This week began with Mother’s day (shout out to all the Mothers out there, hope you had a great week) and this post by Heather Cox Richardson which taught me something I didn’t know about Mother’s day:
“Mothers’ Day”—with the apostrophe not in the singular spot, but in the plural—actually started in the 1870s, when the sheer enormity of the death caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War convinced American women that women must take control of politics from the men who had permitted such carnage.
I wouldn’t mind returning to this concept of Mothers' Day except my faith that women and power are a combination that is any better than men and power has been shaken by the likes of Marjorie Taylor Green, Lauren Boebert and Sarah Palin.
Concerns about the Supreme Court’s likely decision to overturn Roe V. Wade continued unabated in the early part of the week. As I have read more and more on the issue, a part of me has started to wonder weather it will be a good thing in the long run despite the horror show it will be in the early going. It is interesting to note these thoughts by Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
“My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum on the side of change,” Ginsburg said. She would’ve preferred that abortion rights be secured more gradually, in a process that included state legislatures and the courts, she added. Ginsburg also was troubled that the focus on Roe was on a right to privacy, rather than women’s rights.
“Roe isn’t really about the woman’s choice, is it?” Ginsburg said. “It’s about the doctor’s freedom to practice…it wasn’t woman-centered, it was physician-centered.”
But then again, there was this article about the stability to abortion brought about by Roe V. Wade:
… for most Americans, Roe led to a half-century of remarkably stable cultural consensus about how to balance the rights of women with the rights of fetuses or, as pro-lifers prefer, unborn children.
And this article attacking Justice Alito’s conclusion that there was nothing in the US Constitution about a woman’s right to an abortion seemed particularly effective in questioning the idea that the constitution is a flawless document as written:
As it happens, there is also nothing at all in that document, which sets out fundamental law, about pregnancy, uteruses, vaginas, fetuses, placentas, menstrual blood, breasts, or breast milk.
Moving on to a different topic, this article on why achieving equality in our society is so difficult caught my attention:
Social scientists call this “Vladimir’s choice.” Even as we claim to support greater equality, we are hung up on protecting our relative advantage—even if it costs us in absolute terms.
And now, from the parochial to the universal, there is a new theory about where dark matter comes from:
Scientists say there’s an “Anti-Universe” out there mirroring ours but running backward in time. According to Caroline Delbert of Popular Mechanics, the new theory could explain the presence of dark matter.
The subject of book banning came to the fore towards the end of the week when in conversation with a family member we both swore that it was the other side that was doing it and that “my” side would never do that. It turns out that book banning is a bipartisan issue:
For some years, the American Library Association has published annual lists of the most “challenged” books. Most of them offend the self-righteous right, which can’t bear that students should learn about America’s history of racial oppression and bigotry, or read positive depictions of LGBTQ people, or witness the naked face of poverty and prejudice.
But banning books is not just the product of right-wing intolerance. Many liberal parents don’t want their children to encounter the N-word anywhere, not even in what is in my view the greatest American novel, “Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain. And so they fight to ban a novel that eloquently and passionately attacks racism in 19th-century America.
I have maintained for some time now that in order to have a conversation across party lines about anything, one had to talk directly about the issues. In this case, once I acknowledged to this family member that yes, indeed, my side has been guilty of banning books, we were immediately able to agree that all book banning was bad.
On to the world of art. I have been following NFT art for a while now, as I suspect that if I can figure it out some of the photographic work I do might be uniquely suited to being sold this way. This third in a series of articles on the ins and outs of NFTs was interesting as is the whole series:
August’s great-grandson Julian Sander had put the project together to create a permanent archive on the blockchain where I was told information about the images could be added by the community.
The August in this case is August Sander, a major figure of the photographic community of the last century.
And this article on Louise Bourgeois was interesting because, well, what isn’t interesting about her?
The artist’s genius is in how she hints at the deep complexity of human relationships.
And finally, I will end with this article about an exhibition of women photographers (a big interest of mine) at MoMA:
The histories of feminism and photography have long been entwined,” curator Roxana Marcoci writes in the exhibition catalogue chapter ‘What Is a Feminist Picture?