Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Turn of the century Worcester Mass in pristine portraiture by William Bullard - not only a great record of people of color living there around the turn of the 20th century, but a pretty remarkable testament to photography itself at that stage (some of the images are stunning in detail and clarity) and a trove for history or costume enthusiasts. Certainly a wonderful sort of neighborhood genealogy; the detail regarding who is who is stellar. (You can exit the slide show for a bit of background, but I'd recommend NOT scrolling down to the comments section. Just enjoy Mary E. Price's glorious traveling ensemble, Edward Perkins' garden, or the many joy-inducing kids' portraits.)

When we were freaking out about Trump's election a year ago, my brother and I clung to certain things. Awareness that we were less likely to suffer, and still have more power by way of this privilege, than others ... the ignorance we still had to some extent back then (though little faith in that famous "pivot" they used to go on about, even as they prognosticated Ivanka would save us all). And infrastructure. Trump's dedication to infrastructure looked GOOD, so we invested in the idea of his investments there. He's a real estate guy, it was something to get behind, right?

Well, if this has anything to do with his administration, hope may yet have reason to spring eternal. And this click isn't even political at all, actually! Go forth, if only because architecture is pretty durn cool, and apparently can be made to smell really good, too. Mmm, Douglas fir. 'Tis the season!

The click beyond: NOVA's recent look at the earthquake-readiness of China's Forbidden City. Engineering is extraordinary, but replica "re-enactment" experiments are the stone cold bomb diggety!

Dr. Art Evans, entomologist, is a regular part of my evening commute. And a favorite part!  This week, he did a segment on an internet CREATURE sensation. The clickbait vibe reminded me of the keywords I chose for this (failed :() flash fic post at Hallowe'en.

The historian Henry Adams was being metaphorical, not medical, when he described power as “a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies.”

The Atlantic looks at the brain science studying the debilitating effects of power. Per Spock: "Fascinating!" He must've had a toe holder ... or all of Vulcan culture was a toe holder ... !

Also fascinating, but in more of a car-wreck kind of way, is the second time this week I have witnessed The Atlantic using the term GALS and mentioning a "lady problem" in a political piece. The byline is a woman writer, and it seems apparent that this is a gendered sort of informality - because, you know, girlies talk like that. Either that, or you can't expect journalistic standards out of GALS.

In my entire life, I have never known a friend or coworker to use this term except in sarcasm. Most often, it's been a comedic prop, this word. See also: 'lady' - which is a queasy joke for a lot of us in my generation, because it is so often wielded by oily guys who think they have a way with The Ladies.

These words are diminutizations. They're inappropriate to a serious piece looking at an important dynamic, and they chip away at the very power of the feminine vote by subtly dismissing it using joking terms. It also erodes the influence of reportage which has set a certain standard of reliability, and negates an article which clearly involved a lot of research and legwork - there are interviews, there are stats and links and sources. There are conclusions, too. And there are "gals" and a "lady problem" (not in quotes used in the article, but in the writing of the reporter herself).

No comments: