Saturday 30 October 2021
Friday 29 October 2021
These photographs come from a time when tenderness was still possible. We could see each other, if only for a moment. Each exchange led me to make a picture and when I returned home I sent every family a print in the form of an enlarged postcard. That process was most important to me. They had welcomed me to trespass. The postcard was simply a gesture to acknowledge that crossing we shared. I wonder now how their lives have evolved. Looking back at myself as a young white woman making this work leads me to rethink my own connection to the history of the South, which I knew so little about then.
Thursday 28 October 2021
According to an analysis of dog adoption in the Czech Republic (2010-2016), there are significant gender differences concerning adopters: Generally speaking, more women than men adopt dogs. Women adopt more small dogs, men more large dogs, women adopt more older dogs (and dogs requring special care) and more brown dogs while men adopt more black dogs
Wednesday 27 October 2021
Narrative gerontology is a way to study ageing. Its main approach is to explore ageing through the metaphor of "life as story" understanding individuals as thinking and acting on the basis of stories, seeing human beings as storytellers and storylisteners, as biographical beings who do not have stories, but are stories. It is "a lens through which to view the aging process, a unique way of seeing what aging involves" (Kenyon & Randall, 1999).
Over the decades, the body of gerontological research continued to grow but perspectives from the humanities were absent until the 1970s. Only then did researchers start asking questions about the meaning of age, i.e., the whys rather than the hows. "The shift to meaning-based inquirey in gerontolgy in many ways laid important groundwork for narrative gerontology." The term "narrative gerontology" was coined by Ruth in 1994 (via).
My parents were storytellers: the first half of my life was punctuated by the stories they would tell us (me and my siblings) of our Dutch ancestry, culture, and history, our Canadian roots, our family’s journey, the early experiences of my older siblings, and my early life. These stories informed and intrigued us, connected and grounded us, provided direction, and occasionally embarrassed or bored us. I recall that these stories would often enliven my parents, sometimes sadden them, and/or appear to stimulate their thinking; as a child, I can remember remarking to myself (and being somewhat perplexed at the time) that these stories were often directed more at themselves than at us. There seemed to be multiple messages and many levels to these stories. Now my parents are deceased and their stories, as I struggle to recall them, have a renewed, more immediate and ultimately poignant appeal. (de Medeiros, 2013)
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- de Medeiros, K. (2013). Stucturing the Insider's View: Narrative Gerontology in Research and practice. The Gerontologist, 55(2), 337-338.
- Kenyon, G. & Randall, W. (1999). Introduction: Narrative gerontology. Journal of Aging Studies, 13(1), 1-5.
- photograph by Gundula Schulze Eldowy via
Tuesday 26 October 2021
School desegregation and busing sparked protests in Los Angeles in the 1970s - more than two decades after the Supreme Court had outlawed segregation at schools - leading white middle-class families fleeing from the L.A. Unified School District and moving to more homogeneous suburban districts devoid of busing. Mandatory busing was seen as a means to integrate and remedy the harms of segregation since the black population was kept from living in so-called white neighbourhoods and, as a result, from attending schools in these neigbhourhoods.
In 1979, forced busing was ended and L.A. shifted to a voluntary busing system under court supervision which became the so-called "magnet" programme. The programme aimed at becoming so attractive in academic terms that white students would be drawn to schools they would otherwise not attend. Another approach was to allow ethnic minority students from low-income South L.A. to take buses to scholls in traditionally white areas in the San Fernando Valley. Los Angeles has kept its magnet programme and white students attend some of them. Generally speaking, however, their number is rather low: 73.4% Latino, 10.5% white, 8.2% black American, 4.2% Asian (via).
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photograph (Fitzgerald Whitney/Los Angeles Times) via
Monday 25 October 2021
"This article seeks to establish the connection—via shared discourse—between those who identify as involuntary celibates online (henceforth Incels) and mainstream pornography. Using an interdisciplinary approach involving linguistic analysis of Reddit forum data—more precisely the r/incels Subreddit—informed by research into digital behaviors and feminist analysis, we demonstrate how both mainstream pornography and Incels are different manifestations of the same deep-rooted misogyny, enabled and exacerbated by contemporary technologies. It is not the aim of this article to establish a causal link between the watching of pornography and negative behavioral change, nor is it our intention to cast judgments on people’s sexual practices. We want to move beyond a simplistic pro-porn or anti-porn dichotomy that discourages debate, and instead provide evidence of its commonalities with other practices that are more often seen as aspects of the ongoing normalization of violence against women (VAW) and whose misogynistic nature, therefore, tends to be taken more seriously."
