Participatory Culture

By: Franz Hartl Here is a little introduction to one of the more interesting neologisms to sprout up in the past few years: Participatory Culture.  Participatory Culture, a reaction to consumer culture, takes a lot of inspiration from Participatory Democracy. While a new idea, Participatory Culture even has a fancy  501(c)3  to support its ideals Some of the main intellectual gurus behind the idea are PowerPoint ninja  Lawrence Lessig , Wealth of Networks Author Yochai Benkler  and MIT’s Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities, Henry Jenkins. The idea of participatory culture is of great value when trying to understand why things like wikipedia, flickr, facebook, and other web 2.0 technologies work.  If one wants to get an understanding of how technology is intersecting law and culture, exploring the above links is not a bad place to start

When Spiritual Violence Comes Into Play

By: Gerry Wagschal In Thane Rosenbaum’s book, the Myth of Moral Justice he discusses the Clara Harris case as an example of a court only looking at bodily harm instead of looking at spiritual violence. For example, what happened to Clara Harris, as a result of her husband committing blatant adultery did not carry much legal weight. However, is it interesting to note that homage was paid to spiritual violence in recent decision in a murder case in Selmer,TN. In that case, Mary Winkler, the wife of a preacher, got a shot gun out of a closet and shot her husband in the back when he was asleep. On it’s face, it looked like a cut and dry murder case. But the jury took spiritual violence into consideration. One of the most poignant moments in the trial was when Mary Winkler, a preacher’ wife, talked about the white high heeled

Bringing Dr. Death to Justice

By: PJC A recent Newsweek report follows a NAZI hunter’s quest to bring fugitives finally to justice before death prevents them from doing so. One such hunt is the subject in “Doctor of Death” by Joe Contreras.  The article choreographs a week on the trail of the “Dr Death” aka Dr. Aribert Heim, who personally murdered hundreds of camp inmates, often by injecting gasoline into their hearts.  The report of Nazi Hunter Efraim Zuroff, head of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center alternates in temperature as he follows leads into ‘NAZI country’ of southern Chile and Argentina.  Dr. Death, if still alive is 94, but his old age and infirmities are no justification for letting him continue to live out his natural life as a relatively free man.  Justice so requires him to be held accountable for his monstrous acts even if he may not even survive the

The Problem with Sticks and Stones

By: David Lansky  I find it interesting that we are taught from a young age to ignore the spiritual side of ourselves and only to be concerned with the physical.  The phrase used most often is “Sticks and stones can break your bones, but names can never harm you.”  This is a fantastic legal principle, upholding the sanctity of the body and the physical world.  However it is a poor moral principle.  Some of the deepest and longest lasting wounds a person can suffer are from the words and sentiments of other people.

A Legal but Incredibly Immoral Result

By: Ariella Cohen  The recent immigration raid at a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa and the court’s decision on how to treat the captured immigrants is just one example of a legal but incredibly immoral result. At the Postville meat plant, 390 illegal immigrant workers were arrested for aggravated identity theft and social security fraud. Many of them did not speak English and had obtained their social security cards through the plant. Until recently, these workers would have just been deported. However, under the new system of cracking down on illegal aliens, over 260 of them were charged with serious crimes.   Erik Camayd-Freixas, a professor and court interpreter who translated for many of the illegal immigrants wrote an essay ( describing the deplorable way these immigrants were treated. He writes that the immigrants were “driven single-file in groups of 10, shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles, chains dragging