Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm
I suppose you could offer to buy a bag of necessities/food. If they refuse and only want cash, that would tell you something. There a topic about a woman and child doing this same thing recently. As has been pointed out, there is help available.
Posted by Social Services, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm
From one, who worked for Alameda Co. Social Services in the Welfare Dept. Supervising Units of ALL Aid Categories: Direct these people to the nearest Welfare Office located on Pacific Ave. in Livermore. Free same day housing and food is available, homeless money (pays first month rent and security deposit) and Emergency Aid (financial assistance) with-in a 24 hr. turn around. That is the law. No bus fare? Call the Police Dept./most Churches and they will provide tokens etc.. They will not be left out in the cold and hungry.. Adults with children 0 to 19 yrs. living with them are eligible for Emergency Aid and Assistance. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT give money. If they do not accept the offered info and assistance, experience dictates they are scam artists. We see this behavior all of the time. There are plenty of fools out there encouraging and enabling the scammers by giving money. You are NOT helping them.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2011 at 12:47 am
One of my former students was approached not too many years ago by a homeless man asking for a hand-out (cash) in a Safeway parking lot. Against her intuition, she struck up a conversation and, hey P-Towners, believe it or not, actually talked to him as a real person for several minutes. Toward the end of their conversation, she asked if he'd like to join her at a Subway which adjoined Safeway.
She bought him a sandwich, and they talked some more. She gave him money for a hair-cut and a few other necessities. Helped him find a temporary shelter. To make a long story short, the gentleman was eventually able to find a job and a small apartment to live in. When he passed away a couple years later, to my student's surprise, she learned that he had left her his entire estate in Minnesota which came to be valued over $700 thousand dollars.
But I guess it's easier just to assume that the begger is a scam artist or some other kind of criminal or freeloader. And never talk to them, because, well, you mind find out they are a human being in genuine need.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2011 at 7:26 am
Jane, your story is almost verbatim with a similar yarn on snopes. Even if your story was true, the guy is obviously mentally unstable (why would he leave his 'estate' in the firs place) and should be committed to an institution that would protect him and protect the public from him.
Nice try...telling stories like that makes one wonder what other fiction you've come up with while panhandling.
Posted by Joe, a resident of the Siena neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2011 at 8:44 am
If any of you folks give him money, you're falling for the oldest trick in the book. Your money goes to buy dope and booze. Don't fall for this garbage--just call the police and report a kid who is possibly in danger and needs his welfare checked out by the authorities.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2011 at 11:11 am
I'll not comment on where the mental instability lies. Of course, a large percentage of homeless are indeed mentally unstable. Good luck getting the fascist right-wingers to provide them with suitable housing/security.
I do not know whether the story is true or not. What is true is that my former student shared the story with my class, told it with quite some emotion -- she broke down crying at one point -- and had other members of the classroom in tears as well.
Now for the really juicy part for steve and the other money grubbers: the student who shared the story drove a brand new 60+ grand Lexus. Wipe off the drool, people.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2011 at 11:55 am
Jane, Seems odd that one would inherit a $700,000 estate from a starving man and choose to spend the legacy on an over the top vehicle. Could have helped feed a lot of other people instead. Who's the fascist right winger now? Your story is a sham.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm
Kathleen, throw a 700 grand figure before your eyes and you go all bonkers on us. Like I say, the story may be a sham, but I don't think so, and I don't think any of her fellow classmates thought so either.
I've since lost track of the student. Beyond the Lexus, I don't know what she did with the money she inherited.
What part of the story do you think is a sham? The part where the woman stopped and talked to the begger? That she bought him a sandwich at Subway? That she helped him out? Is all this really too much of a strain on your sense of credibility as it relates to your own perhaps somewhat stunted moral sensibility? Sorry for placing such an informational overload upon you.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2011 at 12:21 pm
Also, I never knew the student to be a fascist right-winger. Her gesture toward the begger surely was not in keeping with fascist, right-wing ideology. But you're probably more familiar with fascist ways of thinking than I am.
Maybe you can respond: Does being a fascist lend itself to feeling threatened and expressing incredulity when someone offers a story of charitable good will towards a stigmatized other in our society? Or is it the envy that gets in the way?
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm
To answer your questions in order: the ending, no, no, no, no.
Help someone who may appear to have hit hard times, inherit a fortune, buy a Lexus--has a rather inconsistent moral ending don't you think? It raises questions like where were her parents in guiding her? What about college? Why not a Prius? But then you say you are "offer(ing) a story."
So to answer your next set of comments/questions, I don't know how to think like a fascist. Don't feel threatened. I have no problem with helping those in need; no envy to get in the way. I suggested ways to help the man/child in the posted story; others have made sound suggestions. You are posting stories; not sure how you are helping. If you are trying to teach, you might want to dust up the ending a bit.
Posted by KC, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm
I'm sorry but i do teach my children to never speak to anyone that is a stranger. you cant trust anyone now days, and if you are bothered by that, why dont you think about Jaycee Dugard, Polly Klass, Elizabeth Smart, just to name a few. I do feel for these people that are out on the street but it is a reality...people can be bad and people kidnap and kill other people, adult or child. I agree with directing them to the local shelter, buying them a sandwich, but i would not advise handing them money that they can spend on whatever it is they choose and taking them OUT for that sandwich. Gotta be smart folks and DTA...DONT TRUST ANYONE. it is what it is.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2011 at 11:30 pm
Thanks for sharing your wonderfully heart-warming story. This close to Christmas, I hope it inspires others, especially school-aged kids, to befriend the homeless, talk to them, buy them a warm meal or even take them home for a hot shower and a night's rest in a clean, warm bed.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2011 at 1:31 am
So jaded some of us have become, Kathleen. I wasn't attempting to pass off a story that had a television ending that would please those who, like yourself, seem to think in television terms. Life, I think, and people who live their lives, are far more complex than you might think. Sometimes people can be rather inconsistent -- Buffet-type billionaires who recognize the need for higher taxes of the rich, old professors who end up living in the bowels of anti-intellectualism known as P-Town, charitable do-gooders who purchase a Lexus with their inheritance.
If I were making up the story, believe me, I'd have embellished it to satisfy your t.v. mind, Kathleen. And I would have used simpler terms for steve and the other soft-headed ones. But I wasn't making up a story; rather, I was conveying what I found to be a compelling story that one of my students shared with the class. The class session was a good one, as I recall. We were discussing hermeneutics, the importance of other in our lives, and how others who are most unlike ourselves (beggers) can sometimes be the most valuable persons in our lives, but that we must make a gesture toward other -- usually through communicative means such as a question -- that 'requests' other to challenge our own limited horizons. Most of the time, of course, the hermeneutic pay-off for engaging other does not take the form of financial gain. But in the student's case it did.
Again, Kathleen, I apologize for not telling a zinger of a story that satisfies your need for a perfect, fictionalized outcome. Still, if there has been a 'learning moment' here -- and certainly one I did not intend -- it seems to be that a story such as my student's can elicit from the jaded and morally stunted a chorus of neighsaying and incredulity from the audience.
