Posts tagged “settlement”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • The Ruins of Fordlândia – Henry Ford's miniature America in the jungle attracted a slew of workers. Local laborers were offered a wage of thirty-seven cents a day to work on the fields of Fordlândia, which was about double the normal rate for that line of work. But Ford's effort to transplant America– what he called "the healthy lifestyle"– was not limited to American buildings, but also included mandatory "American" lifestyle and values. The plantation's cafeterias were self-serve, which was not the local custom, and they provided only American fare such as hamburgers. Workers had to live in American-style houses, and they were each assigned a number which they had to wear on a badge– the cost of which was deducted from their first paycheck. Brazilian laborers were also required to attend squeaky-clean American festivities on weekends, such as poetry readings, square-dancing, and English-language sing-alongs.
  • Fordlandia: The Failure Of Ford's Jungle Utopia – Henry Ford tries to build a Midwestern American company town in Amazonian Brazil – for the rubber, even though you can't grow plantation rubber in the Amazon. Absolute epic failure results: they were unprepared both industrially and culturally. "But the more it failed, the more Ford justified the project in idealistic terms. "It increasingly was justified as a work of civilization, or as a sociological experiment," Grandin says. One newspaper article even reported that Ford's intent wasn't just to cultivate rubber, but to cultivate workers and human beings."
  • Report Non-Humans – Marketing for upcoming sci-fi flick District 9. See my interactions column "Interacting with Advertising" for more discussion on the "tricks" of hiding advertising in the aesthetics of real informational signage. Is it okay here because we're in on the joke?

‘Star Wars Kid’ settles

‘Star Wars Kid’ settles out of court

Mr. Raza — who appears on the video as a chubby, ungainly young man — recalled how other students got on tables and chanted taunts at him. ‘There was about 100 people in those halls. It was total chaos…Any opportunity was good enough to shout ‘Star Wars!’ ‘

He said in one class, where a document was shown through a projector, other students scrolled the text, mimicking the opening of the movie, as they sang the Star Wars theme.

And whenever he was in a public place, he said, strangers would call to him.

“Hey! It’s Ghyslain Raza! Star Wars Kid, hey!”

He left the school and eventually, got a private tutor.

The article is fairly sketchy about the specific torment this kid suffered, and we don’t know how detailed the court case was either, of course. It seems from this piece that being called “Star Wars Kid” was the worst of it. On the face of it, that isn’t necessarily an insult? Of course, an insult is a cultural contruction – we give words power and choose how to parse them. The article doesn’t describe physical harm, threats, or any detailed humiliation besides being called “Star Wars Kid.” The headline of the article, of course, calls him “Star Wars Kid.” I’m not saying it wouldn’t suck incredibly to have a video of you on the Internet (although the article focuses on the humiliation that took place locally, in the school itself, rather than what would happen to this poor kid if he walked down the street in any city). Presumably, since the lawsuit dealt with schoolmates, that’s going to be the focus.


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