Monday, 27 May 2019

Solo los Rebeldes Cambian el Mundo

Downeate created the fantastic clip "Libertad" reminding us that teenagers are teenagers, no matter whether with or without Down syndrome. The video shows Valentin who decides to break out of daily routine and to do things that make him feel free.




More beautiful videos:

::: Día de Picnic: WATCH
::: Domi La Manipuladora: WATCH
::: Angelitos: WATCH

- - - - - -
image via

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Europe Elects. 2019.

"The populists themselves are dangerous, but they are far more dangerous when the traditional, classic parties adopt their harmful proposals."
Jean-Claude Juncker

Elections to the European Parliament 2019: latest updates



"The populists are spreading slogans. We have to offer solutions and answers."
Jean-Claude Juncker

- - - - -
photograph via

Friday, 24 May 2019

Arabic Numerals Misunderstood

The US-American market research company Civic Science conducted a survey asking 3.624 people whether schools in America should teach Arabic numerals as part of their curriculum without explaining the term "Arabic numerals" since that would have spoilt the fun of teasing out "prejudice among those who didn't understand the question". According to the chief executive of Civic Science, the results were "the saddest and funniest testament to American bigotry we've ever seen in our data". Apparently, a great many people did not know what these numerals mean, some 2.020 (56%) answered "no", only 29% said "yes" and 15% had no opinion. Even when controlling for education (i.e., not having a significant difference in education), 72% of Republican-supporting respondents said "no" versus 40% of Democrats. In other words, the answers are not only about knowledge of the numerical nomenclature (via).



So, where do Arabic numerals come from? Muhammad Khwarizmi (780-850), "the father of algebra" (the word "algebra" is derived from the title of one of his books), was "a Persian scholar who produced works in mathematics, astronomy, and geography" (via), a poet and philosopher, Cabinet member in Dawala's government of Iran (Broumand, 2006), and the very Persian who introduced the Arabs to the Hindu decimal numerals (via), now known as Arabic numerals.
In the 12th century, Latin translations of his textbook on arithmetic (Algorithmo de Numero Indorum) which codified the various Indian numerals, introduced the decimal positional number system to the Western world. (via)
Khwarizimi is often referred to as an Arab or Islamic scientist despite having been Persian. Similarly, Avicenna (Ibn Sina, 980-1037), "the father of early modern medicine" was Persian and is regularly mentioned as a great contributer to science from the Arabian or Islamic world. Avicenna's famous encyclopedia "became a standard medical text at many medieval universities and remained in use as late as 1650" (via).

As Broumand (2006) observes there is a failure in calling them Arab scientists:
This false statement only widens the gap between the Middle-East and the western world. There could be no doubt on the fact that Razi (Rhazes), Ibn-Sina (Avicenna), and Khawrazmi (Khwarizmi) were Iranian (Persian) and not Arab scientists. Dr. Maziak’s sincere attempt to lump these scientists under the label of Arab-Islamic scholars is unfortunately flawed for a couple of reasons; a very important point is that, the Arabic language was the lingua franca of these scientists’ era and allowed for the free exchange of scientific knowledge from Greece and Rome to Iran, India, and even to places as far as China. There is no doubt that for this reason, scientists were writing in Arabic, while not being Arab, like in the present time, all scientists write in English. One could argue that it is as offensive to Iranians, as it would be to the English, if everyone claimed Sir Isaac Newton was a Frenchman. Not that there is anything wrong with being French, Arab, or from any other nations, but the incorrect label abolishes a significant part of Iranian contribution to the advancement of science.
- - - - - -
- Broumand, B. (2006). The Contribution of Iranian Scientists to World Civilization. Archives of Iranian Medicine, 9(3), 288-290.
- photograph via

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

The English Language and the Subtle Differences in Transatlantic Understanding

YouGov showed common British phrases to 1.729 Britons and 1.952 US-Americans and asked the participants of the survey to interpret them. The results showed "plenty of common ground" but also "a difference in transatlantic understanding" with many US-Americans being "in danger of missing the serious passive aggression we Brits employ" (via and via).



