Monday, 13 July 2020

Critical Gerontology

Critical gerontology is an approach to the study of aging inspired by the tradition of critical theory associtaed with such figures as Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, and more recently, Jurgen Habermas. (...) Critical theory in the tradition of the Frankfurt School has been preoccupied with problems of social justice, with interpreting the meaning of human experience, and with understanding cultural tendencies that underlie disparate spheres such as politics, science, and everyday life. Above all critical gerontology is concerned with the problem of emancipation of older people from all forms of domination. Hence, in its mode, critical gerontology is concerned with identifying possibilities for emancipatory social change, including positive ideals for the last stage of life.
Moody (1993:xv), excerpt

- Moody, H. R. (1993). Overview: What Is Critical Gerontology and Why Is It Important? In T. R. Cole, W. A. Achenbaum, P. L. Jakobi & R. Kastenbaum (eds.) Voices and Visions of aging. Toward a Critical Gerontology. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
- photograph by Saul Leiter via

Monday, 6 July 2020

Seven Years "Diversity is Beautiful"... No Seven-Year Itch. And a Bird Visiting Again.

Seven years, 1.041 postings, 9.887.621 views, and 7.403 subscribers ... not even remotely feeling that seven-year itch but still in the honeymoon phase ... because diversity still is beautiful, and there is still the need to raise awareness, and, mostly, because of you known and unknown subscribers, and you who have been following this blog for so long and are still leaving motivating comments after all these years. Thank you, you (yes, you!) wonderful people.

photograph (c) MLM

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The Elderly, the Pandemic, ... Our Indifference.

(...) Notice how the all-too-familiar rhetoric of dehumanization works: “The elderly” are bunched together as a faceless mass, all of them considered culprits and thus effectively deserving of the suffering the pandemic will inflict upon them. Lost entirely is the fact that the elderly are individual human beings, each with a distinctive face and voice, each with hopes and dreams, memories and regrets, friendships and marriages, loves lost and loves sustained. But they deserve to die—and as for us, we can just go about our business. (...)

What does it say about our society that people think of the elderly so dismissively—and moreover, that they feel no shame about expressing such thoughts publicly? I find myself wondering whether this colossal moral failure is exacerbated by the most troubled parts of our cultural and economic life. When people are measured and valued by their economic productivity, it is easy to treat people whose most economically productive days have passed as, well, worthless.

From a religious perspective, if there is one thing we ought to teach our children, it is that our worth as human beings does not depend on or derive from what we do or accomplish or produce; we are, each of us, infinitely valuable just because we are created in the image of God. We mattered before we were old enough to be economically productive, and we will go on mattering even after we cease to be economically productive.

Varied ethical and religious traditions find their own ways to affirm an elemental truth of human life: The elderly deserve our respect and, when necessary, our protection. The mark of a decent society is that it resists the temptation to spurn the defenseless. It is almost a truism that the moral fabric of a society is best measured by how it treats the vulnerable in its midst—and yet it is a lesson we never seem to tire of forgetting. “You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old,” the Bible says—look out for them and, in the process, become more human yourself.

Shai Held (president, dean, and chair in Jewish Thought at Hadar)

- - - - - - - -
potograph by wonderful Vivian Maier via

Monday, 29 June 2020

Quoting Robert Kennedy

“Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity.”
Robert Kennedy

photograph (Philadelphia, 1968, (c) Associated Press) via

Sunday, 28 June 2020

"(...) in times of crisis or danger, it grew into a paranoid xenophobia." Excerpt.

The primary mentality existing in a society where local cultures and the corporate ideal predominated, created self-contained compartments identified as exclusive and impervious to penetration by aliens or outsiders. Each social and cultural compartment contained within itself a sense of its own unique and exclusive identity, shared by no other community. Everyhing done in that community centered historically upon the members of that community. This sense of exclusiveness existed in a less harmful state of being for centuries, but in times of crisis or danger, it grew into a paranoid xenophobia.

Communities based upon the principle of association functioned at their best when all the distinct and different sub-groups lived alongside and amongst one another under the assumption of peace. If, however, dissension overtook the endeavor of peaceful association and even cooperation among the different groups, and suspicion grew to the point of increased violence and warfare, then the joint endeavor had failed and paranoid xenophobia marked the associationist principle.

Under such circumstances in the 19th century some states and societies identified assimilationism as a new goal for social cooperation. By eradicating all the cultural differences that distinguised the diverse groups from one another, the tension and violence that had grown powerful could perhaps decrease or disappear. If such an effort failed, then the assimilationism could become the tool of a xenophobic majority seeking to create a single national community. Ethnic cleansing or exportation of various "minorities" beyond the boundaries of the new national sphere would emerge as methods of xenophobic unification.
(Reid, 2000:185)

- - - - - - - - -
- Reid, J. J. (2000). Crisis of the Ottoman Empire. Prelude to Collapse 1839-1878. Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte des östlichen Europa, Band 57. Stuttgart. Franz Steiner Verlag.
- photographs (Fieldgate Mansions, 1973-1984) by David Hoffman via

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Nick Gabaldon. Surfing against Segregation.

"Race wasn't really an issue at Malibu. Everyone liked him. And he was a pretty smooth surfer, too."
Rick Grigg (a teenager who surfed with Gabaldon)

Nick Gabaldon (1927-1951) was the first documented black US-American surfer. He learned to surf at the Inkwell in Santa Monica which was a tiny (about 60 meters), roped-off, segregated beach designated for the black community at the time. Gabaldon paddled many miles to Malibu, "one of California's best waves" since he had no car and surfed on a borrowed lifeguard's paddleboard (via and via and via).
According to most reports, on June 5, 1951, Nick Gabaldon caught his last wave. During an eight-foot south swell, Gabaldon lost control of his board and struck a piling beneath the Malibu Pier. His board washed up on the beach shortly after. Three days later, lifeguards recovered his body, and the small community of (white) surfers who had come to accept and respect Nick mourned. (...)
For Nick, surfing was a vehicle to improve his world. The ocean was his medium, which is fitting because the sea knows no prejudice; it’s the ultimate equalizer. As is a basketball court. Or a soccer pitch. Or a football field. Or, especially, a great story. (via)
- - - - - -
image via

Monday, 22 June 2020

Waterskiing. Gender. Injuries.

Not only do more men than women participate in waterskiing, men are also more likely to sustain injuries (Muzumdar, 2008) and have "significantly more strains and sprains than females" (Loughlin, 2013).

- Loughlin, S. (2013). Investigation of injuries occurring within competitive water-skiing in the UK. International Journal of Exercise Science 6(1), 29-42.
- Muzumdar, P. (2008). Waterskiing. In C. H. Tator (ed.) Catastrophic Injuries in Sports and Recreation. Causes and Prevention - A Canadian Study (209-220). Toronto, Buffalo & London: University of Toronto Press.
- photograph via

Saturday, 20 June 2020

It takes wealth to make wealth...

