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and this is how ‘not’ to communicate!

By Mike Cunningham On March 25th, 2013

 

Florida Atlantic University’s Intercultural Communications manual states:-

“This exercise is a bit sensitive, but really drives home the point that even though symbols are arbitrary, they take on very strong and emotional meanings. Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper. Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence, instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”

So this teacher, otherwise known as ‘some useless piece of crap’ tells the class to stand on ‘JESUS’, but when Ryan Rotella, a Mormon who takes his faith seriously, objected, he was summarily suspended.

I normally wouldn’t comment upon the lack of sensitivity displayed by people from whatever political viewpoint, as it is just about ‘par for the course’; but just consider what would have happened if the material placed upon the ground had been, for example, the ‘Stars and Stripes’, or even more sensitively, a passage from the Koran?

55 Responses to “and this is how ‘not’ to communicate!”

  1. I must wonder why the teacher didn’t have the students write Obama, or Allah along with Jesus?

    Who would be in trouble then, the teacher or the student?

  2. I had this a few days ago from Godfather Politics
    http://godfatherpolitics.com/10022/democrat-official-students-stomp-jesus/

    I checked it out and here it is in the Palm Beach Post.
    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/local-education/fau-student-complains-instructor-asked-class-to-st/nW2YF/

    My question is this.
    By and large the whole Western world -especially the USA- has been shaped by the teachings of this man Jesus Christ.(Not amazingly old recycled atoms randomly flying around the ether)
    So much social progress has been built on the values of Christianity. Why then are so many attacks being made on Christ and Christianity?

  3. Agit8ed –

    This is why.

    The family and religion are natural conservative bulwarks against the total control of society by the state.

  4. I would like to comment on that but I can’t.
    On Saturday you told me not to..

  5. Eh?

  6. You said,


    Pete Moore, on March 23rd, 2013 at 10:10 PM Said:

    Peter –

    I’m not a creationist and I’m not wholly convinced by some of Darwin’s theories. There you go.

    Having said that, can we have an occasional thread which doesn’t end up with God please, Bible fans?”

    So I am obeying your reqvuest, Mein Herr…. 🙂

  7. This is a story made for fools by fools.

    There was obviously no person suspended for refusing to stand on the word “Jesus”, and anyone who thinks there was is a blithering idiot.

    Interesting that the article also complains about a “pattern of hate” from the party members in the district. The cause? – Apparently one of them made some remarks criticising Israel.

  8. Noel

    I have no idea what happened.

    How are you so sure?

  9. here are ten different stories about it
    https://www.google.com/search?q=mormon+student+suspended&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

  10. Noel
    O fount of all knowledge..

    http://miami.cbslocal.com/2013/03/21/fau-student-claims-he-was-suspended-for-refusing-to-step-on-jesus/
    It’s actually all over the place in Palm Beach!

  11. Now why am I not surprised that Agited and Troll swallow this tale?

    Look, one sure way of spotting fiction in the press is when you notice a sensational headline followed by an article with further details but that does not repeat what the headline stated.

    In this case, after grabbing the attention of certain people with the main claim, the student explains the story in more detail, and of course this time does not mention that he was suspended for not standing on the word.
    It is in fact said (if I can make head or tail of this garbage) that he was suspended after he complained to the teacher’s superiors.

    You can see this in most of the fake stories that are posted on ATW. The poster likes the headline and then links to the article that shows the headline is garbage.

    Obviously, for all his respect for the word of Jesus, he is not above telling lies when it suits his purpose.

  12. A young student who was impacted this was on live tv over the weekend.

    But you will dismiss it out of hand as it was Fox News.( Huckabee show )

  13. Noel,
    Did you read the CBS local link?
    The Mormon student bit is irrelevant.
    I said in my comment why the increasing attacks on Christ and Christianity?

    “Florida Atlantic University said Friday night it will no longer ask students in an intercultural communications class to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper and step on it.”

