Archive for Miscellaneous

Wonder Woman based on Margaret Sanger

Wonder WomanOver the weekend, I saw an article on largely unknown facts about comic books or comic book characters. I can’t find it right now, but it was on a click-bait site. It included a fact about Wonder Woman that I hadn’t heard before.

The fact I hadn’t read or heard before? That Margaret Sanger was the basis for Wonder Woman. It may be something that has been widely reported at some point, but I’d never heard it. The creator of the comic even did his best to hide that fact for as long as possible.

A 2014 article in Smithsonian magazine by Jill Lepore confirms the report. In 1942 it was reported that Wonder Woman’s creator was Dr. William Moulton Marston, “an internationally famous psychologist.”

The article includes a quote from Marston that, “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

Smithsonian notes that Marston’s attitude was a response to the popularity of sexually violent comic books:

But at a time when war was ravaging Europe, comic books celebrated violence, even sexual violence. In 1940, the Chicago Daily News called comics a “national disgrace.” “Ten million copies of these sex-horror serials are sold every month,” wrote the newspaper’s literary editor, calling for parents and teachers to ban the comics, “unless we want a coming generation even more ferocious than the present one.”

Marston was hired as a consultant by the founder of All-American Comics, Maxwell Charles Gaines. Gaines wanted to use Marston to shield him from criticism.

A staff writer named Olive Richard interviewed Marston at his home for Family Circle magazine in 1940.

From that interview, via Smithsonian:

“Some of them are full of torture, kidnapping, sadism, and other cruel business,” she said.

“Unfortunately, that is true,” Marston admitted, but “when a lovely heroine is bound to the stake, comics followers are sure that the rescue will arrive in the nick of time. The reader’s wish is to save the girl, not to see her suffer.”

Lepore goes on to note that “Olive Richard” is the pen name for Olive Byrne, who already lived with Marston and his wife. More on Olive Byrne:

She was also the niece of Margaret Sanger, one of the most important feminists of the 20th century. In 1916, Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, Olive Byrne’s mother, had opened the first birth-control clinic in the United States. They were both arrested for the illegal distribution of contraception. In jail in 1917, Ethel Byrne went on a hunger strike and nearly died.

Marston and Byrne met when she was a senior at Tufts and he was her psychology professor. They fell in love and he told his wife, Elizabeth Holloway, that Byrne could move in with them or he would be moving out. Marston fathered two children by each of the women in the household between 1928 and 1933. Holloway finally admitted  to Byrne’s sons in 1963 that Marston was their father. Gaines knew none of this when he hired Marston.

In case you’re having trouble keeping up, Lepore notes (via NPR), “So there was his wife, Elizabeth Holloway, his mistress, Olive Byrne and another woman named Marjorie Wilkes Huntley, who kind of was in and out of the family.”

Lepore discussed Sanger as inspiration for Wonder Woman in more detail in an NPR interview from 2014. That interview also notes that the costume for Wonder Woman was inspired by erotic pinup art.

Wonder Woman debuted in All-Star Comics in 1941 and appeared on the cover of Sensation Comics in 1942. In the Smithsonian article, Lepore notes that controversy ensued:

But in March 1942, the National Organization for Decent Literature put Sensation Comics on its blacklist of “Publications Disapproved for Youth” for one reason: “Wonder Woman is not sufficiently dressed.”

From the NPR interview:

But one of the things that’s a defining element of Wonder Woman is that if a man binds her in chains, she loses all of her Amazonian strength. And so in almost every episode of the early comics – the ones that Marston wrote – she’s chained up or she’s roped up. It’s usually chains. And then she has to break free of these chains, and that’s, Marston would always say, in order to signify her emancipation from men. But those chains are really an important part of the feminist and suffrage struggles of the 1910s that Marston was – had a kind of front-row seat for.

Also in the NPR interview, host Terry Gross and Lepore discuss the “big kind of fetishistic, sexual aspect to the bondage and the chains in Wonder Woman.”

A woman member of the advisory board for Gaines’ comics even sent a letter of complaint about Wonder Woman’s”“sadistic bits showing women chained, tortured, etc.” and Lepore agrees with her in the story:

She had a point. In episode after episode, Wonder Woman is chained, bound, gagged, lassoed, tied, fettered and manacled. “Great girdle of Aphrodite!” she cries at one point. “Am I tired of being tied up!”

Marston shrugged off the criticism and when Dorothy Roubicek, an editor who actually worked on Wonder Woman, complained, he said:

“Of course I wouldn’t expect Miss Roubicek to understand all this,” Marston wrote Gaines. “After all I have devoted my entire life to working out psychological principles. Miss R. has been in comics only 6 months or so, hasn’t she? And never in psychology.” But “the secret of woman’s allure,” he told Gaines, is that “women enjoy submission—being bound.”