Thanks for the input, Kath, and Steve and Joe and KC. Your responses well illustrate what a nice group of people live in P-town.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2011 at 8:32 am
Jane (the latest name in your series of names), If your story is true, then I find the purchase of a Lexus a very sad ending. It's my interpretation of the event. That it is all you recall or wish to share of what the student did with the inheritance can easily be interpreted as this being nothing more than a story. Again, my interpretation. You continually skip that posters have offered genuine ways to help, not parables. There are many generous people in this community.
And, as usual, you fill your response with assumptions and insults, because you apparently just can't help yourself. Are you that unhappy? You mention "old professors who end up living in the bowels of anti-intellectualism known as P-Town"; is this your fate? If so, and if moving is not possible, maybe you should get out and meet more people here. There are a lot of bright people in this community who may share your ideologies or might challenge you enough in a civil exchange of ideas. Or you could visit and participate in a community more to your liking--the Stanford campus comes to mind as one possibility or Berkeley. If you are housebound, then I'm sure a way can be found for you to engage people in person. Many would do so, probably including such unlikely people as Steve and Joe and KC and me.
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Vineyard Avenue neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2011 at 9:32 am
On Tuesday Night, the whole family was in front of Walgreens, I have seen this woman MANY Time, asking for money using her younger son at the post office, I have seen her turn away groceries in front of Safeway and ask for money instead.. The older son was at Walgreens two weeks ago wearing a very nice Ralph lauren shirt and NEW Nikes and nice shorts..Only to come back 2 days later looking "dirty" like he applied dirt to his face... sorry they are scam artists.. She has been talked to SEVERAL times by the police and I believe she even lives near the post office in a nice house, there was an article on her in pleasanton weekly a few months ago..
I work in the city.. I see and get those begging for money on a daily basis.. I dont give it because it just goes to drugs, I have given food only to have it thrown away in front of me.. It is sad but there are people who just do not want to work hard for thier families so they scam others..
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm
First Kathleen announces that my recounting of the story of the former student good samaritan is a sham. Then she accuses me of being a bad story teller because the ending of the story didn't suit her. Then she pounces on me and 95% of the other posters who don't have a narcissistic need to print out our full names each time we post a comment. Then she insinuates that she believes the story but finds the ending of the story sad. And finally she castigates me because I supplied only the sketchy information that I had. Wow! Tell a story that involves 700 grand and a Lexus, and people can barely contain themselves. Their pent-up envies and other emotions get spilled all over the sidewalk!
I guess the story might have had a more feel-good ending had I said the former student gave the bulk of her money to the poor and then herself joined the Little Sisters of the Poor. And for all I know she may have done just that. But my only recollection of the story -- now maybe 8 or 10 years in the past -- is what I've recounted. I personally don't find the ending 'sad' at all. One can purchase a Lexus out of one's 700 thousand and still have quite a bit of money left over for doing ... whatever. Also, one can be a Lexus owner and still talk with beggars. They are not mutually exclusive.
I'm sorry for adding the parts about the inheritance and the car. As Kathleen's zany and uneven remarks clearly indicate, the addition of trappings of wealth to the story drove some of you over the edge.
Now, as it turns out, there was another student in that same class who shared with the class that she was homeless and lived under an interstate underpass for nearly two years. The memorable part of her story was that she stated she sorely missed the other homeless people she formed friendships with over the course of those two years. She claimed to have found them to be far more genuine as human beings than those economically more fortunate than she and her companions. In her terms, they had nothing to lose, and so didn't spend the majority of their days obsessing about money, how to hang on to it, and how to acquire more. Are you listening Kathleen and the other curmudgeons? Moreover, this former student went on to get a Masters of Social Work. I don't think she drives a Lexus, but who knows, maybe she does! The old, used Lexuses are a great buy. But point is: my first recollection told of someone reaching out to street beggars, first with communication, then with a few bucks; my second tells of how street beggars are humans, sometimes having great dignity, and sometimes possessing a potential that leads to impressive life achievements. One never knows who exists behind the mask of 'shame' and perhaps desperation worn by beggars unless one breaks the ice and begins a conversation. The 'reward' for so doing may not be a Lexus; but it may be something gained of far greater value than a car.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2011 at 1:04 pm
Jane, I don't know whether the story you related is true or not, but the first thought that came into my mind was the possibility of it being a cover story for a young woman who suddenly finds herself driving a Lexus and doesn't want to say how she really got the money. As a cover story it's a bit wild, but at least it has the benefit of closing the door to all further questions with its untraceable, nameless homeless person whose entire wealth is in some far-off land of Minnesota. Or maybe I'm being cynical and the story is all true - I dunno. Anyway, I'm not sure what the moral of the story is supposed to be.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm
If you have followed, I started posting with my full name so people reading about PUSD and the first attempt at the parcel tax deserved to know who was making claims against the district regarding financial stability. There is little reason for me to change that now--people would know it's me anyway. I still don't believe the story is true; and stated if it is, it's sad. I've pointed out before you should pick one name and stick to it so people can follow the threads of your collective thoughts easily (but then it's easy to pick you out too). Do tell me why I would be envious of $700,000 and a Lexus?
You consistently insult all who interact with you. No comment on an offer to get out and mingle in this or any other community of your choosing. There are many wonderful people in this world, regardless of wealth or the lack thereof, regardless of their humble (or not) beginnings, and many are generous to a fault no matter the strain it may put on their own situation.
Again, how to help this particular family has been noted, along with legitimate concerns. If you think a sandwich is what might help, please, go to Walgreens and see what they might teach you when the offer is made.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm
Jane, It was important for the position I took on the parcel tax debates. By the end of those posts, it didn't seem important to change to something anonymous because people would know it was me anyway. I will finally agree with you;, though I don't think anyone cares whether I use my name or not. People do care, however, when you pose as multiple posters to agree with yourself.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm
OK, time to step in and critique the scenario.
Jane's initial post was calculated to nudge other posters out of their comfort zone by producing someone who benefited monetarily by taking the risk of interacting with a member of society most look down upon.
The reason this works well is that it undermines the target's deeply-ingrained assumptions about his or her world by producing an example of someone who succeeds outside the conventional parameters.
Individuals with parent issues use a variation of this to make their parents and other adults uncomfortable when said parent or other adult expresses a judgment the individual recognizes as being a plank in the protective wall that surrounds the adult's comfort zone: sex, drugs, race, education, and marriage to name just a few.
If Jane had written her former student as having donated the money, then people would have felt more comfortable because she would not have actually benefited from her behavior, though a common reaction to such an ending would be to attack her as foolish for not keeping the money and spending it on an expensive car.
The second student is a nice variation, though more of an experimental hit than the first student because by that point in the thread most readers should have seen it coming.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 5, 2011 at 5:37 am
Sceptics, cynics, and art enthusiasts,
Yes, at times kids will recognize a felt need to challenge their parents' protective zones, and do so with the hope that the parents might open up a bit to 'uncomfortable' ideas, such that 'oh my gosh, the kids of today! might transform itself into: 'Wow, the kids of today are so great!'
But the story of the woman samaritan who could not have predicted that she stood to inherit 700 grand has, I think, better analogies. The first analogy might be that of art. Good art. Art which doesn't sedate or numb but rather provokes in a way that 'compels' the audience to question the limits of their own comfort zones. An artfully told story, truthful or not truthful (in this case truthful), can do the same thing.
