Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Persons of the Year

Per the Washington Post:

Journalists around the world have been targeted and assaulted for their work. Some have paid with their freedom; others have paid with their lives.

Even the president of the United States — a country that has prided itself on having freedom of the press since its founding — has repeatedly attacked the media as “the enemy of the people.” Other world leaders have echoed this aggressive stance against the media, cracking down on reporters who have tried to hold them accountable.

We are living through nothing short of a “war on truth” — but it is in such a time that “professional truth seekers” are more important than ever, Time magazine declared in its latest issue…
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Tuesday Morning Open Thread: It Gets Better



Open Thread: Happy Hanukkah!

Well, give them points for staying on theme — relentlessly!

And with the dark and cold enshrouding, who can say no to candles, friends, fried latkes and jelly donuts?



World AIDS Day

Theme for this 30th (!!!) anniversary, per WHO: Know Your Status

I owe one of you Jackals (OzarkHillbilly, probably) a hat tip for this Guardian linkInstagram’s Aids memorial: ‘History does not record itself’ “ :

The Aids memorial on Instagram is unlike anything else on social media – there is nothing trifling about it. The first face I look at is of a New Zealand airline host called Barry Hayden – an ordinary man, extraordinary to the people who loved him, the sort of handsome that looks made to last. There is a lightness about the picture, as if there were no end in sight. The man raises a glass of wine to propose a toast. But it is we who must toast him instead. As the Aids memorial’s profile page explains, this is a place for “stories of love, loss and remembrance”. Scrolling through the feed is like looking at an unending family photograph album in which people are related by one thing: Aids, the disease that has led to the deaths of 35 million people worldwide. There are men, women, a handful of children. Not strength in numbers, only mortal weakness. So many gone – seen here in their carefree prime. The faces are mainly young, often beautiful. The collective impact is devastating…

… The Aids memorial was started in April 2016 by Stuart, a Scot who prefers to keep himself – and his surname – out of the story. Each contributor emails or messages Stuart with the story of a friend or family member affected by HIV. He then posts their text and pictures on to the Instagram feed. If you don’t have a photo of your loved one, he’ll help you find one. If no image exists, an illustration by artist Justin Teodoro will be used instead. This was never a vanity project and Stuart is no fan of social media’s narcissistic routines. Nor does he swank about educating a younger gay generation, even though his site succeeds in doing exactly that. “It’s still taboo to talk about Aids, I thought maybe I could help change that,” he says. “History does not record itself, Instagram reaches a far-ranging demographic.”

The feed has taken off, especially in the US, and has more than 4,500 posts and 67,000 followers. It has attracted high-profile supporters such as Tatum O’Neal, Shirley Manson and Alan Cumming, who appear wearing their Aids memorial T-shirts and posting messages of solidarity. Peter Spears, producer of the film Call Me By Your Name [a gay coming-of-age story], saluted the Aids memorial in his speech at the GLAAD awards in May. One of the posts, he said, about “the mystery of first love” explained the way they made their film. The Aids memorial is, in contrast to the famous Aids quilt – at 54 tons the largest community artwork in the world – a weightless gallery, dominated by photographs. Celebs and non-celebs are remembered and some entries (written either by Stuart or by people who knew them) are about people you may not be aware had the disease, such as 70s tennis superstar Arthur Ashe or actors Anthony Perkins and Alexis Arquette.

Stuart laments the stigma around Aids, even within the gay community: “On dating apps, there are those who seek to date only men who are ‘clean’. There are people fearful of being tested, afraid of what their family – or society – might think were they to test positive. They end up dying because they left it too late. HIV diagnosed can be treated, it’s no longer a life sentence.” Occasionally, Stuart adds, people intending to post have changed their minds at the last minute, fearful of judgment…

You might assume the contemplation of all these deaths would turn mawkish but, as Stuart rightly claims, the feed is not depressing: “Ironically, it’s the opposite.” The feed’s brave hashtag, “what is remembered lives”, is endlessly appropriate. Yet, when I ask about posting these stories day-in, day-out, he admits: “It’s difficult. Sometimes, I feel too emotionally drained to continue. However, I sleep on it. I don’t stop. There’s more to each post than death. I’m reminded to live life to the full, appreciate the people closest to me, be more compassionate, less judgmental, not to sweat the small stuff. I relapse constantly but these daily reminders call me to action.”…



Wednesday Gratitude Post: One Good Thing

Been a while, but there’s always room for gratitude…

This week, I’m grateful to discover that Lands End womens gloves, size XL, actually fit my hands. (The older I get, the more I appreciate warm hands.) I have broad-for-a-woman palms, but the fingers on mens gloves are always too long; usually finding a new pair means standing at the store counter trying on every available ‘large’ or ‘one size fits all’ pair until I find something that works. But LE had a half-off sale, so I ordered three different kinds and they all fit just right! Even the ‘EZ touch’ metal-threaded thumb & forefinger pads actually work well enough on my cell that I can answer a phone call before it goes to voice mail, which is about as much as I attempt online while out in the weather.

What one good thing are you grateful for, this week?



Open Thread: A Prayer for All Times…


 
Ever find yourself missing the feeling of communal optimism?…



Open Thread: Unbought & Unbossed

“If They Don’t Give You A Seat At the Table, Bring A Folding Chair”

Chisholm was the first Black woman to run for President, and — along with Bella Abzug — my first introduction to women owning their political power.

Glad to see that she’s still inspiring the new generation of leaders!