Wednesday 28 November 2018

Police, Geriatrics Training and the Ageing Population

"Although there is no shortage of literature focusing on strategies for policing different genders, races (sic), and other groups, older populations have not attracted the same attention."
Sever & Youdin (n.d.:2)

“I learned how the elderly feel after going through the simulations. Before I hadn't put myself in their shoes.” a police officer cited in Brown et al., 2017
Police officers in San Francisco were given a lecture on ageing-related health conditions followed by experiantial trainings on how it can feel to be old through simulations (e.g. walking with a cane that was too short). The brief training "increased police officers' self-reported knowledge and skills", gave them empathy, increased patience, awareness and understanding of ageing-related challenges, which is of enormous importance as our population is lucky enough to be ageing. Police are often first responders to incidents with ageing-related problems and need to be able to deal with older adults who "represent an extremely medically vulnerable group" - no matter if older arrestees or older crime victims.
When police lack knowledge about aging‐related health, they risk causing unintended harms to older adults, such as using excessive force to respond to disruptive behavior related to dementia. Yet previous research shows that police receive little training in aging‐related health and have knowledge gaps that may limit their ability to assess and triage older adults. For example, officers engage with older adults who have sensory, cognitive, and functional impairments, but many report challenges in identifying and responding to these conditions. Similarly, officers perform welfare checks for at‐risk isolated older adults but report lacking knowledge about which community resources are available to help.
The training developed for police officers in San Francisco was incorporated into the police department's Crisis Intervention Training, a training that includes lectures about "special populations" (Brown et al, 2017).
One officer stated that the training will help him treat all individuals “as if they were my parents,” highlighting an important outcome of the training: to build empathy. (via)
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- Brown, R., Ahalt, C., Rivera, J., Stijacic Cenzer, I., Wilhelm, A. & Williams, B. A. (2017). Good Cop, Better Cop: Evaluation of a Geriatrics Training Program for Poice. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 65(8), online
- Sever, B. & Youdin, R. (n.d.). Police Knowledge of Older Populations: The Impact of Training, Experience, and Education, download
- photograph by the great Vivian Maier via

Tuesday 27 November 2018

The Impact of the Concept of Culture on the Concept of Man, by Clifford Geertz (1973)

Attempts to locate man amid the body of his customs have taken several directions, adopted diverse tactics ; but they have all, or virtually all, proceeded in terms of a single overall intellectual strategy: what I will call, so as to have a stick to beat it with, the "stratigraphic" conception of the relations between biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors in human l ife.

In this conception, man is a composite of "levels," each superimposed upon those beneath it and underpinning those above it. As one analyzes man, one peels off layer after layer, each such layer being complete and irreducible in itself, revealing another, quite different sort of layer underneath. Strip off the motley forms of culture and one finds the structural and functional regularities of social organization. Peel off these in turn and one finds the underlying psychological factors-"basic needs" or what-have-you-that support and make them possible. Peel off psychological factors and one is left with the biological foundations-anatomical, physiological, neurological -- of the whole edifice of human life.
The attraction of this sort of conceptualization, aside from the fact that it guaranteed the established academic disciplines their independence and sovereignty, was that it seemed to make it possible to have one's cake and eat it. One did not have to assert that man's culture was all there was to him in order to claim that it was, nonetheless, an essential and irreducible, even a paramount ingredient in his nature. Cultural facts could be interpreted against the background of noncultural facts without dissolving them into that background or dissolving that background into them. Man was a hierarchically stratified animal, a sort of evolutionary deposit, in whose definition each level-organic, psychological, social, and cultural-had an assigned and incontestable place. To see what he really was, we had to superimpose findings from the various relevant sciences - anthropology, sociology, psychology, biology - upon one another like so many patterns in a moire; and when that was done, the cardinal importance of the cultural level, the only one distinctive to man, would naturally appear, as would what it had to tell us, in its own right, about what he really was. For the eighteenth century image of man as the naked reasoner that appeared when he took his cultural costumes off, the anthropology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries substituted the image of man as the transfigured animal that appeared when he put them on.
Geertz (1973:38)

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- Excerpts taken from Geertz, C. (1973) The Interpretation of Cultures. Selected Essays. NY: Basic Books, download
- photograph of Clifford James Geertz (1926-2006) via

Monday 26 November 2018

Women, Public Transport and Barriers

In Europe, more women than men use public transportation and fewer women than men own cars. In Sweden, for instance, 70% of cars are owned by men and 82% of men have a driving license versus 69% of women. In the Netherlands, men are 1.5 times more likely to own a car then women. In France, two-thirds of people using public transport are women.