However, here I think that the story I told does something a bit different than what the sometimes tyrannical nature of art does. (And by 'tyrannical' I mean that sometimes art can be so overwhelmingly compelling that it leaves the audience at its mercy. Van Gogh's works do this to me, as do Cormac McCarthy's such as Blood Meridian. That's why, perhaps, many of the ancient Greeks likened artists to gods.)
The hermeneutic experience does something different in that it cultivates in oneself a desire to treat 'other' as a work of art which, like art, can entice oneself out of one's own comfort zone and into a perhaps more self-enlightened, liberated state. The story I recounted about the former student good samaritan was meant to illustrate a rather impressive act on her part -- one that seems even more impressive to me in relation to some of the 'don't feed the bears' posts on this thread. The former student did not objectify the beggar and assume he was mentally deranged, or criminally disposed, or a freeloading sponge. Rather, she willed herself to engage him on a communicative level, and she gained from so doing on many levels. She noted that to engage him with openness as she did was not her first instinct; but she realized that her problem (bias against beggers) was, for her, perhaps as bad as or worse than the begger's own plight. Hence, she engaged him in order to discover a way out of her own bias-blinded self. He needed her at that moment; but as a hermeneutically sensitive person, my former student realized she might have needed him at least as much as he needed her. Hermeneutics 'instructs' individuals to seek out exactly those 'others' who make them most uncomfortable; for, as often as not, one's discomfort with 'others' is more a matter of a tendency on one's own part to pre-judge (prejudice). In this case, the former student realized her own self-stunting bias against the 'dirty', 'smelly', 'penniless', 'threatening' begger was, for her, a bigger problem than his hunger. Even before she learned of the inheritance, she had probably gained more from her relationship with the begger than he had from her. Through their communicative engagement with one another, her horizons expanded and she felt herself to have become a better person.
Postscript: I added the part about the Lexus only after I was challenged by the soft-headed one, as I thought I needed to supply additional money-laden information in order to hold his attention. The part about the Lexus is true, but I didn't add that to the story until later because I didn't think that piece of information was all that essential.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm
As one author pointed out, "Sometimes a thing that didn't happen can be truer than a thing that did happen."
I grew much through formative experiences well outside my comfort zone; but I matured exponentially the day I happened across an old professor of mine's web page and realized that he had not grown a bit since I sat in his class some two decades earlier. I don't think less of him for the fact, but the truth in his stasis is that he is only valid within the narrow spectrum of his students' experience between their entrance and graduation from college. He serves society as a stepping stone for kids, a deliverer of ideas and a prompter of thought, as they move past him into their adulthood. I was saddened by the fact that he was frozen within a very restricted period of others' lives instead of being an independently-evolving entity moving forward as we do when we leave him.
Sad, indeed ironic that his students benefit more from his knowledge than he does.
You argue that "kids will recognize a felt need to challenge their parents' protective zones, and do so with the hope that the parents might open up a bit to 'uncomfortable' ideas."
I would argue that past or accumulated experience is as important as experimentation, that certain "Do Not Feed the Bears" signs are valid because bears are dangerous.
My buddy, a psychiatrist who drives a BMW, once observed that psychiatry is much more interesting to learn than it is to practice because once you realize that mental disease is largely incurable, it's awfully boring knowing what's going to happen. Life after a certain amount of experience reveals patterns and realities that won't change for a kid simply because he or she hasn't been around long enough to notice them.
Sorry for the ramble, but I would argue that while learning is a two-way street, the parent has more to teach the child than the child does the parent, if the parent has indeed continued to develop since leaving his or her own childhood nest. I advise my kids to leave the bears to the rangers and the homeless to welfare services.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 6, 2011 at 12:02 am
I disagree with most of what you say, Mike. Unlike you, I don't think I'd be so quick to jump to such sure-fire conclusions about my former professors based upon a perusal of their web page. Curriculum vitae -- plural, and for good reason. Most humans, and many professors too, are constantly evolving.
I'll remind you that the 'kids and their parents' example was yours; and that I mentioned that I didn't think it was the greatest analogy. Instead I posed (1) art, and its ability to shake people out of their routinized lives and ways of thinking and (2) 'other', and how 'other' can be appreciated as a great work of art that has the potential to draw us out of our selves.
I'll not comment much on your psychiatrist buddy, except to say that based upon your description of him, he doesn't strike me as being very good at his job. Even if we accept that (some) mental illness cannot be cured, that does not mean that the patient (and the patient's therapist) cannot experience substantial growth as a result of the therapeutic encounter. Your buddy sounds a bit jaded and closed off, and it doesn't sound like his patients are in very good (caring) hands.
Back to the street beggers.... I've stressed that I don't think street beggers should be objectified as we objectify bears in nature. In fact, my posts were meant as potential antidote to those who tend to treat street beggers as if they are things of danger or menance or dirtiness or mental instability or criminality. In fact, they are human beings, very complex, with stories to tell, and they possess the remainder of their lives to change, grow, perhaps even achieve excellence in various domains, whether they be academic, professional, or maybe even relational (e.g., marrying, or re-uniting with those who became separated because of poverty, psychological imbalance, the law, etc.).
You want to shy away from these human beings, and you say you encourage your children to do so as well. At the same time, you hold up 'experience' as that which holds most potential for you. Against this, I would argue that some forms of experience are superior to others. Experience that lends itself to one's self-adjustment within the culture, I would argue, is problematic: it may foster the 'safe' view that one should look at humans as things (bears) that are best to be avoided. The Greeks had a word for this: phronesis. But in considering phronesis, I always go back to a key question asked by Socrates: What if the individual is living in a city of pigs? How does the individual first recognize such and then transcend it?
I return to the transcendent power of art. But, again, I note this with some reticence, as art can pull us out of the city of piggishness, but there is no guarantee that it pulls us toward something that is necessarily better. Still, each time we enter an art museum, listen to Philip Glass, or open a book of fiction, we take the risk.
The hermeneutic position I've briefly described, and which you haven't really addressed, treats 'other' -- other humans, and especially those who make us uncomfortable -- as a grand piece of art that calls for understanding. We approach 'other' through an artful question that gets 'other' to open up to us so that, ideally, we open ourselves up to something that may be entirely foreign (frightening, menacing) to us. Without this we don't grow, or if we do grow, it is in a stunted manner. I teach my kids to regard the begger as a human being who calls out for understanding. He or she who risks an attempt to gain understanding has a great deal to gain from the venture. That most of us do not take the risk, but instead treat beggers as mere things (bears, criminals, scam artists, lazybones,etc), is in my estimation a sorry statement on what seems to be our increasing lack of humanity. How very alienated we have become from one another when we cannot look at another human being and recognize that it is a human being we are looking at.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 6, 2011 at 1:31 am
The professor is an illustration of the human side of the law of conservation of energy: the more advanced an individual is in one area, the less advanced he or she will be in another. Michelangelo comes to mind.
Perhaps the parking-lot beggar has a story inside of him as beautiful as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that cost him his present condition to create.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 6, 2011 at 8:30 am
Jane, You keep skipping the fact that the community (individuals and agencies) has tried to help this family--has seen the 'other,' the human beings--and have come to the realization that the story of the family appears to be linked to monetary goals and not the other types of aid offered.
