Rachel Carson Silent Spring 1962

Rachel Carson Silent Spring 1962

Published September 27, 1962

Rachel Carson Silent Spring 1962

Love of Nature

Rachel Carson grew up in rural Springdale, Pennsylvania.  She graduated from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham University) in 1929, studied at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, and received her MA in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932.

During the Depression, the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries hired her to write radio scripts. In 1936 she began a fifteen-year career in the federal service as a scientist and editor. She eventually became the Editor-in-Chief of all publications for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Rachel Carson Silent Spring 1962

Writer

Carson also wrote articles for outside publication: “Undersea” (1937, for the Atlantic Monthly), Under the Sea Wind (1941). In 1952 she published a prize-winning study of the ocean, The Sea Around Us and in 1955 The Edge of the Sea.

After leaving government service, she wrote articles designed to teach people about the wonder and beauty of the living world, including “Help Your Child to Wonder,” (1956) and “Our Ever-Changing Shore” (1957). The theme that ran through her writings was that humans are a part of not apart from Nature.

Rachel Carson Silent Spring 1962

Post WW  II

After World War II, the use of chemicals to solve problems became increasingly commonplace. The pharmaceutical sector of the economy grew as well as other chemical-related industries.

Because the immediate benefits of such widespread chemical use were so obviously beneficial, society and science ignored or at least did not consider its long-term impact.

On September 27, 1962 Houghton Mifflin published Silent Spring. In it Carson argued that the long-term impact of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was disastrous to the environment, particularly the egg production of birds in the wild.

Luckily for Carson, the bald eagle is the national bird of the United States and America’s sense of patriotism outweighed even the chemical industries outcries.

Rachel Carson Silent Spring 1962

Gradual ban

In 1967 Environmental Defense Fund [EDF] formed from a grass roots effort to ban DDT from Suffolk County, NY. The organization brought lawsuits against the government to “establish a citizen’s right to a clean environment.” By 1972, the EDF and other activist groups succeeded in securing a phase-out of DDT use in the United States.

Carson died on April 14, 1964 before she saw the success of her environmental urgings. (NYT obit)

Rachel Carson Silent Spring 1962

Rachel Carson Silent Spring 1962

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Magdalene Asylums

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

September 26, 1996

The last Magdalene asylum, in Waterford, Ireland, closed

From the documentary: Sex In A Cold Climate The Magdalene Asylums
Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Double standards

Societies have double standards. One of the most prominent, yet most denied is the relationship between males and females. The French have their expression vive la différence regarding that relationship. Biologists have studied the quantitative chemical differences between the sexes, but those differences are not qualitative. There are no “female traits that are completely female nor “male” traits completely male.

We are all both to varying degrees.

As rationally as some can approach the reality, most humans continue to treat human males and human females as if they were different species and allow males to dominate females. Such a difference is particularly true with regard to sexual behavior. The sale and purchase of sex is illegal nearly everywhere, but societies typically punish the male buyer far less seriously and far less often than the female seller.

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Magdalene Asylums

The Magdalene Asylums existed in the United Kingdom as a means to “rescue” prostitutes. No analogous institution existed to rescue males who regularly frequented prostitutes. The first “Magdalene Home” was established in England in 1758; Ireland followed in 1765. Both the Anglican and Presbyterian churches ran these so-called asylums, but the Catholic Church in Ireland is the most associated (keep in mind that at the time of their creation, Ireland was part of the UK). There were also Magdalene asylums in Canada and Australia.

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Magdalene Laundries

With he Biblical maxim that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece” in mind, the mostly young women sent to these asylums found a day filled with work. If pregnant, the asylum forced the mother to give up the child, but young women were in the asylum often simply because her family or her parish priest thought the woman might attract male attentiveness or was flirtatious. Or perhaps the parish priest was guilty of that attentiveness and he removed his “near occasion of sin” by sending away the young woman.

Though called an asylum, in actuality the institution was a jail. Inmates had no choice to their being there and once there might be there for life. There had been no trial or due process. There were no visits from the outside world.

Their work was to do laundry (from the outside world) to earn money for the jail.  Asylums may have signed contracts guaranteeing a minimum wage, but the institutions ignored that agreement. The women scrubbed the prison, cooked for the nuns who oversaw the prison, or took care of aging inmates.

During their existence research estimates that 30,000 women were in these institutions. In the theocratic Ireland, both the State and Church conspired to keep jail stories away from the public eye. The inmates’ stories seldom escaped because the inmates rarely left. The Sisters in charge warned those who did leave never to speak of their incarceration.

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Abuse revealed

In Dublin in 1993 developers accidentally discovered 133 corpses in an unmarked grave site that had belonged to the Catholic Sisters of Charity. The Sister had sold the property that had once been part of a Magdalene laundry site. Slowly former inmates began to tell the story they’d held in for years or even decades.

