Thursday

Marriage Is Slowly But Surely Dying Out Today

Don't Say I Do! - Why Women Should Stay Single by Orna Gadish
If, in the past, the marriage commitment was reinforced by interests such as perseverance of family wealth, financial dependence of the woman on the man, and the need to reproduce for inheritance, today such reasons are less dominant. True friendship and sex have become the lead factors for a relationship's success (a short-lived success, though). But, the traditional marriage contract still persists thanks to tradition, political and economic interests, and an inability to think outside the box. At the same time, the marriage contract is slowly but surely dying out today. And something should absolutely happen so we acknowledge that fact and say it out loud. More in Don't Say I Do! - Why Women Should Stay Single by Orna Gadish.

Marriage is Passé in Our Mobile World

Don't Say I Do! - Why Women Should Stay Single by Orna Gadish

Most women today are well groomed. They are carefully made up, well-dressed, smell good, and look attractive, at least on the outside. Modern science and technology, along with the progress of the beauty industry, have allowed for this trend to happen. This is exactly why many married men double cross their wives. The marriage contract is outdated and irrelevant to our trendy and dynamic lifestyles. In the past, lifestyles were slower paced with less exposure to beautiful women outside home. Today is a different story. Many women look much younger than their biological age, thanks to cosmetics, facial treatments, and plastic surgeries.

Many women also look more beautiful and attractive to men than they naturally are thanks to the makeup, the hair, and the fashion industries. And men are surrounded by women all the time. Many of those women are young, beautiful, smart, ambitious, and can also compete with men on equal grounds. This has certainly increased the level of friction between the genders and the accessibility to sex away from home. The question that needs to be asked is: can a contract of marriage apply in this world? Can two people be really bound and committed forever? I believe that the infidelity and skyrocketing divorce rates give us a hint. More in Don't Say I Do! - Why Women Should Stay Single by Orna Gadish

Saturday

A Novel Fact

I absolutely love cartoons, especially historic ones. In such a case we get even more powerful humor. That of the era the cartoon was originally created and the new era. It's funny to look at cartoons in retrospect. 
The cartoon on your left is accompanied by the following text:

Old fashioned party (with old fashioned prejudices):
 "Ah! Very clever. I dare say. But I see it's written by a lady. And I want a book that my daughters may read. Give me something else!"
Isn't it lovely?

Wednesday

Feminism, Categorizations, and Barack Obama

Reading E.J Graff's opinion on Slate  http://www.slate.com/id/2270053/ that reads: "Declaring that someone is—or isn't—"really" white, black, Jewish, Christian, radical, conservative—or feminist—says nothing about the value of particular policies, ideas, or goals." I disagree with Ms. Graff: 

To say that a group's identification in society says NOTHING about values or policies is exaggeration. Being part of a certain group does imply a certain common-denominator that is well-known to everyone. Perhaps this common-denominator is too wide to include everyone's ideologies, values, and actual policies within a particular group—but certainly, a common interest does exist.

For instance, if you're a conservative Christian, you would probably be bothered by the fact that president Obama does not attend church on Sundays. If you are a secular liberal, plus black, you won't. If you are a Muslim American, you won't care at all about Obama's Christianity, on the contrary, you would be interested that a mosque will be built near ground zero. And this applies to feminism as well. All the above examples allude to the power of categorizations and generalizations in the human perception.

 
Here's another trivial example: Graff's voice is best heard where her insightful article falls under the "feminism" rubric rather than under "science", although she actually discusses women's scientific contributions in society. After all, categorization is something that the human mind requires in order to survive, remember occurrences, reflect, and respond. But beneath such categorizations lurk very distinct social and political interests.

Tuesday

Misadventures in Misogyny: Bloomerism | Bitch Magazine

Misadventures in Misogyny: Bloomerism | Bitch Magazine

Just stumbled upon excellent Victorian misogynistic cartoons by John Leech. Evidently this guy hated women, especially in bloomers. While this is humorous now, it was sarcastic back in 1841, where despotic upper-class white men, either aristocratic or "self made" enjoyed exploiting women and treating them as second best.

Of course, they covered it all up elegantly by courteous gentlemanly gestures and polite talk. This period was overwhelmingly prudish and hypocritical at the same time. Thinking of it, how could they accept women in bloomers if covering the tables' legs was the norm?

