Bigger Thomas, regardless of the decade and the audience, has never known much rest. As the haunted, and hunted, protagonist of Richard Wright’s classic 1940 novel “Native Son,” he is raised in poverty on the South Side, murders and rapes and finally, goes to the electric chair for his crimes, having struggled every day of his 20 years to express himself. He is, to the high school students who still read his story, a literary manifestation of hard-won compassion, or the inevitability of a racist, classist Chicago.He is also, to generations of readers and critics, a product of social conditioning, a crude stereotype of black men, or an intentional caricature, built to spur social reform.Wright intended Bigger to lead a “test-tube life,” to exist primarily as an idea. He had moved to Chicago in 1927 as part of the Great Migration, and drew from his own experiences (as well as racist coverage in the Tribune of a 1939 murder trial). “Life had made the … [Read more...] about ‘Native Son’ filmmakers will have to contend with book’s complicated legacy
Teacher rapes student
In the wake of renewed debate about violence and video games, I suppose I should put that sociology degree to work and explain, roughly, the academic state of play. It’s worth noting that there’s next to nothing that supports what I like to call the “monkey-see-monkey-do” model of media influence. That is: a piece of media shows a violent act, and viewers/players go out and commit the same act. The heart of the debate in the social sciences is, instead, about “aggression.” And, indeed, in the words of the American Psychological Association, “all existing quantitative reviews of the violent video game literature have found a direct association between violent video game use and aggressive outcomes.” But what, exactly, are “aggressive outcomes”? As I often tell students, the simplest words are the most devilish in science (consider how a sociologist might have to confront the idea of “love” and you’ll see … [Read more...] about Opinion: So what *does* the science say about games and violence?