The last survivor of the Titanic disaster died on Sunday, on May 31, 2009, on the 98th anniversary of the launch of the ship from Southampton, England. She died – in Southampton, England.
Saturday’s edition of the French language newspaper Le Provence headline:
Transsexuality will no longer be classified mental illness in France
Very, very interesting and good news on the eve of the APA conference in California, where protesters will be gathering to protest the GID diagnosis.
& Now Kim’s is going to Italy, since no one in NYC came up with a proposal to keep Mr. Kim’s remarkable collection here.
I’m starting to feel like I’m living in Venice in the late 17th Century (which was, ironically, founded on St. Mark’s Day, in Saint Mark’s Square, while Kim’s is leaving its location on Saint Mark’s Place.)
The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe has released a statement about transgender people, discrimination, violence, and human rights that is stunningly thorough and well-articulated. Here’s an example:
To require surgery as a prerequisite to enjoy legal recognition of oneâ€™s gender identity ignores the fact that such operations are not always desired, medically possible, available, and affordable (without public or other funding). It is estimated that only 10% of transgender persons in Europe actually undergo gender reassignment surgery.
Even access to ordinary health care is a problem for transgender people. The lack of trained staff familiar with the specific health care needs of transgender persons â€“ or simplyÂ prejudice towards transgender people – render them vulnerable to unpredictable and sometimes hostile reactions.
He covers issues such as divorce, child custody, employment, identity documents, and jsut about every other aspect of life with the same clarity and sense of fairness. Do read the whole thing.
From an article in the December 2008 Atlantic Monthly about why teen girls love vampires:
The salient fact of an adolescent girl’s existence is her need for a secret emotional life – one that she slips inot during her sulks and silences, during her endless hours alone in her room, or even just when she’s gazing out the classroom window while all of Modern European History, or the niceties of the passÃ© composÃ©, sluice pasat her. This means that she is a creature designed for reading in a way no boy or man, or even grown woman, could ever be so exactly designed, because she is a creature whose most elemental psychological needs – to be undisturbed while she works out the big quetions of her life, to be hidden from view while still in plain sight, to enter profoundly into the emotional lives of others – are met precisely by the act of reading.
I don’t agree with the gendered conclusion she comes to, but I thought it was a nice description of reading, especially of reading novels, especially when you’re a child or young teenager. At least it described me somewhat, right down to the passÃ© composÃ© (which I did manage to pick up, eventually).
I remember reading a theory once that young female readers figure out how to masturbate sooner than their peers, exactly because they’re used to & look forward to time alone.
Miriam Makeba died on Sunday right after she finished a concert in Italy. She was a South African singer who I first discovered on a collection of music from the tv show Northern Exposure (of which I was, & am, a huge fan).
The Best of Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks – recorded in the 1950s – is one of my all-time spirit lifters; I have no idea what I’m singing but I sing along whenever these tracks come on. (I’d highly recommend this one, especially, to anyone who loves rocksteady.)
She had such a sparkling, clear voice – the kind that makes you think of beautiful sunny days.
Here’s a woman who got a heck of a lot less press than Mother Theresa, but who, in my opinion, took the best stands on things like contraception. I’m entirely flummoxed at her descriptions of her own desire & flirtation, all of which she gave up at 21 or 23 years old = young to give up a sex life.
I am fascinated by nuns like this, who practice what they preach in terms of living with the poor and having compassion for all. Truly remarkable, as was Dorothy Day before her (though Day was never a nun).
I’m looking forward to reading her autobiography but can’t find it – not even on www.amazon.fr. If anyone else does, or find the English translation, let me know. (Though I’m thinking it would probably be a good book for me to brush up my French!)
I was just bitching on the MHB boards that nearly all the only portrayals of Italian-Americans is mafia related, and people pointed out a few others – like did you know Elaine on Seinfeld was supposed to be Catholic? Nice try, but she wasn’t. Other than Ray Romano, Fonzi and Al from Happy Days, there seems to be a real dearth of the rest of us that isn’t Sopranos-esque.
* Goomba, or goombah, is a term used to describe a stereotypical Italian-American, & in a few dictionaries, implies a connection to the mob. & Yes, it’s also the name of one of the bad guys in Super Mario.
I didn’t have any goodfellas in my own Italian family, and we’re even Sicilian / Calabrian. I tend to describe my dad as “the other kind of Italian” because he is – more Joe DiMaggio than Godfather. Mostly if it’s not mafia it’s about food, or more likely, it’s about both. But honestly, is there a culture where the food isn’t important? My Big Fat Greek Wedding got closer to my experience of being Italian-American than any of those goomba movies.
& These days, in New York, there’s about three blocks left of Little Italy; Chinatown has been encroaching for years, and Italians left the city – for everywhere. (Though the midwest could use a few more, because finding inexpensive, good Italian food in Wisconsin leaves you at Pizza Hut. ugh.) But at least now there’ll be a museum of the whole Italian-American experience, located where Little Italy used to be.
(Thanks to Nettie, Caprice, VM, & Donna, all of whom put in their two cents.)
The tradition of Albanian Sworn Virgins is dying out, & the implication is that it’s dying out because women can now do things that women weren’t allowed to do before:
This is the last generation of sworn virgins, according to Aferdita Onuzi, a professor at Tirana’s Cultural, Anthropology and Arts Research Institute. In Albania these days, women enter parliament, government ministries, and the police force.
But I wonder if it’s as simple as that, since homosexuality became legal in Albania in the 1990s, too, and surely this was one path for a woman who didn’t want to marry the man chosen for her – either because she didn’t like him or didn’t like men.
(Much thanks to Caprice; we have a few other posts about the tradition on the MHB boards.)