I have found that relationships no matter how solid they may seem are subject to the effects of change. College has taught me that relationships are like teeth, if not maintained they rot and fall out; but, if they are taken care of, teeth can last a long time. This poem, that I found on Pinterest, summarizes my experience with relationships this year at college. Relationships that I thought to be the equivalent of strong wisdom teeth turned out to be more like weak baby teeth. Relationships that I didn’t put in a lot of effort to maintain grew cavities over time and eventually rotted and fell out. Despite how much I missed these relationships new ones soon grew in their place making me forget that I missed them in the first place. It makes me question the validity of the relationships I have now that I believe to be strong. I wonder If after college since most of us will go our separate ways our relationships will also rot and like teeth, will fall out.
In the Dupont Circle Citizens Association (DCCA) website the ‘About Us’ page gives a description of Dupont Circle. More specifically, it briefly describes the ecology, diversity, history, safety, and the nature of Dupont Circle’s residents. For example, the DCCA writes, “One of Dupont Circle’s great strengths is its cultural, economic, ethnic, sexual, and commercial diversity. Over the years, DCCA has supported a number of efforts to protect that broad diversity,…”. In this passage, the DCCA gives insight into Dupont Circle’s diversity and also shows their interest to promote and conserve it. For the DCCA, then, informing people about the nature of Dupont Circle and their initiatives to conserve, support, and stimulate it is significant.
The DCCA’s ‘About Us’ page will serve as a background because looking at the DCCA’s initiatives and goals is going to be a good basis on how the future of Dupont Circle is going to affect the future of The Dupont Circle Club.
In the history tab of the Dupont Circle Club’s (DCC) website, the DCC goes through a brief background on the club. More specifically, the page presents the date the DCC opened, November of 1989, the reason it was created, and what it currently offers. For example, the DCC writes, “Today we provide space for about eighty-five recovery meetings each week… These meetings bring hundreds of people a week into the rooms of DCC. Our central location, a block north of Dupont Circle provides for a rich diversity of ethnicity, class, gender, and geographic origin, with many out-of-town visitors. The Dupont Circle Club is honored to be part of the recovery community and we exist to help support all those who seek recovery to become more happy, joyous, and free.” In this passage, the DCC gives existing and potential members insight into how welcoming they are of all people. For the DCC, then, making sure people know where they came from and what that they welcome all backgrounds is important.
I plan to use this as a background source for general information about the Dupont Circle Club. A key component of this investigation is observing and relating what The Dupont Circle Club was and the changes that have made it what it is today to predict its future. Therefore, the history page is a key element in this because guides us through their evolution.
Dupont Circle houses chic boutiques, trendy bars, and popular culinary attractions. This attracts a variety of people that seem to range from middle to upper class. On a Sunday morning, which is when I visited the site, Dupont Circle was filled with children, owners and their pets, couples, and groups of people. There was a jazz band set up in one of the green areas and it gave the area a very relaxed and happy mood. Alongside the benches in the green pastures people sat and chatted and enjoyed the morning peacefully. Based on the kinds of people that I saw I can conclude that Dupont Circle attracts a varied but homogenous class of middle to upper class people.
This scanned document is the two pieces of literature that are offered at the center. The first page of the first document details the times, dates, and locations of the meetings for the week. On the back page of the first document is a list of the rules of conduct of the club and the consequences for violating them. The second document is a member inscription form for those who would like to contribute monetary support to the club, since it is a nonprofit. The second document lists membership costs and fees by month and year, it also gives room for solitary donations. At the bottom of the page it explains the need for such contributions:
“membership contribution allows the Club provide a safe, clean, organized, and welcoming space for a variety of 12-Step Recovery groups, and helps assist for a prudent reserve in order to stay in Dupont Circle for the long-term.”
The club has depended on these contributions for the last twenty-eight years and continues to do so.
I visited the site on a Sunday Morning and encountered the infamous tradition of the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. Upon walking around, checking the different stands and what they offered, people watching, and a little grocery shopping I was able to get a feel of the type of people that Dupont attracts. The prices at the Farmers Market were definitely on the pricier side for what was being offered, meaning that the Farmers Market attracts people that can afford to buy four dollar tomatoes and two dollar apples. Attracting a group of a higher class creates a friendly and serene environment where people feel comfortable taking their families, friends, and pets. The Farmers Market isn’t the only indicative that these neighborhood is one of affluence the types of restaurants and shops that it houses also are a big indicator.
This video shows the shops and business along the street of Connecticut Avenue where The Dupont Circle Club is located. A series of clothing stores, restaurants, and trendy shops adorn either side of the club. As can be seen the street is clean and well-kept and so are the surrounding buildings. Homeless people are not evident near the building or the surrounding buildings. As can be heard in the video there is minimal noise in the surroundings, it is actually very quiet for the number of people that it attracted the morning I went. I can deduce that minimal noise disturbance can also indicate to a well-mannered higher class group of people.
