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Sunday News Round-Up, Level 88 Edition

October 7, 2012

Yeah, so a chunk of the time I’d otherwise spend reading and blogging has been taken up by the new World of Warcraft expansion. There’s nothing amazing about it, but there have been little things I have really enjoyed, and I’m learning to play better by making better use of abilities I’ve had all along. So, this will be a short one, because I’m *way* behind on chores.

on a dragonSome things of interest when I’ve poked my head up:

  • The CDC has a new page up to be a hub for information on the fungal meningitis outbreak. It includes information for clinicians on diagnostic procedures, interim treatment options, case definitions, and specimen submission. Because early cases came to light in middle Tennessee, there is a lot of coverage happening in the local Nashville media.
  • Bitch magazine points to a hilarious-in-that-sad-but-true-way edition of The Stranger that makes apparent the objectification and stereotypes experienced by women in music by treating men the same way. If you think, “that was an absurd question to ask him,” well, that’s the point.
  • This is something that has been interesting to ponder this week, via the blogger at Crates and Ribbons. Many if not most Americans have at some point seen this famous photo of a sailor kissing a nurse in a white uniform on VJ Day. Go look at it, to refresh your memory. The usual reading of that photo seems to be, “Oh, how romantic! We win! Young love! Victory!” It has read to us over time as a spontaneous romantic moment, one to feel warm fuzzies about.

    It has now apparently been confirmed who the individuals were in the “kissing sailor” photo, allowing them to be interviewed about the circumstances. And those were that the two were strangers, the man was drunk, and he just grabbed the nurse and planted one on her. The woman in the photo has been quoted as saying, “That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.”

    Knowing that, I start to see things in the photo that I never saw before – this stiffness of her arm, the posture of the kiss, they way his arm is locked around the back of her neck in a controlling, rather than caressing, way. Suddenly I don’t feel romantic joy, I put myself in her position of being off-balance and physically controlled by someone bigger, stronger, fueled by booze. That’s a completely different scenario, and it permanently modifies my experience of the photo.

    It causes the Crates and Ribbons author to ask how rape culture contributes to the glossing over of the problematic nature of the popular read of the photo, in light of the new knowledge.

    To be clear: the author is *not* making an argument for judging a 1945 action by 2012 standards. The author is noting that *in covering the photo, in 2012, with new information,* journalists in 2012 don’t seem to confront the problematic aspects of the story by asking how our perspectives on iconic photo now might change as a result of the changed context.

    The author addresses some of the frequent responses, like “How can you judge him using modern values?” in the post, The Kissing Sailor, Part 2 – Debunking Misconceptions. It’s interesting stuff to ponder, and I think discussing what is seen in the photo with the changing context would be a good discussion exercise on sociology, gender, consent, or media literacy.

  • I think there’s a real conversation to be had about the problematic approach and language around the UTK “butt-chugging” case. On Facebook, I expressed my disdain for the kid’s lawyer’s statement, primarily that he felt the need to call “not gay!” on the kid, and that the media keeps grilling the kid on camera about what happened, when what happened might actually be sexual assault in a culture that would punish him for disclosure. Aunt B continues the conversation here, and in her comments.
  • If you didn’t see it already, this SNL video, g.o.b. tampons, is pretty funny. “That’s why I choose the one brand of tampons created by the people who know my body best – the gentlemen of the Republican party.”
  • in a balloon

  • Over at Our Bodies Our Blog, I have posts on upcoming webinars on the intersection of reproductive justice with environmental justice and first amendment rights, nonconsensual pelvic exams under anesthesia, and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act introduced in the Senate.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Xeres Aurora permalink
    October 7, 2012 11:38 pm

    My first time reading your blog, a link from Crates & Ribbons. Nice work summarizing The Kissing Sailor.

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