Income is primarily earned in the labour market. Wealth, however, is mainly accumulated by the transfer of resources across generations. In other words, it takes wealth to make wealth. A further, and not really surprising, distinction is that wealth is far more unequally distributed than income. In the U.S., the "median black household holds just ten percent of the wealth of median white household, and while blacks constitute thirteen percent of America’s population, they hold less than three percent of its wealth."
(Darity et al, 2018)

- Darity, W. Jr., Hamilton, D., Paul, M., Aja, A., Price, A., Moore, A., & Chiopris, C. (2018). What We Get Wrong About Closing the Racial Wealth Gap. Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity Insight Center for Community Economic Development, link
- photograph by Garry Winogrand via

Thursday, 18 June 2020

"...instead of blaming him if married love begins to cool, she should question herself."

Often a wife fails to realize that doubts due to one intimate neglect shut her out from happy married love.

A man marries a woman because he loves her. So instead of blaming him if married love begins to cool, she should question herself. Is she truly trying to keep her husband and herself eager, happy married lovers? One most effective way to safeguard her dainty feminine allure is by practicing complete feminine hygiene as provided by vaginal douches with a scientifically correct preparation like "Lysol". So easy a way to keep married lovers apart.
(...) You, too, can rely on "Lysol" to help protect your married happiness...keep you desirable!

- - - - - -
image via

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

It's all about sex, or is it? Humans, horses and temperament. An abstract.

We propose that the anthropomorphic application of gender stereotypes to animals influences human-animal interactions and human expectations, often with negative consequences for female animals. An online survey was conducted to explore riders’ perceptions of horse temperament and suitability for ridden work, based on horse sex. The questionnaire asked respondents to allocate three hypothetical horses (a mare, gelding and stallion) to four riders compromising a woman, man, girl and boy. Riders were described as equally capable of riding each horse and each horse was described as suitable for all riders. Participants were also asked which horses (mares, geldings or stallions) were most suitable for the three equestrian disciplines of show-jumping, dressage and trail-riding.

Logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate people’s perceptions about suitability of horse types for particular riders, to evaluate if age, strength or gender were important in rider choice and to investigate riders’ allocation of various descriptors to a gelding, stallion or mare. There were 1,233 survey respondents, 94% of whom were female and 75% of whom were riders with at least eight years of experience. Binomial logistic regression revealed the girl had 2.5 times the odds of being allocated the gelding compared to the boy (p<0.001). Respondents were significantly more likely to allocate the stallion to the man and nearly 50% of respondents did not allocate a horse to the boy, even though they ranked rider gender as least important to their choice (p<0.001). In a forced choice selection of a positive or negative descriptor from a series of nine paired terms to describe horse temperament, a greater proportion of respondents assigned geldings positive ratings on terms such as calm,trainable, reliable and predictable. In terms of suitability for the three equestrian disciplines of show-jumping, dressage and trail-riding, participants overwhelmingly chose geldings for trail-riding, with mares being least preferred for both dressage and show-jumping disciplines. The results suggest that female riders are entering the horse-human dyad with gendered ideas about horse temperament and view horse-riding as an activity primarily for women and girls. This could have far-reaching implications for equine training and welfare.

- - - - - - -
- Fenner, K., Caspar, G., Hyde ,M., Henshall, C., Dhand, N., Probyn-Rapsey, F., Dashper, C., McLean, A., McGreevy, P. (2019). It's all about sex, or is it? Humans, horses and temperament; link
- photograph of Elizabeth Taylor via

Monday, 15 June 2020

I'll tell you something banal...

"I'll tell you something banal. We're emotional illiterates. And not only you and I – practically everybody, that's the depressing thing. We're taught everything about the body and about agriculture in Madagascar and about the square root of pi, or whatever the hell it's called, but not a word about the soul. We're abysmally ignorant, about both ourselves and others. There's a lot of loose talk nowadays to the effect that children should be brought up to know all about brotherhood and understanding and coexistence and equality and everything else that's all the rage just now...

... But it doesn't dawn on anyone that we must first learn something about ourselves and our own feelings. Our own fear and loneliness and anger. We're left without a chance, ignorant and remorseful among the ruins of our ambitions. To make a child aware of its soul is something almost indecent. You're regarded as a dirty old man. How can you understand other people if you don't know anything about yourself? Now you're yawning, so that's the end of the lecture."
Ingmar Bergman

- - - -
photograph via

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Roma Città Aperta (1945)

The film "Rome, Open City" was conceptualised in Italy before the end of WWII and shot in 1945 (via). From 1950 to 1961, Rossellini's masterpiece was prohibited in West Germany since "it showed the cruelty of German Gestapo" (Bösch, 2017) and the Italian resistance against the occupation of Rome. Generally speaking, films showing the contribution of the German population to Nazi cruelty were not welcome. Movies harming Germany's reputation or the country's relation to others were to be banned (Kötzing, 2013).

The film "instantly, markedly, and permanently changed the landscape of film history. It has been credited with helping to initiate and guide a revolution in and reinvention of modern cinema, bold claims that are substantiated when we examine its enormous impact, even to this day, on how films are conceptualized, made, structured, theorized, circulated, and viewed." (Gottlieb, 2004:1)

- Bösch, F. (2017). Mass Media and Historical Change. Germany in International Perspective, 1400 to the Present. New York & Oxford: berghahn.
- Gottlieb, S. (2004). Open City: Reappropriating the Old, Making the New. In S. Gottlieb (ed.) Roberto Rosselini's Rome Open City. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Kötzing, A. (2013). Kultur- und Filmpolitik im Kalten Krieg. Die Filmfestivals von Leipzig und Oberhausen in gesamtdeutscher Perspektive 1954-1972. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag.
- Roma Città Aperta, in German, link
- images of wonderful, stunning, amazing Anna Magnani and of Aldo Fabrizi via and via

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

"With great sorrow and disappointment, I repeat those words today, nearly five decades later."

Rosalynn and I are pained by the tragic racial injustices and consequent backlash across our nation in recent weeks. Our hearts are with the victims’ families and all who feel hopeless in the face of pervasive racial discrimination and outright cruelty. We all must shine a spotlight on the immorality of racial discrimination. But violence, whether spontaneous or consciously incited, is not a solution.

As a white male of the South, I know all too well the impact of segregation and injustice to African Americans. As a politician, I felt a responsibility to bring equity to my state and our country. In my 1974 inaugural address as Georgia’s governor, I said: “The time for racial discrimination is over.” With great sorrow and disappointment, I repeat those words today, nearly five decades later. Dehumanizing people debases us all; humanity is beautifully and almost infinitely diverse. The bonds of our common humanity must overcome the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices.

Since leaving the White House in 1981, Rosalynn and I have strived to advance human rights in countries around the world. In this quest, we have seen that silence can be as deadly as violence. People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say “no more” to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy. We are responsible for creating a world of peace and equality for ourselves and future generations.