Above is an image of the Entrance of the Dupont Circle Club building located on 1623 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC 20009. The Dupont Circle Club shares a building space with two other business: Monica’s Psychic Reader & Advisor and Sherpa Prep a GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) test prep center. The exterior of the building is narrow and the least attractive amongst its neighbors. Further down the sidewalk almost up to the next block a number of homeless people crowd the street. However, the stores on either side are brand name stores that cater mostly to a higher income class group.
“…; her spirit seemed lost and dragged under into the strange circling life of the body, stubborn as that of a tree, that goes on regardless of the mind. I don’t care she thought, I’m glad I’m alive.”
– Thunder on the Left by Christopher Morley
This quote from Christopher Morleys 1925 novel, Thunder on the Left, is one of my favorite because it is a clear example of a little something called dualism. Dualism is known as the separation of the mind and body such as that neither one is dependent or causal of the other. In other words, this philosophy suggests that your body and all its functions is independent of your ability to self-reflect. Although many argue against this philosophy because of the scientific evidence piled against it, I believe that in essence it still rings a little true. In Morleys novel, one of the protagonists states that her mind is lost but that her body instead of waiting for her mind to catch up it just keeps going with or without it. I concede that the mind and the body has a physical relationship based on electric currents; however, I believe that there exists a divide between the two. This divide is best exemplified by illness. I wonder how it is that a healthy mind can suddenly die of a stroke while a sick mind can outlive many. How is it that your body can turn on your mind? And your mind in turn has no real power to stop it? Where do people in comas go? People who are in a state of slumber for long periods of time whose bodies proceed functioning until the mind decides it’s time to wake up. So far I dont have the answer and neither does anybody else, i’ll just have to stay tuned.
In chapter four “Ghetto” of City of Rhetoric, David Fleming discusses a healthy public life. More specifically, the controversial issue of whether homogeneity leads to dehumanization. On one hand, Chicago’s whites argue that the homogeneity or segregation of the city is an achievement for white civic life. On the other hand, however, the author, David Fleming contends that segregation is not conducive to a healthy public life because it does not allow for safe spaces of public debate. For example, one of this views main proponents, Massey and Denton, write, “People growing up in such an environment have little direct experience with the cultures, norms, and behaviors of the rest of American society and few social contacts with members of other racial groups”. In this passage, Fleming suggests that segregation dehumanizes individuals by teaching them to avoid other individual’s affairs. For Fleming, then, what is at stake here is the dehumanization of all segregated individuals that in turn promotes the decline of political and social participation.
Why does this matter then? In a larger context, the dehumanization of individuals by means of homogeneity or segregation is what contributes to an ill public life. A healthy public life, according to Fleming, is achieved when spaces allow for individuals to exercise politics. Place or locality plays a big role in this because spaces that work to categorize people also create universal truths in those specific contexts. However, segregation does not allow for a common space where all these different categories of individuals can come together and diversify their universal truths.
Fleming, David. “Chapter 2 ‘The Placelessness of Political Theory.’” City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America, SUNY Press, Albany, NY, 2009, pp. 19–35.
In discussion of American civic identity, a controversial issue has been whether cognitive-affective characteristics (advocating for certain values and principles) or ascriptive characteristics (race, gender, social status) are the determinant of it. On the one hand, most endorse that the civic identity of Americans is best defined by cognitive-affective characteristics; in other words, their identity is defined by shared political principles and values instead of by traditions of inegalitarianism . From this perspective, they believe that each citizen is politically equal meaning that ascriptive characteristics are forgotten upon entering the political arena. On the other hand, however, David Fleming argues that in history Americans have never been able to ignore personal and social attributes and that we shouldn’t want to. In the words of Fleming, one of this view’s main proponents,
“To bracket differences does not in fact lessen their effect; it perpetuates the very inequalities that bracketing was meant to set aside, the claim of neutrality allowing its advocates to pretend that privilege no longer functions when in fact it has now been made implicit and inexplicable and thus more powerful and pernicious (Fleming 22)”.
According to this view, bracketing inequalities does not eliminate them but highlights them contradicting it’s whole purpose. In sum then, the issue is whether citizens can and should transcend inequalities when facing each other politically.
My own view is that since the state is a creation of the people and not the other way around then the people shouldn’t have to bracket their identities for the state. Though I concede that American citizenship is founded on the ideal principle that every citizen has an equal voice, I still maintain that the inequality of voices is what makes the citizen equal. Although some might object to the incorporation of ascriptive characteristics in politics, I would reply that these political communities who advocate universal human rights were created in the first place by citizens who understood the importance of context and thus were not disembodied from their identities. The issue is important because our current political government is based on the principle that people will forget traditions of inegalitarianism and become unbiased decision making citizens and I believe that it is clear that the American citizen is not an unbiased one.
Fleming, David. City of rhetoric: revitalizing the public sphere in metropolitan America. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2009. Print.