One is not born a woman but becomes one

Despite the long strides taken in women's liberation and women's equal participation in the workforce, some men still regard women as secondary or "the other". This idea was articulated, first, by the feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir in 1949.
 
In her seminal work "The second sex", De Beauvoir criticizes the "destiny traditionally offered to women by society" through socialization into "feminine gender roles" which made women focus on their looks rather than on education, career, or fulfillment of personal goals.

Despite the fact that we're a couple of decades ahead, we can't be blind to the fact that women are still expected to compromise on their careers and self aspirations for the sake of others. 
One example: some women are still expected to take their husband's last names rather than keep their own names after wedding. And once the kids are born, the kids are given their father's surnames not their mother's. Although the name issue might seem minor, it is definitely symbolic. 

Professional Writing : Web Writing Vs. Print Writing


Writing for the web is a totally different experience from writing for the print media, whether we discuss here essays, press releases, marketing content, technical material, or journalistic articles. The core difference between the media lie in the properties of the media as electronic and dynamic - webbish, vs. static and portable - print on paper.

Naturally, the characteristics of each medium and its limitations impose some rules on the writer, and the designer of text and visual image. Such characteristics also dictate some methods of work, styles, and tools. The two media, online and print, also address the readers, who likewise, live by the standards of the media, in a very different fashion.

The printed format is usually limited by size, and thus, usually contains more text, describing and explaining the theme, with little emphasis on visuals. Whereas a web post, embedded with hyperlinks, allows the writer to compose a concise description, and demonstrate the idea with a strong visual image that can spare thousand words and add a significant impact.

Nonetheless, hyperlinks do not limit the text, as much as they serve as content dividers, or organization utilities. Through using hyperlinks, the text can be better divided into topics, sub topics, and sub sections. The division is thus, modular, and pretty much thematic. The readers are active in selecting the content to read, and they are the ones to decide on the reading order, not the writer. In this way, the presented theme can be more understandable—compared with the printed text that is usually used to convey all the bunch of information in a linear fashion.

All the more, a web release requires from the writer a very different writing style—more succinct topical coverage that can fit the hyperlink and text division on screen. Such a presentation requires relatively short paragraphs with some space between them. In many cases, each paragraph is “standalone” in the sense that it does not take for granted what other paragraphs the readers have read before; for readers might not necessarily opt to read all the paragraphs sequentially.

Thus writing for the web and accompanying visual design must be modular in the sense that any part may be reached from elsewhere on site and that includes the visual component. The visual is another important component of websites, compared with the printed medium. Visuals may appear in full size, or as thumbnails, and be processed (or manipulated) as well as realistic. Visuals have a strong impact on the impression of the site, the company, the product, the service, or the profile. The printed media, on the other hand, cannot and do not stress the visual, usually due to limitations of size and cost related issues; whereas websites can just present the image with no printing overhead and cost-related constraints.

One of the most prominent advantages of web writing compared with print writing is the interactivity with the readers that the media imparts. Allowing the readers/users to select options, vote, fill in info, submit content—affects the writing style and the visual presentation a great deal. That said, wherever the readers become involved in the content and the features that the site promotes—the text changes according to their selection, and sometimes also dynamically, during runtime. Such a thing would be impossible using static print.

Writing for the web and for the print requires different tools for handling text and images. The printed medium usually uses desktop editing tools, such as MS Word, and desktop publishing tools such as Freehand, InDesign, and Illustrator or Photoshop for image treatment; while web design can be created with different writing and editing tools (similar to print) or use Photoshop for image treatment-- however with no need to page and layout the text or format it physically on paper, another big plus.

Despite the great added values of web writing over print writing, print writing is still considered a more "formal/official" choice, and therefore, it is the current standard in “serious” publications of books, scientific articles, academic essays, and legal publications. The printed result/product is permanent, less suspect to changes or amendments, and not less important, portable. Whereas, web text and visuals are more dynamic, changeable, updateable, durable for life, and more and more portable as well, thanks to handheld mobile devices, notebook PCs, PDAs, Tablets, iPhones, i-Pads and the like.

Thursday

The Elephant

Hebrew Classic “The Elephant” by Alexandere Kuprin
Translation: Orna Gadish
Illustrations: Michael Gonopolsky.
Printed in Tel-Aviv, 2008.