Here are a few examples:

Statement: "With the greatest respect..."
Interpretation: "I think you are an idiot." (UK: 68%, US: 40%)
Interpretation: "I am listening to you." (UK: 24%, US: 49%)

Statement: "I'll bear it in mind."
Interpretation: "I've forgotten it already." (UK: 55%, US: 38%)
Interpretation: "I will probably do it." (UK: 32%, US: 43%)

Statement: "I hear what you say."
Interpretation: "I disagree and do not want to discuss it further." (UK: 48%, US: 32%)
Interpretation: "I accept your point of view." (UK: 45%, US: 58%)

Statement: "You must come for dinner."
Interpretation: "It's not an invitation, I'm just being polite." (UK: 57%, US: 45%)
Interpretation: "I will send you an invitation soon." (UK: 34%, US: 41%)

For more details see LINK and LINK.

"We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language."
Oscar Wilde

- - - - - - - -
photograph (London, 1975) via

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Wear modest apparel, Helena!

"In like manner also, that women aged fifty adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array."
1 Alexandra 2:9 (1 Timothy 2:9 with Alexandra's age specification)

Alexandra Shulman, former editor-in-chief of British Vogue, woman and 61 years old, shows us many things. Firstly, that it is a rather good idea to self-reflect before you start writing a column. Secondly, that both ageism and sexism (and their intersection) are -isms that we internalise as women and as persons who are growing older and by doing so help perpetuate stereotypes, if we are unable to self-reflect and shift the perspective.



This May, Shulman published an article with the headline "I’m sorry Helena Christensen, you ARE too old to wear that" which which she addressed former model Christensen who at the age of 50 decided to pitch up somebody's 24th birthday party "in a tacky, black lace bustier". Seriously, this is what her article is about.

Her column starts like this:
There comes that point in every woman’s life when, however reluctantly, you have to hand over the fleshpot-at-the-party baton to the next generation. 
Shulman speculates that Christensen possibly "just panicked" but then, quoting Dylan Thomas, decides that most probably this 50-year-old woman did not want to go "gentle into any good night when it comes to getting her share of the paparazzi's attention".
In other words, the only reason why a woman aged 50 wears jeans and a bustier is that she is desperately looking for attention. Instead, she should accept that her time is over and prepare to go gentle into that good night. Dylan Thomas's most famous and dark poem is about "the end of life" and "the personal struggle to hang onto life for as long as possible". It is about resisting death with all strength. Thomas challenges typical associations and stereotypes with old age by describing it as "burning and raving" (via), the same stereotypical associations that seem to dominate Shulman's attitude who, by the way, in an interview states that she has not left Vogue "to go and hide under a stone somewhere. I suppose, you know, you like the publicity at the end of the day. You want to carry on having a voice." (via).

She then continues with words that do not really make much sense:
We might like to think that 70 is the new 40 and 50 the new 30 but our clothes know the true story.
No matter how pert your breasts, how great your legs, how invisible your bingo wings, our clothes simply don’t look the same as we age because they are about the person wearing them, not the items themselves. They are about the people – not just the bodies – that we have become.
Something you wore at 30 will never look the same on you 20 years later. Clothes don’t lie.
And it gets better. Apparently, it is not primarily about age:
While men can receive sex symbol status until they are in their box, for women it’s more complicated. As a society, we are frightened of sexuality that doesn’t come accompanied by fertility. Wrinklies like Richard Gere, who has fathered a baby at 69, or Ronnie Wood, who now takes his three-year-old twins on the road, have the advantage of this proof that their sexual function is still in working order.
When women’s bodies no longer serve any child-bearing purpose, we find flaunting them disturbing and slightly tragic. I don’t claim that this is fair. But it’s true.
It may come as little surprise that I could not find any evidence that "societies are frightened of sexuality that doesn't come accompanied by fertility". I wonder why there is such a thing as birth control and why, for instance, couples continue having an intimate relationship after having raised a family. Nor have I ever heard of the custom that men feeling attracted to women ask them about their fertility before wanting to date them. And I am limiting my questions to heterosexuals here... Shulman's "proof" are two gentlemen, no, "wrinklies", such as Richard Gere (born in 1949, his wife born in 1983) and Ronnie Wood (born in 1947, his wife in 1978). Rules about attraction are slightly different when you are a celebrity, aren't they?

