Saturday, 19 September 2020

Quoting Ruth Bader Ginsburg

"I ... try to teach through my opinions, through my speeches, how wrong it is to judge people on the basis of what they look like, color of their skin, whether they’re men or women." 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
"Feminism … I think the simplest explanation, and one that captures the idea, is a song that Marlo Thomas sang, 'Free to be You and Me.' Free to be, if you were a girl—doctor, lawyer, Indian chief. Anything you want to be. And if you’re a boy, and you like teaching, you like nursing, you would like to have a doll, that’s OK too. That notion that we should each be free to develop our own talents, whatever they may be, and not be held back by artificial barriers—manmade barriers, certainly not heaven sent." 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

"[W]hen I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the supreme court]? And I say ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that." 

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photograph via

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

The White Negro. Superficial Reflections on the Hipster (by Norman Mailer, 1957)

Probably, we will never be able to determine the psychic havoc of the concentration camps and the atom bomb upon the unconscious mind of almost everyone alive in these years. For the first time in civilized history, perhaps for the first time in all of history, we have been forced to live with the suppressed knowledge that the smallest facets of our personality or the most minor projection of our ideas, or indeed the absence of ideas and the absence of personality could mean equally well that we might still be doomed to die as a cipher in some vast statistical operation in which our teeth would be counted, and our hair would be saved, but our death itself would be unknown, unhonored, and unremarked, a death which could not follow with dignity as a possible consequence to serious actions we had chosen, but rather a death by deus ex machina in a gas chamber or a radioactive city; and so if in the midst of civilization—that civilization founded upon the Faustian urge to dominate nature by mastering time, mastering the links of social cause and effect—in the middle of an economic civilization founded upon the confidence that time could indeed be subjected to our will, our psyche was subjected itself to the intolerable anxiety that death being causeless, life was causeless as well, and time deprived of cause and effect had come to a stop.

The Second World War presented a mirror to the human condition which blinded anyone who looked into it. For if tens of millions were killed in concentration camps out of the inexorable agonies and contractions of super-states founded upon the always insoluble contradictions of injustice, one was then obliged also to see that no matter how crippled and perverted an image of man was the society he had created, it wits nonetheless his creation, his collective creation (at least his collective creation from the past) and if society was so murderous, then who could ignore the most hideous of questions about his own nature?

Worse. One could hardly maintain the courage to be individual, to speak with one’s own voice, for the years in which one could complacently accept oneself as part of an elite by being a radical were forever gone. A. man knew that when he dissented, he gave a note upon his life which could be called in any year of overt crisis. No wonder then that these have been the years of conformity and depression. A stench of fear has come out of every pore of American life, and we suffer from a collective failure of nerve. The only courage, with rare exceptions, that we have been witness to, has been the isolated courage of isolated people.

It is on this bleak scene that a phenomenon has appeared: the American existentialist—the hipster, the man who knows that if our collective condition is to live with instant death by atomic war, relatively quick death by the State as l’univers concentrationnaire, or with a slow death by conformity with every creative and rebellious instinct stifled (at what damage to the mind and the heart and the liver and the nerves no research foundation for cancer will discover in a hurry) , if the fate of twentieth century man is to live with death from adolescence to premature senescence, why then the only life-giving answer is to accept the terms of death, to live with death as immediate danger, to divorce oneself from society, to exist without roots, to set out on that uncharted journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self. In short, whether the life is criminal or not, the decision is to encourage the psychopath in oneself, to explore that domain of experience where security is boredom and therefore sickness, and one exists in the present, in that enormous present which is without past or future, memory or planned intention, the life where a man must go until he is beat, where he must gamble with his energies through all those small or large crises of courage and unforeseen situations which beset his day, where he must be with it or doomed not to swing. The unstated essence of Hip, its psychopathic brilliance, quivers with the knowledge that new kinds of victories increase one’s power for new kinds of perception; and defeats, the wrong kind of defeats, attack the body and imprison one’s energy until one is jailed in the prison air of other people’s habits, other people’s defeats, boredom, quiet desperation, and muted icy self-destroying rage. One is Hip or one is Square (the alternative which each new generation coming into American life is beginning to feel) one is a rebel or one conforms, one is a frontiersman in the Wild West of American night life, or else a Square cell, trapped in the totalitarian tissues of American society, doomed willy-nilly to conform if one is to succeed.

