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This week: What Sexism?; A Bridge Decision Too Far

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Thursday, December 06, 2012

What Sexism?

I can see how the Huffington Post’s referring to [Republican presidential hopeful Michele] Bachmann lowering her suit’s neckline is sexist [“Fifty Shades of Sexism,”November 29, 2012], but I’m not really getting the Warren-compared-to-Granny sexism charge. Carr was comparing one woman to another. If he compared Warren to an old guy, would that be better?

Likewise with the Pocahontas reference. It’s Warren’s own fault that she falsely claimed (in my opinion and the opinion of many others) to be of Native American heritage. So Carr made fun of her claim by calling her the name of a female Indian. Again, would it make the folks at Name It. Change It. feel better if he called her Sitting Bull? (And would it make any sense if he did?)

Carr was every bit as merciless against Democrats John Kerry and Al Gore when they ran for president, so I’m not buying the “He made fun of her because he’s sexist” charge.

And, yes, it’s true that over 50 percent of the U.S. population are women. But it’s also true that we live in a democracy where upwards of 100 percent of women of voting age can also vote, and apparently choose not to vote for female candidates. (See Hillary Clinton back in the 2008 Democrat primaries.) And if the problem is that not enough women are running for office, that still doesn’t mean we have a sexism problem bigger than Pakistan’s. (Really, I don’t recall stonings, acid attacks and banning women’s education being practiced here.)

I’m reminded of the recent Marine effort to put female officers through infantry training school. Feminists were all for it, of course, but in the end only two women volunteered for it. After both of them flunked out—along with about 30 male candidates—no other women came forward to participate. Does that mean the Marines Corps is sexist, or does it just mean that, in the end, no other female officers wanted to participate—regardless of how badly the Left wanted them to?

*

A Bridge Decision Too Far

If the Valley Advocate’s The Other Side of the Bridges” [November 22, 2012] is accurate, a very serious error has been committed, and that is putting it politely. Where in the world does Planning Director Wayne Feiden get off handing one of the most valuable, prominent canvases in the Valley to an artist on his whim?

My opinion has nothing to do with the money and nothing to do with Ostroff, who is a wonderful artist. It has solely to do with the nerve of Feiden to arbitrarily decide what the citizenry will look at daily for decades to come. Forget about the technicalities of signage vs. art, and the fact that he would draw that line when [Ostroff’s installation] is so obviously art reeks of a dirty deal and unfathomable arrogance.

How can you have faith in this man’s judgment from this day forward? I believe he should be fired, the artwork removed, and the space properly awarded to an artist via a clean, transparent process.

*

As a member of the Northampton Arts Council, I take exception to the notion that the Council’s criteria may not have been followed or may have been poorly assessed in selecting the two artists whose work was selected in both rounds of the competition for the rail bridge mural project.

Every effort was made in both rounds to select a piece that was both meritorious artistically and feasible practically. It is not easy to select a work of art through a democratic process, and there are times when such a group decides that it is better to take a chance on an ambitious but promising piece instead of picking something that may be less difficult to install but ultimately less interesting.

Further, the fact that David Teeple’s piece was damaged is far less significant (and far less under the control of the Arts Council) than the fact that, due to his elegant and thoughtful design, the piece was easily repaired after being hit by a truck and after being vandalized with graffiti.

In such a process it is inevitable that many people will be disappointed—the artists whose work was not chosen, those on the selection panel who may have been outvoted, people in the city who have different tastes in art. But those who are unhappy with the outcome do not do the rest of us any favors by bad-mouthing the process; such venting will probably just serve to discourage people from serving on public boards in the future.

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