Documenting Cultural Narcissism - R.R - 07-15-201201:32 AM
It has been a while since I've contributed to the forum but that doesn't mean I haven't been studying and researching. Lately my research has been geared more towards the individual or the psychological affects of social manipulation on everyday people. I'm hoping to place here, eventually, the various sources I've studied, onlines videos and my own thoughts and opinions as to how these ideas interlink with previous research. I also hope to add more material as I come across it and hope others will contribute to a further study/documentation by sharing their own research.
Narcissism is a very deep topic to study and one I have found extremely rewarding for a further understanding of the world around us. I am currently wrestling with the ideas mentioned within a study of narcissism such as; perfectionism, manipulation, lack of empathy, grandiosity, need for admiration (sources of narcissistic supply), fragile sense of self, cultivation of a false self, victim mentality, rage, shallow emotions and entitlement amongst many others.
Narcissism is usually thought of as an individual thing but there is a flip side which can readily be seen in an oppressive collective. I'm enjoying the speculative process of applying these ideas to things like the origins of civilization for example: how on a deep level things like nature worship or technocracy can be metaphorically viewed as the individuation-seperation process a child goes through while growing up and how wounding to this process can lead to a desire to merge as in new age type beliefs (we are all one) or a heavy emphasis on extreme self-reliance (really a faux-independence) as can be seen in the drive towards a technological 'utopia'.
Much akin to the Hegelian master-slave thesis, which dealt with individuals, to its subsequent basis for Marxist philosophy, which changed individuals to describe the collective - the rulers and the ruled, we can apply the ideas of individual child development to humanity as a whole as well. Civilization can be viewed then, as the result of a traumatic experience induced by an abusive parent - 'mother' nature's abuse on 'primitive' humanity leading to the very narcissistic tendencies that is readily observable in societal elites throughout history. As societal rulers then take over the role of the parent, it's children - the ruled, subsequently suffer the same narcissistic wounding creating a symbiotic abusive relationship that is the historical record of civilised humanity.
The pathological pursuit of perfection manifests as the drive towards conquest, technological development (at any cost), efficiency in labour/slavery and empire, which is usually passed off as an attempt to implement some type of utopia.
So no new revelations in that social rulers are generally crazy but I found the continuing study to be very relevant and in some cases introspective all the while giving more understanding to previously researched information. I hope others find it just as rewarding.
I plan on sharing a lot of information here and to begin with I have uploaded an excellent book to the tracker - Christopher Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations:
Session Summary: Is there an epidemic of narcissism? In this talk, W. Keith Campbell will present evidence that narcissism has increased at both the individual and cultural level. Causes of this epidemic will be discussed, including economic changes, parenting, and social media. Several consequences of this epidemic, ranging from rates of cosmetic procedures to public violence, will be outlined, and the session will conclude with a discussion of how the narcissism epidemic might operate in the current economic environment.
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - R.R - 07-16-201209:18 PM
Published in New York by W. W. Norton & Company.
The following excerpts appear in the Afterword of the 1991 paperback edition, as reprinted from The World and I of February 1990.
A Faustian View of Technology
These considerations [of narcissism] help us to see how psychological defenses against separation anxiety – against early feelings of helplessness and dependence – can be elaborated in human culture. One way to deny our dependence on nature (on mothers) is to invent technologies designed to make ourselves masters of nature.Technology, when it is conceived in this way, embodies an attitude toward nature diametrically opposed to the exploratory attitude, as Klein calls it. It expresses a collective revolt against the limitations of the human condition. It appeals to the residual belief that we can bend the world to our desires, harness nature to our own purposes, and achieve a state of complete self-sufficiency. This Faustian view of technology has been a powerful force in Western history, reaching its climax in the Industrial Revolution, with its remarkable gains in productivity, and in the even more remarkable advances promised by the postindustrial information explosion.
Modern technology has achieved so many dazzling breakthroughs that we now find it difficult to envision any limits to collective human ingenuity. The secret of life itself is within our grasp, according to those who predict a revolution in genetics – in which case it may be possible for us to keep ourselves alive indefinitely or at least to extend the human life span to unheard-of lengths. This impending triumph over old age and death, we are told, is the ultimate tribute to humanity's power to master its surroundings. The prolongevity movement embodies the utopian possibilities of modern technology in its purest form. In the mid-seventies, Albert Rosenfeld, the movement's leading propagandist, predicted that "most of the major mysteries of the aging process" would be "solved" by the third decade of the twenty-first century. August Kinzel, former president of the Salk Institute, announced in 1967 that "we will lick the problem of aging completely, so that accidents will be essentially the only cause of death."
In psychological terms, the dream of subjugating nature is our culture's regressive solution to the problem of narcissism – repressive because it seeks to restore the primal illusion of omnipotence and refuses to accept limits on our collective self-sufficiency. In religious terms, the revolt against nature is also a revolt against God – that is, against the reality of our dependence on forces external to ourselves. The science of ecology – an example of the "exploratory" attitude toward nature, as opposed to the Faustian attitude – leaves no doubt about the inescapability of this dependence. Ecology indicates that human life is part of a larger organism and that human intervention into natural processes has far-reaching consequences that will always remain to some extent incalculable. Nature retains the upper hand: The very technologies designed to overcome natural limitations on human comfort and freedom many destroy the ozone layer, create a greenhouse effect, and make the earth unfit for human habitation.
Careful study of the consequences of our attempts to master nature leads only to a renewed appreciation of our dependence on nature. In the face of this evidence, the persistence of fantasies that envision technological self-sufficiency for the human race indicates that our culture is a culture of narcissism in a much deeper sense than is conveyed by journalistic slogans like "me-ism." No doubt there is too much selfish individualism in American life; but such diagnoses barely scratch the surface.
Twentieth-Century Gnosticism and the New Age Movement
Even our deeply rooted, misplaced faith in technology does not fully describe modern culture. What remains to be explained is how an exaggerated respect for technology can coexist with a revival of ancient superstitions, a belief in reincarnation, a growing fascination with the occult, and the bizarre forms of spirituality associated with the New Age movement. A widespread revolt against reason is as much a feature of our world as our faith in science and technology. Archaic myths and superstitions have reappeared in the very heart of the most modern, scientifically enlightened, and progressive nations in the world. The coexistence of advanced technology and primitive spirituality suggests that both are rooted in social conditions that make it increasingly difficult for people to accept the reality of sorrow, loss, aging, and death – to live with limits, in short. The anxieties peculiar to the modern world seem to have intensified old mechanisms of denial.
