Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Ponters Pensées: 9.8.16

Spain's Economy: Tourism isn't the only sector doing well. The car-making industry is steaming ahead too, says The Wall St. Journal here. The opening para: Spain’s auto industry is attracting billions in new investments from car makers world-wide, a bright spot for an economy still recovering from years of recession and high unemployment. This sector, the paper reports, has grown from 5% of Spain’s GDP in 2005 to 8% last year. But a cloud on the horizon is the current political deadlock which is putting the labor reforms’ future in doubt. In other words, a coalition or socialist government. . . . 

Divine Images: Walking across the bridge yesterday, I took to wondering how long it would be before everyone on the planet ceased believing in deities. After all, homo (increasingly) sapiens has moved progressively from worshipping thousands of gods to only one. My knowledgable Dutch friend, Peter, tells me the Egyptians once had 3,500 or so but eventually reduced these to a much smaller total. [Yes, he carries these numbers around in this head. See the end of this post for his comments on this question]. And the Jews, Zaroastrians, Manicheans and others reduced the number to one god long before Christians took up this established Middle and Far East preference. Always a male, of course, reflecting cultural norms. And now more than half of the population of several western countries has given up on even this sole deity. But it's anyone's guess, of course, as to when this becomes a global phenomenon, in the face of stern resistance from all the religious organisations around the world. Many of which seem to worship mammon far more than god. Especially in the USA. Witness the ads there for The Financial Bible. Every word of this Bible, apparently, has been carefully written to lead you into a lifetime of supernatural financial miracles.

One Man's Rubbish: Or garbage, to our American cousins. Our local Rumanians - or some of them at least - are reported to be scouring the contenadores for items of clothing they can sell on to people even poorer than they are. I think I've previously reported seeing this happen after local gypsies have chucked away the items they haven't sold at our Sunday flea-market. From which they've now been banned.

Finally . . . Female Flesh: There's a lot of this on Spanish TV but British TV is different. Here's an article from the Daily Telegraph which rather proves this point. Helen Skelton, by the way, is a BBC Sports presenter:-

Our obsession with Helen Skelton's ‘revealing’ outfit says more about us than her: Charlotte Lytton

Given the Olympics consists of people parading around in barely-there kit for two weeks, you’d have thought a flash of leg wouldn’t have viewers so much as raising an eyelid.

Yet this wasn’t so for Helen Skelton, the BBC Sport presenter whose short dress sent the internet into overdrive this weekend.

Her work presiding over coverage for Saturday night’s swimming events in Rio de Janeiro resulted in her thighs demanding more tabloid inches this morning than any sporting victories – you know, the gold medal won by British swimmer Adam Peaty, or the first ever gold for Kosovo earned by judo star Majlinda Kelmendi – because who cares about all that when a woman’s got her ‘cracking set of pins’ on show?

Not the Daily Mail or the Daily Express, it seems, who thoughtfully opted to picture 33-year-old Skelton on their front pages followed up by a string of shots inside – something the Sun also embraced with a double page spread zooming in on her – contain yourselves – bare thighs.

Was the mother-of-one’s outfit too short? Possibly. But more revealing than her clothing is, as ever, public reactions to it.

Skelton was presenting at an event in which people compete in skin-tight Lycra skivvies; her co-presenter, former swimmer Mark Foster, surely also proved that ‘the thigh’s the limit’, to quote one headline, by wearing a pair of shorts on the show.

Strangely enough, ‘leggy’ and ‘thigh sports’ were captions reserved for Skelton alone, as were the tweets opining that “her thighs are one of the reasons I’m watching the Olympics” and that her outfit provided the “best five minutes of the Olympic Games since 2012”.

I often wonder whether people get bored of reading these defences of sexism – surely, we can all agree that the sight of a woman’s legs should not merit a trending topic on Twitter, followed by newspaper reports on the reaction, and televised discussions of those reports. Why do we even bother giving more airtime to such non-events?

And yet evidently there are sizeable swathes of the population who do believe that the appropriate reaction to non-conservative dress is either reproach or perving, and I am reminded that for every person intent on reducing women to their clothing, we need 10 times as many to mount the defence.

We shouldn’t still need to have these conversations about whether people do or don’t deserve to be sexually objectified while going about their job, but as long as that objectification goes on, so too will we until, perhaps, maybe one day, in the distant future, the sight of a woman’s leg does not provoke mass hysteria.

Just like Theresa May, who ‘stole the show’ during budget talks this March by wearing a low-cut dress, or virtually anything Holly Willoughby ‘pours her curves’ into on This Morning, the reaction to Skelton’s navy playsuit is predictable and depressing all at once.

She wore a longer skirt during her next presenting stint – maybe because she was tired of the furore her outfit had resulted in, or maybe because she liked it, it made her feel comfortable, and therefore better equipped to do her job – one which has seen her become the first woman to reach the South Pole by bicycle, the second to complete the Namibian ultra-marathon, and kayak the length of the Amazon.

That, after all, should be the premise on which we judge the suitability of a woman’s clothing – and nothing more.

Those funny Brits.

GALLERY

Pontevedra's Peregrina(Pilgrim) church has a floor plan in the shape of a scallop, as this foto - taken from the cupola - hopefully shows. Entrance to the right, altar to the left.


My old friend and I climbed to the very top of the church, hoping for fantastic views of the city. But were disappointed . . .




Egyptian Gods by Peter Missler, close friend of the old bore, Alfred B Mittington:-

I don't think anybody really knows the exact numbers. As the mists of prehistory are finally lifted from life in the Nile valley, we already find (signs of) many dozens of Gods, each pretty much associated with a particular town or village. In the course of time the number grew, exponentially as it happens, and the highest number I remember reading was around 3,500, give or take a 1,000. They had major and minor gods for everything, from cosmic phenomena to city gods to abstracts such as 'Truth'. Then some blended and some had different 'aspects' (comparable with the [Spanish Catholic] Virgin of this and the Virgin of that, who are all Mary the Mother of God, but worshipped in different guises and therefore essentially different Virgins). And that's not even mentioning 'popular' (against 'official' grand temple) gods and spirits, of whom we only see some faint reflections or marginal indications.

Wiki note on monotheisms [In alphabetical, not chronological, order]

Monotheism characterizes the traditions of Bábism, the Bahá'í Faith, Cao Dai (Caodaiism), Cheondoism(Cheondogyo), Christianity, Deism, Eckankar, Islam, Judaism, Mandaeism, Rastafari, Ravidassia religion, Seicho no Ie, Shaivism, Shaktism, Sikhism, Tengrism (Tangrism), Tenrikyo (Tenriism), Vaishnavism, and Zoroastrianism. Elements of pre-monotheistic thought are found in religions such as Ancient Chinese religion, Atenism, and Yahwism.

As to the first? Some say Atenism, some say Janism. Take your pick.

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