Some results (excerpts):
Women are one homogeneous group."(...) the discussion of the success of obese women (as opposed to Incels) in finding (sexual) partners. This view is often supported by pseudo-scientific facts and dubious external data, suggesting that women, unlike men, are in high (sexual) demand and, therefore, even women who appear low on the “attractiveness scale” will find a (sexual) partner, while men who are not at the top of this scale are condemned to a life of celibacy. This is expressed clearly by one of the users on the forum: There are many males that have literally zero options. [There is strong demand for even the ugliest of women.] (link to sluthate.com). The top 20% of men get the top 80% of the women, and the bottom 80% of men fight like dogs over the remaining 20% of women. This is why in a sexually free society, even the ugliest most deformed obese women can get males of average attractiveness. In this system, women are the gatekeepers of sex, while Incels are their victims. As shown in the following, it is particularly feminism—with the sexual liberation of women—that Incels blame for their misery."
Sunday 24 October 2021
Anna Grevenitis, a French photographer living in the U.S., has a son and a daughter, Luigia, 16, called Lulu. Although Down syndrom is not rare, being in public with her daughter still brings "a less welcome form of attention". From a certain age on, Lulu started noticing this attention and, depending on her mood, either reacted saying "Everybody loves me. Everybody's looking at me." or "Everybody hates me. Everybody's looking at me." Her mother reacted with a stare of her own.
In her series, Grrevenitis directs "a defiant gaze toward the camera, while her daughter goes about the daily routines of a teen-age girl". She presents Lulu to the viewer, however, on their own terms defending her from unwanted judgment. Her series is an ordinary portrait of adolescence unlike the stereotypical portrayal of children with Down syndrome usually tending to show an "angelic, saccharine, and unmolested soul" or a "burdensome, unwanted, and ultimately pitiable victim" (via).
Tuesday 19 October 2021
photograph by Gordon Parks via
Sunday 17 October 2021
On 17 October 1987, a hundred thousand people gathered in Paris, where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948, to "honour the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger" as poverty is a violation of human rigts. Since then, 17 October has been the day dedicated to the eradication of poverty, the day we show solidarity with the poor, acknowledge the struggle of people living in poverty, make their concerns heard, and use their expertise to fight poverty (via).
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photograph by Dorothea Lange via
Saturday 16 October 2021
Friday 15 October 2021
By 2025, about two million of so-called over-50s will be experiencing loneliness - an increase of 49% in ten years. Almost 60% of those aged 85 and over live alone. Half a million older people spend at least five days a week without seeing anyone or talking to another person. Two fifths say that the television is the main company they have. Women report feeling lonely more often than men and up to 50% of people with disabilities are lonely on any given day.
Anxiety, fear, helplessness and shame is what people feel when they describe what it is like to be lonely. These emotions can create a downward spiral since loneliness can make people withdraw more and more from friends and family. Loneliness also tends to make people anticipate fearful situations with a focus on what might be social rejection cues. Loneliness can also worsen when its causes are seen as permanent and not likely to change (via and via).
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photograph by Diane Arbus
Wednesday 13 October 2021
The movie in question is neither controversial, nor obscene. But I’m in it, and for the taste of Aiken, that makes any movie too offensive to be endured. Not only was the actual celluloid driven out of the city limits, as with a fiery sword, but in defense of civic sensitivities and to protect the impressionable of Aiken’s youth from the shock of my name and likeness, a detachment of police officers working under the direction of the city council itself solemnly tore down such posters as the local theatre manager had been rash enough to put up by way of advertisement. And burnt same, together with all printed matter having reference to me, in a formal bonfire in the public streets.