A totalitarian society makes enormous demands on the courage of men, and a partially totalitarian society makes even greater demands for the general anxiety is greater. Indeed if one is to be a man, almost any kind of unconventional action often takes disproportionate courage. So it is no accident that the source of Hip is the Negro for he has been living on the margin between totalitarianism and democracy for two centuries. But the presence of Hip as a working philosophy in the sub-worlds of American life is probably due to jazz, and its knife-like entrance into culture, its subtle but so penetrating influence on an avant-garde generation—that post-war generation of adventurers who (some consciously, some by osmosis) had absorbed the lessons of disillusionment and disgust of the Twenties, the Depression, and the War. Sharing a collective disbelief in the words of men who had too much money and controlled too many things, they knew almost as powerful a disbelief in the socially monolithic ideas of the single mate, the solid family and the respectable love life. If the intellectual antecedents of this generation can be traced to such separate influences as D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, and Wilhelm Reich, the viable philosophy of Hemingway fits most of their facts: in a bad world, as he was to say over and over again (while taking time out from his parvenu snobbery and dedicated gourmandise), in a bad world there is no love nor mercy nor charity nor justice unless a man can keep his courage, and this indeed fitted some of the facts. What fitted the need of the adventurer even more precisely was Hemingway’s categorical imperative that what made him feel good became therefore The Good.

::: More/via: Dissent

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photographs via and via

Monday, 7 September 2020

Nina Simone's Letter to Langston Hughes

Then too, if I'm in a negative mood and want to get more negative (about the racial problem, I mean) if I want to get downright mean and violent I go straight to this book and there is also material for that.

Sometimes when I'm with white "liberals" who want to know hy we're so bitter - I forget (I don't forget - I just get tongue-tied) how complete has been the white race#s rejection of us all these years and when this happens I go get your book.

I know one thing - I've always admired you and been proud of you - respected you and felt honored to know you - but brother, you got a fan now!

images via

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Risk of Being Killed by Police in the United States

"We find that African American men and women, American Indian/Alaska Native men and women, and Latino men face higher lifetime risk of being killed by police than do their white peers. We find that Latina women and Asian/Pacific Islander men and women face lower risk of being killed by police than do their white peers. Risk is highest for black men, who (at current levels of risk) face about a 1 in 1,000 chance of being killed by police over the life course. The average lifetime odds of being killed by police are about 1 in 2,000 for men and about 1 in 33,000 for women. Risk peaks between the ages of 20 y and 35 y for all groups. For young men of color, police use of force is among the leading causes of death."

"Police in the United States kill far more people than do police in other advanced industrial democracies", particularly black men under 30. Here some figures: 
Between the ages of 25 y and 29 y, black men are killed by police at a rate between 2.8 and 4.1 per 100,000, American Indian and Alaska Native men are killed at a rate between 1.5 and 2.8 per 100,000, Asian/Pacific Islander men are killed by police at a rate between 0.3 and 0.6 per 100,000, Latino men at a rate between 1.4 and 2.2 per 100,000, and white men at a rate between 0.9 and 1.4 per 100,000. Inequalities in risk persist throughout the life course.
Interesting links:
::: The Counted. People killed by police in the US (The Guardian): LINK
::: Mapping Police Violence: LINK
::: Police Shootings Database (The Washington Post): LINK

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- Edwards, F, Lee, H. & Esposito, M. (2019). Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex. PNAS, 116 (34) 16793-16798.
- photograph via 

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Universal law...

“It's an universal law -- intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.” 

Monday, 17 August 2020

Professor Rogelio Lasso describes his experience as a part-black college student in Texas in 1969

I lived with a family friend from Panama. Roberto was blond, blue-eyed and had lived in the United States for years, so he spoke English without an accent. Soon after I arrived, Roberto asked me to join him and two of his white friends for dinner. At the restaurant, the waiter asked me where I was from. I answered, "Panama." He politely told me that although the restaurant was not integrated, he could serve me because I was not an American. He explained that the restaurant did not serve "Negroes or Mexicans," but since I was neither, I was "OK." I pointed out that I was part Black and Native American. "But you are a Panamanian," he patiently explained. "You are welcome to eat and drink here..
(cited in Green, 2008:409)

