Ask Polly’s Heather Havrilesky: ‘I feel connected to the people who write to me’Yesterday
The advice columnist brings her wisdom off the web and into the bind pages of a collect of almost entirely new letters, How To Be A Person In the World
Heather Havrilesky is the advice columnist for people encountering doubt about the sorcery dwelling inside them. If this sounds corny and sentimental at first, that is because it is. While much of the modern advice material dispensing wisdom to readers takes the form of small and practical steps toward self-improvement, Havrilesky is an unapologetic evangelist for sentimentality and believing in our own enormous potential. She speaks in the language of the epic, the supernatural, and the celestial.
Since 2012, her weekly advice column, New York magazines Ask Polly, has broadcast these notions in human potential through letters tackling modernity most pressing existential crisis for a growing and devoted following. The column has provided reassurance to readers, but also instilled in them a sense of being responsible, to themselves and others, to use their potential wisely.
This week, Havrilesky brings Pollys wisdom off the web and into the bind pages of a collection of almost entirely new letters, How To Be A Person In the World: Ask Pollys Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life.
Havrilesky is not the most likely advice columnist, by her own admission. She is hardly a stoic observer, she does not consider herself to be much of an expert on how to feel. I find my own feelings very bewildering. I always have. I am a very moody person and have a very uneven experience of the world, she tells me over the phone from her home in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and daughters.( As we talk, our conversation is occasionally punctuated by interruptions of her dispatching her husband to a parenting task and making sure that her puppy had not gotten into something poison .) I will never become a person who is not floored by her emotional experience.
But for the millennial women who make up the bulk of her audience, it is precisely those emotional experiences that have built her into something of a wise and occasionally profane aunt, in whom we find wisdom and hope for our own futures. Havrilesky, 46, regularly discloses her own encounters with her readers issues. Sometimes it comes as heart-wrenching recollections of events like the loss of her own parent to a grieving letter-writer( I wanted him to be alive, to eat a great snack, to read something funny for HIS sake) and sometimes light-hearted admissions that she too has struggled with obsessing over sons, a habit she compares to weaving a rich tapestry and then using it as a puppy bed.( I was a mind weaver of rich fucking tapestries, too, back in the working day, with some demure yet straight-talkin, slightly slimmer, slightly more hygienic version of my actual ego ). Regardless of the issue, Havrilesky makes clear that she too, has scalped in the game.
Empathizing so deeply with the impressions of others, somewhat miraculously, does not lessen the exhilaration that Havrilesky gets from engaging the despair and complexity of her readers problems. Its very easy to pick good letters because there are so many good ones. It really is an embarrassment of riches, she says a somewhat mystifying declaration that being bombarded with messy, often heartbreaking tales is an enviable position.
My nature is to be fascinated and curious and engaged and to feel connected to the people who write to me. I like hearing people problems. I love complicated problems. I love long-winded, difficult letters. I dont think everyone alive is like that, she says.
While most of the letters are new, the terrain covered in How To Be A Person In The World will be familiar to much of her readership and she repeats similar topics throughout the book: your impressions are valid but misguided in a very special style, your lack of romantic fulfillment is not a result of some inherent flaw of yours, all of your hurt is real, and all of your hurt is to be able to healed. These are affirmations worth recurring and so they are, but the prose in which Havrilesky plants them is plainspoken while still appealing to the grandness of the celestial and the gravity of the scriptural.
In the book, Havrilesky speaks frankly of evil and malice when responding to a woman grappling with her friends welcoming of the social return of a man whose sexual advances profoundly violated her borders , noting lines from a song called Devil Town by Daniel Johnston that reads: Oh lord, it truly brings me down about the devil township.
But the proverbial profane aunt has some fun, too. To a woman who is convinced she has a fundamental flaw she cant pinpoint that is driving romantic prospects away, Havrilesky points out in earnest, Every night you pray to the gods of rejection. Your prayer ritual involves replaying the past, loading one reel after another, footage of men who broke your heart, only to become comically exasperated when she afterward declares, YOU ARE CURRENTLY PRAYING AT THE ALTAR OF THE MOST TEDIOUS RELIGION IN THE UNIVERSE.
To a woman who confuses herself with fantasies about men rather than focusing on her own challenges, Havrilesky tells her what she plans to tell her own daughters when they start to place all of the magic outside of themselves and become similarly preoccupied: The world has told you lies about how small you are. You will look back on this time and say, I had it all, but I didnt even know it. I was at the centre for human rights, I could breathe in happiness, I could swim to the moon. I had everything I required.