I’m also informed I’ve been somewhat less officially “hanged” in effigy. And while I have an apology to offer Aiken, it’s been suggested that I would be ill advised to deliver it in person. Since I brought to your attention the case of Isaac Woodard, the case has grown to an issue of the most heated popular concern. It deserves all the national interest it’s getting. Isaac Woodard is the veteran whose eyes were beaten out of his head by a policeman, in the streets of a place in South Carolina, that Isaac Woodard thought was Aiken. He said so in an affidavit, and when I read his affidavit on this program, the mayor of Aiken, the chief of police and others, subsequently preoccupied with the public burning of my name and picture, sent affidavits of their own protesting innocence.
My problem was the choice of affidavits. The boy had been blinded. That was the one clear, brutal fact. And I stuck to that with a promise to Aiken’s officialdom that I would apologize for publishing the veterans’ testimony when and if my investigators could show a decent doubt. The records were amazingly brief. The policeman who delivered Woodard to the hospital was not named. This is most unusual. The place where the attack occurred was not mentioned in the report. This is almost unheard of.
But my investigators, the investigators of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the investigators of the FBI, have together, narrowed down the search to the town of Batesburg, some nineteen miles from Aiken. And this morning comes word that the search has been narrowed still further. I have before me…wires and press releases to the effect that a policeman of Batesburg… a man by the name of Shaw, or Shore, or Shull, it is given three different ways here…the flash is just before us…Chief L.L. Shaw. Pronounce it however you want it. Or want to. Has admitted…that he was the police officer, who blinded Isaac Woodard. Thirty miles from Aiken. In South Carolina. This is in Batesburg.
I give you a few more of the facts. He has corroborated an army statement. Has police chief Shull or Shaw. That ex-serviceman Isaac Woodard was struck on the head with a blackjack. Chief Shull or Shaw says he was called to the bus one night last February to arrest Woodard who, and I’m reading from a Press Association, he said was drunk. Shaw claimed to have hit Woodard across the head when Woodard tried to take away his blackjack. He added that the blow may have landed in the veteran’s eyes. Shull or Shaw, the police chief, described the eyes as swollen the next day when Woodard was fined and the record’s his court, and says he then drove Woodard to a veterans’ hospital, at a doctor’s suggestion. Now, you remember from the affidavit, and from further reports of our investigators, that Woodard said he’d been offered liquor, after he was attacked by the police, which he refused. And investigators at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples, have discovered three other occupants of that bus. All of whom claim, in affidavits, that Woodard was not drunk, nor was he drinking. Woodard, you might remember, appealed for medical aid. And also according to the UP, Shaw, or Shore, or Shull, brands these stories as lies. He has volunteered no information, for this, he was unearthed by investigation. Well, the good citizens of Aiken must be surely so glad to hear this, that my apology tendered here with and as promised, most abjectly, will come as merely incidental comfort.
Batesburg, unlike Aiken, has turned out to be to blame. The search is narrowed down. We’re getting close to the truth, we have the admission of a man that he was the officer, the officer whom I call X. I would like to remind Officer X, otherwise known as Shull or Shaw, of another promise, a promise I made to the blinded Isaac Woodard. If Chief Shull or Shaw is listening to me now and it’s more than possible that he is, it gives me pleasure to repeat that promise. Officer X. We know your name now. Now that we’ve found you out, we’ll never lose you. If they try you for your crime, I am going to watch the trial, Chief Shull. If they jail you, I’m going to wait for your first day of freedom. You won’t be free of me. I want to see who’s waiting for you at the prison gates. I want to know who will acknowledge that they know you. I’m interested in your future, I will take note of all your destinations. Assume another name, and I will be careful that the name you would forget is not forgotten. Officer Shull or Shaw. Police chief of the city of Batesburg. I will find means to remove from you all refuge. You can’t get rid of me. We have an appointment. You and I. Only death can cancel it. (Orson Welles)
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Tuesday 12 October 2021
I have met southerners who expect and fear a Negro insurrection. I see no purpose in withholding this from general discussion. There may be those in that outcast ten percent of the American people who someday will strike back at their oppressors, but to put down that mob, a mob would rise. I’d like to ask please, who will put down that mob? The scaly dinosaurs of reaction, if indeed they notice what I’m speaking here, will say in their newspapers that I’m a communist. Communists know otherwise. I’m an overpaid movie producer with pleasant reasons to rejoice, and I do, in the wholesome practicability of the profit system. But surely my right to having more than enough is cancelled if I don’t use that more to help those who have less.
