Aboriginal painter, aged 105, happy to see her art make its mark

‘ “I’m really, really happy,” she says, in comments interpreted from her indigenous Nyikina language by her niece Annie Milgin. “And I’m really, really proud.”
Born around 1910, Loongkoonan has defied the statistics relating to Australia’s Aborigines who have, on average, a markedly shorter life expectancy than their fellow citizens and are the country’s most disadvantaged people.
Diane Mossenson, whose gallery in Perth has shown her work, says Loongkoonan’s family attribute her good health in part to traditional remedies, adding that the artist’s eyesight has always been “brilliant”. ‘


“Dwarf," said the Red Viper, in a tone grown markedly less cordial, "spare me your Lannister lies. Is it sheep you take us for, or fools? My brother is not a bloodthirsty man, but neither has he been asleep for sixteen years. Jon Arryn came to Sunspear the year after Robert took the throne, and you can be sure that he was questioned closely. Him, and a hundred more. I did not come for some mummer’s show of an inquiry. I came for justice for Elia and her children, and I will have it. Starting with this lummox Gregor Clegane … but not, I think, ending there.”

There’s an area of Seoul which has managed to retain a lot of pre-war/colonial architecture, markedly different from a lot of the cookie-cutter buildings built nowadays: high ceilings, huge, wall-length windows, etc. Because the buildings are so old, they can’t be developed, which means elevators can’t be installed. This, in turn, means that the rent stays low, and it’s becoming the perfect place for artists and designers who can’t afford to be in, say, Hongdae.

We climbed to the top of this one, right in the heart of the city, built in 1937. We drank wine from red cups and enjoyed the cool breeze, a welcome retreat from the normally humid Seoul summer.

The transgressiveness of sexual banter–its tendency to report markedly offensive acts or desires in deliberately offensive (or in the media’s terms, ‘lewd’) language, is not just accidental, a case of men allowing the mask to slip when they think they’re alone. It’s deliberate, and it’s part of the bonding process. Like the sharing of secrets, the sharing of transgressive desires, acts and words is a token of intimacy and trust. It says, ‘I am showing that I trust you by saying things, and using words, that I wouldn’t want the whole world to hear’. It’s also an invitation to the hearer to reciprocate by offering some kind of affiliative response, whether a token of approval like appreciative laughter, or a matching transgressive comment. (‘I trust you, now show that you trust me’.)

When a private transgressive conversation becomes public, and the speaker who said something misogynist (or racist or homophobic) is publicly named and shamed, he often protests, as Trump did, that it was ‘just banter’, that he is not ‘really’ a bigot, and that his comments have been ‘taken out of context’. And the rest of us marvel at the barefaced cheek of these claims. How, we wonder, can this person disavow his obvious prejudice by insisting that what he said wasn’t, ‘in context’, what he meant?

What I’ve just said about the role of transgressive speech in male bonding suggests an answer (though as I’ll explain in a minute, that’s not the same as an excuse). Public exposure does literally take this kind of conversation out of its original context (the metaphorical ‘locker room’, a private, all-male setting). And when the talk is removed from that context, critics will focus on its referential content rather than its interpersonal function. They won’t appreciate (or care) that what’s primarily motivating the boasting, the misogyny, the offensive language and the laughter isn’t so much the speakers’ hatred of women as their investment in their fraternal relationship with each other. They’re like fishermen telling tall tales about their catches, or old soldiers exaggerating their exploits on the battlefield: their goal is to impress their male peers, and the women they insult are just a means to that end.

As I said before, though, that’s not meant to be an excuse: I’m not suggesting that banter isn’t ‘really’ sexist or damaging to women. On the contrary, I’m trying to suggest that it’s more damaging than most critical discussions acknowledge. Banter is not just what commentators on the Trump tape have mostly treated it as–a window into the mind of an individual sexist or misogynist. It’s a ritualised social practice which contributes to the maintenance of structural sexual inequality. This effect does not depend on what the individuals involved ‘really think’ about women. (I have examples of both sexist and homophobic banter where I’m certain that what some speakers say is not what they really think, because they’re gay and everyone involved knows that.) It’s more a case of ‘all that’s needed for evil to flourish is for good men to go along with it for the lolz’. […]

I said earlier that when Trump and his companions on the bus talked about women, the women were not the real point: they were like the fish in a fishing story or the faceless enemy in a war story. But that wasn’t meant to be a consoling thought (‘don’t worry, women, it’s nothing personal, they’re just bonding with each other by talking trash about you’). When you talk about people it SHOULD be personal–it should involve the recognition of the other as a human being with human feelings like your own. Heterosexual banter is one of the practices that teach men to withhold that recognition from women, treating them as objects rather than persons.


