Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 18.7.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

Life in Spain:-
  • I am not a fan of dubbing, something which is impossible to avoid if you watch Spanish TV or go to the cinema here. So I don't. But I sometimes look at the Spanish subtitles to English films or programs. These are not always very accurate. In an early Modern Family episode the boyfriend of the teenage daughter sings (sort of) a song of which the chorus is I wanna do you, do you, do you. This was given in Spanish as 'I want to be with you'. I didn't think this quite cut the mustard but I might be wrong on this,
  • Here's another of those re-cycled lists from The Local, on Spain's best beaches.
  • Three years ago, the Spanish government said it was going to do something about the country's ridiculous work timetable. But nothing has happened since. Up in Cataluña, though, they've taken the next step. Click here for a report from The Guardian.
  • By pure coincidence, a report has been issued which blames increasing child obesity in Spain on 3 factors:- 1. Sedentary activities; 2. Bad food; and 3. Getting fewer than 8 hours sleep a night. Who would have thought it? Well, the last one at least
RT Howard is the author of Power and Glory: France’s Secret Wars with Britain and America 1945-2016. You might, then, expect him to be more than averagely suspicious of the motives of the UK's neighbour. As regards France's higher-than-ever enthusiasm for the EU, he opines: This key difference between Britain and France [as regards their history and constitutions] illustrates the flawed foundations of the European federal project: how can different countries, with such varied traditions, move at the same relentless pace away from their particular and familiar institutions? For me, this has always been the key barrier to rapid creation of a federal superstate. And still is.

Still in the UK: At last men there are to be spared advert sexism. The Advertising Standards Authority has demanded an end to ads which mock men’s inability to work a washing machine or get the children to school on time. Or which suggest that men are more likely to take out the rubbish or start wars. Such notions, it suggests, reinforce and perpetuate traditional gender roles and lead to suboptimal outcomes for individuals and groups in terms of their professional attainment and personal development. As someone has commented: Men will no longer have to tolerate advertisements that feature them trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks.

English: I mentioned yesterday that hardly anyone says 'films' for movies these days in the UK. Equally, it's a long time since I heard anyone use the word in this report instead of the American word 'truck'.

Finally . . .  I've regarded myself as a feminist for more than 40 years. With 2 ex wives and 2 daughters, what choice did I have? Even so, I found myself in sympathy with the writer of the article below. Possibly because I knew a 15 year old girl who decided she was a boy locked in a girl's body but is now a married mother.

Finally, finally . . . I'm fond of crosswords. A clue in the one I did last night was: Brown's previous employment. And the answer was: Eleven. Can anyone tell me why? Incidentally, I read yesterday that we crossworders have brains 10 years younger than our bodies. Which is possibly a good thing.

Today's cartoon:-

The Times' take on the (in)competence of the British Brexit negotiators. . . . .


Now we all have to live by radical feminist rules   Melanie Phillips

The desire to obliterate distinctions between the sexes has led to a damaging new consensus

Transport for London has banned the phrase “ladies and gentlemen”. TfL’s head of customer strategy, Mark Evers, said they wanted “everyone to feel welcome on our transport network”. So in future staff will greet passengers with “Hello everyone”.

Whoopee, eh! Thank goodness we’ve been stripped of our gender identity! Nasty, bigoted, unfriendly act, thinking of ourselves as either women or men! We’re all gender-fluid now. You might say TfL is putting the trans into transit and about time too.

Binary is so last century. No less a body than the Fawcett Society has told us this. Last year it reported that 44 per cent of British people now believe gender can be expressed as a range of identities, with almost half of young women holding this view. Would this be the same Fawcett Society that’s named after Millicent Fawcett, the great Edwardian campaigner for women’s suffrage? Who fought for that because she believed women would make a contribution to the public sphere wholly different from the role played by men? Clearly, by “Votes for Women” what she really meant was “Votes for Anyone”.

The doctrine of identity-neutrality has been gathering pace for decades. Back in the Nineties, the category “married” disappeared from official statistics in order not to be “judgmental” about different lifestyles. As result, we were no longer allowed to learn of the enormously higher rate of abuse of women and children by unmarried partners.

Then the words “mother and father” started to be replaced by “parent” so that same-sex couples shouldn’t feel excluded. The distinction between Mrs and Miss was removed by lifestyle-mute Ms. Now the appellation Mx erases any sign that you are a woman at all.