I read this section aloud to Havrilesky in our call but make it merely to the end of the first sentence before bursting into tears. It was a mixture of sudden relief that my nagging suspicions that I am more than the world has allowed me to be were true after all combined with the sorrow over time lost living in the smallness of the lie. Havrilesky then began to cry herself, a few moments that might have been awkward for someone less tolerant of a fate that floors them with their emotions. Most people alive are not like that.
This sentiment more than any other is what echoes throughout the book, the untelling of the lies about our smallness. She proclaims life is full of twinkles and twinges, even amid poverty and ageing and death late in the book, sincere and corny as when she began. This mean, mean planet still rewards those who can see the depth and beauty of what they carry around inside themselves, she reassures a letter-writer who hankers for a big, arousing love amid lukewarm interest from humen in an appeal for more brazen self-love modeled on Kanye Wests. It is these small reflections that Havrilesky watches us for what we are: not tiny corpuscles of illuminate in a dark sky but enormous sources of illuminate and energy in a brilliant cosmo. We have each other. We have worlds within us, me and you, she continues, unflinching as she delivers the message that every person carries their own peculiar magic whether they can see the enormousness of it or not.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
‘It’s our way of life’: Inuit designers are reclaiming the tarnished sealskin trade2 days ago
Seal hunting is widely misunderstand, says a new wave of fashion designers, who are currently challenging perceptions with a combination of modern and traditional work
First, she seemed to tradition, immersing herself in the Inuit customs of mitten and parka-making. Next, Victoria Kakuktinniq sought out the contemporary, heading south to train in fashion design before were returned to Nunavut, Canadas northernmost territory.
The result is a style line that marries modern design with tradition captured in a first collection that includes four sealskin wintertime coats and which has established Kakuktinniqs place among the cadre of decorators and seamstresses in Canadas north working to reclaim sealskins place in haute couture.
Its part of my culture, said Kakuktinniq, 27, who launched Victorias Arctic Fashion in 2013. The Inuit are actually trying our very best to promote our culture and indicate our way of life and how our ancestors lived.
It a way of life that has increasingly come under attack in recent decades. Opposition to seal hunting gathered force in the 1960 s and 70 s, with graphic campaigns that featured fluffy seal puppies being bludgeoned by hunters. It soon snowballed into a global, celebrity-studded motion that saw the US and European Union ban the import of virtually all seal products.
But little thought was given to the impact these anti-sealing campaigns would have on Inuit, said the film-maker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril. When you totally erase Inuit from the picture, it can appear as a black and white issue, she said. But were the people of the seal, were hunters.
Starting in the 1950 s, the massacre of hundreds, if not thousands, of sled dogs by the Royal Canadian mounted police left many Inuit with few alternatives but to abandon the semi-nomadic lifestyle of their ancestors and settle into permanent communities.
Other Inuit were forcibly relocated north by a Canadian government keen to claim sovereignty over the high reaches of the Arctic. Some Inuit were also sent away to residential schools, described by a truth commission as a church-run tool of cultural genocide and rife with abuse.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Spooky! Messages from the beyond or merely coincidence? | Oliver Burkeman9 days ago
Weve all heard eyebrow-raising narratives so whats really going on?
In 1944, a British soldier battle in Italy was knocked unconscious by shell fragments. That same day in Monmouthshire, he later recollected, my wife was washing up after lunch. My daughter, aged two and a half, to whom I was only a name, was playing with some bricks on the kitchen floor. She suddenly got to her feet, gone over to my wife, said Daddys been hurt, and went back to her bricks.
This eyebrow-raising tale appears in Connecting With Coincidence, a new book by the psychiatrist Bernard Beitman along with so many others it becomes easier to keep ones eyebrows permanently raised. Beitman has one of his own: in 1973, he found himself inexplicably choking at his kitchen sink merely to learn, the next day, that his father had choked on his own blood and died at the same moment .~ ATAGEND
The rationalist in me knows this all comes down to the law of truly large numbers, which states that, given a large enough sample, many seemingly unlikely things become downright probable. Even presuming the soldiers memories were accurate, so many fought in the second world war that its virtually inevitable a few would have odd tales. Beitman tells of one therapist who dreamed of an ex-patient lying immobile in a beach shack; subsequently, he learned that one week after that dream, that patient had taken an overdose in a seaside hotel and nearly died. Spooky! But less so when you factor in the patients the therapist didnt dream about not to mention all the other therapists with no such anecdotes to relate.
