September 22, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are– Robin Gibb: a missed opportunity to discuss gendered professions.

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Who Do You Think You Are Robin Gibb 21/09/2011

I like who Do You Think You Are. I like the Bee Gees. However, through no fault of Robin’s, it seems the two together are less than the sum of their parts. My quibble lies with their discussion of his midwife ancestor, who, judging by her character references, was undoubtedly an excellent midwife and a treasure in her local community.

It seems that in 1937 she neglected to inform a doctor, as per the regulations, that a child she was looking after had an eye infection. At the time, gonorrhea was seemingly rife and children could go blind if the infection was passed to them while they moved through the birth canal.
Robin, through misty eyes, assumed that, as a doctor had seen the child previous to the midwife, his ancestor MUST HAVE assumed that the child was already under a doctor and therefore did not need to inform a doctor herself. The midwifery powers that be, of the time, disagreed and cautioned her for negligence.

While I do not doubt the soundness of calling a doctor for a potentially blinding infection, I also think there are other mitigating circumstances that would preclude hurrying to the nearest doctor- for the mother’s sake. The programme failed to make a point of the pre NHS situation that this incident transpired in. When doctors cost money. Maybe the mother couldn’t afford a doctor and a midwife and his ancestor was doing the mother a kindness which common sense suggests may have been commonplace. If the mother had gonorrhea, could she have caught it while operating as a prostitute which would have been shameful and illegal, leading to a well-founded fear of authority- another reason not to get too involved with medical professionals, who would also have been predominantly male, which leads me to my next point.

The programme alluded to the stringent nature of midwifery rules at the beginning of the professions professionalization and probably did not have time to ask why they were so stringent for anything other than medical reasons. They did explain that doctors (male) made these rules for midWIVES. They did not take the time to discuss the idea that they were deliberately codified to restrict the power and initiative of a female profession dealing with feminine issues over which men had never had the opportunity to wield power before. Suddenly men qua doctors could set the rules over something they had previously had no power, and they set, what was referred to throughout as, restrictive and stringent rules.

What a terrible couple of missed opportunities.

October 30, 2009

Musings while on a train.

I have been on many trains of late and luckily(?) remembered to write some of my most recent thoughts down.

As a Primary School Teacher I don't often get to the use the language associated with University and, more specifically, my Politics degree training. So I thought I'd have a go at seeing how this language could be used (abused) in a Primary Classroom context.

(To be read i the voice of Joyce Grenfall)

"Billy et al. stop chattering!"

"Fran. You do not have hegenomy over the crayons. Share please."


"Anne, you know the answer to question 1; Ben, you know the answer to question 2; Cate and Deirdre likewise 3 and 4. If you set out the worksheets using the division of labour model you will get it finished more quickly and be able to go out to play.

Henry, you know all of the answers yourself and you can wear the neo liberal hat this afternoon. What? You don't think it's fair that they'll get the same marks as you in half the time? Aaaah, Henry, you see, while they remain unable to complete the whole worksheet, you; my dear boy, will do better in the test.

Pardon? You'd rather go out to play now? Think of your future Henry! If you forgo playtime and complete your sheet you can have all of lunchtime in which to frolic with your friends. What's that? What if it rains? I don't know Henry, stop asking questions. I have too much paperwork to complete in order to proceed down my own chosen career path. What Henry? Is that why no one is in the staffroom Henry? What do you mean am I happy, Henry?! Don't ask silly questions boy, if you are going to do well in that test you are going to have to forget happiness and complete that worksheet, otherwise you will have to stay in at lunchtime too.

Eh? You've seen a gap in the market Henry? What do you mean you'd like to go back to middle table and write the date on each worksheet for them Henry? What a waste dear child! You're too bright to be merely writing a date over and over again and wasting time with playtimes. You don't know what's best for you. Think of your future Henry! Now go and sit on top table and complete your worksheet and show me how good you are. Good boy."

July 01, 2009

Mafia sympathy card or accident lawyers promo?

                                                  Had an accident? (Wasn't your fault?) Card punctuation and tone FAIL.

Another reading of it is in the rather sinister tone of the Mafia sympathy card. Had an accident? Sorry to hear that you're not well...

This is what you get if you pay 79p for a card. Bought, by me, today for comedy value only!

June 30, 2009

Aromacupuncturetherapy. Pine needles.

