to conflict. Victims, offenders and communities actively participate in devising mutually beneficial
solutions, and implementing those solutions. Conflicts are resolved in a way that restores harmony
in the community members’ relationships, and allows people to continue to live together in a safer,
Restorative justice will not completely replace the current system because the current system does work and is necessary for some crimes. The current system isolates the victim and offender and does not repair harm done. Restorative justice works best for youth and first time offenders who are able to face their bad behaviour and learn from it. This alternative from the traditional system has worked well enough that a week in November 2009 was declared Restorative Justice Week in British Columbia and in the town of Sydney (Collier). The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General has a program that addresses youth involvement in gangs. Their website states that in February 2009, Premier Gordon Campbell announced a comprehensive plan to support ongoing efforts to tackle gang crime. (BC Ministry). A Vancouver school has had many successes with using restorative justice to deal with disputes, violence, bullying and vandalism as an alternative to suspensions and expulsions of
students. (Steffenhagen) An example of a time when restorative justice worked well in my family was when my two oldest daughters were ten and twelve years old respectively. They spent an afternoon at the local mall andapparently took on a challenged dare from some school mates who were also at the mall. My daughters were caught shoplifting some cosmetics from two stores. Because of their age, and the fact that this was a first time offense, the managers sent them home with only a phone number to call to confirm that they had indeed told their parents of their crime. As their mother, I was mortified and embarrassed with the news. I wondered what would be a fitting punishment for these young thieves. I finally decided to have them write an apology letter to both managers and hand deliver the letters. My daughters are now adults and they never shoplifted again after that incident. Having them face their victims made a lasting impression! There are many benefits to the rebirth of using restorative justice in our society. It is a wonderful way of meeting the needs of victims and perpetrators and repairing the harm done by crimes against others. It repairs relationships and fosters a sense of belonging and purpose among all members of a community.
Procreation, the other on thecontradictory privilege of power: Procreation
In caveman times, men were the hunters and gathers while women were the stay at home nurturers who looked after children, prepared food and kept the home cave in presentable order. In medieval times society progressed to the point of social graces and courtship etiquette. Men had certain rules to follow to earn the presence of women and permissions to marry. Society has progressed further in modern times to the era of feminist rights and equality but some of the previously and long held beliefs and values of primitive times still prevail. Men have dominated the world for centuries. Testosterone, the male hormone, is believed to be the cause of dominance, aggression, and pursuit. Men still are the hunters, gatherers , movers and the shakers. Feminism has given women rights and some equality but one area still thought of as women's domain is procreation and all its aspects: mothering, fertility, conception, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding. Women's bodies are designed for all aspects of procreation yet in today's society women are still dominated by the old traditional and possibly outdated men's values. No matter how much society evolves, men still attest to their caveman promiscuity "rights" and dominance. Until the early 1900's much of the childbirth and mothering was attended by midwives and female maternal family members. The industrial revolution, wars, and the status of women as citizens in 1918 has given women more freedom, and more bondage it seems. A male dominated society of work and income earning outside the home is no longer just left to males. Women are expected to work and support themselves and their children. Society has changed so much in modern times that now we have errant parents., a high percentage of errant fathers who leave women to fend for themselves in many areas. Procreation and child rearing are still left to women along with the other burdens of survival. Around the 1900's midwives were replaced with doctors and hospitals, There was a surge of sterile hospital environment and male dominance that took away from the intimacy and nurturing of midwives and home births. Fertility is often thought to be a problem in women's bodies. How often do men admit their sperm aren't up to par? That would kill their ever important male ego. Contraception is often a women's responsibility. She has one egg to protect with pills, diaphragms, injections, or whatever chosen method. Men have a million or more sperm to protect with their wayward ways. I doubt they would agree that it would be easier to just remove the bullets. Man pride rules again. Pregnancy, well, women are designed for that. Apparently there was a case of a "man" having a baby but under unusual circumstances. Seriously though, if men and women could both have babies, every couple would have three offspring. Woman has one, man has one, man chickens out. Women are designed for pain endurance better than men, Have you ever seen a man with a head cold? He needs a mommy. Childbirth again is dominated by women for obvious reasons but as stated, doctors and hospitals changed that for a long time through the 1900's. Thankfully there has been a swing back to midwives being allowed to aid childbirth. Hospitals have designed maternity wards to be more intimate and friendly towards mothers and babies as well as extended families. This is beneficial to everyone, including society as children given a healthy start are more likely to be productive members of society. Breastfeeding has changed over the years as well. Mothers milk is essential to babies nutrition and maternal bonding, but various reasons have allowed for formula, bottles, breast pumps, and father feeding times. This can relieve women of some responsibility and allow for some freedoms as well. Unions have worked tirelessly to bring about maternity benefits, paternity benefits as well as general allowances in work schedules and parental rights which help women tremendously to relieve some pressures. Procreation and all its aspects have always been a women's responsibility mainly because of our body design and hormonal tendencies toward mothering. Society through the ages has been male dominated but shifts in modern times has brought some changes that give women some freedoms. The miracles of motherhood, babies and procreation has been mostly a blessing for women but can also be a curse in male dominated society. Modern changes have helped more than hinder though and women can find freedoms and juggle responsibilities quite well in our imperfect world.
