Thursday 31 August 2017

Carrie Fisher & the Gold Bikini: Intersection of Sexism, Weightism and Ageism.

"I'm what psychology journals refer to as batshit crazy. It's a delicate mix of bipolar disorder, which I'm able to control through serious medication, and a completely untreatable case of I don't give a shit. 
Unfortunately, for a woman, the side effects of this condition include: reduced employment, phone calls from terrified PR flacks and tremendous difficulty getting myself down to a weight that's acceptable to some 35 year old studio executive whose deepest fantasy and worst nightmare somehow both involve me in a gold bikini."
Carrie Fisher

"There was this thing on Fox News about this father not being able to explain to his daughter what the outfit was. What, that my character was forced to put on that outfit against my will, and I took it off as soon as I could kill the guy who picked out the outfit? I had so much fun killing [Jabba]. They asked me if I wanted my stunt double to kill him, but I wanted to. I sawed his neck off with that chain. I really wanted to kill him."
Carrie Fisher

"To the father who flipped out about it, 'What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?' Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage."
Carrie Fisher, 2015

"I didn’t even think it was going to be in the movie. She’s a princess. What the hell is she doing walking around in a bikini?"
Harrison Ford

"My favorite one to see is the metal bikini — on men! That is what has been happening a lot. A lot. And not thin men, by the way! So that makes me feel good about myself, kind of a before-and-after thing — this is way after. Not only is Princess Leia fatter, she's a guy!"
Carrie Fisher on her favourite Comic Con Princess Leia costume

"Where am I in all of this? … I have to stay with the slug with the big tongue! Nearly naked, which is not a style choice for me. … It wasn’t my choice. When [director George Lucas] showed me the outfit, I thought he was kidding and it made me very nervous. I had to sit very straight because I couldn’t have lines on my sides, like little creases. No creases were allowed, so I had to sit very, very rigid straight.
What redeems it is I get to kill him, which was so enjoyable. ... I sawed his neck off with that chain that I killed him with. I really relished that because I hated wearing that outfit and sitting there rigid straight, and I couldn't wait to kill him."
Carrie Fisher, 2016

"Don't be a slave like I was. You keep fighting against that slave outfit."
Carrie Fisher to Daisy Ridley

"Fisher tells a story of how George Lucas asked her to come out to San Francisco to discuss the script for Return of the Jedi. When she arrived, he pulled out a picture of Leia in that iconic bikini, and she remarked, “No, George, but seriously.” The slave bikini, chosen by Jabba the Hutt, left her vulnerable to the occasional wardrobe malfunction, too. “If I lay like this”—she arches her back flat—“and it doesn’t adhere, it is like plastic, so that is a problem here”—she points to you-know-where—“because if I lay down, it doesn’t go with me. I didn’t inform him, but I always thought that if Boba Fett were of a mind, he could see all the way to Florida.”" (The Daily Beast) George Lucas told Fisher to lose weight to wear the bikini (Yahoo).

"I started checking for any bounce or slip after takes. It was, !CUT. Hey, how they doin'? The hooters in place?'"
Carrie Fisher, 1983

The gold bikini was auctioned for $96.000,- in 2015 (via).

photographs via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via

Wednesday 30 August 2017

What Makes a Man (1972)

"I was the first to write a song in France about homosexuality. I wanted to write about the specific problems my gay friends faced. I could see things were different for them, that they were marginalized."
Charles Aznavour

"It’s a kind of sickness I have, talking about things you’re not supposed to talk about. I started with homosexuality and I wanted to break every taboo."
Charles Aznavour

"I always wrote about things that others might not have written about. We don’t mind frank language in books, the theatre or cinema, but for some reason still to sing about such things is seen as odd."
Charles Aznavour

"I wanted to write what nobody else was writing. I’m very open, very risky, not afraid of breaking my career because of one song. I don’t let the public force me to do what they want me to do. I force them to listen to what I have done. That’s the only way to progress, and to make the public progress."
Charles Aznavour

My mum and I we live alone
A great apartment is our home
In Fairhome Towers
I have to keep me company
Two dogs, a cat, a parakeet
Some plants and flowers
I help my mother with the chores
I wash, she dries, I do the floors
We work together
I shop and cook and sow a bit
Though mum does too I must admit
I do it better
At night I work in a strange bar
Impersonating every star
I'm quite deceiving
The customers come in with doubt
And wonder what I'm all about
But leave believing
I do a very special show
Where I am nude from head to toe
After stripteasing
Each night the men look so surprised
I change my sex before their eyes
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man

At three o'clock or so I meet
With friends to have a bite to eat
And conversation
We love to empty out our hearts
With every subject from the arts
To liberation
We love to pull apart someone
And spread some gossip just for fun
Or start a rumor
We let our hair down, so to speak
And mock ourselves with tongue-in-cheek
And inside humor
So many times we have to pay
For having fun and being gay
It's not amusing
There's always those that spoil our games
By finding fault and calling names
Always accusing
They draw attention to themselves
At the expense of someone else
It's so confusing
Yet they make fun of how I talk
And imitate the way I walk
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man

My masquerade comes to an end
And I go home to bed again
Alone and friendless
I close my eyes, I think of him
I fantasize what might have been
My dreams are endless
We love each other but it seems
The love is only in my dreams
It's so one sided
But in this life I must confess
The search for love and happiness
Is unrequited
I ask myself what I have got
Of what I am and what I'm not
What have I given
The answers come from those who make
The rules that some of us must break
Just to keep living
I know my life is not a crime
I'm just a victim of my time
I stand defenseless
Nobody has the right to be
The judge of what is right for me
Tell me if you can
What make a man a man

