Wednesday, October 04, 2017

#31for21: why it's #geopoliticallyincorrect to make #orphanageselfies

You can be an orphan at any age.
Henri Charriere's Papi - Banco [1973: trans Patrick O'Brian].

Over the past few months, and in view of #31for21, I have noticed a lot of #orphanageselfies going about.

Here are 10 reasons from #halfwayuprysypeak / #geopoliticallyincorrect on why you shouldn't and why I don't.

First of all - there is a place called Reece's Rainbow which for a decade now has come from "the Atlantic to the Urals" - mostly the Urals and the Balkans - for First Worlders to adopt children from those regions. Institutionalisation being what it is and all.

And this practice is still going on in South-East Asia despite the efforts of various Australian eminences to stop it. A motorcyclist and their entrepreneurial friend, for two.

My Aspie friends start with a list of deal-breakers

  • Which is to say, they often begin with the qualities they would not like you to do in a friendship or a relationship. Honest brokers - I trust them! If you can think of three or four reasons not to do this - and they are good and sound and deep reasons, you are way ahead of the game.
And, yes, this list is hot from the presses. Which means it uses post-2013 words for pre-2013 encounters.

There are plenty of dating shows which use the same approach

  • When you are falling in love or in like with someone - choosing to establish intimacy, it's often very asymmetric and not reciprocated. So when you are watching The Bachelor or The Bachelorette or If you are the one you might like to think about the deal-breakers and deal-makers involved. If they apply to your #orphanageselfie at any time or at any point - again!
Before I write down reason three, there are some links I would like to share: [to make a gift box from/with Ruby's Rainbow]. [there is an Inclusion video somewhere]. [online or print? Your choice].

Research Opportunity from Our Colleagues: Family Experiences During Pregnancy

Dear Families,
You are invited to participate in a research study.
You may know that families can be eligible for early intervention programs for families with infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. Sometimes, eligibility is because of a developmental delay. Other times, eligibility is because of a child’s diagnosis. This diagnosis makes a family eligible even if the child does not have any delays. Some of these diagnoses can be identified during pregnancy. In most states, early intervention doesn’t start until the baby is born. We are interested in learning from families what early intervention could look like that would best help families’ pregnancy.
What Will We Do?
You will be asked a series of questions during a 45-60 minute interview. We will ask you about:
  • What helped you during your pregnancy
  • What else you might have wanted
  • How you think early intervention could help   
Who Can Participate?
Families who:
  1. Are 18 years of age or older
  2. Have a child 8 years old or younger
  3. Were eligible for the Early Intervention program based on that child’s diagnosis
  4. Knew that diagnosis during pregnancy
How Can I Participate?
Contact one of the following researchers leading the project:
Dr. Bonnie Keilty, Hunter College
Email:         Phone: 212-772-4709
Dr. JaneDiane Smith, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Email:                 Phone: 704-687-8850

Halfway up Rysy Peak wouldn't be who it is - or where it is - without refugees; asylum seekers and humanitarian and forced migration

You could say it's in our DNA; or it's a set of values we've adopted and a result of choices we've made.

A very relevant point for 2017 which I certainly never thought would be a world with or without #orphanageselfies. The #selfie above is from Goulburn and the Big Merino; an amazing sheep which a certain Governor found was a money-maker and it consumed the land and the people.

"Why climb Everest?"

"Because it's there," says our heroine to her neighbour.

"Why climb Rysy?" asks the neighbour some minutes later.

"Because it's right," our heroine reflects.

When I wrote these lines some time between April and September 1998 I meant them to communicate a powerful thing.

My grandmother asked at the end of the book, "Is the boy adopted?"

A thousand miles west doesn't necessarily give you that important context clue and the actual scenes were hard to adapt and to write.

Selfies - the right selfies - take a lot of effort. They are a product of image processing and image editing. Even in a world - especially in a world where we take our tablets about.

That world started forming in 2003 as I think many of you will remember. I am sure many of you have had reasons to reflect upon your choices and your values since then!

In the 1990s, too, we were very reserved about hard-copy photos and who saw them and when and where. And of course in 2004 Facebook and 2006 Twitter and 2011 Google Plus.

I read Tara Winkler's How not to start an orphanage in July 2016

One book which made me reflect on my values was Winkler's How not to start an orphanage.

This young woman - in the early 2000s - had begun the Cambodian Children's Trust. In this same decade, I had some friends teach in Phnom Pemh.

By Christmas 1997 when the McCaughey septuplets came, I was on the cusp of some very big ideas and reflections on families, multiple birth and disability.

One big person in How not to start an orphanage was Missy. She had been sexually trafficked and abused and she later became a good friend and ally to Winkler.

In June this year I lent this book to my cousin - on strict condition that she would not make inspiration porn on it. She is a person with big and creative ideas.

And in 2009 - Comforting the orphaned nation - by Tobias Hubinette - reading that was such a humbling experience.

I think a lot of people who knew me in 2009 would agree I needed a lot of humbling. At worst - some of the stuffing and pine knocked out.

One way I do that is to reach to the highest and for the utmost, in sources and resources, texts and contexts, which I wouldn't normally experience.

2009 was a big year for research and connections after I had been out of the game for some time. A novel here; an essay there; some studies somewhere else.

