What's up, Europe? Gender, media and European integration. The story of a a young Dane exploring the continent.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Former Pulp-protagonist fights back

I guess, Jarvis Cocker got a bit upset with New Labour after the '97 British elections.

Earlier I have expressed my disappointment in brit pop and the political involvement of brit pop bands. Still, I am pretty impressed with this new song by the former lead singer in Pulp.

Well did you hear, there’s a natural order.
Those most deserving will end up with the most.
That the cream cannot help but always rise up to the top,
Well I say: Shit floats.
If you thought things had changed,
Friend you’d better think again,
Bluntly put in the fewest of words,
Cunts are still running the world,
Cunts are still running the world.

Now the working classes are obsolete,
They are surplus to societies needs,
So let ‘em all kill each other,
And get it made overseas.
That’s the word don’t you know,
From the guys thats running the show,
Lets be perfectly clear boys and girls,
Cunts are still running the world,
Cunts are still running the world.

Oh feed your children on Cray fish and Lobster tails,
Find a school near the top of the league,
In theory I respect your right to exist,
I will kill ya if you move in next to me,
Ah it stinks, it sucks, it’s anthropologically unjust,
But the takings are up by a third,
Oh So Cunts are still running the world,
Cunts are still running the world.

Your free market is perfectly natural,
Or do you think that I’m some kind of dummy,
It’s the ideal way to order the world,
Fuck the morals, does it make any money?
And if you don’t like it? Then leave.
Or use your right to protest on the street,
Yeah, use your rights but don’t imagine that it’s heard, Oh no no,
Cunts are still running the world,
Cunts are still running the world.

Monday, January 22, 2007

This will be interesting

"I'm in. And I'm in to win. Today I am announcing that I will form an exploratory committee to run for president," states a press release from Hillary Clinton, Senator from New York.

Out of Iraq, energy independence, social security and affordable healthcare are causes on the agenda of the possible first woman to enter the White House as president.

Check out the video in which Hillary Clinton announces her candidacy.

During recent years several scholars have looked into the way media covered Hillary Clinton during her time as First Lady. One of the most interesting articles I have come across is that of Charlotte Templin which evaluates cartoon images of America's most famous female politician. This is an extract from the abstract:

"The cartoon images of Hillary Clinton suggest a backlash against the professional woman, as evidenced by the obsession with Hillary among cartoonists, the continual use of cliches and stereotypes, and the overt sexism in the images and symbols used to depict her. Cartoonists see Hillary violating gender norms. Cartoon images fall into the following categories: gender reversals, Hillary as radical feminist and emasculator, domestic imagery, woman as body, the public woman, cherchez la femme, and the wife the husband wants to get rid of. "

I will keep my fingers crossed for more fair media coverage this time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Operation Red Dragon

It is not an easy task to communicate EU politics. The structures and decision-making processes of the European institutions are rather complex and the same goes for many of the causes and issues raised at the European level.

So how do you make high-level politics more accessible and appealing to European citizens? ALDE, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, has a suggestion; a cartoon. In 'Operation Red Dragon' you are invited to follow Elisa Correr, a member of the European Parliament, as she gets embroiled in a risky adventure taking place in Brussels and the fictitious country of Fang Dong. Every week new pages are made available on ALDE's web page.

If you prefer learning about the EU in a more traditional format I recommend the EU-published booklet 'How the European Union works - a citizen’s guide to the EU institutions'. It is 52 pages long but very easy to read - or just browse through.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Western world scratches the surface

My recent visitor activity. Map is generated with Statcounter.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Famous feminist #6

"We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned; we are really talking about humanism."

Gloria Steinem (b. 1934) is an American feminist icon, journalist, and women's rights advocate. She is the founder and original publisher of Ms. Magazine.

Steinem entered Smith College on scholarship in 1952, majoring in government studies and becoming politically active in Adlai Stevenson's presidential campaign. After graduation she studied in India for two years, after which she returned to America, where she believed that she had difficulty finding a journalism position because males had hiring preference.

Steinem eventually got a political assignment covering George McGovern's presidential campaign, which led to a position in a New York magazine. She became politically active in the feminist movement, and the media seemed to appoint Steinem as a feminist leader of sorts. Steinem brought other notable feminists to the fore and toured the country with lawyer Florynce Rae ("Flo") Kennedy, and in 1971, cofounded the National Women's Political Caucus as well as the Women's Action Alliance. In 1972, she helped start the feminist Ms. Magazine and wrote for the magazine until it was sold in 1987. The magazine was bought by the Feminist Majority Foundation in 2001, and Steinem remains on the masthead as one of six founding editors and serves on the advisory board. Steinem cofounded the Coalition of Labor Union Women in 1974, and participated in the National Conference of Women in Houston, Texas in 1977. She became Ms. magazine's consulting editor when it was revived in 1991, and she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993.

More than the little mermaid

"In the Danish sense security is to have a bottle opener tied to your rocking chair"

- Benny Andersen, Danish author

The cartoon crisis fuelled a big debate on what it means to be Danish - not just locally in Denmark but internationally as well. What those Danes are about really puzzled media world-wide; among these the famous current affairs programme 60 Minutes and Comedy Central's The Daily Show.

To me, born and raised in Denmark, the descriptions that capture the best what it means to be Danish are those of writer Benny Andersen. His poem collection 'Cosmopolitan in Denmark and other poems about the Danes' is a great reader for anyone who wishes to understand the illusive concept of 'Danish-ness' a little better.

Reading Andersen's poems is also a great way of escaping the stereotypes that are often applied to Denmark and its citizens; a fairy tale nation, the home country of Hans Christian Andersen, a cornucopia of pastries, butter cookies and hot-dogs. No wonder, people were so surprised when the cartoon crisis broke out. How could this cute, prosperous miniature country suddenly become object of the anger of millions? Andersen gives insight into a Danish identity that is a lot more complex and ambiguous than the glossy picture often painted by mass media.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Milking the cow

This fall tuition fees have been introduced in many of the German federal states, among those Hamburg where I live. To me free education is not only about equal opportunities for all members of society but also at the core of the progress of the information society. All the neoliberal talk about increasing the level of education is rather paradoxal considering yet another European country introduces tuition fees.

"500 Euro should still be in there" it says on this postcard from the association of socialdemocratic students at the University of Hamburg. 500 Euro is the amount that students will have to pay pro semester to attend university in the federal state of Hamburg.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Overcoming the gender gap

"Girls are incalculateable. Well, now I think of it, guys are too"

- Paul, 23, computer science student