Shulman reduces women to their "child-bearing purpose" and claims it is a fact that when their bodies no longer serve this purpose, they become disturbing and tragic. They should become invisible and not irritate ageist and sexist people. Shulman - 61 years old - is a perfect example of how ageism works. We grow up with ageist messages, they come at us from every direction: work, health, marketing, fashion... After a lifetime of hearing them, we internalise them and become ageist, too. She also shows us that women can perfectly adopt the male gaze. It is irresponsible to link the style of dress with the desire to be attractive for others and the wish to seduce. We see the consequences of this dangerous link when victims of sexual violence are blamed for provoking the assault by dressing in a body-revealing style. Sure, clothing can have "the accompanying function of expressing a way of being" (Oliveira, 2013). However, communication is complex and the message may be misinterpreted (if there is one at all).
The results demonstrate a gender-based attribution gap wherein men report perceiving the sexualized look as indicating an interest in sex and intent to seduce, whereas women cite their wish to feel and look attractive as its primary cause, while entirely rejecting the seduction claim.
Moor, 2010:115
And apart from that:
In contrast to affective cues, non-affective cues, such as clothing style and attractiveness, provide far less information about a woman’s momentary level of sexual interest because they typically are quite stable across a social interaction and tend to be more omnidirectional (i.e., available to everyone in the social environment).
Treat et al, 2016
It is not only age and gender. Shulman thinks that black women on the cover "would sell fewer copies" (via).
Shulman is still smarting from the uproar provoked by a photograph in her final edition of the outgoing editor surrounded by 54 of her staff. Did she anticipate that many readers would be shocked to see that every single one of them was white? “No,” she mutters dryly. “Clearly not. Had I known that this was going to happen, I would not have put that picture in it. But it never entered my head. Over the years there have been people of all kinds of ethnicities in the magazine. On that particular day there was nobody there and, you know, it’s frustrating.” 
Many employers go to some lengths to attract more diverse applicants. “Well, I guess I have to hold my hand up and say I don’t encourage positive discrimination in any area.” Shulman flatly refuses to accept the critique that under her editorship Vogue had a diversity problem. “I have never been somebody who’s box-ticked. I’m against quotas. I feel like my Vogue had the people in who I wanted it to. I didn’t look at what race they were. I didn’t look at what sex they were. I didn’t look at what age they were. I included the people I thought interesting. So no, I don’t, absolutely not.
“But if you’re going to say to me, ‘Well, how many white models as opposed to how many black models were in there?’, I’m sure you can make the numbers stack up to argue that there was an issue. But as far as I’m concerned, there wasn’t, and it never entered my head.” 
Readers may then wonder why she put black faces on the cover only 12 times in 25 years. “Well, I don’t know. Who would I put on? Who would you have suggested that was a really well known black model who wasn’t on the cover?” (via) (Note: these two black faces were Naomi Campbel and Jordan Dunn)
Her diversity problem includes body diversity:
“It was massively interesting, and actually a rather important subject, particularly if you advance the proposition, which I did, that magazines like Vogue and the fashionistas in general, pushed the idea for many years, and are still pushing it, though they deny it, that in order to look nice you’ve got to be stick-thin. I’ve always thought it an absurd proposition and damaging to an awful lot of young girls who are susceptible to that sort of pressure. So I was, according to some people, too aggressive with her. I thought I was actually rather polite.
 “But she didn’t like being asked about that sort of thing and suggested, preposterously, that you’re almost as likely to see chubby women on the cover of Vogue. I think she came up with three examples over 25 years. Well, I rest my case, M’lud!”
John Humphrys
"Not many people have actually said to me that they have looked at my magazine and decided to become anorexic."
Alexandra Shulman, 1998
We all grow older, if we are lucky. Let's enjoy it and stop making life difficult for others and ourselves.
"In the past women and men have been restricted to certain dress codes. Today there is no excuse for dressing to please others, the fashion police, or our inner critic." (via)
- - - - - - -
- Lennon, S. J., Adomaitis, A. D., Koo, J. & Johnson, K. K. P. (2017). Dress and sex: a review of empirical research involving human participants and published in refereed journals. link
- Moor, A. (2010). She Dresses to Attract, He Perceives Seduction: A Gender Gap in Attribution of Intent to Women's Revealing Style of Dress and its Relation to Blaming the Victims of Sexual Violence. Journal of International Women's Studies, 11(4), 115-127.
- Oliveira, M. (2013). Dressing, seducing and signifying: From the symbolic dimension of fashion to the contemporary erotic imagery. Comunicação e Sociedade, 24, 152-160.
- Treat, T. A., Hinkel, H., Smith, J. R. & Viken, R. J. (2016). Men's perceptions of women's sexual interest: Effects of environmental contest, sexual attitudes, and women's characteristics. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, link
- photograph by Leon Levinstein (1910-1988), New York City, ca. 1960 via