Still, Beitman makes an intriguing lawsuit for approaching coincidences as if they werent simply random, whatever your notion. Connecting With Coincidence is full of people taking such happenings as signs, telling them who to marry, whether to have kids or get divorced and it serves them rather well. One widow injures her finger while gardening, forcing hospital staff to cut away her wedding ring, which she takes as a sign from her “husbands ” that its OK to date again. A message from beyond the grave? Presumably not. Did she subconsciously arrange the trauma herself? Perhaps. But Im not sure it matters: either way, the incident smoothed a transition shed been struggling to make.
All very unscientific, I know. But the truth is that the biggest personal decisions in life cant be made in scientific way anyway; there are too many variables involved. Yet we often do seem to know, just below the surface of awareness, whats best for us and noticing how we respond to bizarre coincidences can provide clues to that subconscious knowledge.
One of Beitmans patients, his marriage on the rocks, has a thrilling encounter with an old girlfriend in a bar, which he seems to take as a sign he should recommit to his marriage. Why not as a sign that he should leave his wife? Both interpretations work, but only one had meaning for him. Its odd to ask whether such coincidental encounters genuinely entail anything, as if theyd need to be choreographed by some cosmic force-out. Who says thats what meaning entails?
Read more: www.theguardian.com
How to actually talk to a woman wearing headphones | Martha Mills10 days ago
Martha Mills: How to talk to a woman wearing headphones, without seeming like a terrifying harasser
An article has surfaced from the quagmire of bilge the hell is The Internet and it has caused , not without reason, a small tornado of outrage. Written as dating advice for The Modern Man( a misnomer if ever there were one ), it promises a solution to the hot n horny down-on-their-luck young bucks of the world who face the tedious obstacle of a woman wearing headphones, because how dare she. And no, it isnt a parody.
You can read it in its full entitled glory, or stick with me as I dissect each grubby, jaw-dropping hallucination of psychopathic awfulness. Its going to be quite a ride.
These days, many females walk around playing with a smartphone or tablet device and are often wearing headphones and listening to music at the same time.
Yet, that doesnt mean you cant talk to them.
Of course , not all women are open to being approached because not all women are single and looking.
However, if a woman wearing headphones is single and hoping to meet a boyfriend( or even a new devotee ), she will almost always be happy to take off her headphones to give you an opportunity to create a spark with her.
The author, one Dan Bacon, could have saved us all a lot of bother here by answering his How to with Dont. Sadly he seems to have missed some basic behavioural science here; you assure, the very reason I and many other women wear headphones isnt as a trivial obstacle to some throbbing hormone mountain , nor as a challenge for those blessed with an abundance of ego. Its a defense. A defence against the aural onslaught of modern lifeand especially the leering advances of said pulsating hormone mountains. In short, we wear them because we dont want to be talked to. Its basic physics actually – we fill our ear pits to stop you from get in.
But back to Dan 😛 TAGEND
What to Do to Get Her Attention
1. Stand in front of her( with 1 to 1.5 meters between you ).
2. Have a relaxed, easy-going smile.
3. Is she hasnt already looked up at you, simply get her attention with a wave of your hand. Wave your hand in her direct line of vision so she cant ignore it.
4. When she looks at you, smile and point to her headphones and say, Take off your headphones for a minute and pretend to be taking headphones off your head, so she fully understands.
If she doesnt understand( most women will ), simply gesture that you want to talk to her by briefly pointing backward and forward from you to her and say, I want to talk to you for a minute.
In most cases, you wont have to go to that extreme, but some daughters are shy and will be hesitant to take the headphones off right away because they are feeling a lot of nervousness and exhilaration about what is happening.
5. Then, do what we call Acknowledging the Awkwardness by rapidly mentioning something about the awkwardness of the moment( insure the conversation example below ), to demonstrate you understand that approaching a woman in this way isnt the most common of experiences for either party.
This helps set her at ease and know that you are a cool guy who she can relax and open up to.
I dont know if these five steps are a common thing, but I have personally experienced this several times. At step 1 I know what you are doing and Im dismissing you, hoping the ground will open up and take one of us to the depths of somewhere Hellish, which would be more pleasant than such a situation is developing to be. By step 3 Im not feeling aroused and Im not feeling flattered as Dan later tells his readers I will be – Im feeling harassed. Straight up, dictionary definition harassed.
By step 4 Ive learnt that you cant understand a basic body language brush-off and are therefore a direct threat to my personal safety. My brain is in oppose or flight, checking for escape roads, its trying to figure out just how aggressively youre going to react to any further action I take to extract myself from a situation altogether not of my own making and it is praying they use a flattering photo of me on the news , not that one when my front-facing camera went off accidentally that time.
