Thursday 30 March 2017

Born this day ... Mary Whiton Calkins

"The student trained to reach decisions in the light of logic and of history will be disposed to recognize that, in a democratic country, governed as this is by the suffrage of its citizens, and given over as this is to the principle and practice of educating women, a distinction based on difference of sex is artificial and illogical. 
This quote shows how I felt about the unfair treatment for women in psychology after I was denied a Ph.D from Harvard, even though I had met all of the requirements."
Mary Whiton Calkins

Mary Calkins was born on 30 March 1863 in Hartford, Connecticut. She attended the local elementary school and learned German in private lessons, attended Smith College, taught Greek at Wellesley College, a woman's college close to her family's home. She also instructed students in the fields of philosophy and psychology and was appointed to a newly created position in Wellesley's experimental psychology department although she had no training in psychology. Not being trained in psychology was not an obstacle, being a woman was. As at that time a great many schools did not admit women as students, she was hired only after petitions were made. Calkins furthered her education at Clark University for psychology and Harvard University for philosophy. Resistance continued: When she enrolled in William James's seminar, four men dropped it in protest, at Harvard she officially had the status of a guest since women could not register. James called her performance "the most brilliant examination for the Ph.D. that we have had at Harvard"; Calkins was denied the honour.
"Although she completed all of the requirements for the Ph.D., including passing exams, and though her Harvard professors recommended her for the degree, she was denied the honor simply because she was a woman."
Harvard's college for women, Radcliffe, offered her a degree which she turned down saying that she had done the work at Harvard. Mary Calkins is one of the first women to be offered the Ph.D.

Calkins set up a psychological laboratory, introduced scientific psychology ot Wellesley's curriculum, made research (which e.g. led to the research method "paired-associate technique"). She became a full professor, president of the American Psychological Association (the first woman president of APA) and president of the American Philosophical Society, received honorary degrees and was elected to honorary membership in the British Psychological Association (via and via).

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photograph via

Wednesday 29 March 2017

The Evils of Novel-Reading

In the 19th century, there used to be medical objections to women reading novels. "Experts" were concerned that "reading diverted needed energy from a woman's reproductive organs as well as her nervous system". Novel-reading was linked to fertility issues, a woman's reproductive cycle, headaches, hysteria, and insanity. Some suggested that women should read novels only in the morning after first waking or following any meal as the female brain needed to rest while the body was digesting. As woman's physiology made her prone to shock, excited feelings caused by novels could stun her heart.

Feeding the female brain with the same intellectual fare as the male brain was dangerous. According to Dr. Edward H. Clarke (a retired professor from the Harvard Medical School), these women graduated from school with undeveloped ovaries and were sterile when they married. Women were supposed to stop reading to ensure the future good of society.
"(...) the girl who sits for hours poring over a novel to the damage of her eyes, her brain, and her general nervous system, is guilty of a lesser fault of the nature of suicide." Charlotte Mason
Novel-reading is "one of the most pernicious habits to which a young lady can become devoted. When the habit is once thoroughly fixed, it becomes as inveterate as the use of liquor or opium. The novel-devotee is as much a slave as the opium-eater or the inebriate." Dr. John Harvey Kellogg

In addition, sensation fiction could lead the young woman into flirtation or conduct that "later in life may make her blush to remember".
"(...) the descriptions of love-scenes, of thrilling, romantic episodes, find an echo in the girl's physical system and tend to create an abnormal excitement of her organs of sex, which she recognizes only as a pleasurable mental emotion, with no comprehension of the physical origin or the evil effects. Romance-reading by young girls will, by this excitement of the bodiliy organs, tend to create their premature development, and the child becomes physically a woman months, or even years, before she should." Dr. Mary Wood-Allen
Women were not supposed to be educated and certainly not to study during their menses, if they did not want to suffer "menorrhagia, dysmenorrhea, hemorrhage, amenorrhea, headache, dyspepsia, invalidism, neuralgia, hysteria, intense insanity, and premature death" (Golden, 2003).

Here an excerpt from "Novel Reading A Cause Of Female Depravity" (1797):
"Be not staggered, moral reader, at the recital! such (sic) serpents are really in existence; such daemons in the form of women are now too often to be found! (...) I have seen two poor disconsolate parents drop into premature graves, miserable victims to their daughters' dishonour, and the peace of several relative families wounded, never to be healed again in this world.  
'And was novel-reading the cause of this?' inquires some gentle fair one, who, deprived of such an amusement, could hardly exist; 'was novel reading the foundation of such frail conduct?' I answer yes!"