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Quoting Arthur Schopenhauer

“The cheapest sort of pride is national pride; for if a man is proud of his own nation, it argues that he has no qualities of his own of which he can be proud; otherwise he would not have recourse to those which he shares with so many millions of his fellowmen. The man who is endowed with important personal qualities will be only too ready to see clearly in what respects his own nation falls short, since their failings will be constantly before his eyes. But every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud adopts, as a last resource, pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and glad to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)



“Compassion is the basis of morality.”
Arthur Schopenhauer

“For where did Dante get the material for his Hell, if not from this actual world of ours?”
Arthur Schopenhauer

- - - - - - -
photograph by Robert Frank (1962) via

Sunday, 12 May 2019

"You'd never wholly know you." Marilyn Monroe

“I want to grow old without facelifts... I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I've made. Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die young, but then you'd never complete your life, would you? You'd never wholly know you.”
Marilyn Monroe






photographs of Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller, Simone Signoret, Yves Montand by Bruce Davidson, Beverly Hills Hotel apartment, 1960 via and via and via and via, for more photographs see Magnum Photos: link, (c) Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos

Friday, 10 May 2019

Many (Contradicting) Glasses Stereotypes

"The fantasy of the hot librarian who prances around in her tight pencil skirt, unpins her bun and throws her glasses off to reveal a goddess in waiting annoys me too." 
Sarah Jayne



Stereotypes do not have to make sense and are accepted even when they are contradicting. We have heard of most of the glasses stereotypes such as children bullying other children, calling them "nerd", "blind" or "four eyes", women to be found less attractive when wearing glasses (Borgen, 2015), men losing out on the impression of strength and leadership (via), people to be considered as more intelligent (perhaps even too intelligent and an intellectual threat like in the case of the Khmer Rouge who killed people who wore glasses, via), industrious, reliable (Dean, 2014), honest, sophisticated, and dependable (via), glasses making you "look truly brainy", "attractive" and "giving you an aire of secret" while making you appear certain, neighbourly (via) and elegant (Okamura, 2018) but also less outgoing, athletic (Dean, 2014) and nerdy (via)
These three methods of identifying sex differences in stereotypes of eyeglasses produced somewhat conflicting results. Photographs with glasses were judged as less attractive and sexy, but males considered the typical woman with glasses as sexier and more attractive than the typical woman without glasses. Generally, people with glasses were considered to be more intelligent and intense, and the stereotypes of the typical woman and man with glasses were highly positive. Women with glasses were viewed as more feminine and men with glasses as more masculine. Although wearing glasses affected the self‐concept of females more than males, there was little evidence that they experienced a more negative “spectacle image” than males. Harris, 1991
Black defendants wearing glasses were perceived as friendlier and more attractive, and even more than whites, less threatening. Thus, although blacks and whites received approximately equal guilty and innocent verdicts, and eyeglass wearers were more likely to be seen as innocent, it was African-Americans wearing glasses who benefited the most based on their appearance alone. (via)
Judgements vary, times change (stereotypes often reflect a certain time period), gender needs to be considered, age, ethnicity, the type of eyeglasses (full-rim glasses versus rimless ones), the research methods, and individual characteristics. In general, there is a trend in more positive opinions of glasses. Research conducted in the 1990s, for instance, found that children had a rather negative attitude to other children wearing glasses rating them more negatively in terms of attractiveness, sociability, school performance, and whether they wanted to be friends with them. More recent studies seem to come to different conclusions. In addition, nonprescription eyeglasses have even become "an increasingly popular trend" (Borgen, 2015).
"Years ago, I noticed an old friend wearing glasses for the first time. When I asked her if she’d just decided to forgo her contacts, she replied that she had, in fact, not. She didn’t own contacts, you see, and the frames she wore held nothing but non-prescriptively bent glass. They were on her face for fashion, nothing but." Rick Paulas
- - - - - - - - -
- Borgen, A. (2015). The Effect of Eyeglasses on Intelligence Perceptions. The Red River Psychology Journal, 1, via
- Dean, D. H. (2014). A 'Halo' Effect for Inference of Managerial Ability from Physical Appearance, American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 4(10), 15-23.
- Harris, M. B. (1991). Sex Differences in Stereotypes of Spectacles, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, via
- Leder, H., Forster, M. & Gerger, G. (2011). The Glasses Stereotype Revisited. Effects of Eyeglasses on Perception, Recognition, and Impression of Faces. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 70(4), 211-222.
- Okamura, Y. (2018). Judgments of women wearing eyeglasses. a focus on specific dimensions of physical attractiveness. Romanian Journal of Applied Psychology, 20(1), 7-10.
- photograph of Claudia Cardinale via