According to step 5, the fact you have bullied me into one of the most awkward and scary moments of my life builds you a cool guy. Mr Bacon clearly has difficulty spelling. It begins with a t, Dan.
Heres Dans interpretation of how the conversation goes once a human has use his infallible five-point Jedi mind trick to bludgeon a woman from her blissful state of aural security:
You :[ Smile in a friendly, confident manner] Hey I know its not normal for people to talk to someone with headphones in, but I was strolling along and saw you and thought wow, shes a cutie, I have to say hi. Im Dan, whats your name? Woman :[ Usually flattered by the compliment and impressed by your confidence to approach her like that] Jessica. You :[ Add in some humor] Coolnice to meet you Jessica. I dont normally talk to daughters with headphones, but your big green headphones were just calling out to me. Woman :[ Most likely laughing, smiling and enjoying the interaction ]. You :[ Let her know that you have something to do/ somewhere to go, so she understands that youre not going to stand there talking to her for 30 minutes] Anyway, so Im just out doing a bit of shopping at the moment. Im on my route to a store up the street. Hows your day going so far?
In his scenario, Jessica has just been waiting her whole life to be blessed with the attention of a complete stranger who misstep hunched shoulders, darting eyes and rictus for giggling and smiling.
Heres how it plays out in real life. Trust me, Ive been it, insured it and spoken to the survivors:
Him : I see you dont want to be talked to but I find you physically attractive and Im constructing that your problem.
Her : Please leave me alone.
Him : F *** YOU, YOU STUCK UP B ****, I DIDNT FANCY YOU ANYWAY.
With advice like this out there, its hardly any surprise, is it? These lonely men so desperately in search of conquests have been given permission, blessed with the entitlement to go forth and pluck their bounty employing but five humble steps. So imagine their horror and indignation when that which has been promised doesnt want to be plucked and tells them to sling their greasy hook.
Next Dan listings the five mistakes men attain when approaching a woman who is wearing headphones. Sadly not one of them is to sod right off.
Points 1, 4 and 5 are fairly inoffensive, generic dating guff( be confident, be engaging, be flirty ), but oh boy, just try and get your noggin round points 2 and 3.
2. Allowing her to dismis him
Headphones are a great barrier between a person and the rest of the world.
That being said, if a guy wants to get a womans attention he needs to show confidence by being determined to get her to stop listening to the music and chat to him to him.
If a guy has a weak vibe or presence about him, a woman usually wont give in to his request for her to remove the headphones.
Women love to test guys to see how confident they truly are and a favorite test of women is to ignore a guys attempts to converse with her and find what he will do next. Will he walk away in shame, or will he remain calm and continue talking to her in a confident, easy-going manner?
This is her style of gauging his interest in her and also a way of determining whether he is mentally and emotionally strong enough for a girl like her.
If a guy devotes up at the first sign of resistance, most women will be to turn by his mental and emotional weakness as a man.
3. Allowing her to take control of the interaction
No matter how confident or challenging a woman might behave, she still dreams of fulfilling a guy who is more confident than her. A woman doesnt want to be forced to control an interaction with a guy( i.e. call the shots, boss him around ), but she will if she has to.
Controlling an interaction with a woman is not about bossing her around, being arrogant or being too assertive. Instead, you simply need to assume the role of the man and let her be the woman. In other terms, build her feel girly around you because you think, behave and feel( your vibe) so masculine.
The advice here is basically No doesnt mean no, it entails keep going until you get what you want – the screaming will stop eventually. Because apparently thats what women want – and forms the basis for a million rape defence lawsuits. Trust me, when we tell you to go away we arent testing your measure as a human, were testing how quickly your legs can carry you in an offward direction.
Put Dans advice into any other scenario for the true jaw-drop factor: Shopkeepers may lock their doors at night, but if you want a pint of milk, only hammer on the door until they open up. Theyll be flattered.
I appreciate the world of mating is hard but please, for the love of humanity, learn this: because we are want, doesnt mean you can have. Women are not commodities to be hunted and won, and if you have no luck find someone to bump pink bits with, thats your problem , not our flaw for not adhering to the playbook regulations. Its a playbook we never signed up for and its only a game if both teams actually know theyre playing.
Nowhere in his advice does Dan tell his disappointed man-babies how to handle rejection with grace, because the advice is simply not to accept it. This attitude is why I and countless other women have been been chased down the street, followed home, physically constrained, spat at, verbally abused and generally made to feel like garbage, merely for trying to exist.
