Wednesday 31 July 2019

French Music, German Comedy? Ministers, Stereotypes and "the French equivalent of the Beatles".

"Given that the country appointed a Minister for Rock, it's strange that France has made such a pitiful contribution to pop and rock culture. It's a bit like the Germans having a Minister for Comedy."
David Stubbs

Claude Antoine Marie François (1939-1978) was a French singer, composer, songwriter (he co-wrote the lyrics of the original version of "My Way"), dancer, icon and "the French equivalent of the Beatles" (via).

Claude François Link Pack:

::: J'Attendrai: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Les majorettes: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Si douce à mon souvenir: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Même si tu revenais: WATCH/LISTEN
::: J'ai perdu ma chance: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Cette année-là: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Mais combien de temps?: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Magnolias for ever: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Belles, belles, belles: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Il fait beau, il fait bon: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Si tu veux être heureux: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Chanson populaire: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Alexandrie, Alexandra: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Je vais à Rio: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Le Téléphone Pleure: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Je viens dîner ce soir: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Mais quand le matin: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Toi et moi contre le monde entier: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Laisse une chance à notre amour: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Soudain il ne reste qu'une chanson: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Toi et le soleil: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Fleur sauvage: WATCH/LISTEN

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image via

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Outsmarting Men, Losing Attraction

"Six studies revealed that when evaluating psychologically distant targets, men showed greater attraction toward women who displayed more (vs. less) intelligence than themselves. In contrast, when targets were psychologically near, men showed less attraction toward women who outsmarted them."
Park et al., 2015

- Park, L. E., Young, A. F. & Eastwick, P. W. (2015). (Psychological) Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Effects of Psychological Distance and Relative Intelligence on Men's Attraction to Women. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(11), 1459-1473.
- photograph by Vivian Maier via

Monday 29 July 2019

Mr Rogers' and François Clemmons' Famous Footbath

Fred McFeely Rogers (1928-2003) created "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood", a children's programme that began airing in the U.S. in 1968, was the host of all 895 episodes, composed more than 200 songs. "More importantly, he changed the face of children’s television and transformed the way we think about the inner lives of young children." (via)

As different as we are from one another, as unique as each one of us is, we are much more the same than we are different. That may be the most essential message of all, as we help our children grow toward being caring, compassionate, and charitable adults.
Fred Rogers
In a 1969 episode, on a hot day, Fred Rogers invited François Clemmons, who embodied a friendly police officer for 30 years and the first recurring black character on a children's series, to join him in taking a footbath. This was "one of those giant leaps for mankind moments" (via) since at the time, many community pools did not "welcome" black US-Americans (via).
Fred came to me and said, “I have this idea, you could be a police officer.” That kind of stopped me in my tracks. I grew up in the ghetto. I did not have a positive opinion of police officers. Policemen were sicking police dogs and water hoses on people. And I really had a hard time putting myself in that role. So I was not excited about being Officer Clemmons at all.
François Scarborough Clemmons
He invited me to come over and to rest my feet in the water with him. The icon Fred Rogers not only was showing my brown skin in the tub with his white skin as two friends, but as I was getting out of that tub, he was helping me dry my feet.
I think he was making a very strong statement. That was his way. I still was not convinced that Officer Clemmons could have a positive influence in the neighborhood and in the real-world neighborhood, but I think I was proven wrong.
François Scarborough Clemmons
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image via

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Social Segregation, Teachers, and Recruitment Gap

"It has long been recognised that schools serving disadvantaged communities are more likely to be staffed by teachers without qualified teacher status, with fewer years of experience and by non-specialist science and maths teachers. Inequality in access to suitably qualified, high quality teachers is likely to be an important contributor to the attainment gap that exists between students who come from disadvantaged families and those who do not."

According to a survey conducted among more than 7.000 primary and secondary teachers in the U.K., schools serving disadvantaged communities struggle finding qualified teachers, particularly in core subjects such as mathematics and sciences. Teachers believe that these schools involve harder work and require more skills while they prefer to teach pupils with fewer behavioural problems. However, 80% would consider a move to a school with recruitment difficulties if the conditions (pay, promotion, reduced timetable) were right (via and via).

