As of this morning, Jian Ghomeshi has been acquitted of all charges.
The judge (Horkins) in this ruling told the witnesses that navigating this proceeding is “really quite simple”.
All he asks is that they “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
What happens when the truth isn’t that simple?
When trauma is involved, the truth— the reality of an experience, the story—is not clean cut. With trauma, the truth is never so simple.
A little psychoeducation, if you’ll bear with me:
Trauma memories do not have clear beginnings, middles, and ends.
This is not widely understood, and it needs to be.
When we experience trauma, our bodies and brains undergo an involuntary instinctual response that interrupts normal neuropsychological functioning.
Put simply, our brains often can’t physiologically encode traumatic memories in a linear or coherent fashion.
Our memories of trauma end up being without narrative organization and may be stored in a nonverbal realm of the brain.
Which makes it inherently problematic in cases like this where the outcome relies on the witnesses’ ability to recount the assault or trauma.
The judge is asking for something that our brains cannot physiologically accomplish under the weight of trauma. Continue reading
Posted in crime, Guest Post, health, news
Tagged Acquitted, assault, brain, credibility, crime, evidence, Jian Ghomeshi, memory, psychology, Sexual Assault, trauma, truth, witness
This week I finished The Domestication of Language: Cultural Evolution and the Uniqueness of the Human Animal, a book whose subject matter should be self-evident. Shortly afterwards I was given the opportunity to talk to Daniel Cloud, the author of said work and professor of philosophy at Princeton University.
To summarize it very briefly the book is a thorough and eye-opening examination of language as a piece of culture that has been grown and thus evolved due to choices and actions we’ve made as human beings. While our discussion of his work was incredibly thorough and actually exceeded an hour I’ve managed to cut it down to something that closely approximates a conversation, and one that I hope will convince you to pick up a copy for yourselves.
Evan: Now I will of course be putting together some form of introduction to preface this interview, but I thought it would be good for our readers to hear you describe yourself in your own words-
Cloud: I would say that I am an American philosopher carrying on the American philosophical tradition. I worked in science for a while in Russia and China which gave me some some experience with socioeconomic change; I was in those places during a period of upheaval. Research as a philosopher most interested me when I decided to quit and go back to school. Biology and evolution in particular stood out as I already knew a lot about the social sciences.
Evan: As far as The Domestication of Language: Cultural Evolution and the Uniqueness of the Human Animal is concerned I would describe your primary goal as breaking down the origin of human language. Would you agree with that?
Cloud: My goal was and is to explain where language comes from, yes, but specifically the theory of cultural evolution and if it works relative to language. Language is one type of culture, and the specific type of culture I chose to focus on in this book was words as they’re discrete identities that are easy to identify and track throughout history.
The larger project is actually to track humans as being distinct from other types of living things. To return to language I present it as a tool for exploring the way cultural evolution works. It’s the application of the word “domestication” as seen in the title, the theory that just like animals and plants what we have in the present day is very different from how it began. Words are only the first thing I’ve tried to identify in this way. I could just as easily have turned to fashion or clothes or any other kind of culture. Continue reading
Posted in art, communication, Evolution, interview, language, music, science
Tagged anthropology, art, biology, book, chimpanzees, chimps, communication, Cultural Evolution and the Uniqueness of the Human Animal, Culture, Daniel Cloud, Daniel Dennet, domestication, evolution, gender, human, interview, language, philosophy, psychology, selection, signals, The Domestication of Language, words
The Exorcist came out in 1973, and while pretty tame by today’s standards, was nonetheless an iconic film which arguably gave birth to the entire “exorcist-film” genre.
Of course, by “genre”, I mean a number of studios have been trying to make the exact same ****ing movie every single year and show no signs of stopping anytime soon.
We’re just now in July and we’ve already had a few out churned out, though what got me on the subject have been the non-stop ads for Deliver Us From Evil, the latest cash-grab which look like a soulless mash-up of both the exorcist and zombie apocalypse flicks.
Yeah. Possession that somehow spreads a la zombie-logic. Let’s go ahead and start right there.
Posted in bizarreness, film, religion, writing
Tagged 1973, aramaic, catholic, cliche, crab walk, deliver us from evil, demon, devil, exorcism, faith, film, GIF, horror movies, issue, jewish, Judaism, Latin, Mental illness, plot, protestant, psychology, religion, roman catholic, show, sin, skeptic, skepticism, the exorcist, the possession, the rite, theology, Trope, TV, vatican
There’s an entire graveyard of first-drafts of this piece sitting somewhere in the dusty virtual archives of CWR, but after eluding me for so long (and I mean months, people) I finally think I’ve got this complicated and multifaceted post down.
Let’s get right to it.
Mental Disorders Are Partly Your Fault
See this comic?
As much as it’s making a good statement about the way we treat mental illness (and we’ll touch more on that in a second), the simple fact of the matter is that the idea that mental illness is something that just “happens” is wrong. The comic asks us “Would you really tell someone with a broken hand to just ‘get over it’?”. To which I say, “No, but I would yell at him for not wearing cast or for trying to punch through cinder blocks.” Continue reading
Posted in advertising, bizarreness, business, health
Tagged broken hand, comic, dsm, dsm-iv, dsm-v, insurance industry, mental disorder, mental disorders, mental health preventative, Mental illness, mental illnesses, mental-health, motivation, preventative care, psychiatry, psychology, psychopharmacological, psychpathology, responsibility, self-help
We’ve touched on beauty quite a few times here on CWR. We’ve celebrated when France banned beauty pageants for kids, dedicated a round table to discussing the idea of beauty and its changing standards, and, in The (Inner) Beauty Problem, even asked why we try to attribute beauty to everyone rather than giving more weight to other attributes.
So why does “beauty” as a topic come up so often? Well, probably because it’s a question that gets thrown at us every day through advertising. I for one, get this ad popping up on my Facebook every few days.
Posted in advertising, fashion, feminism, health
Tagged advertising, anorexia, armpit hair, beauty, beauty treatment, Ben Hopper, body image, boob job, celebrities, confidence, fat, feminism, hair, human barbie, human ken, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Ledwich, Justin Jedlica, psychology, self- esteem, skinny, surgery
We live in this amazing age where information is so readily accessible that you actually can’t avoid learning about some things, at least not without going pretty far out of your way. So I guess it’s not surprising that this was one of the first things I heard about yesterday:
Court is a great photo opportunity, apparently.
A lot of people are probably wondering how a little kid who used to dedicate his songs on YouTube to homeless friends he made while busking
turned into the guy who spits on his adoring fans.
Posted in celebrity, media
Tagged arrested, celebrity kids, court, Dr. Yalda T. Uhls, DUI, fame, Jayda Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Lawrence, Justin Bieber, kids, MTV VMA, psychology, retirement, Seth Rogan, spit, trouble