Tell me if you can
Tell me if you can
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man

(lyrics via)

images via and via

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Beatlemania, the Menace of Beatlism, Generations, Hysteria & Female Fanaticism

extreme enthusiasm for the Beatles pop group, as manifested in the frenzied behaviour of their fans in the 1960s.
(Google Dictionary)

"Are teenagers different today? Of course not. Those who flock round the Beatles, who scream themselves into hysteria, are the least fortunate of their generation, the dull, the idle, the failures: their existence, in such large numbers, far from being a cause for ministerial congratulation, is a fearful indictment of our education system, which in 10 years of schooling can scarcely raise them to literacy."

"If the Beatles and their like were in fact what the youth of Britain wanted, one might well despair. I refuse to believe it – and so will any other intelligent person who casts his or her mind back far enough. What were we doing at 16? I remember reading the whole of Shakespeare and Marlowe, writing poems and plays and stories. At 16, I and my friends heard our first performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; I can remember the excitement even today. We would not have wasted 30 seconds of our precious time on the Beatles and their ilk."

"Before I am denounced as a reactionary fuddy-duddy, let us pause an instant and see exactly what we mean by this “youth”. Both TV channels now run weekly programmes in which popular records are played to teenagers and judged. While the music is performed, the cameras linger savagely over the faces of the audience. What a bottomless chasm of vacuity they reveal! The huge faces, bloated with cheap confectionery and smeared with chain-store makeup, the open, sagging mouths and glazed eyes, the broken stiletto heels: here is a generation enslaved by a commercial machine. Behind this image of “youth”, there are, evidently, some shrewd older folk at work."
Paul Johnson, "The Menace of Beatlism", February 1964 (excerpts)

Teenagers "screaming themselves into hysteria" seemed to be an important aspect of Beatlemania. Shortly after their visit to New Zealand, Taylor carried out empirical research but found "no evidence from the Hysteria Scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory to support the popular opinion that the enthusiasts were hysterics (...). It was concluded that 'Beatlemania' is the passing reaction of predominantly young adolescent females to group pressures of such a kind that meet their special emotional needs." (Taylor, 1966). As the Beatles had a great many female fans, people were perhaps more likely to call them hysteric since hysteria was traditionally considered to be a female disease.

In 1841, fans of Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt showed "a level of fanaticism similar to the Beatles" (via). Soon the term "Lisztomania" was coined, characterised by "intense levels of hysteria" (via). Before the Beatles, there was Liszt, there was Elvis, there was Sinatra. The "mass hysteria" surrounding the Beatles, however, was unprecedented.
"Prior to the Beatles’ arrival on the music scene in 1963, young girls were typically quiet followers of the postwar culture, resigning themselves to domestic responsibilities and stricter parental control."
The Fab Four, when they started, had no "overtly masculine overtones", their style deviated from the traditional hyper-masculine image at the time. The "moderated type of masculinity" may have added to their allure among young female fans. It is also argued that their collective image contributed to their mass appeal amongst teenage girls. Unlike Presley and Sinatra - who were the lead singers in the centre accompanied by a band or an orchestra - the Beatles performed without hierarchical roles. Since women are said to rather create collaborative groups which they prefer to hierarchical structures, their collective image may also have been particularly appealing to female fans. In addition, the Beatles covered "girl group material", wrote songs about sensitivity, romance, collectiveness, transformed "female dependence into male vulnerability". A great many songs were directly addressed to their (female) fans. In "She Loves You", for instance, the man is encouraged to apologise to her, which was new at the time. Their portrayal of women was more positive; women were not idealised but fully-formed characters, the image of love was egalitarian. And, it was the 1960s, a decade marked by the Beatles and women's search for liberation.
"The women’s movement didn’t just happen. It was an awareness that came over you—that you could be your own person. For many of us, that began with the Beatles. They told us we could do anything."  Marcy Lanza, quoted in Pelusi, 2014
"As Jonathan Gould notes, the Beatles were able to provide a “socially and emotionally secure environment for the expression of female assertiveness, aggression, sexuality, and solidarity” with their unique image and empowering lyrics. This musical environment allowed for the expansion of Beatlemania, a collective hysteria where girls wept, screamed, and fainted at the mere thought of seeing their idols in person. Such is the influence of the Beatles’ music that even today, the group remains one of the most popular and well-loved of all time. From the 1960s onwards, Beatlemania spread “Across the Universe,” forever leaving its mark as one of the most notable influences on the gender revolution that grew into the unrelenting musical and pop culture phenomenon, one that is still remembered and celebrated today." Cura, 2009

"Individually, teenagers are isolated and worried and scared all the time of whether or not they're doing the right things and wearing all the right clothes, but everybody liked The Beatles so everybody was equal, we were all in it together." Clerc

More Beatlemania:

::: A taste of Beatlemania in the 1960s: WATCH
::: Beatlemania, Liverpool & L.A. fans, 1982: WATCH, the sound of the first seconds: LISTEN
::: Beatles welcome home, London, 1964: WATCH
::: Beatles take over Holland, Amsterdam, 1964: WATCH
::: Beatles in Sydney, 1964: WATCH
::: Beatles in Hamburg, 1966 (in German): WATCH 
::: Beatles fans get interviewed, 1964: WATCH
::: More Beatles fans: WATCH

