Wednesday 26 June 2019

The Peanut Butter Falcon

"A young boy with Down syndrome runs away to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional wrestler" (via).

Zack Gottsagen is an actor, recipient of 2018 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award and the first person with Down syndrome to be fully included in the Palm Beach County School district (via).
In the movie, Zak escapes his residential nursing home to follow his dream of training under his professional wrestling idol. Along the way, Zak encounters Tyler, “a small-time outlaw on the run”. The pair work their way through a series of obstacles while convincing Eleanor, the nursing home employee tasked with bringing Zak back, to join the adventure.

“The Peanut Butter Falcon,” written and directed by Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson, was created for Gottsagen. Schwartz and Nilson met Gottsagen at a disability acting camp. Gottsagen challenged the filmmakers to create a role for a character with Down syndrome since initially, they said they didn’t see any films that starred people like Gottsagen. (shortened version, via)

Tuesday 25 June 2019


Mr Newman is 82. He has lived through several regimes. He graduated from university and became an expert in his field. With is wife he raised three children...

Commercial for "Diakonie", a charity helping the elderly in Czech Republic.
Nominated for the Young Director Award, Cannes Lions 2011
Winner, Best International Idea, Golden Stiletto Awards 2011
Winner, Most successful campaign, Zihadlo Marketing Awards 2011 (via)

Saturday 22 June 2019

Find Your Greatness

In 2012, Nike launched the "Find Your Greatness" campaign showing "everyday athletes around the world training, playing and competing" (via).

One of the many messages:
"If we think greatness is supposed to look a certain way, act a certain way and play a certain way, we certainly need to rethink some things."

This is really beautiful.

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image via

Thursday 20 June 2019

My Mayor

Just when I thought I couldn't be a bigger fan of the Mayor of Milan, Beppe Sala posted this photograph on Facebook pointing out that Pride will be starting tomorrow and that Milan is a city of human rights and duties (via).

photograph of Beppe Sala via

Monday 17 June 2019

Only in England

Tony Ray-Jones (1941-1972) was an English photographer, or rather, "a social anthropologist with a camera". He photographed English rituals of Eton boarding school, beauty contests, pop festivals, the street, and the seaside (via).
Intrigued by the eccentricities of English social customs, Tony Ray-Jones spent the latter half of the 1960s travelling across England, photographing what he saw as a disappearing way of life.
Science Media Museum

"My aim is to communicate something of the spirit and the mentality of the English, their habits and their way of life, the ironies that exist in the way they do things, partly through their traditions and partly through the nature of their environment and their mentality. For me there is something very special about the English 'way of life' and I wish to record it from my particular point of view before it becomes Americanised and disappears."
Tony Ray-Jones

"In his photographs, the recent English past does indeed seem like another country, but one that, for all the strangeness he captures, remains oddly familiar."
Martin Parr

- photographs via and via and via and via and via and via
- more photographs: LINK

Friday 14 June 2019

"We play for a nation that doesn't even know our names." Women Playing Football

The first Women's World Cup was held in Italy in 1970, a decade that was characterised by several countries lifting their ban on women's football and establishing new teams across Europe and North America (via). Currently, the eight edition of FIFA Women's World Cup is being hosted in France (via). Generally speaking, it surely does not get the media coverage the FIFA (Mens') World Cup gets but in Britain, it is attracting a bigger audience than cricket (via).

Before 1921, women's football flourished in England with about 150 women's teams whose matches "pulled bigger crowds than most men's games". Then women were banned from playing football on pitches with spectator facilities, i.e. professional stadiums, since the sport was "quite unsuitable for females". This ban was lifted in 1971 (via), the same year women's football "hit the big time" in Mexico, "a success because the organisers did not assume it would be a commercial or sporting failure. It was sold and promoted as football tournament, one that just happened to feature women" (via).
Women's participation in football also provides a good example of the mutual ripple effect that can exist between a sport's level of television coverage and its increasing uptake in the community. Since the 2011 World Cup, media coverage of international women's football fixtures has steadily gained traction – not least on the back of the French team's commendable performances, which have subsequently pulled in higher audiences. Alongside these television and sports performances, the number of female members of football clubs has soared since the 2010-2011 season (+90%).
Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel, 2017:10
Here is a strong message of female empowerment (Germany's Women's World Cup advert):

photograph (French team, 1979, photo credit: AFP/CARL FOURIE) via 

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Quoting Eli Wallach

"This country has a complex about age. It's unbelievable. If you're over thirty, you've had it in this country."
Eli Wallach

image of Eli Wallach (1915-2014) via

Monday 10 June 2019

Quoting Lee Van Cleef

In an interview, Lee Van Cleef was asked about the "intercultural communication conditions" in Italy, if everybody involved in making the film "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly" was speaking English.

