Many of us believe the EU remains the most extraordinary, ambitious, liberal political alliance in recorded history. It has overseen unprecedented peace and prosperity for 70 years. It is the dream trading bloc, to which we still have privileged access. Against the historical background of centuries of bloodshed, it is a heroic project, the closest embodiment on the planet of an open, free-thinking, tolerant polity forged between nations once at war. At the same time, it has preserved national differences – take a drive from Slovenia to Lisbon or Lübeck. At the human and cultural level, the EU is far richer, more diverse and benignly complex than the continental US. Where it needs reform, where it needs to evolve, we should be there to help turn that heavy wheel.
In part this is because as an ideological pro-European (yes, I really do want a Euro state (improved where it's not doing well) with greater regional autonomy beneath and to **** with the Westminster lot) it's not much point engaging in a debate: my position is as entrenched as the extremists on the other side; it's not in arguing the details, as they don't matter as much as the principal; it's not about the financial costs or benefits, as I'd be voting remain even if the UK were making a huge net contribution; it's an article of political faith.
In part, it's also because the virulent, vicious, mindless way in which the debate has gone or how it has been portrayed (Jo Cox' murder, I feel, might not have happened without the fanning of certain appalling extreme political fires). The two are hard to separate: if there is reasoned debate I've failed to see it--or it hasn't been given prominence through my sources of information.
I have a lot of sympathy for folk who are actively going on a social media hiatus for the duration. And I'm wishing that I'd got a postal vote so I could be done with it sooner.
But, in an attempt to participate in a sane way, I share this link: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.
It comes courtesy of a fellow Ravelry user (yes, even on knitting forums the debate goes on).
And tomorrow I shall go to the Union Society to watch the debate organised by some of Looby Loo's fellow students (and that's another thing: my 17-year old who has no say on this and who will live with its consequences far longer than I will is so frustrated).
Then I shall continue to be terribly afraid. Sick to my stomach.
Edited to make link work.
[while it still is... just]
Having disliked the idea of lj gifts from the moment they were implemented. [This is my space and I get to choose how I let folk into it. Pretty pictures ain't it. (I am a very difficult person to give gifts to: a failing on my part.)] I wasn't overly interested in Rosie the Riveter, slightly annoyed by the faint aura of cashing in on a worthy cause but really not that bothered.
Soaking in the bath, ruminating on my inability to think of anything profound to say on the subject of International Women's Day, I had a small moment of clarity. Rosie hammered against my skull.
Sure she's an icon, one very much of the USA (which is understandable since lj is US-based, but someone less parochial might be more in the spirit...), but... a tacit supporter of a war, taking up the tools left by men shipped off to the theatre of war, to be sent back to the kitchen sink when she's no longer required when the boys come marching back. Not quite the icon I'd choose: a negative kind of empowerment, that, leaping in when there are no men to do the job rather than motoring along in partnership.
That's not really my problem tho'. It's her age. She's a fifty-odd year old icon. Can't we find anyone newer? I'm not sure I can think of anyone. But Rosie it ain't.
[I'm assuming there's some leather-wotsited functionary sat in the PM's office somewhere logging and cross referencing all the signatures and building up neat little profiles of the lot of us:
Against ID cards? Check.Nah. Surely not.]
Wants darker skies? Check.
'Ere, Fred. Another one for the files.
* Actually, I forgot to sign that one :-(
So when the clock ticks down, I shall be off.
Because of the insistence on the part of LJ/Six Apart that default user icons showing a perfectly normal, legal practice--feeding a baby--will be banned with refuseniks having their accounts suspended--if there is any possibility that the woman's nipple is showing (or does that include the baby's nipples too? it's so crazy, I wouldn't be surprised... oh, wait, since men's bare chests are acceptable a baby boy will be fine but not, presumably, a little girl?).
And this matters because: first of because it is hiding from view a natural, legal, act. Censoring images of this is a tacit discouragement of the act. In a world where there is money, big money, behind the expensive, less good option and little money, if much passion, behind the healthier, cheaper option.
It also matters because it impinges upon freedom of expression (when default icons featuring works by, say, Gustav Klimt are being banned, we can see it's grown beyond a simple issue of photos of individuals breastfeeding: we're having swathes of art banned too). This matters. This brouhaha may be, ultimately, a small, local spat over something that is not directly life threatening as other instances are. But each time the battle is lost in a small way, we all lose a little freedom.