- Golden, C. J. (2003). Images of the Woman Reader in Victorian British and American Fiction. University Press of Florida
- The Monthly Mirror: Reflecting Men And Manners (1797) Novel Reading A Cause Of Female Depravity. Vol. IV (online)
- photographs of Audrey Hepburn (Mark Shaw, 1953) via and via and via and via

Tuesday 28 March 2017

"A double life."

"But what is scandal? Scandal is saying one thing and doing another; it is a double life, a double life. A totally double life: ‘I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this association and that one; but my life is not Christian, I don’t pay my workers a just wage, I exploit people, I am dirty in my business, I launder money…’ A double life. And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others."

"How many times have we heard – all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere – ‘but to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist.’ It is that, scandal. You destroy. You beat down. And this happens every day, it’s enough to see the news on TV, or to read the papers. In the papers there are so many scandals, and there is also the great publicity of the scandals. And with the scandals there is destruction." (via)

photographs via and via

Friday 24 March 2017

International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims

On 21 December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 March as the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.

The purpose of the Day is to:

- Honour the memory of victims of gross and systematic human rights violations and promote the importance of the right to truth and justice;
- Pay tribute to those who have devoted their lives to, and lost their lives in, the struggle to promote and protect human rights for all;
- Recognize, in particular, the important work and values of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, of El Salvador, who was assasinated on 24 March 1980, after denouncing violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable populations and defending the principles of protecting lives, promoting human dignity and opposition to all forms of violence. (literally via)

Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1917-1980) was the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador. He spoke out "against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture" and was assassinated while offering Mass in the chapel of a cancer hospital in 1980 - one year after the Revolutionary Government Junta came to power. A sniper from a right-wing death squad shot him in the heart. Three years before, his friend Rutilio Grande, a Jesuit priest who created self-reliance groups among the poor, was assassinated (via and via).
"When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, 'If they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path'". Oscar Romero
Romero was the "voice of those witout voice", the "most outspoken voice against the death squad slaughter", a priest who told the poor to seek justice in this world and not to wait for the next. His assassination plunged El Salvador into a civil war that left 80.000 dead and 8.000 disappeared. Little was done to investigate his murder, details went to grave with him and thousands of others who were killed (via and via).
"For me, though, Archbishop Oscar Romero is not just the greatest bishop in Christian history, he is one of the greatest human beings in history — right up there with the likes of Jeremiah and Isaiah, Francis and Clare, Mahatma Gandhi and Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, Thich Nhat Hanh and Archbishop Tutu. Oscar Romero is the epitome of what it means to be a Christian — a prophet of peace, justice and nonviolence.
And that’s precisely the problem. That’s why he was killed. That’s why so many church authorities ignore him, resent him, even hate him." John Dear
In 2015, Pope Francis declared Romero a martyr for his faith (via). What Óscar Romero and Pope Francis very much have in common is the philosophy of liberation theology which says that the Gospel contains a preference for the poor and that the Church has the duty to work for political, economic and spiritual change. This theology is not appreciated by conservatives in the Catholic Church who regarded the pro-poor movement as a Marxist Trojan horse and spent more than three decades blocking Romero's path to sainthood (via).
"For centuries, the Church had been telling the poor that their sufferings were God’s will, but now young priests were coming to rural areas to tell them that an unjust political and economic system, not God, was to blame for their miserable condition. God wanted them to live decent lives in this world, before they went to Heaven. The church was there to help them. It was a radical change, a revolution. The poor now had religious support to organize and defend themselves against the landowners, the oligarchy, the wealthiest people in one of the most unequal regions in the world, and against their repressive military apparatus." Carlos Dada
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photographs via and via

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Not Special Needs

"Special needs? Really? It would be 'special' if people with Down syndrome needed to eat dinosaur eggs. That would be special."

The "Not Special Needs" campaign was introduced for World Down Syndrome Day 2017, launched by CoorDown, Italy's national organisation for people with Down syndrome and developed by Publicis New York. It stars Lauren Potter, a popular actress with Down syndrome (via).

“The term ‘special needs’ is a euphemistic way to speak about persons with disabilities and their needs. The reality is people with Down syndrome do not have different or special needs, although they may sometimes meet those needs in different ways, they have the same needs as all of us… jobs, friends, love and simply the need to be seen and treated equally. We are so proud of this work for our incredible partner CoorDown who does so much great work courageously challenging preconceptions, and we hope our film maybe goes a little way to changing how people view those with Down syndrome.”
Andy Bird, chief creative officer Publicis New York

Tuesday 21 March 2017

"Help The Aged"

Help the aged,
one time they were just like you,
drinking, smoking cigs and sniffing glue.
Help the aged,
don't just put them in a home,
can't have much fun in there all on their own.