My subject today is the question of moral indebtedness. So, I’d like to acknowledge here the debt that goes with ownership. I believe, and this has very much to do with my own notion of freedom, I believe I owe the very profit I make to the people I make it from. If this is radicalism, it comes…automatically to most of us in show business, it being generally agreed that any public man owes his position to the public. That’s what I mean when I say I’m your obedient servant. It’s a debt payable in service and the highest efforts of the debtor. The extension of this moral argument insists no man owns anything outright since he owns it rent free. A wedding never bought a wife. And the devotion of his child is no man’s for the mere begetting. We must each day earn what we own. A healthy man owes to the sick all that he can do for them. An educated man owes to the ignorant all that he can do for them. A free man owes to the world’s slaves all that he can do for them. And what is to be done is more, much more, than good works, Christmas baskets, bonuses, and tips, and bread and circuses. There is only one thing to be done with slaves. Free them.
If we can’t die in behalf of progress, we can live for it. Progress, we Americans take to mean, a fuller realization of democracy. The measure of progress, as we understand it, is the measure of equality enjoyed by all men. We can do something about that. The way our fighting brothers and sisters looked at it, some of them dead as I speak these words, the way they looked at it: we’re lucky. And they’re right, we’re lucky. We’re lucky to be alive. But only if our lives make life itself worth dying for. We must be worthy of our luck, or we are damned. Our lives were spared, but this is merely the silliest of accidents. Unless we put the gift of life to the hard employments of justice. If we waste that gift, we won’t have anywhere to hide from the indignation of history.
I wanna say this. The morality of the auction block is out of date. There is no room in the American century for Jim Crow. The times urge new militancy upon the democratic attitude. Tomorrow’s democracy discriminates against discrimination. Its charter won’t include the freedom to end freedom. What is described as a feeling against some races can’t be further respected. Feeling is a ninnyish, mincing way of saying something ugly. But the word is good enough for race hate when we add that it’s a feeling of guilt. Race hate isn’t human nature, race hate is the abandonment of human nature. But this is true: we hate whom we hurt. And we mistrust whom we betray. There are minority problems because minority races are often wronged. Race hate distilled from the suspicions of ignorance takes its welcome from the impotent and the godless. Comforting these with hellish parodies of what they’ve lost. Arrogance to take the place of pride. Contempt to occupy the spirit emptied of love of man. There are alibis for the phenomenon, excuses, economic and social, but the brutal fact is simply this: where the racist lies are acceptable, there is corruption. Where there is hate, there is shame. The human soul receives race hate only in the sickness of guilt.
The Indian, the Red Indian, is on our American conscience. The Negro is on our conscience, the Chinese and the Mexican American are on our conscience. The Jew is on the conscience of Europe. But our neglect gives us communion in that guilt. So that there dances even here the lunatic spectre of anti-semitism. This is deplored. But it must be fought. And the fight must be won. The race haters must be stopped. The lynchings must be stopped. No matter who’s going to be governor of Georgia, the murders in Monroe must be avenged. Gene Talmadge might call it foreign meddling, but the governor-elect who, you remember, campaigned on the Bilbo platform of race-hate needs to be told: that all the states in the Union and all the people in them are concerned. Immediately, personally concerned when a mob forms in the sovereign privacy of Georgia. The mob said it was taking care of things in its own way, well then, we’re going to have to take care of the mob. In our own way.
Those who take the law into their own hands are going to learn about some laws that’ll tie their hands. We’ll write those laws, and we’ll enforce them. To do him justice, old Gene went and issued himself a statement. After the killings in Monroe were public knowledge, he said the killings were regrettable. But old Gene’s made it plenty clear, he doesn’t figure any foreigner has the right to poke around asking embarrassing questions. I am sending old Gene a copy of the dawn sermon of the tolling bell, but I don’t suppose he’ll get the point. The point is, of course, that no man, even Gene Talmadge, is an island entire of itself. Point, of course, is that even Georgia is a piece of the continent. The American continent. And if a clod be washed away by the sea, or if a colored man and his wife are murdered on a dusty country road, America is the less.