So when, I hear the whiny pissbabies ask, when am I allowed to approach hot single women? Simple.
If a woman has her headphones in, the answer is never – and before you bleat on about ooh, what if theres a fire ?, shell reek it, even through all your bulls ** t. If youre in a bar or party, her flirtatious smile may be the come-on youre go looking for, but be prepared to accept that you read it wrong, politely wish her a good evening and toddle back up out of her life without 20 minutes of awkward pawing, insisting she let you buy her a rohypnoltini. But how about this; take up a hobby, ask your friends if they know of someone looking to date or( brace yourself for a whopper of a revelation) if youre looking for a horde of single, eligible girls all looking for friendship-maybe-more in one convenient place, try a dating site.
Anyway, coming soon from Dan Bacon, How To Talk To A Woman Through A Fog Of Pepper Spray. Probably.
Martha Mills is on Twitter as @mittendamour
Read more: www.theguardian.com
‘ It’s not about your age, it’s about your notions ‘: the teen power listing15 days ago
Meet 25 young activists, scientists, artists, athletes, entrepreneurs and big thinkers shaping your future
Harley Bird, 14, Tring, UK
An actors life is hard: its just one audition after another, and you have to grow a wall-thick skin to deal with all the rejection. For Bird, however, things went a little differently: she was signed to the Alphabet Kidz agency just before her sixth birthday and two weeks later beat hundreds of other young actors to land the lead role in a 1.4bn show.
She is the voice of Peppa Pig, the eponymous piglet who enjoys dressing up and jumping in muddy puddles. Bird, who in real life has two pet pigs (called, of course, Peppa and George), has now voiced Peppa Pig for eight years. Early on, she was too young to read the scripts, but that didnt stop her winning a Bafta at nine.
The show, while simple in its format of five-minute episodes, has taken the world by storm and is now shown in 180 territories and broadcast in 40 different languages. Not bad for a first role. Were there any clues that this one audition would lead to a starring role in a global franchise? Bird has said she doesnt understand it herself. I just auditioned and they said my voice matched. because it is quite husky.
Mihir Garimella, 16, Pennsylvania
Blind date:’ I thought he was joking when he said he’s a Cliff Richard fan’15 days ago
Did energy consultant Martin, 36, and copywriter Almaz, 28, hit it off?
Martin on Almaz
What were you hoping for?
Sparkling company, laughter and a relaxed evening.
Elegant, with a natural brightness and upbeat aura.
What did you talk about?
Music, dinner parties and cooking (Almaz likes to host big parties, while I prefer little gatherings), the role of the royal family, the cut-throat London dating scene.
Any awkward moments?
Not for me. Hopefully Almaz felt comfortable, too.
Good table manners?
Best thing about Almaz?
A lovely voice.
Would you introduce her to your friends?
Certainly. She is articulate, bright and funny.
Describe her in three words
Bright, elegant, engaging.
What do you think she made of you?
Id like to think she found me likable, talkative and entertaining. Im sure she noticed Im not so on trend.
Did you go on somewhere?
Part of our journey home.
And did you kiss?
Friendly continental kisses of greeting and parting only.
If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
Nothing: I had a very nice evening, though I dont think either of us felt a chemistry.
Marks out of 10?
Would you meet again?
I dont think wed plan anything, but if I saw Almaz out and about, Id definitely go over and say hello.
Almaz on Martin
What were you hoping for?
Butterflies and sexual tension.
Not my usual type.
What did you talk about?
Crossrail and salsa dancing (him), geopolitics and music festivals (me).
Any awkward moments?
I thought he was joking when he said hes a Cliff Richard fan.
Good table manners?
He let me eat more than my fair share, which was delightful.
Best thing about Martin?
No questionable views.
Would you introduce him to your friends?
I think theyd eat him alive.
Describe him in three words
Mild-mannered, good-natured, conventional.
What do you think he made of you?
Not what he was expecting.
Did you go on somewhere?
It was a Sunday night, so no.
And did you kiss?
A goodbye peck on the cheek.
If you could change one thing about the evening, what would it be?
Id have discreetly given the waiter my number, because we shared some intense looks.
Marks out of 10?
Would you meet again?
Martin and Almaz ate at Goode & Wright, London W11.
Fancy a blind date? Email email@example.com
If youre looking to meet someone like-minded, visit soulmates.theguardian.com
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Atheists who bring logic to the Easter story are missing the point | Julian Baggini15 days ago
Having faith is a complex business. To assume that religious people are either crazy or stupid is lazy, says philosopher Julian Baggini
Many years ago, I had to recount the life of Jesus to a young Taiwanese student who knew nothing about Christianity. As I told him about the virgin birth, the miracles, crucifixion and resurrection, he responded with incredulous laughter.