We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.

Jimmy Carter (June 2020)

- - - - - - - -
photograph (Ira Schwarz/ASSOCIATED PRESS, 1978) via

Monday, 8 June 2020

Quoting Michelangelo Antonioni

"I meant exactly what I said: that we are saddled with a culture that hasn't advanced as far as science."
"Scientific man is already on the moon, and yet we are still living with the moral concepts of Homer." 
Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007)

photograph via

Friday, 5 June 2020

Le Vieux Fusil (1974): Another Movie Castrated for the German Audience

"Le Vieux Fusil" ("The Old Gun") is an excellent example of post-war film censorship in Western Germany. For the Western German version, additional scenes were shot and included while extremely brutal scenes were cut, inhuman dialogues were modified and diluted. There, the film had the harmless title "Abschied in der Nacht". In Eastern Germany, however, the title was "Das alte Gewehr" and the film was shown in cinemas in an uncensored version. Only in 2007, was this uncensored version released to the German market.

In France, on the other hand, it was immediately awarded the César for Best Film, more awards and nominations followed, and it attracted rave reviews. Years later, it received the "César des Cèsars". In Germany, the portrayal of Nazis was not appreciated, since Germans felt they had been degradated to caricatures, cowards and brutal persons. The film should have shown "real enemies", and, besides, it was not a "real" anti-war film, too little analyses of violence and murder had been done while showing too much focus on "primitive suspense" and bloodthirsty effects (via and via). This reaction and description is highly interesting when considering that the massacre shown in the film had really taken place killing hundreds of people...
Among the many, many atrocities committed during World War Two, the events at one French village stand out. (via)
On 10th of June 1944, troops of the 2nd Waffen-SS Panzer Division destroyed the village Oradour-sur-Glane in Nazi-occupied France killing 642 people within a few hours, among them 207 children, six of them less than six months old. More than 400 of them were herded into the village church which was soaked in petrol before being set on fire. Only seven villagers survived (via and via and via).

The SS men next proceeded to the church and placed an incendiary device beside it. When it was ignited, women and children tried to escape through the doors and windows, only to be met with machine-gun fire. 247 women and 205 children died in the attack. The only survivor was 47-year-old Marguerite Rouffanche. She escaped through a rear sacristy window, followed by a young woman and child.[3] All three were shot, two of them fatally. Rouffanche crawled to some pea bushes and remained hidden overnight until she was found and rescued the next morning. About twenty villagers had fled Oradour-sur-Glane as soon as the SS unit had appeared. That night, the village was partially razed.
Several days later, the survivors were allowed to bury the 642 dead inhabitants of Oradour-sur-Glane who had been killed in just a few hours. (via)
The massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane, committed by German SS troops 75 years ago, remains a symbol of unimaginable inhumanity and horror, even today. We bow in shame and deep sadness before the victims and their families.
Michael Roth, Germany's Minister of State for Europe
- - - - - - - -
- images via and via

- Nazi massacre village Oradour-sur-Glane: Where ghosts must live on, The Guardian, link
- Oradour-sur-Glane: On the emergence of a glocal site of memory in France, ResearchGate, link
- The Oradour Massacre, European Journal, YouTube, link

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Mechanical Asphyxia

A black man and a white woman hold their hands up in a front of police officers in Long Beach, California, during a protest against the death of George Floyd.

photograph (AFP) via

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

The Blonde Cave Dweller: Two Explorers, Similar Experiences, Different Media Coverage.

There have been several experiments to study the effects of isolation on humans (biological rhythms, eating and sleeping patterns, etc.), some of them carried out in caves, and one of them in the French Alps in 1965. That time, Antoine Senni (male record of 126 days) and Josie Laures (female record of 88 days) spent a long time in different caves, each in complete isolation and loneliness (via and via).

While their experiences were rather similar, media coverage made a difference. Antoine Senni became "the forgotten man", media focused on "pretty Josy Laures" who "got all the publicity". In an article, they were described as "a blonde, dark-eyed girl of 26 and a 35-year-old furniture". manufacturer." One article was titled "Blonde Cave Dweller Out of Hospital". A video news report comes to the conclusion: "If the resulting data helps astronauts, Josie will be proud to have been a guinea pig in space exploration. Her boyfriends hope it’ll be for the last time." (via)
After Laures spent some time in Paris getting medical tests, the Tribune reported that she had “fully recovered from her ordeal, tho she has not yet lost extra weight she put on while in the cave.” And if you’re thinking “Well, that’s rude, but maybe it’s relevant, since the experiment was to test the physical and mental effects of isolation,” another article reveals that the “extra weight” she put on was a mere four pounds. No word on the fluctuation of Senni’s weight in the cave.
- - - - - -
photograph via

Friday, 29 May 2020

Does the Fork Have a Woman's or a Man's Voice? And the Bed's Voice?

The fork, a feminine la fourchette in French, a masculine el tenedor in Spanish; the bed, masculine le lit in French, feminine la cama in Spanish... In their study, Sera et al. asked French and Spanish speakers to help prepare a film in which everyday objects come to life, hence need voices.

Participants were shown pictures of different objects and asked to choose a man's or a woman's voice for each. French speakers chose a woman's voice (la fourchette) for the fork, Spanish speakers a man's voice (el tenedor). In the case of the bed, it was exactly the other way round(le lit vs la cama). A series of studies shows the tendency to consider the grammatical gender of inanimate objects when associating characteristics (Deutscher, 2010).

- - - - - - - -
- Deutscher, G. (2010). Through the Language Glass. Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages. London: arrow books.
- image of the amazing Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren via

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

When Art Theft Becomes Artwork

"I decided to steal the painting." In 1976, German performance artist Ulay (1943-2020) stole Spitzweg's painting "The Poor Poet" - which also happened to be Hitler's favourite one and an icon of the Third Reich - from Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie, ran with his hands and feet through the snow and drove "with the museum guards at his heels" to the district of Kreuzberg at the time known for its large percentage of immigrant workers mainly coming from Turkey and rather a ghetto. Before entering an impoverished Turkish family's home, he called the police, then hung up the painting in their living room.

Here, Ulay ran through the snow with the painting under his arm, to a Turkish family, who had agreed to let him shoot a documentary film in their home—however unaware that it involved a stolen painting. Before entering the family’s home, the artist called the police from a phone booth and asked for the director of the museum to pick up the painting. He then hung up the painting in the home of the family “for the reason to bring this whole issue of Turkish discriminated foreign workers into the discussion. To bring into discussion the institute’s marginalization of art. To bring a discussion about the correspondence between art institutes from the academy to museums to whatever. (via)
This demonstrative act, which lasted around thirty hours, expressed the artist’s personal conflict with his German origins and, at the same time, raised awareness about the discrimination of foreign workers as well as the marginalization of art in post-war Germany because – as Ulay stated years later – “everyone should have art in their homes”. (via)
::: Watch: How I Stole a Painting

- - - - - - - -
photograph via

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

You're beautiful. You know from girl things. Like cooking. And sewing. And smelling nice.