And then there’s the soldier in the hospital. The blind soldier. The soldier said he was blinded, and the mayor and the chief of police in the place where the soldier says it happened, are most indignant with me for repeating what he said and swore to. The Times the other day was full of their official protests. Sent under seal all the way up to New York City via the inviolable borders of Aiken county, in South Carolina. My investigators are still hard at work on the case. If the soldier was wrong about the place, I’m going to do something about it. But he isn’t wrong about his eyes. He lost them. I’m going to do something about that. All the affidavits from all the policemen in the world won’t protest his eyes back in his head. Somebody, somebody who called himself an officer of the law, beat that boy with a stick, until he lost his sight. Now, that somebody is nobody. He’s vanished, he’s never been heard of, he hasn’t any name, well…he’s going to be heard of. The blind soldier has my promise of that. That somebody is going to be named. Editorials, and lots of newspapers, and lots of people, are writing me to demand to know what business it is of mine. God judge me if it isn’t the most pressing business I have.
The blind soldier fought for me in this war. The least I can do now is fight for him. I have eyes. He hasn’t. I have a voice on the radio, he hasn’t. I was born a white man. And until a colored man is a full citizen, like me, I haven’t the leisure to enjoy the freedom that colored man risked his life to maintain for me. I don’t own what I have until he owns an equal share of it. Until somebody beats me and blinds me, I am in his debt. And so I come to this microphone not as a radio dramatist, though it pays better, not as a commentator, although it’s safer to be simply that, I come in that boy’s name, and in the name of all who in this land of ours have no voice of their own. I come with a call for action. This is a time for it. I call for action against the cause of riot. I know that to some ears, even the word “action” has a revolutionary twang, and it won’t surprise me if I’m accused in some quarters of inciting to riot. Well, I’m very interested in riots. I’m very interested in avoiding them. And so I call for action against the cause of riots.
Law is the best action, the most decisive. I call for laws prohibiting what moral judgement already counts as lawlessness. American law forbids a man the right to take away another’s right. It must be law that groups of men can’t use the machinery of our republic to limit the rights of other groups. The vote can’t be used to take away the vote. It’s in the people’s power to see to it that what makes lynchings and starts wars is dealt with. Not by well-wishers, but by policemen. And I mean good policemen. Oh, for several generations there may be men who can’t be weaned away from the fascist vices of race hate. But we should deny such men the responsibility in public affairs exactly as we deny responsibility to the wretched victims of the drug habit. There are laws against peddling dope, there can be laws against peddling race hate. But every man has a right to his own opinion as an American boasts, but race hate is not an opinion, it’s a phobia. It isn’t a viewpoint, race hate is a disease. In a people’s world, the incurable racist has no rights. He must be deprived of influence in a people’s government. He must be segregated, as he himself would segregate the colored and semitic peoples. As we now segregate the leprous and the insane.
Anything very big is very simple.¸ If there’s a big race question, there’s a big answer to it. The big answer is simple. Like the word no. This is my proposition: that the sin of race hate be solemnly declared a crime. What makes this difficult is the conservative fear of raising issues. Well, let’s admit that this fear is often no more sinister than an honest dread of going to the dentist, but let’s respect the effectiveness of reactionary manipulations of that fear, which is the fear of anarchy and revolution. It is put to wicked use against the same general welfare conservative opinion seeks to protect. Forced to acknowledge Hitler’s enmity, conservatives are loathe to admit that even as he surrendered in Europe, he succeeded in America. Let conservatives evaluate the impudent candor of fascism in Argentina today. And be reminded that the heroic survival of our liberty is no proof of its immortality. Our liberty every day has to be safe from marauders whose greed is for all things possessed by the people. Care of these possessions is the hope of life on this planet. They are living things, they grow. These fair possessions of democracy. And nothing but death can stop that growth. Let the yearners for the past, the willfully childish, learn now the facts of life.
The first of which is the fact of that growth. In our hemisphere, the growing has begun, but only just begun. America can write her name across this century, and so she will, if we, the people, brown and black and red, rise now to the great occasion of our brotherhood. It will take courage. It calls for the doing of great deeds, which means the dreaming of great dreams. Giving the world back to its inhabitants is too big a job for the merely practical. The architects of freedom are always capable of hope. The lawmakers of true democracy are true believers. They believe quite simply in the people, in all of them. Only the devout deserve the trust of government, for only the devout can face the unimaginable vistas of man’s destiny. God grant them steadfast hope and the rest of us enduring patience. For we must not expect from any leadership a shiny ready made millennium in our time. No one of us will live to see a blameless peace. We must strive and pray and die for what will be here when we’re gone. Our children’s children are the ancestors of a free people. We send our greetings ahead of us to them.
