Whether talking about physical conditioning–as in the 2012 London Olympics–cultural conditioning, or psychological conditioning, we cannot ignore the critical role of conditioning in our lives. How we are trained to perform has everything to do with the actions we take in our lives. Heit & Cheri begin this 2-hour version of The Axiom Amnesia Theory with a discussion of the 2012 London Olympics and wind it down with a discussion of Daniel Coffeen’s segment on “The Political.”

Other topics discussed include, Dallas Police’s killing of James Harper, media portrayal of accused “criminals,” journalistic ethics, Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case update, custody battle over Michael Jackson’s kids, Gladys Knight saying Paris Jackson wouldn’t have teeth if she talked back to her, 9-year-old boy who beat up daycare children, confirmation bias, miscommunication, How Not To Write About Africa, The Ruling Classroom, song of the week–“Dark Destiny” by Shy Child, Slavoj Zizek’s definition of love, and more!

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Segment 1

  • Discussion about the London Olympics, and people being upset about the news results of who won what being reported before the event aired during U.S. time. They should just do what they used to do–air the event live (in the middle of the night or whatever), then rerun the most popular events during prime time.
  • The desire to delay the results speaks to the notion of people wanting people to be willfully ignorant.
  • Discussion about people watching the medal results and how it’s China and the U.S. in the top position–not surprisingly the economic powers of the world.
  • People in these winning countries, their people have an advantage over other people in terms of economics and foreign policy, such that they can afford the advantages, like equipment and other training facilities. What does it mean to be the best when you have such advantages over the competitors?
  • Discussion about the media coverage regarding Black and brown people in the Olympics.
  • Discussion about the reason Blacks from the U.S. participate in certain sports and not others. One issue is access, and the other is related to culture.
  • Discussion about Michael Johnson’s comments that the descendants of slaves make better athletes.
  • It takes different physical characteristics to excel at different sports.
  • Discussion about why there is a lack of Blacks in swimming. The issue is one of access as well as cultural values. Heit & Cheri discuss their experiences growing up swimming.
  • Heit explains his experiences with swimming in the U.S. Marine Corps, and how one of the instructors demonstrated swimming with his hands tied behind his back.
  • Discussion about professional athletes playing in the Olympics. Is the Olympics all about winning, or is it all about how you play the game. It’s also about the drama of it all.
  • Discussion about Keri Strugg in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and how she performed injured and sealed the gold medal for the USA.
  • Discussion about the impact of the Olympics coming to town–its effects on the existing community.
  • Discussion about when the World Cup was in Africa and the local venders weren’t allowed to sell their wares to visitors. Who can sell what to whom is very political when it comes to these events.
  • Heit & Cheri discuss the sports they like. They both agree that watching marathons is boring.
  • Discussion about how fast the marathon runners can run a mile.
  • Discussion about the different variations in body type between the different types of runners.
  • Discussion about the Dallas Police’s shooting of James Harper. At the beginning, there was talk that he was shot in the back. Police Chief Brown said that Harper got into multiple fights with police before being shot. The officer said that he thought Harper had a weapon because he was reaching into his waist.
  • The medical examiner’s report says that Harper was shot in each side, in the chest, and in the elbow.
  • Based on the information given, it seems that Harper was trying to get away. Why would they need to shoot a man who was trying to run away?
  • Discussion about the media framing of the people from the community who came out of their homes–concerned about a potentially unjust shooting–as an unruly mob of people.
  • Discussion about the terms used to describe the victim and the community onlookers. This is to paint the crowd and the victim in a negative light.
  • Discussion about whether people who are not the “perfect” victims can receive justice. There are so many things that can be done to make the victim look bad–bringing up prior arrests. We already have examples of the system’s corruption, but still people view a person who has been arrested as a bad person, deserving of being shot by police under questionable circumstances.
  • How many of the police would be viewed as criminals if the acts they did in uniform were done outside of the police department?
  • They always share the entire background of the victim, but they don’t expose the background of the officer. The message is that the police should be trusted just because they are the police.
  • Discussion of how the press needs to do a better job of presenting the facts of the case in a more balanced fashion.
  • Discussion about a Twitter issue that came up about a blogger exposing the identity of a witness in the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman, then a major Black media outlet exposing that blogger’s identity. Do two wrongs make a right?
  • By exposing the blogger, the media outlet amplified the bloggers message of exposing the witness. This was clearly wrong. They are making even more people aware that the particular witness’ identity is out there for them to see.
  • Axiom Amnesia has known the identity of almost all of the original witnesses from the beginning. We NEVER printed those names, and the only times we’ve mentioned witnesses by name is after exposing themselves in media interviews.
  • Revenge is not justice, and exposing that blogger’s name was a move of revenge.
  • There are extreme factions from the Pro-Zimmerman side as well as the Pro-Trayvon side of this discussion.
  • Discussion about the difference between Axiom Amnesia and a “Trayvon Martin supporter.” We do not align ourselves with some of the loudest members of that group, because they have participated in things we believe to be contrary to their cause. We did not buy candy and iced tea.
  • Discussion about a phony article circulating about George Zimmerman and gay porn. The article is clearly phony and fill of misinformation. People circulated the article and didn’t bother to check the facts.
  • Just because the supporters came to the right conclusion doesn’t mean that they traveled the correct route to get there.
  • Further discussion about pro-Trayvon supporters on social networks. The discussion has moved beyond the case, and peoples’ egos are involved.
  • Some people have become obsessed with the Martin/Zimmerman case to an unhealthy degree.

