Monday, April 23, 2018

Response to March 19, 2018 Access Hour

David Devereaux-Weber
April 17, 2018

 I am one of the co-founders of WORT-FM,  community radio in Madison, Wisconsin. I am currently the President of the Board of Directors.

One of our shows is The Access Hour. From the WORT web site:

The Access Hour is WORT's commitment to community access to the airwaves. For one out of every 168 broadcast hours each week, we turn the airwaves over to a member of the public to program on their own. 

That hour is every Monday night from 7 to 8pm.

On March 19, 2018, Thistle Pettersen was on the Access Hour. Petersen has done two previous Access Hour programs. These programs have generated a lot of controversy. They cover a group of people who call themselves radical feminists. These so-called radical feminists claim that gender identity is not a valid idea, and that sex (that is, the concept of what is male and female) is determined by biology — that is, by the type of genitalia that exists at an individual’s birth.

As President of WORT, I have received at least 65 emails in regard to the Mach 19 program.

I would like to address my personal reactions to this. These are my own thoughts. They are not necessarily the opinions of WORT, or the Board, Staff or volunteers of WORT.

I have a number of problems with this radical feminist idea.

One issue that comes up in most of the pro-radical feminist emails I received is that the radical feminist community has, via their right to free speech, the right to present their ideas on WORT. I’ve been involved with WORT since before it began. Free speech has always been important at WORT, but free speech is complicated. The WORT Mission includes the words “respecting all peoples and their environments”. Denying the existence or legitimacy of transexuals denies them respect, and is therefore not in compliance with the WORT Mission. In addition, the trans community also has the right of free speech. To them, free speech includes the right to be called by their name. The radical feminist community denies the trans community their free speech by denying them their name and identity by saying transexuality doesn’t exist.

The trans community goes so far as to refer to the radical feminist discussion as hate speech, because it denies their identity. The radical feminist community disputes that their discussion is hate speech, presumably because they do not raise their voices or use the word hate.

The pointed ignoring of observed facts is sometimes called gaslighting, after the 1944 movie Gaslight. The intentional ignoring of facts by the radical feminist community could be called gaslighting.

The denial of the trans community by the radical feminist community joins the infamous list of deniers in our history, which include Holocaust deniers, climate change deniers, flat-earth believers, and 9/11 truthers.

The list of arguments cited by the radical feminist community is a list of pseudo-science and twisted language.

To claim that their theory is based on biology invokes the concept of biological determinism. In the past, biological determinism has been used to justify the theories that women are inferior to men, that people with black skin are inferior to people with white skin (as proposed in the book The Bell Curve), and that same-sex relationships are inferior to opposite sex relationships.

The claim that hormone replacement therapy blocks the normal progress of puberty is also absurd. The very reason that HRT is used by the transgender community is to block the hormones of one gender and provide the hormones of another. The claim that transgender ideas lead to mental health issues and suicide is also absurd, because the denial of transgender thinking causes at least as much mental stress as gender dysphoria.

Some radical feminist writers express the concern that young people who express their gender identity as transexual might later change their thinking, and if they had begun a transition, might have proceeded to far to return to a pre-transition state. I know several people who identify as transexual. I was very close to one and drove here to her sexual reassignment surgery, and supported her after her surgery. She received counseling before her hormone replacement therapy and before her surgery. I believe she was fully informed of her choices and chose freely. I am certain that she did not receive pressure from peers, counselors or physicians to begin her transition.

I do feel that, in our society, social concepts of gender roles are very flawed. Denying the concept of gender dysphoria or transsexuality does not resolve anything. The assumptions that people must fit into a pre-defined category of gender identity and must adopt the mannerisms and behavior of that category does a great disservice to all people.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dominator Thinking

I'm taking a course called Justified Anger, organized by the Rev. Alex Gee

I'm white, and I thought I knew about racism. I have a lot to learn. Thank you Rev. Gee!! Recommended.

One of the references in Justified Anger is the PBS series Africas Great Civilizations.
Some dismiss the topic of African history because they are not black. However, all humans on earth are descendants of a single Mother in Africa. So African history is everyones history.

Then I watched The PBS Nova show about the Holocaust in Vilnius Lithuania. Difficult to watch but important to know our history.

Then there is the issue of the anti-immigration and white supremacist movements in the US and around the world.

And the sexual harassment issue boiling over at Fox News.

The Chalice and the Blade, Rianne Eisler's landmark 1987 book proposes that dominator thinking underlies all of these forms of discrimination. Eisler also talks about partnership thinking. Eisler started the Center for Partnership Studies to promote partnership thinking. My response to these forms of dominator thinking is the philosophy of The Ecology of Joy.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

‘Kindness curriculum’ boosts school success in preschoolers

‘Kindness curriculum’ boosts school success in preschoolers:

University of Wisconsin - Madison News:
Jan. 23, 2015

Over the course of 12 weeks, twice a week, the prekindergarten students learned their ABCs. Attention, breath and body, caring practice — clearly not the standard letters of the alphabet.
Rather, these 4- and 5-year-olds in the Madison Metropolitan School District were part of a study assessing a new curriculum meant to promote social, emotional and academic skills, conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM) at the Waisman Center.

Friday, January 02, 2015

improving police | One chief's lifelong mission to improve our nation's police.