It has long been understood that when people encounter a person who differs from a previously held stereotype, they tend not to change the stereotype, but to create a new subtype to accommodate the exception. 
(Green, 2008:407) 
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- Green, T. (2008). Discomfort at work: Workplace assimilation demands and the Contact Hypothesis. North Carolina Law Review, 86(2), 379-440.
- photograph via

Friday, 14 August 2020

Quoting Dolly Parton

"And of course black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!"

photograph via

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Inge Morath + Her Male Pseudonym

 "A bold and determined woman, she managed to establish herself in a then male-dominated filed, and even had to sell her first shots to a number of publishers under the male pseudonym Egni Tharom. The first woman to ever join the renowned Magnum Photos agency, first as an editor and later, in 1955, as a full photographer, Inge Morath helped breaking down many prejudices with her talent."
Inge Morath exhibition, Museo Diocesano, Milan 2020

photograph MLM

Friday, 31 July 2020

Charlie Phillips: Photographing the Lives of Black Londoners

"His most iconic photograph of the period depicts a mixed-race Notting Hill Couple, taken almost a decade after the violent attacks. The intimate picture of a young pair conveys warmth, love and defiance. When understood in the racialised political context of the time, the image takes on a more complex meaning, especially since the Notting Hill riots had started with an assault on a Swedish woman who married to a Caribbean man — attacked for being in a mixed-race relationship." (via)

In 1956, Charlie Phillips was a teenager when he moved to London with his family from Jamaica. The British government had asked people from former colonies to rebuild the so-called mother country after the Second World War. Many of them - including Charlie's family - settled in North Kensington, Notting Hill, and Ladbroke Grove (via).

"I remember I came in late August. I found I couldn't walk barefoot. I couldn't go out in the garden."
During a time of changes and adjustment, Charlie Phillips got his first camera, a Kodak Brownie, which was given to him by a US-American serviceman stationed in the U.K. Overlooked for a long time in which his work was hardly noticed and he struggled to publish his pictures, his photographs are now "celebrated for sensitively and insightfully documenting the cultural landscape of black Britain in the post-war period: a time when the struggle for civil rights, justice, and equality was particularly hard-fought. Phillips continued hoping to pass down this document to his children (via).
The borough of North Kensington, where Phillips spent much of his youth, had high rates of poverty, crime and violence in the 1950s. People had been attracted from the West Indies by the promise of good jobs and homes, but the post-war period saw London plunged into a housing and employment crisis. Large numbers of Afro-Caribbean Londoners struggled to make a living and were forced to live in crammed, slum-like conditions. This situation was made worse by structural racism: British society upheld an unofficial ‘Colour Bar’, a systematic exclusion of black people from certain public and private spaces.
Despite the fact that those who had arrived from the colonies had British passports and enjoyed the same legal rights as their white counterparts, black British citizens faced everyday racism, social injustices and widespread patterns of discrimination. (...)
Captivated by his surroundings and profoundly influenced by the Notting Hill "riots", Phillips spent the best part of the 1960s and 1970s photographing the experience of transatlantic migration in North Kensington. “I attended demonstrations and continued to show solidarity with different struggles,” Phillips recalls. “The 60s and 70s were very challenging. People had begun to ask questions. It was an era where you had to decide who you sympathised with.” (via)
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photographs via

Monday, 27 July 2020

Stereotype Threat and Women's Athletic Performance

Female and male tennis and basketball college student athletes performed two athletic tasks relevant to their sport: a difficult concentration task and an easier speed task. Participants were told beforehand that (1) there was a gender difference on the tasks (to induce stereotype threat) or (2) there was no gender difference (to remove any preexisting stereotype threat).

On the difficult task, women performed worse than men only when stereotype threat was induced. Performance on the easier speed task was unaffected by the stereotype information. Interestingly, women's beliefs regarding women's and men's general athleticism were also affected by the manipulation.
We concluded that one minor comment regarding a very specific athletic task may sometimes impair task performance and alter gender stereotypes of athleticism among women. (literally via)

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- Hively, K. & El-Alayli, A. (2014). “You throw like a girl:” The effect of stereotype threat on women's athletic performance and gender stereotypes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15(1), 48-55
- photograph via

Friday, 24 July 2020

Intergroup Contact Theory

According to Allport (1954), four conditions are essential to enhance positive effects of intergroup contact: equal status, common goals, intergroup cooperation, and support of authorities.