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photograph by Henry Grant (1966) via, copyright by Henry Grant Collection and Museum of London

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Less Than Human, by Livingstone Smith (2011)

Think of the word dehumanization. It literally means something like "removing the human-ness." Now, take someone and imagine that their humanity has been stripped away from them. What's left? When the founding fathers dehumanized their slaves, what remained of them? When European colonists dehumanized Native Americans or Nazis dehumanized Jews, what remained? In their eyes, what was left was a creater that seemend human - had a human-looking form, walked on two legs, spoke human language, and acted in more-or-less human ways - but which was nonetheless not human.

Describing human beings as rats or cockroaches is a symptom of something more powerful and more dangerous - something that's vitally importang for us to understand. It reflects how one thinks about them, and thinking of a person as subhuman isn't the same as calling them names. Calling people names is an effort to hurt or humiliate them. It's the use of language as a weapon. But dehumanizing a person involves judging them to be less than human. It's intended as a description rather than as an attack, and as such is a departure from reality - a form of self-deception.
(...) We are all potential dehumanizers, just as we are all potential objects of dehumanization.

The uneasy relationship between the economic attractions of slavery and the Enlightenmen vision of human dignity was a long-standing one, and for those torn between the demands of conscience and the seductions of self-interst, there was a way out of the dilemma. They could deny that African slaves were human, and in this way they could square the moral circle.

Thinking sets the agenda for action, and thinking of humans as less than human paves the way for atrocity. The Nazis were explicit about the status of their victims. they were Untermenschen - subhumans - and as such were excluded from the system of moral rights and obligations that bind humankind together. It's wrong to kill a person, but permissible to exterminate a rat. to the Nazis, all the Jews, Gypsies, and the others were rats: dangerous, disease-carrying rats.
(...) Sometimes the Nazis thought of their enemies as vicious, bloodthirsty predators rather than parasites.

What about the Americans and their English-speaking allies? We were the good guys, weren't we? Allied personnel also dehumanized their enemies (as one soldier wrote in a letter home, "It is very wrong to kill people, but a damn Nazi is not human, he is more like a dog") but on the whole dehumanized the Germans less than they did the Japanese. Germans, after all, were fellow Anglo-Saxons - strapping blue-eyed boys who might just as well have grown up on farms in Oklahoma. But the Japanese were another story. A poll of U.S. servicemen indicated that 44 percent would like to kill a Japanese soldier while only 6 percent felt the same way about Germans.
The "Japs" were considered animals, and were often portrayed as monkeys, apes, or rodents, and sometimes as insects (...).

It's all too easy to imagine that the Third Reich was a bizarre aberration, a kind of mass insanity instigated by a small group of deranged ideologues who conspired to seize political power and bend a nation to their will. Alternatively, it's tempting to imagine that the Germans were (or are) a uniquely cruel and bloodthirsty people. But these diagnoses are dangerously wrong. What's most disturbing about the Nazi phenomenon is not that the Nazis were madmen or monsters. It's that they were ordinary human beings.

Like their German allies, the Japanese believed that they were the highest form of human life, and considered their enemies inferior at best and subhuman at worst. American and British leaders were depicted with horns sprouting from their temples, and sporting tails, claws, or fangs. The Japanese labeled their enemies as demons (oni), devils (kichiku), evil spirits (akki and akuma), monsters (kaibutsu), and "hairy, twisted-nosed savages". Americans were Mei-ri-ken, a double entendre translated as "misguided dog".
(...) We called the Chines 'chancorro' ... that meant below human, like bugs or animals. ... The Chinese didn't belong to the human race. That was the way we looked at it.

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- Livingstone Smith, D. (2011). Less Than Human. Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others. New York: St. Martin's Press (excerpts)
- photograph by Roy DeCarava (Boy Playing, Man Walking, 1966) via

Monday 22 July 2019

Cages, the Myopic Focus and the Macroscopic View

Cages. Consider a bird cage. If you look very closely at just one wire in the cage, you cannot see the other wires. If your conception of what is before you is determined by this myopic focus, you could look at that one wire, up and down the length of it, and be unable to see why a bird could not just fly around the wire any time it wanted to go somewhere. Furthermore, even if, one day at a time, you myopically inspected each wire, you still could not see why a bird would have trouble going past the wires to get anywhere.