- Cura, K. (2009). She Loves You: The Beatles and Female Fanaticism. Nota Bene: Canadian Undergraduate Journal of Musicology, 2(1), Article 8. 104-113.
- Pelusi, A. J. (2014). Doctor Who and the Creation of a Non-Gendered Hero Archetype. Theses and Dissertations, Paper 272. Illinois State University.
- photographs via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via; copyrights by the respective owners

Saturday 26 August 2017

Narrative images: Buying a house on Long Island

"An African American and a white girl study a sign in the integrated Long Island community of Lakeview, New York, on April 1962." (via)
Negroes! This Community could become another ghetto. You owe it to your family to buy in another community 

Erase (2012). Housing and Neighbourhood Preferences of African Americans on Long Island. 2012 Survey Research Report.
Here are some excerpts from the 2012 research report:

Long Island is one of the most racially segregated regions in the country. For the past ten years, ERASE Racism has documented how housing discrimination plays a significant role in determining the neighborhoods where African Americans on Long Island will most likely reside. We have reported that, as a direct result of patterns of housing segregation, only 9% of Long Island’s black students have access to high performing schools as compared to 30% of white students. Studies have also shown that even the most affluent black and Hispanic homeowners are segregated into majority black and Hispanic communities with high concentrations of poverty. These factors point to structural impediments for blacks to housing choice and to quality education. Nonetheless, studies about neighborhood preferences often pose the question about whether so-called “self-segregation” is at play by all racial groups, including blacks, rather than structural racism."

Despite the popular notion that blacks only want to live in communities with neighbors who share their own race or ethnicity, the telephone survey findings showed that given the choice, nearly all respondents chose a racially mixed neighborhood, with a large majority, 69%, who chose an even mix of 50% white and 50% black. Only 1% of respondents said that they would like to live in a neighborhood that is all black.

Long Island continues to be one of the most racially segregated regions in the nation; in 1980 the Dissimilarity Index for blacks in relation to whites was 76.9, with 100 representing total segregation. Thirty years later, in 2010, the black-white level of segregation was 69.2, still very high and indicating just a slight decrease (dropping barely 1 percentage point every five years). While Long Island also tends to be segregated by income, income disparities cannot explain the very high level of segregation experienced by blacks in the region.

African Americans perceive housing discrimination as pervasive on Long Island. One in three, 33%, of black Long Islanders surveyed reported having experienced housing discrimination first-hand or within their immediate family. Our previous housing reports, reports by others and various law suits have documented the ongoing problem of fair housing violations, including racial steering by real estate agents, predatory lending by banks, and discriminatory municipal policies. Housing discrimination promotes and preserves residential and school segregation.

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photograph via

Thursday 24 August 2017

We stole their land, their buffalo and their women. Then we went back for their shoes.

The Red Indians were an ungrateful lot.
Far from thanking the whiteman for bringing them civilisation (guns, whisky, disease, that kind of thing), they spent years making very bad medicine.
Naturally, during the course of their disputes, the whiteman found it necessary to relieve the Red Indians of certain items.
Thousands of square miles of land, for instance, which they didn't seem to be using.
The odd buffalo, which provided some interesting culinary experiences for the folks heading West.
And of course the squaws, who were often invited along to soothe the fevered brows of conscience-stricken gun-runners and bounty hunters.

But perhaps the most lasting testament to this cultural exchange programme is the humble moccasin.
A shoe of quite ingenious construction. And remarkably comfortable to boot.
Even now, nearly two centuries after the first whiteman tried a pair on, they have yet to be bettered.
Which is why at Timberland, all of our loafers, boat shoes and walking shoes are based on the original Red Indian design. (...)
Our hand sewn shoes also hark back to the days before the whiteman came.
No machines. No mass production. No deadlines. (...)
A far cry from the Red Indian moccasin? We certainly hope not.
Because if we ever forget our origins, or change our old-fashioned way of making boots and shoes, one thing's for sure.
A lot of people are going to be on the warpath.

The newspaper ad designed by the agency Leagas Delaney, won a Silver Pencil "despite complaints from some within the ad industry that it contains racist nuances" (via).

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image via

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Stan's Soapbox: As true today as it was in 1968. Pax et Justitia.

Stan Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber in 1922, is a US-American comic-book writer, editor, film executive producer, and publisher. The son of Romanian-born Jewish immigrant parents was the former editor-in-chief, executive vice president, publisher, and figurehead of Marvel Comics (via).
Stan Lee created superheroes who fight hate (via). In 2010, he founded the "Stan Lee Foundation" striving "to provide equal access to literacy and education" and to promote "diversity, national literacy, culture and the arts" (via).

"Stan's Soapbox" was a monthly column written by Stan Lee. It was part of the "Marvel Bullpen Bulletins" (also created by Stan Lee) that ran from 1965 to 2001 and first appeared in June 1967 (via and via).
In 1968, Lee wrote about racism and bigotry. He tweeted his words again on 15 August 2017 commenting "As true today as it was in 1968. Pax et Justitia - Stan" (via).