On banter, bonding, and Donald Trump - Deborah Cameron has written a good analysis of the linguistic problems with “just banter” on her blog

Also relevant: this twitter thread on the social function of humour and why there’s no such thing as “just joking”.

Scientists have found that memories may be passed down through generations in our DNA

New research from Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, has shown that it is possible for some information to be inherited biologically through chemical changes that occur in DNA. During the tests they learned that that mice can pass on learned information about traumatic or stressful experiences – in this case a fear of the smell of cherry blossom – to subsequent generations.

According to the Telegraph, Dr Brian Dias, from the department of psychiatry at Emory University, said: ”From a translational perspective, our results allow us to appreciate how the experiences of a parent, before even conceiving offspring, markedly influence both structure and function in the nervous system of subsequent generations.

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A few years ago I was invited to speak to a group of employees at a power plant who were considering whether to form a union. One young man who intended to vote against it told me he was worth no more than the fourteen dollars an hour he was then paid. “I say for these people making their millions, that’s fantastic. I could have done the same thing if I went to school and had the brains for it. I do not, so I’m a laborer.”

The man apparently had no knowledge of the 1950s, when more than 30 percent of the nation’s private-sector workforce was unionized. That gave the nation’s blue-collar laborers enough bargaining power to summon the equivalent (on average, and in today’s dollars) of thirty dollars an hour—even though many hadn’t finished high school. It wasn’t their brains that accomplished this. It was their bargaining clout. But the power of trade unions to negotiate good wages for hourly workers has declined markedly since then. That’s why the young man I met was “worth” no more than fourteen dollars an hour.

Yet the notion that you’re paid what you’re “worth” is by now so deeply ingrained in the public consciousness that many who earn very little assume it’s their own fault. They feel ashamed of what they see as a personal failure—a lack of brains or a deficiency of character. The same notion allows those who earn vast sums to believe they must be extraordinarily clever, daring, and superior; otherwise, they wouldn’t be doing so well. This reassuring conviction seemingly justifies not only their great wealth but also their high status in society. They would prefer not to view their money as winnings in an economic contest over whose rules they and others like them have disproportionate influence. Presumably they would prefer the public not to see it that way, either.

The rich aren’t smarter than us and they don’t do more for society. We must rethink how people get paid…


Downton Wedding Dresses 3/3

↳ Lady Rose MacClare

Lady Rose would have had her wedding dress made especially for her big day, so I was anticipating having to make something from scratch. As it happened, we had the biggest stroke of luck, costume designer Anna Mary Scott Robbins says. The dress she wears is a completely original piece that we unearthed in a vintage shop in immaculate condition. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up when we found it and when Lily James put it on, it was one of those perfect moments you don’t get that often in your career. Rose’s wedding dress is markedly different from the dresses worn by her cousins Lady Mary and Lady Edith on their ill-fated wedding days. Her beaded gown and headdress reflects the change in time, as well as Rose’s “feminine, pretty and frivolous” style. (x)

Osric Fuels Cockles

I was at Asylum 15 at the weekend and during Osric’s panel he was asked whether he thinks there’ll be any Destiel moments in season 11. It is markedly different in England when Destiel questions are asked because nobody boos and everyone just accepts that it’s a part of the show even if they don’t ship it. Anyway Osric said yes he was sure there would be because most of them aren’t written. He said it’s difficult to know what is written and what is just as a result of Misha and Jensen being really close friends. He said that they always look at each other like that in real life, off set too. Make of that what you will, Tumblr!

Lupita Nyong’o and the Evolving Paradox of Black Femininity

by Hannah Giorgis

(Photo Credit: NY Magazine)

It’s no secret that I am a Lupita Nyong’o fan girl. She is gorgeous, graceful, and certifiably ***flawless.

The actress gained worldwide attention for her heart-wrenching portrayal of the enslaved Patsey in Steve McQueen’s much-praised 12 Years A Slave. Having been thrust into the Hollywood spotlight only months ago, Lupita is notably reserved in the public eye—but her powerful presence speaks volumes about the ever-expanding ways in which Black women are complicating archaic notions about our femininity. 

Lupita’s Patsey is markedly different from both Mistress Epps, her master’s wife, and from Kerry Washington’s delicate Broomhilda in Django Unchained. Dark-skinned and long-suffering, Patsey is not afforded the benefit of Broomhilda’s damsel in distress rescue. It is, however, worth noting that both women were targets of sexual violence from the white men with power over them, neither of them immune to the Jezebel stereotype that deemed their black female bodies “unrapeable.”

