malfeasance

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MALFEASANCE

[noun]

1. the performance of an evil and/or harmful act.

2. the performance by a public official of an act that is legally unjustified, harmful, or contrary to law; wrongdoing (used especially of an act in violation of a public trust).

Etymology: from Old French mal faisant, from mal, “evil” + faisant, “doing”, from faire, “to do”, from Latin facere.

[Nicholas Kole]

Admonish

When you observe a friend, loved one, or acquaintance contemplate an act against The State take a baton and smack their most available hand.  They will know that you are aware of their potential transgression and do not approve.  Most likely a CCTV will have recorded the act if your personal systems are down, and you will not be implicated when your fellow is inevitably arrested and interrogated.

It is acceptable to turn the other cheek in the presence of corporate malfeasance as most individuals lack the resources to scold corporate entities without financial retribution. The most you can do is wear clothing with the corporate logo covered in a red X indicating your displeasure with the company.

Should a machine make you cross it is perfectly acceptable to rip any approximate of an appendage from its “body.”  It may file a grievance with the local hive mind authority, but in most cases The State will nullify any judgments against humans and transhumans.

Wall-E and Malfeasance

Spike looks like it’s doing really well. I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out how frequently to water it, but at least so far since it hasn’t died yet I assume that I’m doing all right.

Malfeasance and Wall-E have a surprisingly large amount of overlap for a philosophy book and a children’s movie. Serres describes the process of appropriation, starting with physical pollution via bodily functions and then extending to physical pollution through trash, and soft pollution through unavoidable advertisements. Wall-E discusses these themes much less explicitly (in fact, much of the movie has no dialogue at all), but it does deal extensively with them throughout the movie- the titular character has been programmed to clean up humanity’s physical pollution and has been doing so for centuries. Buy ‘n Large advertisements cover practically everything in sight, from billboards on the moon to the insides of the Axiom ship to buildings all over Earth. It’s offensively obtrusive. I imagine that Serres would approve.

In the video, two Austin, Texas police officers were accidentally recorded by a dashboard camera having what they thought was a private conversation. 

After a brief back-and-forth between the two men about a minor collision they handled earlier in the day and other matters, an attractive woman walks by. 

“Look at that girl over there,” one officer says.

The Free Thought Project reported what followed:

Officer 1: Look at that girl over there.
Officer 2: (blows whistle) Go ahead and call the cops. They can’t un-rape you. (laughter)
Officer 1: You didn’t turn your camera off, did you?
Officer 2: They can’t un-rape you.

Malfeasance and Wall-E

Both Malfeasance and Wall-E serve to highlight the effects of humankind on the landscape and health of nature. In Wall-E,the detrimental effects of humankind’s desire to appropriate and own parts of the world, especially by the large corporation B-N-L, is portrayed blatantly. While the film may slightly be exaggerating the potential disaster humans may cause the environment in the future, the concept is very relevant regardless. Our actions have had significant effects on nature, and scientific evidence can back this claim. We know that certain things will harm our planet, yet many of us choose to continue to do them, in order to acquire profit or area. The company Buy-N-Large owned just about everything on the planet in Wall-E. However, even after humans were forced to evacuate Earth, B-N-L continued to use this form of “soft” pollution to advertise products. Everywhere one turned, there was a B-N-L logo or advertisement to be absorbed.

While Serres also mentions the physical pollution done by people, originating with excrement and such, I think my main focus for paper 2 will be aimed at this idea of the soft pollution and the way it spreads and affects culture and humanity, sometimes in very negative ways.


My plant is still doing well. I could probably be a bit better about watering it (hence the dead leaves) but it seems to be making do with what it gets. So far, so good.

In response to Malfeasance and Wall-E

First off, here’s a picture of my plant enjoying the West Campus nightlife. 