At least 80 state schools in Britain now allow boys to wear skirts, as well as girls to wear trousers. Unisex toilets are springing up in public buildings everywhere. The activist group Stonewall, which has done so much to promote human rights for absolutely everyone except straights, is now campaigning for a “gender X” option on passports. Bless.

In fact, this use of “gender” confuses biological sex with masculine and feminine characteristics or behaviour. Among neuroscientists, mainstream opinion holds that there are pronounced biological differences between the sexes. A 2011 article in Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology stated: “Brain sex differences uniquely affect biochemical processes, may contribute to the susceptibility to specific diseases and may influence specific behaviours”. Although some sex differences were due to “social systems and gender socialisation”, biological traits were likely to be a major contributor. A major contributor, that is, to men being men and women being women. Radical feminists, by contrast, say gender is merely a “social construct” which puts men in power and causes women to lose out.

It surely isn’t gender itself but the politicised gender issue that’s the real social construct — created to dispense with the social role of men and destroy the traditional family which was demonised as the crucible of male power over women. In 1970, the pioneering feminist Kate Millett wrote in Sexual Politics that boys and girls were conditioned into roles within the family, “patriarchy’s chief institution”.

In 1977 the psychologist Sandra Bem wrote that when androgyny had been absorbed by the culture, distinctions between masculinity and femininity would “blur into invisibility”. In 1991, the sociologist Judith Lorber advocated a “social order without gender”. There was absolutely nothing distinct about femininity, she claimed, not even menstruation, pregnancy or lactation since some women never got pregnant and some men lactated. Feminists were wrong to strive for equality between men and women but should have worked instead towards “eliminating them as significant social categories”.

Such theories, originally thought to be beyond bizarre, became tolerated, were then adopted as mainstream and are now compulsory.

In the US, the American Psychiatric Association has progressively eliminated sexual identity disorders from the manual of psychiatric diagnoses. Paul McHugh, formerly psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins hospital, continues to state that transgenderism is a mental disorder and that, purely for political and ideological reasons, sufferers are being denied the treatment they need.

Studies show, he has said, that between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of children who express transgender feelings “spontaneously lose those feelings” over time. Even among those satisfied with gender-reassignment surgery, their subsequent “psycho-social adjustments” had not improved.
Dr McHugh lost the argument. As a result California, New Jersey and Massachusetts have passed laws barring psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor”.

In 2015 Kenneth Zucker, a Canadian psychologist, was sacked from his Toronto gender identity clinic because he tried to help children lose their belief that they were born into the wrong sex. An investigation found that his clinic, which he had run for 30 years, was “not in step with the latest thinking”.

From time to time over the years I have been called “sir” on the phone (probably because my voice is quite deep); or even, by busy shop assistants registering only a tall figure with short hair, to my face. I have variously felt irritated, amused or insulted. Clearly, I never realised I was in the very vanguard of fashion. So gratifying to find everyone else is now catching up.


Eamon said...

crosswords - I don't do them but surely number 11 is next door to number 10. So that must be a clue.

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Eamon. That could well be it! You should do crosswords . . .

Maria said...

I don't like dubbed movies and series, either, and will watch them in original version with subtitles in Spanish for my husband's sake. Sometimes those subtitles are wildly off, and then I have to explain small plot points to my unsuspecting husband.

The gender debate in the Spanish language can also reach strange extremes. The plural in mixed company being masculine, some are up in arms, and writing "todxs" or "tod@s" Fine, but will someone tell me how to pronounce such a travesty?

Alfred B. Mittington said...

My dear Maria,

How hard can it be?? You pronounce 'tod', then you gurgle loudly, then you add an 's'. Job done!


Maria said...

Dear PhoneticAl,

I'm gurgling already, though some might mistake it for a gargle and others for a giggle.

jorge said...

Hello Colin,

The mustard was cut correctly right down the middle. Only the recipient would know which half to take and accept.


SF Bay Area

Perry said...

The monocultural Chinese & Japanese do not accept this non gender shite & neither do I. If the West carries on like this, there'll be even fewer people capable of breeding viable humans. Mao wasn't wrong when he stated the power comes out of the barrel of a rifle. According to Spengler, the population of the world will start shrinking in 50 years.

Perry said...

No-one likes Trump, I don’t care.

The US President is the first Western leader to stand up and announce that the whole sick business of terrorism has to stop. He means it.


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