Complexity of Repair

Ryan McDevitt

9/26/16

Professor Harris

English 110

In Spelman’s novel, Repair various types of repair are described such as restoration of vehicles and furniture, invisible mending of paintings, and even the repair of relationships. These different types of repair were each undermined through examples of people that performed each type of repair. The author effectively sets up the stereotypical roles of men and women in Chapter 2 by describing Willie, a blue-collar mechanic who defines what a man’s role with repair is known as. Willie is described as the quintessential repairman in chapter 2 since he is a white male that makes up the working class. Willie is a bricoleur repairs automobiles using cheap parts and scraps to repair bikes and cars for merely functionality. On the other hand, Fred is described as someone who also repairs bikes and cars but cares more about the authentic production of the parts rather than using cheap parts for functionality. Fred restores bikes by paying more for original parts to recreate the original model. The other repairers described in this passage are Louise Wijnberg, Elisabeth Bracht, and Irene Glanzar. Louise, Eilisabeth, and Irene are conservators that keep their invisible mending to a minimum so the original work is highlighted. Since these comparisons between forms of repair were discussed for a full chapter these forms of a repair became a focal point.

Chapter three then brings up an interesting point about the complexities of repair.

Repairing a hip so that someone can walk again might under some conditions get in the way of repair it so the person can run. When, then, we think about the work of the household as including the repair of humans from the wear and tear of everyday life, where repairing means restoring them to some kind of functional state, we surely ought to ask whether repairing them to be able to function in others.

This insightful description of a hip repair that compromises one’s full health by mending the person’s injured hip so they may walk again but, also jeopardizes their ability to ever run in the future. This is similar to compromises made when mending a broken relationship. Restoring an issue within a relationship is the aim in most situations as both members of the relationship hope their relationship can return to it’s original, functional state. However, in many situations there is mutual agreement that one’s relationship can never be successful again so, they simply repair their broken relationship so their is no longer hostility between the two people. Both forms of repair in a relationship can be successful depending on the relationship. In some situations, restoring a relationship is not beneficial if continuous arguments will arise. An example of successful repair in a relationship would be a couple that breaks up and becomes friends for the benefit of both parties. This way both people realize the relationship will not work out so instead of throwing away their relationship they repair their relationship by remaining friends. This quote was very insightful and allowed me to understand that sometimes no repair, is the best form of repair. Some situations or some building do not need to be fixed.

This idea of no repair became more apparent in the sixth chapter. This chapter describes a lot about ruins and discussions on whether these ruins should be repaired. John Ruskin is a catalyst of this no repair movement as he believes that to restore is to destroy. Many Ruinists believe there is no need for any repair because,

The building or the city is even more beautiful in its ruined state than it ever was when in prime or peak condition, that “in this half-ruined grandeur” there is “a magnificence nobler than its original form,”.

The book forced me to reflect on each type of repair and think about the best form. Since repair varies there is no set best form of repair but there are types of repair that are the most appropriate for certain situations. For instance, many African Americans do not want to hear an insincere apology about the wrongdoings during times of slavery. In this case reparations are the best form of repair. Whites should not attempt to apologize to Blacks but instead should prove their regret and sympathy by making reparations for slavery, educational programs, and create equal opportunities that will ensure the social and economic success of all citizens. Oppositely, your friend is not asking for your money if you hurt their feelings (even though they would most likely accept it anyway) but would be acceptive of a sincere apology. I now realize how complex repair really is and I now know that repair varies for the individual and the situation.

 

Advertisements

Emotions vs Credibility

Ryan McDevitt

Professor Harris

English 110

9/19/2016

In chapter 5 of Elizabeth Spelman’s Repair the comparison between reparations and apologies are made. Both reparations and apologies are valuable but, in specific scenarios one may be valued more than the other. For example, there have been ongoing debates whether African Americans deserve monetary payments for their unpaid labor during slavery. In Randall Robinson’s recent book, The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks he describes that African Americans do not welcome any apology for wrong acts targeted toward Blacks toward times of slavery but deserve reparations to heal the wounds they endured. Randall Robinson believes Whites should not attempt to apologize to Blacks but instead should  make reparations for slavery, educational programs, and create equal opportunities that will ensure the social and economic success of all citizens.

Apologies and Reparations differ because a sincere apology is deeply personal that can only be genuine if it is a complete 2 way interaction where both parties are involved. In order to apologize to someone the person apologizing realizes there is a harm worth attending to or a relationship worth mending. Sometimes there are times where one may not feel the need to apologize which, could cause the relationship to fracture between people. In order to successfully apologize one has to take full responsibility of their prior mistakes and show regret for their previous actions. Since an apology is a two way interaction the person receiving the apology is able to decline an apology if they believe it is not valid, they would prefer reparations, or they merely wish to decline the request. Page 84 highlights large differences between these types of repair by describing the emotions of people that are involved with an apology and reparations.

Neither the emotions of the payers nor those of the payees (except for purposes of calculating damages) are relevant. The emotions of apologizers are crucial to the genuineness of the apology. What about the emotions of those to whom the apology is offered?(Page 84)

This quote highlights the fact that a reparation is a one way business transaction that shares no emotional connection. A payer acknowledges a group or society that is in need of pay to reach an equal standard.