It is not only the quantity that differs, there also seem to be "typical" travel patterns for women no matter if they live in developed or developing countries. Usually, women's activities are more complex due to their so-called double duties. Hence, they travel more often, at shorter distances, more often at off-peak hours, less after dark, with a greater variety of destinations, and show trip chaining behaviour ("a series of travel segments that follow one another and are anchored by the home and place of work").
According to research, there are various barriers women have to face creating two main categories: a) physical barriers (e.g. mobility while carrying small children, strollers or packages) and b) concerns about personal security (e.g. bus stops outside residential areas or in remote neighbourhoods).
Since the 1980s, transport planners in some countries have taken into consideration the importance of the personal security of passengers, especially women. In Toronto, a “Request Stop” service was launched in 1980 for the hours after dark, allowing a woman to ask the bus driver to stop along the route where it is more convenient for her to get off, not necessarily at the bus stop. This was done to shorten her walk between bus and destination. This service was also adopted in Montreal in 1996 and later in British cities.

- Hasson, Y. & Polevoy, M. (2011). Gender Equality Initiatives in Transportation Policy, download
- photographs by Vivian Maier via and via

Saturday 24 November 2018

Our Collective Responsibility

"Elder abuse remains a taboo in many societies. It often happens inconspicuously and in many cases goes unnoticed, but we know that it occurs frequently and in all types of settings. No community or country in the world is immune.

I condemn elder abuse wherever and whenever it happens, but I am particularly appalled that older persons are often at risk from members of their own family.
We must not close our eyes to the fate of older persons, even though it is difficult to accept that our families are not always a safe haven. (...)
Elder abuse takes many different forms. Some people suffer discrimination in the public sphere, linguistic discrimination, isolation, neglect and financial exploitation. Others face psychological violence, the withholding of basic needs, physical violence or sexual abuse. (...)
This all adds to the weight of our collective responsibility to act, and to speak up for older persons when they are unable or unwilling to speak for themselves. All of us can and must be prepared to be advocates for older people, if this abuse is ever to be halted.
We also need to be aware that collective prejudice against older persons and public awareness influences the way in which abuse and violence is perceived, recognized and reported. (...)
Elder abuse is a specific, distinct and deeply disturbing form of abuse. We must all play our part in tackling it and restoring full human rights and human dignity to all those affected, or who face being at risk in the future."
Rosa Kornfel-Matte

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photograph by Vivian Maier via

Thursday 22 November 2018

Every Child Should Have the Right to Rise

It all began with a boy in a long sleeve t-shirt...
It was only a few months before the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics, when Norwegian speed skater Johann Olav Koss led a humanitarian trip to the newly formed African country of Eritrea. There, he came face-to-face with the realities of life in a country emerging from decades of war.

As children played amidst burned out tanks, surrounded by the images of war martyrs, one boy stood out and crystallized an idea for Johann that would write the future of Right To Play
He met the President of Eritrea and said, 'You need food and I have brought sports equipment. I made a mistake. I'm sorry.' The President looked at Johann and said, 'This is the greatest gift we have ever received. For the first time, we are being treated like human beings–not just something to be kept alive. For the first time, my children can play like any child.'
For Johann it felt like the starting point for something bigger. Since then, the power of play has helped millions of children to rise and recapture hope.

Literally via/More: LINK

Tuesday 20 November 2018

The Freedom Rally Reception at Burt Lancaster's Home

"The summer of 1963 saw an upsurge of Hollywood engagement in the movement, as more A-list stars, such as Paul Newman and Marlon Brando, proved their willingness to organize on their own risk controversy while doing so. The examples set by the Leading Six, as well as King's first visit to Los Angeles in June 1963, motivated them. Newman agreed to speak at a Rally for Freedom celebrating King's leadership at Birmingham, and a reception at Burt Lancaster's home with about 250 guests followed. Newman and Brando proved the top donors and soon went to Gadsden, Alabama, in an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate between city officials and civil rights activists."
Raymond (2017)

Above: Fundraiser at Burt Lancaster’s home. Left to right: Tony Franciosa (face cut off), Ralph Abernathy, Paul Newman, Polly Bergan, Joanne Woodward, King, Celes King III (behind Davis), Sammy Davis, Marlon Brando, Lloyd Bridges (partial photo.) 1963


Above: Rev. Ralph Abernathy (co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference) speaking at the reception after the Freedom Rally at the home of Burt Lancaster. Present are Dr. King, Marlon Brando, Atty. Jack Tenner, Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, and Gilbert Lindsay. Los Angeles. 1963.