"No. Not then. Everybody speaks English now, for the most part. For your somewhat better films, your major actors do speak English now, mostly; unless they're in there doin' somebody a favor and won't speak anything but their own tongue, which I think they're making a mistake, there. And in some of your cheapies now, they won't. But in the old days - well, I say the old days, it was fourteen, fifteen years ago and ` before that - everybody would be speaking in their own tongue. Leone couldn't speak English to begin with. He speaks it very well now, but in the first picture he could hardly speak it at all, and we had an interpreter on both of the pictures I did for him. There was one scene in For a Few Dollars More that I was in where there were five languages spoken: Greek, Italian, German, Spanish, and a Cockney Englishman that I couldn't understand any better than I could understand the Greek! But I got along in it, because I knew what everybody was supposed to be saying in English by my script. So, when they'd stop speakin', then I would say something. Also, I began to pick up some of the Italian and Spanish which was prevalent over there."
Lee Van Cleef

"Did any of your fellow actors ever express or hint at any resentments towards you, as an American on a European set; as if to suggest you had taken the job away from a more deserving local" I asked.

"No, I never felt it. I think that the people in the know, they understand that as well as an art, it's an international business and a money game. Because it's international, you have people with different nationalities in damn near every film today. Even American ' producers will go over to Europe to get money to pre-sell a picture. As a consequence, to get this money, they may sometimes have to take actors and technicians from the countries they're negotiating with - or I'm sure : in a lot of cases, they want to take them, because there's a lot of fine people abroad. So, if you're going to make a film anywhere, and you're going to want money from Italy, money from Spain, from Mexico, from Canada, then they will own a film for their particular areas, or however you negotiate it - there's no two alike - and you've got people from all over the world in one fllm.
But we got along fine. No problem at all. You'd be surprised how many over there do speak English now, cause the actors have had to learn. It wasn't that way before. I'd usually pal around with somebody who commanded both English as well as the tongues of anybody there around me. The stunt man I had over there for quite some time spoke English very well, and both Spanish and Italian. My wife speaks a little bit of Spanish, too, and I speak enough Italian now to make myself understood."
Lee Van Cleef

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image of Lee Van Cleef (1925-1989) via

Friday 7 June 2019

Quoting Clint Eastwood

"I'm interested in the fact that the less secure a man is, the more likely he is to have extreme prejudice."
Clint Eastwood

image via

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Hysterical, Emotional, Exaggerating: Women, Bias and Undertreatment of Pain

"There is now a well-established body of literature documenting the pervasive inadequate treatment of pain in this country. There have also been allegations, and some data, supporting the notion that women are more likely than men to be undertreated or inappropriately diagnosed and treated for their pain."
Hoffmann & Tarzian (2001:13)

Value systems of a culture have an impact on pain perception from the very beginning. Children are socialised how to react to pain, i.e., boys are often discouraged from expressing pain. And when they are adults, they show the same communication patterns. In a study, male pain research participants reported that they "felt an obligation to display stoicism in response to pain". Impression management also seems to play a role since men report less pain in front of a female researcher than a male researcher. Men and women also show differences in how they report their pain to health-care providers. Interestingly, although women are better at describing their pain sensations, they receive less pain medication.
Miaskowski reported on several studies that identified such differences in response and treatment. Faherty and Grier studied the administration of pain medication after abdominal surgery and found that, controlling for patient weight, physicians prescribed less pain medication for women aged 55 or older than for men in the same age group, and that nurses gave less pain medication to women aged 25 to 54.
Calderone found that male patients undergoing a coronary artery bypass graft received narcotics more often than female patients, although the female patients received sedative agents more often, suggesting that female patients were more often perceived as anxious rather than in pain. Another study, examining post-operative pain in children, found that significantly more codeine was given to boys than girls and that girls were more likely to be given acetaminophen.'
Miaskowski further reported on two more recent studies. In a 1994 study of 1,308 outpatients with metastatic cancer, Cleeland and colleagues found that ofthe 42 percent who were not adequately treated for their pain, women were significandy more likely than men to be undertreated (an odds ratio of 1:5). In another study of 366 AIDS patients, Breitbart and colleagues found that women were significantly more likely than men to receive inadequate analgesic therapy. (...)
A recent prospective study of patients with chest pain found that women were less likely than men to be admitted to the hospital. Of those hospitalized, women were just as likely to receive a stress test as men, but of those not hospitalized, women were less likely to have received a stress test at a one month follow-up appointment. The authors attributed the differences in treatment to the "Yentl Syndrome," i.e., women are more likely to be treated less aggressively in their initial encounters with the health-care system until they "prove that they are as sick as male patients." Once they are perceived to be as ill as similarly situated males, they are likely to be treated similarly. (...)