Stan's Soapbox

Let's lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed supervillains, they can't be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them - to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater - one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he's down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he's never seen - people he's never known - with equal intensitiy - with equal venom. Now, we're not trying to say it's unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it's totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race - to despise an entire nation - to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God - a God who calls ALL - His children.
Pax et Justitia,

"I always felt the X-Men, in a subtle way, often touched upon the subject of racism and inequality, and I believe that subject has come up in other titles, too, but we would never pound hard on the subject, which must be handled with care and intelligence."
Stan Lee

"America is made of different races and different religions, but we’re all co-travelers on the spaceship Earth and must respect and help each other along the way."
Stan Lee

images via and via and via and via

Thursday 17 August 2017

"Answer me that, Mr. Green Lantern!"

- "I been readin' about you... how you work for the blue skins... and how on a planet someplace you helped out the orange skins... and you done considerable for the purple skins! Only there's skins you never bothered with!... the black skins! I want to know... how come?! Answer me that, Mr. Green Lantern!"
- "I... can't..."
(Green Lantern, 1970, #76)

"We would dramatize [contemporary social] issues. We would not resolve them. We were not in the polemic business. I was smart enough to know enormously complex problems couldn’t be dissected within the limitations of a 25-page comic book and humble enough to know that I didn’t have solutions anyway. Still, I cherished the notion that the stories might be socially useful: I could hope they might awaken youngsters, eight- or nine-year-olds, to the world’s dilemmas and these children, given such an early start, might be able to find solutions in their maturity. My generation, and my father’s, had grown up ignorant; my son’s didn’t have to. Maybe I could help, a little." Denny O'Neil
"The reality of the situation as America entered the decade of the 1960s and the messages contained in comics differed markedly. Bob Dylan pointed out that ‘‘The Times They [were] A’Changing.’’ Why so this change? The cultural hegemony that had dominated America began to erode. People’s ideas on the concept of reality underwent a profound change. Youth in particular neither internalized nor supported norms that had, for decades, enabled the dominant class to impose its value system on society. More and more, out-groups and minorities believed that a ruling elite of white, middle-aged males controlled American society. (...)
O’Neil, Adams, and editor Julius Schwartz teamed up to revitalize Green Lantern (Goulart 157). The new Green Lantern co-stars in a comic book in which social issues are dramatized. (...)
The Green Lantern character is the classic example of how it is possible for people to ‘‘ignore the social and political realities that have separated blacks from whites . . . the upholders of the established order from the poor and powerless, precisely because they would not, or could not, look below the surface and distinguish between form and substance’’ (Sherman 160). O’Neil condemns individuals who are guided by a ‘‘set of beliefs and/or aims (including interests, preferences, desires, etc.) that functions to promote and secure privileges for certain individuals or groups over other individuals or groups’’ (Hogan 28). (...)
The elderly black tenant’s remarks force Green Lantern to think about the ugly faces of racism, poverty, and oppression in American society. He responds to the black man, saying, ‘‘I can’t’’ (6). Green Lantern searches his own soul. Back in his hotel room, he recounts the vow he made: ‘‘No evil shall escape my sight.’’ He sees evil all around him disguised in familiar everyday persons and places. Self-liberation occurs, but he is unable to shed his liberalism."
(Moore, 2003)

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- Moore, J. T. (2003). The Education of Green Lantern: Culture and Ideology. The Journal of American Culture, 26(2), 263-278. (pdf)
- image via

Tuesday 15 August 2017

Four Women (1966)

"I am emphatically against the injustices of black people, of third world people. 'Four Women' came to me after conversations I had with black women. It seemed we were all suffering from self-hatred. We hated our complexions, our hair, our bodies. I realized we had been brainwashed into feeling this way about ourselves by some black men and many white people. I tried to speak to this in the song. And do you know, some black radio stations wouldn't play it? It is true what they say: the truth hurts."
Nina Simone

"But it was “Four Women,” an instantly accessible analysis of the damning legacy of slavery, that made iconographic the real women we knew and would become. For African American women it became an anthem affirming our existence, our sanity, and our struggle to survive a culture which regards us as anti-feminine. It acknowledged the loss of childhoods among African American women, our invisibility, exploitation, defiance, and even subtly reminded that in slavery and patriarchy, your name is what they call you. Simone’s final defiant scream of the name Peaches was our invitation to get over color and class difference and step with the sister who said:
My skin is brown/My manner is tough/I’ll kill the first mother I see/ My life has been rough/I’m awfully bitter these days/Because my parents were slaves.
For African American women artists of my generation, “Four Women” became the core of works to come (...)".
Thulani Davis

"Ironically, “Four Women” was charged with being insulting to black women and was banned on a couple of radio stations in New York and Philadelphia soon after the recording was released, in 1966. The ban was lifted, however, when it produced more outrage than the song. Simone’s husband, Andrew Stroud, who was also her manager, worried about the dangers that the controversy might have for her career, although this was hardly a new problem. Simone had been singing out loud and clear about civil rights since 1963—well after the heroic stand of figures like Harry Belafonte and Sammy Davis, Jr., but still at a time when many black performers felt trapped between the rules of commercial success and the increasing pressure for racial confrontation."
Claudia Roth Pierpont

"'Four Women' was written overnight, but it took me four months before I had the nerve to play it to somebody because I thought it would be rejected. I played it for my husband on an airplane one day; I thought he wasn't going to like it because it was so direct and blatant."
Nina Simone (1984)

