Thursday 26 July 2018

"It doesn't matter where we worship or what we call God..."

"It doesn’t matter where we worship or what we call God; there is only one, inter-dependent human family. We are born for goodness, to love – free of prejudice. All of us, without exception. There is greater commonality in our belief systems than we tend to credit, a golden thread expressed in the maxim that one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. I don’t believe in the notion of “opposing belief systems.” It would be more accurate to say that human beings have a long history of rationalizing acts of inhumanity on the basis of their own interpretations of the will of God."

"Much as I’d love to see all the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues and temples overflowing with humanity, how good we are is not measured by the number of times we attend formal religious ceremonies. Among the most heartening trends I have noticed on my travels over the past dozen or so years has been the spiritual strength of young people. They don’t necessarily occupy the front pews on Sunday, but they seem to have been born with an enhanced sense of tolerance and a deep understanding of our inter-dependence, on each other and a functional world."

"The closest I can think of to an “aha” moment occurred in my childhood, when a white priest greeted my mother politely in the street. The same priest, Father Trevor Huddleston, later visited me regularly when I nearly succumbed to tuberculosis. He taught me invaluable lessons about the human family; that it doesn’t matter how we look or where we come from, we are made for each other, for compassion, for support and for love. I called my son Trevor, and Bishop Huddleston, as he later became known, went on to lead the International Anti-Apartheid Movement."

Desmond Tutu

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photograph by Julian Goldswain via

Monday 23 July 2018

ADHD: Culture-Bound Diagnoses

"Our findings reveal that doctors in the UK are far less likely to deploy the ADHD label than their US counterparts. This difference may be a result of cultural factors. For example, more stringent criteria for diagnosing ADHD are used in the UK, or it may be that parental concerns over using drugs such as Ritalin to treat younger patients mean that they resist diagnosis for their children.
It is important to identify diagnostic trends and the reasons behind them, as various criteria in different cultural contexts may mean that children are missing out on health services -- the diagnostic label may determine the support families receive. Equally, it is important that children are not over-diagnosed."
Ginny Russell, University of Exeter Medical School

In the U.S., 6.3 % (other studies speak of 9%) of children are diagnosed with ADHD, in the UK, only 1.5% (via), in France, less than 0.5%. Figures are not the only difference. In the U.S., ADHD is seen as a biological dysfunction that needs medication such as Ritalin, the focus is a clearly pharmaceutical one. In France, it is viewed as a medical condition with psycho-social and/or situational causes. Instead of prescribing medication, psychiatrists "look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress" in the child's social context - not in their brain - and offer psychotherapy or family counselling. Psychiatrists do not used the DSM but a French alternative that aims to identify the underlying psychosocial cuases of the symptoms. ADHD is defined in a less broad manner, hence, fewer children qualify for the diagnosis. Diet and parenting styles are also discussed as aspects contributing to the differences in France and the U.S. (via).

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photograph by Willy Ronis (1952) via

Thursday 19 July 2018

Diahann Carroll Takes the Train to North Carolina

"There is a feeling about segregation - that awful feeling that you have to deal with for the rest of your life is that you are hopeless, powerless. There is nothing you can do.

I remember I was travelling with my mother. We were going to visit my mother's family in North Carolina. Usually, we travelled by car but this time I had to go with my mother on the train. And in Washington D.C., I received one of the most shocking pieces of information. The conductor came to those of us in this particular car to explain to us that it was time to move. We had to move to another car because this car is no longer an integrated car. All of the negroes, we were called negroes, all negroes had to move to two cars down. I remember thinking 'but this is Washington D.C.. This is the optimum of the United States of America.' I thought for a moment that he had made a mistake. Then my mother said 'No. No, we have to move.' My mother, it didn't faze her. And I watched her reaction and my reaction, and I wanted to know why she wasn't more upset. Why wasn't she trying to do something about this? But she did apologise to me which I found very interesting. Yes, she was ashamed, really. She was not ashamed of her blackness. She was ashamed of the country, that she should have to subject me to that kind of treatment.
She said to me ‘People really do have a problem with you because of the colour of your skin. Remember, the problem has nothing to do with you; that is their problem. For some reason, something has bothered them in their lives and they’ve decided to interpret it in terms of race. So, they need that as an excuse to be unkind to people or to think less of people. It has really nothing to do with you, Diahann.' And I was just young enough to believe her. And thank God I did."
Diahann Carroll