New Age spirituality, no less than technological utopianism, is rooted in primary narcissism.If the technological fantasy seeks to restore the infantile illusion of self-sufficiency, the New Age movement seeks to restore the illusion of symbiosis, a feeling of absolute oneness with the world. Instead of dreaming of the imposition of human will on the intractable world of matter, the New Age movement, which revives themes found in ancient Gnosticism, simply denies the reality of the material world. By treating matter essentially as an illusion, it removes every obstacle to the re-creation of a primary sense of wholeness and equilibrium – the return to Nirvana.
One of the most shocking psychological events of early infancy, as we have seen, is the discovery that the beloved caretakers on whom the infant depends for its life are at the same time the source of much of the infant's frustration. Parents – mothers in particular – provide gratification, but since their capacity to do this is not unlimited, they also, unavoidably, inflict the infant's first experiences of pain and sorrow. Parents also inflict pain on the child in their capacity as judges and disciplinarians. The reason the child finds it so difficult to acknowledge the union of gratification and suffering in a common source is that he thereby acknowledges his own dependence and limitations.
The perception of the parents' double nature entails the discovery that they are not mere projections of the child's own desires. A standard defense against this discovery – one of the standard mechanisms of denial – is the splitting of parental images into good and bad images. The infant's fantasies dissociate the frustrating and the pleasure-giving aspects of the adults who take care of him. Thus he invents idealized images of breasts side by side with images of omnipotent, threatening, and destructive maternal or paternal authority – a devouring vagina, a castrating penis or breast.
Religious dualism institutionalizes these primitive and regressive defenses by rigorously separating images of nurture and mercy from images of creation, judgment, and punishment. The particular version of dualism known as Gnosticism, which flourished in the Hellenistic world in the second, third, and fourth centuries A.D., carried this denial to its most radical conclusion. It condemned the entire material world as the creation of dark, evil powers. Gnosticism gave mythological form – often very touching and expressive form – to fantasies that serve to maintain the archaic illusion of oneness with a world absolutely responsive to one's own wishes and desires. By denying that a benign creator could have made a world in which both suffering and gratification have a place, Gnosticism kept alive the hope of a return to a spiritual condition in which those experiences are unknown. The secret knowledge that Gnostics prized so highly, into which only a few privileged souls were ever initiated, was precisely the original illusion of omnipotence; the memory of our divine origins, antecedent to our imprisonment in the flesh.
By interpreting the resurrection of Christ as a symbolic event, Gnostics avoided the Christian paradox of a suffering God. Unable to conceive of a union of spirit with matter, they denied that Jesus was a human being at all, depicting him instead as a spirit who presented himself to human perception in the illusory form of a human being. Their "grandiose mythology," as Hans Jonas calls it in his historical study The Gnostic Religion, purported to offer a definitive account of creation, according to which "human existence ... is only the stigma of a divine defeat." The material creation, including the life of human beings in the flesh, represented the triumph of inferior, diabolical deities; salvation lay in the spirit's escape from the body, in the remembrance of its celestial origin – not (as Christians believed) in reconciliation to the justice and beauty of a world that nevertheless includes evil.
The New Age movement has revived Gnostic theology in a form considerably adulterated by other influences and mixed up with imagery derived from science fiction – flying saucers, extraterrestrial intervention in human history, escape from the earth to a new home in space. What was often figurative and metaphorical in Gnosticism becomes literal in New Age writers like Ken Wilber, Robert Anton Wilson, and Doris Lessing. Where second-century Gnostics imagined the Savior as spirit mysteriously inhabiting a series of human bodies, their twentieth-century descendants conceive of him as a visitor from another solar system. Where the early Gnostics sought to recover the memory of man's original homeland without, however, assigning it an exact locale, New Age enthusiasts take the idea of heaven quite literally: Sirius seems to be the current favorite. (See, among many other books, Lessing's novel The Sirian Experiments.) They believe, moreover, that visitors from space built Stonehenge, the pyramids, and the lost civilizations of Lemuria and Atlantis.
The New Age movement is to Gnosticism what fundamentalism is to Christianity – a literal restatement of ideas whose original value lay in their imaginative understanding of human life and the psychology of religious experience. When Shirley MacLaine finds Walt Whitman demanding that the universe be "judged from the standpoint of eternity," she takes this to refer to the immortality of the soul, not to the desirability of holding humans accountable to some kind of superhuman standard of conduct. In the same way, she attributes to Heinrich Heine a belief in reincarnation because he once asked, "Who can tell what tailor now inherits the soul of Plato?"
New Age spirituality may take strange shapes, but it is a prominent feature of our cultural landscape, like fundamentalism itself, which has grown steadily in recent years. The flowering of such movements has confounded earlier assumptions about the increasing secularization of modern life. Science has not displaced religion, as so many people once expected. Both seem to flourish side by side, often in grotesquely exaggerated form.
More than anything else, it is this coexistence of hyper-rationality and widespread revolt against rationality that justifies the characterization of our twentieth-century way of life as a culture of narcissism. These contradictory sensibilities have a common source. Both take root in the feelings of homelessness and displacement that afflict so many men and women today, in their heightened vulnerability to pain and deprivation, and in the contradiction between the promise that they can "have it all" and the reality of their limitations.
The best defenses against the terrors of existence are the homely comforts of love, work, and family life, which connect us to a world that is independent of our wishes yet responsive to our needs. It is through love and work, as Freud noted in a characteristically pungent remark, that we exchange crippling emotional conflict for ordinary unhappiness. Love and work enable each of us to explore a small corner of the world and to come to accept it on its own terms. But our society tends either to devalue small comforts or else to expect too much of them. Our standards of "creative, meaningful work" are too exalted to survive disappointment. Our ideal of "true romance" puts an impossible burden on personal relationships. We demand too much of life, too little of ourselves.