You're beautiful. You know from girl things. Like cooking. And sewing. And smelling nice. And looking in mirrors. But football? So, all day Sunday, he takes his six-pack, plants his highness in fornt of the TV and watches those overgrown goots run into each other. And you've got nothing to do but talk to the other football widows on the phone.

image via

Monday, 25 May 2020

Nigga: Reappropriated as a Term of Endearment?

Abstract: It is commonly believed that nigga has been reappropriated as a term of endearment. Perhaps this perception persists incorrectly because public conversations on this word are often dominated by nonlinguists. In contrast, linguists lack comparative studies of nigga’s historical and modern-day use. ...

... Addressing this misperception requires a multilayered approach, employed here. This study begins with a qualitative inquiry into the historical, linguistic, and social factors that have fueled the current perception of the nigger/nigga two-word dichotomy and of how nigga was used by blacks in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The second part is a quantitative study that examines the current apportionment of nigga by speaker race and gender, and linguistic context, as observed in computer-mediated conversations. Multivariate analysis reveals differences among black and white speakers, males and females, and in various linguistic contexts. Comparative analysis uncovers that many of nigga’s current meanings, referents, and uses have existed since at least the nineteenth century and that any changes to the meanings occurred gradually and not through abrupt reanalysis. This fnding lends no support to the reappropriation hypothesis. And crucially, the data show that the epitomized example of reappropriation, my nigga, does not function primarily as a genuine term of endearment but as a masculinizing marker of social identity. (Smith, 2019)

- - - - - - - - -
- Smith, H. (2019). Has nigga been reappropriated as a term of endearment? (A qualitative and quantitative analysis). American Speech, 94(4), 420-477.
- image of Shaft/Richard Roundtree via

Saturday, 23 May 2020

The Beauty-and-Goodness Stereotype in Hollywood

The beauty-and-goodness stereotype is rather learned, at least partly ... and not so much from direct observation of people of varying attractiveness but acculturation where the entertainment media plays a crucial role. Hollywood filmmakers, in fact, "have been portraying physically attractive individuals more favorably than their less attractive counterparts in terms of their moral goodness, romantic activity, and life outcomes" (Smith, McIntosh & Bazzini, 1999)

Abstract: Physically attractive individuals are often viewed more favorably than unattractive people on dimensions that are weakly related or unrelated to physical looks, such as intelligence, sociability, and morality. Our study investigated the role of U.S. films in this "beauty-and-goodness" stereotype. In Study 1, we established that attractive characters were portrayed more favorably than unattractive characters on multiple dimensions (e.g., intelligence, friendliness) across a random sample from 5 decades of top-grossing films. The link between beauty and positive characteristics was stable across time periods, character sex, and characters' centrality to the plot. Study 2 established that exposure to highly stereotyped films can elicit stronger beauty-and-goodness stereotyping. Participants watching a highly biased film subsequently showed greater favoritism toward an attractive graduate school candidate (compared with ratings of an unattractive candidate) than participants viewing a less biased film.

- Smith, S. M., McIntosh, W. D., & Bazzini, D. G. (1999). Are the beautiful good in Hollywood? An investigation of the beauty and goodness stereotype on film. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 21(1), 69-80.
- photograph of Oliver Reed via and Capucine via

Friday, 15 May 2020

The C*nt Cheerleaders

"Students in the early feminist programs, such as the Cal-Art Feminist Art Program, were taught to say the word cunt until it lost its derogatory nature and female sexuality was revalued, and yet just a few years ago, at the "F-Word" symposium, an event organized to honor their legacy, its organizers were so tentative that they were unable to even spell out the word that defined the movement. (...) At the very end of the symposium, Faith Wilding got up and did the Fresno "cunt cheer". Give me a C... The audience's embarrassment, discomfort, but perhaps also awe could scarcely have been more palpable if she had peed on the floor!"
Schor (2009)

"To contemporary readers the use of the crude slang term cunt will generally be understood in a derogatory way, but this is not necessarily how Rowbotham understood it at the time. Like the reclamation of the negative term queer in the gay and lesbian community and the sitll controversial use of the term nigger by blacks, there was a (now decisively failed) feminist effort made to reclaim the word cunt in positive terms. A great U.S. example of this would be the "cunt cheerleaders," students from Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro's Feminist Art Program at Cal Arts, who would turn out at the local airport in cheerleading costumes that spelled out the word cunt to greet feminists visiting the program."
Wilson (2015)

- Schor, M. (2009). A Decade of Negative Thinking. Essays on Art, Politics, and Daily Life. Durham & London. Duke University Press.
- Wilson, S. (2015). Art Labor, Sex Politics. Feminist Effects in 1970s British Art and Performance   Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
- photographs via and via and via

Thursday, 14 May 2020

It's nice to a have a girl's head under your foot.

Though she was a tiger lady, our hero didn't have to fire a shot to floor her. After one look at his Mr Leggs slacks, she was ready to have him walk all over her. That noble style sure soothes the savage heart! If you'd like your own doll-to-doll carpeting, hunt up a pair of these he-man Mr. Leggs slacks. Such as our new automatic wash-wear blend of 65% "Dacron" and 35% rayon - incomparably wrinkle-resistant.

A display of affection is great ... but enough is enough. She couldn't keep her hands off him. Always the little hugs, the pats on the cheek. Sly pinches. It could drive a man to the licence bureau. It all began when he wore his first pair of Mr. Leggs Slacks, tailored by Thomson. But he kept his head; now everything's under control. Why don't you try a pair of Mr. Leggs ... and get ready to dig.
FREE! Does your girl have perfect legs? ...

- images via and via, more ads: link and link

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Being Black in this Pandemic

In England and Wales, Covid-19 patients from black African backgrounds die at more than triple (3.5) rate compared to white people (via), black men are 4.2 times more likely to die than their white counterparts (via) (chances of dying are 1.7 times higher for people of black Caribbean heritage, 2.7 times higher for those with Pakistani heritage). The victims also show the tendency to be younger.

