As the sociologist of religion Catherine Bell has noted, "rituals of affliction attempt to rectify a state of affairs that has been disturbed or disordered." (16) Bioethical quandaries have resulted from the perceived moral disorder brought about by the modern technologies and techniques of medicine.
Moreover, popular quandaries are played out in distinctively liberal ways.
Still, Quinlan represented the beginning of an era in which bioethicai issues gained public legitimation through mass-mediated moral quandaries.
In helping to enact moral quandaries like Quinlan's, the media has arguably done for popular audiences what journals like the Hastings Center Report or Bioethics have done for scholarly communities.
In his opening remarks, Lance Strate, Graduate Director of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham and President of the Media Ecology Association, observed that Fordham University was "adept at celebrating anniversaries." Besides marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the New York Society for General Semantics and of the publication of Wendell Johnson's classic text People in Quandaries: The Semantics of Personal Adjustment, the event coincided with the eighth anniversary of the Media Ecology Association, founded at Fordham University in 1998.
Following opening remarks by Strate and NYSGS President Allen Flagg, NYSGS Vice President Martin Levinson presented his paper "People in Quandaries: Sixty Years Later," (published 2006 in ETC).
Lance Strate's "Quandaries, Quarrels, Quagmires, and Questions," characterized the goal of general semantics as "to encourage ecological thinking." Strate explained that the kingdom of Troy was lost because of an intensional orientation--seeing the Trojan Horse as an icon rather than for what it was--and how an extensional orientation would have distinguished the horse's "false front." Strate offered numerous examples of how a failure to think ecologically had put people in quandaries.
Raymond Gozzi, Jr., spoke on "Media Ecology and the Quandaries of Right Now." He recounted his reaction to an article he had read earlier in the year that suggested that the Bush Administration was planning to drop nuclear weapons on Iran in 2007--an image that made him "physically sick"--and expressed deep concern about this "war that's somehow unstoppable" and the rising rate of related deaths, two overall messages he sees everywhere in the media.
Attendees appreciated the way it linked general semantics with current events, and demonstrated how application of GS principles to individual, social, national, and cultural events can significantly reduce confusion and even eliminate some quandaries from our lives.
In a recent interview, Nozkowski explained that his paintings are always untitled because "if you gave people honest titles, they would turn the pictures into conundrums that could be solved." He needn't worry, though; his conundrums will never be solved, because the quandaries
they explore can only be experienced through first-hand perception: how can the use of a certain texture make one form nest inside another?
Surviving Healthcare is a no-nonsense guide to dealing with financial, medical, and personal quandaries
in the complex and confusing modern healthcare system.