Malfeasance, pages 1-55

The word “malfeasance” means wrongdoing. The title of Michel Serres’s book is appropriate for the topic, for mankind has committed the ultimate wrongdoing to Earth by comprising its stability with pollution. In Chapter 1, “Urine, Manure, Blood, Sperm,” Serres refers back to the origins of the word “pollution” and applies its early definition to our understanding of the phenomenon today. The word “first meant desecration of places of worship by some excrement” (34). With excrements, animals—including humans—mark their territory, which is a form of pollution. People pollute the earth’s space with their excrements and trash, both of which are materials created by man. Just as a tiger’s urine marked its place in its den, dumps and sewers mark mankind’s place on this planet. Earth should be a place of worship and Nature’s gifts should be cherished, but that is not the case.

At first, I was taken aback by how blunt Serres’s writing is. After reading up until page 55, I realized that even though his writing is brazen and, thus, controversial, I like that he doesn’t hold back. He tells it like it is. People often deem controversial something that shocks them and dismiss it, but I think Serres is really saying something important in Malfeasance. Yes, it’s shocking and, at times, gross, but beneath that are valuable lessons.

Wall-E and Malfeasance

Connections between the two texts can be made through Serres’s writings on hard pollution. The world in Wall-E fell apart when the powerhouse company Buy ’n’ Large monopolized the planet and encouraged mass consumption. The consequent accumulation of trash and exhaustion of non-renewable resources left the planet incapable of sustaining life.

In our world today, hard materials (thus, “hard pollution”) are taking up space and pushing out the natural world. Infrastructure and power plants and oil rigs, etc., are overtaking the natural landscape to give us the comforts and resources that we have grown too accustomed to. In Wall-E, all of these things became so big and overpowering that they pushed out humans.  Earth’s population was forced to flee into space, confined to a spaceship run by robots. Wall-E is an extreme representation of what the earth could turn into should our ways continue, but it still hits close to home. 

There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.
— 

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, testimony before Congress on his findings in May, 2004

The answer to that question is a resounding no.

"All of those efforts, culminating in yesterday’s entirely unsurprising announcement, means that the U.S. Government has effectively shielded itself from even minimal accountability for its vast torture crimes of the last decade."

Watch on thatsnotasing.tumblr.com

This isn’t a sing, but now I know why I’m a dog person.

Exaggerating, manipulating and exploiting the Terrorist threat for profit and power has been the biggest scam of the decade; only Wall Street’s ability to make the Government prop it up and profit from the crisis it created at the expense of everyone else can compete for that title.  Nothing has altered the mindset of the American citizenry more than a decade’s worth of fear-mongering.  So compelling is fear-based propaganda, so beholden are our government institutions to these private Security State factions, and so unaccountable is the power bestowed by these programs, that even a full decade after the only Terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, its growth continues more or less unabated.

Malfeasance: up to 55

The first part of this book I understand completely (animals/people excrete to show ownership); however, I still think that some of Serres’ idealism is a bit of a stretch in all honesty. For example on page 41, he writes “he who creates viscous and poisoned lakes or garish posters is making sure no one will take away the spaces he has occupied, now or after he is gone.” While I understand the concept, I think this is a very manipulated, narrow view. True, no one prefers spaces or property that has been previously appropriated. None the less, I don’t think people consciously or even unconsciously ruin our environment to claim ownership. In my mind, humanity is just inherently lazy and won’t prevent/solve problems until absolutely necessary. At this point, one could argue, we still have lakes/ land we can turn to as alternative sites. As a result, we move on and pollute the next place instead of doing the work to clean our current spaces.

Into the second part up to 55, the most pivotal thought to me has been on page 40 when Serres asks “The question is, what do we really want when we dirty this world?” To him it’s clearly ownership. I can see that to some extent, but in my mind humanity dirties the world as a result, not as a goal. We want luxury and simplicity, so we create machines that use up our environment and dirty our planet in order to feed our laziness. If we could maintain a lifestyle of luxury and also maintain/ better the planet, I don’t think anyone would have any qualms. Unfortunately we cannot at this point, and that is why we continue to pollute, not in order to stake a claim.

On the plant side of things, June is looking good again! While she only has one sprout left in the pot, that sprout is taller than June has ever been! Still no flowers, and I really do hope she fills out so I don’t have to keep just one little sprout alive (those odds make me a little nervous considering how she’s fared thus far). I think just as I’ve been saying, she needed some sunshine.