Monday, 6 May 2019

International No Diet Day

International No Diet Day is "a day for organizations and individuals to push back against the industries and messages that encourage us to engage in dangerous dieting behaviours.
According to a 2002 survey, 28% of girls in grade 9 and 29% in grade 10 engaged in weight-loss behaviours. In addition, 30% of girls and 24% of boys in grades 7-12 reported teasing about their weight. From a young age we are faced with harmful messages that influence the way that we feel about our own and others’ bodies, and these messages only intensify as we become adults." (literally via)



At the heart of International No Diet Day is the celebration of body acceptance. In a society that is fixated on appearance and size, this day helps us refocus on what is truly important – a healthy lifestyle and self love.
In celebrating International No Diet Day, participants are encouraged to:
• Challenge the idea of one “right” body shape and embrace body diversity.
• Declare a day free of dieting and obsessions about weight and shape.
• Learn the facts about the diet industry and understand the inefficacy of commercial diets.
• Help end weight discrimination, sizeism and fat phobia.
In a world that is obsessed with losing weight and that celebrates excessive exercise and yoyo dieting, how do we change and challenge our current way of thinking? (more/literally via)



- An Apology Letter to My Body: READ
- photographs of Doris Day via and via, copyright by respective owners

Friday, 3 May 2019

“Je m’appelle Modigliani. Je suis Juif.”

"My name is Modigliani. I am a Jew.", was Modigliani's (1884-1920) habit to introduce himself (via). Born into a middle class Italian-Jewish family in Livorno, Amedeo Clemente Modigliani moved to Bohemian, cosmopolitan Paris and centre of the art world in 1906 to develop his career (via).


