Monday, June 29, 2015

Hagen and Substitution: a Particular Reaction

Paul Andreas Fischer
Hagen and Substitution: a Particular Reaction

Hagen seems to use “self-discovery” as a means of subverting self-actualization. “There is much in a creative process that is almost intangibly real and mysterious - why compound the felony and make it more so?” she asks in conclusion. The use of substitution will, she claims, make it easier for an actor or actress to assume roles that would otherwise confound their natural instincts and require enormous efforts of preparation and research in order to demonstrate. Yet particularization “is an essential for everything in acting” and this means adding imagination and unique peculiarities to the setting which would not otherwise be provided.
In doing so, the roles become reversed and the character may assume a dominant position; the director will learn how to shape the scene from the inventive tropes created by this event. Rather than losing themselves, the character finds themselves at the expense of the control normally exerted by the director. This benefits both parties; a director obsessed with minutiae is an invitation for demagoguery and a character who has been imposed upon too extensively will lose their hold on reality.
Whether such substitution is necessary for a scene which already feels real, Hagen makes it very clear that the answer is certainly not. “If it is real, you have already made the substitution.” This could be found to be contradictory to the suggestion of use of the technique to use words one is uncomfortable with: by simply imagining them to be another forceful word, and using this emphasis to correctly execute the line. The fact is that this disrupts a certain characterization of social order in the acting process by necessitating a breach of honesty between the actor and the audience which will undoubtably penetrate into other aspects of the acting experience.
Superficial behavior also plays into the sociological evaluation of acting and this is a distinction which is not properly addressed, though as mentioned before may be touched upon here. An excellent discourse in use of substitution to promote empathy between the audience and the character in a manner unsolicited by “normal” procedures, or impossible with a player’s general experiences or research capacities is unfortunately sandwiched by such light use and indeed the most tricky use of substitution with expletives or simple setting examples. It can be said certainly that while portraying Othello, an ancient character steeped in historical nuance not available to researchers today, substitution effects may be directly argued to be indeed necessary, that in the event of a torrential rain or expletive, it is preferable to simply experience the event personally and innovate methodologies of acting simply by means of traditional preparation and research.

Character Observation

Paul Fischer
Character Observation
Salome is a 30 year old PhD student of silent era Soviet films. Her nationality is Georgia which puts her close to the source films she studies and researches. She is a chain smoker who quit drinking alcohol after a car accident some years ago. When she was younger she smoked from a wooden pipe. Her bag of Turkish tobacco blended in Scandinavia and grown in Georgia, brand name Bugler, is mixed with sand from an adventure at North Beach, but she smokes it anyway; it is unlikely she will be able to use it on the long plane trip which awaits her shortly across the Atlantic and the price of tobacco in her home is only a fraction of the cost here, though the quality is rather similar.
At home she has a swimming pool and expects that after a few weeks she will again become tired of her regular life there but must defend her thesis and prepare for teaching and other endeavors which are endemic of an academic’s life, even in a less developed nation. One thing she has noticed of particular interest in Burlington is the chocolate shop and long walks along the waterfront. When one points out the mafia graffiti which is used to encrypt messages of particular times and locations for the transfer of illegal narcotics, prostitutes, and firearms, she smiles and asks if this is something that has also been learned in a history class.
She has a slight build and an intelligent face and eyes, and mosquito bites are apparent across her legs, which is confirmation of her extensive time spent outdoors here in Vermont. After introduction to a tall black man named Joe she reluctantly shakes his hand and seems to blush or turn her head as if it is the first conversation with an African American she has had. She loved taking pictures, of boats and pillboxes (concrete structures which can be easily converted for the purpose of housing machine gun nests) as well as the spectacle of a sword and fire eater on Church Street.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Unity in Vermont During Eugenics Programs (1920s-1981)

Paul Fischer
Vermont History
Unity in Vermont During Eugenics Programs (1920s-1981)