Our growing dependence on technologies no one seems to understand or control has given rise to feelings of powerlessness and victimization. We find it more and more difficult to achieve a sense of continuity, permanence, or connection with the world around us. Relationships with others are notably fragile; goods are made to be used up and discarded; reality is experienced as an unstable environment of flickering images. Everything conspires to encourage escapist solutions to the psychological problems of dependence, separation, and individuation, and to discourage the moral realism that makes it possible for human beings to come to terms with existential constraints on their power and freedom.
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - R.R - 07-18-201212:09 AM
Quote:About group narcissism
The term 'group narcissism' was coined by Erich Fromm in a book entitled The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1973). It has an offshoot in the term 'corporate narcissism', referring to the business world (cf. the recent financial frauds in the USA). The dynamics of group narcissism is a destructive factor in all human enterprise. This phenomenon is extremely costly to society and to the industrial companies. Incalculable sums of money are being wasted in projects that are going on the rocks simply because the working team has alienated itself from reality under a narcissistic leader whose postulates cannot be questioned. The vulgar notions of 'arse licker', 'bumsucker', and 'ass kisser', are quite relevant in this context. The notion actually has its origin in historical reality. The knights of Christianity used to prove their submissiveness to the Pope by kissing his bottom.
Fromm writes that "...most people aren't conscious of their own narcissism, only those expressions of it that doesn't give them away. So, for instance, they might feel an incomparable admiration of their parents, or their own children, and they have no problem in expressing such feelings since this would generally be deemed positively, as reverence for the parents, or affection for the child, or loyalty. But if they were to express their feelings for their own person in terms like "I am the most wonderful person on earth", "I am the best of all", etc, they would be suspected of, not only being extraordinarily vain, but also a bit crack-brained" (1973, my transl.).
The strategy of providing for one's own narcissism by way of reflection in another 'ideal person', is well-known in studies of personal narcissism. In group narcissism we see a parallel phenomenon: an unquestioning loyalty and admiration for the group and its ideals and an intense fervour in the persecution of any person who questions the authority of the overarching ideals of the group.
Now, as Fromm explains, the "individual alone could at least have some doubts about the correctness of his own narcissistic self-image, provided that he isn't very ill. A member of the group has no such doubts since his narcissism is shared by the group" (my transl.).
So here we see the reason why narcissistic individuals show a tendency to gather together in groups: it works as protection and amplification of their own narcissism. One would expect the narcissist to be 'above' such social conformity, but, actually, this often represents a stepping up of his pathology. It is also gratifying to the weak, untalented, narcissist since he becomes a giant by belonging to this group.
Of course, there is nothing wrong in feeling proud of belonging to a certain group. This is not narcissism (I'm not particularly fond of the term "healthy narcissism"). Nor is there anything wrong in showing appreciation for great personalities and their work. But when we start to look upon Freud, or Muhammad, or whomever, as unquestionable authorities, then we are falling prey to narcissistic idealisation. Likewise, when we subscribe to the social group as a sphere of perfect cleanliness, void of the "destructive influence" of independent thinkers, then we fall prey to group narcissism.
The narcissistic idealisation is often mistaken for a natural and healthy form of appreciation of other people. This is a great problem, as pathology is allowed to hide behind a respectable mask. It's the same thing with group narcissism. Its devotees are often mistaken for nice fellows, socially mature, respectful towards other people. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is a chimera. Such people are only providing for their own narcissism by way of reflection in the group. Scratch on the surface, and a nasty intolerance appears. Many psychologists tend to view the social group as an ideal for the individual to attain. It's an oversimplification. Those psychologists are blind to the fact that there is a pathological version of social life called group narcissism.
In religious congregations the pathological fervour, building on narcissistic idealisation, is often viewed as exemplary. Typical of healthy people is that they do follow religious ideas, and that they do subscribe to ideas of great thinkers. It is a great problem that such an attitude, which is beneficial to psychic health, is, on the surface, so easy to confuse with the severe pathology of group narcissism.
Many narcissists, and individuals of 'borderline pathology', do not quite differ between outer and inner reality. Any formulation of outer reality is also a formulation of oneself. This is the well-known narcissistic short circuit. His personal feelings and perceptions must always be regarded to be on the same level of objectivity as anything else. An ego that is blown out of proportion and expands into outer reality cannot stand criticism. This is because anything that the subject produces, whether thoughts or anything else, remains part of his ego. He defines the world on his own. So he doesn't really need to differ between subjectivity and objectivity. If the narcissistic subject is angry with Mr. Smith, then he knows he must be right because otherwise he wouldn't have these feelings. This means that everybody else must also be angry with Mr. Smith, otherwise they will be violating his world picture and, thus, they are offending his ego. So, in this situation, we have begun building a narcissistic group.
In historical times, the narcissistic group had clearly less survival value, due to bad adaptation to reality and repression of independent thinking. Historical culture had a remedy against narcissism: they adopted an unassuming view of the human personality, and set it against the backdrop of all the powerful spirits of nature to whom man must bow down. This created a healthy and modest ego that kept within its own confines. In today's society this is gone, so narcissism is clearly on the increase.
Also gone is the natural dangers posed to the narcissistic group. In our rich world such people have no problems surviving, they don't really need to be adapted to reality. Corporate narcissism is funded for by our rich combines, and by our rich societies. It might seem questionable to use this notion in such a broad context as this, but, as Fromm explains, its importance has been miscalculated. Its relevance for the neurotic personality is immense.
Quote:Kate Upton, Lardy? Model Hits Back At Online Taunts
16 July 2012 18:22
Kate Upton, the one of the world's most popular models, has hit back at critics who called her fat. The model has been the victim of taunts on a pro-anorexia website, which called her "lardy" and criticized her for appearing in a raunchy advert in which she is snapped eating a burger.
Kate, 20, blasted back, "I'm not going to starve just to be thin.I want to enjoy life and I can't if I'm not eating and miserable", according to The Sun. The U.S. beauty was attacked on the SkinnyGossip website, which reportedly encourages anorexia and glamourizes "dangerous levels of thinness", according to the UK newspaper......