The contradictory privileges of power and dominance
Throughout history in our North American culture, along with many other cultures in the world, men have been the dominant gender in society. With this status, men have enjoyed the privilege of being head of the home, final decision makers, rulers, leaders in government, and other positions and privileges that basically give them power over others, and that whole "lone warrior" image that has long been thought as the ideal masculine. This status has come with a price though. The masculine ideal requires detachment, separation and an inner power of sorts. Biological differences appear to determine gender even though studies have shown that whether biologically male or female, everyone seems to carry both masculine and feminine traits with one gender being more dominant in the individual person. With this in mind we can understand that it would be detrimental to a person as a whole to deny themselves the expression of all their traits. there is a fine line between two gender traits with masculine testosterone giving way to strength, detachment, and aggression. Feminine energies encompass nurturing, caring, and fostering community. These are all needed for an emotionally balanced individual. When a man denies his emotional needs in suppressing love, commitment, teammanship (community), compassion, empathy, nurturing and receptivity, these emotions do not disappear, they are only held back. Anything "bound up" will eventually come undone and sometimes the "explosion" can be devastating and painful. Men have found some ways of expressing themselves in a male socially acceptable way of hurling "meaningless" insults as a form of male bonding in their locker rooms, clubs and pubs. Often the suppression of emotions isn't sufficed in this way and their inner pain spills over into their personal lives at work and within all forms of relationships. This can lead to aggressive corporate dominance, marital discord, absent fathers, and outright homophobia. There are other factors that can make situations even worse because of suppressed and unexpressed pain. Society teaches men that crying is a sign of weakness rather than a cleansing of the soul on an energetic level. Empathy and compassion have no place in the dominance over others and in denying these emotions men have trouble with receiving reciprocally the appreciation, trust and acceptance that they so desire. For this reason when young boys suffer a childhood trauma, whether physical abuse, sexual abuse or a family tragedy, they are taught to suck it up and move on, to toughen up and don't look back. These are the worst kinds of pain to suppress and as Patricia Evans explains in her book The Emotionally Abusive Relationship", men end up in a very dysfunctional "power over" mindset which can lead to a vicious cycle of abuse in abusing women and children as well as detrimental aggression towards other men rather than a healthy level of competition. This also backfires on these men. They are so damaged in their quest for male power that the scales are tilted and their power becomes excessive weakness which many may escape in a world of alcohol and drugs, thus perpetuating the vicious cycles. The feminist movement allowed freedoms and equality for women in many areas of life and for a time this unsettled men greatly and displaced many of their sole breadwinner status. Some men have not handled this well giving up even more power to women and taking advantage of women in becoming deadbeat losers who leech off women in another abusive cycle. The feminist movement has been around for a while and many men are now embracing feminism as a welcome key to releasing their own societal shackles of unrealistic masculine ideals. Men can now safely express their feminine side in fostering community and eliciting compassion towards their fellow man in a more democratic and equal society rather than a totalitarian male dominant society. Our culture still has a way to go, but the present changes are a hope for all of mankind.
Computer 152 … We had to make up a newsletter to show our computer skills
Global River Conservancy
Greetings to all our wetlands supporters,
In this issue:
Howe Creek Initiative, Terrace BC
Terrace BC: The Howe Creek Initiative was well underway at the time of the last publication. We are pleased to report that as of February 2010, Howe Creek is no longer on our endangered list. Numerous local volunteers worked countless hours along with the Global River Conservancy crews in trolling the creek and testing water samples. Several loads of refuse were removed from the creek, and environmentally friendly algae were added to return the environment to its homeostasis balance. Fisheries spokesperson Calvin Foster conveys his appreciation to all the volunteers for their efforts and adds that April 12 2010 will be the release date for several fish fry into their new home in Howe Creek.
Prince George BC:
Beaver Rescue: The ongoing efforts in Cottonwood Park, Prince George BC uncovered a most unfortunate wildlife nightmare. A beaver got stuck in his own dam when a tree fell broadside over his home and trapped him inside. It seems the critter tried to escape through the bottom entry where beavers make their dam entrances, but the dam itself had been squashed and damaged. River relief crews noticed the beaver’s mate hanging around the damaged dam, realized the emergency pending and called in the SPCA. Divers were also called in and within a short period of time the beaver was extracted and set free. The mate seemed quite relieved and made the rescuers day when it approached them with a freshly shorn twig as a thank you gift.
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