Friday, 22 September 2017

Time to forget

It's time to forget
To forget about your age
Forget about your race
Your social standing
Your ideological view...
Forget about everything that keeps us apart

September is World Alzheimer's Month, November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month in the U.S., and June is Alzheimer' & Brain Awareness Month. These initiatives all aim at raising awareness and changing the circumstances of those directly and indirectly affected. According to the World Health Organisation, members of civil society "can play a key role in improving the lives of people with dementia, their carers and families" by enhancing dementia research, by supporting people with dementia, their carers and families, by fostering improvement in health and social care delivery, by raising public awareness, and by influencing government policy-making. More: LINK

Thursday, 21 September 2017


Louis has a protective daughter, Alzheimer's and a strong will to carry on despite the difficulties. This beautiful animated short film was produced by the award winning animation school Gobelins.

Today is World Alzheimer's Day, a day that is dedicated to raising awareness about persons with Alzheimer's and its impact on their families. Alzheimer's is a family disease as family members often develop chronic stress when they helplessly watch their parent's, partner's, sibling's, ... cognitive decline and see how the symptoms worsen (via).

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Born this day ... Lee Lorch

"Because he believed in the principles of decency and justice, and the equality of men under God, Lee Lorch and his family have been hounded through four states from the North to the South like refugees in displaced camps. And in the process of punishing Lee Lorch for his views, three proud institutions of learning have been made to grovel in the dust and bow the knee to bigotry."
Ethel Payne

Lee Lorch (1915-2014) was a mathematician and civil rights activist. He obtained his PhD in mathematics from the University in Cincinnati in 1941.
After World War II, Lorch started teaching at the City College of New York "but was soon fired because of his civil rights work on behalf of African-Americans." Shortly after taking up his job at the City College of New York, he moved into Stuyvesant Town, a private residential development on the east side of Manhattan, owned by the Metropolitan Life Insurance. Blacks were barred from living there as, according to the president of Metropolitan Life, "negroes and whites do not mix" and apart from that "it would be to the detriment of the city, too, because it would depress all surrounding property." Lee Lorch had all the credentials to move in, i.e., a "steady job, college, teacher and all that. And, not black." The lawsuit against Metropolitan that had been brought in by several people and organisations in 1947 had failed in the state courts as the insurance company was free to select tenants based on absurd criteria. Lorch was aware of the discrimination other faced and became a vice-chair of the tenants' committe that was founded to eliminate the housing discrimination. He also invited a black family (art student Hardine and Raphael Hendrix and their 6-year-old son Hardine Jr.) to live in his own flat where he was living with his wife (a longtime activist herself) and his young daughter.
"The Stuyvesant Town tenants committee, with 1,800 members, was made up of the families of veterans who believed that after fighting a war for justice overseas, they could not ignore injustice at home. "The courage and sharpshooting of a Negro machine gunner saved my life with a dozen other white G.I.'s (...). Can any one of us say he can't be my neighbor? I can't." Surveys of residents conducted by the tenants committee showed that two-thirds of Stuyvesant Town's 25,000 tenants opposed MetLife's exclusionary policy."  (Fox, 2010)
"I had become very aware of racism through the war; not just anti-Semitism, but the way the American army treated black soldiers. On the troop transport overseas, it was always the black company on board that had to clean the ship and do the dirty work, and I felt very uncomfortable with that." Lee Lorch, 2007
Metropolitan Life refused to accept the Lorches' rent check and started searching for ways to get them out. But Lorch had decided not to go quietly, that he would resist and that they had to throw him out by force.
"Nineteen of the families decided to fight to keep their apartments. (...) The city marshal ordered the targeted tenants to be out of their apartments by 9 o'clock on the morning of Jan. 17, 1952, and hired a moving company to drag their furniture onto the street. In response, the families barricaded their doors. They sent their children to stay with relatives and passed baskets of food from window to window with ropes."  (Fox, 2010)
In 1950, Metropolitan Life admitted three token black families but did not change its tenant housing policy. In 1959, only 47 black tenants lived in Stuyvesant Town.

Lorch did not pay the price for his activism only once. In 1949, he was forced to leave City College since he was "unquestionably a fine scholar and a promising teacher" but "an irritant and a potential troublemaker". The N.A.A.C.P. protested the decision ... but Lorch had to leave.
Lorch started teaching at Pennsylvania State University. When he arrived at the campus, he was immediately taken to the university's acting president whom he had to explain what had happened at Stuyvesant Town as the university had received phone calls from wealthy alumni who wanted to know why Lorch had been hired. He was denied reappointment because he had accommodated a black family which was "extreme, illegal and immoral, and damaging to the public relations of the college." Students, the American Association of University Professors, the American Mathematical Society, The New York Times, The Daily Worker, and Albert Einstein protested ... but Lorch had to leave.
In 1950, Lorch became one of two white professors at historically black Fisk University. He continued his activism, tried to enroll his daughter in an all-black school, refused to answer questions before the House Un-American Activities Committee ... in 1955, Lorch had to leave Fisk University.
When the Little Rock Nine enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957, Lee Lorch - at that time an official with the Arkansas chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. and chair of the Mathematics Department at Philander Smith College in Little Rock - was working behind the scenes and accompanying the students to school and tutoring them. He was told his best contribution would be to terminate his affiliation with the Little Rock Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. Whites abused him for his desegregation activism, blacks kept their distance because of the "un-American" stance he was accused of. After threats and the school's funding at risk, Lorch resigned.
By 1959 it was official that no US-American college would have him, Lorch was blacklisted. The family moved to Canada where he taught at the University of Alberta and then at York University until he retired.
In 2010, Lee Lorch was asked if he would do anything differently. His reply: "More and better of the same."
"It's hard to imagine now, but there was no civil rights legislation back then. You could be fired without explanation. But how could you do anything else, in all good conscience?" Lee Lorch
Decades later, several colleges - among them two that had fired him - and associations gave Lee Lorch honorary degrees and other awards (via and via).