To history yet unmade, our greetings.To the generations, sleeping in our loins.Be of good heart. The fight is worth it.
That just about means that my time is up. When my time’s up, it’s time for me to say goodbye, and to invite you please to join me, the same time, the same station. Next week. Until then. Thank you for your attention. I remain as always…obediently yours. Orson Welles
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photograph by Douglas Kirkland via
Monday 11 October 2021
“It is indeed unfortunate,” writes Mr. Weeks, and these are his exact words, quote that you did not fully verify this story. Before you broadcasted it. Unquote. The mayor goes on to say that since my broadcast went out to the nation, and since, according to the affidavits, whose accounts are wholly untrue, he the mayor urges that I have the courage and forthrightness to retract the wrong I’ve done his city. Giving to my own retraction the same emphasis that I’ve placed on the original broadcast. Well, Mr. Weeks…I hardly know how to make affidavits of your city recorder and city policeman as emphatic as Mr. Woodard’s in the hospital for the blind. If it turns out to be true that the city of Aiken is blameless of this hideous scandal, it is my duty to make that innocence as public as possible. I hope to be able to. But: I must warn you that denials are never dramatic. And if I’m to say something exciting about Aiken will have to be something better than that a Negro boy was never blinded in its streets.
I look forward to giving the subject of Aiken all the emphasis it deserves. But I am bound to fail without some affirmative material. There are thousands of cities where Negro soldiers have not been blinded. I hope it will be my privilege to announce that your city is one of these. But since the broadcast is going to go out, as you put it, to the nation let’s spice up the retraction with a little good news. I won’t ask you what the city of Aiken has done for Negro soldiers, or for Negroes, or for the blind. I’ll only ask you if you’re willing to join with me in a manhunt. A man dressed as a policeman blinded a discharged veteran. The blinded boy swears that his tormenter told him he came from the Aiken police. It is surely a more urgent matter for you to apprehend this impostor before he commits further outrages in your city’s name, then it is to exact from a commentator the cold comfort of apology.
You’ll get the apology when the facts are clear. Until then you must understand why it must be deferred. After all, Mr. Weeks, I have not only the affidavits of your policemen, I have also the affidavits of the blinded soldier. Working on the meagre clue that there’s also an Aiken county, I’ve sent investigators there and to your city. Who should bring out the truth. Unless it is too skillfully hidden. The soldier might easily have made a mistake, but there’s a man in a policeman’s uniform who made a worse mistake. And all the retractions in the world won’t cleanse the name of Aiken. Till we find that man. I assure you Mr. Weeks, I do not doubt the word of your police chief. Your patrol officers, or your city recorder. But neither do I doubt the word of the blinded Negro boy. His suffering gives his oath a special validity. And I would take it against the Supreme Court and the President of the United States.
Let us say he misunderstood what was said to him. Or let us say he was lied to. But just saying that isn’t enough. Your city’s honor is certainly more important than my pride. But honor and pride are piddling trifles beside a pair of eyes. If it is your point that the boy was lied to, it is my point that we must refuse to rest until we’ve unmasked the liar. If you want me to say that this awful thing did not happen in your city, then there’s an American soldier who believes that it did happen in your city. And I cannot forget that. It is to him, Mr. Weeks, that you should address your first, and most indignant letters. They will of course need to be transcribed in braille.
And now I see my time is just about up. That’s all I have to say to you, for the moment, Mr. Mayor of Aiken. And you, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for coming to this part of your dial at this part of a Sunday. Please let me join you next week at this same time and… let me hear from you. Your letters are much appreciated, I like reading them on this program. Till next week then, same time, same station. I remain as always, obediently yours. Orson Welles
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Sunday 10 October 2021
Good morning, this is Orson Welles speaking. (LISTEN)
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I had that affidavit in my pocket a few hours before dawn when I left off worrying about this broadcast long enough for coffee at an all-night restaurant, I found myself joined at the table by a stranger. A nice, soft-spoken, well-meaning, well-mannered stranger. He told me a joke. He thinks it’s a joke. I’m going to repeat it, but not for your amusement, I earnestly hope that nobody listening will laugh. This is the joke.
