Aristotle screws it up again …

You know, that guy Aristotle really got many things badly wrong – here’s one more.

Aristotle declared that humans are the only animal to laugh, but then, he never saw this video of Jaak Panksepp tickling rats. And, obviously, he’d never tried to tickle any himself – sheesh.

Take a look here.

Read more here.

Rat

“Who laughs last, laughs best”

Marathon Woman

Kathrine Switzer: Changing the face of sports

Peter Hadzipetros, CBC News

April 19, 1967. The Toronto Maple Leafs were in the early stages of their march to their most recent Stanley Cup championship. Expo 67 was preparing to open its doors in Montreal to what would turn out to be 50 million visitors celebrating Canada’s centennial. And south of the border, a 20-year-old college student was lining up with the men, preparing to do the unheard of — to become the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon.

Katherine Switzer

They said it couldn’t be done, that women weren’t built to go the distance. The rules of the marathon didn’t expressly forbid women from entering — but there were no races longer than ½ miles (2.4 kilometres) that were open to women. A year earlier, Roberta Gibb hid in the bushes near the start line and ran the race as a bandit. But in 1967, K.V. Switzer trained hard and signed up for the Boston Marathon. Kathrine Switzer followed the rules and earned a bib number. …
What were some of the excuses they would make for not allowing women to take part?

If a woman ran more than a mile and a half, she’s going to get big hairy legs, her uterus is going to fall out, she’s going to grow a mustache and turn into a guy and never have children. Or we’re simply too fragile and something might happen to us — in the long term. That really was a bad one. It was inappropriate to run with men — that’s so stupid. People had bought into the three thousand years of myth about women’s passivity and weakness. I thought that was a whole lot of garbage because I came from pioneering stock, you know. My family came to the U.S. in 1737, so we were real tough stuff. The women in our family, certainly they were feminine and they were womanly, but they were no chickens.

Read the rest here.

Dinner Party, Home at Last

Feminist art moves into the spotlight this year, with two major exhibitions and a housewarming for “The Dinner Party”

by Michele Kort

“Be careful what you wish 40 years for,” says Judy Chicago.

The famed feminist artist isn’t complaining, just noting all the hard work that’s gone into a remarkable occasion: This spring, her iconic 1979 art piece “The Dinner Party” will be permanently enshrined at the Brooklyn Museum.

Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party

And that’s not all. “The Dinner Party” will serve as centerpiece for the museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Yes, an elite American art institution—Greek-pillared portico and all—has recognized an art genre that, over the past several decades, has been too often disparaged and too rarely feted. Moreover, the Sackler Center will also showcase the exhibition “Global Feminisms,” opening March 23—a survey of 86 women artists from nearly 50 countries who carry feminist concerns into their work.

As if that were still not enough, the exhibition “Wack! Art of the Feminist Revolution” will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) in Los Angeles on March 4, unearthing the roots and shoots of international feminist art from 1965 to 1980.

Read the rest here.

For more on Judy Chicago, click here.

Buy, buy, bye

Stop shopping … or the planet will go pop

Hanson, Supermarket Shopper

Duane Hanson, Supermarket Shopper

In the week that saw Primark mania, Jonathon Porritt, the government’s green guru, says consumerism is now a lethal disease. David Smith reports

Sunday April 8, 2007
The Observer

‘Many big ideas have struggled over the centuries to dominate the planet,’ begins the argument by Jonathon Porritt, government adviser and all-round environmental guru.

‘Fascism. Communism. Democracy. Religion. But only one has achieved total supremacy. Its compulsive attractions rob its followers of reason and good sense. It has created unsustainable inequalities and threatened to tear apart the very fabric of our society. More powerful than any cause or even religion, it has reached into every corner of the globe. It is consumerism.’

Duane Hanson sculpture

Duane Hanson sculpture

According to Porritt, the most senior adviser to the government on sustainability, we have become a generation of shopaholics. We are bombarded by advertising from every medium which persuades us that the more we consume, the better our lives will be. Shopping is equated with fun, fulfilment and self-identity. It is also, Porritt warns, killing the planet. He argues, in an interview with The Observer, that merely switching to ‘ethical’ shopping is not enough. We must shop less.

Read the rest here.

Swan lovers

Swan lovers

Return of the lovesick swan

The swan that fell in love with a peddle boat is back courting its plastic lover after spending the winter in a local zoo. Swans choose a partner for life but the rare Black Australian swan nicknamed Black Petra made the mistake of falling for a peddle boat designed to look like a swan. And when Petra’s peddle boat lover refused to fly south for the winter Petra also remained, a move that could have killed her as the cold weather arrived.

In the end though local zoo chiefs took pity on the swan and gave her and her boat boyfriend a place to spend the winter, and this week the pair were once again on the lake together.

According to biologists in Muenster, north-western Germany, Petra has been circling its plastic lover, staring endlessly at it and making crooning noises, all the typical signs of a swan in love. The boat in the meantime is still being hired out to families who want to picnic on the Aasee lake – where the star-crossed lovers have become a tourist attraction.

Source: Arbroath

WB Yeats, The Second Coming 1920

Sphinx

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Second Coming