- - - - - - - - - -
- Fox, A. (2010). Battle in Black and White. In Rosenblum, C. (ed.) More New York Stories. The Best of the City Section of The New York Times, New York & London: New York University Press, 246-253
- photographs via and via

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Superman and the Undocumented Workers

In Actions Comics #987 - "The Oz Effect" - Superman protects undocumented immigrants from an angry white man who wants to shoot them for taking his job. Superman, once an undocumented immigrant himself, has always stood up for justice. The issue was released a few days ago, at a time Superman's protection is very much needed again.

image via

Thursday, 14 September 2017

"Equality should have no boundaries." Nike.

Nike's campaign from February 2017 (Black History Month) speaks up for equality. Part of the campaign is a clip that features "Nike athletes", a film narrated by Michael B. Jordan (via).

"Equality is about Nike raising its voice and using the power of sport to stand up for the value of equality and to inspire people to take action in their communities."

"Together with our athletes, employees and communities, we are encouraging people to take the respect and fairness they see on the field and translate it off the field. We can help advance the conversation and create lasting change."

Behind the scenes:WATCH

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image via

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Role of the Behavioral Scientist in the Civil Rights Movement, by Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967)

"On 1 September 1967, the Nobel Prize-winning civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech entitled 'The role of the behavioral scientist in the civil rights movement' to the American Psychological Association (APA, 1999; King, 1968). With eloquence and passion, Martin Luther King championed the civil rights struggle and spoke to the interests of his audience. He stressed how behavioural scientists could and should support the civil rights movement. King's eloquent and passionate speech is still relevant today - explaining how psychologists and other mental health professionals could help address today's pressing social issues."

Some excerpts:

(...) In the preface to their book, 'Applied Sociology' (1965), S. M. Miller and Alvin Gouldner state: 'It is the historic mission of the social sciences to enable mankind to take possession of society.' It follows that for Negroes who substantially are excluded from society this science is needed even more desperately than for any other group in the population.
For social scientists, the opportunity to serve in a life-giving purpose is a humanist challenge of rare distinction. Negroes too are eager for a rendezvous with truth and discovery. We are aware that social scientists, unlike some of their colleagues in the physical sciences, have been spared the grim feelings of guilt that attended the invention of nuclear weapons of destruction. Social scientists, in the main, are fortunate to be able to extirpate evil, not to invent it.
If the Negro needs social sciences for direction and for self-understanding, the white society is in even more urgent need. White America needs to understand that it is poisoned to its soul by racism and the understanding needs to be carefully documented and consequently more difficult to reject. The present crisis arises because although it is historically imperative that our society take the next step to equality, we find ourselves psychologically and socially imprisoned. All too many white Americans are horrified not with conditions of Negro life but with the product of these conditions-the Negro himself.

(...) Now there are many roles for social scientists in meeting these problems. Kenneth Clark has said that Negroes are moved by a suicide instinct in riots and Negroes know there is a tragic truth in this observation. Social scientists should also disclose the suicide instinct that governs the administration and Congress in their total failure to respond constructively. What other areas are there for social scientists to assist the civil rights movement? There are many, but I would like to suggest three because they have an urgent quality.
Social science may be able to search out some answers to the problem of Negro leadership. E. Franklin Frazier, in his profound work, Black Bourgeoisie, laid painfully bare the tendency of the upwardly mobile Negro to separate from his community, divorce himself from responsibility to it, while failing to gain acceptance in the white community. There has been significant improvements from the days Frazier researched, but anyone knowledgeable about Negro life knows its middle class is not yet bearing its weight. Every riot has carried strong overtone of hostility of lower class Negroes toward the affluent Negro and vice versa. No contemporary study of scientific depth has totally studied this problem. Social science should be able to suggest mechanisms to create a wholesome black unity and a sense of peoplehood while the process of integration proceeds.
As one example of this gap in research, there are no studies, to my knowledge, to explain adequately the absence of Negro trade union leadership. Eight-five percent of Negroes are working people. Some two million are in trade unions but in 50 years we have produced only one national leader-A. Philip Randolph.
Discrimination explains a great deal, but not everything. The picture is so dark even a few rays of light may signal a useful direction.

(...) I have not lost hope. I must confess that these have been very difficult days for me personally. And these have been difficult days for every civil rights leader, for every lover of justice and peace.