Diahann Carroll on YouTube:

::: Age of Aquarius: WATCH/LISTEN
::: with Stevie Wonder: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Quiet Nights: WATCH/LISTEN

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photograph by Milton Greene via

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Quoting Diahann Carroll

"In the beginning, I found myself dealing with a show business dictated by male white supremacists and chauvinists. As a black female, I had to learn how to tap dance around the situation. I had to ... find a way to present my point of view without being pushy or aggressive. In the old days, the only women I saw in this business were in makeup, hairdressing, and wardrobe departments. Now I'm surrounded by women executives, writers, directors, producers, and even women stagehands."
Diahann Carroll

"I suppose our lives need to be more integrated. We have white communities and black communities and white country clubs and black country clubs. It's very important when we integrate ourselves, and it helps us to have a better understanding of the world, to people all over the world and this is the time in history that we have become very aware of how important that is, so I think it's just really-we have to know each other and work together and play together in order to write about each other."
Diahann Carroll

photographs (1969) via

Monday 16 July 2018

Education After Auschwitz, by Theodor Adorno (1966)

The premier demand upon all education is that Auschwitz not happen again. Its priority before any other requirement is such that I believe I need not and should not justify it. I cannot understand why it has been given so little concern until now. To justify it would be monstrous in the face of the monstrosity that took place. Yet the fact that one is so barely conscious of this demand and the questions it raises shows that the monstrosity has not penetrated people’s minds deeply, itself a symptom of the continuing potential for its recurrence as far as peoples’ conscious and unconscious is concerned.

Every debate about the ideals of education is trivial and inconsequential compared to this single ideal: never again Auschwitz. It was the barbarism all education strives against. One speaks of the threat of a relapse into barbarism. But it is not a threat—Auschwitz was this relapse, and barbarism continues as long as the fundamental conditions that favored that relapse continue largely unchanged. That is the whole horror. The societal pressure still bears down, although the danger remains invisible nowadays. It drives people toward the unspeakable, which culminated on a world-historical scale in Auschwitz. Among the insights of Freud that truly extend even into culture and sociology, one of the most profound seems to me to be that civilization itself produces anti-civilization and increasingly reinforces it. (...)

A pattern that has been confirmed throughout the entire history of persecutions is that the fury against the weak chooses for its target especially those who are perceived as societally weak and at the same time—either rightly or wrongly—as happy. Sociologically, I would even venture to add that our society, while it integrates itself ever more, at the same time incubates tendencies toward disintegration. Lying just beneath the surface of an ordered, civilized life, these tendencies have progressed to an extreme degree. (...)

People who blindly slot themselves into the collective already make themselves into something like inert material, extinguish themselves as self-determined beings. With this comes the willingness to treat others as an amorphous mass. I called those who behave in this way “the manipulative character” in the Authoritarian Personality, indeed at a time when the diary of Höss or the recordings of Eichmann were not yet known. (...)

Walter Benjamin asked me once in Paris during his emigration, when I was still returning to Germany sporadically, whether there were really enough torturers back there to carry out the orders of the Nazis. There were enough. Nevertheless the question has its profound legitimacy. Benjamin sensed that the people who do it, as opposed to the bureaucratic desktop murderers and ideologues, operate contrary to their own immediate interests, are murderers of themselves while they murder others. I fear that the measures of even such an elaborate education will hardly hinder the renewed growth of desktop murderers. But that there are people who do it down below, indeed as servants, through which they perpetuate their own servitude and degrade themselves, that there are more Bogers and Kaduks: against this, however, education and enlightenment can still manage a little something.

