February 20, 2015

Miscellany 5

I live outside Boston and it's really, truly the worst winter ever.  Below are my 2 favorite snow storm photos.

 Boston Snowstorm Fav

When a black German woman discovered her grandfather was the Nazi villain of 'Schindler's List'  An odd series of events led Jennifer Teege to discover that her grandfather was none other than the notorious Nazi Amon Goeth.

Why Footbinding Persisted in China for a Millennium Despite the pain, millions of Chinese women stood firm in their devotion to the tradition

"A small foot in China, no different from a tiny waist in Victorian England, represented the height of female refinement. For families with marriageable daughters, foot size translated into its own form of currency and a means of achieving upward mobility. The most desirable bride possessed a three-inch foot, known as a “golden lotus.” It was respectable to have four-inch feet—a silver lotus—but feet five inches or longer were dismissed as iron lotuses. The marriage prospects for such a girl were dim indeed.
 Footbinding Golden Lotus
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"Foot-binding, which started out as a fashionable impulse, became an expression of Han identity after the Mongols invaded China in 1279. The fact that it was only performed by Chinese women turned the practice into a kind of shorthand for ethnic pride. Periodic attempts to ban it, as the Manchus tried in the 17th century, were never about foot-binding itself but what it symbolized. To the Chinese, the practice was daily proof of their cultural superiority to the uncouth barbarians who ruled them. It became, like Confucianism, another point of difference between the Han and the rest of the world. Ironically, although Confucian scholars had originally condemned foot-binding as frivolous, a woman’s adherence to both became conflated as a single act.
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"The truth, no matter how unpalatable, is that foot-binding was experienced, perpetuated and administered by women. Though utterly rejected in China now—the last shoe factory making lotus shoes closed in 1999—it survived for a thousand years in part because of women’s emotional investment in the practice."

20 years later, two men united by Sonoma County DUI crash reflect on shared path. A  remarkable story of forgiveness and its ripple effect.

The moment I heard a human voice for the first time, aged 39: How a woman born deaf took the gamble of her life and escaped a world of silence

"Are you ready for me to switch the implants on now?’ she asks. My heart leaps to my throat. This is it. Every hair on my body is standing up, a feeling like electricity is pulsing through me. There’s a tingling inside me, a ringing in my ears, my arms, my legs, like no sensation I’ve ever felt before.  It goes all through my body, this tingle, all the way from my head to my toes, and then is swallowed up into the floor.  Every letter and syllable bounces off the walls, the ceiling, the doors, ringing out around the room, in my ears, and rattling round my brain.

"The audiologist stopped speaking seconds ago, and yet sound lingers in the room, long after her lips have stopped moving.
‘Caaaaan . . . yoooooou . . . heeeeear . . . meeeeeeeeee?’  The first words I’ve ever heard."

The Gorgeous Typeface That Drove Men Mad and Sparked a 100-Year Mystery

"Cobden Sanderson and his partner, Emery Walker, founded the Doves Press in 1900. Walker was a businessman, with plenty of other concerns in the world, but Cobden Sanderson was a creative perfectionist—a man obsessed with authenticity and craft. …….Their type was created in 1899, and the duo would use it to print indescribably beautiful books, bound by hand and designed with the perfect balance of craftsmanship and modern utility. Cobden Sanderson was a bit of a snob in the sense that he only wanted to commit his designs to the finest literature, the "most beautiful words." They printed Paradise Lost. They printed the English Bible. Today, copies of these books are extremely rare, and they command thousands of dollars at auction.

Aeon video Forgotten Things. Going to the movies in January 1940,  The impact of WWII newsreels showing the icy fields of the Maginot Line and Shirley Temple’s smile.

Posted by Jill Fallon at February 20, 2015 12:20 PM | Permalink