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international women's day: a concrete act of contrition

 
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sambista



Joined: 25 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: 03/08/18 7:45 am    ::: international women's day: a concrete act of contrition Reply Reply with quote

on international women’s day (and let’s hope someday there’ll be no need for a "day" or a week or a month for anyone), i offer a remarkable example of redress by the new york times, in the form of a project called "overlooked." championed by one editor and embraced by the paper, the project is retroactively producing obituaries for notable people whose deaths passed unrecorded by the nyt, including charlotte bronte, henrietta lacks, ida b. wells and sylvia plath. just fantastic.

Women We Overlooked in 167 Years of Our Obituaries

How an Obits Project on Overlooked Women Was Born



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Carol Anne



Joined: 09 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: 03/08/18 8:39 am    ::: Re: international women's day: a concrete act of contrition Reply Reply with quote

Thanks for the links!

https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/971732290291322881


pilight



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PostPosted: 03/08/18 8:56 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I can understand how Henrietta Lacks' death would have gone unnoted, since the story of her cells didn't come out until many years later, but some of the others are very puzzling.



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GlennMacGrady



Joined: 03 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: 03/08/18 1:48 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

A nice, if narrow, attempt at retroactive inclusion, and the bios are interesting. However, the Gray Lady and its media sisters not only failed to write about people like these when they died, but likely failed to write about them at all.

As a reader of the NYT since ninth grade (we got it free in high school), and of every sort of magazine and media all my life, I recall reading only about Outerbridge, Lovelace, Plath and Bronte.
jammerbirdi



Joined: 23 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: 03/08/18 7:29 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

GlennMacGrady wrote:
A nice, if narrow, attempt at retroactive inclusion, and the bios are interesting. However, the Gray Lady and its media sisters not only failed to write about people like these when they died, but likely failed to write about them at all.

As a reader of the NYT since ninth grade (we got it free in high school), and of every sort of magazine and media all my life, I recall reading only about Outerbridge, Lovelace, Plath and Bronte.


I like the balance you're giving here. I clicked on this thread early this morning and saw the names and was like, Bronte and such, whatever. Ancient history.. Plath surprised me. Then I forgot about this and went about doing other stuff. Then later I opened the NYTimes app on my iPhone and the first thing I saw, because the Times is pushing this feature out there, was a picture of a woman with a camera. Face instantly familiar. I seriously could not believe my eyes. And I've got to tell you folks, that kicked me in the gut. Arbus? Seriously? No obituary. That actually set off anger as well, and I'm just going to tell the truth here, a fucking wash of tears. Arbus is like a pillar of my world.

So forget all of that and all the warm feelings about the feature itself, the correcting of the record, etc. I'm left far more disgusted than appreciative. Something is very wrong with that paper. It literally was and is the best of Times and the worst of Times. And it hasn't changed and won't change. Forget the woman angle. Society is correcting for that now very quickly. There's a limit to all of that because people, and men are people, are ultimately not just selfish, but by necessity must compete to garner more for themselves than the next person, whether that's a woman or not.

I don't believe the Times did this today to correct the record or to come clean or anything like that. They did it because this gave them a great feature on International Day of the Woman that would be sure to get a lot of attention. But forget that as well.

The emotion I still feel at seeing that Diane Arbus didn't get an obituary in the New York Times comes from a place of meaning because I understand who she was during her short life. I don't think the reason she didn't get an obit was really about her being a woman. I think it was about her work, especially. But also about her as a person. She had been championed by John Szarkowski (God) and had had an exhibition at MOMA. She was famous. But she was difficult and she'd pissed off a lot of people with her work and her temperament. Many people poisoned her reputation and I think all of that impacted whether or not she would have gotten a god damned obituary in her own city's newspaper of record.

It's one thing to pull up people from the ancient past. It's a whole 'nuther thing when you admit to something from the modern era that is as glaring as this. And then blame it all on a bias against women. I'm just not having it. Read the piece. At this point, is it really that important to include all of the scathing criticisms of her work and her life? You can see WHY the Times CHOSE not to give Diane Arbus an obituary when she died! lol. I'm not going to say that isn't great writing. It's great writing. But everything you need to know is inherent in this piece published today.