It's also because the issue has not been handled well by LJ/SixApart. The TOS were changed suddenly, post facto. The ruling is applied inconsistently. And, tho' I hesitate to mention this for fear of extending the problem, it's rather futile. If the case is that certain images cannot be default icons because that's what might be found (accidentally or otherwise) by casual browsers (including minors, who must not be contaminated by images that are perfectly acceptable on anthropological programmes broadcast on TV), then why target the default icon. Folk can modify their journal pages to the extent that no user icon is shown, leaving only one place where the default icon reliably displays: User Info. There's no reason that I can see why I cannot include a picture (bigger than the tiny 100x100 user icon) in my user info in the same way as one might put LJ is love banners. This image would be bigger, just as "accidentally" browsable, and as far as I can tell not covered by the no nipples in default icons ruling.
Just picked this story up in Peter Preston's entry in the Guardian Online blogs.
A Ugandan woman, previously "held for five months and repeatedly raped and beaten" in her home country is to be deported, because Home Office **** (you choose your term(s) when you've finished the sentence) don't accept "homosexual" covers lesbians too. Homosexuals are recognised as a persecuted group in Uganda, but since she's a lesbian she's not, apparently.
Also, she can't really be a lesbian, since she's had a child.
As someone pointed out in the comments, this ought to be in the main news sections, not in the blogs. But at least it is there with a link to the (inevitable, but useful) web site. And yes, I've signed the petition.
Being stoopid, I also turned to my
Biblecomfort blanket and looked up homosexual (n) in the big OED which said:
A person who has a sexual propensity for his or her own sex; esp. one whose sexual desires are directed wholly or largely towards people of the same sex. In non-technical contexts it is often taken to mean a male homosexual, a female one being termed a lesbian.The adjective's even more clear cut:
Involving, related to, or characterized by a sexual propensity for one's own sex; of or involving sexual activity with a member of one's own sex, or between individuals of the same sex.No question about it: she ought to receive the same treatment from the Home Office as a male homosexual would in a similar situation.
So I wanders off this afternoon to deal with things parental and come back to find my screen full of beautiful pictures of contented babies doing what comes naturally. Wow.
And the reason? Double wow.
And nope, I cannot see how there is anything obscene about images of breastfeeding... at all. Nipples 'n' all. But I can't find one of me and Looby Loo "at it" so the new icon's courtesy of cangetmad to whom many thanks. It's a gorgeous image.
I wasn't breastfed. I suspect I may have had better health if I had been and I think it was a matter of my mother's health post delivery that meant she didn't. My younger brother was. I did breastfeed. For just over twelve months. It was bliss. I'm certain it helped support Looby Loo's health and growth. It changed my attitude to my body and my internal view of myself--entirely for the better. It's not something to be hidden from view--except if an individual woman is happier to be private whilst feeding her child: her baby, her breast, her choice--well not unless we ban all images of anyone at all eating in public.
Standing around waiting to form the ring round Great St Mary's in the midst of a host of white clad folk (it looked like a delayed May Day celebration, lacking only the Morris Men), I watched the graduands and graduates coming and going outside the Senate House. They're always an odd sight, uncomfortable generally in their gowns and hoods. I wondered if any were going to throw off their robes and come and join the circle. It must've made for an odd sight for them too. Hardly a town versus gown moment, since I'm sure any number of the protesters are, or were, part of the university. It was more a case of two sets of institutional wheels--the CU year and the cycle of world summits--spinning past one another for a few minutes in the July sunshine.
For the record, 17 years ago, I was wandering around uncomfortable in high heels and smart suit dress. I'd opt for the hand-holding round Great St Mary's any day.
Am I the only one who was distracted--to the point of motion-sickness--by the wobbly shots and constant cuts between Tony and Gordon on last night's PEB for Labour? I couldn't listen to the spiel. So for once it wasn't the message that made me wish to throw up. (Oh, Anthony Minghella, how things have changed since you charmed and seduced my ears with Cigarettes and Chocolate. Sighs.)
Actually, what the shooting of the broadcast told me, quite clearly, was that Brown's beaten Blair. The evidence: Blair was often blurred, almost brushed out of the scene, and often shifted to the very edge of the shot; Brown was in sharp focus and central in his shots. Gordon's tie stood out against the pinkish-we're-not-red-at-all background, whilst Tony's blended in (his heart thereby subsumed into the background).
Am I right? We'll see.
Courtesy of LeMonde.fr's daily emailed headlines, we came across this: Saddam Hussein est-il un nouveau Saladin ?. It's talking about Enter the new Salahuddin in the Internet edition of Dawn. As ever with Le Monde it's taken its time to comment. So the (military) details of Ayaz Amir's piece are a little dated (not hard in the middle of a war, of course). The sentiments, and the different perspective, are still valid, however.
( long political entry )
And in the meantime, a further skirmish in our own western war of words leads to this: Irak: appel au boycott des expressions anglo-saxonnes en Allemagne (link found in the Grauniad's Informer).