Marston was hiding his relationship with Olive Byrne, his connection to Margaret Sanger, which tied into the images of bondage:

Hidden behind this controversy is one reason for all those chains and ropes, which has to do with the history of the fight for women’s rights. Because Marston kept his true relationship with Olive Byrne a secret, he kept his family’s ties to Margaret Sanger a secret, too. Marston, Byrne and Holloway, and even Harry G. Peter, the artist who drew Wonder Woman, had all been powerfully influenced by the suffrage, feminism and birth control movements. And each of those movements had used chains as a centerpiece of its iconography.

More details on the use of similar art in Sanger-related publications is included on the second page of the Smithsonian article.

Lepore sums up that section with this:

When Marston created Wonder Woman, in 1941, he drew on Sanger’s legacy and inspiration. But he was also determined to keep the influence of Sanger on Wonder Woman a secret.

More on Margaret Sanger:
the Inspiration for Wonder Woman

Wonder WomanMargaret Sanger was the founder of what is now the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

Sanger was known as a free love (e.g. the arrangement already mentioned that her niece was involved in) and birth control activist, but what her supporters want to cover up now is her support for eugenics.

Much of the quotes have been cited before by the modern pro-life movement. I’ll get to them in a moment but I thought that quoting her Wikipedia entry might be a good thing to do, since any edits to her biography there are highly scrutinized due to the controversy surrouding her.

From Wikipedia:

In “The Morality of Birth Control,” a 1921 speech, she divided society into three groups: the “educated and informed” class that regulated the size of their families, the “intelligent and responsible” who desired to control their families in spite of lacking the means or the knowledge, and the “irresponsible and reckless people” whose religious scruples “prevent their exercising control over their numbers.” Sanger concludes, “There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”

Sanger’s eugenic policies included an exclusionary immigration policy, free access to birth control methods, and full family planningautonomy for the able-minded, as well as compulsory segregation or sterilization for the “profoundly retarded”. In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated coercion to prevent the “undeniably feeble-minded” from procreating.

 

National Right to Life has written more about Sanger and eugenics:

But if someone is truly “unfit,” he or she is too stupid or out-of-control to stop reproducing voluntarily. So, as Sanger wrote in 1921, governments should “attempt to restrain, either by force or persuasion, the moron and the imbecile from producing his large family of feeble-minded offspring.”

Now you understand Sanger’s support of forced sterilization of the “unfit,” something enthusiastically promoted by many of her friends and collaborators, such as former Planned Parenthood president Alan Guttmacher (after whom Planned Parenthood’s former research arm is named) or Clarence Gamble, who used his fortune to set up sterilization clinics throughout the South and Midwest.

Gamble was proud of his work promoting involuntary sterilization but complained in 1947 that there was much more to do: “For every one man or woman who has been sterilized, there are 40 others who can continue to pour defective genes into the State’s bloodstream to pollute and degrade future generations.”

Some Sanger quotes, from Life News (here and here):

  • “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
  • “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
  • “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities.  The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
  • “[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.”
  • “I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan … I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses … I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak … In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.”
  • I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world – that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin – that people can – can commit.

The creator of Wonder Woman was living with two lovers, his wife, and their children. He thought women want to be submissive and bound and he admired Sanger, an advocate of free love and eugenics. I can see why he hid all of this from the people behind what became DC Comics.

Catholic graduation speaker is Planned Parenthood supporter

graduation

In the April 2016 edition of The Bulletin of Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU), President Marylou Yam announced the commencement speaker for graduation exercises this Sunday May 22, 2016, would be Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. Dr. Wen, pictured at left in blue holding the sign, will receive an honorary degree from the university.

A few sentences on Dr. Wen’s biographical data is included. Areas focused on include her work with youth health and wellness, opioid overdose prevention, and violence prevention.

Some of Dr. Wen’s other advocacy work, that goes against Catholic teaching, remains unmentioned:

  1. She is a supporter of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and wrote that the group is “saving lives”
  2. She is health commissioner in a city that has taken action to persecute pro-life pregnancy centers.
  3. She has been praised by the local NARAL director and the director of the Baltimore Abortion Fund.
  4. She supports giving contraceptives to elementary school students at city schools without their parents’ consent.
  5. She wrote that physician-assisted suicide is an “important aspect of care” and that “assisted death” is “compassionate.”

If you want to let Dr. Marylou Yam know what you think about Dr. Leana Wen being honored by NDMU, you can email her at  or call her office at 410-532-5300.

She was appointed to her post by Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake in late 2014. Rawlings-Blake has been a long-time friend of both Planned Parenthood and NARAL. As City Council President, Rawlings-Blake introduced legislation regulating pro-life pregnancy centers that became law. The law required the centers to post signage saying that they did not provide referrals for abortions or face penalties. The Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns filed a federal lawsuit. The law is not currently being enforced until the matter is settled.

