The cover of National Geographic‘s April issue is stunning in its beauty as well as the underlying message that, well, there ain’t much diff. between black people and white people. You and I might have known that already but, truth be told, it’s awfully easy to forget in this overheated corporate media environment where every mention of the races reinforces the notion they are species from two separate planets.
The race that we call “Asian,” BTW, is from the opposite side of the world so, yeah, those people are different, but only sorta. As for the Australian Aborigines, well, they simply don’t even exist — and that’s true even in the eyes of most of the population of Australia.
Apparently, NatGeo is doing a mea culpa for the decades and decades it’s spent turning dark-skinned folks into fascinating museum or art gallery exhibits. And that’s nice but, nevertheless, the mag and the foundation remain pretty much stuck in the 1950s with regard to POC. That’s a hell of an advancement from their previous stance, which allowed the mag to display the naked breasts of African black women because — let’s be frank — those people weren’t as worthy of the phony-baloney modesty that prohibited the publication from exposing good white women’s mammaries.
Aren’t those African black women interestingly weird?, seemed to be the message. Seemed to be — hell. The mag may as well have come right out and said we can look at an African black woman’s exposed upper body for the same reason we can watch a dog lick its privates. We (whites), the unwritten tenet held, are civilized human beings and, therefore, superior to both of them.
I’m glad NatGeo is finally trying to inch its way into the 21st Century. But don’t forget, the outfit has a long, long way to go. For further reading along this line, check out this take on the issue in Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).
Women & Our Singular President
A little tidbit I discovered while reading a New York Times essay about Catharine MacKinnon, the legal scholar and radical feminist who penned the landmark 1979 book, Sexual Harassment of Working Women. That eye-opener actually positioned the term sexual harrassment front and center in the debate over the role of women in our holy land. MacKinnon and her sisteren called for a complete restructuring of society to eliminate male dominance and repression, and how can you argue with that? The NYT essay’s author, Ginia Bellafante, contrasted CM’s work with that of Helen Gurley Brown who, in the ’60s, was viewed as a feminist but by today’s lights is about as much of one as, say, our current president. Bellafante describes Gurley’s Cosmopolitan magazine operation and her books as “a feminism of patriarchal compliance.”
Which brings me to the tidbit. The essayist describes Brown and her 1968 book, Sex and the Office, thusly:
… Brown’s sequel to her loopy best-selling instructional Sex and the Single Girl, she delivered a playbook of the way young women should understand male bosses that included lessons in making them feel godlike. Colleagues were potential sexual partners and the cubicle was Tinder: “Though it may seem to the untrained eye that you are selflessly working on office projects together, what you are really doing is sinking into them like a cobalt treatment so that you may make off with them after work.”
Not, as it were, woke.
Now, here’s the kicker: Sex and the Office was re-issued in 2004. And guess who gave it an imprimatur with “an enthusiastic blurb.” Yep. Our very own future President Gag.
As if you needed more evidence, the fact is we elected president a reanimated corpse from the year 1952.