Your art misses that many street people do not want help or, once helped, they return to the street. We can find families every day struggling with a relative's illness or dependencies without success.
This community and agencies also once tried to help a woman (I believe her name was Mary) who spent most of her later life in front of the 7-11. Stories were always told of how she had the means to care for herself, how some took her home so she could bathe and have a good meal, that she had family nearby that tried to help. There was even media coverage when they got her off the street and into a facility in Livermore; even noting how much happier she was. My recollection is that she returned to the 7-11 at some point.
Teaching young people to be careful around adults is not in error (we do have a missing teenager right now). Teaching them not to mock others, no matter their circumstances, is also important. It feels as though this are all about the lesson for others, but not about actually helping the people outside Walgreens.
Posted by Not sure , a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 6, 2011 at 9:25 am
"On Tuesday Night, the whole family was in front of Walgreens, I have seen this woman MANY Time, asking for money using her younger son at the post office"
I have seen a guy with a baby in a stroller at the post office - Black Ave (as you are exiting, he is there asking for money).
I stopped and told him it was not fair for the baby and that there are shelters and other agencies that could help. I tried to tell him about a family shelter I know of (I have volunteered there) but he did not want to hear and just walked away.
I think this is either a scam or that the family is truly going through a hard time but is too scared to ask for government help. I do not know, but it did not feel right to just give him cash. I feel very bad for the baby, he/she should not be on display as the father/caregiver/legal guardian begs for money.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2011 at 12:59 pm
No, my art does not involve steering inconvenient beggers to the nearest shelter; nor does it simply take for granted that some people don't feel comfortable in a shelter setting. My art stands as counterpoint to an increasingly carceral society. Rather, it involves genuine communicative engagement with a person, not as one of those destitute ones, or mentally imbalanced ones, or potential criminal ones, or freeloaders ones, or bears seeking hand-outs, or scam artists, or the numerous other assumptions that P-town's denizens have expressed on these pages.
It is indeed about helping others. But the 'moral' of the story is that sometimes it is oneself who needs at least as much help as the begger, and the only way to learn that is through genuine engagement with other in an attempt to understand other's dilemma. Perhaps a genuine conversation with the begger might produce better 'results' than simply shining him or her on to the nearest shelter.
We live in an increasingly fearful society where security seems to trump just about everything else. The kinds of statements/opinions offered by many on this thread offers sad confirmation of this. Many of the opiners on this thread seem to be in as much need for help as does the begger they feel so confident in objectifying, classifying, condemning.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm
I can absolutely understand the discomfort with a shelter, but if there are children involved, living on the street isn't the answer either. The observation in this case is that engaging the family in conversation is also unwanted, as are offers of food; hence the skepticism or assumptions about the real motive. So the flip side of the story may be in someone identifying a community as having people with the means and possible likelihood of giving cash.
The point simply said then: the majority of us on one side of the equation could lend an ear (help, learn, grow); the other side, assuming no communication impairment, could make use of the help being offered (accept, learn, grow).
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm
Yes, that pretty much sums it up. Not sure those 'observations' you raise are fact-based. Lots of whipped up frenzy and self-righteousness, all based on possibly unfounded assumptions.
BTW, I have no qualms at all about giving money to people who spend the money on alcohol or drugs. One of my 'favorite' street beggers in Berkeley often holds up a sign: 'Spare change? Why lie? I want pot!' I learned that his life has had enough pain, suffering, and sadness to warrant his immersion in marijuana. At any rate, once I provide money, it is theirs to do what they want with it.
re. giveitarest: Sorry i forced you to read these posts. I'll now put down the billy club. You are one nasty little piece of work, aren't you?
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm
I am accepting those who say they have interacted with this family.
I wouldn't help someone with money if it is used for alcohol or drugs. I realize I can't make someone else pull themselves up by the bootstraps--if for no other reason than to become a self-supporting user of marijuana. It seems there should be some sense of responsibility, to self at a minimum. And I think my money is better spent on those making that effort.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm
Jane, by the way, if I also accept that you are an intelligent, former (current?) professor (working on the side of the angels is what I'm consistently told), well read, background in philosophy (?), why always with the insults? A heart that is moved by the story of a street person, but no kindness or reserve in responding to others on these blogs. No consideration for these 'others'? Genuinely curious about the apparent difference in interactions.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2011 at 6:10 pm
We all contribute to the tapestry of life in ways that are difficult to evaluate within the span of our individual experience. If we embrace inclusiveness, however, it seems that all existence and action must be positive.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm
I admit to having a bias against certain forms of stupidity, especially (as often is the case) those that are aligned with the activity of kicking down at the weak. Also, I think that those who are kicked down upon, as well as those who identify with and align themselves with those who are so victimized, are afforded a certain license to insult those who are kicking down at them. When you're already on the ground, an insult piled upon you can only add to the pain. When insults are delivered upward, however, they are rarely felt by the kickers as being painful; yet they can (sometimes, but not as frequently as I'd like) disrupt or undermine the rationale for bullying the weak. In other words, my use of the insult is not so much a matter of expressing a personality trait, nor is it used to inflict pain. Rather, it is a matter of consciously adopting a specific rhetorical trope that is aimed at deflating the puffed up powerful and privileged whose states of mind promote an unreflective victimization of the weak.
On the matter of giving to the poor, I try to give without judging according to my own personal, idiosyncratic standards. I do personally believe in personal responsibility. But I also believe life can be very unfriendly to some, and I'm not so naive to think that others must meet a threshhold of responsibility that I hold up for myself. Some athletes can play with pain; others can't. Some dental patients can endure much pain; others need double doses of novacaine. Some of us have a relatively high endurance for the kinds of curve balls life throws at us; other of us not so much. We're all human. Beyond that I try not to judge. If a begger can use alcohol to numb some of the life pains that otherwise might completely overwhelm him, then I'm all for supporting his need. Personally, I think I have far more understanding and tolerance for the begger seeking alcohol relief than the relatively well-off person who says something along the lines of: "Well, I don't drink, and I'm certainly not going to support some begger who does. Why doesn't he act responsibly like I do?"
As far as another poster's reference to 'inclusiveness', I think that is a very nebulous concept. Whose inclusiveness? And with whose standards for inclusion? Again, I think the sense of inclusiveness can be illusory. Socrates, as Plato recounts, was keenly sensitive to the culture of pigdom and the shadows of ignorance that can be cast upon it. Indeed, he was made to drink hemlock by the very pigs he insulted via his arguments. Sometimes, to my way of thinking, the dictates of inclusion can come at too high of a price for the individual.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2011 at 10:48 pm
I realize you must have thought long and deeply about what you wanted to say above, Stacey. But I don't think you quite understood what I was attempting to convey. It is one of your more impressive interpretive efforts, however.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 7:26 am
Totally agree, Mike. Still, she claims she believes in personal responsibility, but maybe not for everyone.....also, Janie seems to correlate the value of ones posts by the shear number of words. Berevity is the sole of wit, Jane, especially when you are preaching.......
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 8:00 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Jane's post was quite clear. Reserve sympathy, compassion, and non-judgmental behavior towards those who Jane judges are worthy of such treatment (based on their supposed weakness, I might add! Noble savage much?) and insult and objectify everyone else she has never met but who she disagrees with in complete contradiction to the idea that humans are complex beings. And then readers are supposed to take away a lesson about being non-judgmental towards fellow humans. Thanks, Jane, for showing your prejudice and disingenuousness! That was a great story!