Based off the information we know about reparations and apologies I believe African Americans deserve both forms of repair. Bill Clinton did not have control over the horrible events during slavery but showed his sincere regret by apologizing to the survivors and their families. “We can look you in the eye and finally say on the behalf of the American people: What the United States did was shameful, and I am Sorry.”(Page 88) This form of apology is successful as it draws national attention to the wrongdoings toward African Americans. In order to prove sincerity and draw more attention this topic reparations should be made to prove sorrow and regret toward these events. If Bill Clinton does not make an effort to help out African Americans then his motivation is questionable and his speech seems insincere.

Money cannot substitute for the admission of inexcusable wrongdoing entailed by apology, but an apology without acknowledgement of the multiple costs of oppression and exploitation seems unknowing and insincere, especially since slavery and its attendant racism were intended in part to keep Blacks from access to all the nation’s resources, including its financial ones. (Page 90)

This is very logical since one should support causes they believe in. If clinton does not provide reparations this is similar to a celebrity or a person with high social status to promote a charity and not donate to the charity. Another example would be if a celebrity promotes a product and does not use it. This flaws the credibility of the person’s argument and makes listeners less inclined to believe the speaker. On the other hand, if Clinton does provide reparations this establishes his credibility and brings further attention to the causes he addresses.

The Bias of Repair

 

Ryan McDevitt

English 110

Professor Harris

12 September 2016

Response #1

During chapters 1-3 of Spelman’s, Repair clear gender roles were clearly highlighted with examples of repair. Spelman describes physical repair which, is associated with men and emotional repair that is typically linked with women. In chapter 3, Spelman highlights the distinction between a man’s work versus the work of a woman. The author effectively sets up the stereotypical roles of men and women by describing Willie, a blue-collar mechanic who defines what a man’s role with repair is known as. Willie is described as the quintessential repairman in chapter 2 since he is a white male that makes up the working class. Pages 27 and 28 describe exceptions to the gender roles as Mary Baird and many other female phone repair technicians were well trained and successful but were discouraged in this field as several reports stated, “You’re taking a job away from a man who must provide for his wife and children.”

In history class students learned additional examples of when men felt cramped by women’s success in a man’s job. During World War 2, more men were enlisting in the army than ever before as the U.S prepared for the largest war in their history at this point. Since their were a large amount of holes at factories, women were hired to replace the men that were at war. Women worked at old harley davidson factories that mass produced machinery and weaponry in war. The women that worked in these factories were described to work as good if not even better than the men. Because of these remarks, women were frustrated when they were instantly replaced by men when they came back from war. The men were injured and tired but easily replaced the women who had successfully been completing the work for several years. These events sparked a strong women’s rights movement that began in 1946. Women petitioned for equal work and equal pay but their wishes were not accepted until the 1960’s even though their is a great disparity between the two genders. Another exception to these set gender roles is that contrary to common belief, the circular was invented by a woman named Tabitha Babbit. Because of this it should not be alarming that women have also created many other inventions that are associated with a man’s work. These include the inventions of car heating in 1893, housing solar heating in 1947, and a central heating system in 1919. Page 29 states, “None of this, of course, means that all men are brought up to unreservedly embrace a masculinity defined in terms of skilled manual labor. Many men believe each man is required to have a “do-it-yourself” or handyman trait. Even though it is uncommon there are stay at home fathers that have a main responsibility of working around the house which, is generalized as a woman’s job.

Spelman also compares the repair of automobiles to friendship and the repair of a kidney to the repair of a friendship. Page 36 states, “The analogy between the repair of a car and the repair of a person suggests that there is a kind of repair of humans that restores them to a state of basic functioning.” Willie repairs cars for merely functionality so he won’t promise that the door he ends up using will be the same color as the rest of the car. This compares to the repair of a relationship as it more important that a relationship is functioning smoother rather than being the same way it was originally.

The next page describes another analogy by stating,

“Repairing a hip so that someone can walk again might under some conditions get in the way of repair it so the person can run. When, then, we think about the work of the household as including the repair of humans from the wear and tear of everyday life, where repairing means restoring them to some kind of functional state, we surely ought to ask whether repairing them to be able to function in others.”

This insightful description of a hip repair that compromises one’s full health by mending the person’s injured hip so they may walk again but, also jeopardizes their ability to ever run in the future. This is similar to compromises made when mending a broken relationship. Restoring an issue within a relationship is the aim in most situations as both members of the relationship hope their relationship can return to it’s original, functional state. However, in many situations there is mutual agreement that one’s relationship can never be successful again so, they simply repair their broken relationship so their is no longer hostility between the two people. Both forms of repair in a relationship can be successful depending on the relationship. In some situations, restoring a relationship is not beneficial if continuous arguments will arise. An example of successful repair in a relationship would be a couple that breaks up and becomes friends for the benefit of both parties. This way both people realize the relationship will not work out so instead of throwing away their relationship they repair their relationship by remaining friends. People should always attempt to mend a broken relationship through repair since many people wish they could repair a relationship with a deceased family member but no longer have the opportunity.