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Urban poverty

2009 March 31
by Laura Blankenship

I think we’ve got a problem with otherizing urban poverty. Ruth pointed this out and it made me think of the following clip, the first few minutes of which discusses education reform, and make reference to the urban terror of inner city schools. It’s an uncomfortable conversation. But they both speak of urban poverty in ways that I think are “othering”. It’s also worth listening to the criticism of higher ed toward the end. I’ve also posted this on tomorrow’s class notes page and I want to talk a bit about “where the crime comes from.”  I’m not going to link it here, but I suggest Googling around a bit about the supposed connection between the reduction in crime after the mid-80s (the setting for Watchmen) and abortion.  Steven Levitt put this theory forth in Freakonomics and it’s been rebutted by right-to-life groups.  Access to abortion and to birth control certainly provides a level of freedom for women, especially poor women who, Levitt argues, can’t provide an environment for their children that prevents them from eventually leading a life of crime.  To me, there are other subtle jabs in the book at women and promiscuity.  Rorschach’s landlady, for example, or just the way the various female characters are portrayed.

2 Responses
  1. Natasha permalink
    March 31, 2009

    Yes, there were a number of jabs at women. I still can’t believe Rorschach, who had such a strict sense of black-and-white morality, called his landlady a whore. This same name-calling towards his mother when he was growing up angered him in the name of “rightness” to hurt the youth who called his mother a whore, and perhaps spurned him on towards becoming an adventurer and fighting his definition of “wrong”. What irony! As we talked about in class, this book brings in contradictions between the different philosophies of the adventurers, and here we see inconsistencies within their philosophies as well.

  2. Alexandra Funk permalink
    April 1, 2009

    Good point Natasha. I’m not sure how you feel about the inconsistencies in the characters, but I think they are an important part of the message(s) the novel is trying to get across. (I feel like this was brought up in class as well?)

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