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:29 am
Steve, I prefer Salmon and Halibut of wit, rather than your preferred sole. And I'll shorten my posts only if you learn how to spell brevity.
Mike, Restoring a beggar to what you consider to be a 'state of well being' is beyond both my means and my pay grade. I do try in ways best I can to give small comfort. I find my approach to be more reasonable and consistent with my own philosophy than insisting that the begger adopt my own or someone eles's sense of personal responsibility. That said, sometimes the path to 'well being' may begin with a conversation in which the object is not to change or uplift but merely to understand.
Stacey, you comment on the 'supposed weakness' of beggers. Why do you say 'supposed'? Is there something about beggers that leads you to believe they are _not_ in a state of weakness? Pretty jaded view, if you ask me. And equating beggers with the idea of Noble Savage? Like I've maintained for a long time, you need to get out more, girl.
I find nothing inconsistent whatsoever with expressing compassion toward the weak while insulting those who, through their words on these posts, engage consistently in acts of kicking down. And, yes, you may want to file this away in your treasure trove of archived materials: I have admitted above, and admit now, that I have prejudices. The difference between you and me on this count may be that you deny having any prejudices, while I admit having them though at the same time endeavoring as best I can to overcome them. For today's assignment, Stacey, I want you to pull yourself away from the computer, take off your tri-cornered hat with the teabags dangling from it, leave the safety of your domicile and find a begger to converse with. Permit me to venture the guess that you'll find neither 'supposed weakness' nor a Noble Savage, but more likely someone who defies either description.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
As I wrote, do as Jane says, not as she does. For to do as she does would mean objectifying everyone who doesn't adopt her worldview as right-wing fascists, racists, tea [party members], uneducated, selfish, etc.. Then give disingenuous excuses for the behavior. If Jane were honest, she'd admit that no one here is really "kicking down" the weak. (Jane, tell us WHO exactly is insisting that the beggar adopt a certain way? That's right, NO ONE HERE. That's your narcissistic bubble getting the better of you again. To you, some of us here fall into the stereotype of kicking down the weak for the offense of having written about the real need for teacher compensation reform. Are you really trying to say unions are weak?!?!) Then, how Jane can justify calling someone who suggested utilizing the free meals at Open Heart Kitchen (no evidence there of "kicking down the weak") an uncaring and selfish person because they also recommended to not give money to a beggar is beyond comprehension. I'm sure she'll have another disingenuous excuse to give for that one. Let's also be amazed at the post where the Social Services expert contradicts Jane directly. Jane is a fan of experts and always exhorts everyone to listen to the experts. Do as Jane says, not as she does!
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
And yes, Jane, the figure of the beggar is your personal noble savage. What leads you to believe that beggars are always in a state of weakness?
Let's cut to the chase again. Your posts on this thread was just another one of your attempts to attack and belittle other posters here that you don't like and make them look dumb and ashamed. You have little interest in trying to understand other humans as complex beings or in helping those truly in need of help. Your words ring hollow.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm
Jane, Look at your posts again. A lot of references to kicking, down and up, with you as the apparent center being--aiding one group and berating the 'other' based on your current prejudices. With all the discussion, there should be some commonalities, from help being defined in many ways, including directing those down on their luck to sources of aid, to noting those providing the information are, in fact, caring human beings who actually do converse with the 'beggar' (a literal term, but a condescending classification nonetheless). It seems you could benefit from getting out of your comfort zone, befriend a Republican or Libertarian. It's possible to be close to someone with differing ideologies if you make the first step of realizing the discussion may do no more than shape one's own perspective, either strengthening or lengthening it. I find people on all sides to be genuine, sincere, interesting, and worth the time to know.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm
A bit contrived, if you ask me, Kathleen. Truly. Some of my best friends are Republican, and I've even had them into my home. Just wouldn't want my daughter to marry one, that's all.
Both you and Stacey seem inordinately preoccupied with my stated positions. There are so many positions to choose from among the thousands of contributors to these threads, but the both of you really seem to get off on my posts. I suppose I should feel flattered, though sometimes it feels rather creepy.
Both of you seem desperately to want to hold up a model of discourse to your own liking. In fact, there are multiple strands of (relatively autonomous) discourse forms going on on this site, sometimes even on the same thread. Some involve seeking information; some involve venting their emotions; some involve preaching; some involve philosophizing; some involve propagandizing; some involve seeking affirmation of one's identity; some involve testing out validity claims in a context where one is allowed to freely do so; some involve playfully sharp criticism. I'm sure there are more.
I might recommend that the both of you try posting without using your own registered 'names'. I recommend this because both of you seem to invest much if not most of your energy to your own face-saving needs. This is why, too, I can surmise, that you voice such strong disapprobation when you've been (playfully) insulted. One of the nice things about anonymity is that one's own ego then doesn't become an obstacle when offering or receiving criticism. Lighten up, girls!
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm
Jane, I feel differently about anonymity. Using an anonymous name often gives license to one's 'ego' behaving badly knowing they cannot be held accountable, and when feet held to the fire, call it 'playfully sharp criticism.' Conversation and/or debate is easily done without the barbs.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm
Way too thin-skinned in my judgment. And again, you seem to want to impose your own conversation/debate model upon a range of discourse forms that do not easily fit into such. If you are too thin-skinned to withstand sharp criticism from other, then perhaps you should step out of the fire.
Posted by giveitarest, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm
No Jane I'm not a nasty piece of work as you called me - I'm actually a very nice person who enjoys reading the forums but you don't half go on and on and on. Well said Steve - couldn't have said it better.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm
Being called names by a bunch of anonymous posters doesn't bother me one bit. For unlike some posters, I'm quite secure in my identity and convictions. And unlike so many other posters, I try not to resort to insult or sarcasm or innuendo or so many other forms of speech unless I've first offered an idea or set of ideas that warrants the insult, etc.
to @giveitarest: Sorry to have taxed your 15-second attention span. Hey, I've got an idea! Maybe you and Steve should hook up and watch cartoons together.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm
Jane, We've already been down this road of rules for a civil society. You are insensitive to 'other' because you are anonymous. Many posters make valid points and present coherent ideas without what you now admit is "insult or sarcasm or innuendo." Secure, perhaps; but then it's from behind a cloak.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2011 at 10:11 pm
I remain anonymous, Kathleen, because I am afraid of you and so many others who post on these threads. I have no qualms about writing in the public sphere and using my name -- e.g., books, articles, newspaper opinion pieces, etc. -- as I have done. But this site is a distinctive venue. It has many positive features -- e.g., it allows one to experiment with viewpoints and hold them up to scrutiny, criticism, even sarcasm or insult, something that formal writing for established public sphere venues does not offer to nearly the same degree. The negatives include the fact that there are a lot of zanies on these threads who resort to considerable symbolic violence through threat and/or intimidation. I have no intention of offering myself or family up as a concrete target for them to perform all kinds of potential mischief or mayhem.
Yes, I spent some time above explaining how insults have varied rationales and are used to varying effects. Short attention span? And so I guess on your view of a civil society, there should be no place for insult, sarcasm or innuendo? So, okay, now I understand: that's why your posts tend to be so dull!