From the greatest Russian classical writer (the school of Chekhov and Tolstoy): Alexandre Kuprin (1870-1938) created this must-read classic The Elephant for children and parents alike. This authentic unabridged classic tells the story of Nadya, a sick girl. Withered and bored she lies in her bed. Until one day she dreams of an elephant; a real circus elephant. She wants this clumsy animal to visit her in her room. Will her parents take this challenge and make it happen for her? Will she get well? You can get all the answers if you read the story. Loyal translation into Hebrew by Orna Gadish and impressive illustrations by Michael Gonopolsky.

Brand new!
Printed in Tel-Aviv 2008.
Hard cover
8.5x 10.5 inches
40 pages
69 NIS - local cost.
$19.99- international cost.
$6.99- shipping cost worldwide by registered airmail.

Please visit www.hapilbook.com and fill out your details.
The book will be sent after your
order is placed
You can always email orna@hapilbook.com
Thanks for your interest in Hapil!

Saturday

Salvador Dali - Sleep 1937

Dali’s “Sleep” of 1937 deals with a Freudian theme of the world of dreams that has fascinated the Surrealists who believed that the freedom of the subconscious within sleep could be tapped into and then realized creatively in their art. This painting is an attempt to duplicate the dream world into canvas.

“Sleep” is virtually a visual rendering of the body's collapse into sleep, as if it was a collapse into a separate condition of being. Against a deep blue summer sky, a huge disembodied head with eyes dissolved in sleep, hangs suspended over an almost bare landscape. The head is "soft", vulnerable and distorted. And what should be a neck tapers away to drop limply over a crutch. A dog appears on the left, its head in a crutch too, as if half asleep itself.

The head is supported above land by a series of wooden crutches. The mouth, nose and also eyes are all held in place by the crutches, suggesting that the head might collapse if they were removed. Crutches are a familiar motif in Dali’s works. As Dali attests in his book, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali, “I have often imagined the monster of sleep as a heavy, giant head with a tapering body held up by the crutches of reality. When the crutches break we have the sensation of falling.”

Analysis: some aesthetic principles of "good design" applied in this painting:

1. Hierarchy - the center of painting, the most important figure is the huge sleeping head supported by the crutches. It is the most significant part of the message that deals with subconscious (of the head) and its dreams.

2. Emphasis and focus - is put visually on the sleeping head by magnifying it to a gigantic size, positioning it in the center, and coloring it in light yellowish colors contrasted with the light blue sky.

3. Contrast – the colors (light yellow Vs. blue) are contrasted to accentuate the head as the main figure. In addition, the head’s size is contrasted to the real world’s size represented by the dog figure on the left, and the castle far away, on the right. The magnification of the head and its distortion help to focus the viewer’s eyes on the head in a dramatic scenery.

4. Tension- is created between the dripping part of the head on the right, and the facial features on the left. The right side may allude to male sexuality that might be dormant during sleep. Another tension might relate to the pain caused by the crutches on the face, another Freudian issue.

5. Balance - is a prominent element. The heavy sleepy head is supported by several crutches that are much lighter in weight than the head; suggesting that if they fall, the head might crash. As it might be easy to fall asleep, however the wakefulness and reality are much stronger.

6. Rhythm - is created by using several crutches rather than one to support the parts of the face. The crutches’ positioning in the painting is balanced and harmonic--suggesting continuity between the dream (represented by the sleepy head) and the reality (represented by the crutches.)

7. Flow – the viewer’s eyes are led on the head to the parts held by the crutches, i.e., eyes, nose, lips, chin, and dripping neck. Then, the viewer notices one unused crutch, a castle in perspective, and the dog on the left-- all of which are meant to capture attention to the head itself.

8. Depth – is created using perspective. The head in the front, while the faraway castle on the right, and the dog on the left create a 3D like positioning, emphasizing the head in the center.

9. Scale – an illusion of size is created by magnifying the head and positioning it in contrast to the castle and the dog. In addition, the head is distorted to focus the viewer’s attention on its prominence in the painting.

10. Movement - is created from the head parts on the left toward the dripping neck on the right. This might have an emotional effect on the viewer, even a subconscious one.

11. Unity – a consistent style of imagery is used. The central part is magnified and distorted. The crutches balance the parts coherently, and the other figures in perspective add in harmoniously to create an overall impression of the painting as unite.