Above: Speaking at the reception after Freedom Rally is the famed actor Marlon Brando. The reception was held in the home of Burt Lancaster, with 250 people in attendance. During the reception Martin Luther King Jr. said, “You can help us in Birmingham by getting rid of segregation in Los Angeles.” Overall Freedom Rally generated $75,000: $35,000 at rally, $20,000 at Burt Lancaster’s home and $20,000 pledged by Sammy Davis Jr. 1963

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- Raymond, E. (2017). No on 14. In: B. J. Schulman & J. E. Zelizer (eds.) Media Nation: The Political History of News in Modern America
- photographs and their descriptions via and via and via

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Keep up with the house while you keep down your weight.

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image via

Monday 12 November 2018

If Your Mate's Acting Differently, Ask Twice

Time to change is "a growing movement of people changing how we all think and act about mental health problems." Most of the people with mental health issues say that they are misunderstood by family members, ignored by friends, colleagues and health professionals, and treated badly by neighbours. As both stigma and discrimination prevent those affected from seeking help (which again has a negative impact on their lives as isolation and unemployment may result) (via), the campaign "Ask Twice" encourages people to be there when a friend needs support and to listen to them as "sometimes humans say they are fine when they are not".

Saturday 10 November 2018

European Balcony Project

"Today, at 4pm on the 10th of November 2018, 100 years after the end of WWI, which laid waste European civilization for decades, we are not only recalling history; we are taking our future into our own hands.

It is time to turn the promise inherent in Europe into a reality and to remind ourselves of the founding ideas behind the project of European integration.
We declare that everyone present at this moment in Europe is a citizen of the European Republic. We acknowledge and accept our responsibility for the common heritage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we pledge finally to make it into a reality.
(...) Because Europe means unifying people (...)
The European Republic is founded upon the principle of universal political equality irrespective of nationality and social or ethnic background. The constituent elements of the European Republic are the European cities and regions. The time has come for Europe’s cultural diversity to express itself within a framework of political unity."

(Manifesto for the theatre event "Proclamation of a European Republic via)
For the first time in European history, citizens all over the continent will gather at a single moment in time – 10th of November at 4 p.m. – to spark a broad debate about European democracy and what it means to be European citizens. From theatres, balconies and public spaces all over Europe, artists and citizens will proclaim a European Republic, discuss, and pave the way for the emancipatory claim of citizens’ equality beyond the nation-state. The European Balcony Project was initiated by the European Democracy Lab and realized with the support of numerous citizens across Europe. (literally via)
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photograph of Sophia Loren on a balcony via

Friday 9 November 2018

Born this day ... Dorothy Dandridge

"Dorothy Dandridge was a fighter. Growing up in The Depression and making her way through Hollywood in the ’40s, she encountered resistance — to her skin color, to her refusal to play demeaning roles — at every turn. She was assailed in the press for dating white men, and blamed herself for her husband’s philandering and her daughter’s brain damage. Nearly every societal convention was against her."
the hairpin

Dorothy Jean Dandridge (1922-1965) was a US-American actress, singer, and dancer, the first black woman featured on the cover of Life, and the first black American nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress (for a leading role) (via). While her mother, Ruby Dandridge, played stereotypical "Mammy" roles, Dorothy was told to be too pretty to play a servant. At the beginning, the fact that "she didn't look like the traditionally cast African American actors" was a barrier to her career (Murgia, 2018). Dorothy Dandridge became the ultimate metaphor of the "tragic mulatto" (Hall, 2008).
Later, the civil rights movement helped her become more and more accepted and popular (Murgia, 2018)
African American visibility as more than just an uneducated, undesirable entity in the eyes of white America was being challenged by an actor who wanted to step out of an archaic stereotype and system. She was a bridge that transitioned pigeon-holed views about African Americans, however, her role was complex, and her self-awareness made that a difficult connection to maintain. Her features and lighter skin tone would bring colorism or a caste system to the forefront in both negative and positive ways, or as she called it, her 'fortune or misfortune.' She was a beauty icon, opening doors for people of color to be more desirable, actually moving within white society circles with ease, but would create a limbo for less-exotic-looking blacks who weren't seen as attractive by white society. (Murgia, 2018)