Give a hand, if you can,
try and help them to unwind.
Give them hope & give them comfort 'cos they're running out of time.

*In the meantime we try.
Try to forget that nothing lasts forever. No big deal so give us all a feel.
Funny how it all falls away.
When did you first realise?
It's time you took an older lover baby. Teach you stuff
although he's looking rough.
Funny how it all falls away.

Help the aged
'cos one day you'll be older too
- you might need someone who can
pull you through
& if you look very hard
behind the lines upon their face you may see where you are headed
and it's such a lonely place.

You can dye your hair
but it's the one thing you can't change.
Can't run away from yourself, yourself...

Funny how it all falls away. [x3]
So help the aged.

lyrics via

Monday 20 March 2017


A while ago, I switched to comment moderation. In other words, currently comments do not appear without my approval. The reason why is that a person tends to run amok on my blog and this person's episodes get more intense from time to time. It will not stay like that ("comment moderation", I mean) ... in the meantime I would like to express my gratitude for your beautiful - and wonderfully sane ;-) - feedback and tell you that I am sorry for the delay of your comments before being published. Well, theoretically there may be the positive side effect that by stalking me online this person can at least develop some interest in diversity. Who knows?...

image via

Thursday 16 March 2017

Narrative images: Waiting for the bus

"May 2, 1942—Byron, California. Third generation of American children of Japanese ancestry in crowd awaiting the arrival of the next bus which will take them from their homes to the Assembly center." (via)

"Mother and baby await evacuation bus. Posted on wall are schedules listing names of families, buses to which they are assigned, and times of departure. May 9, 1942. Centerville, California." (via)

Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), known as "America's greatest documentary photographer" (via), took photographs of US-Americans of Japanese ancestry who were incarcerated after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 - photographs that were "quietly censored by military commanders" who disapproved of Lange's work. Her prints were not actively distributed, in fact, many of them were marked as "impounded". After the war, the photographs were deposited in the National Archives where they remained unseen for decades and were released only in 2006.
Over 120.000 persons - including children - had to evacuate their homes and businesses and were relocated to camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards for a couple of years.
The War Relocation Authority recruited Dorothea Lange to create a photographic record of the evacuation and relocation. Lange accepted despite - or because of - her moral objection to prison camps (via and via and via). She never had a comfortable feeling about the war relocation job but hoped to expose what the government was doing to its citizens (via)

"Ms. Lange’s critique is especially impressive given the political mood of the time."
Linda Gordon

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photographs by Dorothea Lange via and via

Monday 13 March 2017

Margaret Thatcher's Voice in a Man's World of Politics

"What Britain needs is an iron lady."
Margaret Thatcher

According to research findings, voters tend to prefer lower-pitched voices who they rate higher for leadership potential, dominance, intelligence, and attractiveness. In a study, a sample of 125 people (61 women and 64 men) listened to nine US presidents and judged higher and lower pitched versions of their voices. The results: 67% of the time, they voted for the deeper tones. The conclusion: Men with lower pitched voices have an advantage (via and via). In another study, 800 volunteers were asked to complete online questionnaires in which they were asked about preferences towards hypothetical political candidates aged between 30 and 70. Results and correlations: Most people favoured candidates whose ages ranged from 40 to 60, the age range most people's voices reach their lowest pitch. In the second part of the study, 400 men and 403 women were asked to listen to pairs of recordings of the phrase "I urge you to vote for me this November.", once spoken at a higher pitch, once at a lower pitch. Participants were asked which version sounded more competent and who they would rather vote for in an election. A clear majority voted for the deeper-voiced candidate in the mock election (via). A study of all 435 U.S. House elections in 2012 showed that voice pitch correlated with electoral outcomes as both male and female candidates with lower voices significantly more likely to win (via).

Margaret Hilda Thatcher (1925-2013), Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, was the first woman to have held the office or - according to Glenda Jackson - not the first woman but the the first Prime Minister of female gender ("The first Prime Minister of female gender, OK. But a woman? Not on my terms." Glenda Jackson). She was also the woman to be advised to lower her tone to win the election in 1979 (via). Thatcher started taking lessons with a speech coach at the Royal National Theatre which made her lower her pitch and develop a calmer and more authoritative tone (via and via and via).
“Soon the hectoring tones of the housewife gave way to softer notes and a smoothness that seldom cracked except under extreme provocation on the floor of the House of Commons.”
Charles Moore
Trivia: A few months ago, the Victoria and Albert Museum discovered two throat lozenges in the pockets of one of Thatcher's old suits while preparing a collection of her outfits to go on display. The lozenges were probably taken to soothe her voice (via).