Seems there’s a white man who came on business to a southern town, it could be Aiken, South Carolina…and found he couldn’t get a bed in any of the good hotels. He went to the bad hotels and finally the flophouses, but there was no room for him in any of the inns reserved for white folks, in that southern city, so at last, in desperation, he applied to a Negro hotel where he was accepted with the proviso that he would consent to share a double room with another guest. In rueful gratitude, this white man paid his bill left a call for early in the morning, he rested well, quite undisturbed by the proximity of the sleeping colored man beside him, and he was awakened at the hour of his request. After breakfast, he left for the railway station where he boarded his appointed train, but the conductor would not let him into any of the regular coaches. The man was told quite rudely to go where he belonged, the Jim Crow car. The hero of this funny story allowed he hadn’t washed in the morning, and the dust of travel must be responsible for the conductor’s grievous social miscalculation. He went to the washroom, he started to clean his hands.
They were black. An even hued black. Then he looked into the mirror. His face was the same color. He not only looked darker than white, he was quite visibly a Negro. A great oath precedes the final line which is presumed to be the funny part of this little anecdote: “I know what’s happened,” are the next words of the man. “It’s very simple.” “They woke up the wrong man!”I left the teller of this tale in the coffee shop, but I found I couldn’t leave the tale itself. Like the affidavit I read at the start of the broadcast, it seems to have become a permanent part of my mental luggage. I sketched in my imagination a sequel to the stranger’s funny joke. I saw the man of business who’d gone to bed a white man getting into an argument with a conductor, I saw a policeman boarding a train at the next station, and taking the man of business out on the platform, and beating the eyes out of his head, because the man thought he should be treated with the same respect he’d received the day before when he was white. I saw a man at the police station trying to make him take a drink, so the medical authorities could testify that he was drunk. I saw the man of business bleeding in his cell. Reaching out with sightless hands through unseen bars, gesturing for help that would not, could not ever come. And I heard his explanation echoing down the stone hallways of the jail: “I know what’s happened, it’s very simple.” “They woke up the wrong man.”
Saturday 9 October 2021
Isaac Woodard, Jr. (1919-1992) joined the US army in 1942, won promotions, earned the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and a battle star for unloading ships under enemy fire. On 12th of February 1946, at 8:30 pm, Sergeant Isaac Woodard, Jr. was discharged from Camp Gordon in Georgia. Still wearing a uniform, he bought a ticket to South Carolina where his wife was waiting for him. He was 26 years old.
Somewhere between Georgia and South Carolina, he asked the driver of the Greyhound bus, Alton Blackwell...
…I asked him if he had time to wait for me until I could go to the rest room. He cursed me and said ‘No’ and I cursed him back. Then he told me, ‘Go ahead and get off and hurry back.’ And I did. When the bus got to Aiken, S.C, about a half an hour later, he stopped again, and got off an went and got the police. He came back and told me to come outside for a minute and I did. As I walked out, the driver started to tell the police that I was the one who was disturbing the bus. But when I started to explain, they wouldn’t let me.
Blackwell told the two police officers Lynwood L. Shull and Elliot Long that Woodard had been disruptive. So, when Woodard exited the bus, the two started beating him across the head with a blackjack, then arrested him and headed to the town's prison. On their way, Woodard failed to call Shull "sir" which was the reason for the violence escalating. Shull struck him repeatedly with the end of his nightstick - about the head and directly into his eye sockets. Only a few hours after his discharge from the army, he was left in the cell semi-conscious, bleeding, not receiving any medical attention ... blinding.
There were charges of him being drunk and disorderly. The judge and mayor H. E. Quarles could not ignore the injuries, neither could the others attending the court. Nevertheless, the judge told him he would be fined 50 dollars or 30 days in prison. Since he only had 44 dollars on him, he was brought back to prison (his criminal conviction remained on the record until 2018). "Some medicine" was poured into his blinded eyes and a hot towel was placed on his head. Later he was taken to hospital.
Captain Arthur Clancy, the attending physician, confirmed that Woodard's vision was "nil" and that there was no treatment. Since both eyes had been damaged leaving him permanently disabled, it was obvious that Shull's claim that he had struck Woodard only once needed to be reconsidered. Woodard had to remain in hospital for two months. After his release, he lived a life with constant pain and dependence.
