Badass Women

It’s painfully obvious to anyone paying attention that history tends to be a little (a lot), well, skewed toward the male side of things. All the big decisions, we are taught, are made by men. Ditto for all the big innovations, and its always men that seem to be making the big differences in the course of nations and cultures. All bullshit, of course: women have been along for the ride every step of the way, insistently making their own difference, and the blatant interference of the patriarchy means that the women who fought hard enough to make a difference are unequivocally badass. Take Anita Brenner, for example, I doubt you’ve heard of her (I hadn’t). A Mexican-born, American Jew, disowned by pretty much all three adjectives in that label, finds herself up in the middle of the post-Mexican Revolution explosion of arts that included the likes of Diego Rivera, Clemente Orozco, and, of course, Frida Khalo. Brenner was convinced that art had a vital role to play in the establishment of Mexican identity post-revolution, and her steadfast efforts to nurture, connect, and promote Mexican art makes her one badass woman, and an absolute hero to me. Let’s face it: the world wouldn’t be worth half the nonsense we have to endure if it wasn’t for badass women like Anita Brenner.

Which makes me wonder: what other badass women am I totally unaware of? Not just Marie Curie or Hillary Clinton, who’s fame matches their accomplishments. Who do you feel hasn’t been recognized? Enlighten me in the comments! Let’s stop talking about outspoken men of weak intellect and self-image issues and talk more about badass women. Demand more badass women in the history books!!!

The Origin of Human Stories

There’s little in life more encouraging than seeing one of your favorite blogs (Kottke.org) link to (and riff on) a post on another one of your favorite blogs (BLDGBLOG). In this case, these posts discuss the origin of humanity, exploring its reality versus the stories we tell about our origins. Fascinatingly, it seems we’ve readily abandoned our long history as nomads of land and sea, choosing instead to portray ourselves as the perpetually fixed residents of gardens and cities and god-mandated overland empires.

– via Kottke, via BLDGBLOG

History’s Fiction

History, really, is fiction – not because it is made up of invented facts, for the facts are real, but because in the organization of those facts there is much fiction.

– José Saramago, The Paris Review, “The Art of Fiction No. 155”

The Mental Tyranny of Expectation

This opinion column by Nigerian poet Ben Okri raises an interesting point: through a social expectation that writers of color should write about oppression, slavery, or injustice, are they being pigeonholed away from a space to be creative? This is obvious and easiest to understand when talking about writers of color, but the problem applied to artists of any group. The greatest art comes from complete freedom of expression, and while that expression may, at times, be influenced by the history of the artist, expecting their art to directly address that history at every moment limits the artist’s voice, and their potential.

– via The Guardian

How the Soviet Union Passed on the Internet

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This article explains how Soviet computer scientists were among the first to envision the proto-internet and understand its potential, but the structure of Soviet leadership smothered the project. The internet was, of course, later realized (albeit in a different for for a different purpose) by the United States. This is not only interesting history, but an informative examination of the consequences of internal leadership politics.

-via Aeon