“My skin is black,” the first woman’s story begins, “my arms are long.” And, to a slow and steady beat, “my hair is woolly, my back is strong.” Singing in a club in Holland, in 1965, Nina Simone introduced a song she had written about what she called “four Negro women” to a young, homogeneously white, and transfixed crowd. “And one of the women’s hair,” she instructed, brushing her hand lightly across her own woolly Afro, “is like mine.” Every performance of “Four Women” caught on film (as here) or disk is different. Sometimes Simone coolly chants the first three women’s parts—the effect is of resigned weariness—and at other times, as on this particular night, she gives each woman an individual, sharply dramatized voice. All four have names. Aunt Sarah is old, and her strong back has allowed her only “to take the pain inflicted again and again.” Sephronia’s yellow skin and long hair are the result of her rich white father having raped her mother—“Between two worlds I do belong”—and Sweet Thing, a prostitute, has tan skin and a smiling bravado that seduced at least some of the eager Dutch listeners into the mistake of smiling, too. And then Simone hit them with the last and most resolutely up to date of the women, improbably named Peaches. “My skin is brown,” she growled ferociously, “my manner is tough. I’ll kill the first mother I see. ’Cause my life has been rough.” (One has to wonder what the Dutch made of killing that “mother.”) If Simone’s song suggests a history of black women in America, it is also a history of long-suppressed and finally uncontainable anger.
Claudia Roth Pierpont

My skin is black
My arms are long
My hair is woolly
My back is strong
Strong enough to take the pain
inflicted again and again
What do they call me
My name is AUNT SARAH
My name is Aunt Sarah

My skin is yellow
My hair is long
Between two worlds
I do belong
My father was rich and white
He forced my mother late one night
What do they call me
My name is SAFFRONIA
My name is Saffronia

My skin is tan
My hair is fine
My hips invite you
my mouth like wine
Whose little girl am I?
Anyone who has money to buy
What do they call me
My name is SWEET THING
My name is Sweet Thing

My skin is brown
my manner is tough
I'll kill the first mother I see
my life has been too rough
I'm awfully bitter these days
because my parents were slaves
What do they call me
My name is PEACHES

(lyrics via)

Related postings:
- The day Nina Simone's skin grew a little more black: LINK
- The Backlash Blues: LINK
- Nina Simone: LINK

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photographs via and via

Friday 11 August 2017

Can a photographer be blind? Can a car be art? Volkswagen and the blind photographer.

"I didn’t take photography seriously until I went totally blind. I was trained in sculpture and industrial design. I have always been a visual person and planned to study architecture at Yale, but then I started to lose my sight. A doctor coolly told me I had Retinitis Pigmentosa and left the room without further comment. (...)

One day I was cleaning out a drawer and found my mother in laws’ old camera. She had passed away a few years earlier. I like mechanical things, so Amy found me fooling with it. I asked her to describe the settings to me so I could figure out how to use the 1950’s Kodak. I found the camera fascinating and discovered it had an infrared setting. I thought a blind guy doing photos in a non-visible wavelength would be amusing. (...)

Women talk about a glass ceiling. Blind folks face a glass front door. We can look into the workplace but aren’t allowed to enter. I do something else. I slip photos under the door from the world of the blind to be viewed in the light of the sighted. I view my work during the event of taking the shot in my mind’s eye. I “see“ each shot very clearly, only I use sound, touch, and memory. I am more of a conceptual artist than a photographer. My influences come from my past memory of art and what I now find in the world at large. I now ask to touch sculptures in museums too. That’s another long story. (...)

What I get out of taking photos is the event not the picture. I do the large prints to get sighted people thinking. Talking with people in galleries builds a bridge between my mind’s eye and their vision of my work. Occasionally people refuse to believe I am blind. I am a visual person. I just can’t see."

Pete Eckert

"The design of the new Arteon leaves a lasting impression. But can it also be felt by someone who can’t see it?"

"For his amazing artworks of the new Arteon he started by approaching to the car very sensitive. Slowly, almost reverently, he traced the lines from the exterior to the interior and internalized every square centimetre of the bodywork. Until he has captured the complete Arteon in his mind. Or, as he puts it: 'The Arteon emerges before my mind’s eye.'"


images via and via

Wednesday 9 August 2017

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

...Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such,

Affirming also that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind,

Affirming further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust,

Reaffirming that indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind,

Concerned that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests,

Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources,

Recognizing also the urgent need to respect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples affirmed in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements with States, (...)

Recognizing that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment, (...)

Bearing in mind that nothing in this Declaration may be used to deny any peoples their right to self-determination, exercised in conformity with international law,

Convinced that the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in this Declaration will enhance harmonious and cooperative relations between the State and indigenous peoples, based on principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and good faith, (...)

Recognizing and reaffirming that indigenous individuals are entitled without discrimination to all human rights recognized in international law, and that indigenous peoples possess collective rights which are indispensable for their existence, well-being and integral development as peoples,

Recognizing that the situation of indigenous peoples varies from region to region and from country to country and that the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical and cultural backgrounds should be taken into consideration,

Solemnly proclaims the following United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect:

Article 1 - Article 46: DOWNLOAD

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photographs via and via, copyright by respective owners

Monday 7 August 2017

Sorry, by Kevin Rudd (2008)

“I believe it was absolutely the right thing to do as the first act in my prime ministership in parliament. This had been unfinished business for the nation for a very long time and it was time to bring that chapter to a close. (...) The bottom line is many professional politicians had the view that saying anything on the issue of race was politically dangerous, if not suicidal. (...)This was a hearts and minds, guts, flesh and blood understanding that we have wronged Aboriginal people, and that as a representative of a nation and myself as a white Australian I had a particular responsibility – as a white male – to spell it in black and white in words that I meant as to why I was sorry."
Kevin Rudd (2016)

The speech of the then Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd to Parliament (via):

I move:

That today we honour the indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations - this blemished chapter in our nation's history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, indigenous and non-indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

There comes a time in the history of nations when their peoples must become fully reconciled to their past if they are to go forward with confidence to embrace their future.