Most nonbelievers in traditionally Christian cultures would prove a bit more respect. But inside, our reaction is often pretty much the same: how can people actually believe this stuff? Rising from the grave isn’t even the most preposterous part of the Easter tale. Far more bizarre is the claim that God had to send his son to die for our sins. And if God genuinely wanted the whole of humanity to heed his message, why did the resurrected Christ merely reveals himself to a few select people before ascending to heaven?
Vociferous atheists don’t shy away from revealing their mock bemusement at all this. Those of us who induce decided efforts to understand and debate with religious believers might be too polite to acknowledge it, but we often feel just as baffled.
The laziest route to try to cross this credulity gap is to shrug our shoulders and accept that people are often crazy, stupid or both. Yes, there are plenty of people celebrating the resurrection who are sane, intelligent and well-educated, but the objective is statistical anomalies in a world where higher levels of education are strongly correlated with a lack of religious belief.
Smart people can have blind spots, but this quick and easy justification does not do justice to the complexities of religious belief. If we genuinely accept that a disciple in the resurrection can be intelligent, but also think that any intelligent person would find the idea of the resurrection preposterous, the most charitable explain is that intelligent believers are as well informed the implausibility of their beliefs as anyone else. This is indeed what you tend to find if you bother to talk to a Christian. They don’t use the word “miracle” for nothing- they know their religion eludes laws of logic and nature.
Some believe the unbelievable because they have had religious experiences so strong that they are literally unable to doubt their veracity of. It’s hard for those of us who haven’t had such an experience to appreciate how powerful it is feasible to. But once you accept the existence of a divine inventor who has a personal relationship with you, almost anything else is possible. It is not crazy but logical to conclude that what such a God says or does will sometimes be beyond our comprehension. It follows that there is nothing irrational in accepting a narrative that we are unable to make sense of rationally.
What atheists often forget is that many- perhaps most- religion believers are less than completely convinced anyway. Many of them are fully aware of the dissonance between what their faith and their rational intellect tell them. Religion offers many tools to help manage this. It tells people that faith is superior to belief based on evidence.” Because thou hast find me, thou hast believed ,” Jesus told” doubting Thomas”, adding:” Blessed are they that have not insured, and yet have believed .” Religion also tells believers that doubt is to be expected, even welcomed, as part of the journey of faith, all the time reassuring them that God is beyond our understanding. The Easter story thus aims up instead like quantum theory: if you find it easy to believe, you haven’t is understandable. Illogicality is a design feature , not a design flaw.
Anyone astonished that people manage to sustain this dissonance all their lives hasn’t been paying enough attention to what psychology has taught us about our capacities to assert contradictions. What we call our “selves” are far less unified and coherent than common sense suggests. When we say ” a part of me” believes one thing and another part something else, we are being more literal than we suppose. Rejecting disciples as simply deluded could therefore itself has become a way for us atheists to deal with our own dissonance between the belief that Easter is palpable nonsense, and the awareness that apparently intelligent people believe in it. If we really do find implausible beliefs offensive, we ought at the least to have more plausible explanations for why others have them.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
‘ We didn’t recognise that he was dangerous ‘: our parent killed our mother and sister28 days ago
Last summer, Lance Hart shot dead his wife, daughter and himself, four days after the family had left him. His sons talk candidly about life before and after
On a warm summer day last July, Claire Hart and her 19 -year-old daughter Charlotte went for an early morning swim at their local leisure centre in Spalding, Lincolnshire. It was a trip-up they made often, just a short drive from their home in the village of Moulton. Claires son Ryan had recently bought his mother a swimming pass as a present.
At 9am on 19 July, mom and daughter left the pond and built their route back across the car park to their blue Toyota Aygo. As they approached the car, a human crawled out from underneath it: Claires husband and Charlottes father, Lance Hart, whom the pair had left five days earlier. Now he held up a single-barrel shotgun and shooting Claire three times. He then reloaded the gun and shot his daughter, before turning the gun on himself.
Alex Marchant, a administrator at the sports centre, ran outside where reference is heard the first bang, guessing it was a vehicle backfiring. In the distance, he saw Lance with the gun in his hand. When he got to the car, he recognised Charlotte lying on the ground. In her final moments, as Merchant cradled her, she told him, It was my father who shot me.
