Monday, September 29, 2003

Just popping in...

Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. In addition to doing massive amounts of painting lately, I've been working a lot of overtime at work and working on a website for a friend. So, I haven't had much time to spend here. But I'll be back in a few weeks with a couple of "series" I have in mind -- which should be illuminating and interesting for everyone (well, at least to me :p ).

But, I did want to pop in and post briefly about a few things of interest that have been going on lately.

  • More good news for gays and lesbians in Canada. One day after the House of Commons narrowly defeated an opposition motion to support a heterosexual definition of marriage, it voted 141 - 110 in favor of adding "sexuality to a law which bans hatred towards minorities in speech, publications, on radio and television."
    Gays and lesbians have been covered for many years in the physical violence provisions of a separate law in the criminal code, but had not been added to the promotion of hate law.

    "The message that is sent out by the failure to include gay and lesbian people in hate propaganda legislation is that our lives aren't as valuable," [New Democrat Svend] Robinson said during debate on the bill.

    "If we're going to say no to the promotion of hatred and violence based on religion, color, race and ethnic origin, surely we should say that gay bashing and promotion of hatred and violence against gay and lesbian people is just as unacceptable."
  • Even better news from Nigeria. Amina Lawal's conviction was overturned by an Islamic appeals court in northern Nigeria.
    Ms Lawal, 32, was sentenced to be stoned to death under Sharia law in March 2002 after she gave birth to a child outside marriage. Twelve mainly Islamic states in northern Nigeria have adopted Sharia, though the Nigerian government had argued for Ms Lawal's release. In an hour-long ruling, the judges in black robes and white turbans said Ms Lawal was not caught in the act, and was not given enough time to understand the charges against her. They also complained that only one judge was present at her initial conviction, instead of the three required under Islamic law.

    Reading the verdict, judge Ibrahim Mai-Unguwa said the court accepted Ms Lawal's appeal, and told her she was free to go.
  • I'm sitting in a crack house. It's a nice house: a clean, cozy, middle class home. I've come to ask the proprietor a few questions, hoping to gain some insight into the mind of a practitioner of the world's second oldest profession.

    The above an introduction to a very interesting interview with a crack dealer.

  • The national convention of College Republicans has caused quite a stir by selling racist and homophobic t-shirts.
    One T-shirt has a photo of Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell with the line "Mr. (?) and Mrs. (?) Rosie O'Donnell." Another says "No Muslims No Terrorism." A third has a photo of black filmmaker Spike Lee and the message "Bring back the blacklist." A fourth says "The Clinton Legacy" and shows the World Trade Center after one of the 9-11 terrorist attack.
  • Hillary Clinton's biography Living History has been published in China and has already become the most popular foreign political memoir in Chinese history, with 200,000 copies sold in just over a month, according to government-owned publisher Yilin Press. The problem? The Chinese edition omits any passage deemed offensive to China.
    The passages in "Living History" about the 19 years that the dissident Harry Wu spent as a political prisoner disappear in the officially licensed Yilin Press translation, which has sold more than 200,000 copies in just a month. Gone too, in violation of Senator Clinton's book contract, is her sympathy for the students in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and her account of Tibetan activists banned from a United Nations conference on women near Beijing in 1995.
    According to Ross Terrill of the New York Times:
    Here is the nub of the issue: foreign opinion, even that of the Clintons, is less important to Beijing than keeping its grip over the minds of its citizens. China's post-Mao openness to the world, an economic strategy, remains contradicted by its fear of a free flow of non-economic information reaching the ears and eyes of the people. Citizens of the People's Republic are trusted with their money but not their minds.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Suffragists vs. Suffragettes

In a recent entry from Ampersand, there's been a bit of debate over whether the term should be suffragist or suffragette.

As I stated in the comments section:
Actually, there is no right or wrong way to use the term -- or rather, the preferred term would depend on who you were talking to.

The term Suffragette was coined by the London newspaper, the Daily News in 1906 -- scathingly they referred to the women as not real suffragists. By adding the "ette" diminuitive, it tried to ridicule the women as something small, almost like an imitation of the real thing such as one would compare a kitchenette to a real kitchen.

After that, many British suffragists, and a few American ones, adopted the term as a way to differentiate themselves from the staid constitutionalists who sought political equality through negotiation and lobbying. Most American suffragists, however, continued to use the term suffragist, choosing to not reclaim the insulting term.

At some point, suffragist came to mean someone who was fighting for the vote for women in a "peaceful" way, while the radicals (or militants), who would break windows, set fires, and go to jail were known as suffragettes.
After writing that, I did a little search, and I ran across an interesting website -- Britain 1906 - 1918 Contrast, Contradiction, and Change. As you have probably already figured out, even before clicking on the link, it's all about movements in England. Nonetheless, there are certainly enough similarities between the British Women's Suffrage movement and the American Women's Suffrage Movement to get an idea of what was going on. There are some great documents included on this site -- cartoons, photographs, correspondance, and articles. On the particular topic of Suffragists vs. Suffragettes, you can see, perhaps more clearly, the lines drawn between them.

Friday, September 05, 2003

It's Jocelyn Elders, all over again

What could be so offensive that it would cause newspapers to pull a Doonesbury strip? Saying something derogatory about the president? Taking an "un-patriotic" stance? No, no, of course not -- that only happens to those Black cartoonists. For Doonesbury to be pulled, it has to be something really offensive. Like using the word masturbation.
Characters in Sunday's strip discuss a recent study by Australian scientists who found that men who masturbate often in their 20s are 30 percent less likely to get prostate cancer later.

Some U.S. newspapers have chosen to run a substitute offered by Kansas City-based Universal Press Syndicate.

"We felt it was something our readers would not like, and we did not have a good reason for running it," said Diane Bacha, assistant managing editor for features and entertainment at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Bacha posted a query about the comic on an industry e-mail message board and received responses from 34 newspapers. Nineteen said they would not run the strip, 12 said they planned to and three did not know what they would do.
I believe the controversial strip is due to appear in some newspapers on September 22.