Full text: American Psychological Association

photographs via and via

Friday, 8 September 2017

Captain Kathryn Janeway

"It took balls for these guys to hire me in this capacity. It’s a bold choice, and an appropriate one for 400 years in the future."
Kate Mulgrew

"I'm not even remotely surprised at how much attention the fact that the show had a female captain attracted. This is the human condition. It's novelty."
Kate Mulgrew cited in Altman & Gross (2016)

The decision to have a female captain was "a landmark moment" (Knight, 2010) and one the creators never made a grand point about. There was a female captain. Naturally (via). Because it "seemed like the logical thing to do" (via).
"I told them, ‘I want to do this with a woman,’ and they were very supportive. They just said, ‘Let’s not close the door to men. Look at men as well.’ But being opposed to hiring a woman — that’s nonsense. They just weren’t 100 percent sure we would find the right woman." Rick Berman
Captain Kathryn Janeway was strong-willed, fearless, strong. In terms of behaviour, she was a second-wave feminist's ideal power woman: equal of any man. Janeway was dressed in the Star Fleet unisex uniform that conceiled her feminine figure (Knight, 2010). Kate Mulgrew, in fact, refused to sexualise Captain Janeway (via). The solution to this "problem" was to bring in a "physically overdeveloped" cyborg in a catsuit ("Seven of Nine" played by Jeri Ryan) who "took the pressure off the Captain to satisfy the sexual voyeurism of which male science fiction audiences were widely suspected" (Relke, 2006). The cyborg's purpose was "to cater to the snickering demographic of young male viewers and it worked" (Garcia & Phillips, 2009). It may be added that Seven of Nine replaced Kes, a character that was surely not the most exciting one, that the scripts were popular, that the cyborg was intelligent and had a sense of humour and that her interaction with other crew members was at times rather amusing. These facts could have contributed to the success - there is hope it was not the catsuit alone.
"That moment stands out for me when Jeri Ryan arrived. That was an interesting moment because – there’s been a lot of controversy about it generated by me – again unfortunate.""When you’re the first female captain you hope against hope that that’s going to be sufficient until the day it wasn’t.""I said, ‘I’m not going to sleep with Chakotay, it’s not going to happen. I said you’re just going to have to go somewhere else for it, so they got this very beautiful girl to come in. She played a wonderful character. And yes, I was unsettled by it because I had hoped – as I’m sure Hillary Clinton hoped. We all hope." Kate Mulgrew

Before Kate Mulgrew, there was Geneviève Bujold. Bujold was supposed to play Captain Janeway in Voyager but left after three days because she could not adjust to the work schedule TV series have (via). Kate Mulgrew was the next choice:
"Something in me rose up at the very thought that after Miss Bujold defected, that I would fail and then they would bring back another man. I thought, ‘No, no, no we can’t have this. We simply cannot, we must go forward.’ And so we did. And guess who had me to the White House after the end of the first season? A woman by the name of Hillary Clinton." Kate Mulgrew

"The beauty of ‘Star Trek’ is that Roddenberry was very far-seeing. Gender regarding the Captain’s seat was a unilateral thing. It transcended all of those classifications. I think that I played Janeway as I would play her today."
Kate Mulgrew

"I watched this with great curiosity because I love to see how men deal with their deepest anxieties ... about will this franchise succeed or will it not, with this woman at the helm.... They changed it (her hairstyle) five times in the first season, two, three times in the second. You know, my message to Patrick Stewart is, 'You lucky devil.' I mean, it was just constantly a source of anxiety for them, and of course it had nothing to do with the reality."
Kate Mulgrew, cited in Relke (2006)

"I played Captain Janeway in the era that had not resolved the conflicts surrounding mothers and work.
It’s slow-going. I’m not gonna be foolish about it. It’s still a boy’s club. But this must change, out of necessity."
Kate Mulgrew

"A female captain has a lot of leeway that a male captain wouldn’t have."
"Women have an emotional accessibility that our culture not only accepts but embraces. We have a tactility, a compassion, a maternity-and all these things can be revealed within the character of a very authoritative person."
Kate Mulgrew

"Kate has a lot of pressure on her. There’s really no precedent for her situation. Except maybe Joan of Arc. And she had the anointing of God."
Robert Beltran (Chakotay)

- - - - - - - - - -
- Altman, M. A. & Gross, E. (2016). The Fifty-Year Mission. The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek. New York: St. Martin's Press
- Garcia, F. & Phillips, M. (2009). Science Fiction Television Series, 1990-2004. Histories, Casts and Credits for 58 Shows. Jefferson & London: McFarland & Company
- Knight, G. L. (2010). Female Action Heroes. A Guide to Women in Comics, Video Games, Film, and Television. Santa Barbara et al.: Greenwood
- Relke, D. M. A. (2006). Drones, Clones, and Alpha Babes. Retrofitting Star Trek's Humanism, Post-9/11. Calgary: University of Calgary Press
- images via and via and via

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Tuvok, the Black Vulcan

"Star Trek: Voyager", the fifth incarnation of Star Trek was produced from 1995 to 2001 (via). When it premiered in 1995 with female Captain Kathryn Janeway and black Vulcan Tuvok (played by Tim Russ), a sexist and racist discourse started. As Russ points out "it's part of the fabric of this country" but at the same time it "seems counter to the typical Trek fan who tend to be above all that." (via)

For others, Tuvok was an inspiration. In an interview, Clayton Woullard, for instance, thanks Tim Russ:

"I’m black, and growing up, Tuvok was such a role model for me — to see a strong, black character, keeping it together and saving people, and having adventures, so thanks."