Our nation, Australia, has reached such a time.

That is why the parliament is today here assembled, to deal with this unfinished business of the nation, to remove a great stain from the nations soul and, in a true spirit of reconciliation, to open a new chapter in the history of this great land, Australia.

Last year I made a commitment to the Australian people that if we formed the next government of the Commonwealth we would in parliament say sorry to the stolen generations.

Today I honour that commitment.

I said we would do so early in the life of the new parliament.

Again, today I honour that commitment by doing so at the commencement of this the 42nd parliament of the Commonwealth.

Because the time has come, well and truly come, for all peoples of our great country, for all citizens of our great commonwealth, for all Australians - those who are indigenous and those who are not - to come together to reconcile and together build a new future for our nation.

Some have asked, Why apologise?

Let me begin to answer by telling the parliament just a little of one person's story - an elegant, eloquent and wonderful woman in her 80s, full of life, full of funny stories, despite what has happened in her life's journey, a woman who has travelled a long way to be with us today, a member of the stolen generation who shared some of her story with me when I called around to see her just a few days ago.

Nanna Nungala Fejo, as she prefers to be called, was born in the late 1920s.

She remembers her earliest childhood days living with her family and her community in a bush camp just outside Tennant Creek.

She remembers the love and the warmth and the kinship of those days long ago, including traditional dancing around the camp fire at night.

She loved the dancing. She remembers once getting into strife when, as a four-year-old girl, she insisted on dancing with the male tribal elders rather than just sitting and watching the men, as the girls were supposed to do.

But then, sometime around 1932, when she was about four, she remembers the coming of the welfare men.

Her family had feared that day and had dug holes in the creek bank where the children could run and hide.

What they had not expected was that the white welfare men did not come alone. They brought a truck, two white men and an Aboriginal stockman on horseback cracking his stockwhip.

The kids were found; they ran for their mothers, screaming, but they could not get away. They were herded and piled onto the back of the truck. Tears flowing, her mum tried clinging to the sides of the truck as her children were taken away to the Bungalow in Alice, all in the name of protection.

A few years later, government policy changed. Now the children would be handed over to the missions to be cared for by the churches. But which church would care for them?

The kids were simply told to line up in three lines. Nanna Fejo and her sister stood in the middle line, her older brother and cousin on her left. Those on the left were told that they had become Catholics, those in the middle Methodists and those on the right Church of England.

That is how the complex questions of post-reformation theology were resolved in the Australian outback in the 1930s. It was as crude as that.

She and her sister were sent to a Methodist mission on Goulburn Island and then Croker Island. Her Catholic brother was sent to work at a cattle station and her cousin to a Catholic mission.

Nanna Fejo's family had been broken up for a second time. She stayed at the mission until after the war, when she was allowed to leave for a prearranged job as a domestic in Darwin. She was 16. Nanna Fejo never saw her mum again.

After she left the mission, her brother let her know that her mum had died years before, a broken woman fretting for the children that had literally been ripped away from her.

I asked Nanna Fejo what she would have me say today about her story. She thought for a few moments then said that what I should say today was that all mothers are important. And she added: Families - keeping them together is very important. It's a good thing that you are surrounded by love and that love is passed down the generations. That's what gives you happiness.

As I left, later on, Nanna Fejo took one of my staff aside, wanting to make sure that I was not too hard on the Aboriginal stockman who had hunted those kids down all those years ago.

The stockman had found her again decades later, this time himself to say, Sorry. And remarkably, extraordinarily, she had forgiven him.

Nanna Fejo's is just one story.

There are thousands, tens of thousands of them: stories of forced separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their mums and dads over the better part of a century.

Some of these stories are graphically told in Bringing them home, the report commissioned in 1995 by Prime Minister Keating and received in 1997 by Prime Minister Howard.

There is something terribly primal about these firsthand accounts. The pain is searing; it screams from the pages. The hurt, the humiliation, the degradation and the sheer brutality of the act of physically separating a mother from her children is a deep assault on our senses and on our most elemental humanity.

These stories cry out to be heard; they cry out for an apology.

Instead, from the nation's parliament there has been a stony, stubborn and deafening silence for more than a decade; a view that somehow we, the parliament, should suspend our most basic instincts of what is right and what is wrong; a view that, instead, we should look for any pretext to push this great wrong to one side, to leave it languishing with the historians, the academics and the cultural warriors, as if the stolen generations are little more than an interesting sociological phenomenon.

But the stolen generations are not intellectual curiosities. They are human beings, human beings who have been damaged deeply by the decisions of parliaments and governments. But, as of today, the time for denial, the time for delay, has at last come to an end.

The nation is demanding of its political leadership to take us forward.

Decency, human decency, universal human decency, demands that the nation now step forward to right an historical wrong. That is what we are doing in this place today.