Armed policemen arrived at the scene, where paramedics attempted to resurrect them, but it was too late: Lance was dead, and Claire and Charlotte had fatal injuries; neither could be saved.
In the confusion that followed, police set local schools on lockdown. Residents were advised to stay inside and lock their doorways. Spalding began to trend on Twitter, and people theorized whether there had been a terrorist attack.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
‘Ugly girls don’t sell burgers’- the trickle-down effect of Team Trump1 month, 6 days ago
Fast food boss Andrew Puzder is the new administrations labor secretary nominee despite his endorsement of adverts that objectify women
New research has suggested that female employees at fast food restaurants operated by Andrew Puzder, Donald Trumps nomination for labor secretary, face far higher levels of workplace sexual harassment than the industry average. According to the research conducted by Restaurant Opportunities Center( ROC) United, around 66% of female workers reported sexual harassment at brands owned by CKE restaurants, run by Puzder, compared with the average of 40% across the fast food industry.
The man at the top of this particular food chain has repeatedly attained sexist statements and expressed his backing for the infamous adverts that have objectified and sexualised womens bodies to sell hamburgers for CKE restaurants chains including Carls Jr. We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones dont sell burgers, Puzder told, in a 2009 press release. Last year he proudly endorsed the adverts, and stated: I like beautiful women feeing burgers in bikinis I used to hear that brands take on the personality of the CEO. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take over my personality.
Fifty six per cent of the 564 female CKE restaurant employees surveyed reported sexual harassment from clients, including sexual statements, being asked to have intercourse, being asked to uncover their breasts and being followed outside the store. Significantly, some reported that perpetrators immediately referenced the adverts. Client have asked why I dont dress like the women in the commercials, one Tennessee-based Hardees employee told researchers.( Elizabeth Johnson, a spokesperson for Trumps transition team, called the report fake news that was paid for by unions and special interests opposed to Andy Puzders nomination .)
When the person at the top of a company normalises objectification, it builds it much more socially acceptable for others to treat women in a similar way. This is one of the clearest illustrations yet of the trickle-down effect we see when people who themselves exhibit prejudiced views are put in positions of great power. It is a phenomenon we must prepare ourselves to find a great deal more of after Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45 th President of the United States.
The electoral campaign clearly emboldened prejudice. By December last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center had catalogued more than 1,000 bias-related incidents that had resulted since the election, including anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT abuse. A local Republican politician in Connecticut was arrested for allegedly pinching a female employees genitals, after saying: I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct. A Georgia high-school teacher observed a note on her desk telling her that her Muslim headscarf isnt let any more. The note continued: Why dont you tie it around your neck& hang yourself with it? It was signed: America.
Trump and Puzder are not the only members of the incoming administration to have been associated with prejudiced opinions. They join a proposed draft cabinet of largely white humen including figures such as Stephen Bannon, formerly executive chair of a far-right website that has been described as an online haven for white nationalists, and which hosted articles with titles such as: Birth control constructs women unattractive and crazy and Heres why there ought to be a cap on women analyse science.
When powerful role model condone bigotry and discrimination, they make it much easier for hate-fuelled incidents, already so often dismissed or ignored, to be brushed under the carpet in wider society. And when men in power seem to be able to speak and act with impunity, it is much easier for others to excuse similar behaviour.
The lawyer of the Connecticut politician arrested for allegedly grabbing a womans genitals denied any sexual assault and said there had only been a a playful gesture. When a group of male diners at a New York steak house shouted grab them by the pussies at a group of women, restaurant staff reportedly told the women to calm down because these were good guys.
Such leadership also emboldens those who would like to walk back the civil rights and equality gains of the past few decades. Self-styled pickup artist Daryush Roosh V Valizadeh( who has called to make rape legal on private property) wrote on his website, in the consequences of the Trumps victory:
Im in a state of exuberance that we now have a President who rates women on a 1-10 scale in the same route that we do and evaluates girls by their appearance and feminine attitude
This is our moment, he claimed.[ Trumps] presence automatically legitimises masculine behaviours that were previously labelled sexist and misogynist.
The only way to combat this legitimacy and normalisation is for everyday citizens to redouble their efforts to oppose such bigotry. Each one of us has the opportunity, in our actions and reactions, our choices as bystanders and our daily conversations, to speak out against prejudice. When hate-fuelled abuse is gushed on a public bus; when a biased remark is stimulated in the workplace; when bigoted bullying happens on colleges and universities campus; the most important behaviour isnt that of perpetrator or victim, but of the bystanders who have a vital choice to make. Would you put your head down, walk on by and say nothing? Would you mutely send the message that this is the new normal? Or could you be members of the public who dares to stand up and make it clear that this is neither accepted nor acceptable, regardless of who is sitting in the Oval Office.
