This Is Only A Test


Tests are all around us, ubiquitous to every day.   You probably took a test the minute you were born.  Today we look at a number of test, from movie theaters to hospitals, that are named for the people who created them.

It’s known as the Bechdel test, and it goes like so: For a given work of fiction, usually a movie, to pass the test, the piece must have at least two female characters in it, with names, who talk to each other about something other than a man.  That must be pretty common, you say to yourself. You’d be surprised how many movies don’t meet the criteria. Think back to the original Star Wars or Lord of the Rings trilogy. Those movies have so few female characters that you can count them on one hands and those characters rarely share a scene, let alone a conversation. Continue reading

Stolen Innocents

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Funny how that only seems to apply to bad things. Without getting into current politics, which you’re safe from here, we can’t ignore the plight of children seized from parents of a particular group. And it’s not the first time either. The American government took tens of thousands of children from Native families and placed them in boarding schools with strict assimilation practices. Their philosophy – kill the Indian to save the man. My name’s Moxie and this is your brain on facts.

That was the mindset under which the U.S. government Native children to attend boarding schools, beginning in the late 19th century, when the government was still fighting “Indian wars.” There had been day and boarding schools on reservations prior to 1870, when U.S. cavalry captain, Richard Henry Pratt established the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. This school was not on a reservation, so as to further remove indigenous influences. The Carlisle school and other boarding schools were part of a long history of U.S. attempts to either kill, remove, or assimilate Native Americans. “As white population grew in the United States and people settled further west towards the Mississippi in the late 1800s, there was increasing pressure on the recently removed groups to give up some of their new land,” according to the Minnesota Historical Society. Since there was no more Western territory to push them towards, the U.S. decided to remove Native Americans by assimilating them. In 1885, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Hiram Price explained the logic: “it is cheaper to give them education than to fight them.”
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Good Mourning To You

with special guests, Life In Stories podcast.

When I die, we’re not having a funeral.  That’s not to say my body won’t be properly disposed of.  Obviously it will be, otherwise my cats will eat me. What I’m staunchly against are depressing affairs full of silent discomfort and the worst thing of all, the viewing.  Thankfully, there is a literal world of funeral practice options to choose from, everything from an Irish wake to Tibetan sky burial.

 

Before you brace yourself for another serious episode, don’t worry.  Talking about death doesn’t have to be depressing. Death is a part of life and I feel we should be able to talk about death as easily as we talk about birth.  They’re fundamentally the same – a momentous life event that your family deals with more than you do and tends to be at least a little messy. There are as many ways to celebrate a person’s life as there are kinds of people in the world.  So in the spirit of celebration, let’s begin with something close to home, the New Orleans jazz funeral.

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