    That’s the point. Why not write Mohammed or (God Forbid) Richard Dawkins??
    As has been pointed out many times between adherents of Christianity and Islam which group is most likely to part your head from your shoulders for insulting their faith?
    There’s your answer.

  14. It sounds implausible, so it is deeemed to be untrue by those who don’t want it to be true.

    Plus the BBC and NY Times did not report it so it clearly can’t be true.

  15. Phantom,
    If you look at my last comment on The Campdown Races you will find links to South African websites with horrible photos of murdered people. The BBC doesn’t show any of these either.
    Noel will probably say they are faked. 🙂

  16. While in N Ireland they play kick the pope, in Florida they play step on Jesus but there are two sides to the story:

    Florida Atlantic University has posted an apology on the front page of its website for this…”This exercise will not be used again…The University holds dear its core values. We sincerely apologize for any offense this caused. Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs.”

    School officials said the exercise was based on an example presented in the textbook “Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition,” written by James Neuliep, who is unaffiliated with FAU.

    “The course is taught by a non-tenured instructor on an annual appointment,” according to FAU. “Contrary to some media reports, no students were forced to take part in the exercise; the instructor told all of the students in the class that they could choose whether or not to participate.”

    Fox reported that FAU initially defended the lesson before issuing the apology. The network carried an interview with a Mormon student who refused to participate in the exercise.

    “While we do not comment on personnel matters, and while student privacy laws prevent us from commenting on any specific student at the University, we can confirm that no student has been expelled, suspended or disciplined by the University as a result of any activity that took place during this class,” FAU officials added.

  17. I have to agree with Noel in that these tales are often not exactly gospel (forgive the pun) and quite often unexamined when reproduced here as fact. It would seem there was some sort of ridiculous classroom exercise that thankfully even the imbeciles that run Florida Atlantic eventually recognized as stupid, but not before the imbeciles that run far right websites had their field day.

  18. ‘OUTRAGE AS MAN STEPS ON PIECE OF PAPER WITH NAME OF DEITY WRITTEN ON IT’

    Zzzzzzzzzz

  19. I don’t see any reason to believe it’s untrue.

    I can actually see what they were trying to do (in a ham fisted way) – there is a “disgust” element in human morality where we feel something is wrong without being able to articulate why using what we consider to be our methods of moral reasoning.

    The reluctance people feel to step on a piece of paper with “Jesus” on is an example of this.

    The psychologist Jonathan Haidt has devised various scenarios that most people find wrong morally but find difficult to explain why.

    Examples of the scenarios he uses are things like:

    – What do you think about a woman who can’t find any rags in her house so she cuts up an old American flag and uses the pieces to clean her toilet, in private?

    – How about a family whose dog is killed by a car, so they dismember the body and cook it for dinner?

  20. What a genius this psychologist is.

  21. Phantom- I know you’re being sarcastic but he is insightful, in that he demonstrates our moral values aren’t wholly based on what we think they are- things like whether something causes harm to others but actually have dimensions that we don’t acknowledge.

  22. Ross -interesting. I agree there are element of truth to the story and some of it is credible. Some of it, less so.

  23. Mahons,

    There is plenty of evidence that this was an academic exercise.
    Why do YOU insist on dividing the world into Left world and Right world?
    That’s a very narrow way of looking at life. It’s a Pete Seeger “Little Boxes philosophy that sits uneasily with someone claiming to be a middle aged fart.

  24. Why do YOU insist on dividing the world into Left world and Right world?

    Please address the same question to Troll and Patty, who REALLY see things that way.

    I think that here mahons just exhibits a bit of country club bias against Fox News.

  25. Ross.
    we participated in a social experiment where half our staff team were labelled Reds and the other half were Blues. We had to be prejudiced against the Reds and discriminate against them.
    It didn’t work because we all refused to play ball.

  26. Phantom,
    but other sources were quoted with the same story!
    I purposely avoid Fox sites now as I know it brings Mahons and yourself out in a bum rash.
    Anyway, “country club bias” sounds a bit sophisticated to me..