"People with lower voices may have an edge in elections for positions of leadership, but do people with lower voices actually make better leaders? On the one hand, if individuals with higher testosterone levels (as demonstrated by their deeper voices) are more aggressive, both physically and socially, a leader with a lower voice might be a more forceful advocate on behalf of his or her constituents. On the other hand, given that political conflict in modern times arises from a clash of complex ideologies at least as often as from contests of physical dominance, individuals with more testosterone and lower voices may be overly aggressive and less adept at cooperation. Perhaps our predilection for certain voice characteristics did yield better leadership at some point in our distant past, and it is possible that such predilections continue to serve us well in selecting good leaders. But it is also possible that an unconscious bias for lower voices causes us to vote against our best interests in today’s increasingly interdependent world."
Klofstad, Nowicki & Anderson (2016)

"I owe nothing to Women's Lib."
Margaret Thatcher

"It was years ago during a late-night student debate when a female friend suggested I was losing the argument as my voice had become too high. I can't remember for the life of me what the argument was about, but I do remember my feminist fury as I pointed out that I was always going to lose against my (male) opponent if that was how we were being judged. It all ended in tears with my friend hiding in the loo. As I said, it was late at night."
Jane Martinson

::: Voice analysis of Margaret Thatcher (ca. 2 minutes): WATCH/LISTEN

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photographs via and via

Friday 10 March 2017

Quoting George Takei (III)

"When Brad and I got married in 2008, it got a lot of attention. And all the attention was over the fact that we were two men, but people were hardly conscious of the fact that we were entering into an interracial marriage. That's wonderful, because it was only 50 years ago with Loving v. Virginia that interracial marriages were made legal."
George Takei

"When I was going to gay bars in my 20s and 30s, the older guys there explained to me that the police would occasionally raid these places and march the clients out, load them onto paddy wagons, drive them down to the station, photograph them, fingerprint them and put their names on a list. They were doing nothing wrong, and it was criminalized."
George Takei

"As my audience grew more diverse, I started interjecting social justice advocacy and commentaries about LGBT equality, and it just kept growing more."
George Takei

"In Indiana, gays and lesbians can be fired from their jobs with impunity, and in Arkansas, it's the same thing. We need those protective laws to truly have an equal society."
George Takei

"I was pursuing my acting career, but I was silent on the LGBT issue, the issue that was closest to me. I knew if I came out then, I'd have had to change careers."
George Takei

"When I came out, I was 68, and I was totally prepared for my career to recede when I spoke to the press for the first time. What happened after that blew me away. I started getting more offers. My career blossomed."
George Takei

"I'm especially concerned about the future of this country, because I'm concerned about the gay people of the future. We need to ensure their good life by registering to vote."
George Takei

"In many ways, my decision to come out changed the course not only of my personal life but of my professional one as well."
George Takei

"Back in the day, coming out was something very personal. You began by acknowledging the truth, first to yourself, then to close family and friends. Those of us more in the public spotlight, though, also had to 'come out' to the press."
George Takei

"People are interested not just in Sulu, but George Takei - and he's gay. Life is full of twist and turns."
George Takei

"'Star Trek' fans totally accepted my sexual orientation. There are a great number of LGBT people across 'Star Trek' fandom. The show always appealed to people that were different - the geeks and the nerds, and the people who felt they were not quite a part of society, sometimes because they may have been gay or lesbian."
George Takei

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photographs via and via

Thursday 9 March 2017

Quoting George Takei (II)

"I've been an activist since my late teens. I take this very seriously and try to use the gift that's been given to me - access to the media - as positively as I can."
George Takei

"Our democracy is dependent on people who passionately cherish the ideals of a democracy. Every man is created equal with an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It's a wonderful idea, and it takes people who cherish that idea to be actively involved in the process."
George Takei

"I love people. When you're engaged with society and trying to make it a better society, you're an optimist."
George Takei

"I was doing a civil rights musical here in Los Angeles, and we sang at one of the rallies where Dr. Martin Luther King spoke, and I remember the thrill I felt when we were introduced to him. To have him shake your hand was an absolutely unforgettable experience."
George Takei

