Lack of support for social sciences

In the article We need more mainstream social science, not less the author discusses the lack of development for social sciences. Natural sciences “are doing 96% better than the social sciences “ because “they receive 96% more funding”. Out of the 5.5 billion dollars from Congress to spend on research 4% of it was spent on social sciences. Much larger percentages were spent on areas such as biological sciences, engineering, math and physical sciences, and Geosciences. More funding obviously allows certain subjects to develop more and social sciences “have always been seen as secondary to sciences witch more directly serve federal goals”. The social sciences are also accused of not developing enough overtime, but the author argues that social sciences seem like they are not developed as much as natural sciences because they are nowhere near as old. There is also fear that the lack of funding will cause research in several social sciences to stop.

The lack of funding and public support for social sciences is incredibly unfortunate. Social sciences, such as Anthropology or Sociology, cause people to think about other societies and the reasoning behind what they do. A more public support/ discussion of social sciences would cause people to think about living in a very large world with many different people, instead of thinking of their culture as “right” and others as strange.


Pocket God

In the article Pocket God the author talks about a popular app on the apple store in 2009. The app allows users to control and torture an island of characters. The issue addressed in this article is the racism of this app. The characters are supposedly meant to be “fictitious primitives” and not an ethnic group but are represented as pacific islanders. The author asks why this game is not only okay with Apple, but was at the top of the app store for weeks, while a game that involved the torture of African slaves or Jewish people would never be allowed on the App Store. The issue that comes with the popularity of this app is the fact that thousands of people do not see the issue. Controlling and torturing an ethnic group dehumanizes them and subconsciously instills an idea of racial superiority in the person playing it. Playing a game where people blindly manipulate an island of characters represented as an ethnic group makes that ethnic group’s culture and history seem invalid and unimportant, which is the opposite of what individuals should be doing. With this app we see that in our society it is seemingly okay to play with certain cultures but not others. If the app were a game where the player tortured a group of specifically Jewish people it would be removed immediately due to anti-Semitism. This App was not as attacked as other variations of it would be because there has never been as strong of an opposition to pacific islanders as there was for Jewish people and African Americans in many places. The app shows us that all people need to expand their minds and openly think about and respect all cultures.

Elevator Girls

In the article Elevator Girls the author Laura Miller discusses the use of elevator girls in Japan. Japanese Elevators girls are trained to speak with exaggeratedly high pitch voices in an effort to avoid conversation while working. They also all were the same uniforms, stripping each girl of her individuality and making them all into the nameless fantasy of the elevator girl. They have become cultural phenomena in Japan, showing up as characters in films, cartoons, commercials, fantasy media, and pornography. With the constant use of the elevator girl and use showing them as hyper feminine forces them into a role of a symbol of women. Having a sexualized image symbolize women in the media and popular culture would cause an inequality to be ingrained into that culture, the idea that women are to be seen as sexual objects and not individuals.


The end of the Mayan calendar predicted that the word was going to end on December 21, 2012, but it clearly did not. There are hundreds of theories of when and why the world is going to end on the Internet, but why was this one so well known? In the article   2012, The Movie We Love to Hate, the author discusses how the film 2012 helped publicize and cause general interest in December 21, 2012. The film 2012, released in 2009, depicts an apocalyptic situation in which catastrophes threaten to end the world. An apocalyptic film with the title 2012 implies that the film is about the predicted ending of the world, but this is not entirely true. The film was originally unrelated to the Mayan calendar, but the director was eventually talked into naming it 2012 and adding a sight aspect of this phenomenon because of the public interest. It does not discuss the Maya at all, excluding a few brief mentions and the opening title. Marketing for the film started in 2008 and the film came out in 2009 and did incredibly well in the box office.

2012 undoubtedly influenced our opinion of December 21. 2012. This film instilled extreme fear in society that we were all going to die on that one specific day. The film was originally supposed to recreate Noah’s ark but the title was changed and the tagline was made “We were warned” in order to relate the story to our real lives and bring more people to the theaters to see what could happen if the Mayans were right, and listen to the warning before it is too late. The popularity of this film created more focus on the threat of the world ending, and whether everyone believed in it or not, it was a topic constantly thought about and debated in this time period. The heightened fear caused by 2012 leads us to ask ourselves one question, why is society so easily influenced by pop culture? Today it is impossible to live without the internet, we entertain ourselves, we connect with family and friends, and we find the answer to any question we could ever possibly have. The downside is that it, in a certain way, limits the knowledge we receive. With the entire world being connected we are all sharing the same pool of information and when everybody is talking about the same, most popular topics, they are all that are going to be thought about and discussed for a period of time. Between 2009 and 2012 people discussed the Mayan calendar endlessly. Having a large majority of people talking about this one topic increases potential validity of it. The threat behind the end of the Mayan calendar was publicized and increased by the film 2012.

Communication in a Foreign Language

In the article Seven Ways to Talk to a White Man, the author uses his experience as a Chinese speaking white man in Taiwan to discuss the challenges that exist in an interaction between a foreigner and a native speaker of a language. People from Taiwan expect to need to be able to speak English in order to interact with foreigners. The author describes a situation he encountered in which salesgirls, who were not confident in their ability to speak English, hid behind coworkers who could better communicate with English speakers. Many Taiwanese people also used the technique that the author named “The Compliment”. This technique occurs when a foreigner tries to speak in Chinese to a on their ability to speak Chinese in an effort to change the conversation back to English.

I find this to be incredibly interesting, especially in comparison to American interaction with foreigners. In this example of the white man in Taiwan, the Chinese speakers not only expected to need to speak English with him, but also often changed a conversation from Chinese to English in order for it to go faster and to be easier for the man. I find this whole idea to be entirely different from what often occurs in America. America has no official language, but English is often required to be able to do things. In talking with a foreigner an American would most likely rely on the foreigner’s ability to speak English. Many other countries require children to begin learning English (or another foreign language) at a very young age, when it is much easier to learn. Most students in America do not begin to learn a foreign language until middle school or high school. The example from Taiwan shows a society where it is expected to interact with a foreigner in their own language, while in American culture it is often required or foreigners to speak English in order to function.

Reading Before Writing

Many people aspire to be great writers. All people, regardless of what they are writing, want it to be good. It is often assumed that the only way to become a better writer is to write more, but this may not be the case. The article Read More, Write Less by Carole McGranahan presents the idea that you can only write as well as you can read, and the need for all people, including anthropologists, to read many different styles before writing. McGranahan explains that to write an ethnography, for example, an anthropologist should read poetry to understand the sound of the language, fiction to understand telling a story, memoirs to help express their own experiences, and children’s book to keep their souls full of wonder. Reading many different styles and genres will help a writer to understand the different aspects of telling a story and arranging the words in order to understand the effect that will be produced by their own writing. Reading only other ethnographies would limit the experience that the anthropologist has with writing, and would limit the style that they have been exposed to. McGranahan not only encourages writers to read more in various genres, but also encourages writers to read these other genres as writers, breaking down and understanding the meaning behind things in order to utilize different aspects in their own writing.

The idea of reading more before writing, to gain knowledge, is incredibly important. Today, many people think that they can simply begin things without having proper knowledge on the subject. While it is true that anyone can write anything at anytime, having experience seeing many different genres and understanding the different effects of techniques will enhance the effectiveness of any person’s writing.