I can learn little personally about Adolf Heilborn (1873-1941). But his book THE OPPOSITE SEXES caused a bit of a stir when it appeared in 1927, given that he described the female human as the missing link between ape and male human. Naturally, there was, um, a little pushback.
The Push Pops are a radical, transnational queer feminist artist collective. Geared toward engendering ‘Embodied Feminism,’ the collective is primarily concerned with the expenditure and conservation of the self in relation to the Other. Employing the female body – that which is bound to a cross-cultural language of desire, signification and power – in tactical, ideological strategy, the Push Pops utilize gesture, exclamation and popular idiom to embody a new and discursive physicality. Neo-Dada, Fluxist and Feminist, their performance work posits the body as a danger to the operation of reason and male economy of lack. A wild leap, an elusive slogan, a paroxysm of the flesh – The Push Pops reinscribe the body through participatory ritual, spontaneous performance and interactive multi-media installation.
I just read this book (pictured to the right, with link) which offers a rich and fascinating glimpse of a moment in Chicago when there were several female murderers simultaneously occupying the headlines and jails. This is always prime WU material in any era, and I don't believe you will be disappointed if you read this excitingly written historical account.
Why the video of an old song in this post? It's the tune that one of the murderesses played and danced to, over the corpse of her victim!
Christmas is nearly upon us, so the time is at hand where every mall has a Santa in residence, waiting for America’s boys and girls to sit on his knee and make their demands known. But while our own little angels are of course clean and fragrant, who knows what those grubby urchins in front of you are spreading! So this year several professional Santa associations are calling for hand-sanitizer to be installed at grotto entrances and have asked congress to put “Santa” on the priority list for H1N1 vaccinations. After all, you have to look after your elf (Telegraph).
Not requiring a flu jab, but in need of a facelift, was the 66’ fibreglass Santa that has been the centrepiece of Auckland, New Zealand’s Christmas pageant for nearly 50 years. With a droopy winking eye and a gesturing mechanical finger, the jolly red giant was beginning, in the words of one local, to “look a little creepy.” But not anymore, as NZ$100,000 have been spent refurbishing the big guy ahead of this Sunday’s grand unveiling (Reuters).
Someone definitely not in need of a facelift is the recently announced “Hunky Santa of 2009.” Los Angeles mall the Beverley Center first introduced their hunky Santas nine years ago, swapping abs and pecs for the beard and britches. This year north-pole toting poseur is James Ellis, who hopes to encourage people to live more healthily and wants to be a role model for kids by parading his festive physique in a fur-trimmed red vest (LA Times).
All of which is not the sort of thing you’re likely to see during Raleigh, North Carolina’s Christmas parade. So worried are parade organisers that the little ones might be confused by two people dressed in red that they have banned “Mrs. Claus” from participating in costume. They have even asked attendees not to wear Santa-hats in case it distracts attention from the “real” St. Nick (WXII12).
And further killjoyery (?) this week from the Employers Forum on Belief, which has advised company bosses that to close their office over Christmas might be construed as discriminatory, since non-Christian employees must use annual leave for their religious holidays. Instead of emphasising the holiday’s religious nature, say the EFB, management should focus on the cost-effectiveness of the closure as a majority of staff would be absent anyway (ILM).
First up, scientists at the University of Leeds in Great Britain have determined that if you want to meet the right man, the optimum amount of flesh to flash is 40%. Less than that and you might appear too dowdy to catch his eye, any more and you’re more likely to attract a stalker than a soul mate. Psychologist Colin Hendrie had his four female assistants perform demanding “undercover” surveillance in Leeds’ nightclubs, recording how women were dressed and how often they were approached on concealed dictaphones. But it wasn’t just the women who were being judged. Hendie’s results also showed that the most successful approaches came from men who were neither too thin nor too fat and at least a head taller than their target. It also revealed that 30% of clubbers left as couples, though only 20% arrived so (Daily Mail).
Sadly, this research came too late for Geisy Arruda of Sao Paolo in Brazil, who caused a near riot at the city’s Bandeirante University by turning up for lectures in a mini-dress. Despite Brazil’s normally “relaxed” attitude to skimpy clothing, campus dress is often more conservative and Ms Arruda’s short, pink sheath dress attracted more than a few comments and cat-calls. She eventually had to be escorted from lectures, and the campus, by security and was later expelled for breaching the University’s ethical and moral standards and for offending its “academic dignity”. Her ban was promptly reversed however when she became a bit of a cause celebre, and Brazil’s Education Ministry became involved (CNEWS).
And yet more conflict ensued between academia and allure this past month when a number of female students from the prestigious Cambridge University in England posed for “cheesecake” shots for an in-house online magazine. Predictably, some called immediately for the images to be removed as they were demeaning to women saying that as a University, Cambridge should “do better”, an attitude site co-founder Taymoor Atighetchi dismissed as “intellectual snobbery" (Telegraph).
However support of a sort for the (very) fresh-women came from an unexpected quarter this week when Jill Berry, president of the UK “Girls’ Schools Association”, said that wanting to be fashionable did not make girls shallow. Speaking at the GSA annual conference, Mrs Berry said caring about your physical appearance wasn’t a betrayal of feminist ideals, and insisted that girls can have fun while also being taken seriously (Guardian).
But ladies, if you’re still unsure what to wear, then remember that other way to a man’s heart. That’s certainly an option for Jules Clancy, a food scientist from Sydney in Australia, who bagged a table for two at the world’s highest rated restaurant, the “El Bulli” in Spain, only to break up with her partner before the big night. In a moment of inspiration, Ms. Clancy decided to advertise online for a new dinner partner, and has been inundated with offers, though whether it is her charms or the food’s that is the draw is unclear (Orange).
(Picture: "Stupefyin’ JonesMoonbeam McSwine" from Al Capp's Li'l Abner.)
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Who We Are
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
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