It is only when you step back, stop looking at the wires one by one, microscopically, and take a macroscopic view of the whole cage, that you can see why the bird does not go anywhere; and then you will see it in a moment. It will require no great subtlety of mental powers. It is perfectly obvious that the bird is surrounded by a network of systematically related barriers, no one of which would be the least hindrance to its flight, but which, by their relations to each other, are as confining as the solid walls of a dungeon.
Frye, 1983:23

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- Frye, M. (1983). The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory. Crossing Press.
- photograph (Trentham Racecourse, Upper Hutt, 1970) by Ans Westra via

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Narrative images: Daddy, I want to be free (1961)

"This photograph captures William Edwin Jones as he pushes his daughter Renee Andrewnetta Jones during a protest march on Main Street in Memphis, Tennessee, in August of 1961. The father and daughter walk past a car full of white policeman who appear to be watching the protest. In a later interview, 8-month-old Renee who grew up to be a pediatrician, recalls that day as passed down by her parents to her. She noted that the protesters on that particular day were all fathers with their daughters. The mothers and the sons were to remain home in case violence broke out, in order to protect at least half of each family." (via)

Ernest Columbus Withers (1922-2007) was a photojournalist who documented the Civil Rights Movement and captured the segregated South. Withers was known for travelling with Martin Luther King, Jr. and for covering the Emmett Till murder trial (via).
“A veteran freelancer for America’s black press, Withers was known as ‘the original civil rights photographer,’ an insider who’d covered it all, from the Emmett Till murder that jump-started the movement in 1955 to the Little Rock school crisis, the integration of Ole Miss and, now, the 1968 sanitation strike that brought King to Memphis and his death.” (via)
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photograph via

Monday 15 July 2019


The root of the word "oppression" is the element "press". The press of the crowd; pressed into military service; to press a pair of pants; printing press; press the button. Presses are used to mold things or flatten them or reduce them in bulk, sometimes to reduce them by squeezing out the gasses or liquids in them. Something pressed is something caught between or among forces and barriers which are so related to each other that jointly they restrain, restrict, or prevent the thing's motion or mobility. Mold. Immobilize. Reduce.
Frye, 2000:11

- Frye, M. (2000). Oppression. In A. Minas (ed.) Gender Basics: Feminist Perspectives on Women and Men (10-16). Wadsworth.
- photograph (woman selling balloons on a Chicago South Side street corner at Sox Park Baseball Field, June 1973) via

Thursday 11 July 2019

A lot of Hell but a Good Time. Nina Simone.

Do you think that your child will be living through the revolutionary years?

"I don't know, love. Whatever it is she's going to have pride in her own blackness. She's going to have a chance to be more than just somebody who's on the outside looking in. Like it's been for most of us, and my parents before me, but she may see more bloodshed than I've ever even dreamed of. I have no way of knowing that evolution. The cycle goes round and round. It's time for us."

"It's a good time for black people to be alive. It's a lot of hell, a lot of violence, but I feel more alive now than I ever have in my life. I have a chance to live as I've dreamed." (via)

photographs via and via and via

Saturday 6 July 2019

Diversity is Logical. And this Weblog is Six Years Old.

After six years, 895 postings and 9.001.362 views, another big thank-you to my 6.731 subscribers. I would like to particularly thank those who in the past six years kept dropping by leaving lovely comments. Thank you ever so much and live long and prosper!

Spockified photograph by Paperwalker, original Spock painting via

Friday 5 July 2019

Who Cares? Caring Responsibilities, Age and Gender.

“An ageing population means more older workers may take on caring responsibilities, particularly for a parent. We have shown that working and caring is being combined, particularly by women who are twice as likely than men to combine working and caring.”
Sarah Crofts

People in their 50s and 60s have the most caring responsibilities, particularly if they are women. According to a report published by the Office for National Statistics, there are some distinct gender differences when it comes to caring: Male carers are less likely to work than men without caring duties, women are equally likely to be in work whether they are carers or not, older female workers are twice as likely as older male workers to be informal workers, men tend to care for a spouse or the parents, women often care for a broader range including people who are non-relatives.
Alongside 6.5 million personal stories of the frustration, despair, satisfaction and joy of caring, caring is also rapidly becoming one of the biggest political challenges of the 21st century.
Caring can be rewarding but it may also force carers into "ill-health, poverty and isolation". In fact, 65% of carers in the U.K. aged 60 to 94 have either long-term health problems or disabilities (via).