According to a report, ethnic minorities are dying in excess numbers in hospitals, among them a striking number of ethnic minority healthcare workers. This fact that can only be explained considering different factors for different groups. For instance, while black Africans are more likely to be affected because of the key worker roles they are employed in, older Bangladeshi men have health conditions that make them more vulnerable (via).
More than 20% of black African women are employed in health and social care roles while Pakistani men are 90% more likely to work in healthcare roles than their white British counterparts. Similarly, while Indian people make up just 3% of the working population in England and Wales, they account for 14% of doctors, according to the research.
In addition, there are differences when it comes to economic vulnerability:
Bangladeshi men are four times as likely as white British men to have jobs in shutdown industries, with Pakistani men nearly three times as likely," she said. This is partly because of their heavy concentration in the restaurant and taxi sector, she suggested. "Household savings are lower than average among black Africans, black Caribbeans and Bangladeshis," she added. "By contrast, Indians and the largely foreign-born other white group do not seem to be facing disproportionate economic risks.
Lucinda Platt
While only 2% of white British households experienced overcrowding from 2014 to 2017, 30% of Bangladeshi households, 16% of Pakistani households and 12% of black households experienced this, according to a study of the English Housing Survey. (via)
To put it in a nutshell, it is complex:
To try to understand how much of the difference in Covid-19 morbidity was to do purely with ethnicity, the statisticians adjusted for age as well as region, rural and urban classification, area deprivation, household composition, socio-economic position, highest qualification held, household tenure, and health or disability as recorded in the 2011 census. (via)
The fully adjusted results show differences in risk between ethnic groups that are specific to those ethnic groups and are not caused by any of the factors listed on which members of the groups might differ. (via)
In the US, Covid-19 fatalities are extremely high among black Americans:
As of Tuesday, black people made up 33 percent of cases in Michigan and 40 percent of deaths, despite being just 14 percent of the state’s population. In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, where blacks represent 26 percent of the population, they made up almost half of the county’s 945 cases and 81 percent of its 27 deaths, according to a ProPublica report. In Illinois, black people made up 42 percent of fatalities but make up only 14.6 percent of the state’s population. In Chicago, the data is even graver: Black people represented 68 percent of the city’s fatalities and more than 50 percent of cases but only make up 30 percent of the city’s total population.
In the South, the numbers are also grim. In Louisiana, black people accounted for more than 70 percent of deaths in a state population that is about 33 percent black. About 33 percent of the state’s 512 deaths as of Tuesday morning have occurred in Orleans Parish, where black people make up more than 60 percent of the population and where 29 percent of people live in poverty, according to 2018 census data. (via)
- - - - - -
photograph by the amazing Vivian Maier via

Monday, 11 May 2020

Movie Women's Spaces. Archetypal Settings ... All Leading to Marriage.

"It's interesting how often movie women occupy spaces that might be thought of as masculine (...). These spaces, however, are never remembered as female spaces. This is because movies suggest to us that these are men's spaces that unusual women - remarkable women, wonderful women, movie women - are occupying because of their specialness. They occupy this space inside the frame on behalf of the women in the audience, who will never occupy it in real life."

"The woman is trapped in her limited spaces, and her options for mobility are not presented as horizontal. That is, she can't move easily from job to job across an occupational landscape in the movies. What she can do is more spectacular: she can go up, or she can go down. Thus, one of the most common plot forms of the woman's film is that of the rags-to-riches story (she goes up) or its mirror image, the riches to rags (she goes down).
When a woman goes up, she climbs by marrying or seducing men or by shutting men out of her life. Either way, her mobility is linked to the old problem of men and her relationship to them via her decision about love and romance. When she goes down, it is always because of men. (...)"

"The woman's world on film is a box within a box. The female protagonist has her internal self, desirous of freedom, sex, a job, or a wardrobe, and this is the interior box. The exterior box is the actual setting of the movie, and her private world is contained within it. The easiest way for the movies to tell a story about a woman's world is thus as a personal story about a woman in a specific kind of limited setting with defined parameters.
The way this works can be grasped by considering four typical settings of the woman's film - the prison, the department store, the small town, and the home. They are archetypal: anything else - from the science lab to the nunnery - turns out to be pretty much the same thing. These places are astonishingly alike, on an ascending scale of size. They share one dominant characteristic: clear markers for right and wrong. (...)
The woman starts out on one side or the other. She can begin on the wrong side of the tracks, in the kitchen, down in the stockroom, behidn the perfume counter, or in the prison cell. How does she progress? By using her assets, which are beauty (recognized and commented upon) and brains (concealed and used in covert ways). The rich boy in town marries her and moves her across the tracks. The son of the department-store owner notices her, marries her, and removes her from the working world. The homeowner's son notices her, marries her, and makes her the mistress of the home (shifts her over from the kitchen to the bedroom). The prison doctor notices her, realizes she really isn't a criminal at all, and gets her a pardon or rehabilitates her. He'll marry her later, when it's more socially acceptable. (...)" (Basinger, 1993)

- - - - - - - - - -
- Basinger, J. (1993). A Woman's View. How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930-1960. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
- image ("That Touch of Mink", 1962, Cary Grant and Doris Day) via

Saturday, 9 May 2020

The Tall-Man Stereotype. Do Blind People Share it?

A great many studies support positive social perceptions of tall men and associations with independence, dominance, leadership, intelligence, academic achievements, competence, and socio-economic status. Tall men are more likely to win political elections due to presumed greater leadership skills, are seen as more attractive and preferred as mates (marry earlier, remarry more often, get more replies to so-called lonely heart advertisements).

In the current research, we aimed to examine whether blind people, who live in a culture with a strong tall-man stereotype, but are not able to see the stature of men and therefore associate it with particular, positive traits, share the positive tallness stereotype. Our goal was to compare preferences of congenitally blind and sighted individuals in the area of interpersonal attractiveness, namely in its four aspects – perceived intelligence, wealth, leadership skills and social-economic status. It was hypothesized that congenitally blind people have not developed the tall man stereotype (...).
Participants (n=77, i.e. 43 sighted and 34 congenitally blind people of whom 17 male, 17 female) were read to a short story about a fictitious person called Thomas who in one version was 1.66m tall and 1.90m in the second version. Afterwards, participants were asked to assess to what extent Thomas was intelligent, wealthy, a good leader, and how high his social status was.
In the case of intelligence, sighted participants assessed "tall Thomas" (M = 3.62) as more intelligent than "short Thomas" (M = 3.09) but no differences where found in the blind group. Sighted participants rated "tall Thomas" as wealthier (M = 3.62) than "short Thomas" (M = 2.95). Again, blind participants did not differentiate. Sighted participants also evaluated "tall Thomas" (M = 3.57) as a better leader than "short Thomas" (M = 2.73) while blind participants did not distinguish between tall and short Thomas in terms of leadership skills. Similarly, sighted people ranked the social status of "tall Thomas" higher (M = 3.57) than of "short Thomas" (M = 3) while there were no significant disprecpancies in blind participants' assessments (Stefanczyk et al., 2019).
The results of our research indicate that blind people do not associate tallness with a man’s interpersonal abilities, unlike the sighted participants, among whom we observed a pronounced, positive, height-related stereotype in the case of perceived intelligence, wealth, leadership skills and status. These findings are consistent with our hypothesis and suggest that seeing might be necessary to develop the positive stereotype of high male stature. Relatedly, the preference for tall men seems not to be a biological inclination, but rather a learned association.
- - - - - - - - -
- Stefanczyk, M. M., Wernecka, N., Sorokowski, P., & Sorokowska, A. (2019). Do blind people shre the tall-man stereotype? Current Psychology, LINK
- image of tall Max von Sydow via

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Hollywood, the Other, and US-American Identity. Excerpts.