  27. Examples of the scenarios he uses are things like:
    – What do you think about a woman who can’t find any rags in her house so she cuts up an old American flag and uses the pieces to clean her toilet, in private?
    – How about a family whose dog is killed by a car, so they dismember the body and cook it for dinner?

    Fascinating stuff Ross.

  28. Fox News does report the news at times.

    Just because something appears in Fox News or wikipedia does not automatically mean that its wrong or in any way exaggerated.

    But here, Fox actually interviewed one of the students, who was very specific and who appeared credible.

  29. Agit8ed – I don’t insist on any particular division, but I do note when the origin of something (and the shelf-life)coems from a consistent place. Here on ATW we don’t really have a liberal or left wing faction among its writers, and thus we avoid having to read many of the crazy over the top stories that often litter left-wing sites. What do do have here though are the repetition without review of stories that tend to blaze through rightwing or conservative sites, and when they seem to be dubious I have often commented upon their beign dubious.

    I’d do the same if there was a pattern of left-wing fantasies by one of the writers here, just we don’t have such a person.

  30. I am not one of those who thinks FOX is necessarily wrong on all of the stories they feature, or that other sources are necessarily right. I just wish they turned themselves into a more credible version of the opposition.

  31. Fox -is- and has long been a lost opportunity.

    They’ve decided to be happy with being the TV propaganda arm of the Republican Party as well as a provider of entertainment for toothless tea party trailer park dummies.

    They make a lot of money doing this, and they are smart enough to jettison non-performing assets ( Sarah Palin ) when they’re at their sell by date.

  32. Mahons.
    I don’t know how your msm works, but besides me one of your fellow Americans quoted something about how you all seem to be fencing yourselves into groups who are afraid to criticise their chosen group because it is seen as being disloyal.
    In terms of free speech that’s pretty worrying.

    This from Florida Atlantic University re Mr Poole..
    http://www.fau.edu/scms/poole.php
    Put that together with the FAU’s saying that the exercise will not be repeated and waddya got?
    It was true. It was stupid. It was insulting to Christianity. (Which was my original point)
    How’s that bum rash?

  33. I do think the Foxnews website can often be a lot better than the TV station which annoys me not so much for it’s Rightist bias which is a part of it’s raison d’etre but for the loud bright brash kaleidoscopic visual and audial assault on the senses that it operates with.

  34. Which of course is very intentional.

    Roger Ailes, the head of the network, is no journalist but he is seriously smart.

    Those loud noises and lurid graffics and clanging of bells all draw customers in, like the noises and lights of a casino. You’re afraid to turn away, that you might miss another ” breaking news story ” or ” monster storm “

  35. “I am not one of those who thinks FOX is necessarily wrong on all of the stories they feature, or that other sources are necessarily right. I just wish they turned themselves into a more credible version of the opposition.”
    I don’t know what you are talking about, but it does occur to me that with your delightful literary ability you could do something to help us Brits understand how your media works politically.
    As Phantom knows here in the UK ours is pretty simple by comparison.
    Then you Yanks could argue over your article and once the dust has settled we might have a definition broadly acceptable to all?
    And by the way I think the fact that I have tried to avoiding Fox news sources because I know it displeases some of you, deserves just the teeniest acknowledgement. 😉

  36. Colm,
    Who asked for your opinion?

  37. Colm is a voice of reason, let him speak!

  38. Agit8ed – The MSM here is critical of both. While the journalists tend to be more liberal, the owners of the media outlets tend to be more conservative. I criticise where I find criticism is due, and not out of some limited agenda.

    The story as broadcast as I’ve said has apsects that were true and it seems aspects that were less so.

    I am not sure why you think the rash remark is even worthy of repeating.

  39. Agit8ed

    God asked me to comment seeing as Pete won’t allow him to 😉

  40. “Colm is a voice of reason, let him speak!”

    You what??

    Colm,
    you’re getting awfully sporadic with your comments.
    Are you okay?
    You used to be witty..

