Islam Without Irony, Part II: The Producers

Thanks to the generosity of a fellow officer in my dorm’s government, enjoyed free tickets to The Producers. Loved it. Much funnier than the 2005 film version (or even the original Mel Brooks movie), the play is a brilliant combination of physical, situational, political, and general humor. No wonder it’s the most award winning play in history.

The political message of the play can be summed up in a line of dialog from the second act

“You made a fool of the Fuerher!”
“He didn’t need our help!”

Yet Mel Brooks’ vicious, satirical attack on the Nazi Party and German ultranationalism was not condemned by Nebraska’s sizeable German community. The reason is obvious: American Germans do not see Nazis as part of their community, American Germans are not sympathetic to Nazi Party ideals or methods, and very few American Germans would view the American government as partially or largely at fault for World War II.

Goose steps are the new steps for me

American Germans do not “respect” Nazis and Americans do not “respect” the Nazi Party.

As for more contemporary enemies

Long Island University has fired five students from their positions as resident assistants at the C.W. post campus after they posted a fake hostage video on the Internet with the pretend hostage takers speaking in Middle Eastern accents.

“This is not an issue of free speech, but rather an issue of respect for others and insensitively to acts of violence,” university Provost Joseph Shenker said in a statement obtained by

In the video, five figures in ski masks speak in crude Middle Eastern accents as they threaten a ‘captive’ — a rubber duck named ‘Pete’ that serves as the mascot of a residence hall at the campus, Newsday first reported. The video was posted on the Web sites Google and YouTube, but it has since been removed, according to the newspaper.

A search of those two sites on Thursday also failed to recover the video, which Shenker said was reported by residence life staff to administrators on Jan. 30.

Rabiah Ahmed of The Council on American-Islamic Relations told that based on what was reported about the video, “it does stereotype Muslims in a negative way.”

Previously on Islam withoout IronyThe Case of Robert Redeker.

In Search Of… The Wary Student, Part I: Educational Psychology

Pack your bags, look to the stars, and prepare to go in search of…


Scientific psychology began with behaviorism, an attempt to explain all responses in terms of stimuli. Cognitivism broadened the realm of scientific endevour by theorizing mental states that can be systematically examined. From this comes modern educational psychology, which attempts to apply cognitivism to educational settings.

Beharioism was mindless, in that it rejected the notion of a “mind.” Starting from the reasonable hypothesis that all variation in dependent variables are explained by indepenent variables, the behaviorists rejected mental states are either controlled or controlling factors. Pavlov’s experiments with his dogs, where salivation was explained in terms of bells, is the defining exmplar of this paradigm.

Nowadays, though, the mind is considered important, and it is explored as if it were an unknown computer. The computer’s limitations are the most interesting things about it. Limited capacity theory is a building-block of information-processing psychology (Lord & Maher, 1990). From Miller (1956)’s “seven, plus or minus two “ to today’s theory of cognitive load (Sweller, 1988) and its evolutionary study (Sweller, 2006), the realization that students have limited mental capacity allows educators to teach more efficiently and more effectively.

Educational psychologists study behavior because of its impact on performance. Behavior, like intelligence, strongly predicts school performance, and behavior is more amenable to modification than intelligence, at least among elementary scholars (Harper, Guidubaldi, & Kehle, 1978). Similarly, continued and intense practice (behavior) in an area has a great deal of influence on developing expertise (Weisberg, 1993; Kiewra, 1994; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996) – more so than even raw power (intelligence) in that field (Gardner, 1998). Studying behaviors, such as how one copies-and-pastes (Igo, Bruning, McCrudden, & Kauffman, 2003; Igo, Bruning, & McCrudden, 2005a; 2005b) and how one takes notes (Titsworth & Kiewra, 2004; Brenton, Kiewra, Whitfil, & Dennison, 1993), changes comprehension.

In Search Of, a tdaxp series
1. Educational Psychology
2. Load and Behavior
3. Experiments
4. Conclusions
5. Bibliography

February 2007 Links

First, some new links to great blogs:

And now under “Great Posts,” links to two some class projects I’m particularly proud of: one is essentially an extended review of The Origins of Human Nature: Evolutionary Developmental Psychology, while the other is the first companion I’ve written to The Wary Guerrilla:

Additionally, in the interest of sanity and easy navigation, I’ve combined some categories that had less than 10 posts into larger ones. I am using the tags (which don’t add to the size of the navigation menu on the right) to differentiate special topics, as so:


PS: In the link about to Origins, I was going to link it to shelfari instead of Amazon, but I can’t recall my password. If you’re tired of managing Web 2.0 identities, be sure to check out “Useless Account” (tagline: Better than Twitter).