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 9:28 am
I try to be polite. I was taught that being a boor only undermines my side of the discussion.
You have no reason to fear me or anyone else for saying who you are, but no one cares if you tell or not. For example, I've had constructive conversations with anonymous posters. I expect, face to face, it would be the same case with you. You use anonymity not as protection from 'us,' but as a way to rationalize behavior you would not use in a public forum (as you note). Scrutiny and criticism are great; insult teaches little.
Rationalization: Webster; the act, process, or result of rationalizing; especially the provision of plausible reasons to explain to oneself or others behavior for which one's real motives are different and unknown or unconscious OR According to the DSM-IV, rationalization occurs "when the individual deals with emotional conflict or internal or external stressors by concealing the true motivations for his or her own thoughts, actions, or feelings through the elaboration of reassuring or self serving but incorrect explanations."
By rationalizing insults, you rationalize being cruel and offensive. Wasn't this originally about treating 'other' with dignity?
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm
Cite all the dictionary definitions you want to, which only validates my claims about how boring your posts tend to be.
Yes, I freely admit to using insult, sarcasm, innuendo in my posts, and more. I have not disguised my intentions in the least; and I can assure you that I would not temper my rhetoric one bit were I speaking with any of you face to face.
Perhaps because you are so wrapped up in your ideology of personal responsibility that you proved unable to grasp some of my earlier points. There are insults that are resorted to by the downtrodden and victimized as well as those who align themselves with them and their cause. These kinds of insult are aimed upward at the victimizers and those who give them ideological support. (See for example all the defenders of the rich on these posts.) These kinds of insult are _not_ the same as insults that are rolled downhill. Those that are rolled downhill have momentum and can cause great pain to those at the bottom of the hill who already are in a state of pain. I drop a bowling ball (insult) upon you from ten feet above you and it is bound to cause serious pain. I throw a bowling ball (insult) at you from ten feet below you, and even if the ball/insult finds its mark it is unlikely to cause serious pain.
You seem not to have any awareness of how insult, sarcasm and other tropes have been used and continue to be used by groups who historically have been politically marginalized and socially and economically depressed. You seem not to possess any familiarity with the deep sarcasm and insult found in Native American rhetoric as it is directed toward 'White Man'. No familiarity with the same among British working class. No familiarity with how insult and sarcasm have been used by blacks in the US for centuries. Read an African-American newspaper sometime to get an idea of what I'm talking about, though prepare to have your delicate 'civil' sensibilities offended as you read.
In fact, you're offering an ideologically informed, pinched view of what counts as acceptable discourse. You ignore how rhetorical forms such as insult, sarcasm, and yes, even name-calling, have been and continue to be linguistic 'weapons' of the weak. Without sufficient material resources to advance their cause, disadvantaged groups resort to a rich, culturallly distinctive reservoir of meaning that sometimes is the only means they possess in their attempts to cut through the ideological smokescreens put up by the rich and powerful.
Instead of offering your hand-wringing denunciations of others' uses of historically well-entrenched (and culturally validated) forms of rhetoric, you might try reading about those who have and who continue to deploy it. Ah, but I fear I'm asking too much of you!
Oh, and then some comfortable pontificator can talk about insults being an offense to human dignity all he wants to; fact is, there is no dignity in being poor, and to hold up 'dignity' as a standard by which to criticize someone else's rhetoric is only to engage in ideological sleepwalking.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Uh huh. The use of insults as a rhetorical device by African-American newspaper journalists who sign their name to their work somehow gives Jane license to anonymously insult posters like anne who deserved to have an insult "kicked up" at her for recommending the Open Heart Kitchen over giving money.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm
And that's the best you have to offer? I'm not surprised.
Like I say, Stacey. You and the other you seek so desperately to emulate both seem to devote inordinate attention to my posts. Whether I am anonymous or not is neither here nor there. By the way, Stace, why don't you provide your last name? Most journalists, African-American and otherwise, tend to provide theirs. Why don't you? Your hypocrisy is showing, my dear. Kath will be soooo disappointed in you.
"Please Jesus, my child and I haven't eaten in three days." To which Jesus says: "Sorry chump, I don't give out cash donations to the poor; try the food shelter on the other side of town. Sincerely yours, with love and compassion, Jesus."
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm
Bowling ball analogy is a bit weak. You assume that insults thrown in any direction cause different levels of pain. That is patently untrue. A wound to the heart/soul/mind is a wound. Again, you are the only one out here referring to a person as up or down.
'"Please Jesus, my child and I haven't eaten in three days." How about if
Jesus says: "Please come with me, I know where we can find food and shelter for all of you." I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't say: "Here's a few bucks, hope you work things out. But if you use it for drugs, I'm okay with that."
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 7:56 pm
You're twisting my words, Stacey. I stated that you and that sidekick of yours who you so tend to adore, seem to show inordinate interest in my posts and my identity. And yes, I do find it to be a bit creepy.
Kathleen's Jeebus analogy is so weak even Steve could figure out its central flaw.
Kathleen the name-caller further states that I'm "the only one out here referring to a person as up or down." Well, if she's right (and I do hope she isn't) this strikes me as quite an indictment of P-Town's lack of economic, racial and ethnic diversity, not to mention also a lack of education. (See Sociology 101) When folks like Kathleen, and, according to her, all other posters on this site, are unable to grasp relationships of inequality, disadvantage, oppression that leave some groups and their members looking up and others looking down, well, then, I guess we're increasingly living in a collective delusional state that has all too many people refusing/unable to recognize the plight of others who are worse off than themselves.
Note how the twin opinionators, KR and S, do not give recognition to how the weak, impoverished, and oppressed have throughout history felt the need to resort to insult, sarcasm, innuendo as linguistic means to defend themselves against the real, material inflictions of pain cast upon them by the rich and powerful.
See, for example, Henry Louis Gates' two books, 1977 and 1978 -- one being 'The Signifyin' Monkey', the other title escaping me at the moment. In a brilliant chapter, Gates discusses how Frederick Douglass's Narrative of a Slave begins in its first two pages with Douglass rhetorically arriving at a point where he calls his white masters cannibals who eat their young. "Oh," opine Kath and Stace, "just think of the awful wound to the heart white masters must have felt as a result of the escaped slave's cruel words. Shame on Frederick Douglass. Why doesn't he admit that there is no up or down amongst a population." The smugness of the twin sister opinionators is matched only by their ignorance of how language historically has been used as a weapon of the weak.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 8:24 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
"Note how the twin opinionators, KR and S, do not give recognition to how the weak, impoverished, and oppressed have throughout history felt the need to resort to insult, sarcasm, innuendo as linguistic means to defend themselves against the real, material inflictions of pain cast upon them by the rich and powerful."
That's because we're talking about you and your use of insults against people you don't even take the time to get to know as complex beings. Are you weak, impoverished, and oppressed? Did anne inflict real and material pain upon you by recommending the Open Heart Kitchen over giving money?
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 8:35 pm
Wow! Shoot an arrow into the air and watch where it lands!