  41. I’m too cold to be witty at the moment.

  42. “I am not sure why you think the rash remark is even worthy of repeating.”
    Why?
    Do you find it irritating?

  43. As long as you’re okay otherwise.
    I do worry about you you know.
    It’s freezing here in the wilds of Norfolk.

  44. Colm,
    Is your flat communally heated or do you have your own system?

  45. //The Mormon student bit is irrelevant.//

    So irrelevant that the paper made a headline out of it.

  46. My comment was,

    “By and large the whole Western world -especially the USA- has been shaped by the teachings of this man Jesus Christ.(Not amazingly old recycled atoms randomly flying around the ether)
    So much social progress has been built on the values of Christianity. Why then are so many attacks being made on Christ and Christianity?”

    So the Mormon bit was irrelevant to my comment.

  47. There are in fact places around the World where Christians are actually under attack, there is no need to inflate an isolated incident on a Florida College campus.

  48. “he demonstrates our moral values aren’t wholly based on what we think they are- things like whether something causes harm to others but actually have dimensions that we don’t acknowledge.”

    Yes although you can also argue that disgust is just something evolutionary hard coded and probably a good rule of thumb, but not always a very good guide to what you shouldn’t do (any more than finding something pleasurable means you should). Most people would consider surgery pretty icky for example.

    Still Haidt is an interesting guy generally – his book The Happiness Hypothesis is pretty good.

  49. Mahons,
    I was referring to the Western world in this post Christian era.
    An observation has been labelled a right wing distortion here. Noel even said it wasn’t true.
    The only sensible comment was Pete’s at 12:08.

    I don’t understand the ins and outs of your msm. You could help by explaining it as requested.

  50. Agit8ed – I answered above that the MSM here tends to be watchful of both parties, but that the journalists who comprise it tend to be more liberal and the owners of the sources (stations, papers etc) tend to be more conservative.

  51. //Noel even said it wasn’t true//

    Agited, what, apart from your ego, makes you think I was referring to your comment, which – to be very honest – I still haven’t read.

    I was obviously referring to Mike’s post and the linked article.

  52. Noel.
    I freely admit you rightly pull me up from time to time, but…

    1:48pm
    “Now why am I not surprised that Agited and Troll swallow this tale?”

  53. Frank- I’ve not read the Happiness Hypothesis but I liked his other book “The Righteous Mind” so I hope to get round to reading it at some point.

  54. “I answered above that the MSM here tends to be watchful of both parties, but that the journalists who comprise it tend to be more liberal and the owners of the sources (stations, papers etc) tend to be more conservative.”

    Well here in the UK we pretty much know what all our papers stand for. The most heated conversations tend to be over political positions i.e socialist v free enterprise, conservative v labour.
    Why make it more complicated than it need be? It seems to me (and yes, I may be wrong!) that is why it is so hard to follow your US discussions, because it’s not just the event, it’s who’s commentating/analysing it. That just complicates things.

    (Nice bit of writing on Spring,btw).

  55. This showed up in my email alerts today..

    I promise I never put them up to it.

    “Few university professors would shrink from ridiculing the views of Jews and Christians. They would argue that it’s their right to do so. The First Amendment protects them from government censorship.

    What they say about Christianity and Judaism also applies to Islam, and yet we find few negative stories about Islam. Why didn’t the textbook offer several options, including writing “the name ALLAH in big letters on a piece of paper.”

    We see how Christianity is regularly ridiculed in films and TV shows. Islam gets a pass out of fear of retaliation.

    You may recall that the Defense Department reclassified the Fort Hood massacre as “workplace violence.” We know that Maj. Hassan​ shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “God is Great”) after firing a total of 214 rounds at his fellow soldiers. Even so, we were told that Hassan’s religious beliefs were not a factor in the shooting.

    Read more: http://politicaloutcast.com/2013/03/liberal-professor-tell-students-stomp-paper-allah-martin-luther-king/#ixzz2Odj7msRc

    Now leave aside what side of the political fence Political Outcast is on. The point made is true right across the western world.