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Comet PanSTARRS, Moon, and Venus : It is the object to the left of the big tree thats generating much recent excitement. If you look closely, there you can see Comet PanSTARRS, complete with two tails. During July, this comet has increased markedly in brightness and has just passed its closest approach to Earth. The statuesque tree in the center is a Norfolk Island Pine, and to either side of this tree are New Zealand Pohutukaw trees. Over the trees, far in the distance, are bright Venus and an even brighter crescent Moon. If you look even more closely, you can find Jupiter hidden in the branches of the pine. The featured image was taken a few days ago in Fergusson Park, New Zealand, looking over Tauranga Harbour Inlet. In the coming days and weeks, Comet C/2014 Q1 will slowly move away from the Sun and the Earth, drift deep into southern skies, and fade. via NASA


Near-perfect wings from dinosaur times discovered in amber    

A pair of wings found encased in amber suggest that the plumage of modern birds has remained almost unchanged from some of their dinosaur-era ancestors. X-ray scans indicate that the fossilized wings — found in northern Myanmar — likely belonged to juvenile creatures, and contain skin, muscle, and claws, as well as various layers of feathers, arranged in a markedly similar fashion to those of birds.

And so to the biggest celebrity story of the week — the internet publication of naked photographs and intimate videos of 102 female celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Kate Bosworth, Selena Gomez, Kirsten Dunst and Ariana Grande.

At some point in the past month, the womens’ iCloud accounts were hacked into and the images posted on the website 4Chan, from where they spread across the internet with such ferocity, the only apt simile being “as rapidly as a whole bunch of pictures of hot celebrity women, naked”.

As productivity across the world slowed markedly — due to half of every workplace gathering in the corner farthest away from their line manager and googling “naked A-list ladies hurry hurry” — an interesting phenomenon was observable: a widespread belief that it was … all OK. That nothing bad had happened. There had simply been a visit from a jovial Porn Santa, who had given the world the gift it so richly deserved — Jennifer Lawrence’s tits — and now all that was left was to give thanks before googling “naked A-list ladies any new ones hacked?” and continuing with the day.

CW finds this whole thing fascinating — this continuing belief that things somehow “don’t count” if they’re on the internet. Threatening to rape and kill women on Twitter isn’t real harassment; stealing pictures of women and posting them on the internet isn’t a real criminal sexual offence.

If there’s one thing that would do this species a heap of good it would be getting out of the house and getting some fresh air in its lungs. And if there are two things that would aid our species, it would be finally getting its head around “the internet”. The internet is something invented by humans, for humans, where humans communicate with each other. It’s exactly the same as “the meat world”.

If, in the “real world”, someone broke into Jennifer Lawrence’s garden and watched her undressing they would, rightly, be branded a pervert, arrested for trespass, treated as a bit revolting and sentenced to a spell in jail and possibly a stiff course of Just Stop Being A Freaky Mad Pervert therapy.

It’s no different to criminally trespassing into her iCloud and looking at her tits, simply because it’s “on the internet”. It’s “the internet” — not “Imaginary Norulestopia where you can do what you like”. When you treat the greatest communication tool the world has ever known like that, you basically turn it into Donkey Island in Pinocchio.

CW finds it slightly dolorous, living in an era where there is a constant, global game in play to see the naked body of every famous woman. The attitude reminds it exactly of being in the school playground, where a certain gang of boys would try, every playtime, to reveal the knickers of the girls, even though the girls were crying and traumatised and eventually grew up to be angry goths.

It’s going to leave the last words on this subject to the mighty Anne Hathaway, speaking about up-skirt shots of her that were sold to tabloids in 2012: “I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies the sexuality of unwilling participants.”

Right on, Hathaway. Because there’s a word for people who sexually commodify an unwilling participant.

—  Caitlin Moran absolutely fucking nails the celebrity nudes hacking disgrace in Celebrity Watch in today’s Times

make me choose
catastropheofbooks said:
vampire or fey?

A vampire is a mythical being who subsists by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures. In folkloric tales, undead vampires often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighbourhoods they inhabited when they were alive. They wore shrouds and were often described as bloated and of ruddy or dark countenance, markedly different from today’s gaunt, pale vampire which dates from the early 1800s.
In modern times, however, the vampire is generally held to be a fictitious entity, although belief in similar vampiric creatures such as the chupacabra still persists in some cultures.