But should there still be doubts as to why we must now act, let the parliament reflect for a moment on the following facts: that, between 1910 and 1970, between 10 and 30 per cent of indigenous children were forcibly taken from their mothers and fathers; that, as a result, up to 50,000 children were forcibly taken from their families; that this was the product of the deliberate, calculated policies of the state as reflected in the explicit powers given to them under statute; that this policy was taken to such extremes by some in administrative authority that the forced extractions of children of so-called mixed lineage were seen as part of a broader policy of dealing with the problem of the Aboriginal population.

One of the most notorious examples of this approach was from the Northern Territory Protector of Natives, who stated:

"Generally by the fifth and invariably by the sixth generation, all native characteristics of the Australian Aborigine are eradicated. The problem of our half-castes" - to quote the protector - "will quickly be eliminated by the complete disappearance of the black race, and the swift submergence of their progeny in the white."

The Western Australian Protector of Natives expressed not dissimilar views, expounding them at length in Canberra in 1937 at the first national conference on indigenous affairs that brought together the Commonwealth and state protectors of natives.

These are uncomfortable things to be brought out into the light. They are not pleasant. They are profoundly disturbing.

But we must acknowledge these facts if we are to deal once and for all with the argument that the policy of generic forced separation was somehow well motivated, justified by its historical context and, as a result, unworthy of any apology today.

Then we come to the argument of intergenerational responsibility, also used by some to argue against giving an apology today.

But let us remember the fact that the forced removal of Aboriginal children was happening as late as the early 1970s.

The 1970s is not exactly a point in remote antiquity. There are still serving members of this parliament who were first elected to this place in the early 1970s.

It is well within the adult memory span of many of us.

The uncomfortable truth for us all is that the parliaments of the nation, individually and collectively, enacted statutes and delegated authority under those statutes that made the forced removal of children on racial grounds fully lawful.

There is a further reason for an apology as well: it is that reconciliation is in fact an expression of a core value of our nation - and that value is a fair go for all.

There is a deep and abiding belief in the Australian community that, for the stolen generations, there was no fair go at all.

There is a pretty basic Aussie belief that says that it is time to put right this most outrageous of wrongs.

It is for these reasons, quite apart from concerns of fundamental human decency, that the governments and parliaments of this nation must make this apology - because, put simply, the laws that our parliaments enacted made the stolen generations possible.

We, the parliaments of the nation, are ultimately responsible, not those who gave effect to our laws. And the problem lay with the laws themselves.

As has been said of settler societies elsewhere, we are the bearers of many blessings from our ancestors; therefore we must also be the bearer of their burdens as well.

Therefore, for our nation, the course of action is clear: that is, to deal now with what has become one of the darkest chapters in Australia's history.

In doing so, we are doing more than contending with the facts, the evidence and the often rancorous public debate.

In doing so, we are also wrestling with our own soul.

This is not, as some would argue, a black-armband view of history; it is just the truth: the cold, confronting, uncomfortable truth - facing it, dealing with it, moving on from it.

Until we fully confront that truth, there will always be a shadow hanging over us and our future as a fully united and fully reconciled people.

It is time to reconcile. It is time to recognise the injustices of the past. It is time to say sorry. It is time to move forward together.

To the stolen generations, I say the following: as Prime Minister of Australia, I am sorry.

On behalf of the government of Australia, I am sorry.

On behalf of the parliament of Australia, I am sorry.

I offer you this apology without qualification.

We apologise for the hurt, the pain and suffering that we, the parliament, have caused you by the laws that previous parliaments have enacted.

We apologise for the indignity, the degradation and the humiliation these laws embodied.

We offer this apology to the mothers, the fathers, the brothers, the sisters, the families and the communities whose lives were ripped apart by the actions of successive governments under successive parliaments.

In making this apology, I would also like to speak personally to the members of the stolen generations and their families: to those here today, so many of you; to those listening across the nation - from Yuendumu, in the central west of the Northern Territory, to Yabara, in North Queensland, and to Pitjantjatjara in South Australia.

I know that, in offering this apology on behalf of the government and the parliament, there is nothing I can say today that can take away the pain you have suffered personally.

Whatever words I speak today, I cannot undo that.

Words alone are not that powerful; grief is a very personal thing.

I ask those non-indigenous Australians listening today who may not fully understand why what we are doing is so important to imagine for a moment that this had happened to you.

I say to honourable members here present: imagine if this had happened to us. Imagine the crippling effect. Imagine how hard it would be to forgive.

My proposal is this: if the apology we extend today is accepted in the spirit of reconciliation, in which it is offered, we can today resolve together that there be a new beginning for Australia.

And it is to such a new beginning that I believe the nation is now calling us.

Australians are a passionate lot. We are also a very practical lot.

For us, symbolism is important but, unless the great symbolism of reconciliation is accompanied by an even greater substance, it is little more than a clanging gong.

It is not sentiment that makes history; it is our actions that make history.

Today's apology, however inadequate, is aimed at righting past wrongs.

It is also aimed at building a bridge between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians - a bridge based on a real respect rather than a thinly veiled contempt.

Our challenge for the future is to cross that bridge and, in so doing, to embrace a new partnership between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians - to embrace, as part of that partnership, expanded Link-up and other critical services to help the stolen generations to trace their families if at all possible and to provide dignity to their lives.

But the core of this partnership for the future is to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians on life expectancy, educational achievement and employment opportunities.

This new partnership on closing the gap will set concrete targets for the future: within a decade to halve the widening gap in literacy, numeracy and employment outcomes and opportunities for indigenous Australians, within a decade to halve the appalling gap in infant mortality rates between indigenous and non-indigenous children and, within a generation, to close the equally appalling 17-year life gap between indigenous and non-indigenous in overall life expectancy.

