Monday, July 8, 2013

Observations from the Coffee Shop 7.8

One thing the protests in Egypt, Brazil, and Turkey, actually protests anywhere, have in common is the prodigious use of American made tear gas. Sometimes I look at photos from these protests and I wonder something. I wonder how it feels to go to work somewhere in the U.S. and make the tear gas that governments seem to fire with abandon. Do you honestly feel like you're doing something constructive? Protecting freedom maybe? I don't understand it at all.

With all the news about this or that Republican anti-abortion bill it's easy to lump them all together as a Republican 'War on Women' and politically that may be true but in the wider world it all starts to look like good old fashioned sexism. I'll give you a few examples.

Of the 320 most expensive artworks sold in auction between 2008 and 2012 only 1 was created by a woman. In Stone Harbor I was talking about this with a gallery owner, I shall refrain from saying who, and her response was that "galleries are in the business of making money and the perception is that works created by men will be worth more than those created by women." The owner is in no way shape or form a Republican.

When Marissa Mayer became CEO of Yahoo writers and pundits everywhere claimed it was just another sign of how women had broken though the 'glass ceiling' in the tech world. Well in 1985 37% of computer degrees went to women while today only 18% of them do and only 19% of the country's programmers are women. In Silicon Valley a woman only makes 47 cents for every dollar a man makes.

Last week NASCAR announcer and former driver Kyle Petty, who at one time was my dad's favorite driver, said of Danica Patrick; "She can go fast, but she can't race. I think she's come a long way, but she's still not a race car driver. And I don't think she's ever going to be a race car driver." I suppose this means it doesn't take a 'race car driver' to lead the Indianapolis 500 or win the pole for the Daytona 500, one only has to go fast. In his defense I must say Petty did win 8 whole races in his 30 year Sprint Cup career. Well his dad won 200 races, that has to count for something.

By the way, I really despise the term glass ceiling.

At the moment I have no idea how I went from the topic of tear gas to sexism but I did. I'm so damn proud.

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