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pennylane100 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 07:06 PM
Original message
Are there any sociologists on our boards.
In Pennsylvania, there was a group of mostly young people demonstrating because their hero, a pedophile enabler, had been fired. The reasons why he was fired did not seem to matter to them. A few hundred miles up the road and throughout cities across the country there are also groups of people, mostly young, demonstrating to fight for the rights of the working and middle classes.

I wonder how they arrived at such different places. I think that there are real lessons to be learned here before we leap back into the behavior norms of the middle ages.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 07:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. Narcissistic young folks revved up by sports
Edited on Fri Nov-11-11 07:14 PM by SoCalDem
most of them living for the very last time in their lives...on someone else's dime, with few real-world responsibilities..

scholarships..
Bank of Mom & Dad
Loan money (they'll wish later they never took it)
Grants

Lots of college kids glomb onto partying & sports & call it college:)

disclaimer: I know that SOME of them are working their way through and are diligently pinching every penny and are upright citizens. but those were probably not the ones out there turning over vehicles because someone dared to cross JoePa:)
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Karia Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 07:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. My Penn State friends
are horrified and VERY quick to point out how just small a minority are Paterno's supporters (roughly 4% of current students, I hear).
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RagAss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
3. Cult members at Penn State....Assorted Americans at OWS.
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
4. It would take more than a DU post
even one of my infamously long ones, to completely explain.

My take on it, though, is that each of us has an individual history and psychology and we tend to congregate with those we have commonalities with. Eventually, something triggers our group into action. But for various reasons, some don't go along with the group.

Here's an example, from personal experience --

In the early 1970s, I was taking a Psych 101 class at a small private college in Indiana. The instructor, I'll call him Jim, invited students from his various Psych 101 classes to an "encounter session" in a college classroom one evening. At age 25 or 26, I was a little older than most of the participants, but not by a whole lot.

The first part of the evening was given over to various "games," such as splitting into groups of four and then acting out scenarios like dealing with a classmate who wants to cheat on an assignment. I don't remember much of that part, but after a couple hours of this, we all regrouped on the floor of the classroom to analyse and evaluate the session. There were probably 30+ of us, maybe more male than female but I'm not sure. An acquaintance Judy who was roughly my age sat to my left as we all gathered in a big circle. Jim got in the center of the circle and asked for our reactions to the experience.

The young man to Judy's left stood up and walked into the middle of the circle. He began somewhat hesitantly, since he was the first and had no example to go by. His comments were pretty innocuous. As each person, going to his left around the circle, entered the "ring," more and more comments came out, and they became progressively more confessional. The ring began to tighten as people moved closer to each other as well as closer to the person in the center.

Judy and I began whispering to each other that we didn't know what we'd do when it got around to us because neither of us was going to behave like an idiot in the middle of the circle. We were routinely shushed by the rest of the group, who were taking everything very, very seriously.

Finally, it reached the person to my immediate right, and I knew I would be next. But this person -- I don't remember now if it was male or female -- launched into a personal narrative that prompted another person to stand up, walk to the center, and put their arms around the speaker in a big hug. More confessional followed, so extravagant and so dramatic that I had difficulty believing any of it was true. I saw a young person hungry for attention and now getting it, and ramping up the performance to elicit more sympathy and more attention.

Then another person got up and joined the hug, with more emotional outpouring. I had to bury my face in my hands to hide my incipient laughter. As the center hug expanded to include more and more participants, Judy and I wer literally shaking with mirth. We knew at least some of the others were probably sincere, but some were faking it and others were just caught up in the emotion.

When she and I were the only two not in the hugging, sobbing pile-up, one young woman disentangled herself and came over to put her arms around me. I looked up at her and asked, "What the hell are you doing?"

She, of course, expressed her deepest most heart-felt sympathy for whatever pain I was feeling that had me crying silently and alone.

"I'm not crying, I'm laughing!" I told her. "I'm laughing at you, at this silly show of sympathy for people you don't know and never cared about two hours ago. Did you notice how each person's plight built on the one before it? How many of you actually told the truth? You're making this all up to get attention and sympathy. You're idiots!"

But they'd been swept up in the moment, and for that moment it was all real.

Why were Judy and I immune to that momentary aberration? I don't know. Because we were older? Smarter? :shrug: I have no idea.


But that's what happened.

If you're really interested, I highly recommend Bob Altemyer's "The Authoritarians" http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf, Barry Glassner's "The Culture of Fear," and Todd Gitlin's "The Sixties." Just for starters.


But I could be wrong.


TG
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snagglepuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. That's a very interesting incident. It's odd how some people 'read' the sharing as
authentic whereas several of you didn't. This IMO is what happens in fundie churches - people caught up in extravagant displays.
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 07:41 PM
Response to Original message
5. There may be some sociologists on the thread below, but whether or not,
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toddwv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
6. Hero worship, divinization, deification
No matter what you call it, it's a well known phenomenon to which certain people are very prone. Throw in a bit of mob mentality and you've seen the results in the news.
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
7. Denialism versus Beyond Denialism
Edited on Fri Nov-11-11 08:04 PM by lunatica
Rioting over what is perceived as an attack on one's idol and taking a stand because one has been forced to face the reality of their future is the difference.

I am not a sociologist but I've learned a thing or two in 63 years. The rioting students haven't had to face the reality of their student loans having to be paid back while not being able to get jobs. They lack the experience necessary to mature into the OWS. Give them time. They'll get there.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 10:08 PM
Response to Original message
9. I think Symbolic Interaction can explain them both:
One group is defending a symbol. One group is attacking a symbol.

For Penn State students, Joe Paterno is the figurehead of the school. His position is threatened, so is their pride. Yep, it's silly, but you asked for an explanation.

Wall Street is a symbol for greed and corruption.

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