Dandridge had relationships with white men - actors and her director Otto Preminger - at a time, the Motion Picture Production Code banned romantic relationships between black and white actors on screen (Murgia, 2018).
She wanted strong leading roles, but found her opportunities limited because of her race. According to The New York Times, Dandridge once said, "If I were Betty Grable, I could capture the world." Belafonte also addressed this issue, noting that his former co-star "was the right person in the right place at the wrong time."
With Hollywood filmmakers unable to create a suitable role for the light-skinned Dandridge, they soon reverted to subtly prejudiced visions of interracial romance. She appeared in several poorly received racially and sexually charged dramas, including Island in the Sun (1957), also starring Belafonte and Joan Fontaine, and Tamango (1958), in which she plays the mistress of the captain of a slave ship.
Among the missed opportunities from this period, Dandridge turned down the supporting role of Tuptim in The King and I (1956), because she refused to play a slave. It was rumored that she would play Billie Holliday in a film version of the jazz singer's autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, but it never panned out. (...)
While making Carmen Jones, Dandridge became involved in an affair with the film's director, Otto Preminger, who also directed Porgy and Bess. Their interracial romance, as well as Dandridge's relationships with other white lovers, was frowned upon, particularly by other African-American members of the Hollywood filmmaking community. (via)
It's a story of a life wasted as we see her determination swayed by society and the social norms of the time, as well as a mismanaged career. Her place in cinematic history is still relevant as the struggle for visible minority representation continues in the boardrooms of high-powered film executives today. Murgia (2018)
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- Hall, R. E. (2008). Racism in the 21st Century. An Empirical Analysis of Skin Color. New York: Springer Science + Business Media
- Murgia, S. J. (2018). The Encyclopedia of Racism in American Films. Lanham, Boulder, New York & London: Rowman & Littlefield.
photographs via and via and via

Monday 5 November 2018

Dance! Skin Tone and the Balanchine Body

Black dancers are often labelled and typecast "in pieces that require extreme athleticism as opposed to classical lines". As they are viewed as muscular and athletic, they do not fit in to the Balanchine model that was used for ballet dancers: small head, long legs, very slender body (Keenan, 2017). George Balanchine (1904-1983) liked to see bones and ribs. His obsession with slender bodies, in fact, is blamed for eating disorders of dancers today (via).


"Dictating such rigid roles for centuries has made it difficult for audiences, choreographers, and dancers to accept change." A homogeneous corps of ballet is still preferred which again promotes Eurocentric beauty ideals. The American Ballet Theatre, for instance, had its first black female principal after 77 years (Keenan, 2017).
George Balanchine's presence was so dominant in NYCB that the dancers, the scenic presentation, the musical investiture, all seem to operate with the same value system, even in ballets not choreographed by Balanchine.
Siegel (1983)

- Keenan, S. M. (2017). A Choreographic Exploration of Race and Gender Representation in Film and Dance. Scripps Senior Theses, online
- Siegel, M. B. (1983). George Balanchine 1904-1983. The Hudson Review, 36(3), 519+521-526.
- images (Sweet Charity, 1969, based on Federico Fellini's screenplay) via and via and via

Sunday 4 November 2018

"Why don't you ask Mick Jagger?"

"A man came up to me & said... 'Don’t You Think You’re TOO OLD To Be Running Around The Stage Like That,..Singing Rock n Roll⁉️`'
I Said: 'I Don’t Know,.. Why Don’t you Ask Mick Jagger'"
Cher, 2nd November 2018

Cher on YouTube:

::: All I Really Want to Do: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Satisfaction: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Shame, Shame, Shame (with Tina Turner): LISTEN/WATCH
::: Young Americans Medley (with David Bowie): LISTEN/WATCH

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photograph of Cher via

Friday 2 November 2018

In Elvis Presley's Trailer

"I adored Elvis. (...) We became very good friends. He was warm and kind and full of love. He had this tremendous desire to please people. We watched the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. together over lunch in his trailer. He cried. He really cared deeply."
Celeste Yarnall

Celeste Yarnall played Ellen in "Live a Little, Love a Little"; she was the girl Elvis courted by singing "A Little Less Conversation".