Thursday 22 October 2020

Reasons to Be Cheerful 27

Radio 4 no longer broadcasts plays performed by a white cast but set in the West Indian or Jewish communities (“Oy vey!”). We don’t wear snakeskin much any more, I hope.

In 1880s Chicago, there were enough interracial couples that they regularly held a ball, attended by hundreds of people, and had a social organisation dedicated to their families.
(Kaitlyn Greenidge)

Clarinettist and band leader Benny Goodman made history as the first musician to perform jazz with an integrated band in Carnegie Hall in 1938. (Wikipedia)

Thought to be extinct, New Guinea’s Singing Dogs Found Alive in the Wild (

In 2020, we've suffered a pandemic, Brexit looms, and villages are threatened by road-building. But:

Sadiq Khan introduces children-only buses to get children to school safely.
The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford is removing shrunken heads etc from display.

Thailand outlaws gender-change surgery on those under 18.
The Tavistock's gender clinic will undergo an NHS review, and a detransitioner is taking it to court.

September: Plans to allow people to “self-identify” as a different gender will be formally dropped by the government this week. Ministers have decided against the proposals, which were developed under Theresa May’s government, to allow transgender people to change their birth certificates without a medical diagnosis. (Times. Applicants still have to “show they have lived in their chosen gender for two years and intend to do so for the rest of their lives”.)

Start-Rite shoes pledges to make names of children’s shoes gender-neutral.
The Honours Committee is considering removing the word “empire” from honours.
TV licence evaders (mainly women) will no longer face prison.
The UK Government bans micro-homes (tiny flats carved out of office blocks).

France announces a “gradual” ban on wild animals in circuses and breeding cetaceans in captivity, also mink farms.

The US Department of Defense Comprehensive Autism Care Demonstration Annual Report concluded that “ABA services (behavioural training) are not effective”.

Cruise ships are being broken up on a beach in Turkey.
Sally-Anne Huang is the first female High Master of St Paul’s school in London.

October: Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle bans alcohol sales in the House of Commons as some MPs represent areas where pubs are closed, and the HoC goes dry for the first time since 1653.

York is to get a rabbi 800 years after the pogrom.
Lebanon acquires its first all-female aircrew.
The Welsh government renationalises the country’s railways.

In 2021, the pension age is not rising to 67 – for the moment.


1800 The French government passes a law forbidding women from wearing male attire in public without a permit.

Until 1900, married women couldn't own property in all American states.
Until 1920, women couldn't vote.
Until 1971, states could bar women from practicing law.

In the US, docking dogs’ ears and tails is still legal.

In the 19th century and later, food was coloured with “Vermilion (containing mercury), red lead, white lead, verdigris (a copper salt), blue vitriol (containing copper), Sheele's green (containing copper and arsenic), lead chromate, orange chrome, and copper sulphate were all used to colour food before regulation put a stop to them. Vinegar contained sulphuric acid, pickles contained copper...” (Andrew Giddings) Never mind, once we’ve Brexited we can ignore these silly rules and poison ourselves with bright green food again!

More here, and links to the rest.

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