The Founder Of Mother’s Day Hated What The Holiday Became

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/08/anna-jarvis-mothers-day_n_5282952.html

By
05/08/2014

The founder of Mother’s Day wouldn’t have wanted you to buy those flowers for mom. Or that card. Or those chocolates. In all likelihood, she wouldn’t have wanted you to celebrate the holiday at all.

The fact that we will collectively spend nearly $20 billion on moms this year probably would have caused Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day, to throw her lunch on the floor like she reportedly did in the early 1900s, when she found out that a department store in Philadelphia was offering a Mother’s Day special, according to Mental Floss.

Jarvis — a West Virginia woman who didn’t even have children of her own, according to History.com — came up with the idea for a Mother’s Day holiday, organizing the first celebration at a Methodist church in 1908. Annoyed that most American holidays were dedicated to honoring male achievements, Jarvis started a letter-writing campaign to make it a national holiday, involving wearing a white carnation, visiting your mother and maybe going to church.

Her campaign worked, but not in the way she hoped: She never wanted Mother’s Day to be the commercial holiday it quickly came to be. (Although maybe she should have thought twice about getting financing for the first celebration from the owner of Wanamaker’s, a major department store at the time.)

Soon after Congress made Mother’s Day an official holiday in 1914, Jarvis was actively campaigning against it, leveling harsh criticism against florists, candy makers, greeting-card companies and anyone else looking to make a buck off the holiday.

A 1924 story published in the Miami Daily News and Metropolis detailed Jarvis’s distaste for what Mother’s Day had become. It pretty much comes down to this:

Consumerism stinks.

“Commercialization of Mother’s Day is growing every year,” says she. “Since the movement has spread to all parts of the world, many things have tried to attach themselves because of its success.”

Florists are the worst.

“The red carnation has no connection with Mother’s Day. Yet florists have spread the idea that it should be worn for mother who has passed away. This has boosted the sale of red carnations.”

Candy makers are also the worst.

“Confectioners put a white ribbon on a box of candy and advance the price just because it’s Mother’s Day,” she charges. “There is no connection between candy and this day. It is pure commercialization.”

Greeting card makers are terrible (as are lazy kids who just send pre-written cards):

“The sending of a wire is not sufficient. Write a letter to your mother. No person is too busy to do this. Any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than any fancy greeting card or telegram.”

So there you have it. Straight from the founder of Mother’s Day herself.

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There’s a Reason Gay Marriage Is Winning, While Abortion Rights Are Losing

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/article/205049/theres-reason-gay-marriage-winning-while-abortion-rights-are-losing#

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Mother’s Day Edition

 

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Texas attack shows how US protects free speech – no matter how offensive

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/06/texas-shootings-free-speech-constitution

Critics say Pamela Geller’s event was provocative and arguably crossed the line into hate speech – but protections afforded by the first amendment are unique

in New York
Wednesday 6 May 2015

The fatal shootings in Garland, Texas, of two extremist gunmen as they attacked an anti-Islamist meeting was a vivid reminder of the virtually unique protections afforded by the US constitution to free speech, no matter how hate-filled or provocative, according to prominent first amendment experts.

In many countries across Europe and around the world, Pamela Geller and the American Freedom Defense Initiative, who organized the event in Garland, might have fallen foul of hate speech laws such as the UK’s 1986 public order act or article 266(b) of Denmark’s criminal code.

Coming just two months after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, commenters the world over have said Geller’s decision to stage the Texas cartoon competition – participants were invited to draw the prophet Muhammad, with a top prize of $10,000 – was clearly provocative and arguably crossed the line into hate speech.

Geller herself has a long history of inflammatory acts toward the Muslim community.

But there was never any question of the Muhammad event being barred, leading US constitutional scholars say, for the simple reason that the first amendment offers an almost watertight protection of public speech.

Harvard University law professor Laurence Tribe said the Garland attack illustrated a major difference in free speech law between the US and almost every other country in the world.

“Most other nations recognize a category of hateful speech that is likely to trigger outrage and even retaliation, but the first amendment has for many decades been interpreted to allow speakers like Pamela Geller to spread their disturbing messages to the world at large,” Tribe said.

While some aspects of US constitutional law are ambiguous or blurry, the first amendment is crystal clear on this issue. The government is prohibited from punishing hate speech or language that might incite lawlessness unless the words are specifically and deliberately directed at a particular target and likely imminently to trigger violence.