The Eugenics program in Vermont was pioneered by Professor Perkins, from the University of Vermont. While he died an alcoholic of liver failure, the racial nature of the eugenic program espoused and exported from his work has left a lasting and tangible scar on the population and culture of Vermont, even today. While the program officially ended in 1936, amid rising tensions with Nazi Germany and domestic policies there coupled with loss of financial support from private interests, notably Shirley Farr, Vermont continued to teach the barbaric practices of both negative and positive population control in zoology courses until the 1960s. While the number directly affected was small (though the process was carried out upon approximately the same intensity as Nazi Germany per capita for most social or psychological disorders), academic involvement in these violations of human reproduction could arguably be said to have surpassed other attempts with little exception.
Lack of public interest in this field is actually an important statement for Vermont unity; failure to ensure the integrity of academic procedures in this and other states meant that not only 250 men and women were sterilized, but their families or potential families were also affected. Discrediting such work was a simple task, both with publicly available biological research as well as using basic economic measurements and comparisons.  Some would argue the negative impact on freedom of behavior and cultural expression which arose from this created a nearly theological nature to social norms in this state which are strictly unconstitutional, both federally and in the state.
Motivation remains unclear: “Aboott and later Eugenics Survey fieldworkers rarely received any credit for their work” (Dann, 12) and monetary considerations must be taken into account. The breakdown of communication between academic and public resources issued and reflected upon a breakdown of the state’s unity (though it should be noted that federal public works projects and other economic investment did allow Vermont to enjoy some prosperity lacked by the rest of the nation during this time) and the results of this program in the long-term hindered intellectual and social pursuits in both the state and nation. One possible mechanism of this destructive educational stagnation was the appointment of half of the University of Vermont’s board of trustees, in opposition to later university policies which required elective democratic procedures to determine the University’s decisions and procedures (Borgmann, 22).
Financial support for the eugenics program in Vermont is important for an understanding of the mechanisms of how this perversion of social justice was able to occur. “During the Eugenics Survey’s first year of operation, Mrs. Eggleston gave another $2,500 and then Perkins found a continuing source of support in another VCAS sponsor, Shirley Farr” (Dann, 8). Female involvement in the process was extremely high, as were the victims, though Vermont is notable for being among the states with highest levels of male sterilization among such movements: “Women were perceived by their male superiors as uniquely suited to eugenic field work for which intuition, politeness, and an eye for detail were thought to be essential” (Dann, 13) which suggests as well that there was a recognition at this time period that the work done by field workers necessitated an elevated level of direct female involvement, though it is clear when evaluating the intentionalism of the actions that their educated male superiors made some fundamental errors. In the popular film Transformers III it is said, “you were our leader, Optimus, it is your right to lead us again.” While Perkins was allowed to retain his position teaching zoology and continued to propagate sterilization until his death as an alcoholic of liver failure (ironically one of the conditions sterilization was advocated as a cure to), educational and academic structures eventually proved strong enough to check him or financiers from repeating this sort of wayward academic endeavor.

Works Cited:

Borgmann, Carl W. "UVM": The University of the State of Vermont (New York: The Newcomen Society in North America, 1956)." The program is explained in An Exposition of the System of Instruction and Discipline in the University of Vermont, published by the faculty in. 1829.

Dann, Kevin. "From Degeneration to Regeneration: The Eugenics Survey of Vermont: 1925-1936." Vermont History 59.7 (1991): 16.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Letter from the White House on marijuana legalization:

While, "A considerable body of evidence shows that marijuana use, especially chronic use that begins at a young age, is associated with serious health and social problems," which is not anything to disagree with, "We will also closely monitor implementation of marijuana legalization in individual States" which indicates support for marijuana legalization in states, including our own! In addition support was expressed for research into the medical benefits of marijuana, though it was noted that the FDA had not yet found smoked marijuana (does exclusion of edibles indicate a positive here?) to be suitable as recognized for medical use. This is very positive, and we can look forward to legalization in the near future here in Vermont, along with other states.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A working explanation of how marijuana reduces tumor growth, and healthily modulates calorie intake through selective activation of dopamine receptors:

