Archive for the reading list Category

Book cover: Ability Testing: Uses, Consequences, and Controversies (1982)

Posted in ephemera, reading list on September 23, 2009 by All Conference Vintage

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The Socialist Primer: First Lessons in Socialism for Children by Nicholas Klein (1908)

Posted in history, i am endlessly fascinating, philosophy, reading list on June 22, 2009 by All Conference Vintage

This was a tough little book to find. It has been on my “I want to read this” list for some time now, and I have only been able to find excerpts on Google books- and these came from a journal criticizing the Primer for instilling “class hatred”. It has been unavailable on Amazon for as long as I have had an account there and the library world catalog says there are only 7 copies in libraries in the United States. This primer was written in the days before a 40 hour work week, the weekend, child labor laws, or any kind of mandated safety measures.

Delightful drawings by Ryan Walker- who I also found out through Google Books, was formerly a cartoonist for the Kansas City Times and St. Louis Republic before joining Eugene Debs’ “Appeal to Reson” Socialist newspaper. Google Books is awesome- especially the clip feature, which allowed by to embed these grabs with one click!

Click to embiggen and print to share with the kiddies tonight!

thoughts on aversion to violence

Posted in i am endlessly fascinating, reading list on June 16, 2009 by All Conference Vintage

from All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

I was watching something on television in which men were shooting at each other. My 3 year old daughter came into the room and instantly started crying, “Turn it off! Turn it off! Turn it off!” Though we try to shield our daughter from violent entertainment, especially of the adult blood-and-guts variety, it really becomes apparent how pervasive violence is in American popular culture when you have an attentive and loudmouthed 3 year old around. My daughter’s relationship to violence has gotten me thinking about human nature when it comes to violence- do human beings have a natural (that is genetic and inborn) aversion to violence?

(Subtopics for later: 1. how American consumers become acquainted with violence through entertainment, 2. the pervasiveness of violence in entertainment squarely aimed at consumption by pre-school children, and 3. how watching violence is disturbing for children, yet they engage in violence as a form of self-expression. )

Back to the main idea- are humans naturally averse to violence? I read an interesting book in college, “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a military psychologist. His main thesis was that the fundamental resistance of humans to kill fellow humans must be overcome in order for industrial powers to wage war. He writes much about the methods used to subvert this resistance to killing (physical separation from the actual target as a factor in reducing resistance to killing, changes in training of military personnell, etc.) But the most interesting part of the book for me were the anectdotal reports of the soldiers who actually killed another person. Many of these men report that they cried (reverting to their infantile selves) when they “had to” kill, many reporting that “it went against everything (they) had been taught since childhood.” Grossman posits that this aversion to killing is learned behavior, just as overcoming this resistance could be taught.

Perhaps it’s a reach to say this aversion is innate. Perhaps my daughter has learned a normative standard that violence is unacceptable from her parents. Is it because she lives in a house full of love in which she does not witness Mommy and Daddy fighting, kicking, and punching one another as a way of solving conflict? Is violence a neutral subject about which she has already taken on information from the world around her, deciding that violence is not the norm and is therefore undesirable? This seems counter-intuitive as much of the entertainment geared toward pre-schoolers suggests physical “action” or violence are acceptable modes of expression. Does this suggest that children do not learn behavorial norms from television, etc. to the extent that they learn these norms from caretakers? Has this aversion to violence been learned because of her environment in which healthier modes of conflict resolution are employed?

I have become much more averse to violence since becoming a father. I once enjoyed the most macabre and over-the-top violent entertainment possible, which I now find now find physically repulsive and morally repugnant. Perhaps having a deep connection to a new life has made me value life in general more? Perhaps I just have so little time for entertainment consumption that I simply prefer lighter, less stressful fare now?

So, basically, this is a call to you to suggest books, articles, etc on this topic.

Author and subject. Subject is wearing excessive amounts of cotton candy lip gloss.

Dorothy and Ozma with the good witch Glinda (1910)

Posted in history, how much art can you take?, lost arts, reading list on June 10, 2009 by All Conference Vintage

absolutely beautiful illustration by John R. Neil from the book The Emerald City of OZ- grabbed from Golden Age Comic Book Stories– click for delightful embiggenment.
I found many of these old Baum books in my grandparents’ attic when I was a kid and would just stare at the illustrations for hours and hours. I absolutely love this style of art! This illustrator’s style reminds me of Alphonse Mucha- I guess Neill illustrated all 40 (!) volumes of the Land of Oz series. Now I’m on a mission to own some of this stuff.

Philip K. Dick on reality

Posted in american heroes, reading list on May 29, 2009 by All Conference Vintage

“reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away”
-Philip K. Dick, 1972

illustrations by Maud and Miska Petersham from "The Magic Doll of Roumania" (1929)

Posted in how much art can you take?, reading list on May 8, 2009 by All Conference Vintage

From “The Magic Doll of Roumania- a wonder story in which east and west do meet- written for American children” by Marie, Queen of Roumania

grabbed from a site called Tom’s Place– lots of lovely stuff to look at there!

The Zodiac Stereo Tape Case (1971)

Posted in collections, ephemera, history, i am endlessly fascinating, playlist, reading list, youth culture on April 25, 2009 by All Conference Vintage

” A new star is born in the age of aquarius, the zodiac stereo tap case. We already know the young people’s reaction to this new case. “It’s cool”…because it has the new look the “now” generation identifies with. Top quality case, Loaded with extras.

Covered with gleaming white, Embellished with the signs of the Zodiac in blue and gold. This case is bright and beautiful, and easy to keep clean. Holds ten 8-track tapes. Interior is fully lined to protect tapes from scratches and keep them dust free. Unique brass plated handles on the side. Top is different, too. It’s curved..

Very important news: Billboard Magazine has made all otheir back issues available on Google books.