David Cooper was Police Chief in Madison from 1972 to 1993.  He focuses on a Partnership relationship between police and communities.

His blog is

improving police | One chief's lifelong mission to improve our nation's police.:

One good entry in his blog is A Lesson From Ferguson: It’s Time to End Domination Policing

Monday, October 28, 2013

Michael Wesch: How the Internet has changed us

Michael Wesch: How the Internet has changed us:

"When a new medium becomes foundational in a society, it really does shake things up very profoundly..."

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Matthieu Ricard: The habits of happiness | Video on

Matthieu Ricard: The habits of happiness | Video on

What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.

Sometimes called the "happiest man in the world," Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, author and photographer.

'via Blog this'

Monday, June 03, 2013

How Literacy Transforms the Human Brain

The Ecology of Joy is in part about how different media and technologies affect the brain - irrespective of the content carried on those media.  This article describes How Literacy Transforms the Human Brain

The transformation of the brain by literacy is so significant that it is hard for us to remember back before we could speak or read.

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around the World

Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around the World - YouTube: ""

'via Blog this'

This song has been on my Ecojoy music list for a long time, but I couldn't say why.  It occurred to me today: Standing by me is a form of non-verbal communications. a way of saying that people can overcome fear when they support each other.

This version is especially meaningful in the discussion of Ecojoy because of the introduction of the Playing for Change idea: The technology of multi-track recording allows the producer to capture a song by multiple musicians in different locations at different times, and assemble the results into a single presentation.

This has been done for many years in audio recordings, but those are usually edited to sound as if all the music was played or sung at the same time and place.  Playing for Change music includes video, and shows the different locations and times.

Playing for Change couldn't be done economically without computers, digital audio technology, global air travel, and the Internet, including YouTube to coordinate the production and distribute the results.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation - YouTube

Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation - YouTube

Friday, April 06, 2012

The Orlons - "Don't Hang Up" (1962)

So how do media and technology influence our thinking?   Not the content but the medium itself?  Here're some hints:

The song Don't Hang Up is about a telephone call a girl is making to her boyfriend.  We know what hang up means, because the telephone has been commonly known (at the time the song came out) for about 80 years.

What would the people of the year 1850 have thought of the term hang up?  People in the current year (2012) have had little to no exposure to telephones that used rotary dials, but we still use the terminology to dial a phone.  Or, if there are no telephones in the year 2025, the term hang up will have only archaic meaning.

Another song example is Jim Croce's song Operator, recalling the time when telephone operators (usually female) assisted with making connections (see video above).
Just like media and technology give us new words and new meaning for words, they also give us new and different metaphors for how we relate to other people, and to other things around us.
And we take in each medium in a different way.
Spoken words are a series of sounds made by the mouth, intended to be heard by the ear. The brain compares the sounds to words we have previously learned, and then uses the words together in context, and interpreted with knowledge of the current situation and the way the words are spoken meaning is derived.
Written words are different. As are written words that are published. And television. And the Internet.
And then there is Sade's Smooth Operator, which is a different use of the word operator:

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Mirror Neurons

Mirror neurons help people to understand how others are explanation from Nova on PBS:

Watch Mirror Neurons on PBS. See more from NOVA scienceNOW.

This explains how empathy works.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Center for Investigating Healthy Minds

Center for Investigating Healthy Minds

Started in part because of a challenge by the Dalai Lama to Richard Davidson - (my paraphrasing) we investigate unhealthy minds, why not investigate healthy minds?

NYT: TV Prices Fall, Squeezing Most Makers and Sellers

Published: December 26, 2011

It’s a great time to buy a television, and Ram Lall, a television salesman, isn’t happy about it. In a basement showroom of J&R, the huge electronics store in Lower Manhattan, Mr. Lall says the days of making big money from televisions are in the past. Pointing to a top-of-the line, 55-inch Sony television, Mr. Lall said it would have sold for $6,000 a few years ago. The current price? $2,599...

This demonstrates the invasion of Moore's Law into the consumer electronics business.

This influence is disruptive to manufacturers, retail sellers and consumers.

The Ecojoy connection is the change in media balance. The reason for the change is the compelling drop in price. And as the balance of media changes, the way we think changes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How Language Shapes Thought

By Lera Boroditsky  | January 20, 2011 

I am standing next to a five-year old girl in pormpuraaw, a small Aboriginal community on the western edge of Cape York in northern Australia. When I ask her to point north, she points precisely and without hesitation. My compass says she is right. Later, back in a lecture hall at Stanford University, I make the same request of an audience of distinguished scholars—winners of science medals and genius prizes. Some of them have come to this very room to hear lectures for more than 40 years. I ask them to close their eyes (so they don’t cheat) and point north. Many refuse; they do not know the answer. Those who do point take a while to think about it and then aim in all possible directions. I have repeated this exercise at Harvard and Princeton and in Moscow, London and Beijing, always with the same results.

A five-year-old in one culture can do something with ease that eminent scientists in other cultures struggle with. This is a big difference in cognitive ability. What could explain it? The surprising answer, it turns out, may be language.

In Scientific American Lera Borodidsky: How Language Shapes Thought
On Fora TV Lera Borodidsky: How Language Shapes Thought