Dr. Wen’s City Department of Health falls under the purview of Deputy Mayor Dawn Kirstaetter. Kirstaetter served as the executive director of a Berea, Kentucky affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She was also President of the Kentucky Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.

On September 29, 2015, Wen made a Facebook post that included several pictures (including the one above) showing her at a rally in support of Planned Parenthood in downtown Baltimore.

Her message read (emphasis added):

As a doctor, I applaud Planned Parenthood for improving health and saving lives. As a public health leader, I join officials across Maryland including Congressman Van Hollen, State Senator Nathan-Pulliam, and Delegate Rosenberg to #‎standwithPP. As a woman and a citizen, I am proud to stand strong for ‪#‎pinkoutday to support reproductive rights.

In June 2015, she wrote a letter to Members of Congress asking them not to cut funding to Title X programs including Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Wen said the cuts “would have grave impacts on Baltimore’s public health.”

Dr. Wen was praised by the director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and the board president of the Baltimore Abortion Fund in a letter to the editor in The Baltimore Sun in June 2015. The writers thanked Wen for increasing the availability of contraceptives in city schools. They also chastised City Councilman Carl Stokes, who compared offering Norplant and Nexplanon in city schools to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.  Stokes also was criticized in the letter for calling the issue of giving out contraceptives without parental consent a violation of parents’ rights.

That letter came after a news story that Wen’s health department had started implanting Nexplanon in girls at health centers in Baltimore City Schools. Nexplanon is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) like Norplant. Baltimore City Schools were the first in the nation to provide Norplant for students in the 1980s.

LARCs are not the only contraceptives being distributed at the health centers in city schools. Condoms, oral birth control pills, Ortho Evra patches, Depo-Provera shots, NuvaRing, and Plan B are also available in the school-based health centers.

Despite claims to the contrary by some activists, the Food & Drug Administration requires labeling for Plan B to note that the “morning-after pill” as it is known can inhibit ovulation or implantation. NuvaRing has been the subject of controversy and lawsuits related to pulmonary embolisms that led to the disabling and death of women using it.

African-American ministers have also been critical of the Implantation of Norplant and Nexplanon in Baltimore City schools. One of them, Rev. Gregory Perkins, even made allegations of racism and asked why African-American girls were being targeted.

Dr. Leana Wen is also well-known for starting “Who’s My Doctor?” which advocates for the Total Transparency Initiative. Among other things, this initiative wants doctors to disclose information about payments from pharmaceutical companies and other sources of potential conflicts of interest.

One author writing for Forbes was critical of the part of that initiative that asks doctors do disclose their political viewpoints. Wen responded with a list of views on healthcare issues that were all that was included in that disclosure. Two of them were “end-of-life care” and  “women’s health.” We already know that Dr. Wen advocates for positions against church teachings on women’s health. In 2006, Leana Wen was president of the American Medical Association. She made a statement then that “physician-assisted suicide is an important aspect of care” and that “assisted death is an extension of compassionate medical care.”

Despite her advocacy for positions against church teachings, Dr. Leana Wen is scheduled to receive an honorary degree and speak at commencement exercises on the morning of May 22, 2016 at Royal Farms Arena

NDMU was founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1873. It became the first Catholic four-year college for women in 1896.

Other graduation speakers at Catholic schools

The University of Notre Dame in Indiana was criticized for plans to honor Vice President Joe Biden at its commencement this  year. After the controversy ensued, former House Speaker Boehner was also invited as a joint recipient of the Laetare Award. Previously. the school in Indiana was criticized for honoring President Barack Obama at its graduation.

The Cardinal Newman Society has more on Catholic colleges and their graduation speakers.

MD woman charged in Snapchat stabbing

snapchatOn Thursday 4/21, the Aberdeen Police Department announced they were looking for a suspect in a stabbing of a 17-year old juvenile during an “altercation” about Snapchat that took place Wednesday (4/20/16) evening.

The victim was transported to Johns Hopkins Bayview and was in stable condition the next day.

The Baltimore Sun reported earlier today (Friday) that the stabbing was related to an argument over Snapchat and that a suspect was arrested on 4/28/16. The suspect who was arrested is Gabrielle Joyner of Havre de Grace. Joyner was charged with attempted murder (both first and second degree), reckless endangerment, and charges relating to possessing a concealed weapon and a dangerous weapon with intent to injure.

Specifically, The Sun reported:

The week-long investigation revealed that Joyner and the victim had argued over posts on the image messaging application “Snapchat” prior to the assault, police said. The argument was allegedly about Joyner’s boyfriend.

 

 

George Takei’s latest slur

George TakeiGeorge Takei’s latest racial/ethnic slur happened today on Facebook.