(...) Hollywood has systematically vilified groups of peoples as part of the business, but with clear ideological bonds/repercussions. The Russians have been both evil and the redeemed partner, according to the exigencies of the times, and their Asian counterparts have coped the Otherness in a good share of Hollywood’s movies, especially when addressing the Vietnam War.

Meanwhile the Arabs, who seem to have substituted them in recent years, have impersonated vilified roles from Early Hollywood cinema. But all of them seem to represent for the Americans a set of ancient, modern and latent threats that reassure the identity of this hastily built country. We may even go further and affirm that these Others are, somehow, the American identity itself. In the times in which it was about forming a nation, the Indians served as the opposite force; when it was the prevailing power in the world that was emerging, it was the turn of the Russians then the Arabs to take up that role.

In the end, it seems unlikely that Hollywood machinery will be able to live without these recurrent Others, fresh fodder for stereotypes, degradations and, ultimately, obliteration. The United States have historically created a cast of enemies who are already part of themselves, by stressing the bonds of the states by identifying common fears and threats. Hollywood’s role in the process is not only undeniable; but possibly vital and indispensable, too. (Gelado & Sangro, 2016)

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- Gelado Marcos, R. & Sangro Colòn, P. (2016). Hollywood and the Representation of the Otherness. A Historical Analysis of the Role Played by the American Cinema in Spotting Enemies to Vilify. comunicación, 6(1), 11-25.
- photograph via

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

International No Diet Day. An Abstract.

"This study investigated how people’s attitudes and motivations towards losing weight are influenced by societal pressures surrounding weight loss, their interaction with the obesogenic environment and individuals’ attitudes and motivations towards weight. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 10 women currently attending commercial weight-loss programmes. Participants experienced conflicting messages regarding weight norms, with the media portraying powerful social norms relating to thinness and beauty, and changes to the food environment and interactions with family and friends commonly undermining weight-loss activities and promoting increased consumption. Providing social and environmental support for the behaviours needed to produce weight loss may need to be a primary focus for obesity policy." (Whale, Gillison & Smith, 2014)

- Whale, K., Gillison, F. & Smith, P. (2014). "Are you still on that stupid diet?" Women’s experiences of societal pressure and support regarding weight loss, and attitudes towards health policy intervention. Journal of Health Psychology, 19(12), 1536-1546.
- photograph by Harry Meerson via

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Irish English Stereotypes in Cinematographic Representations

"In general terms, we can observe that basic stereotypes about IrE pragmalinguistic norms and communicative style—for example, implicitness, evasiveness, downtoning and conventional pessimism—correspond to “salient and distinctive elements” of Irish sociocultural norms (Kallen 2005: 142–143). However, with respect to the specil c pragmalinguistic realizations of Irish sociocultural norms we can observe a stark contrast between pragmalinguistic stereotypes, i.e. the features that are perceived to characterize Irish conversational style and the actual linguistic realizations of a variety of speech acts as well as the functional spectrum and distribution of even the most salient pragmatic markers."

Pragmatic markers:
The stereotypical use of "like" in Irish English in cinematographic representations is said to be typically associated with Irish tentativeness or uncertainty, for instance, "Ah, I'm only having a bit of fun, like." or "Submarines they've built themselves, like." Another pragmatic marker used stereotypically is "sure". While it is used as a feedback signal or affirmative answer in British and American English, in Irish English, it has "a whole range of interpersoanl and disocurse-organizational functions" such as emphasis, reinforcement, epistemic stance, and mockery, e.g.: "I'm Irish, sure. Racism's part of my culture."

Request strategies:
Cinematographic representations of Irish English request strategies differ from pragmalinguistic forms used in natural settings insofar as a stereotypical request is highly indirect, e.g.: "You couldn’t confirm this in writing, could you?"

Compliment responses:
Responding to compliments means a dilemma since speakers need to decide to respond somewhere between accepting and appearing immodest and not accepting and contrasting one's opinion to the complimenter's one. Irish English speakers seem to use more non-agreement micro compliment responses while American English speakers clearly prefer strategies of acceptance. However, in sum, modesty and agreement maxims are distributed more evenly in Irish English than in American English. Neverheless, in "the cinematographic representations of IrE under scrutiny the macro strategy of non-acceptance appears to be stereotyped".

Responses to thanks:
Reactions to thanks can vary and either express pleasure at performing the action ("great pleasure", "anytime") or miminise the favour or effort invested by using negative politeness ("no problem", "don't mention it"). Irish English speakers seem to invest more creativity into minimising thanks. In cinematographic representations of Irish English speakers, strategies of avoidance, topic shift, and credit shift are found.

- - - - - - - - - - -
- Furkò, B. P. (2013). Irish English Stereotypes. A Variational Pragmatic Analysis. Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Philologica, 5(2), 123-135. LINK
- photograph of Peter O'Toole via

Monday, 4 May 2020

Self-Regulation of Prejudiced Responses. Excerpts.

"Experiment 1 examined subjects' reactions to rejecting a lawschool applicant because of his sexual orientation. This was a discrepant response for both low and high prejudiced subjects. However, the response violated low prejudiced, well-internalized standards for low prejudiced subjects only, so that the discrepancy was larger and more personally significant for low than for high prejudiced subjects. The central question was whether low prejudiced subjects experiencing such a discrepancy would manifest evidence of the engagement of self-regulatory mechanisms that, theoretically, should facilitate the subsequent inhibition of discrepant responses. The results provided clear, converging evidence that the discrepancy experience did engage these self-regulatory mechanisms."

"First, the discrepancy experience produced negative self-directed affect among low but not high prejudiced subjects. Theoretically, such guilty feelings should motivate discrepancy reduction (e.g., Rokeach, 1973) and should serve to establishstrong cues for punishment (cf. Gray, 1982). Second, the discrepancy experience heightened low but not high prejudiced subjects' self-focus. This finding is consistent with Pyszczynskiand Greenberg's (1986,1987) contention that ego-relevant discrepancies increase self-focus, which promotes subsequent regulation of behavior. Further examination of the self-thoughts provided a third indicator of the activation of self-regulatory mechanisms: Low prejudiced subjects in the discrepancy-activated condition were uniquely preoccupied with their personal prejudice-related discrepancy experiences. In fact, over half of their self-thoughts were focused on such discrepancies. Finally,the low prejudiced, discrepancy-activated subjects appeared to attend carefully to discrepancy-relevant information. They spent significantly more time reading the essay than their not-activated counterparts, whereas this difference was not significant for the high prejudiced subjects. The low prejudiced, discrepancy-activated subjects also showed superior recall for the portion of the essay concerning why prejudice-related discrepancies arise. Theoretically, the enhanced attention to discrepancy-relevant information and the heightened attention to personal discrepancy experiences should help low prejudiced individuals eventually gain control over their discrepant responses(see Gray, 1982)."