Theodor Adorno

::: Via/Full text: LINK

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photograph via

Sunday 15 July 2018

Football's Problem of Not Seeing the Problem: Nationalism and the Croatian Football Team

"Yugoslavian football once served as an important unifier of Yugoslavia by fostering ideals of 'Brotherhood and Unity'. However, once Tito died, football took on a different role, fostering ethnic nationalist sentiments and contributing to the demise of Yugoslavia."
Adnan Kajetzovic (2015)

So far, FIFA has collected more than 650.000 euros through fines that had to be paid for disciplinary reasons. The highest ones were those for not respecting marketing deals. The Swedish team, for instance, was charged 60.000 euros and 43.000 euros in another incident for wearing socks of a brand that was not licenced. During this World Cup, FIFA received 250.000 euros paid for wearing the wrong socks. Fines look different when it comes to racism and nationalism. When Russian fans used a poster with a code for "Heil Hitler", there was a fine of only 8.500 euros. Croatian footballer Vida dedicated the match with Russia to Kiev and the Ukraine. FIFA just warned him not to do that again. When a Croatian footballer drank a beverage produced by a brand not licenced by FIFA in public, 60.000 euros had to be paid (via).

Euro 1996:
Croatian coach Blazevic stirs up nationalist emotions in the run-up to the quarterfinal announcing the "German tanks and Stukas" will be met by Croatian "commando troops and kamikaze pilots" (Schiller, 2015).

World Cup 1998:
Croatia is still busy constructing a nationhood shortly after the demise of Yugoslavia. The World Cup 1998 is used as a means to invent nationalist traditions. Newspaper accounts, for instance, clearly show a pro-nationalist rhetoric (Milasincic, 2013).

Euro 2008:
Croatia manager Bilic plays Thompson (will be explained in the next paragraph) songs to his players (via). Croatian fans shout Nazi slogans and give "Heil Hitler" salutes in Austria, which, according to the police spokesman, is not hooliganism but just a "beer brawl" (via). At the Euro 2008, Asner is spotted supporting his Croatian team - the number four on the most wanted list of Nazi-hunters, wanted by Interpol for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity (via).

Euro 2012: 
Some "key people from the football federation insist that a nationalistic song is played before every Croatia match", sung by Thompson (the stage name of Perkovic) whose songs are about murderings Serbs in concentration camps and slogans used by Croatian fascists (via). Perkovic had had to stand trial in 2008 because of the salute he demonstrated during a concert in Croatia. In Switzerland, by the way, his concerts were cancelled as they were not compatible with anti-racism laws (via), in the Netherlands Perkovic was banned from performing in 2004 (via).
When Uefa fined the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) €80,000 for offences including racist abuse of the Italy striker Mario Balotelli, the media back home reacted with relief. It could have been much worse – a points-deduction for the 2014 World Cup qualifying, for example – and the fine was generally viewed as being too lenient, especially after the Uefa president Michel Platini had said he was dismayed by some of Croatia supporters. "I'm not happy with Croatia", the Frenchman said. "They are a good team but it's unacceptable when you've got a hundred or so arseholes among the crowd."
The Guardian
Markovic, president of the Croatian Football Federation in 2012, causes controversy when he refuses to visit Auschwitz as many other teams at Euro 2012 have done. After much pressure, he finally sends a delegation to the memorial centre but does not join them. He is also the one who refers to the team Dinamo Zagreb as the "ultimate Catholic club" and makes sure that as long as he is presidet, there will be no gay players adding "Thank goodness only healthy people play football." His successor Suker openly shows his support for a Croatian leader "who ruled a second world war puppet state" with the help of Nazi Germany (via).

World Cup qualification 2013:
Controversies again, due to tasteless chants by fans and defender Simunic who shout to the fans the war call ("For the Homeland, ready") used by Ustashas, "the Croatian pro-Nazi puppet regime that ruled the state during the second world war when tens of thousands of people perished in concentration camps". Fans show a tradition of combining the chant with the Nazi salute. The Croatian Football Association has been fined by Fifa and Uefa  in the past (via). FIFA suspends Simunic for ten matches - which, according to his lawyers - is done because of a "Greater Serbian lobby" interfering - and fines him for 24.000 euros. Two years later, he becomes the assistant coach of Croatia (via).