Tim Russ's reply:

"There you go. You’re firsthand feeling the impact of what I’ve done on a show, you’re a perfect example of the impact this character has had on people. When I’m doing it, I don’t think about that until later on after the fact. But yes, true to Rodenberry’s creation, he always strived to portray the future as it would make sense to portray it: so that you have a female captain, you have minorities on the bridge as bridge officers, in powerful, strong dramatic roles…and those are still not as common, I think. So it’s very cool to have the opportunity to be part of that legacy. It’s his vision." (via)

images via and via

Monday, 4 September 2017

Anti-Semite and Jew. An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate. By Jean-Paul Sartre (1944)

In 1944, Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) wrote his essay "Anti-Semite and Jew", a critique of anti-Semitism. The critique is criticised for not being based on research and being a philosophical speculation written on an abstract level. Nevertheless, the result is "a powerfully coherent argument that demonstrates how theoretical sophistication and practical ignorance can, sometimes, usefully combine", as Walzer writes in his preface. Here are some excerpts:

Anti‐Semitism does not fall within the category of ideas protected by the right of free opinion. Indeed it is something quite other than an idea. It is first of all a passion. No doubt it can be set forth in the form of a theoretical proposition. The "moderate" anti‐Semite is a courteous man who will tell you quietly: "Personally, I do not detest the Jews. I simply find it preferable, for various reasons, that they should play a lesser part in the activity of the nation." But a moment later, if you have gained his confidence, he will add with more abandon: "You see, there must be something about the Jews; they upset me physically." (...)

This involvement is not caused by experience. I have questioned hundred people on the reasons for their anti‐Semitism. Most of them have confined themselves to enumerating the defects with which tradition has endowed the Jews. "I detest them because they are selfish, intriguing, persistent, oily, tactless, etc” – “But,at any rate, you associate with some of them?” – “Not if I can help it!" A painter said to me: "I am hostile to the Jews because,with their critical habits, they encourage our servants to insubordination."Here are examples a little more precise. A young actor without talent insisted that the Jews had kept him from a successful career in the theatre by confining him to subordinate roles. A young woman said to me: "I have had the most horrible experiences with furriers; they robbed me, they burned the fur I entrusted to them. Well, they were all Jews." But why did she choose to hate Jews rather than furriers? Why Jews or furriers rather than such and such a Jew or such and such a furrier? Because she had in her a predisposition toward anti‐Semitism.

A classmate of mine at the lycée told me that Jews "annoy" him because of the thousands of injustices that "Jew‐ridden" social organizations commit in their favour. "A Jew passed his agrégation the year I was failed, and you can't make me believe that that fellow, whose father came from Cracow or Lemberg, understood a poem by Ronsard or an eclogue by Virgil better than I. " But he admitted that he disdained the agrégation as a mere academic exercise,and that he didn't study for it. Thus, to explain his failure, he made use of two systems of interpretation, like those madmen who, when they are far gone in their madness, pretend to be the King of Hungary but, if questioned sharply, admit to being shoemakers. His thoughts moved on two planes without his being in the least embarrassed by it. As a matter of fact, he will in time manage to justify his past laziness on the grounds that it really would be too stupid to prepare for an examination in which Jews are passed in preference to good Frenchmen. Actually he ranked twenty‐seventh on the official list. (...) To understand my classmate's indignation we must recognize that he had adopted in advance a certain idea of the Jew, of his nature and of his role in society. And to be able to decide that among twenty‐six competitors who were more successful than himself, it was the Jew who robbed him of his place, he must a priori have given preference in the conduct of his life to reasoning based on passion. Far from experience producing his idea of the Jew, it was the latter which explained his experience. If the Jew did not exist, the anti‐Semite would invent him. (...)

I noted earlier that anti‐Semitism is a passion. Everybody understands that emotions of hate or anger are involved, but ordinarily hate and anger have a provocation: I hate someone who has made me suffer, someone who condemns or insults me. We have just seen that anti‐Semitic passion could not have such a character. It precedes the facts that are supposed to call it forth; it seeks them out to nourish itself upon them; it must even interpret them in a special way so that they may become truly offensive. Indeed, if you so much as mention a Jew to an anti‐Semite, he will show all the signs of a lively irritation. If we recall that we must always consent to anger before it can manifest itself and that, as is indicated so accurately by the French idiom, we "put ourselves" into anger, we shall have to agree that the anti‐Semite has chosen to live on the plane of passion. It is not unusual for people to elect to live a life of passion rather than one of reason. But ordinarily they love the objects of passion: women, glory, power, money. Since the anti‐Semite has chosen hate, we are forced to conclude that it is the state of passion that he loves. Ordinarily this type of emotion is 'not very pleasant: a man who passionately desires a woman is impassioned because of the woman and in spite of his passion. We are wary of reasoning based on passion, seeking to support by all possible means opinions which love or jealousy or hate have dictated. We are wary of the aberrations of passion and of what is called mono‐ideism. But that is just what the anti‐Semite chooses right off. (...)