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photograph via

Monday 1 July 2019

When Dave Brubeck Was Six Years Old...

Dave Brubeck (1920-2012) was six years old when he was on a cattle-buyer trip with his father, Pete, and saw "something that would haunt him for the rest of his life". Pete Brubeck asked a black cowboy called "Shine" to come over and greet his son Dave.

Pete Brubeck then asked Shine to open his shirt. Brubeck, then only 6, watched as Shine unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a brand on his chest: He had been marked like cattle. Shine was the first black person Brubeck had ever seen. A furious Pete Brubeck told his son that "something like this never should happen again."
Later, Dave Brubeck said in an interview that it had an impact on him he would never forget. "I thought, 'What can I do about this?' It's like my dad (was) telling me to do something about it." 
Dave Brubeck was more than a jazz legend and the "Ambassador of the Cool"; he was also a champion for civil rights. And, as John Blake writes, Brubeck "was bigger than all of that".
Brubeck and other white jazz musicians joined a community where they were the minority, where their skin tone was not the norm. At the beginning, the black experience was foreign to Brubeck but differences were something he did not find threatening but inspiring.
Brubeck was a champion for democracy as well as jazz. It's often forgotten that many of the exotic rhythms he infused into his music came from tours his quartet took of the Middle and Far East. The State Department sponsored these tours to promote democracy during the Cold War. Brubeck often compared jazz to democracy, saying both challenged individuals to express their freedom while being disciplined enough to respect the freedom of others.
Unsquare Dance:

One day, Brubeck heard a knock on his hotel door. He opened it to find Ellington, smiling and holding several copies of Time magazine. Brubeck was on the cover. His heart sank. Ellington was his friend. He knew that Time had also been interviewing Ellington, and Brubeck thought the jazz composer deserved the honor over him.
"I wanted to be on the cover after Duke," Brubeck told the narrator in Ken Burns' epic documentary on jazz. "The worst thing that could have happened to me was that I was there before Duke, and he was delivering the news to me." (via)
During World War II, Brubeck's Wolfpack Band was the only integrated jazz band in the army. In the 1950s, the Dave Brubeck Quartet became the most famous jazz group in the U.S. Nevertheless, they were turned away from hotels, and not only in the South. The South was "the worst trouble" which did not keep Brubeck from leading his integrated band "through the South in the tumultuous years between the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Freedom Riders, refusing to compromise the group's identity for the prejudice of Jim Crow" (via).
Brubeck refused to compromise. He cancelled gigs at Georgia Tech, Memphis State, and elsewhere. He took a similar stand on the Bell Telephone Hour, a musical TV program, when the producers made a similar ultimatum. "I told him that we weren't going to change," Brubeck recalled. "And, they said, 'Well, then we can't have you.' And I said, 'All right, I'm not going to do your television show.' (Later, he refused $17,000 to play in South Africa under apartheid.)
"Jazz stands for freedom," Brubeck said. For him, it also stood for loyalty and principle.
In 1960, after colleges demanded again that Brubeck substitute a white bassist for Wright, Brubeck cancelled 23 of 25 dates on a tour of Southern universities, a decision that cost the group an estimated $40,000. (The average annual U.S. income at that time was around $5,000.)
Another time, also in the South, before a gym of college students whose enthusiasm was approaching a riot, the governor and the college president came to a last-minute agreement to allow the band to play. "Now you can go on with the understanding that you'll keep Eugene Wright in the background where he can't be seen too well," the governor said to Brubeck, making sure the bassist's mic was off.
But Brubeck had other ideas: "I told Eugene," he recalled in conversation with Hedrick Smith, "You gotta come in front of the band to play your solo." The crowd went crazy.
"Nobody was against my black bass player," Brubeck said. "They cheered him like he was the greatest thing that ever happened for the students."
"We integrated the school that night." (via)
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photograph via