Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Study Your Other To Kill Them Better

Brushing my teeth this morning, I heard part of THIS report on the radio. I tuned-in just about the point where the Army guy was describing social scientists as effeminate, communist drug users.

Obviously (or it should be obvious is you've been reading this blog for a while) I find this programme horrifying. What I find particularly disturbing is how absolutely comfortable the people promoting it are with the outright dishonesty of it. I certainly wouldn't care to be a part of it.

When I was an undergraduate, one of the best jobs a newly degreed anthropologist could hope for (a cultural anthropologist anyway) was working at Arthur Andersen (remember them?) teaching accountants how not to offend clients in Asia. I thought that was offensive, and probably unethical. The CIA was recruiting on campus, I thought that was offensive and unethical. The thing is(not that it makes it any better) they were a bit more subtle about it. It wasn't like the CIA was handing out fliers saying: "Hey kids, sign up to be spy and we'll give you a really cool 2 way radio wristwatch and tuition reimbursement if you inform on the foreign students." The thing I heard this morning sounded pretty damn blatant. Again, I'm not sure that's bad-I like to know what I'm dealing with, but it certainly did give me pause.

I'll give the local NPR station credit for not editing out the Mengele comparison (which I think was pretty valid) because I'm sure they are going to be facing a shitstorm of angry letters threatening to cancel memberships.

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