Quote:Popular TV Shows Teach Children Fame Is Most Important Value, Psychologists Report; Being Kind to Others Fell Dramatically in Importance Over 10 Years
ScienceDaily (July 12, 2011) — Fame is the No. 1 value emphasized by television shows popular with 9- to 11-year-olds, a dramatic change over the past 10 years, UCLA psychologists report in a new study.
On a list of 16 values, fame jumped from the 15th spot, where it was in both 1987 and 1997, to the first spot in 2007. From 1997 to 2007, benevolence (being kind and helping others) fell from second to 13th, and tradition dropped from fourth to 15th.
The study assessed the values of characters in popular television shows in each decade from 1967 to 2007, with two shows per decade evaluated, including "Andy Griffith" and "The Lucy Show" in 1967, "Laverne & Shirley" and "Happy Days" in 1977, and "American Idol" and "Hannah Montana" in 2007.
"I was shocked, especially by the dramatic changes in the last 10 years," said Yalda T. Uhls, a UCLA doctoral student in developmental psychology and the lead author of the study. "I thought fame would be important but did not expect this drastic an increase or such a dramatic decrease in other values, such as community feeling. If you believe that television reflects the culture, as I do, then American culture has changed drastically."
Community feeling (being part of a group) was the No. 1 value in 1967, 1977 and 1997, and it was the No. 2 value in 1987, the study found. By 2007, however, it had fallen out of the top 10, to 11th.
"The rise of fame in preteen television may be one influence in the documented rise of narcissism in our culture," said the study's senior author, Patricia M. Greenfield, a UCLA distinguished professor of psychology and director of the Children's Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles. "Popular television shows are part of the environment that causes the increased narcissism, but they also reflect the culture. They both reflect it and serve as a powerful socialization force for the next generation."
The top five values in 2007 were fame, achievement, popularity, image and financial success. In 1997, the top five were community feeling, benevolence (being kind and helping others), image, tradition and self-acceptance. In 2007, benevolence dropped to the 12th spot and community feeling fell to 11th. Financial success went from 12th in 1967 and 1997 to fifth in 2007.
The two least emphasized values in 2007 were spiritualism (16th) and tradition (15th); tradition had been ranked fourth in 1997.
The study is published in the July issue of Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, a peer-reviewed journal featuring psychosocial research on the impact of the Internet on people and society.
Uhls and Greenfield analyzed Nielsen demographic data to determine the most popular shows with 9- to 11-year-olds and then conducted a survey of 60 participants, aged 18 to 59, to determine how important each value was in episodes of the various shows.
"The biggest change occurred from 1997 to 2007, when YouTube, Facebook and Twitter exploded in popularity," Uhls said. "Their growth parallels the rise in narcissism and the drop in empathy among college students in the United States, as other research has shown. We don't think this is a coincidence. Changes we have seen in narcissism and empathy are being reflected on television. In the past, children had their home, community and school; now they have thousands of 'friends' who look at their photos and their posts and comment on them. The growth of social media gives children access to an audience beyond the school grounds."
"If you have 400 or more Facebook friends, which many high school and college students do, you are on stage," Greenfield said. "It's intrinsically narcissistic."
Quite a few television shows that are popular with "tweens" depict young people achieving great fame despite little hard work, Uhls said. Such shows, including "Hannah Montana," which portrays the life of girl who is a high school student by day and rock star by night, do not convey how rare such success is or the sacrifices that are required to achieve it, according to Uhls, who formerly worked as a movie studio executive. She is disturbed by the messages that television shows are conveying to children.
"Even when parents are an active presence in their children's lives, peers and media go hand in hand, and peers can be more influential than parents," said Uhls, who has an 11-year-old daughter. "Teens and tweens have the ability to talk with their friends 24/7. The ability for an average person to access an audience is new. Technology has given kids pathways to reach an audience as never before, and they are able to use the technology at a young age.
"Preteens are at an age when they want to be popular, just like the famous teenagers they see on TV and the Internet," she said. "With Internet celebrities and reality TV stars everywhere, the pathway for nearly anyone to become famous, without a connection to hard work and skill, may seem easier than ever. When being famous and rich is much more important than being kind to others, what will happen to kids as they form their values and their identities?"
In a second study, not yet published, Uhls and Greenfield interviewed 20 children (fourth, fifth and sixth graders) and found the children are learning the values television teaches. Fame seems to be a goal of many children, and they are keenly aware of the size of their social network.
"Parents' influence on their children has been diminished," Greenfield said. "Kids are living so much of their lives online."
Parents should talk with their children about the shows they watch, Greenfield and Uhls advise, "but it's impossible for most parents to consume the amount of media their children consume," Uhls said.
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - R.R - 07-21-201205:08 AM
Quote:Cosmetic surgery does give you a boost of self confidence
19th July 2012
Plastic and cosmetic surgery is there to help you feel that little bit better about yourself, you're potentially trying to fix something that you don't like about yourself.
If you're considering going under the knife, you may be happy to know taht new research actually reveals that cosmetic surgery does boost self confidence.....
A study conducted by the Center for Human Appearance at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that 87 per cent of patients felt satisfied following cosmetic surgery, with the added benefits of improvements in their overall body image and with the part of their body that was transformed. These women also felt less negative about their body image in both work and social situations.
During a particularly poor economy, Dr. Kirwan went on to say that this increased confidence could prolong the time a person works, especially when retirement is becoming a less realistic option.....
With over 30 years of experience as a surgeon, Dr. Kirwan approaches cosmetic surgery with a scientific eye and an artistic sensibility which strives for perfection and transcendent beauty.....
That's a good one, people can't afford to retire but can afford surgery to stay looking 'good' while in employment.
Meanwhile in South Korea:
Quote:Cosmetic Surgery Patients Getting Younger
Jul. 21, 2012 08:26 KST
More and more teenagers are going under the knife because they fantasize about a career in showbusiness. Plastic surgery has already been widely popular as a kind of reward for some girls passing the college entrance exam, but now even junior high-schoolers have themselves nipped and tucked before they are fully grown.
Some teens who have their sights set on a showbiz career do not want any photos of their old faces in their school yearbooks, which is why they opt for cosmetic surgery at such a young age. Others demand it as a reward for improved grades, suggesting that plastic surgery is being seen as little more than a haircut or a new dress among some youngsters.
Plastic surgeons estimate junior high school students now account for an astonishing 20 to 30 percent of their patients.