Modigliani's harmonious, Latin good looks were at furthest remove from the anti-Semitic racial type - epitomised by the hooked Jewish nose. (...) in Paris, Modigliani was a Jew with a difference: he was Italian. Emily Braun
Paris meant excitement and inspiration, new ideas and opinions, contemporaries such as Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec. It also meant anti-Semitism. According to some, Modigliani was part of the Jewish artistic community - others point out that he was a nonpracticing Jew (via) and that his Jewish connection should not be exaggerated (via) - but what made him different from his contemporaries was that he encountered prejudice the first time when he came to Paris while others had left Eastern European countries for Paris due to prejudice (via). Another difference was that Modigliani was already speaking French fluently when he arrived in France and found it easier to integrate and assimilate into his new culture. Modigliani became part of the Parisian art world scene and developed with it. At the same time, art from his Asian and African contemporaries fascinated him (via).
Although Modigliani’s early work is typically viewed as subordinate to his late paintings, understanding the anti-Semitic social and cultural climate in which these early works were created is crucial to apprehending Modigliani’s overall oeuvre, and how it was influenced by his own interpretation of his identity as a Sephardic Jew.
When he arrived in Paris in 1906, Modigliani for the first time in his life experienced social ostracism and anti-Semitism, propagated by the likes of the racist publisher Edouard Drumont who spread ideas that contrasted sharply with the artist’s more tolerant upbringing in Italy. At the same time, Modigliani was fluent in French thanks to his French mother who grew up in Marseille. This allowed the artist to blend in with the French culture, and move between different social spaces with greater ease than some of his fellow Jewish artists from Eastern Europe. (...)
Modigliani’s subjugation to xenophobia and anti-Semitism, while fostering his own interpretation of identity and cultural hybridity, increasingly encouraged him to incorporate a host of diverse influences into his work, especially non-western traditions, including ancient art from Greece, Egypt, and Africa. Evidence of African tribal masks, in particular, can be observed in his renderings of exaggerated, elongated faces, which would become a hallmark of his art-making.
artnet
Here are two excerpts with contrasting views:
He understood identity and Jewishness as incredibly fluid and dynamic, and not at all in the sort of racist, fixed way that the French did at the time.
I think he was in some way parodying the extreme caricature-ness in which Jews and ethnic types, Africans, etc. were depicted in the popular press.
He’s very much fixated on Jewish faces—prominent nose, deep-set eyes, large lips. He exoticized or produced that extreme image because he was so different from it in real life.
The mask became a great signifier of this veiled, enigmatic quality or notion of identity” - a metaphor for his ability to assimilate in France without truly belonging.

Mason Klein, curator
The exhibit focuses primarily on work executed before World War I and is constrained by the curator Mason Klein’s thesis linking Modigliani’s mask-like figures to his identity as an outsider, a Sephardic Jew from Italy living in Paris. I will say upfront: I don’t buy this.
Frances Brent


Some stress his Jewish connection, others say it should not be exaggerated. Then, there is the notion that Modigliani was "a deeply Italian painter" versus "really French" while others come to the conclusion that he was "a culturally international person" and "culturally multi-faceted" (via).
"Modigliani is a deeply Italian painter, and he’s clearly interested in the language of the body, which is the language of Italian art." Griselda Pollock, art historian at England’s University of Leeds
While there are several memoirs that describe Modigliani’s passionate response to anti-Semitism, there’s simply no evidence that he felt himself an outsider. As was often the case in Sephardic families, his was deeply cosmopolitan. His mother was born in Marseilles and, generations back, her family had lived in Tunisia, Livorno, and even Algeria. His father’s family’s business had been in Rome but his father spent most of his time in Sardinia. National boundaries or the distinction between Sephardic and Ashkanazi Jews would have meant nothing to him. In Paris, his friends included many Jews—Lipchitz, Sutine, Max Jacob, Chagall, Zadkine, Nadelman, Diego Rivera, and Kisling—as well as non-Jews like Picasso, Henri Laurens, Juan Gris, and Jean Cocteau. If he was recognized for his Italianism, it was because of his dashing style. Lipchitz said, "he looked aristocratic even in his worn-out corduroys."
Frances Brent


Modigliani met Jeanne Hébuterne (1898-1920), a promising 19-year-old art student, in 1917. She immediately moved in with him "leaving her petit-bourgeois family aghast that she had taken up with a failed artist, and a Jewish one at that". Hébuterne gave birth to their daughter Jeanne on 29 November 2018, by summer 1919, she was pregnant again. On 24 January 1920, Amedeo Modigliani died of tubercular meningitis at age 35. About two days after his death, Hébuterne committed suicide by throwing herself out of the fifth-floor flat window. She was eight months' pregnant with their second child (via).
Their first daughter Jeanne was 14 months old when Modigliani died (via). Jeanne Modigliani (1918-1984) was brought to the Italian city of Livorno and raised by her grandparents and aunt who adopted her. She graduated in art history in Florence and later fled to Paris as she was persecuted as a Jew. In World War II, she became part of the French Resistance (via).

- - - - - - - - - -
photographs of Jeanne Modigliani with paintings of her mother painted by her father, by Ralph Crane (1964) via and via and via and via