R&R at a B&B

Today, Ilona and I are off to a bed and breakfast on Big Rideau Lake. (Just for one night.) We’re celebrating our first anniversary.

Romance! Whoo hoo!

Local Good Samaritan

This is from the Ottawa Metro (a free daily tabloid). The photo, as indicated, is by James MacLennan.

(Click to enlarge.)

A rose by any other name

ArtDaily.org announces that an exhibit of works by Georgia O’Keeffe and the Women of the Stieglitz Circle is opening at the San Diego Museum of Art.

When I think of Georgia O’Keeffe, I think of images like this one:
Jack in the pulpit IV

That’s a jack in the pulpit. (To be precise, “Jack-in-the-Pulpit No. IV“, painted in 1930.)

Or is it? Some of O’Keeffe’s paintings, certainly including that one, are evocative of female genitalia.

Alison Watt achieves a similar effect in her paintings (not photographs) of white draperies. This one is titled “Phantom” (2007).

Here’s another example:  “From Erotos” (1993) by Nobuyoshi Araki.
From Erotos

More subtle, perhaps. But if you think I’m imagining things, note the title of the photograph.

Are sly allusions to the female genitalia strictly a modern phenomenon? Not at all! I am amused by this painting:
Garland of Fruit With the Infants Christ and Saint John the Baptist

This is “Garland of Fruit With the Infants Christ and Saint John the Baptist” by Frans Snyders, a 17th Century Flemish painter. When I first saw the image, the unsubtle phallic symbol jumped out at me (so to speak) :

I thought, There must be a corresponding female image. Sure enough, it’s there on the opposite side (bottom right) of the painting.

I suppose the painting evokes the earth’s return to an Edenic state of fertility or some such thing. I really don’t know — it just amuses me to have Jesus and John the Baptist in a scene with a phallus and a vulva.

Lucky to be black

Barack Obama is “lucky to be black”, Gerraldine Ferraro notoriously claimed:

If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position.

Ferraro’s pro-Clinton bias aside, this is an interesting question. I think we can safely assume that there’s some reluctance to vote for a black candidate; likewise, that there’s some reluctance to vote for a female candidate. So is it a worse disadvantage to be black, or to be a woman?

Let’s consider some data about the impact of racism on Obama’s candidacy. Here’s a table adapted from Steven Waldman at beliefnet.com:

white voters who said race was important margin of victory or defeat
Oregon 7% Obama +16
North Carolina 8% Obama +14
Indiana 10% Obama -2
Kentucky 18% Obama -35
West Virginia 21% Obama -41

There’s a clear correlation, as Waldman observes:  “The more white voters who think the candidate’s race matters, the better Clinton does.” Correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation, but the data are nonetheless suggestive.

Then there’s the anecdotal evidence. For example, this video from al Jazeera (who knew that al Jazeera had English features?) :

Or this anecdote from George Packer:

I spoke with half a dozen men eating lunch at the Pigeon Roost Dairy Bar outside town [ Inez, Kentucky ]. … They announced their refusal to vote for a black man, without hesitation or apology. “He’s a Muslim, isn’t he?” an aging mine electrician asked. “I won’t vote for a colored man. He’ll put too many coloreds in jobs. Coloreds are O.K.—they’ve done well, good for them, look where they came from. But radical coloreds, no—like that Farrakhan, or that senator from New York, Rangel. There’d be riots in the streets, like the sixties.” … Here was one part of the white working class — maybe not representative, but at least significant.

Coloreds?! That expression turns the clock back about 50 years, don’t it?

What about the other scenario? How has sexism impacted the Clinton campaign?

Short online film wins Cannes competition

The National Film Board of Canada, with the Cannes Short Film Corner and YouTube, sponsors a competition for short online films.

The winner of the NFB Online Competition Cannes 2008 is Alonso Alvarez Barreda for his short film Historia de un Letrero (The Story of a Sign) produced in Mexico/U.S.A. (The film is less than five minutes long.)

Is Barack Obama a Muslim?

Matt Yglesias suggests that we all link to this site to increase its Google ranking:
Is Barack Obama Muslim?

Previous Older Entries