"After decades of intense examination of her work and life, perhaps there is room to understand Arbus as a woman driven by artistic vision as well as personal compulsion, and her photographs as documents of empathy as well as exploitation."

Perhaps. As well as exploitation. You see what I'm saying, people? Agendas are everything. A naked telling of the truth (which yes, we sort of got today)... not so much.

Fuck 'em all.


jammerbirdi



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PostPosted: 03/08/18 8:00 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

"After decades of intense examination of her work and life, perhaps there is room to understand Arbus as a woman driven by artistic vision as well as personal compulsion, and her photographs as documents of empathy as well as exploitation."

So I'm not fucking done here. Just to be clear, Diane Arbus does not deserve this paragraph above here in 2018. SHE'S A FUCKING GIANT!

I think I'm taking this personally for a couple of reasons. One I won't get into. But the other is that I'm a photographer who fully expects to be ignored until long after I'm gone if not forever. Because I'm producing a controversial and unconventional (in the art world) form of photography that many see as exploitative. Nothing on the level of an Arbus I will be the first to tell you. But I fully expect as well that decades after I'm gone someone might stumble upon my street images of Los Angeles and Hollywood and Beverly Hills and collect them, curate them, use their knowledge of the gallery world, and then go on tour sipping champagne with people who will STILL be dismissive of the work as is the story of what was done with the images of another great woman photographer, maybe the greatest American street photographer who has ever lived, the newly 'discovered' Vivian Maier.

I'm just saying. To see snobbery STILL shaping the perspective and assessment of the work of Diane Arbus? It's soul crushing.


pilight



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PostPosted: 03/08/18 8:12 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Plath wasn't widely known in the US when she died. Ariel was published two years after her death, The Bell Jar didn't get a US release until eight years later.



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jammerbirdi



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PostPosted: 03/08/18 8:19 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
Plath wasn't widely known in the US when she died. Ariel was published two years after her death, The Bell Jar didn't get a US release until eight years later.


Didn't know that. I knew the Ariel poems were published posthumously but I thought The Bell Jar was published in the 1950s and I thought it, too, sort of pissed off all the wrong people. Fuzzy memory there. Still, she was an American woman married to the poet laureate of Great Britain before she died. IDK. I don't know the era then or how much was known of Plath prior to her suicide. The Silent Woman, the incredible book and New Yorker piece by Janet Malcolm makes Plath's life seem like it played out on a very large stage. I think in England it might have seemed that way to her.


calbearman76



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PostPosted: 03/11/18 4:13 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

While I believe this was a good feature and well tied to the day, I have to wonder what important men might also have been passed over by the Times obituary staff. I believe that in some cases people become more known only after their death; in other cases political or cultural considerations may make individuals who are important in one genre not necessarily as noteworthy to Times readers. I suspect such a list would have many other individuals we would be surprised did not get memorialized by the Times.


sambista



Joined: 25 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: 03/11/18 5:12 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

calbearman76 wrote:
While I believe this was a good feature and well tied to the day, I have to wonder what important men might also have been passed over by the Times obituary staff. I believe that in some cases people become more known only after their death; in other cases political or cultural considerations may make individuals who are important in one genre not necessarily as noteworthy to Times readers. I suspect such a list would have many other individuals we would be surprised did not get memorialized by the Times.


i didn't explore all the related stories fully, but i thought the nyt probably did itself a disservice by leaving the impression that it would not also make amends for unacknowledged men. i'm pretty sure it will.

that said, as with everything else, who gets space and who doesn't is subjective - subjectively generational, i believe. i could just imagine who was on duty recently when it was decided to run the lengthy obit on don rickles, a name to which most young people today would reply, "who?" it's interesting, though, wondering how these decisions are made. the rickles obit, like many others, was written long ago and updated accordingly, just waiting for the moment, and the decision about whether it rated on that particular, fateful day.



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pilight



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PostPosted: 03/11/18 9:45 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

calbearman76 wrote:
While I believe this was a good feature and well tied to the day, I have to wonder what important men might also have been passed over by the Times obituary staff. I believe that in some cases people become more known only after their death; in other cases political or cultural considerations may make individuals who are important in one genre not necessarily as noteworthy to Times readers. I suspect such a list would have many other individuals we would be surprised did not get memorialized by the Times.


International Men's Day is in November



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