But going under the knife too early can lead to complications, since the body is still growing until the age of 18 to 20. Doctors warn against breast augmentation and surgery to fix buck teeth after reaching adulthood. Surgery involving the cutting of bones could end up harming the growth of surrounding tissue. Psychiatrists also warn against cosmetic surgery among teens, since adolescents tend to be needlessly insecure about their appearances and may regret it later if they get plastic surgery on impulse.
There are also legal issues to be considered, because parental consent is necessary. Some teens lie about their age to go under the knife and some doctors operate without verifying the age of a patient. "There are no laws to punish a doctor for performing cosmetic surgery on a teen without his or her parents' consent," said Kim Sun-wook, a lawyer specializing in medical lawsuits. "But parents have the right to cancel surgery appointments and they can also get a refund if their child gets cosmetic surgery without notifying them."
Quote:Rachael Claire Martin, Barclays Bank Clerk, Allegedly Stole Money For Plastic Surgery
The Huffington Post | By Katherine Bindley Posted: 07/17/2012 2:27 pm Updated: 07/17/2012 2:34 pm
A 24-year-old clerk working for Barclays in Cornwall, U.K., allegedly stole £46,000 (nearly $72,000) from the bank and put the money toward breast implants, teeth whitening, liposuction and hair extensions so that she could increase her chances of being a model, according to Western Morning News.
Rachael Claire Martin initially denied the allegations, but she eventually pleaded guilty in court to stealing the money over an eight-week period, the paper reports.
The Daily Mail noted that Martin stole the money in sums of £2,000 and £1,000, but that one on occasion, she took as much as £6,000. She reportedly spent £4,000 for breast implants and got £1,700 worth of dental work. The Daily Mail also reports Martin put some of the money toward "wild shopping sprees.".....
Quote:Shock over lack of sympathy for victims of PIP ops
Published on Saturday 14 July 2012 13:57
Fight for compensation goes on amid calls for responsible clinics to remove faulty breast implants, says Claire Smith
NEXT week, Emma Hardie, a 36-year-old mother of three from Cumbernauld, will go under the knife for a breast reconstruction.
She is one of around 4,000 women in Scotland who have PIP implants – the breast implants made from industrial silicone – which have three times the risk of rupturing as normal implants.
Although the faulty implants have not been tested for use on humans, Hardie, like many others, has been left with no choice but to pay to have them removed and replaced.
“I have had to beg, borrow and steal to get the money together,” says Hardie, whose husband has his own auto business.
She had her implants three years ago – but had originally planned just to have an uplift.
“It was all about having an uplift after breast-feeding three children. I had been thinking about it for ten years.”.....
Hardie is one of a group of women involved in a group action against the companies involved in inserting the suspect implants. Eventually she hopes she will be awarded compensation. Like many, she has been shocked at the lack of sympathy for the women affected.
“If it had been any other medical device which had been faulty – like a pacemaker or a hip replacement, I don’t think people would have been so judgmental. It isn’t just about vanity – and people are too ready to judge without knowing the circumstances.”.....
Scottish victims of the PIP scandal are still calling for a public enquiry into the issue and believe the government is not doing enough to help those involved......
“It took centuries to discover the health dangers of asbestos, lead and mercury poisoning. We’re not going to let political scientists dupe us into believing that just because there’s no scientific evidence to show harm right now, industrial silicone is perfectly safe to have inside our bodies.”.....
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - yeti - 07-21-201206:16 AM
Imagine how fewer people would be depressed, suicidal, or even dissatisfied with their appearance or how much stuff they have if they stopped watching television.
I started auto-taping all my favourite shows and fast forwarding through the commercials decades ago. I noticed how much less stressful I felt. I also very quickly noticed how evil commercials really are. They almost instantly make me foul-tempered while sheeple watching with me look at me in amazement wondering why I get upset.
Now of course TV is obsolete - if I want to watch a show I download the whole series and watch them in a marathon. Too easy!
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - R.R - 07-21-201206:50 AM
Too right TV is obsolete, the role of getting people depressed lies with social media now and as it is more accessible than TV, it really is no surprise that more and more young people are getting, well, dumber really.
Look at how governmental propaganda and social manipulation has worked over the last 200 years or so. Then look at how much more effective those things have worked since radio, TV and newspapers worked in conjunction to brainwsh the masses. Now imagine the future when this generation grows up with facebook and twitter moulding their minds. Imagine when THEIR kids grow up. By then they'll probably be microchipped and capable of having the 'benign world government' download stuff straight into them.
Anyway this narcissism stuff not only shows how miserable modern society actually is beneath the veneer of 'happiness'; it also shows how effective modern social manipulation really is.
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - h3rm35 - 07-22-201205:48 AM
(07-21-2012 06:16 AM)yeti Wrote: I... noticed how evil commercials really are. They almost instantly make me foul-tempered while sheeple watching with me look at me in amazement wondering why I get upset.
Now of course TV is obsolete - if I want to watch a show I download the whole series and watch them in a marathon. Too easy!
I agree w/ the highlighted section, but maybe it's time to look a little deeper into social conditions?
TV's obsolete for those who know how to make it so, and additionally have "good credit" or access to corporate accounts.
Low income people that come from low-income families, even in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley have never owned, nor have been trained on computers. They rent dvd's from redbox. That's fucking sad.
These people can't circumvent the system, but more, can't even see where its borders lie! These poor bastards don't even know they're livestock.
The Nazi sympathizers here will assume that some white folks will get caught up in this and will assume the solution is better than the problem, but the fucking solution is what gave rise to devisiveness in the first place and will take them down as domestic terrorists and enemies of the state in the end.
As much as I hate to admit it (considering the subterfuge,) it is the 99 vs. the 1. If you're a rich Nazi prick, you're probably gonna do fine. If your a Nazi prepper, you'll end up dead before the rest of us. Either way, it's still 99 vs. 1.
I'm, personally, paying about a k a month in rent/utilities for a studio w/o a kitchen right now, and I'm still fighting w/ mgmnt to be able to use p2p!
Maybe Canada and a decade-plus history of working with comp's professionally makes life easier, but I've unleashed my wifi artillerary on this sitch and still can't crack the mold...