Stacey what's-her-name fails to recognize that often throughout history intellectuals have aligned themselves with the weak, impoverished, and the oppressed. See William Lloyd Garrison; see Karl Marx; see Mao Tse-Tung; see Malcolm X. These and so many others so aligned have adopted many of the rhetorical themes and tropes as those they are defending.
I thought Anne's recommendation showed a wee bit of selfishness on her part. Yes, her words hurt me.
And here it is again: you want me to get to know you better as a complex being? And I guess that might entail you getting to know me better too, right? Ewwwwww! You mean you haven't shared enough of your personal life with us already?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 9:01 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
It is sad that I have to post this again. My recognizing the use of a certain rhetorical style by X, Y, and Z won't change Jane's excuses for anonymously insulting everyone she disagrees with from disingenuous to not.
"If Jane were honest, she'd admit that no one here is really "kicking down" the weak. (Jane, tell us WHO exactly is insisting that the beggar adopt a certain way? That's right, NO ONE HERE. That's your narcissistic bubble getting the better of you again. To you, some of us here fall into the stereotype of kicking down the weak for the offense of having written about the real need for teacher compensation reform. Are you really trying to say unions are weak?!?!) Then, how Jane can justify calling someone who suggested utilizing the free meals at Open Heart Kitchen (no evidence there of "kicking down the weak") an uncaring and selfish person because they also recommended to not give money to a beggar is beyond comprehension. I'm sure she'll have another disingenuous excuse to give for that one."
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 10:13 pm
Jane, Hilarious; I'm the name caller. Just recognizing a person of a specific, though somewhat rare (thankfully), group.
I meet individuals, not groups. I don't start with my assessment of what classification they must fall under, precisely because we are complex beings with many more facets than being blonde, brown skinned, poor, rich, or whatever you wish to use. And you've already done the Garrison, Marx, Malcolm X thing under another name.
You tipped your hand a little too far as Dean on the other thread. You are right about one thing; I really don't want to get to know you any better than I already do.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm
There's the ideological blinders again, Kath. Here ya go: Since _I_ don't belong to an oppressed group, _I_ choose _not_ to recognize individuals who claim their identity is bound to one or more groups. _I_ choose to see them only as individuals, like _I_ am an individual. Why should _I_ bother to recognize self-identified members of a group as the group members they are? This is _MY_ world, and like the mad queen, I choose to identify others however _I_ want to.
It's a nice exclusionary ploy used by the individualist Swiss Miss Ruegsegger as a means of protecting herself from admitting that numerous social groups (as well as their individual memmbers) continue to experience hunger, oppression, disadvantage, exclusion.
So, you know, people in the U.S. were enslaved prior to their emancipation because of the kind of _individuals_ they were. It had nothing to do with their race or skin color. And women continue to be raped and beaten by males at a horrifying rate because of the kind of individuals they are. It has nothing to do with being female. And undocumented workers receive exploitation wages for their fieldwork because of the kind of individuals they are. It has nothing to do with the group they belong to. Ridiculous. Dumb. Sad that an adult living in the US in the 21st century can still think in such terms.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:09 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Jane wrote: "Why should _I_ bother to recognize self-identified members of a group as the group members they are?"
The answer probably is that she shouldn't bother in cases where there was self-identification. Yet she's implying that Kathleen and/or I self-identified as a member of the Tea Party or some other group that Jane views herself as fighting against. She demands that Kathleen acknowledge the non-relevant point that numerous social groups continue to experience some form of deprivation all the while refusing to acknowledge the numerous posts on other threads where Kathleen and/or I (perhaps others too) have self-identified as NOT being a member of such a group. I've taken notice that Jane NEVER acknowledges when I write from a seemingly left-wing viewpoint on the issue of universal health care. Anne certainly NEVER self-identified as being a member of ANY group!
It is refreshing at least to see Jane finally acknowledge that her arguments, insults, misrepresentations, and perceptions about others arise from HER narcissistic world. The world that exists here on the PW amongst the general public that chooses to read and/or participate is consensual and no longer needs to include Jane's version of events.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:17 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Sorry to back up here, but I can't let this one go by...
Jane a few days ago wrote: "When insults are delivered upward, however, they are rarely felt by the kickers as being painful; yet they can (sometimes, but not as frequently as I'd like) disrupt or undermine the rationale for bullying the weak."
Not as frequently as she'd like... That's because the insults-as-rhetorical-device is rather are ineffective. When was the last time someone insulted a bully and the bully stopped their behavior? Jane would do better with a consensus building approach if she wanted to really induce positive change.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 8:47 am
Jane, You belong to _a_ group, but I wouldn't want to meet another member of your group and use you as the starting point for getting to know him/her.
Next graph is not true, of course. Oh, and I'm not Swiss; that's what happens when you make assessments on a name, appearance, social status, etc. If I met a person who happened to be a slave or a rape victim or a beggar or a professor, I wouldn't start with, "oh, you are a _____."
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 10:37 am
Stacey and Kathleen, repeatedly chagrined and frustrated by having their weak arguments refuted and trumped, can only fall back on the exclusionary: "YOU MUST TALK AND WRITE AS I DO BECAUSE OTHERWISE YOU ARE ... NOT LIKE ME."
Kath, your response to my indictment of your severely blinkered worldview is pathetically weak. I can only deduce that you are once again playing the "intentionally dumb" card. Be careful with that one, girl, cuz some of us may begin to think you're as dumb as you're pretending to be. [My apologies for assuming you were of Swisss ancestry. I could have sworn that you had not too long ago identified yourself as being Swiss. Hmmph! Were I to have bet on that one, I'd have lost my dollar against another's donut. Unless, that is, you're now being untruthful.]
Boy, both of you are trying soooooo hard to form a consensus that would exclude me. I like consensus. In fact, I'm ordinarily a big proponent of consensus. However, I detest false consensus which takes the form of majoritarianism or totalitarianism, both of which being at base exclusionary. One must always work clear on which they are facing. Back to Socrates' question again: What does one do if one lives in a city of pigs?
I strongly suggest both of you think about the multiplicity of discourse forms that are deployed on these posts. Some want to philosophize; some want to proselytize; some want to propagandize; some want to gain or share information; some want to engage in social critique; some want to have fun making others angry; some want to expose idiocy when it rears its head; some want to make others laugh; some want to relieve their own boredom; some want to educate; some want simply to vent. The list includes many more, I'm sure. Similarly, different folks, depending on the respective discourse that are using at any given time, have different ends: some want to convert others to a political position; some want to show off; some want to get attention; some have narcissistic tendencies that simply can never be satisfied; some desire understanding; some want to share knowledge; some want to vent; some want to gain some sort of self-worth through be recognized by others. Some want to engage in interpersonal dialogue; others use engagement with other in order to instruct or influence the larger community. Some write their posts directly to another poster as if no one else is going to read it. Others write their responses in order to appeal to a larger audience. You see, it's all very complex, girls. And your heart-felt wishes and attempts to exclude reveal a rather limited horizon of understanding regarding the needs, ends, and stylistic offerings of others who are not like you. (See, for example, KR's appalling discussion about individuals and groups.)
All you two girls can do is chafe because you are intolerant of rhetorical modes of discourse that have been around much longer than you have. Truth be told, you both come off as two prissy California girls who haven't seen much of the world outside of your own gated communities.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:23 am
Jane, I took the surname of my husband. I have never claimed to be Swiss.