Thousands of people around the world will start by taking a stand this week, joining the Womens March on Washington( and others around the world) on 21 st January, to send the message that rhetoric and division like that espoused by Donald Trump wont be quietly accepted or ignored.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Eddie Izzard:’ Everything I do in life is trying to get my mother back’1 month, 8 days ago
Transgender hero Eddie Izzard has done standup in French and German, operate dozens of marathons, and is now in a period drama with Judi Dench. But, he uncovers, his can-do attitude has a melancholy source
There was a literal turning point in Eddie Izzard’s lifelong pursuit of personal freedom. It went one afternoon in 1985 when he had gone out for the first time in a dress and heels and full makeup down Islington high street. He was 23 and he had been planning- and avoiding- that moment for just about as long as he could remember. The turning point came after he was chased down the road by some teenage girls who had caught him changing back into his jeans in the public toilets and wanted to let him know he was weird. That pursuit objective when eventually, faced with the screamed question” Hey, why were you dressed as a woman ?”, he decided simply to stop running and turn and explain himself.
He spun around to give an answer, but before he got many terms out the girls had run in the opposite direction. The experience taught him some things: that there was power in tackling dread rather than avoiding it; and that from then on he would never let other people define him. After that afternoon, he says, he not only felt he could face down the things that scared him, he went chasing after them: street performing, standup slapstick, marathon running, political activism, improvising his stage show in different languages- all these things felt relatively easy after that original coming out as what he calls” transvestite or transgender “.” You think, if I can do something that hard, but positive- perhaps I can do anything .”
The ” anything” he has been doing most recently is to take on the challenge of acting opposite Judi Dench and Michael Gambon. In Stephen Frears’s interpretation of the true narrative of Queen Victoria’s late-life relationship with an Indian maid, Victoria& Abdul , Izzard plays a full-bearded, tweed-suited Bertie( afterward Edward VII ), reining in his comic instincts to occupy the outrage and scheming of a son considering his mother apparently making a fool of herself. Izzard has done plenty of movies before- he was in Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen alongside George Clooney and Brad Pitt and the rest- but nothing that has required quite this level of costume drama restraint. He loved it.
He and Dench are old friends. She has been a regular at his stage shows and has been in the habit, for reasons forgotten, of sending a banana to his dressing room each opening night, with” Good luck !” written on it. Assuring her channel Victoria at close quarters was a daily masterclass. The movie was shot partly at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight( the first time any film crew had been allowed inside by English Heritage) and the cast would let their hair down in the evenings. One time, Izzard remembers:” I was dancing with Judi to Ray Charles’s’ What’d I Say ‘. She felt like a young lady, a young teenage girl virtually. Judi has this amazing triggered of vitality that traces all the way back to her youth .”
Watching the cinema, you’re so ready to see Izzard slip into one of his wayward meanders of consciousness that for a while it seems odd that he stays on script. Does it feel that style to him too?
” Not now ,” he tells.” My early run as an actor wasn’t very good because I only switched all my comedy muscles off, and I didn’t know what to replace them with. I believe I have learned more how to just’ be’ on cinema now. It is just like knowing how to both ride a bicycle and drive a car. If you are in a automobile you don’t want to lean sideways to turn a corner. You know the difference .”
Ever since he bunked off school and conned his route into Pinewood Studios as a 15 -year-old and strayed the film sets for a day, he has imagined himself an actor. The first thing he did when his comedy finally took off after years of trying and often failing to stimulate people laugh was to get himself a drama agent and see if he could pursue a twin career. He has never been satisfied with just doing one thing, and it appears that determination to diversify has only grown. He’s 55, and because of his running- which peaked at 43 marathons in 57 daysin the UK and 27 in 27 days in South Africa for Sport Relief– he looks lean and almost alarmingly bright-eyed. We are talking in a hotel room in London, and he is garmented sharply in” boy with eyeliner” mode. He works on the faith, he tells, that human beings were never made to sit still or settle, but to place themselves in challenging situations, and then work up how to cope.
” World war two is a good example ,” he indicates.” People get fallen behind enemy lines with no idea of what they were going into. They had to learn to do a great deal under extreme pressure and on the move. And they proved they could. In a very different style, I believe coming out as transgender allowed me to set myself in other terrifying situations and work them out once I was in them. I knew I would get through the bad, scaring bit- and there was a lot of that when I was a street performer- and eventually get to a more interesting place .”