Segment 2

  • Discussion about the recent custody issues with Michael Jackson’s children, Paris, Prince, and Blanket.
  • Paris Jackson began to tweet her concerns that something had happened to her grandmother, Katherine Jackson,
  • There was an altercation that happened between Paris and Janet Jackson, with reports of them calling each other bitches and possibly having a physical altercation.
  • We didn’t see any hitting in the video of the supposed altercation.
  • Gladys Knight said that Paris Jackson “wouldn’t have no teeth” if that altercation had occurred with her.
  • The culture of slavery has led to the idea that conflict resolution involves violence. When you wanted to correct someone who challenges authority, you physically assaulted them to maintain that authority over them.
  • Discussion about physical violence, and the idea of deserving respect on the basis of being an elder.
  • Further discussion about the history of physical abuse in the Jackson family.
  • The dispute over power in the family may be related to the $210K allotted monthly for the care of the Jackson children.
  • People applaud violence as discipline until the child is killed in the process, then everyone screams about it being wrong.
  • Discussion about the woman who beat her child to death.
  • Discussion about the 9-year-old boy who beat up the little children at the daycare. As part of the foolishness, a parent went in and hit the wrong child, and got arrested for the assault.
  • There is something wrong with the idea of assaulting someone because you don’t like what they say.
  • Discussion about confirmation bias, and everyday examples. Confirmation bias is “a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.”
  • Mention of examples of confirmation bias as they relate to Ron Paul’s speech in front of a Confederate flag, and in the Trayvon Martin case.
  • Discussion about miscommunication across cultures, genders, and even personalities.
  • Discussion about a situation of cross-cultural miscommunication related to the rapper Big Boi from Outkast.
  • Discussion about “How Not To Write About Africa.” One of the things that stands out is how the people are treated as subhuman and one dimensional, while African animals are treated as creatures full of depth.
  • How Not To Write About Africa is connected to a piece posted on Tumblr by Queer Hairy Vagina: How Not To Be A Whaite Savior.
  • We must be careful about pushing our own cultural preferences onto people who we try to assist.
  • Discussion about “The Ruling Classroom.”

    The Ruling Classroom (1979), documents Muldoon’s repeat experiment in which a second class of seventh grade students were granted a greater degree of autonomy and were to establish their own country with its own rules. Peter Bull and Alex Gibney recorded the proceedings using a verité approach paired with after-school interviews with students. As the semester progresses the imaginary society, like the one they would soon inherit, develops serious problems such as freedom of the press, white collar crime, economic monopolies, and unemployment. The tape was aired nationally on PBS and evoked local controversy when the school’s principal called off the experiment after the video team uncovered a story about a teacher slapping a student. He then unsuccessfully tried to prevent the tape’s further release.

  • Even in this fake scenario, it was the words of the fake newspaper that brought the project to a halt.
  • Discussion about whether the propensity toward capitalism is natural, and how the children followed what was already taught to them through the system.
  • Mention of the movie The Wave, which is also related to The Ruling Classroom.

Segment 3

  • Discussion of the song of the week, “Dark Destiny” by Shy Child.
  • Heit & Cheri’s favorite lines is “stop pretending you don’t care what anyone says.” We all care, to varying degrees, what other people say. Discussion about the desire to be understood when we communicate. So, when people misunderstand us, it’s understandable to want to correct the record.
  • Discussion of an example of how straw man arguments are used to silence people–used as an attack on the person’s credibility.
  • Another line that Heit & Cheri liked was, “the more you understand, the more you love.” When you understand things, then you look at them differently. The more you understand, the more you appreciate, which is a component of love.
  • Discussion about how understanding people better can give the opportunity to have a greater affinity for them.
  • Discussion of Slavoj Zizek’s definition of love and the idea that love is a cosmic catastrophe.
  • Mention of Daniel Coffeen’s article, “Critical Is Sexy,” and Cheri’s favorite line, “Oh, to be critical is to be alive, to affirm the flux of life. And what is sexier than that?”
  • Mention of Geoffrey Nunberg, and his books on linguistic studies.
  • Discussion of Daniel Coffeen’s lecture on “The Political” and the power of discourse.
  • When you begin to speak beyond the common dialogue, you are instantly excluded from conversations between the most influential people.
  • Discussion about the notion of people saying “you complete me” in reference to a significant other. Cheri makes the point that people don’t really mean the other person completes them. Because people don’t separate themselves from their circumstances, they say they the other person completes them.
  • Heit makes the point that the narrative related to these sorts of relationship points to a union–one person being the other’s better half. The whole idea in the discourse is that there is a coming together.

Audio Credits:

Gladys Kinght Says Paris ‘Wouldn’t Have No Teeth’” – The View
How Not to Write About Africa – Binyavanga Wainaina – narrated by Djimon Hounsou” – via YouTube
“Dark Destiny” – Shy Child
“The Political” – Daniel Coffeen