Shull was charged with the violation of Woodard's right to be secure and not to be beaten. It took the all-white jury 28 minutes to acquit Shull, the courtroom erupted in cheers.
"Nobody in America should have to go through second class citizenship. Me and a whole lot of Black guys went out fighting for the American cause, now we’re gonna have to get America to give us our civil rights too. We earned them." Isaac Woodard, Jr.
When President Harry S. Truman was told about Woodard's blinding, he stood up exclaiming: "My God! I had no idea it was as terrible as that! We've got to do something!" Truman created a presidential commission on civil rights and signed an executive order creating the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services and calling for desegregation of the US military (via and via).
"I spent three-and-a-half years in the service of my country and thought that I would be treated like a man when I returned to civilian life, but I was mistaken." Isaac Woodard, Jr.
"People should learn how to live with one another and how to treat one another. Because after all, we all are human beings, regardless of color." Isaac Woodard Jr.
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Friday 8 October 2021
Theoretically, public spaces are spaces for all. Practically, some are included while others are excluded. As a result, public spaces are biased towards a great many groups of people living in cities.
In his publications, Don Mitchell discusses how groups of the "Other" such as, for instance, both the state and semi-public and private interests eliminate the homeless instead of focusing on the conditions causing homelessness. Actions in public need to conform to the dictates of the so-called normal or hegemonic society while at the same time cultural battles such as gay kiss-ins and public breast feeding are fought in the streets (Galanakis, 2008).
"It is often assumed that public space in the urban context is the common ground where people carry out shared functional and ritual activities, giving a sense of community. However appealing this may seem, in contemporary societies with an increasing awareness of diversity the term community, as well as citizenship and public space, are widely and rightfully challenged."
"Spatial design and management influence the affordance of urban public space, allowing and/or resisting the expression of the 'public face' of certain groups of stake holders, such as transnational people. These groups are often perceived as part of the 'other' in the city."
Thursday 7 October 2021
Wednesday 6 October 2021
Monday 4 October 2021
"To foster healthy ageing and improve the lives of older people and their families and communities, fundamental shifts will be required not only in the actions we take but in how we think about age and ageing." (WHO)
Four areas of action are addressed: combatting ageism, creating age-friendly environments, ensuring integrated care and long-term care.
Ageism affects how we think, feel and act towards others and ourselves based on age. It imposes powerful barriers to the development of good policies and programmes for older and younger people, and has profound negative consequences on older adults’ health and well-being. WHO is working together with key partners on a Global Campaign to Combat Ageism—an initiative supported by WHO's 194 Member States. The Campaign aims to change the narrative around age and ageing and help create a world for all ages. (liteerally via)
Health and well-being are determined not only by our genes and personal characteristics but also by the physical and social environments in which we live our lives. Environments play an important role in determining our physical and mental capacity across a person’s life course and into older age and also how well we adjust to loss of function and other forms of adversity that we may experience at different stages of life, and in particular in later years. Both older people and the environments in which they live are diverse, dynamic and changing. In interaction with each other they hold incredible potential for enabling or constraining Healthy Ageing. (literally via)
Older people require non-discriminatory access to good-quality essential health services that include prevention, promotion, curative, rehabilitative, palliative and end-of-life care, safe, affordable, effective, good-quality essential medicines and vaccines, dental care and health and assistive technologies, while ensuring that use of these services does not cause the user financial hardship. (literally via)
Older people continue to have aspirations to well-being and respect regardless of declines in physical and mental capacity. Long-term-care systems enable older people, who experience significant declines in capacity, to receive the care and support that allow them to live a life consistent with their basic rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity. These services can also help reduce the inappropriate use of acute health-care services, help families avoid catastrophic care expenditures and free women – usually the main caregivers – to have broader social roles. While global data on the need and unmet need for long-term care do not exist, national-level data reveal large gaps in the provision of and access to such services in many low- and middle-income countries. (literally via)
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photograph by Gundula Schulze Eldowy via
Friday 1 October 2021
Huey P. Newton: "sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet."
During the past few years strong movements have developed among women and among homosexuals seeking their liberation. There has been some uncertainty about how to relate to these movements.