akashiver: (Default)
I thought this profile piece was interesting:

A High-Profile Executive Job as Defense Against Mental Ills

Researchers have conducted more than 100,000 studies on schizophrenia since its symptoms were first characterized..... Now, a group of people with the diagnosis is showing researchers a previously hidden dimension of the story: how the disorder can be managed while people build full, successful lives. The continuing study — a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Southern California; and the Department of Veterans Affairs — follows a group of 20 people with the diagnosis, including two doctors, a lawyer and a chief executive, Ms. Myrick.

The study has already forced its authors to discard some of their assumptions about living with schizophrenia. “It’s just embarrassing,” said Dr. Stephen R. Marder, director of the psychosis section at U.C.L.A.’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, a psychiatrist with the V.A. Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and one of the authors of the study. “For years, we as psychiatrists have been telling people with a diagnosis what to expect; we’ve been telling them who they are, how to change their lives — and it was bad information” for many people.

And then there's this:

285 Indian girls shed 'unwanted' names

More than 200 Indian girls whose names mean "unwanted" in Hindi have chosen new names for a fresh start in life. A central Indian district held a renaming ceremony Saturday that it hopes will give the girls new dignity and help fight widespread gender discrimination that gives India a skewed gender ratio, with far more boys than girls.

The 285 girls — wearing their best outfits with barrettes, braids and bows in their hair — lined up to receive certificates with their new names along with small flower bouquets from Satara district officials in Maharashtra state. ...."

Now in school, my classmates and friends will be calling me this new name, and that makes me very happy," said a 15-year-old girl who had been named Nakusa by a grandfather disappointed by her birth. She chose the new name "Ashmita," which means "very tough" or "rock hard" in Hindi.

akashiver: (Default)

So I've had a chance to see the pilots for Homeland and American Horror Story. Both were pretty good. Both also clearly bear the seeds of badness within them. I'm curious to see how long Homeland can go without moving into the implausible excesses of 24, and how long American Horror Story can go before it a) kills everyone b) crosses over with Supernatural or c) just makes us tired of all its freaky shit.

American Horror Story: I liked the creepy teen boyfriend, the creepy busybody neighbour, the “don’t make me kill you again” line, the time distortion, the bodysuit.

I disliked: the fact that this family is portrayed as so dysfunctional from the start that I don’t think they have a chance of surviving. Also, while I’m sympathetic to their massive problems, I don’t find any of these characters likable.

I am indifferent to: the cabinet of curiosities in the basement, the mad doctor figure, the opening scene.

None of this matters. AHS is all about throwing MOAR STUFF at the audience, and as long as a high percentage of that stuff is interesting, I’ll watch.

Homeland, like S0 1 of 24, starts with a compelling premise: a CIA agent suspects that a freed American POW is now working for the terrorists. Unlike Jack Bauer, however, the CIA agent in question is struggling with a mental illness and may be psychotic. If 24 posited a vigilante American protector who is always right, Homeland posits a paranoid, delusional American protector who may be persecuting innocent people in the name of national security. Clare Danes turns in a fine, twitchy performance as the CIA agent, and it's nice to see her have a role that gives her something to do.

But on watching the pilot, I have a couple of gender-issue questions. The first, which may just be unfair, is "isn't it interesting that the first time we have a woman in the Jack Bauer role is also the first time we portray that role as untrustworthy and mentally unstable?"

Read more... )

Eh. That's just my thoughts on episode 1. Maybe subsequent episodes will make me feel churlish for having doubted the show. Or maybe not. Only time will tell.
akashiver: (Default)

A "Shakespeare's Sister" for contemporary politics: Poor Jane’s Almanac.


...Franklin, who’s on the $100 bill, was the youngest of 10 sons. Nowhere on any legal tender is his sister Jane, the youngest of seven daughters; she never traveled the way to wealth. He was born in 1706, she in 1712. Their father was a Boston candle-maker, scraping by. Massachusetts’ Poor Law required teaching boys to write; the mandate for girls ended at reading. Benny went to school for just two years; Jenny never went at all.

Their lives tell an 18th-century tale of two Americas. Against poverty and ignorance, Franklin prevailed; his sister did not.

akashiver: (Default)

When did girls start wearing pink?

Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I—and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out.

For example, a Ladies’ Home Journal article in June 1918 said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Other sources said blue was flattering for blonds, pink for brunettes; or blue was for blue-eyed babies, pink for brown-eyed babies, according to Paoletti.


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December 2015

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