A whiskerless face is a mark of the corporate drone

Historically, beards in the boardroom have been a barometer of the relative vitality of capitalism and its critics. When capitalism has assumed a more swashbuckling, individualistic persona, hair has sprouted on the chins of entrepreneurs and speculators. But when forces bent on destroying capitalism have been ascendant — or when well-regulated, faceless corporations have defined economic life — beards have waned. [link]

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Police violence isn’t only about race, it’s also about a lack of accountability

Yes, there is good reason to think that many of these unjustifiable homicides by police across the country are racially motivated. But there is a lot more than that going on here. Our country is simply not paying enough attention to the terrible lack of accountability of police departments and the way it affects all of us—regardless of race or ethnicity. Because if a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy — that was my son, Michael — can be shot in the head under a street light with his hands cuffed behind his back, in front of five eyewitnesses (including his mother and sister), and his father was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who flew in three wars for his country — that’s me — and I still couldn’t get anything done about it, then Joe the plumber and Javier the roofer aren’t going to be able to do anything about it either. [link]

“I am so tired of waiting,
Aren’t you,
For the world to become good

And beautiful and kind?”

– Langston Hughes

“The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer.” — James Baldwin. The Nation. July 11, 1966

Whites prefer African-Americans to Blacks but don’t like either that much

Ethnic labels for people of color, such as African American and black, determines just how whites perceive them, says a new study, “A rose by any Other Name?: The Consequences of Subtyping ‘African-Americans’ from ‘Blacks,’” released in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

About 110 whites were randomly assigned to view, and complete, a profile of a male Chicago resident who was identified as either black or African American,…The group decided that the black person’s income and education level were lower than that of the African American’s, the report notes, and were far more likely to think of African Americans as being in managerial positions at work.

In yet another experiment, 90 whites “expressed more negative emotions” toward a 29-year-old crime suspect when he was identified as black rather than African American. The results suggest, “the label black elicits more negative emotions than the label African-American,” the researchers write, “but African American does not elicit positive emotion.” [link]

In future dystopias, race wont matter

While recent dystopias warn youth about over-reliance on computers, totalitarian rule, class warfare, pandemic panics and global warming, very few ask audiences to think deeply about sexism and racism.

Which is strange. If the United States were to truly transform into a totalitarian state, or suffer an environmental catastrophe, it’s safe to say society’s deepest divisions wouldn’t magically disappear overnight. These dystopian adaptations ask their young audiences to imagine that race and gender issues have been partially overcome in the future, while general human suffering has somehow increased. The results feel false, and undercut the films’ attempts to comment on the present day. [link]

November 22, 1968 was the first scripted kiss on American TV

Originally they wanted Uhura to kiss Leonard Nimoy’s Mr Spock instead. Since Spock was half-man, half-Vulcan, that would have made it American TV’s first interspecies kiss! But Bill Shatner said, ‘Hell no, if anybody’s going to kiss Uhura, Kirk is!’

TV executives thought it too risky to show the actual kiss on screen, so Gene Roddenberry shot two versions – one that showed us locking lips and the other with the kiss just out of shot. But during the discreet version, Bill deliberately messed around by crossing his eyes, so they couldn’t use it.

I can’t remember how many takes we did for the kissing version, because Bill, who has a wicked sense of humour, kept saying, ‘I think we need just one more take to get it right.’ I had to keep having my lipstick repaired by the make-up lady between takes and Bill had to be cleaned up as well because by then he was wearing my lipstick, which had rubbed off on him. By the time we finally wrapped, we were laughing our heads off. [link]

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