- - - - - - - -
- Monteith, M. (1993). Self-Regulation of Prejudiced Responses: Implications for Progress in Prejudice-Reduction Efforts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(3), 469-485.
- photograph by Bruce Gilden via

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Prejudice. A Tripartite Conception.

Three components of prejudice are often mentioned: ignorance (arriving at a conclusion before considering facts), hostility (derogatory and hostile attitudes), externalisation (directed at others). Akhtar (2007) proposes an expanded definition since "this conventional tripod" is found "a bit wobbly".

Ignorance and ignoring are the centrepiece of prejudice's definition, however, the author argues, what constitutes a fact remains unclear "in these days of post-modern relativism" asking the question whether we should "restrict ourselves to external reality" or if "the facts in the internal, psychic reality matter as well". Limiting oneself to the former, though, does not mean that we are kept from using revisionist strategies and that sociopolitical interests "readily put a spin on available information to create suitable facts".
Hostility is true of most prejudices but they do not necessarily have to be negative and "naïve idealization is as much a manifestation of prejudice as is ignorant devaluation".
Externalisation of badness are projective mechanisms but they can also involve attitudes about oneself, i.e. turning the target of prejudice into the self (Akhtar, 2007).
Then there are the characterologically narcissistic situations of self-glorification in which a fatal denial of one's blemishes, hostility, and exploitativeness is evident. This too constitutes judgment withouth knowing the facts, though the facts here are mostly intrapsychic ones. On a large group level too, self-glorification occurs as a result of "robbing" a hated group of its good qualities and claiming them for oneself. Also involved here is a negation of the problematic aspects of one's own history. (...) One thing becomes clear in the end. Prejudice can be as easily directed at oneself as it is against others. This pertains to beoth its positive and negative forms, and is applicable to both individuals and groups.
This brief epistemological excursion demonstrates that prejudice can (1) occur in the presence of knowledge, (2) involve good feelings, and (3) be direced at oneself. 
- - - - - - - -
- Akhtar, S. (2007). From Unmentalized Xenophobia to Messianic Sadism: Some Reflections on the Phenomenology of Prejudice. In H. Parens, A. Mahfouz, S. W. Twemlow, & D. E. Scharff (eds.). The future of prejudice. Psychoanalysis and the prevention of prejudice (7-19). Lanham & Plymouth: Jason Aronson.
- photograph by Bruce Gilden (New Orleans Mardi Gras, 1982) via

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Being an Elder in this Pandemic

"If you're not producing as much as you consume, or perhaps a little more, then clearly we cannot use the big organization of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us, and it can't be of very much use to yourself."
George Bernard Shaw

photograph of George Bernard Shaw via

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Men and Women, Sexual and Emotional Jealousy

While I'm away
You can let the mouse go down on you
Let the mouse do what I'd do
If I was there
But you'd better explain
That I have a vendetta in my narrow bones
And a vindictive eye
Of my jealousy I have no control
No control

::: Franz Ferdinand "Bullet": LISTEN/WATCH

The evolution-based approach:

"A potentially rich framework for analyzing many aspects of interpersonal relationships has been provided by Evolutionary Psychology (Buss, 1994, Buss et al., 1999). With increasing frequency, jealousy as an aspect of relationship has been the focus of both empirical research and theoretical formulation.
It is often speculated that there are important gender differences with regard to the elicitation of jealousy. Women may be more threatened by the potential loss of attention and other emotional resources in a romantic relationship, whereas men may be more concerned about potential sexual infidelity. Based on the evolutionary model (Symons, 1979) it has been proposed that because males can never be completely confident about the paternity of any offspring they would be more concerned by sexual infidelity. Sexual infidelity would raise questions about paternity and the risk of investing resources, both human and economic, in another person's offspring. On the other hand, females would be more upset by emotional infidelity that might indicate a lack of long-term commitment and success of the relationship by the male. Females know that their offspring will have their genetic legacy, but need assurance that the partner will provide resources for the survival of the offspring (Cann et al., 2001)." (Bhowon, Ah-Kion & Tseung-Wong, 2004)

Doubting the evolutionary explanation and placing jealousy within an attachment theoretical perspective:

"Studies have found that more men than women endorse sexual infidelity as more distressing than emotional infidelity, whereas more women than men endorse emotional infidelity as more distressing than sexual infidelity. Some evolutionary psychologists have proposed that this sex difference can be best conceptualized as reflecting evolution-based differences in parental investment that produce a need for paternity certainty among men and a need for male investment in offspring among women. Nonetheless, a conspicuous subset of men report emotional infidelity as more distressing than sexual infidelity. Current theorizing explains between-sex differences but not within-sex differences. We hypothesized that attachment-style differences may help to explain both between- and within-sex differences in jealousy. As hypothesized, dismissing avoidant participants reported more jealousy regarding sexual than emotional infidelity (64.8%), and secure participants, including secure men, reported more jealousy regarding emotional than sexual infidelity (77.3%), chi(2)(3, N = 411) = 45.03, p < .001. A series of sequential logistic regression analyses indicated significant moderation of the sex-jealousy relationship by attachment style. Implications of an attachment perspective are discussed." (Levy & Kelly, 2010)

- - - - - -
- Bhowon, U., Ah-Kion, J. & Tseung-Wong, C. N. (2004). Jealousy in Sexual and Emotional Infidelity: A Study of Sex Differences. Gender and Behaviour,2,225-239.
- Levy, K. & Kelly, K. M. (2010). Sex Differences in Jealousy: A Contribution From Attachment Theory, Psychological Science, 21(2), 168-73
- image via

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Female Singers + Album Covers

"This study investigates the image of popular female singers in different musical styles as conveyed through their album cover photographs. Slides were made of ninety-one albums recorded by women between 1973 and 1981. They were shown in subgroups to panels of judges who rated them on thirty-one traits. These traits represent either (a) aspects of the “traditional” feminine stereotype, (b) qualities of sexual attractiveness, or (c) positive, but not specifically feminine, traits. The results indicate that female singers were rated positively, regardless of musical style. Country singers were rated relatively high on the traditional traits, while rhythm and blues artists were high on sex appeal and positive traits. Rock singers were rated as aloof and high on positive traits but low on traditionalism and sex appeal. Pop singers were not rated high or low on any dimension. Some differences in male and female raters’evaluations were found. It was concluded that female recording artists generally are not presented in the same stereotyped manner as women are usually portrayed in other forms of media advertising." (Thaxton & Jaret, 2007)

- Thaxton, L. & Jaret, C. (2007). Singers and Stereotypes: The Image of Female Recording Artists. Sociological Inquiry, 55(3), 239-263.
- photograph of Diana Ross via

Monday, 27 April 2020

The Crazy Cat Lady

"Negative characterizations for those with an affinity for cats are not a recent phenomenon. One New York Times editorial from 1872, headlined ‘Cats and Craziness’, lays out a portrait of an infatuated cat-lover, differentiated from the more rationally behaved dog-lover." (Parsons et al., 2019)

Cat owners are regarded as more emotional, lonely and depressed than dog-owners (Parsons et al., 2019). According to a survey conducted by PetSmart (n = 1.000, USA, 2015), the stereotype of the "cat lady" is the most pervasive one when it comes to cats. Almost 50% of the survey participants bought into the idea that "most cat lovers are female, often spinsters, and that their homes are crawling with felines" although most cats live with families (via).