Translation of Edie Ulrich's comment that was written in Tjupan language: As a 10 year old child in the mission, I remember my people as proud, happy, healthy people; walking, talking, hunting and enjoying life and protecting their families. I went away for further schooling. Coming back I saw my people again after the 1967 Referendum. I remember thinking that they seemed like broken people (via).

The truth is: a business as usual approach towards indigenous Australians is not working.

Most old approaches are not working.

We need a new beginning, a new beginning which contains real measures of policy success or policy failure; a new beginning, a new partnership, on closing the gap with sufficient flexibility not to insist on a one-size-fits-all approach for each of the hundreds of remote and regional indigenous communities across the country but instead allowing flexible, tailored, local approaches to achieve commonly-agreed national objectives that lie at the core of our proposed new partnership; a new beginning that draws intelligently on the experiences of new policy settings across the nation.

However, unless we as a parliament set a destination for the nation, we have no clear point to guide our policy, our programs or our purpose; we have no centralised organising principle.

Let us resolve today to begin with the little children, a fitting place to start on this day of apology for the stolen generations.

Let us resolve over the next five years to have every indigenous four-year-old in a remote Aboriginal community enrolled in and attending a proper early childhood education centre or opportunity and engaged in proper preliteracy and prenumeracy programs.

Let us resolve to build new educational opportunities for these little ones, year by year, step by step, following the completion of their crucial preschool year.

Let us resolve to use this systematic approach to build future educational opportunities for indigenous children to provide proper primary and preventive health care for the same children, to begin the task of rolling back the obscenity that we find today in infant mortality rates in remote indigenous communities up to four times higher than in other communities.

None of this will be easy. Most of it will be hard, very hard. But none of it is impossible, and all of it is achievable with clear goals, clear thinking, and by placing an absolute premium on respect, cooperation and mutual responsibility as the guiding principles of this new partnership on closing the gap.

The mood of the nation is for reconciliation now, between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. The mood of the nation on Indigenous policy and politics is now very simple.

The nation is calling on us, the politicians, to move beyond our infantile bickering, our point-scoring and our mindlessly partisan politics and to elevate this one core area of national responsibility to a rare position beyond the partisan divide.

Surely this is the unfulfilled spirit of the 1967 referendum. Surely, at least from this day forward, we should give it a go.

Let me take this one step further and take what some may see as a piece of political posturing and make a practical proposal to the opposition on this day, the first full sitting day of the new parliament.

I said before the election that the nation needed a kind of war cabinet on parts of Indigenous policy, because the challenges are too great and the consequences are too great to allow it all to become a political football, as it has been so often in the past.

I therefore propose a joint policy commission, to be led by the Leader of the Opposition and me, with a mandate to develop and implement, to begin with, an effective housing strategy for remote communities over the next five years.

It will be consistent with the government's policy framework, a new partnership for closing the gap. If this commission operates well, I then propose that it work on the further task of constitutional recognition of the first Australians, consistent with the longstanding platform commitments of my party and the pre-election position of the opposition.

This would probably be desirable in any event because, unless such a proposition were absolutely bipartisan, it would fail at a referendum. As I have said before, the time has come for new approaches to enduring problems.

Working constructively together on such defined projects would, I believe, meet with the support of the nation. It is time for fresh ideas to fashion the nation's future.

Mr Speaker, today the parliament has come together to right a great wrong. We have come together to deal with the past so that we might fully embrace the future. We have had sufficient audacity of faith to advance a pathway to that future, with arms extended rather than with fists still clenched.

So let us seize the day. Let it not become a moment of mere sentimental reflection.

Let us take it with both hands and allow this day, this day of national reconciliation, to become one of those rare moments in which we might just be able to transform the way in which the nation thinks about itself, whereby the injustice administered to the stolen generations in the name of these, our parliaments, causes all of us to reappraise, at the deepest level of our beliefs, the real possibility of reconciliation writ large: reconciliation across all indigenous Australia; reconciliation across the entire history of the often bloody encounter between those who emerged from the Dreamtime a thousand generations ago and those who, like me, came across the seas only yesterday; reconciliation which opens up whole new possibilities for the future.

It is for the nation to bring the first two centuries of our settled history to a close, as we begin a new chapter. We embrace with pride, admiration and awe these great and ancient cultures we are truly blessed to have among us cultures that provide a unique, uninterrupted human thread linking our Australian continent to the most ancient prehistory of our planet.

Growing from this new respect, we see our indigenous brothers and sisters with fresh eyes, with new eyes, and we have our minds wide open as to how we might tackle, together, the great practical challenges that Indigenous Australia faces in the future.

Let us turn this page together: indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, government and opposition, Commonwealth and state, and write this new chapter in our nation's story together.

First Australians, First Fleeters, and those who first took the oath of allegiance just a few weeks ago. Let's grasp this opportunity to craft a new future for this great land: Australia. I commend the motion to the House.

"Tobias Titz, Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre and Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre have collaborated with Indigenous community members from communities including Kalgoorlie, Menzies, Leonora, Tjuntjuntjarra, Port Hedland, Roebourne, Yandeyarra and Warralong, to create a body of photographs that articulate the communities thoughts, opinions and experiences regarding the 1967 Referendum" (via).

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photographs by Tobias Titz via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via