Given all the legal hurdles that a prosecution would have to clear in order to be successful, actions to block public events or censor hate-filled publications are virtually extinct in modern America. Legal scholars such as Tribe date the ascendancy of the first amendment in this area to the 1969 case of Brandenburg v Ohio in which a Ku Klux Klan leader was convicted under Ohio law for holding a rally with participants in full Klan regalia parading around burning crosses and vowing “revengeance” against the N-word and Jews.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/06/texas-shootings-free-speech-constitution

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Why So Many Americans Feel So Powerless

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/117461327725

Robert Reich
Sunday, April 26, 2015

A security guard recently told me he didn’t know how much he’d be earning from week to week because his firm kept changing his schedule and his pay. “They just don’t care,” he said.

A traveler I met in the Dallas Fort-Worth Airport last week said she’d been there eight hours but the airline responsible for her trip wouldn’t help her find another flight leaving that evening. “They don’t give a hoot,” she said.

Someone I met in North Carolina a few weeks ago told me he had stopped voting because elected officials don’t respond to what average people like him think or want. “They don’t listen,” he said.

What connects these dots? As I travel around America, I’m struck by how utterly powerless most people feel.

The companies we work for, the businesses we buy from, and the political system we participate in all seem to have grown less accountable. I hear it over and over: They don’t care; our voices don’t count.

A large part of the reason is we have fewer choices than we used to have. In almost every area of our lives, it’s now take it or leave it.

Companies are treating workers as disposable cogs because most working people have no choice. They need work and must take what they can get.

Although jobs are coming back from the depths of the Great Recession, the portion of the labor force actually working remains lower than it’s been in over thirty years – before vast numbers of middle-class wives and mothers entered paid work.

Which is why corporations can get away with firing workers without warning, replacing full-time jobs with part-time and contract work, and cutting wages. Most working people have no alternative.

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/117461327725

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Texas Police Kill Gunmen at Exhibit Featuring Cartoons of Muhammad

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/04/us/gunmen-killed-after-firing-on-anti-islam-groups-event.html?_r=3

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Neil Gaiman stands up for Charlie Hebdo: “For f**k’s sake, they drew somebody and they shot them, and you don’t get to do that”

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2015/05/05/neil_gaiman_stands_up_for_charlie_hebdo_for_fks_sake_they_drew_somebody_and_they_shot_them_and_you_dont_get_to_do_that/

Gaiman, Art Spiegelman and Alison Bechdel on why comics are so controversial — and why they must be defended


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

When six writers withdrew in protest from PEN American Center’s annual fundraising gala last week, they set off a long and lively discussion of free expression and its limits. At issue is the Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award that PEN is tonight bestowing on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, eight of whose staff members were killed, along with four other people, when gunmen sent by the militant Islamist group al-Qaida in Yemen assaulted their offices earlier this year. The dissenting six were soon joined by more than 200 other PEN members, who signed a letter objecting to “enthusiastically rewarding” the magazine because they consider its cartoons of the prophet Mohammed to be offensive to Muslims.

But those six writers also left six empty chairs at the event, chairs ordinarily occupied by well-known literary figures who serve as “table hosts.” Over the weekend, six other writers stepped forward to fill those seats. They include journalist George Packer, “Reading Lolita in Tehran” author Azar Mafisi and Alain Mabanckou, a Congolese-born French author who will present the award to Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief.

The other three are all celebrated comics artists: Art Spiegelman, Neil Gaiman and Alison Bechdel. Spiegelman, author of the legendary graphic novel “Maus,” had read that some PEN members had floated the idea of standing up and turning their backs when the award was presented, or hissing. “I thought, that’s obscene,” he said on the telephone yesterday. “I talked to a few friends, and Alison and Neil Gaiman were able and willing to come. Matt Groening [creator of “The Simpsons”] tried to come but he was in production this week. I thought it would be great to have someone to shout out, ‘Cartoonists’ lives matter!’ when the award is being given if anybody dared hiss it.”

Cartoonists tend to stick together because they have to; as Gaiman points out, their work is disproportionately singled out for suppression both abroad and in the U.S., while at the same time often regarded as not “serious” enough to deserve a full-throttle defense. “I spent 12 years on the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund,” Gaiman told me, “for which I was fighting on a daily basis to keep people who had written, drawn, published, sold or owned comics out of prison and from losing their livelihood for having drawn something that upset somebody.”

Cartoonists are particularly vulnerable when addressing Islam, as some (but not all) Muslims believe that it is sacrilegious to depict their prophet visually in any way. This is not a threat limited to Europe. Earlier this year, CNN reported that the Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris is still in hiding, four years after she attracted death threats for drawing non-satirical images of Mohammed on a teacup and thimble and domino. Her name recently appeared on the most-wanted list of the al-Qaida magazine Inspire.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2015/05/05/neil_gaiman_stands_up_for_charlie_hebdo_for_fks_sake_they_drew_somebody_and_they_shot_them_and_you_dont_get_to_do_that/

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