"I marched back then - I was in a civil-rights musical, Fly Blackbird, and we met Martin Luther King."
George Takei

"Equality. The final frontier."
George Takei

"I do think that Japan will be one of the nations that have equality, and that, too, will serve as an example for other Asian nations."
George Takei

"Happily, the days when overt racial discrimination and segregation were championed by social conservatives are long past."
George Takei

"Fifty-one years ago, (U.S.) president Lyndon Johnson signed the voting rights bill. We thought that was a major achievement (for) African-Americans to get the vote. Still, to this day, 51 years later, we’re still fighting all of the barriers that are being put up to access the voting booth in places in the South, and certain places in the Midwest."
George Takei

"We now live in the 21st century where the picture on the cinema screen should be in full color ― the rich spectrum of hues from yellow to brown to red. Black and white pictures are old history. We want to see the full diversity of America now on screen."
George Takei

"I am writing to give thanks to the Broadway community — for not being Hollywood. In a year when the movie industry celebrated only white actors for awards, then used gross stereotypes of Asians during the broadcast to gain cheap laughs, Broadway celebrated its most diverse year ever.
We told important, often untold stories from a myriad new storytellers. I am grateful that shows like Hamilton, On Your Feet!, The Color Purple, Shuffle Along and Allegiance brought not only underrepresented voices to the stage, but critical employment opportunities for minority actors as well as many new communities and audiences to New York theaters."
George Takei

"My grandmother lived to 104 years old, and part of her success was she woke up every morning to a brand new day. She said every morning is a new gift. Her favorite hobby was collecting birthdays."
George Takei

"The wonderful thing about acting is they're always going to need old codgers!"
George Takei

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photographs via and via

Friday 3 March 2017

Quoting George Takei (I)

"Star Trek is about acceptance, and the strength of the Starship Enterprise is that it embraces diversity in all its forms."
George Takei

"Gene Roddenberry continually reminded us that the Star Trek Enterprise was a metaphor for starship Earth. And the strength in this starship came from its diversity, coming together and working in concert as a team. That is the strength of our countries, Canada and the United States. We are nations of diversity."
George Takei

"Star Trek is a show that had a vision about a future that was positive."
George Takei

"I don't consider it jumping ship. The 'Star Trek' philosophy is to embrace the diversity of the universe, and 'Star Wars' is part of that diversity. I also think 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars' are related beyond both having the word 'Star.'"
George Takei

"Gene Roddenbury felt that television was being wasted. That it had the potential for enlightenment and even inspiration."
George Takei

"At the core of 'Star Trek' is Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future. So much of science-fiction is about a dystopian society with human civilization having crumbled. He had an affirmative, shining, positive view of the future."
George Takei

"You know what the lowest rated episode we ever had was? Where Captain Kirk kissed Uhuru - a white man kissing an African-American woman. All the stations in the American South - in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana - refused to air it. And so our ratings plummeted."
George Takei

"Up until the time I was cast in 'Star Trek,' the roles were pretty shallow - thin, stereotyped, one-dimensional roles. I knew this character was a breakthrough role, certainly for me as an individual actor but also for the image of an Asian character: no accent, a member of the elite leadership team."
George Takei

images via and via and via

Wednesday 1 March 2017

"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"

BELE: It is obvious to the most simpleminded that Lokai is of an inferior breed.
SPOCK: The obvious visual evidence, Commissioner, is that he is of the same breed as yourself.
BELE: Are you blind, Commander Spock? Well, look at me. Look at me!
KIRK: You're black on one side and white on the other.
BELE: I am black on the right side.
KIRK: I fail to see the significant difference.
BELE: Lokai is white on the right side. All of his people are white on the right side. (via)

"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is the 15th episode of the third season of Star Trek - The Original Series. It was first broadcast in 1969.

The episode is about the two humanoids Lokai and Bele, one white on the right half of his body and black on the left half and the other humanoid the other way round. Both insist that their people had been oppressed by the other, their prejudices are based on the skin colour of "the other" only or rather on being oppositely coloured. It is an episode that reflects the problems of the era (via) and tackles racism by demonstrating consequences of absurd prejudices.
"How can I make your flesh know how it feels to see all those who are like you, and only because they are like you, despised, slaughtered, and even worse, denied the simplest bit of decency that is a living being's right?" Lokai
The episode was partly criticised for using too obvious metaphors. Nevertheless, Star Trek once again communicated humanist values and Gene Roddenberry's vision to "say something", to challenge the viewer to think and react (via).

::: The complete episode on Vimeo: WATCH

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images via and via and via and via