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Posts Tagged ‘suffrage

The vote? Get out…

93 years ago, in August 1920, U.S. politics changed forever. The 19th Amendment was ratified, giving millions of women the right to vote and answering a nearly century-long demand for suffrage.

But Emma Goldman was skeptical…  was woman not, when it came down to it, just as foolish as man?  Indeed, was suffrage even the point?

We boast of the age of advancement, of science, and progress. Is it not strange, then, that we still believe in fetish worship? True, our fetishes have different form and substance, yet in their power over the human mind they are still as disastrous as were those of old.

Our modern fetish is universal suffrage. Those who have not yet achieved that goal fight bloody revolutions to obtain it, and those who have enjoyed its reign bring heavy sacrifice to the altar of this omnipotent deity. Woe to the heretic who dares question that divinity! Woman’s demand for equal suffrage is based largely on the contention that woman must have the equal right in all affairs of society. No one could, possibly, refute that, if suffrage were a right. Alas, for the ignorance of the human mind, which can see a right in an imposition. Or is it not the most brutal imposition for one set of people to make laws that another set is coerced by force to obey? Yet woman clamors for that “golden opportunity” that has wrought so much misery in the world, and robbed man of his integrity and self-reliance, an imposition that has thoroughly corrupted the people and made them absolute prey in the hands of unscrupulous politicians…

I am not opposed to woman suffrage on the conventional ground that she is not equal to it. I see neither physical, psychological, nor mental reasons why woman should not have the equal right to vote with man. But that cannot possibly blind me to the absurd notion that woman will accomplish that wherein man has failed. If she would not make things worse, she certainly could not make them better. To assume, therefore, that she would succeed in purifying something which is not susceptible of purification is to credit her with supernatural powers. Since woman’s greatest misfortune has been that she was looked upon as either angel or devil, her true salvation lies in being placed on earth, namely, in being considered human and therefore subject to all human follies and mistakes. Are we, then, to believe that two errors will make a right? Are we to assume that the poison already inherent in politics will be decreased if women were to enter the political arena? The most ardent suffragists would hardly maintain such a folly…

- excerpt from “Women Suffrage,” published in Anarchism and Other Essays in 1910

Winston Churchill famously observed that “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried…” (House of Commons speech, November 11. 1947).  Emma Goldman, it seems, demurs…

But while they might disagree on methodology– even feasibility– I suspect that they could agree on the critical importance of extracting “the poison already inherent in politics.”

[TotH to Lapham’s Quarterly for a pointer to the text]

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As we return to Mother Earth, we might recall that it was on this date in 1920 that Mary Roberts Reinhart’s The Bat opened at the Morosco Theatre in New York.

Reinhart, often called “the American Agatha Christie,” invented the “Had-I-But-Known” school of mystery writing; and while she never actually seems to have written it, is widely-credited with the phrase “the butler did it.”  The Bat was one of her successes: it ran for over two years, was revived twice, novelized (see below), and filmed three times.

And perhaps as importantly, one of the film adaptations of The Bat has been cited by Bob Kane as an inspiration for his creation, Batman.

 source

Written by LW

August 23, 2013 at 1:01 am

The old ball-and-chain…

 

 Photo: MARKKU OJALA/EPA/Landov (source)

Mental Floss reports:

At the annual Wife Carrying World Championships in Sonkajärvi, Finland, male competitors race around a track hauling their female partners on their backs. The winner takes home his wife’s weight in beer.

It’s no ordinary racetrack, either. Competitors must wade through a neck-deep pool of water, climb over hurdles, and run through pits of sand before crossing the finish line.

While some participants don crazy costumes for the pre-race, the actual event is pretty straight-laced. Wives must weigh at least 49 kilograms (108 pounds). Any woman lighter than that is required to carry a heavy rucksack until she reaches this minimum. A participant who drops his wife will be penalized 15 seconds. But there is one catch: contestants don’t have to carry their own wives. A friend’s wife, stranger’s wife, or even a random grandmother will do – as long as she’s over 17.

Contestants flock from 47 countries across the globe to show their stuff in this epic display of brute strength. This year, Finnish couple Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen [above] captured the title for the fourth consecutive year. The 46-year-old lawyer and his wife completed the 235-meter course in one minute and four seconds.

Like any dedicated athlete, Miettinen reported that he’d been training for a while. “In last autumn, I started running in the track, one hundred, two hundred and four hundred meters,” Miettinen said in a post-race interview.  He also practiced the course in ski boots to build leg strength.

The competition, which began in 1992, is supposedly rooted in the legend of Ronkainen the Robber — a hardnosed gang leader who hazed potential members by making them lug sacks of grain or live pigs over a similar course. He and his comrades also made a habit of stealing women from neighboring villages (as a nod to this practice, many men “steal” friends’ wives for the competition).

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As we tote that bale, we might recall that it was on this date in 1920 that Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendement to the Constitution, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it law.  The culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists, it guaranteed that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

 source

 

Written by LW

August 18, 2012 at 1:01 am

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