World Cup 2014:
"Croatia performs a very distinct, and very political, type of nationalism in its matches, a kind of behavior that makes much of Europe deeply uncomfortable" (via). Croatian fans are seen with banners with anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi symbols (via).

World Cup 2018:
Football is seen as a continuation of the war, Croatian footballers, such as Lovren, openly support Thompson (via). Even in Austria, Croatian fans celebrate with Ustasha flags, the Nazi salute, and buttons displaying the word "Endsieg" ("Final Victory") after beating Russia. Nationalist Socialist reactivation is strictly forbidden in Austria, the Office for Protecting the Constitution and Fighting Terrorism is carrying out investigations. After the Argentina-Croatia match, a clip is published online showing the two footballers Lovren and Vrsaljko singing Thompson's nationalist war song in the locker room, a song that starts with a salute Ustasha used (via).

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- Kajtezovic, A. (2015). The disintegration of Yugoslavia and football. University of Norther Iowa, link
- Milasincic, A. (2013). Nationalism and Sporting Culture: A Media Analysis of Croatia's Participation in the 1998 World Cup, link
- Schiller, K. (2015). Siegen für Deutschland? Patriotism, Nationalism and the German National Football Team, 1954-2014. Historical Social Research, 40(4), 176-196.
- photograph of French football player Jean-Pierre Adams via

Thursday 12 July 2018

The -ism Series (30): Football Hooliganism

Football hooliganism shows a clear age, gender and ethnic pattern, i.e., it is a predominantly male, juvenile and white phenomenon.

In the past, football hooliganism was seen as an "English disease", manifestations of it in other societies were called an imitation of what was going on in England. There is the notion that this is a stereotype since incidents of violence of socially organised fan groups suggest that football is used as an excuse to fight all over the world and that hooliganism is a transnational problem. In some countries, though, there is "a notable absence", such as in ireland, Portugal and Norway. Generally, forms and level of hooliganism vary from country to country. Historically, it started in England, in continental Europe it "underwent a process of cultural creolization".

The age structure is slightly changing as "semi-retired" hooligans are still involved in football violence from time to time reviving "the good old times" of football hooliganism with a sense of nostalgia and romance. Back then, there was less surveillance and there were fewer controls. Today's hooliganism, to the "sentimental hooligan", is alienated from the original hooligan ethos which meant attacking others with weapons.

Despite a significant proportion of minority ethnic members, whiteness is considered to be a source of collective identity, at least when analysing hooligan supporters of six clubs in London, Rotterdam and Barcelona (Spaaij, 2006). Football teams "stand for something beyond the game itself", politicians and journalists who recognise the power of football create national myths, use football to glorify the nation and its leaders, foster national sentiment and identity (Tamir, 2014).

Football hooliganism is also about creating a male identity. Here the discussion between two Sparta hooligans that can be seen as rather representative (Spaaij, 2006):

G: We have never had any women in our group really.
B: Well, just one. Remember N?
G: True, but she was only there as the girlfriend of M, wasn't she?
B: But she was tougher than all of us. I used to see her beating up big blokes, you know. She wasn't afraid of anyone. I mean, look at all the hangers-on that run away even before the fight kicks off. She never did that.
G: You're right, but once M left the group we didn't see her anymore, did we? I mean, she was never a full member or anything.

- Spaaij, R. (2006). Understanding Football Hooliganism. A Comparison of Six Western European Football Clubs. Amsterdam University Press.
- Tamir, I. (2014). The Decline of Nationalism among Football Fans. Television & New Media, 15(8), 741-745.
- photographs of Newcastle United fans (1960) via 

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Football, Domestic Violence and the Lightning Seeds

According to research conducted by Lancaster University, there is a positive correlation (not necessarily causality) between football and domestic abuse. The study focused on Lancashire (UK) analysing data from 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Results show that domestic violence rises by 38% when the England team loses and by 26% when the team wins. Incidents are 11% higher the day after the team played and reach a peak at the weekend the team exits the World Cup. When England plays a match, an average of 79.3 incidents are reported versus 58.2 when they are not playing (via).

