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April 6th, 2010

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10:47 am - boisterous events
Got lots of little thoughts today.

Last night when the election was called I felt sick in my stomach. I just want to get through the next three years, get my kids through University and into independence, then me and H can cut back and live in a shack somewhere. But three years I have to hang on to solvency. I tell myself, I may be a bit flaky but I am smart, and I can get through.

On a lighter note - What about that Alex Guttenplan then? I see I am not the only one who admires the boy - he's all over the newspapers.

I have been reading Ted Hughes on Coleridge. This text represents what I was trying to say about reviewing and art at that panel the other day.
Poems (can) never be explained. They are total symbols of psychic life. But they can be interpreted - a total symbol is above all a vessel for interpretations: the reader fills it and drinks... the only value of these remarks to some other reader may be - to prompt them to fill the vessel for themselves from their own sources.' (A choice of Coleridge's verse, Ted Hughes, p22, my stress)

Incidentally, you will be familiar with Laudanum: opium dissolved in brandy. People used to take a few drops in water? Coleridge was getting through four pints a week. 'And drunk the milk of paradise'.

Via Ben Goldacre's site, check out this Daily Mail article - Water makes you fat - Almost a parody of itself, and the subheadings are very telling: 'Women are to blame'; 'Filter out the enemy'. Their words reveal them.

(9 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:April 6th, 2010 10:05 am (UTC)
this Daily Mail article - Water makes you fat

*beats head on desk*

'Women are to blame'

*headdesks some more*

Erm, thanks for that link :)
[User Picture]
Date:April 6th, 2010 10:39 am (UTC)
I like the way they manage to include (priced) recommendations to buy more Stuff to solve the problem. To the shops with you, you wicked women.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:April 6th, 2010 12:07 pm (UTC)
I have noticed there is blatantly different treatment of women and men who do well in quizzes. There is a long standing high-pressure quiz on British telly called Mastermind. Sometimes a woman wins it (2009 and 1997 for example) and on these occasions you get articles saying 'It just shows women's brains absorb facts without creative or original thought'. But apparently it doesn't indicate this about men in the other years. It's the same quiz.
[User Picture]
Date:April 7th, 2010 09:45 am (UTC)
Gail Trimble. And she was the team captain.

I must say, this was the first thing I thought of when I saw the Guttenplan stories as well:

Intelligent young man who came across on TV as having possible autistic tendencies (or perhaps he was just incredibly centred on the quiz in hand) does well on University Challenge = he's brilliant, we love him!

Intelligent young woman who came across on TV as being perhaps a bit smug at getting the answers right all the time (when actually it was just a case of being unsure how to handle such praise, I think) does well on University Challenge = what a bitch! We hate her!

Honestly, as far as I can see there's no material difference between Trimble and Guttenplan, so the vast disparity in public reception between the two I found deeply uncomfortable. It reinforces certain stereotypes; that men are allowed to be clever but women aren't, and that women are supposed to no how to behave 'properly' and graciously at all times but men can be excused if they don't.

Also, while clearly not the case with Guttenplan; people were criticising Trimble because she was getting too many answers right? Isn't that the point of a quiz show? Even at the time that struck me as being as stupid as, say, moaning about a football team scoring too many goals.

Anyway, getting back to the point somewhat, I've been completely bemused by most of the Guttenplan/University Challenge newspaper coverage, anyway. On Friday the Telegraph decided it was front page news. What? Really? I can't be the only person to have seen that and wondered how "Paxman gets foreign pronunciation wrong" and "Quiz show films pick-up shots after quiz has finished" is any kind of news, let alone front-page news. The former has surely been known for some time, as I've seen more than the one letter to a newspaper complain about Paxman's mangling of German (and I've noticed myself his pronunciation of Japanese words isn't the best), and the latter... surely that's stating the bleedin' obvious? Surely no-one could possibly think that any quiz show runs through it ONE TIME and gets it all perfect straight off. The again, I gather some people used to (and some possibly still do) think that one team actually sat above the other.
[User Picture]
Date:April 7th, 2010 10:34 am (UTC)
Actually, that's very true now you point it out. The Telegraph like him for the same reason they liked Judith Keppel winning Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The myth is that middle class English people are more 'intelligent' and the model of intelligence is 'Knowing a ton of facts'. Therefore they love it when one of their number actually fits the stereotype.

Having said all of that, I do think he is quite adorable.
[User Picture]
Date:April 6th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
Solvency...a vessel which the reader fills and drinks...dissolved in brandy...drunk the milk of paradise...and an article about the Universal Solvent.

This post is like a poem itself.

That said, the water article is stunning in its blatant misogyny.
[User Picture]
Date:April 6th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It didn't strike me at the time but I see a bit of a theme :-)
[User Picture]
Date:April 7th, 2010 11:47 am (UTC)
You ARE smart. You WILL get through. And your two very bright, capable young people will get through too. At the worst case, they won't be the first young adults to have to work hard to get themselves through uni. :-) And at best we will all be just fine.
[User Picture]
Date:April 7th, 2010 12:30 pm (UTC)
Yes, I seem to remember a young lady who worked her way through Birmingham Uni... wonder what happened to her :-)

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