...paying a grand a month.
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - R.R - 07-27-201212:18 AM
Quote:An obsession with looking Fab at Fifty and the rise of older women with eating disorders
By JEANETTE KUPFERMANN
PUBLISHED: 22:45, 18 July 2012 | UPDATED: 22:45, 18 July 2012
.....It’s generally agreed that the never-ending stream of air-brushed images of size zero celebrities is damaging to young women, contributing towards eating disorders, body dysmorphia and problems with self-esteem.
But what about older women? I believe we, too, are being done a disservice by our obsession with any celebrity nearing or past her half-century who can maintain the contours of a 16-year-old and appear in a bikini looking a vision of perfection.
Are we seeing a new kind of myth-making that is damaging the older woman’s confidence and, worse still, her health?
A desire to emulate these impossibly beautiful women can drive us to excessive dieting and exercise.
At the very least, I believe it creates anxiety and discontent with the normal processes previous generations accepted as inevitable aspects of ageing.
Far-fetched? The statistics seem to suggest not: for, alarmingly, we’re seeing more and more older women — in their 50s, 60s and even 70s — with serious body issues. Eating disorders in older women have increased by 42 per cent in the past 11 years — leading to all kinds of health problems such as osteoporosis, heart, liver, digestive and gastro-intestinal problems, not to mention depression.
Surprisingly, women over 50 — average age 69 — comprise 78 per cent of all deaths from anorexia.
I know at least half-a-dozen women over 50 with eating disorders, two of whom are showing signs of osteoporosis. All of them restrict their food intake to a dangerous level, taking in few fats or carbohydrates.....
More seriously still, society’s twin obsessions with obesity and youth mean we’re not telling women that even if they’re not anorexic, being too thin is a major risk factor for osteoporosis: the thinning of the bones that can lead to fatal fractures and disability.
The statistics are shocking: half of all women will suffer from fractures after the age of 50 (compared with one in five men). Women are more likely to suffer a hip fracture than develop breast cancer. Hip fractures cause 1,150 premature deaths a month in the UK.
So while we continue to worship at the altar of slimness, are we not hiding a brutal truth from women — that while being thin at 40 may be healthier than being overweight, ten years on it may be better to be plump.
Contrary to popular myth, recent research has found that carrying a few extra pounds makes for better health. We also tend to forget that over-exercising can cause problems ranging from damaged tendons and ligaments to arthritis as we age.
I discovered this after some over-enthusiastic flamenco dancing lessons, while Jane Fonda, 74, the queen of keep-fit, has had hip and knee replacements.
So why have we been seduced by this myth that women can remain svelte and youthful for ever?
Images of beautiful women are nothing new. Before photographs there were statues and paintings of everyone from goddesses and queens to courtesans.
But the camera has created an unprecedented anxiety. The constant drip-feed of images of preternaturally thin women ups the ante.
We look at older women such as Madonna, Sharon Stone, Cher, Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren — looking fabulous — and compare ourselves unfavourably.
By contrast, our mothers at the same age would have slipped into a skirt with an elasticated waist and indulged in another cake.
As we age, we should feel better in our own skins, not worse, able to let go and indulge a little, but where are our role models?
No one is suggesting women in their 50s should dress and act like Nora Batty. But couldn’t we see a few more older women who have style, character and have accomplished something other than a flat stomach?
According to US group ANAD (National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders):
Quote:• 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.
• The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females.
• 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures.
• 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.
• 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner.
• 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - R.R - 11-03-201207:11 AM
Quote:Self-Harm Among Teens Does Not Always Mean Mental Health Issues
Christine Kearney 02 Nov 2012
Teens often hurt themselves simply because they have heard from others that it will make them feel good, they have seen it on television or in movies, or they have a friend who does it. However, self-harm among young people should not be compared to that of psychiatric patients, even though many adolescents have, at one point, hurt themselves on purpose, because most of the time the teens only do it once, and not on a regular basis, according to Jonas Bjärehed and his team at Lund University in Sweden.
Most adolescents have hit their head against the wall, punched the wall, cut, or scratched themselves. The report highlights the importance of understanding the difference between when teens are hurting themselves because of a psychological problem or when they are just displaying typical adolescent behavior.
During the study, Bjärehed and his team administered a survey to 1000 adolescents from southern Sweden. The findings revealed the 1 in every 4 of those questioned by the experts said that they had purposely hurt themselves in the past, however, only a very small number of them hurt themselves on a regular basis. Jonas Bjärehed said:
"It is important that school and health professionals know how to deal with young people who self-harm. They need to react appropriately and not judge all young people alike. For many of these young people, the behavior seems to be fairly mild and often of a temporary nature. It may be viewed as a matter of experimentation or problems that are not of a serious nature."
Six years ago, when the author started his analysis of self harm among teens, there was not much information available. Now, information and knowledge about eating disorders among adolescents is available at schools and health care facilities.
Bjärehed says that he believes knowledge about self harm can still improve, and he hopes it will in the near future, because even if self harm behavior is not a result of a mental health problem, it can quickly spiral out of control. He notes that when a person starts hurting themselves, they are at a higher risk for continuing to do so, which, in turn, can damage their mental well-being.
"It is not the first time young people worry those around them with new types of behavior. Nowadays, we are grappling with the fact that many signs of stress and mental illness appear to be increasing in our society, especially among young people, without us really understanding why. The fact that many young people suffer mental health problems during a time in their lives when they are in the process of becoming adults and developing the skills they need to contribute to society has become a serious public health problem.
An important challenge is to understand this trend and the signs of mental illness that we are seeing in young people, in order to be able to take the necessary measures to prevent it or provide help"
It is important to remember that people who self-harm should be helped, not reprimanded, and individuals with mental health problems who hurt themselves should see a therapist or doctor to begin interventions. According to another study, published in September of this year, people who self harm are 2 times as likely to die prematurely.
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - R.R - 11-03-201207:39 PM
Quote:Almost famous! Student hired own bodyguards, paparazzi and entourage and pranked New York into believing he was a world-famous celebrity
By James Nye
PUBLISHED: 23:55, 23 August 2012 | UPDATED: 07:56, 24 August 2012
One average, normal guy conjured instant celebrity for himself in New York's Times Square by hiring fake bodyguards, paparazzi and an entourage to follow him round the streets of the Big Apple.
