Two hundred and fifty-three

Happy Journalist’s Day (China)!

A day dear to my heart and one topic that really has me thinking these days.  With stories of journalists and bloggers everywhere being tortured and killed because of their reporting of topics others want hidden (in Mexico journalists, tweeters and bloggers have been found decapitated, hung off bridges, disemboweled and accompanied with notes like “this is going to happen to all those posting funny things on the internet” because of their reports on the drug cartel), I am even more aware of the need for people to continue to get the word out of some of the atrocities happening around the world.  Celebrating all those people who put themselves in danger in order to make the public aware is important.

Here’s an excerpt from the China Media Project, a project of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at The University of Hong Kong, about Journalist’s Day, posted today:

Today, November 8, is International Journalists Day, and a number of Chinese media have marked the holiday — but none perhaps so forcefully as China Youth Daily, a newspaper published by the Communist Youth League of China.

China Youth Daily, which has been known for its strong professional reporting tradition since the 1980s, tells the story in today’s edition of Fujian television journalist Deng Cunyao (邓村尧), who was brutally attacked on October 18, 2010, while leaving his office, in what was apparently a reprisal for critical reporting…

The China Youth Daily report explores the Deng Cunyao case in detail, including the threats facing his family…

Here is our translation of the editor’s note:

Today is November 8, Journalists Day. We publish this chilling report today in order to pay our respects to those colleagues in journalism who are struggling on the front lines of watchdog journalism, and in order to tell the public: when journalists are beaten, when they suffer knife attacks, this is not only an injustice to the journalists themselves, or to their news units — it is an injustice to the popular will and to the public interest. Journalists represent the will of the public and the conscience of society. When we face difficulty, what we need most of all is your support.

Happy Journalist’s Day.  Remember to hug a journalist today, if you know one! (Ok, that was an obvious attempt to get everyone to hug me…although by no means do I put myself in the category of those journalists on the front line)

It is also National Dunce Day, in remembrance of Blessed John (Johannes) Duns Scotus who died November 8, 1308.  Scotus was one of the most important theologians and philosophers in the High Middle Ages.  He had considerable influence on Roman Catholic thought, including the doctrines of “univocity of being”, formal distinction, the idea of haecceity, and the defense of the immaculate conception of Mary.  Philosophers in the 16th century were less than complimentary of his work, leading to the name “dunce” (developed from “Dunse”, the name of his followers) meaning “somebody who is incapable of scholarship”.  “Dunce” gradually became synonymous for “stupid or dull witted”.

From Blessed John Duns Scotus also came the Dunce Cap, a paper pointed hat often marked with a “D” or the word “Dunce” given to schoolchildren as punishment for being rude or for their stupidity.  Children were often made to stand in the corner of the classroom with the dunce cap on facing the wall as a means to teach manners.  The dunce cap came from Scotus’ belief that cone-shaped hats increased learning potential.  A little more from

One of the more mystical things Duns accepted was the wearing of conical hats to increase learning. He noted that wizards supposedly wore such things; an apex was considered a symbol of knowledge and the hats were thought to “funnel” knowledge to the wearer. Once humanism gained the upper hand, Duns Scotus’s teachings were despised and the “dunce cap” became identified with ignorance rather than learning. Humanists believed learning came from internal motivation rather than special hats, and used the public shame of having to wear a dunce cap to motivate slow learners to try harder.

Maybe if I wear a dunce cap today it will help my writing…?

Hug-a-Bear Day Recap

What a weird image.  But let’s pretend that’s me in a ball gown and heels hugging a giant bear…