Hoffmann and Tarzian (2001) come to the conclusion that women are taken less seriously when they report pain and seek help. One likely explanation for the gender-specific difference in treatment is the health-care provider's attitude ... and bias. According to several studies, women are also perceived as being able to tolerate more pain than men, as having a "natural capacity to endure pain".
McCaffery and Ferrell explained this seeming contradiction by speculating that while society attributes strength and bravery to men, these characteristics are displayed by an unwillingness to complain or express discomfort rather than by an actual tolerance of discomfort.
Health-care providers tend to doubt the pain experience of women. A great many women feel that their doctor did not take their pain seriously and expected them to put up with it. The image of the hysterical and emotional woman may also be one reason why female chronic pain patients are more likely to be diagnosed with histrionic disorder.

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- Hoffmann, D. E. and Tarzian, A. J. (2001). The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 29, 13-27.
- photographs by Sepp Werkmeister via

Monday 3 June 2019

How Louis Armstrong Opened the Eyes of a White Teenager Who Became a Constitutional Law Expert

Charles Lund Black, Jr. (1915-2001) was a constitutional law expert who taught at Columbia and Yale Universities for more than fifty years, author of more than twenty books and hundreds of articles on law, and a jazz aficionado. In 1954, he wrote the legal brief for Linda Brown, the 10-year-old student whose landmark case "Brown v. Board of Education" (1954) - in which the Supreme Court ruled that ethnic segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional - became a cornerstone of the civil rights movement (via and via).

Professor Black -- who taught his students that being a good lawyer in an era of increasing specialization required that they broaden their horizons through interests outside the law -- was something of a renaissance man himself. He published three volumes of poetry; he painted landscapes in oil; and he played the trumpet and what he called a cowboy harmonica. (via)
On 12th October 1931, aged 16, Charles Black heard Louis Armstrong play in Austin and was "dumbstuck by the genius of the performance" (via).
Among those who paid 75 cents to get in that night was a freshman at the University of Texas named Charlie Black. He knew nothing of Jazz. Had never even heard of Armstrong. Who was already considered at the top of the list of famous jazz musicians. Charlie just knew there were likely to be "lots of girls to dance with." Then, Armstrong began to play. (via)

Later, Black wrote about Louis Armstrong's impact on his life. Here are some excerpts of "My World With Louis Armstrong", by Charles L. Black, Jr.

