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So the confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor are set for July 13. Let the projections begin!

There are lots of projections out there, but the most mystifying
yet illuminating may well be this one, sent to me for this week’s
Buddha of the Week feature.
20090622NatReview Sotomayor.gif

it’s the June 2009 cover of The National Review, founded as a Republican and conservative magazine back in the 1950s by William Buckley, Jr.

I
was dumbfounded. Was Sonia Sotomayor our Buddha of the Week? She seemed
to be the National Review’s pick. Are they horning in on our thing
here? Are they jacking our feature?

I suspected a bit of iconographic incoherence was at work here, but I
still find this conflation of foreign, wise, and female rather
fascinating. 

Some folks at Think Progress look at it this way. Boing Boing commented thusly; Salon.com is in on the action, too. 

People project all kinds of things from inside their brains onto the
world, in an attempt to map and navigate it. Some are pretty accurate,
some aren’t. And we argue with each other, a lot, about whether our
projections are more accurate than other people’s. Sometimes I think
that is the biggest, most baseline argument of all going on today. Are
your projections real, or are mine? Neither? What map do we use?

Whether one looks at projections thru the lens of buddhist psychology, cognitive research, epistemology,
or just plain sitting around and yakking over coffee, it’s a
fascinating exploration. When we see a picture of Sonia Sotomayor, what
do we see? An admirable woman and accomplished judge? An “American
story” of pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps? A muzzy-headed
liberal who feels superior because she’s from a historically
downtrodden minority? A scary foreign female representing all things
“not us”?  A victim of racism? One of us? Or “just” a judge coming up for confirmation.

Okay, I guess Sonia can be our Buddha of the Week. A lot to contemplate there, after all.

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