Equal status
Equal status needs to be perceived by both groups within the situation. Research findings vary and range from a) contact with outgroup members of lower status showing negative effects to b) being insignificant and equal status within the situation being the key factor.

Common goals
An active, goal-oriented effort (as given in athletic teams) means that teams need each member to achieve their goal.

Intergroup cooperation
Intergroup competition is seen as a barrier to enhancing a positive intergroup contact; cooperation should be the way how common goals are reached.

Support of authorities, law, or custom
Explicit social sanction fosters the acceptance of intergroup contact since norms of acceptance are established by authorities.

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- Pettigrew, T. F. Intergroup Contact Theory. Annual Review of Psychology, 49, 65-85.
- photograph by the magnificent Vivian Maier via

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Hispanics. Better Have a Lighter Skin Tone.

According to a survey carried out by the Pew Research Center in the United States last year, 58% of Hispanic adults report having experienced discrimination because of their ethnicity. Experiences, however, vary by skin tone: 50% of Hispanics with lighter skin colours versus 64% of Hispanics with darker skin colours. The differences even hold after controlling variables such as gender, age, education and country of birth (U.S. vs abroad).

More Hispanics with darker skin tone (55%) than with lighter skin tone (36%) say that people tend to react as if they were not smart and are more often subject to slurs or jokes (53% vs 34%) (via).

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photograph of Benicio del Toro via

Friday, 17 July 2020

Using Design to Redefine an Empathetic Mental Health Assessment

The Mindnosis Kit is a set of exercises that "help understand emotional distress and how to feel about it" and to reach out for help when necessary. The first tool, for instance, consists of six colourful triangles which represent areas that may be have an impact on the user's wellbeing. Once the right one has been chosen, it can be pasted into the journal with thoughts and reflections. Another tool is made of activity tools (mindfulness, cognitive behaviour therapy techniques, tips from peers) (via).

"When I was 17 I became unwell for a year. Accessing and using mental health services was a very traumatic experience which I buried and felt ashamed of for a long time. Years after I discovered many people had had similar experiences and we all shared the same thoughts. That is why I decided to use design to redefine what an empathetic mental health assessment can look like, as done by people who had gone through it." 
Sarah Lopez Ibanez

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photograph via

Thursday, 16 July 2020

The Tilting Sink by Gwenolé Gasnier

« tilting sink », is a sink that can adapt to everyone. The common basin has been re-imagined with a simple alteration to accommodate all walks of life – a cut along the body of the piece to allow it to tilt according to the user’s height. By rocking around an axis, the design can be positioned to cater for a standing and seated adult or children. A locking system and a large overflow makes it secure in the two positions of use. (literally via)

photographs via

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Fat Rolls. From Hiding to Accentuating.

"The project started by me looking at how I had dealt with my own body image over the previous years. I started by taking a series of photographs wearing a waist clincher I had bought in Brazil a couple of years ago. The intention of that purchase was having a slimmer figure, but the piece was so tight that it would make rolls pop up and down. So, to smooth them out, you'd need a specific type of bra, then a specific type of knickers and so on. I was interested in proposing a new way of looking at those areas that I had tried to hide so much before."
Karoline Vitto

"To me, this collection is not really about size, but about form. Aesthetic pressure is something that most women, if not all women, suffer from. I'm not trying to say that this is a solution, or that I am telling everyone's story – body acceptance is a very individual process – but what I really hoped with this collection was proposing a kinder way of looking at areas we used to consider 'flaws'."
Karoline Vitto

"I think more and more brands are concerned about representativity. That means not only more diversity on catwalks but also more sizes to chose from – different body types on ads and media. However, I know that there has been a lot of talk about how body positivity is a 'trend', which is a word that I totally disagree with. It shouldn’t be a trend, it should be part of what we consider when we design. Ultimately, that's one of the biggest barriers for small brands and young designers, the variety of sizes always makes production more complicated. I would still love to see not only more sizes, but also more shapes within the same size."
Karoline Vitto

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photograph/more via

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)

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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)

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- 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)
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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!

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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.

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- 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

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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)

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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
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- 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.
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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).

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- 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

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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)

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- 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