The anti‐Semite has chosen hate because hate is a faith; at the outset he has chosen to devaluate words and reasons. How entirely at ease he feels as a result. How futile and frivolous discussions about the rights of the Jew appear to him. He has placed himself on other ground from the beginning. If out of courtesy he consents for a moment to defend his point of view, he lends himself but does not give himself. He tries simply to project his intuitive certainty onto the plane of discourse. I mentioned a while back some remarks by anti‐Semites, all of them absurd: "I hate Jews because they make servants insubordinate, because a Jewish furrier robbed me, etc." Never believe that anti‐ Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti‐Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past. (...)

(...) By treating the Jew as an inferior and pernicious being, I affirm at the same time that I belong to the elite. This elite, in contrast to those of modern times which are based on merit or labour, closely resembles an aristocracy of birth. There is nothing I have to do to merit my superiority, and neither can I lose it. It is given once and for all. It is a thing. (...)

We begin to perceive the meaning of the anti‐Semite's choice of himself. He chooses the irremediable out of fear of being free; he chooses mediocrity out of fear of being alone, and out of pride he makes of this irremediable mediocrity a rigid aristocracy. To this end he finds the existence of the Jew absolutely necessary. Otherwise to whom would he be superior? Indeed, it is vis‐à‐vis the Jew and the Jew alone that the anti‐Semite realizes that he has rights. If by some miracle all the Jews were exterminated as he wishes, he would find himself nothing but a concierge or a shopkeeper in a strongly hierarchical society in which the quality of "true Frenchman" would be at a low valuation, because everyone would possess it. He would lose his sense of rights over the country because no one would any longer contest them, and that profound equality which brings him close to the nobleman and the man of wealth would disappear all of a sudden, for it is primarily negative. His frustrations, which he has attributed to the disloyal competition of the Jew, would have to be imputed to some other cause, lest he be forced to look within himself. He would run the risk of falling into bitterness, into a melancholy hatred of the privileged classes. Thus the anti‐Semite is in the unhappy position of having a vital need for the very enemy he wishes to destroy. (...)

A destroyer in function, a sadist with a pure heart, the anti‐Semite is, in the very depths of his heart, a criminal. What he wishes,what he prepares, is the death of the Jew. To be sure, not all the enemies of the Jew demand his death openly, but the measures they propose — all of which aim at his abasement, at his humiliation, at his banishment — are substitutes for that assassination which they meditate within themselves. They are symbolic murders. (...)

Until the nineteenth century the Jews, like women, were in a state of tutelage; thus their contribution to political and social life, like that of women, is of recent date. The names of Einstein, of Bergson, of Chagall, of Kafka are enough to show what they would have been able to bring to the world if they had been emancipated earlier. But that is of no importance; the fact is there. These are Frenchmen who have no part in the history of France. Their collective memory furnishes them only with obscure recollections of pogroms, of ghettos, of exoduses, of great monotonous sufferings, twenty centuries of repetition, not of evolution. (...)

What we propose here is a concrete liberalism. By that we mean that all persons who through their work collaborate toward the greatness of a country have the full rights of citizens of that country. What gives them this right is not the possession of a problematical and abstract "human nature," but their active participation in the life of the society. This means, then, that the Jews — and likewise the Arabs and the Negroes — from the moment that they are participants in the nation enterprise, have a right in that enterprise; they are citizens. But they have these rights as Jews, Negroes, Arabs — that is, as concrete persons.

In societies where women vote, they are not asked change their sex when they enter the voting booth; the vote of a woman is worth just as much as that of a man, but it is as a woman that she votes, with her woman intuitions and concerns, in her full character of woman. When it is a question of the legal rights of the Jew, and of the more obscure but equally indispensable rights that are not inscribed in any code, he must enjoy those rights not as a potential Christian but precisely as a French Jew. (...)

But we who are not Jews, should we share it? Richard Wright, the Negro writer, said recently: "There is no Negro problem in the United States, there is White problem." In the same way, we must say that anti‐Semitism is not a Jewish problem; it is our problem. Since we are not guilty and yet run the risk of being its victims — yes, we too — we must be very blind indeed not to see that it is our concern in the highest deg is not up to the Jews first of all to form a militant against anti‐Semitism; it is up to us.

Sartre, J.-P. (1944/1995). Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate. With a new preface by Michael Walzer. Translated by George J. Becker. New York: Schocken Books, download

photographs of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir on the beach of Nida, Lithuania, 1965 (by Antanas Sutkus) via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Quoting Isabelle Huppert

"I think women are the product of previous fights. Every woman should have equality with men. That should not even be a debate. And men are not afraid of women the way women are afraid of men. Of course."
Isabelle Huppert

photograph via

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Carrie Fisher & the Gold Bikini: Intersection of Sexism, Weightism and Ageism.