  Marijuana and the active compound inside it, THC, are both known to shrink tumor size and inhibit cancer cell growth, which has been publicized by the federal government in recent publications (Scott). The mechanisms of how this actually occurs are somewhat less clear. The answer appears to be, interestingly enough, in the dopamine receptors. While addictive activities and substances are measured by their effect on DA1 receptors, which constitute the majority of dopamine receptors in the brain, there are actually 5 such subsets of receptors: DA1-5. These smaller groupings or clusters of dopamine receptors are well known to have various physical effects on the body by regulation of hormones and other physical mechanisms
  The effect of marijuana on DA1 activation is less than a good meal, sex, alcohol, or a wide range of chemicals as shown in a PBS broadcast and that the effect of marijuana does not impact the widespread DA1 receptors, which are causally and correlatively shown to cause addiction (French), which explains the non-addictive nature of the plant. Understanding the hormonal and physical effects, however, requires further investigation. Activation of DA2 receptors has been shown to reduce prolactin levels, a hormone virtually non-existent in males, but present in females and very high in pregnant females (Poste). This phenomenon is relatively recent, but reduction of prolactin levels as a result of THC administration has been known since the early 1980's at least (Steger, et al.).
   Elevated prolactin levels have been shown to cause a re-activation of tumor growth since the 1960's at least, and it can be assumed that as a DA2 agonist, marijuana suppresses such re-activation or tumor growth (Pearson, et al.). This is confirmed by a cannabinoid breakdown activation levels on various parts of the brain, classified as cannabinoid receptors which include some DA1 receptors, but also D2 receptors (Consroe). These parts of the brain also contain DA3 receptors, as shown more recently (Stanwood), agonism of which can inhibit Parkinson and tremors (such as epilepsy). Use of dopamine agonists has been shown more recently to encourage new blood vessel growth and inhibit growth of tumors (Goth, et al.), however many available agonists do not act selectively on specific dopamine receptors, but also activate the clusters which constitute the D1 areas of the brain (basal ganglia and other interior parts of the brain). Due to marijuana's, or THC's, low activation of D1 receptors (less than a good meal, as mentioned before), this appears to be a non-addictive and safe way to prevent cancer and obesity, which are the two leading killers in the USA after Alzheimer's related diseases.

Works Cited:

Consroe, Paul. "Brain cannabinoid systems as targets for the therapy of neurological disorders." Neurobiology of disease 5.6 (1998): 534-551.
French, Edward D. "Δ 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol excites rat VTA dopamine neurons through activation of cannabinoid CB1 but not opioid receptors." Neuroscience letters 226.3 (1997): 159-162.
Góth, M. I., Hubina, E., Raptis, S., Nagy, G. M. and Tóth, B. E. (2003), Physiological and pathological angiogenesis in the endocrine system. Microsc. Res. Tech., 60: 98–106. doi: 10.1002/jemt.10248
Pearson, Olof H., et al. "Prolactin-dependent rat mammary cancer: a model for man?." Transactions of the Association of American Physicians 82 (1969): 225-38.
Poste, George, and Stanley T. Crooke. Dopamine receptor agonists. Springer Science & Business Media, 2013.
Scott KA, Dalgleish AG, Liu WM. The combination of cannabidiol and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol enhances the anticancer effects of radiation in an orthotopic murine glioma model. Mol Cancer Ther. 2014;13(12):2955-67. 
Stanwood, Gregg D., Irwin Lucki, and Paul McGonigle. "Differential regulation of dopamine D2 and D3 receptors by chronic drug treatments." Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 295.3 (2000): 1232-1240.
Steger, R. W., et al. "Interactions of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with hypothalamic neurotransmitters controlling luteinizing hormone and prolactin release." Neuroendocrinology 37.5 (1983): 361-370.