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News of the Week: Stalking, Weed, and Natural Disasters


Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

News of the Week: Stalking, Weed, and Natural Disasters

Nickie Phillips

This is our latest installment of Dr. Demetra M. Pappas' "News of the Week" in which she uses short topics as a teaching tool to stimulate conversation in her sociology, anthropology, criminology and legal studies course.

  1. FAMILIES/SOCIALIZATION/SOCIOLOGY OF DEVIANCE/THE STALK TALK AND THE GRANDSON OF STALK TALK (i.e. THE STALKED STUDENT): Last week, CIA Director David Patraeus (recently ex-miliatary as a General) resigned from his post.  At the time, there was vague commentary of an affair.  Then, the next disclosure was that his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Next, there were allegations of extramarital visits (for both, as they are each married) during her interview visits to him during military service. (Note that in the military, adultery is a prosecutable offense – question as to why this might be important in the socialization process and in the social order and organization.)  Then on Monday, the other shoe dropped:  there were thousands of e-mails between the two, some very explicit, on Broadwell’s now confiscated computer.  And, as the world turns (a media reference), Broadwell apparently engaged in what today’s New York Times, in an article posted by Elizabeth Bumiller, called “inappropriate communications” with Patraeus family friend Jill Kelly (also married). The only thing being said about Mrs. Patraeus is that she is furious (with her husband).  So many possible ways for a Sociology News of the Week Panel to approach this, and almost as many ways for a Victimology class to do so (for example, what, if any conduct would be illegal under New York’s anti-stalking legislation?).
  2. ELECTIONS/SOCIAL NORMS/DEVIANCE AND CONFORMITY/METHODOLOGY AND THE GRASS CLASS REDUX:  On Election Day, a proposition passed in Colorado to allow for legal, recreational use of marijuana in a non-medical way. This prompted NBC News anchor Brian Williams to comment on “legal weed,” which was a minor media circus (he looks very conservative in appearance, and the weed comment was unscripted, apparently) and we won’t even discuss what Bill Maher said in Friday’s monologue on HBO’s real time (or will we)? What do you think, vis a vis our early in the semester discussions?
  3. NATURAL DISASTERS/SOCIAL RESPONSES TO FLOODS:  Last week, on New York 1, there were compelling images of rushing and gushing waters in Venice. One of these showed a man smiling and cheerfully swimming in the flood waters, which currently (as of yesterday, per New York 1) have Venice 70 % under water. Note, there is a naturally occurring phenomenon of the waters rising there in autumn, called “agua terra” (water earth). This is international news, by virtue of international news reports, but being reported in a different way than the Hurricane Sandy reports – why?

For more information on Dr. Pappas' pedagogical approach, see her article, "Creating an Antidote to Student Apathy: The News of the Week," in Teacher Scholar:  The Journal of the State Comprehensive University, Volume 3, Number 1 pp. 45-51.