"I'm what psychology journals refer to as batshit crazy. It's a delicate mix of bipolar disorder, which I'm able to control through serious medication, and a completely untreatable case of I don't give a shit. 
Unfortunately, for a woman, the side effects of this condition include: reduced employment, phone calls from terrified PR flacks and tremendous difficulty getting myself down to a weight that's acceptable to some 35 year old studio executive whose deepest fantasy and worst nightmare somehow both involve me in a gold bikini."
Carrie Fisher

"There was this thing on Fox News about this father not being able to explain to his daughter what the outfit was. What, that my character was forced to put on that outfit against my will, and I took it off as soon as I could kill the guy who picked out the outfit? I had so much fun killing [Jabba]. They asked me if I wanted my stunt double to kill him, but I wanted to. I sawed his neck off with that chain. I really wanted to kill him."
Carrie Fisher

"To the father who flipped out about it, 'What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?' Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage."
Carrie Fisher, 2015

"I didn’t even think it was going to be in the movie. She’s a princess. What the hell is she doing walking around in a bikini?"
Harrison Ford

"My favorite one to see is the metal bikini — on men! That is what has been happening a lot. A lot. And not thin men, by the way! So that makes me feel good about myself, kind of a before-and-after thing — this is way after. Not only is Princess Leia fatter, she's a guy!"
Carrie Fisher on her favourite Comic Con Princess Leia costume

"Where am I in all of this? … I have to stay with the slug with the big tongue! Nearly naked, which is not a style choice for me. … It wasn’t my choice. When [director George Lucas] showed me the outfit, I thought he was kidding and it made me very nervous. I had to sit very straight because I couldn’t have lines on my sides, like little creases. No creases were allowed, so I had to sit very, very rigid straight.
What redeems it is I get to kill him, which was so enjoyable. ... I sawed his neck off with that chain that I killed him with. I really relished that because I hated wearing that outfit and sitting there rigid straight, and I couldn't wait to kill him."
Carrie Fisher, 2016

"Don't be a slave like I was. You keep fighting against that slave outfit."
Carrie Fisher to Daisy Ridley

"Fisher tells a story of how George Lucas asked her to come out to San Francisco to discuss the script for Return of the Jedi. When she arrived, he pulled out a picture of Leia in that iconic bikini, and she remarked, “No, George, but seriously.” The slave bikini, chosen by Jabba the Hutt, left her vulnerable to the occasional wardrobe malfunction, too. “If I lay like this”—she arches her back flat—“and it doesn’t adhere, it is like plastic, so that is a problem here”—she points to you-know-where—“because if I lay down, it doesn’t go with me. I didn’t inform him, but I always thought that if Boba Fett were of a mind, he could see all the way to Florida.”" (The Daily Beast) George Lucas told Fisher to lose weight to wear the bikini (Yahoo).

"I started checking for any bounce or slip after takes. It was, !CUT. Hey, how they doin'? The hooters in place?'"
Carrie Fisher, 1983

The gold bikini was auctioned for $96.000,- in 2015 (via).

photographs via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

What Makes a Man (1972)

"I was the first to write a song in France about homosexuality. I wanted to write about the specific problems my gay friends faced. I could see things were different for them, that they were marginalized."
Charles Aznavour

"It’s a kind of sickness I have, talking about things you’re not supposed to talk about. I started with homosexuality and I wanted to break every taboo."
Charles Aznavour

"I always wrote about things that others might not have written about. We don’t mind frank language in books, the theatre or cinema, but for some reason still to sing about such things is seen as odd."
Charles Aznavour

"I wanted to write what nobody else was writing. I’m very open, very risky, not afraid of breaking my career because of one song. I don’t let the public force me to do what they want me to do. I force them to listen to what I have done. That’s the only way to progress, and to make the public progress."
Charles Aznavour

My mum and I we live alone
A great apartment is our home
In Fairhome Towers
I have to keep me company
Two dogs, a cat, a parakeet
Some plants and flowers
I help my mother with the chores
I wash, she dries, I do the floors
We work together
I shop and cook and sow a bit
Though mum does too I must admit
I do it better
At night I work in a strange bar
Impersonating every star
I'm quite deceiving
The customers come in with doubt
And wonder what I'm all about
But leave believing
I do a very special show
Where I am nude from head to toe
After stripteasing
Each night the men look so surprised
I change my sex before their eyes
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man

At three o'clock or so I meet
With friends to have a bite to eat
And conversation
We love to empty out our hearts
With every subject from the arts
To liberation
We love to pull apart someone
And spread some gossip just for fun
Or start a rumor
We let our hair down, so to speak
And mock ourselves with tongue-in-cheek
And inside humor
So many times we have to pay
For having fun and being gay
It's not amusing
There's always those that spoil our games
By finding fault and calling names
Always accusing
They draw attention to themselves
At the expense of someone else
It's so confusing
Yet they make fun of how I talk
And imitate the way I walk
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man

My masquerade comes to an end
And I go home to bed again
Alone and friendless
I close my eyes, I think of him
I fantasize what might have been
My dreams are endless
We love each other but it seems
The love is only in my dreams
It's so one sided
But in this life I must confess
The search for love and happiness
Is unrequited
I ask myself what I have got
Of what I am and what I'm not
What have I given
The answers come from those who make
The rules that some of us must break
Just to keep living
I know my life is not a crime
I'm just a victim of my time
I stand defenseless
Nobody has the right to be
The judge of what is right for me
Tell me if you can
What make a man a man

Tell me if you can
Tell me if you can
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man

(lyrics via)

images via and via

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Beatlemania, the Menace of Beatlism, Generations, Hysteria & Female Fanaticism

extreme enthusiasm for the Beatles pop group, as manifested in the frenzied behaviour of their fans in the 1960s.