For the better part of that previous 18 months [ February 2008 - August 2009] I had been reading a blog known as Search for Survivors - Stop Child Torture by "Wayward Radish". The Wayward Radish had experienced a lot of child torture - the sort which is against human rights obligations - and iatrogenic torture from a Colorado educator called CB.

[You might like to go to Advocates for children in therapy to look up the details or ask for Jean Mercer or Linda Rosa or Monica Pignotti or Larry Sarner - all of whom I'd 'known' since August 2001 through Quackwatch].

And it was on Search for Survivors - and an earlier quest some five years before on Wikipedia that I picked up on the biggest treasure trove of first-hand adoptee experiences which involve the aforementioned humanitarian migration and forced migration which followed directly from key concepts and developments in displacement behaviour.

Tobias Hubinette from Sweden via Korea was brilliant. The previous experience I had had was with Madde so I thought I knew some of the Swedish - Korean diaspora really well.

And there was Sunny Jo who really opened me up.

A really good book at this point would be Chosen Children by Lori Santangelo which is good for the legal and ethical aspects/implications involved.

Which reminds me ...

'Naive ethnography' is not like folk psychology or folk physics

Why do I say that? Because folk is about people and naive is an adjective we use about attitudes to ideas or systems of knowledge.

When we talk about folk psychology or folk physics we talk about the set of beliefs or assumptions or theories people have developed over time in space.

When we bring ethnography into this - we write about other people - and when we are being naive about it - we are so baldly ourselves and not ourselves in the other.

And of course we talk about naive realism and naive idealism in the world of international relations, which is the world I aspired to belong for so long.

Before I went into that world, I had a philosophical and classical grounding.

That grounding - and my own divergences and remnants from it - did keep me from #orphanages and #selfies.

In some ways, of course, it may have dug me deeper into it.

So when you climb Rysy peak, bring all your equipment, make a list and check it twice or as many times as you need.

Other characteristics of the work I do are applied and developmental.

The subfield is psycholinguistic.

A lot of people think of ethnography as on the ground and there is indeed this thing called grounded theory.

Before I make the sixth point - and so that we understand one another here ...

You may have realised that applied developmental psycholinguistic ethnography is a name for a set of wicked and tricky problems.

Why have you seen that name and that combination nowhere else?

I want a world where fewer children #smileformummy and more #smileforthecamera

We're in 2017. I would think we did a lot to achieve that world.

I'll talk about the #smileformummy part first.

Lots of foster and adopted children - they have biological and social parents and the State.

Back in the 1970s it was different.

1980: a middle-class suburb in Melbourne, Australia.

If you are particularly canny you will have noticed this scenario draws upon and depends upon Smiling at Shadows - which is a great photographic phenomenon.

It is also a book written and released during Easter 2001.

Junee Waites makes a habit of taking photographs of her son Dane when he is happy, like when he builds a tower.

Like a lot of mothers; she makes a lot of mistakes.

One of them is insisting her son understand that he smile for a person.

Dane is very smart. He understands folk physics at an exceptional level for a five- or six- year old.

He understands that the camera makes images and that #smilingformummy is a distraction.

He has also a history of smiling at major metropolitan newspapers for children's hospital appeals.

Now this is an exemplar of folk psychology at work.

What are the implications of a world where fewer children #smileformummy and more children #smileforthecamera?

Or maybe in the future children #smilefortherobot?

I am participating in the Smartphone Challenge - in that challenge, week six is about using smartphones only to talk.

Aren't smartphones great?

[It is an ableist name for that device - they are cognitive and social prostheses after all].

And can't they do so many wonderful things?

And with so little moral opprobrium or judgement?

How would you feel and what would you do if your smartphone was only used to talk to people? And you followed up p2p f2f?

An earlier challenge was about using full sentences when messaging.

And there is a big campaign on not using the devices when we drive or use heavy machinery.

Selfies are not simply an #impression #management #strategy

Like nuclear weapons, they are a little element with a lot of impact.

Why would I say selfies are like nuclear weapons?

They both have a great capacity which is little understood.

One of these capacities is called in psychology impression management.

And coming along with management is strategy.

When you first make a selfie, it feels a lot like a game and sometimes like a weapon.

Then it might very well go nuclear.

We have only been communicating with and through selfies for the past fifteen years - an Australian invented that word at a party.

Remember that impressions - like the French genre of that name - are about light and shadow. You want to cast both, like a plant.

As Pablo Picasso said: "Art can only be erotic".

Think about selfies as art and their eroticism.

Selfies have power. Orphans and orphanages usually don't. Do you see Rachel Griffiths or Nicole Kidman do this? Ask why not.

The greatest aphrodisiac - and important in erotic considerations - is probably power.

I should have mentioned this dynamic along with the nuclear power of selfies especially #orphanageselfies.

Rachel Griffiths was the one who spoke up in a big way against #orphanageselfies ; and as Sue Brierley, the mother of Saroo Brierly in that paean to Google Maps - LION - Nicole Kidman has made a significant stance.

For #31for21 I hope I have supplied a lot to think about and act on.

When we make and break deals we have power and powers we never could have imagined at one point of our life.

And the imagination around and of power is a finite thing. At least we act like it is!

I think of the images which could have disseminated of Mantosh Brierley having a meltdown or another very difficult time. The moving; the multimedia involved.

As a creator, too, this does directly impinge and impose.

A map might be better and more interesting than a picture - the journey and the destination.

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