(...) I ever met Louis, except for a couple of handshakes at the bandstand. Yet no first meeting in my life ever had the impact on me of my first encounter with him.
In September 1931, posters appeared in Austin advertising four dances, October 12 through 15, to be played by one “Louis Armstrong, King of the Trumpet, and His Orchestra,” at the old Driskill Hotel. I was entirely ignorant of jazz, and had no idea who this King might be; hyperbole is the small coin of billboards. But a dance at the Driskill, with lots of girls there, was usually worth the seventy-five cents, so I went to the first one.
Memory is splotchy. I don’t remember the moment or exactly the process of realization. But since that evening, October 12,1931, Louis Armstrong has been a continuing presence in my life. (...)
He was the first genius I had ever seen. That may be a structurable part of the process that led me to the Brown case. The moment of first being, and knowing oneself to be, in the presence of genius, is a solemn moment; it is perhaps the moment of final and indelible perception of man’s utter transcendence of all else created. It is impossible to overstate the significance of a sixteen-year-old Southern boy’s seeing genius, for the first time, in a black. We literally never saw a black man, then, in any but a servant’s capacity. There were of course black professionals in Austin, as one later learned, but they kept to themselves, out back of town, no doubt shunning humiliation. I liked most of the blacks I knew; I loved a few of them— like old Buck Green, born and raised a slave, who still plays the harmonica through my mouth, having taught me when he was seventy-five and I was ten. Some were honored and venerated, in that paradoxical white-Southern way—Buck Green again comes to mind. But genius—fine control over total power, all height and depth, forever and ever? It had simply never entered my mind, for confirming or denying in conjecture, that I would see this for the first time in a black man. You don’t get over that. You stay young awhile longer, with the hesitations, the incertitudes, the half-obediences to crowd-pressure, of the young. But you don’t forget. The lies reel, and contradict one another, and simper in silliness, and fade into shadow. But the seen truth remains. And if this was true, what happened to the rest of it?
That October night, I was standing in the crowd with a “good old boy” from Austin High. We listened together for a long time. Then he turned to me, shook his head as if clearing it—as I’m sure he was—of an unacceptable though vague thought, and pronounced the judgment of the time and place: “After all, he’s nothing but a God damn nigger!”
The good old boy did not await, perhaps fearing, reply. He walked one way and I the other. Through many years now, I have felt that it was just then that I started walking toward the Brown case, where I belonged. I realized what it was that was being denied and rejected in the utterance I have quoted, and I realized, repeatedly and with growingly solid conviction through the next few years, that the rejection was inevitable, if the premises of my childhood world were to be seen as right, and that, for me, this must mean that those premises were wrong, because I could not and would not make the rejection. Every person of decency in the South of those days must have had some doubts about racism, and I had mine even then—perhaps more than most others. But Louis opened my eyes wide, and put to me a choice. Blacks, the saying went, were “all right in their place.” What was the “place” of such a man, and of the people from which he sprung? (...)
There have been many—well, a good many—great artists in my time. But it just happened that the one who said the most to me—the most of gaiety, the most of sadness, the most of high nervous excitement, the most of religion-in-art, the most of home, the most of that strange square-root-of-minus-one world of emotions without name—was and is Louis. The artist who has played this role in my life was black.
In 1957, in the early days after the Brown case, when the South was still resisting, I wrote out and published my deepest thought on the nature of the agony as it presented itself:

I’m going to close by telling of a dream that has formed itself through the years as I, a Southern white by birth and training, have pondered my relations with the many Negroes of Southern origin that I have known, both in the North and at home. I have noted again and again how often we laugh at the same things, how often we pronounce the same words the same way to the amusement of our hearers, judge character in the same frame of reference, mist up at the same kinds of music. I have exchanged “good evening” with a Negro stranger on a New Haven street, and then realized (from the way he said the words) that he and I derived this universal small-town custom from the same culture. I have seen my father standing at the window of his office with a Negro he had known for a long time, while they looked out on the town below and talked of buildings that used to be here and there when they were young. These and thousands of other such things have brought me to see the whole caste system of the South, the whole complex net of its senseless cruelties and cripplings, as no mere accidental grotesquerie of history, but rather as that most hideous of errors, that prima materia of tragedy, the failure to recognize kinship. All men, to be sure, are kin, but Southern whites and Negroes are bound in a special bond. In a peculiar way, they are the same kind of people. They are happy alike, they are poor alike. Their strife is fratricidal, born of ignorance. And the tragedy itself has, of course, deepened the kinship; indeed, it created it. My dream is simply that sight will one day clear and that each of the participants will recognize the other.

(...) But Louis has the special place of the artist of my time who uniquely instructed me, as only high art can instruct, on all the matters I have written of above, and who was black.
How could I have been anywhere else when the Brown case was moving up? By the time I got there, I had left behind the feeling that I was struggling for justice for somebody else. I was, in my own heart, in an army for and with my own. (...)

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photographs of Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) in his mirrored bathroom (1971) via and via

Saturday 1 June 2019

A Short Ageing Attitudes Quiz

The World Health Organization offers a short "Ageing Attitudes Quiz" with feedback to the answers. There are nine statements and the opportunity to check "your attitudes against these commonly held views of ageing and older persons". Again, a lovely aspect of this quiz is that the WHO offers feedback as you can check your answers: LINK

"All older people are the same."
"Poor health is inevitable in older age."
"An older person is somebody aged 60 years and above."
"My attitude to ageing has little or no influence on my health."
"Ageing is an obstacle to a good life and must be overcome."
"Older adults are a drain on the economy, including health system."
"Ageism means having negative attitudes and or discriminating against people because of their age."
"I can be ageist and not know it."
"We can combat ageism!"

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photograph by Sepp Werkmeister (NYC, 1960s) via