Aromacupuncturetherapy. Pine needles!

June 21, 2009

Wooden mobile phone.

I would like a wooden ipod, and a wooden mobile phone.
I would like a wooden toaster, I am tired of one of chrome.
I would like a wooden laptop, and a wooden DVD,
I would even like a plasma screen of tough mahogony.

I would like some wooden headphones, and a wood remote control,
A wooden fridge would suit me fine, I’d power it with coal.
I could hang some paper curtains and lay blankets made of card,
And if they gave me paper cuts, I’d burn them in my yard.

I’ll have credit cards of plywood, pay with debit cards of ash,
I’d like pennies cut from ebony, play chequers with my cash.
I’d carve my keys from silver birch, my locks hewn out of pine,
To protect all of these wooden things, that I’d like to be mine.

Inspired by the faux wood finish on the back of my black plastic MP3 player. Why? Phllips, you’re fooling no one!


PS- I want to access the internet on a typewriter,

June 03, 2009

03/06/09 The goose drank wine… and the monkey went to heaven in a dress.

My Dad received post today, stamped with HALFPENNY denominations of stamps. How? My sister couldn’t find any comemorative HALFPENNY stamps on the postal service website? Bizarre!

Olde worlde stampes usede ine poste todaye.

03/06/09 the goose drank wine…. or rather 5 ducks as viewed from my upstairs window.

View from- 03/06/09

May 27, 2009

Paradise Electronic.

If I were a cartoonist, I would draw Adam and Eve sitting in some kind of control room/ laboratory. At their fingertips would be the equipment to find out and control everything in their domain- from the infinitesimal to the gigantic. To the knowable to those things of which we are not yet aware. These things we shall call- Science and Technology.

However, in this centre of knowledge and therefore, undeniably, power, there is a large red button. On this button are written the words- "Do not press".

In my cartoon, the eye would then be drawn out of a window into space. It becomes clear that should the button be pressed, all the equipment, that would prove for certain every conjecture that our investigators could conceive, would be ejected into space. Our investigators would be cast out into nothingness, perfect knowledge gone, leaving them to scrabble together imperfect apparatus that can only scratch the surface of what they were given.

In my picture the laboratory (a little like the Spaceship in 2001 a space odessy, a film I am aware of but have never seen) Adam and Eve are seen waving from out in space, hand in hand, the button has clearly been compressed, the airlock is open and some screen on a monitor is proclaiming imminent catastrophe for ideal knowledge or whoever made the space lab's idea of perfect knowledge, all neatly set out for us to find, their way.

In another, similar control room, a figure thumps a fist on a desk. How dare they not figure things out the way that they had been told to? The cheek of literally thinking outside of the box! What might they find on their own path to knowledge?

And yes, I am watchng the Armando Iannucci programme on Paradise Lost!

May 20, 2009

RIP Sergeant Lee Bates.

When reading tonight's Express and Star I was deeply shocked and extremely saddened to read of Lee's tragically early death from Leukaemia aged just 29.

I was selected to sit on the BBC Regional Accountability Panel (now Regional Audience Panel) at the same time as Lee in 2006. As the youngest people in the room we sometimes had remarkably different opinions to the older members or remarkably similar- both standing up for the representation of young people in the Black Country across the BBCs various platforms.

Lee was polite, friendly and engaging and it was a pleasure to listen to how he worked with young people as well as being a full time police officer. We can truly say that Lee made a real difference during his painfully short life.

I'm doing the Race for Life in June and I'm sickened by just how personal a 5 kilometres this is turning out to be.

May 13, 2009

Telephone Hygienists: a reality?

The flu virus can survive on hard surfaces such as telephone handsets. Quick- call a telephone hygienist. Or then again maybe don't... Pick the telephone up in a tissue and then put the tissue straight in the bin. Avoid using a lift whilst waiting for your telephone hygienist and do not shake their hand. Better still- in order to protect yourself fully from infection dig yourself a moat. There is government funding available for such life saving home improvements. Contact your local government office by phone on 08...

Catch it, kill it, bin it, burn it. Curse the ashes then dispose of them. Do not dspose of ashes in your bin. For free advice on disposal of flu ridden ashes please call the, oh forget it... :)

April 20, 2009

Mea culpa = My bad.

Latin CI.

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