Earlier this afternoon I tweeted about a Facebook post made by George Takei. Please retweet it when you get the chance.

Specifically, here’s just the graphic he posted on Facebook this afternoon:

George Takei

The use of the term “gypped” is a slur against people of Romani origin, who are often called Gypsies. AP Style says the terms Gypsies and Roma be used to interchangeably to describe the ethnic groups.

You would think Takei would know better, but there appears to be a lot of ignorance and indifference about the usage of the term. If the Roma were a bigger ethnic group in the US, maybe there would be more awareness of the issue.

Takei is usually a pretty consistent advocate on issues of equality, whether it be because of his own captivity in a Japanese interment camp in the U.S. during World War II or his activism for gay “marriage.”

In fact, Takei changed it to the text below (an even worse pun) without updating the status itself to indicate it was changed. Instead he made a comment pleading ignorance buried in the thread on the status saying: “Oh myyy, that was not something I was aware of. Thanks for pointing it out. I certainly will keep it in mind.”

Generally the rule with blogs, newspaper articles, and social media is that you put any apologies and what was updated in the original post or status itself. Only if you’re trying to hide it do you react like George Takei did.

George Takei

George Takei’s Past Use of Racial Slurs

Takei’s strident activism on the same-sex “marriage” issue is what got him in trouble before.

Here’s a report in The Hill from July 2, 2015:

Actor and gay rights advocate George Takei is slamming Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after his dissent to last week’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide claimed that the government can neither give nor take away human dignity.

“He is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court. He gets me that angry,” the former “Star Trek” star said in an interview with Fox 10 this week in Phoenix, standing alongside his longtime partner and husband.

That same day The Federalist reported on Takei doubling down on his remarks and saying they weren’t racist. In his explanation, he compared Thomas to a black buffoon and said he was a traitor to his race.

Takei later apologized publicly for the original remarks.

What do  you think? Do you really think George Takei was ignorant of “gypped” being a slur? Do you find it hard to believe in light of his previous comments Clarence Thomas?

 

 

 

 

Baltimore Sun finally corrects Jack Mehoff story

Jack Mehoff Story

As I wrote before, The Baltimore Sun published a story quoting “Jack Mehoff” after reporter Ian Duncan fell hook, line, and sinker when interviewing a Donald Trump supporter at an event Wednesday night on the Eastern Shore. The Jack Mehoff story was published online at 10:44 p.m. Wednesday and remained untouched until midday today.

Today at 12:55 p.m., Duncan made the following tweet:

The Sun retweeted it shortly thereafter. I asked both Duncan and the Sun via Twitter if correction notice would be added to tomorrow’s print edition of the paper. So far, I have received no reply from either.

I received a response after this piece was posted via The Sun on Twitter:

If you look at the story you’ll see the line the original error was in changed just the last name from Mehoff to Morris:

Jack Mehoff Story

Here’s the text:

Jack Morris, 19, praised Trump as a “hardworking, smart individual that wants the best for all people in this country that are allowed to be here.”

There was also a correction notice at the bottom of the story:

Jack Morris, 19, praised Trump as a “hardworking, smart individual that wants the best for all people in this country that are allowed to be here.”

Here’s a screen capture:

Jack Morris - Pull

The time stamp at the top of the story still shows 10:44 p.m. on April 20.

How The Sun Screwed Up – Then fixed the Jack Mehoff Story

The prank was totally missed by the reporter Ian Duncan it seems. I noted yesterday his tweet following the attention the story got indicated he was totally fooled and maybe even that he didn’t care. Ultimately the fact that it appeared in the print edition, went viral online, and ended up being corrected is above his pay grade.

At least one editor let it slip through. As I asked on Twitter, did any editor even ask a question about the name?

Since then, there have been attempts to defend the fact that the name could have been real, citing phone listings. I noticed the phone listing research was flawed and showed what I found when I researched state judicial records (both civil and criminal.)

Tommy Christopher of Mediaite flat out said there would be no correction, based on his misreading of the Duncan tweet on Thursday.

I will be checking now to see if a correction appears in tomorrow’s print edition, assuming I get no reply to my queries with Duncan and The Sun.

I also wonder how they tracked down Jack Morris. I assume they verified his identity by requiring him to produce his driver’s license, passport, or another method of identification. If not, they should have after being burned once already. If they didn’t already have protocols in place for this kind of thing, I’d hope they learned from it this week enough to develop them.

The Sun’s former corrections and clarifications page on their site still shows their committment to transparency with a 404 Not Found error.

Multiple people were to blame including the reporter and his editor(s). I’m not sure how the process unfolded on their end, but it took them from 10:44 p.m. Wednesday until midday Friday to get it fixed. I’m not sure that is a short or a long period of time because they’ve been so silent on the issue. It’d be nice if they actually talked about how it happened and how they’re making sure it doesn’t happen again.