As you may have heard, a man with a knife slashing at people killed sixty-four-year-old American Darlene Horton and injured half a dozen others in London’s Russell Square on Wednesday evening. If learned, as of this writing his motive has not yet been made public. (“Mental health” issues have been cited by police.) As to a description of him circulating in British media, including on the BBC, ITV news’s Charlene White took issue with it on Twitter:
"Norwegian national of Somali descent"
Which technically makes me a "British national of Jamaican descent". Not just…you know…British.
Via Wikipedia, one uncovers that Ms. White was born in London. That same source also states her parents were “Black Carribean.” Given her tweeted reference to Jamaica, I will assume for discussion’s sake that means they were born there and moved here to the United Kingdom.
You never know who is reading you. Something I wrote about the Catskills a couple of years back attracted a response from a Turkish woman. She wrote to me that she knew the area well: she had attended (of all places) the State University of New York at Binghamton!
We had a laugh. She had also left the US recently and was living once again in Istanbul, but remained interested in south-central New York state, where Binghamton is located, in particular. Occasionally, she’d ask me about the snow and frigid temperatures – she didn’t miss either in Istanbul! she always said – and inquired harmlessly about other aspects of life thereabouts. She also knew I-84 pretty well, and we’d joked about that “endless” and “dull” highway.
We ended up following each other on Twitter. She tweeted mostly in Turkish, which left me mostly at a loss. But she did offer an occasional observation in English and/or a link to something in English; usually it was innocuous and apolitical. Often what she shared was humorous.
We have learned that Star Trek’s “Sulu” is to be “re-imagined” as gay. Believing that to be “right…for our times,” Guardian writer Ryan Gilbey is clearly pleased by that writers’ decision. Interestingly, however, LGBT activist, and original “Sulu” actor, George Takei, is clearly not:
The contest to be Conservative party leader in the House of Commons, which almost assures succession currently to the prime ministership, has now come down to a choice between two women. So it is almost certain now that the United Kingdom will have its second woman in that highest government office. You may also have read about the debate in British media set off this weekend over comments made to The Times newspaper by one of them.
Both women are in their 50s. Andrea Leadsom, challenging presumed frontrunner Theresa May, stated to the paper that she, Leadsom, has “a very real stake” in the future of the country because she had children. (May and her husband did not.) Leadsom doesn’t attack May directly, but if you listen to the recording of her observations, Leadsom’s inference is plainly obvious: she holds that she’d be a better prime minister because she has had children:
This is quite a serious post. There is no levity in it. Based on what I’ve seen – we’ve all seen – in the last week and a half, I simply want to say this.
United Kingdom voters, as you probably know, voted on the 23rd of June by 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the European Union.
That EU referendum, we all also know, has bitterly divided politics here in Britain.
It’s decidedly one thing flinging insults at total strangers you disagree with – “insane,” “idiots,” “racists,” “Hitler,” “old white trash” – on social media. But this? We’ve discovered friends of ours – she, a non-British EU national and staunch “Remainer,” married to him, a British national and vocal Brexit “Leave” supporter – are practically on the verge of divorce over the referendum’s outcome.
“Remember,” my (now late) mother lectured me some years ago, “Billy Joel said it best.”
“Huh,” I recall replying, “I’m afraid to ask about what. Something about Italian restaurants?”
He being another “real” New Yorker – and particularly a Long Islander – and not much younger than herself, my mother loved Joel’s music. [Full disclosure, I like him, too.] She paused after I’d questioned her. Suddenly, she looked puzzled.
Last night, the BBC’s “Grand Tours of Scotland” series focused on women travelers. It included a look at walking in the countryside and even took us to Gretna Green – where couples still “run off” to for marriage. It also briefly reviewed the time when women did not normally travel alone because they usually weren’t allowed to.
At one point, the presenter shared how 19th century women needed male chaperones, and in explaining that did so including a clear inference at how unnecessary and sexist that was, a “need” concocted by men purely to keep women in their place.
We don’t see this sort of thing happen in our lives too often. These next few weeks? Remember them:
For American readers, “luvvies” is British derogatory slang for….
a person who is involved in the acting profession or the theatre, esp one with a tendency to affectation
As you may know, on June 23 British voters will be asked to answer this referendum question, Yes or No: Should the United Kingdom remain a part of the European Union?
The arguments for remaining vs. leaving are now all over the airwaves, filling newspapers and the net. British voters are being deluged with opinions. As with those entertainers Sky presenter Kay Burley tweets about, it seems most every figure is voicing a view.
Taking no public position either way myself (I’m not British, so I don’t feel it’s appropriate), I will say I’ve noticed two major tendencies that broadly underpin both sides’ arguments:
I prefer to keep this site mostly as a “refuge” from “the world” – to talk about writing, books (including, uh, yes, my own), travel, culture, and other life matters, in a friendly and intimate manner – and to leave (usually divisive) current events and (mostly bad) news for others on the net. Sometimes, though, you simply can’t ignore something. Especially given I’ve written so much about us here in Tenerife, I felt I had to nod to this local tragedy in at least one post.