If you wish to continue to talk and write while being pompous and demeaning, please do so. There is no reason for me to let your unnecessary bad behavior go unchallenged. I certainly don't feel trumped by any of your "playful criticism.' And while I would greatly appreciate your being 'instructive' in a more constructive manner, no one has made you go away, would that we could.
City of pigs . . . I'll be playfully sarcastic--eat a lot of pork.
As I noted before, I've actually had face to face conversations with others on these forums, no matter where they fell in your list of possibilities. And while we found we agreed on some issues and not at all on, often, many others, we have found common ground in what was a cordial exchange of thoughts. I respect their viewpoints precisely because they were articulate and open minded. While I don't think anyone walked away having changed their positions, it lent perspective and gave food for thought about one's own position--again that strengthening and/or lengthening. I do not hold you in the same regard (I expect that's mutual)--and unless there is a vote, I can't tell how others reading these exchanges feel about any person posting.
I am not originally from California, by the way, and do not live in gated parts of the community. Travel whenever I get the chance. More false assumptions you make as you try to force me into a group that fits your personal compartmentalizing. I'd say I've been very tolerant of your belligerence. Just won't use that tactic myself. And stating the methods of discourse you use have been around "much longer than (I) have" sounds a bit like the billion fly theory or the everybody else is doing it excuse or that's the way it's always been done notion. For society to progress, some things should be left behind. Your aggression supported by ancient history is one. Heaven forbid if you ever made it to a position of power. Ever consider using this apparent expertise as a way _not_ to repeat other sins of history?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
"I detest false consensus which takes the form of majoritarianism or totalitarianism, both of which being at base exclusionary."
Jane doesn't detest false consensus because she utilizes it _all the time_ in her attempts to marginalize other posters on this site. She's ordinarily a proponent of consensus except when it doesn't fit her agenda. A big proponent, especially one who cares enough about affecting change or reform in a particular subject, would seek to utilize consensus building approaches as much as possible.
"both of you are trying soooooo hard to form a consensus that would exclude me"
It isn't hard at all. You make it too easy because you turn everyone off with your unwarranted insults. Anne would agree.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm
Oh please, were it not that my arguments were trumping yours, and often revealing the thinness of many of your ideas, you wouldn't be bothered by my rhetoric in the least. Among the tens of thousands of contributors to these posts, there must be several who are considerably cruder than I am, who resort to unfounded name calling (which I never do), and who resort to insult far more frequently than I do. I so upset you both because I so often expose how ridiculous many of your claims happen to be, and I do so effectively.
I'm a big fan of respect, too. I especially uphold an individual's right to express any opinion, however ridiculous it may be. And so I respect the right of Michelle Bachmann and the rest of the members of the right-wing presidential candidate clown club to stand behind a podium and make utter fools of themselves. But please do not insist that I must respect their ideas, or that I must respect them as human beings. Fortunately, my right to free speech allows me to call them out as the buffoons they are.
Fact is, when I have adopted the rhetorical strategy of insult as I address your views, it invariably has been in a context where I am offering defensible validity claims that are counter to your own. Fact is, there is nothing wrong with insults being used in conjunction with reasoned validity claims. It is a time-honored debate strategy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with embarrassing one's opposed interlocutor while in the course of showing where their ideas are wrong.
Time and again the both of you express strong disapprobation of my success at embarrassing you rather than addressing the contents of my validity claim. That of course is your right. Have at it, if that's what you must do to bolster your insecure face needs. But purge the uses of irony, sarcasm, insult, hyperbole, metaphor all as 'sins of history'? That you would call for such illustrates how desperately defeated you are feeling. Were you to talk about purging some of the real sins of history, such as chronic poverty, inequality, exploitation, oppression, I'd have some respect for you. But calling for an eradication of time-honed and time-honored rhetorical tropes? That's simply the last straw grabbed for by someone who is left with no substantive argument.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:47 pm
Of course your rhetoric is bothersome, and your name calling is unfounded. It has nothing to do with _your_ belief that you are trumping me. I haven't had anyone address me as you do. Again with the rather self-important statements that you are trumping others. It's not a contest, but if it was, you could certainly win on being verbose.
I don't know what calling the Republican nominees buffoons accomplishes. You feel better I guess.
You are delusional if you think you embarrass me. I only see that you embarrass yourself and diminish your proclaimed intelligence by rolling in the gutters of insult (or with the pigs?).
Not looking for your respect. And I am certainly opposed to all the other sins you mention and do what I can. How ludicrous to suggest I would feel otherwise.
You continue to assume things about me and have been wrong at every turn. The only desperate grabs are the straw man arguments you attempt.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm
"I haven't had anyone address me as you do."
As is the case with that other delicate sister of yours, you really do need to get out more.
"And I am certainly opposed to all the other sins you mention and do what I can. How ludicrous to suggest I would feel otherwise."
Not ludicrous at all, Kath. When I hear someone so strongly denunciate the linguistic weapons of the weak that are deployed by oppressed, exploited, impoverished groups, I deduce that that someone shows little understanding of and hasn't bothered to learn much about those groups. I guess it's easier for you simply to call everyone individuals and ignore the kinds of impoverishment, oppression, exploitation, exclusion individuals have experienced on account of their belonging to or being born into certain identifiable groups.
"It's not a contest, but if it was, you could certainly win on being verbose."
It's not a contest? Oh, I get it. See my comments on multiple discourse forms above. And now you want to insinuate that verbosity is another one of those rhetorical sins of which you disapprove? My, we are one big, overflowing bag of intolerance, aren't we? I'd recommend to you the book 'Weapons of the Weak' by James Scott, but I fear his verbosity would turn you off. (It's a book where one actually has to turn pages to follow the author's argument.)
ps I stated that Repub candidates are buffoons, and meant it as it was written: as a descriptive statement.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm
Just to restate from the beginning, the family in this topic may or may not genuinely need help; it is certainly a good thing to engage them in conversation and treat them with dignity (as should be the case for most people--excluding the likes of HItler, for example); directing them to viable resources to care for the entire family's needs is a reasonable reaction; giving cash, while not recommended by those who work with individuals who are down on their luck, is still acceptable to some.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 4:34 pm
Just to restate from the beginning, the family in this topic may or may not genuinely need help [though if one is to err in making a judgment, it should be on the side of assuming the family needs help]; it is certainly a good thing to engage them in conversation and treat them with dignity (as should be the case for most people--excluding the likes of HItler, for example [as well as other people such as those who immediately jump to the conclusion that the distressed family is engaging in fraudulent activity and/or that the distressed family should embrace an ideology of personal responsibility over, say, the virtues of compassion, care, generosity]); directing them to viable resources to care for the entire family's needs is a reasonable reaction; giving cash, while not recommended by [a very small minority of] those who work with individuals who are down on their luck, is acceptable to some, [and highly recommended by others].
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 10:30 pm
To the previous post:
The sideline discussion has been about _your_ unnecessary use of linguistic weapons (my opinion—you have disagreed). The oppressed, exploited, or impoverished may understandably choose to use those weapons, but it’s not personal to the passersby or those who stop to help. For verbose, just a fact; you tend to say things with the maximum words possible.
Been There, I'm not sure how to explain. Apologies though!