In 2001, the Irish Government admitted that the Magdalene Laundries had been places of abuse and 2011 the United Nations Committee Against Torture urged Ireland to investigate the facts and truth of the government involvement.

A 2013, the Irish panel found evidence of verbal abuse, and Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny issued a full state apology to the victims, calling them the “nation’s shame”. He said, in part, “on behalf of the State, the government and our citizens [I] deeply regret and apologise unreservedly to all those women for the hurt that was done to them, and for any stigma they suffered, as a result of the time they spent in a Magdalene Laundry,”

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Joni Mitchell

In 1994 Joni Mitchell released one of the most powerful songs she ever wrote and likely the most powerful song ever written about the Magdalene abuses. The song speaks for itself:

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Sinéad O’Connor

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

On October 3, 1992 Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor used her Saturday Night Live appearance to make a statement about the Catholic Church’s conspiracy to cover up its history of child and sexual abuse by tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II after her performance of Bob Marley’s “War.” She stated simply, “Fight the real enemy.”

The incident, not surprisingly, brought down a mountain of indignation upon her. In retrospect, her statement is certainly a valid one. [a reader adds that O’Connor herself was incarcerated in one of the laundries. See comments]

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

Catholic League responds

In 2013, Bill Donohue published an article in the Catholic League entitled “The Myths of the Magdalene Laundries.” Early in the long piece, Donohue states, “The popular perception of the laundries is entirely negative, owing in large part to fictionalized portrayals in the movies. The conventional wisdom has also been shaped by writers who have come to believe the worst about the Catholic Church, and by activists who have their own agenda. So strong is the prejudice that even when evidence to the contrary is presented, the bias continues.”

Joni Mitchell Magdalene Laundries

1965 Beatles Cartoon Series

1965 Beatles Cartoon Series

September 25, 1965

1965 Beatles Cartoon Series

Beatles ’65

By September 1965 the Beatles were king of the media hill. They already had had four #1 singles for a total of 9 weeks (“I Feel Fine,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Ticket to Ride,” and “Help.”) and three #1 albums for a total of 31 weeks (Beatles 65, Beatles VI, and Help)!

Rubber Soulthe album that changed the direction of pop music like no other, was on the December horizon.

Odd as it may seem, those incredibly great numbers and three Grammy nominations resulted in no Grammy awards at the 1966 ceremony.

1965 Beatles Cartoon Series

The Beatles were a HOT commodity!

Do a search for Beatle memorabilia on E-Bay to get a taste of the enormous  number of novelty items still available. The ABC TV network jumped onto the Beatle band wagon because ABC recognized a golden egg when they saw one. Each Beatle was a golden goose and they were laying clutches of golden eggs.

1965 Beatles Cartoon Series

ABC

On September 25, 1965 ABC broadcast the first Beatles cartoon. No need to be clever, the network simply called the show The Beatles.

The Saturday 10:30 AM time slot showed what demographic ABC sought: young adolescents.

Each episode’s story line highlighted a Beatle song or two. For example, the first episode was called A Hard Day’s Night/I Want to Hold Your Hand. The Beatle characters were rehearsing at Transylvania Hilton, but fans keep getting in the way.

Ringo said he knew a place that was big and empty. Paul responded, “Sounds fine, but how do we all fit inside your head?”

Ba-dump-ba! And away we go.

1965 Beatles Cartoon Series

Paul Frees

The Beatles themselves were not part of the production. Al Brodax and Sylban Buck created the show and King Features Syndicate produced it. American actor Paul Frees did the John and George voices. You may not recognize his name, but chances are you do recognize one of his many voices!

1965 Beatles Cartoon Series

End

British actor Lance Percival did the Paul and Ringo voices.

The Beatles were not enthusiastic about the production at first, but later came to like the idea and the various episodes.

The series ended on September 7, 1969 after a total of 39 episodes. ABC moved the 1967 season to Saturdays at noon. The fourth “season” was re-runs shown Sunday mornings at 9:30.

MTV rebroadcast the series in 1986 and 1987 and the Disney Channel in 1989.

We can easily find the episodes now on YouTube

1965 Beatles Cartoon Series

BeatleToons

In 1999, Mitchell Axelrod wrote BeatleToons, The Real Story Behind The Cartoon Beatles. 1965 Beatles Cartoon Series

In 2015, Rolling Stone magazine had an article marking the 50th anniversary of the show.

1965 Beatles Cartoon Series

Yellow Submarine

1965 Beatles Cartoon Series

The Beatles weren’t too crazy about the idea of the Yellow Submarine movie either until they saw some outtakes from it. Al Brodax was a producer and co-writer of that film and the film’s director, George Dunning, had worked on the cartoon series. Voice actors performed the parts including Lance Percival (who did not do a Beatle voice).

To fulfill their contractual obligation with United Artists, they appeared  “live” at the end of the film and sang “All Together Now.”

1965 Beatles Cartoon Series