Fooling the notoriously savvy natives into believing that he was indeed famous, 21-year-old student Brett Cohen caused a 300 person pile up at 'The Cross Roads of The World' as he posed for photographs with groups of giggling girls.
The slightly disturbing prank was conducted to expose the public's fascination with celebrity and members of the public tripped over themselves to get a peek and a picture with the man at the centre of attention for all the flashing paparazzi's cameras.
Beginning outside NBC's studios at the Rockefeller Center on July 27th, SUNY New Paltz student Brett Cohen left the famous '30 Rock' building accompanied by two bodyguards he had hired on Craigslist, three cameramen and four photographers.
According to the plan, which was cooked up by Cohen and his friend, Edward Strum, 23, the photographers and members of the entourage would start talking about 'Brett Cohen' being inside NBC's studios, to create a buzz among passers-by.
'It was a social experiment,' said Cohen to ABC News.
'It confirms the theory of how our culture is so obsessed with celebrity and fame.'
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - R.R - 11-09-201203:37 AM
Quote:Narcissism, Consumerism And The End Of Growth
Charles Hugh Smith (October 19, 2012)
The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism now include narcissistic consumerism and definancialization.
Today I'm going to tie together the major themes I have been discussing in the context of Japan being the bellwether of economic stagnation and social recession. The basic idea is that Japan offers a limited but still insightful experiment in what happens to advanced consumer-driven economies as definancialization hollows out the economy.
What happens is that economic malaise leads to profound social recession that affects society, workplaces, families, individuals that then feeds back into the economic stagnation.
Definancialization is the process in which excessive speculation, debt, leverage reverse, crushing the economy with malinvestment and legacy debt while the crony-capitalist Central State attempts to stem the resulting deflation with massive, sustained Keynesian stimulus (fiscal deficits).
What we're seeing in Japan is the confluence of three dynamics: definancialization, the demise of growth-positive demographics and the devolution of the consumerist model of endless "demand" and "growth."
Japan is the leading-edge of the crumbling model of advanced neoliberal capitalism: that consumerist excess creates wealth, prosperity and happiness.
What consumerist excess actually creates is alienation, social atomization, narcissism, and a profound contradiction at the heart of the consumerist-dependent model of "growth": the narcissism that powers consumerist lust and identity is at odds with the demands of the workplace that generates the income needed to consume.
One theme that weaves together this week's essays on Japan is the cultural/economic shift that is eroding the traditional Japanese corporate workplace.
Japan and the Exhaustion of Consumerism
The Hidden Cost of the "New Economy": New-Type Depression
The Future of America Is Japan: Stagnation
The Future of America Is Japan: Runaway Deficits, Runaway Debts
The younger generation of workers raised in a consumerist "paradise" are facing an economic stagnation that reduces opportunities to earn the high income needed to fulfill the consumerist demands for status symbols. Given the hopelessness of earning enough to afford the consumerist lifestyle, they have abandoned traditional status symbols such as luxury autos and taken up fashion and media as expressions of consumerism.
But the narcissism bred by consumerism has nurtured a kind of emotional isolation and immaturity, what might be called permanent adolescence, which leaves many young people without the tools needed to handle criticism, collaboration and the pressures of the workplace.
Narcissism is the result of the consumerist society's relentless focus on the essential project of consumerism, which is "the only self that is real is the self that is purchased and projected."
Christopher Lasch (1932 – 1994) wrote The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations in 1979. The book's subtitle captured the angst of the 1970s; though rampant financialization and the Internet reinvigorated the U.S. economy in the 1980s and 90s, the subtitle accurately expresses the New Normal.
While his analysis cannot be easily summarized, he zeroed in on the ontological essence of narcissism: a fear of the emptiness that lies at the very core of consumerism.
Sociologist Daniel Bell's 1988 book, The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism brilliantly laid out the contradiction at the heart of all consumer-dependent cultures:
This classic analysis of Western liberal capitalist society contends that capitalism-- and the culture it creates--harbors the seeds of its own downfall by creating a need among successful people for personal gratification--a need that corrodes the work ethic that led to their success in the first place.
In the modern iteration of the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, the narcissism that results from the focus on personal gratification via consumption cripples the person in the workplace. Ironically, the flattening of corporate management and the demands for higher interpersonal skillsets has eroded the security provided by the strict hierarchy of previous eras.
Instead of working less and doing easier work--the implicit promise of "endless growth"-- the work is becoming more challenging and insecure even as compensation declines.
If there is any personality that is unsuited for the "New Normal" workplace, it is the narcissistic consumer--the very type of person that our consumption-dependent economy creates, nurtures and demands. That is the new Cultural Contradiction of Capitalism.
"Personal gratification" is the driver of narcissism and consumerism, which are two sides of the same coin. Consumerist marketing glorifies the "projected self" as the "true self," encouraging self-absorption even as it erodes authentic identity, self-esteem and the resilience which enables emotional growth--the essential characteristic of adulthood.
Personal gratification is of a piece with self-absorption, fragile self-esteem and an identity that is overly dependent on consumerist signifiers and the approval of others.
No wonder Japan's "lost generations" are lost: not only are expectations of secure, high-income jobs diminished, the work is more demanding and the security and pay are too low to support the consumerist lifestyle that society has implicitly promised everyone who goes to college and works hard as a birthright.
Jesse recently wrote a brilliant, insightful essay, Empire of the Exceptional: The Age of Narcissism As he observes, narcissism has been on the rise for 30 years in advanced neoliberal economies.
In my analysis, this is the direct consequence of the supremacy of a consumerism that is dependent on financialization: an economy dependent on debt-fueled consumption to power its "endless growth" is one that will necessarily implode from its internal contradictions: debt and leverage eventually exceed the carrying capacity of the collateral and the national income, and the narcissism of consumerism leads to social recession, a crippling state of "suspended animation" adolescence and great personal frustration and unhappiness.
The ultimate contradiction in this debt-consumption version of capitalism is this: how can an economy have "endless expansion and growth" when pay and opportunities for secure, high-paying jobs are both relentlessly declining? It cannot. Financialization, consumerist narcissism and the end of growth are inextricably linked.