(Google Dictionary)

"Are teenagers different today? Of course not. Those who flock round the Beatles, who scream themselves into hysteria, are the least fortunate of their generation, the dull, the idle, the failures: their existence, in such large numbers, far from being a cause for ministerial congratulation, is a fearful indictment of our education system, which in 10 years of schooling can scarcely raise them to literacy."

"If the Beatles and their like were in fact what the youth of Britain wanted, one might well despair. I refuse to believe it – and so will any other intelligent person who casts his or her mind back far enough. What were we doing at 16? I remember reading the whole of Shakespeare and Marlowe, writing poems and plays and stories. At 16, I and my friends heard our first performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; I can remember the excitement even today. We would not have wasted 30 seconds of our precious time on the Beatles and their ilk."

"Before I am denounced as a reactionary fuddy-duddy, let us pause an instant and see exactly what we mean by this “youth”. Both TV channels now run weekly programmes in which popular records are played to teenagers and judged. While the music is performed, the cameras linger savagely over the faces of the audience. What a bottomless chasm of vacuity they reveal! The huge faces, bloated with cheap confectionery and smeared with chain-store makeup, the open, sagging mouths and glazed eyes, the broken stiletto heels: here is a generation enslaved by a commercial machine. Behind this image of “youth”, there are, evidently, some shrewd older folk at work."

Paul Johnson, "The Menace of Beatlism", February 1964 (excerpts)

Teenagers "screaming themselves into hysteria" seemed to be an important aspect of Beatlemania. Shortly after their visit to New Zealand, Taylor carried out empirical research but found "no evidence from the Hysteria Scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory to support the popular opinion that the enthusiasts were hysterics (...). It was concluded that 'Beatlemania' is the passing reaction of predominantly young adolescent females to group pressures of such a kind that meet their special emotional needs." (Taylor, 1966). As the Beatles had a great many female fans, people were perhaps more likely to call them hysteric since hysteria was traditionally considered to be a female disease.

In 1841, fans of Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt showed "a level of fanaticism similar to the Beatles" (via). Soon the term "Lisztomania" was coined, characterised by "intense levels of hysteria" (via). Before the Beatles, there was Liszt, there was Elvis, there was Sinatra. The "mass hysteria" surrounding the Beatles, however, was unprecedented.
"Prior to the Beatles’ arrival on the music scene in 1963, young girls were typically quiet followers of the postwar culture, resigning themselves to domestic responsibilities and stricter parental control."
The Fab Four, when they started, had no "overtly masculine overtones", their style deviated from the traditional hyper-masculine image at the time. The "moderated type of masculinity" may have added to their allure among young female fans. It is also argued that their collective image contributed to their mass appeal amongst teenage girls. Unlike Presley and Sinatra - who were the lead singers in the centre accompanied by a band or an orchestra - the Beatles performed without hierarchical roles. Since women are said to rather create collaborative groups which they prefer to hierarchical structures, their collective image may also have been particularly appealing to female fans. In addition, the Beatles covered "girl group material", wrote songs about sensitivity, romance, collectiveness, transformed "female dependence into male vulnerability". A great many songs were directly addressed to their (female) fans. In "She Loves You", for instance, the man is encouraged to apologise to her, which was new at the time. Their portrayal of women was more positive; women were not idealised but fully-formed characters, the image of love was egalitarian. And, it was the 1960s, a decade marked by the Beatles and women's search for liberation.
"The women’s movement didn’t just happen. It was an awareness that came over you—that you could be your own person. For many of us, that began with the Beatles. They told us we could do anything."  Marcy Lanza, quoted in Pelusi, 2014
"As Jonathan Gould notes, the Beatles were able to provide a “socially and emotionally secure environment for the expression of female assertiveness, aggression, sexuality, and solidarity” with their unique image and empowering lyrics. This musical environment allowed for the expansion of Beatlemania, a collective hysteria where girls wept, screamed, and fainted at the mere thought of seeing their idols in person. Such is the influence of the Beatles’ music that even today, the group remains one of the most popular and well-loved of all time. From the 1960s onwards, Beatlemania spread “Across the Universe,” forever leaving its mark as one of the most notable influences on the gender revolution that grew into the unrelenting musical and pop culture phenomenon, one that is still remembered and celebrated today."
Cura, 2009

"Individually, teenagers are isolated and worried and scared all the time of whether or not they're doing the right things and wearing all the right clothes, but everybody liked The Beatles so everybody was equal, we were all in it together." (Clerc)

More Beatlemania:

::: A taste of Beatlemania in the 1960s: WATCH
::: Beatlemania, Liverpool & L.A. fans, 1982: WATCH, the sound of the first seconds: LISTEN
::: Beatles welcome home, London, 1964: WATCH
::: Beatles take over Holland, Amsterdam, 1964: WATCH
::: Beatles in Sydney, 1964: WATCH
::: Beatles in Hamburg, 1966 (in German): WATCH 
::: Beatles fans get interviewed, 1964: WATCH
::: More Beatles fans: WATCH

- Cura, K. (2009). She Loves You: The Beatles and Female Fanaticism. Nota Bene: Canadian Undergraduate Journal of Musicology, 2(1), Article 8. 104-113.
- Pelusi, A. J. (2014). Doctor Who and the Creation of a Non-Gendered Hero Archetype. Theses and Dissertations, Paper 272. Illinois State University.
- photographs via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via; copyrights by the respective owners

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Narrative images: Buying a house on Long Island