A not so little Lightning Seeds link pack:

::: Sugar Coated Iceberg: LISTEN/WATCH
::: What You Say: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Perfect: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Ghosts: LISTEN/WATCH
::: You Showed Me: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Lucky You: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Change: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Marvellous: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Ready or Not: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Sweetest Soul Sensations: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Life's Too Short: LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Life of Riley: LISTEN/WATCH
::: All I Want: LISTEN/WATCH

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image via

Monday 9 July 2018

Hey Ya! (2003)

“I was just talking to my homeboy, he say: ‘How you make a song like that, man? It’s jammin’, but you from the hood! How you make a song like that?’ I mean, white people, they been imitatin’ black music for so long because they like it so they want to do it. But flip it around! We imitate their music and funk it up! It’s all one cycle. Jimi learned from Bob Dylan. It really ain’t no black and white thing – it’s in the music.”
André, OutKast

image via

Friday 6 July 2018

Half a Decade "Diversity is Beautiful" and Some Waving Mid-Century Vases

A twentieth of a century (how dramatic that sounds) has passed since I published the first blog posting. 744 postings, 6.297 subscribers, 8.061.294 views, and many wonderful comments later I would like to thank you again for not having become tired of this weblog, for your interest in my diversity selection and for still leaving beautiful comments. Thank you!

photograph by ML Moazedi, modified by Paperwalker

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Narrative images: Growing Up Female

"Being a woman influenced my ideas about what I wanted to photograph. My interest in women’s issues, in family issues, in social relationships came out of my experience of growing up as a female."
Abigail Heyman

Abigail Heyman (1942-2013), US-American feminist, photojournalist, and one of the first women to be invited to join Magnum Photos. She was known for her book "Growing Up Female: A Personal Photo-Journal" which was published in 1974 (via), a book "about women, and their lives as women, from one feminist's point of view" (via), "a sort of illustrated encyclopedia of women performing self-limiting roles" (via).

Heyman's "stark portraits of women at work, at home and at weddings gave a visual concreteness to feminist doctrine of the 1970s about the oppressiveness of traditional female roles" (via).
"I have photographed the problems and the strengths of women. Some have suggested that I photograph the solutions. I don't know the solutions." Abigail Heyman
"I have been a girl child and, in my expectations, a mother. I have tried to be prettier than I am. I have been treated as a sex object, and at times I have encouraged that. I have been married and have seen my husband’s work as more important than my own." Abigail Heyman
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photograph by Abigail Heyman via

Monday 2 July 2018

Anthropology and the Abnormal, by Ruth Benedict (1934)

"(...) Normality, in short, within a very wide range, is culturally defined. It is primarily a term for the socially elaborated segment of human behavior in any culture; and abnormality, a term for the segment that that particular civilization does not use. The very eyes with which we see the problem are conditioned by the long traditional habits of our own society.

It is a point that has been made more often in relation to ethics than in relation to psychiatry. We do not any longer make the mistake of deriving the morality of our own locality and decade directly from the inevitable constitution of human nature. We recognize that morality differs in every society, and is a convenient term for socially approved habits. Mankind has always preferred to say 'It is morally good' rather than 'It is habitual,' and the fact of this preference is matter enough for a critical science of ethics. But historically the two phrases are synonymous."

"The problem of understanding abnormal human behavior in any absolute sense independent of cultural factors is still far in the future. The categories of borderline behavior which we derive from the study of the neuroses and psychoses of our civilization are categories of prevailing local types of instability. They give much information about the stresses and strains of Western civilization, but no final picture of inevitable human behavior. Any conclusions about such behavior must await the collection by trained observers of psychiatric data from other cultures. Since no adequate work of the kind has been done at the present time, it is impossible to say what core or definition of abnormality may be found valid from the comparative material. It is as it is in ethics: all our local conventions of moral behavior and of immoral are without absolute validity, and yet it is quite possible that a modicum of what is considered right and what wrong could be disentangled that is shared by the whole human race."

- Benedict, R. (1934). Anthropology and the Abnormal via
- photographs by Leon Levinstein via and via and via