- - - - - - - - - -
- Pasons, C. E., LeBeau, R. T., Kringelbach, M. L. & Young, K. S. (2019). Pawsitively sad: pet-owners are more sensitive to negative emotion in animal distress vocalizations. The Royal Society Publishing, LINK
- photograph by Bruce Davidson via

Saturday, 25 April 2020

"I am looking forward to be in ten years time when all of this will be just history."

"I wish Brexit would get the f*ck out of my life. No, wait, I wish Brexit had never appeared in my life. Brexit is an artificial problem. Before the referendum in 2016 nobody talked about this shit. Of course there were a few people that had problems, but I’m talking about the general population, nobody gave a flying f*ck about breaking relationships within the European Union. And now it has completely consumed every wicked minute of conversation in the UK. Not the UK, the whole f*cking world! Like here, you and I talking about this shit, it’s so boring, so destructive, I wish it could just f*ck off. And it is the same with Trump in the US: why is this madman in my f*cking life?! Why do I have to listen to this c*nt on the f*cking news every day?! I am looking forward to be in ten years time when all of this will be just history."
Alex Kapranos

Franz Ferdinand, gods of music, on YouTube:

::: Bullet: LISTEN/WATCH
::: This Fffire: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Auf Achse: LISTEN
::: Darts of Pleasure: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Lois Lane: LISTEN
::: Fresh Strawberries: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Lazy Boy: LISTEN
::: The Dark of the Matinée: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Slow Don't Kill Me Slow: LISTEN
::: Always Ascending: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Right Action: LISTEN/WATCH
::: No You Girls: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Stand on the Horizon: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Can't Stop Feeling: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Take Me Out: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Glimpse of Love: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Ulysses: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Do You Want To: LISTEN/WATCH

- - - - - -
photograph via

Friday, 24 April 2020

Female Hysteria and Uterine Melancholy: When Honouring the Phallus Becomes the Cure

Without doubt, hysteria is the first mental disorder exclusively attributed to women. It was first described by ancient Egyptians who said the condition derived from a spontaneous uterus movement. In Greek mythology, Argonaut Melampus cured Argo's virgins who exhibited madness by fleeing to the mountains instead of honouring the phallus. Their madness was caused by their uterus being poisoned due to a lack of orgasms leading to "uterine melancholy". The first step of his cure was having the mad virgins take hellebore and then "join carnally with young and strong men". A link between female madness and a lack of "normal" sexual life was established. According to Plato, Aristotle, and Hippocrates, the uterus suffers, is sad and unfortunate when it cannot join with the male body (Tasca et al., 2012).

The Euripidy’s myth says that a collective way of curing (or, if we prefer, preventing) melancholy of the uterus is represented by the Dionysian experience of the Maenads, who reached catharsis through wine and orgies. Women suffering from hysteria could be released from the anxiety that characterizes this condition by participating in the Maenad experience. Trance status guided and cured by the Satyr, the priest of Dionysus, contributed to solving the conflict related to sexuality, typical of hysteria disease.
Hippocrates believed hysteria was caused by abnormal movements of the restless, migratory uterus due to an inadequate sex life:
He asserts that a woman’s body is physiologically cold and wet and hence prone to putrefaction of the humors (as opposed to the dry and warm male body). For this reason, the uterus is prone to get sick, especially if it is deprived of the benefits arising from sex and procreation, which, widening a woman’s canals, promote the cleansing of the body. And he goes further; especially in virgins, widows, single, or sterile women, this “bad” uterus – since it is not satisfied - not only produces toxic fumes but also takes to wandering around the body, causing various kinds of disorders such as anxiety, sense of suffocation, tremors, sometimes even convulsions and paralysis. For this reason, he suggests that even widows and unmarried women should get married and live a satisfactory sexual life within the bounds of marriage.
- - - - - - - -
- Tasca, C., Rapetti, M., Carta, M. G. & Fadda, B. (2012). Women And Hysteria In The History Of Mental Health. Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health, 8, 110-119.
- photograph by Harvey Stein via

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Quoting Elias Canetti

"There is nothing more base than a certain loathing for the oppressed that goes to great lengths to justify their downtrodden state by pointing to their shortcomings. Not even great and lofty philosophers are entirely free of this failing."
Elias Canetti, The Agony of Flies: Notes and Notations

photograph via

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

How Hot are Women with Rectovaginal Endometriosis? Yes, This Study Has Been Published.

The official objective of this study? "To evaluate physical attractiveness in women with and without endometriosis". Implications? Clinical utility? Contribution to medical science? None. Interventions? "Assessment of attractiveness by four independent female and male observers." Conclusions? "Women with rectovaginal endometriosis were judged to be more attractive than those in the two control groups. Moreover, they had a leaner silhouette, larger breasts, and an earlier coitarche."

Yes, this bunch of sexists seriously started judging female patients's attractiveness based on vulgar criteria, asked them about their first intercourse, checked their body mass index, waist-to-hip-ratio and breast-to-underbreast-ratio. Inclusion criteria were e.g. age between 20 and 40 and Caucasian origin. The subjects were asked to complete a questionnaire investigating general information in the first part and sexual history and sexual habits in the second part (62 refused to compile the sexual part of the questionnaire). Since this was not awkward enough, women afterwards "underwent a physical examination by the two trained physicians, including weight and height assessment, measurement of hip, waist, breast and underbreast circumferences. Once this overall evaluation was completed, other four different physicians (...) gave a judgment, based on direct evaluation, on patient attractiveness on a 5-point rating scale (5 = very attractive; 4 = rather attractive; 3 = averagely attractive; 2 = little attractive; 1 = not at all attractive)". On the basis of the mean scores, three categories were defined: very/rather attractive, averagely attractive, little/not at all attractive (29 were unwilling to undergo physical assessment). The would-be scientists "found out" that women with rectovaginal endometriosis had a significantly higher breast-to-underbreast ratio, leaner silhouette, larger breasts, earlier coitarche, and appeared more attractive than those with peritoneal and/or ovarian endometriosis, as well as those without endometriosis. And yes, this "study" is truly gross.

- - - - - - - - - -
- Vercellini, P., Buggio, L, Somigliana, E., Barbara G., Viganò, P. & Fedele, L. (2013). Attractiveness of women with rectovaginal endometriosis: a case-control study. Fertility and Sterility, 99(1), 212-218.
- photograph by the amazing Vivian Maier (Chicago, 1961) via