"An African American and a white girl study a sign in the integrated Long Island community of Lakeview, New York, on April 1962." (via)
Negroes! This Community could become another ghetto. You owe it to your family to buy in another community 

Erase (2012). Housing and Neighbourhood Preferences of African Americans on Long Island. 2012 Survey Research Report.
Here are some excerpts from the 2012 research report:

Long Island is one of the most racially segregated regions in the country. For the past ten years, ERASE Racism has documented how housing discrimination plays a significant role in determining the neighborhoods where African Americans on Long Island will most likely reside. We have reported that, as a direct result of patterns of housing segregation, only 9% of Long Island’s black students have access to high performing schools as compared to 30% of white students. Studies have also shown that even the most affluent black and Hispanic homeowners are segregated into majority black and Hispanic communities with high concentrations of poverty. These factors point to structural impediments for blacks to housing choice and to quality education. Nonetheless, studies about neighborhood preferences often pose the question about whether so-called “self-segregation” is at play by all racial groups, including blacks, rather than structural racism."

Despite the popular notion that blacks only want to live in communities with neighbors who share their own race or ethnicity, the telephone survey findings showed that given the choice, nearly all respondents chose a racially mixed neighborhood, with a large majority, 69%, who chose an even mix of 50% white and 50% black. Only 1% of respondents said that they would like to live in a neighborhood that is all black.

Long Island continues to be one of the most racially segregated regions in the nation; in 1980 the Dissimilarity Index for blacks in relation to whites was 76.9, with 100 representing total segregation. Thirty years later, in 2010, the black-white level of segregation was 69.2, still very high and indicating just a slight decrease (dropping barely 1 percentage point every five years). While Long Island also tends to be segregated by income, income disparities cannot explain the very high level of segregation experienced by blacks in the region.

African Americans perceive housing discrimination as pervasive on Long Island. One in three, 33%, of black Long Islanders surveyed reported having experienced housing discrimination first-hand or within their immediate family. Our previous housing reports, reports by others and various law suits have documented the ongoing problem of fair housing violations, including racial steering by real estate agents, predatory lending by banks, and discriminatory municipal policies. Housing discrimination promotes and preserves residential and school segregation.

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photograph via

Thursday, 24 August 2017

We stole their land, their buffalo and their women. Then we went back for their shoes.

The Red Indians were an ungrateful lot.
Far from thanking the whiteman for bringing them civilisation (guns, whisky, disease, that kind of thing), they spent years making very bad medicine.
Naturally, during the course of their disputes, the whiteman found it necessary to relieve the Red Indians of certain items.
Thousands of square miles of land, for instance, which they didn't seem to be using.
The odd buffalo, which provided some interesting culinary experiences for the folks heading West.
And of course the squaws, who were often invited along to soothe the fevered brows of conscience-stricken gun-runners and bounty hunters.

But perhaps the most lasting testament to this cultural exchange programme is the humble moccasin.
A shoe of quite ingenious construction. And remarkably comfortable to boot.
Even now, nearly two centuries after the first whiteman tried a pair on, they have yet to be bettered.
Which is why at Timberland, all of our loafers, boat shoes and walking shoes are based on the original Red Indian design. (...)
Our hand sewn shoes also hark back to the days before the whiteman came.
No machines. No mass production. No deadlines. (...)
A far cry from the Red Indian moccasin? We certainly hope not.
Because if we ever forget our origins, or change our old-fashioned way of making boots and shoes, one thing's for sure.
A lot of people are going to be on the warpath.

The newspaper ad designed by the agency Leagas Delaney, won a Silver Pencil "despite complaints from some within the ad industry that it contains racist nuances" (via).

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image via

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Stan's Soapbox: As true today as it was in 1968. Pax et Justitia.

Stan Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber in 1922, is a US-American comic-book writer, editor, film executive producer, and publisher. The son of Romanian-born Jewish immigrant parents was the former editor-in-chief, executive vice president, publisher, and figurehead of Marvel Comics (via).
Stan Lee created superheroes who fight hate (via). In 2010, he founded the "Stan Lee Foundation" striving "to provide equal access to literacy and education" and to promote "diversity, national literacy, culture and the arts" (via).

"Stan's Soapbox" was a monthly column written by Stan Lee. It was part of the "Marvel Bullpen Bulletins" (also created by Stan Lee) that ran from 1965 to 2001 and first appeared in June 1967 (via and via).
In 1968, Lee wrote about racism and bigotry. He tweeted his words again on 15 August 2017 commenting "As true today as it was in 1968. Pax et Justitia - Stan" (via).

Stan's Soapbox

Let's lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed supervillains, they can't be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to epose them - to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater - one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is back men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he's down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he's never seen - people he's never known - with equal intensitiy - with equal venom. Now, we're not trying to say it's unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it's totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race - to despise an entire nation - to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God - a God who calls ALL - His children.
Pax et Justitia,

"I always felt the X-Men, in a subtle way, often touched upon the subject of racism and inequality, and I believe that subject has come up in other titles, too, but we would never pound hard on the subject, which must be handled with care and intelligence."
Stan Lee

"America is made of different races and different religions, but we’re all co-travelers on the spaceship Earth and must respect and help each other along the way."
Stan Lee

images via and via and via and via