As I wrote yesterday, this leads to a dispiriting "no exit": It's as if there is a split in the road and no third way: some young people make it onto the traditional corporate or government career path, and everyone else is left in part-time suspended animation with few options for adult expression or development.
We need a third way that offers people work, resilience and authentic meaning. In my view, that cannot come from the Central State or the global corporate workplace: it can only come from a relocalized economy in revitalized communities.
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - R.R - 11-12-201202:02 AM
Quote:The influence of plastic surgery "reality TV" on cosmetic surgery patient expectations and decision making.
Crockett RJ, Pruzinsky T, Persing JA.
Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8062, USA.
The aim of this study was to survey first-time patients seeking cosmetic surgery and examine what role "reality TV" played in their perception of the risks and benefits of surgery and their overall decision-making process.
Information on demographics, television viewing patterns, and patients' self-assessed plastic surgery knowledge was collected from 42 patients. They were asked how similar they believed the shows were to real life and what degree of influence the shows had on their decision to pursue cosmetic surgery. Patients were then divided into groups by program viewing intensity.
Fifty-seven percent of patients were "high-intensity" viewers of plastic surgery reality television shows. When compared with low-intensity viewers, high-intensity viewers believed themselves to be more knowledgeable about plastic surgery (p < 0.05) and believed the shows were more similar to real life (p < 0.05). Overall, four of five patients reported that television influenced them to pursue a cosmetic surgery procedure, with nearly one-third feeling "very much" or "moderately" influenced.
Plastic surgery reality television plays a significant role in cosmetic surgery patient perceptions and decision making. Patients who regularly watched one or more reality television show reported a greater influence from television and media to pursue cosmetic surgery, felt more knowledgeable about cosmetic surgery in general, and felt that plastic surgery reality television was more similar to real life than did low-intensity viewers.
Quote:Cosmetic surgery reality TV viewership: relations with cosmetic surgery attitudes, body image, and disordered eating.
Sperry S, Thompson JK, Sarwer DB, Cash TF.
Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, USA.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (2007), the number of cosmetic procedures has increased to over 10 million in 2006, representing a 48% increase from 2000. This increase in cosmetic surgery prevalence is paralleled by a surge in reality cosmetic surgery television programming.
The current study examined the relationships among cosmetic surgery reality TV viewership, cosmetic surgery attitudes, body image, and disordered eating in a sample of 2057 college women.
Viewership of reality cosmetic surgery shows was significantly related to more favorable cosmetic surgery attitudes, perceived pressure to have cosmetic surgery, past attainment of a cosmetic procedure, a decreased fear of surgery, as well as overall body dissatisfaction, media internalization, and disordered eating.
Although the current study is correlational, it provides a framework for future hypothesis testing and elucidates the link between contemporary media influences, body dissatisfaction, disordered eating, and cosmetic surgery attitudes. Additionally, the findings indicate that surgeons may want to assess the relevance of cosmetic surgery reality TV viewership for patients' attitudes towards and expectations about cosmetic surgery.
RE: Documenting Cultural Narcissism - R.R - 11-23-201212:42 AM
"Look at Me!" Narcissism or Self-Esteem?
So the dark side of promoting self-esteem can raise narcissism? Interesting then that this exists:
The Self Esteem Society (2004)
This report was published by The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), and researched and written by Helen McCarthy on behalf of Demos encouraging the promotion of self-esteem within Britain.
While governments may not yet have recognised the need to create this Self-Esteem Society, individuals certainly have. One only needs to look at the growth in the self-improvement industry, from personal development and ‘working out’ to alternative therapies, fashion and grooming. There is, inevitably, any number of possible explanations for these activities, but it seems clear that people in Britain today are genuinely trying to invest in their own self-esteem.
This report argues that public policy needs to recognise that although self-esteem is by definition a personal issue, its development should also be seen as a collective effort that can benefit everyone. This is because the high self-esteem individual is able to make authentic choices and pursue activities for their own sake, which often involves holding institutions – public and private - accountable and challenging the status quo. This applies not only in politics and civic life, but in wider forms of social participation and cultural consumption. These activities then create positive externalities from which we all collectively benefit, and give self-esteem the status of a public good.
For this vision of the Self-Esteem Society to have meaning, individuals and institutions together must bring it to life. There are various steps that a range of stakeholders, including government, employers, the voluntary sector, business and the media can take to maximise the opportunities available to individuals for gaining self-esteem. These fall under three broad principles:
Challenge the system of social valuation that threatens self-esteem
The opportunities for all of us to subvert conventional roles are plentiful, from fashion and gendered identities to sources of status and the value attached to material wealth. Government and employers can support our desire for self-expression and personal autonomy by promoting a quality of life agenda. Equally, business and the media should offer more varied and balanced images of success as a core part of corporate social responsibility.
Promote positive forms of social capital that build self-esteem
Not everyone has easy access to opportunities for building self-esteem
through social participation. Everyday activities, such as personal grooming, sport and music can provide individuals at risk of exclusion with routes to better self-esteem if supported in the right way. Government and the voluntary sector therefore should collaborate to identify best practice and to develop a stronger evidence base about what works in this field, especially in the field of parenting and early years. Business should support these initiatives through corporate community investment and cause-related marketing strategies.
Recognise self-esteem as a pre-requisite for democracy
Formal politics struggles to connect individuals’ emotional lives and desires to the bigger story of institutional reform. Self-esteem provides exactly this conceptual link. Government should use it as a tool to transform a range of policy contexts: for understanding how to get people into work; for developing the ‘life skills’ agenda that looks beyond formal qualifications and training; and for the mighty task of modernising
From the late 1960s on self-esteem became a fashionable and influential idea. One of the first exponents was a young psychology professor called Stanley Coopersmith from California. A more influential figure was Nathaniel Branden. Branden was a psychtherapist and devotee of the philosopher Ayn Rand. He has written countless books on self-esteem and is considered the intellectual father of the self-esteem movement. As we shall see in another section, Branden’s work is sophisticated and his definition of self-esteem, and notions of how it can be boosted, is a far cry from the exhortations to feel special that have come to characterise self-esteem building exercises in American schools.