Unknowingly Making History — The First Ever “Selfie” (1839)
On November 19, 2013, the Oxford Dictionaries announced their word of the year for 2013 to be “selfie”, which they define as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”
Although it’s current rampant incarnation is quite recent, the “selfie” is far from being a strictly modern phenomenon. Indeed, the photographic self-portrait is surprisingly common in the very early days of photography exploration and invention, when it was often more convenient for the experimenting photographer to act as model as well.
In fact, the picture shown above is considered by many to be the first photographic portrait ever taken was a “selfie”. The image in question was taken in 1839 by an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast from Philadelphia named Robert Cornelius. Cornelius had set his camera up at the back of the family store in Philadelphia. He took the image by removing the lens cap and then running into frame where he sat for a minute before covering up the lens again. On the back he wrote “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839.”
After cutting the education budget, the Governor [Tom Corbett] commissioned Boston Consulting Group, a major global-business consulting and school “right-sizing” firm, to a $1.5 million contract to fix the Philadelphia problem. Boston Consulting Group has a worldwide reputation for crushing teachers’ unions and putting most public schools under charter control. Corbett followed the firm’s advice and the infusion of charter schools is starting to overrun Philadelphia.
According to The Philadelphia Citypaper, the School District of Philadelphia will spend $729 million on charter schools in the coming fiscal year. Nearly a third of Philadelphia’s students will attend 84 charter schools this year and it will cost the district an estimated $7000 per student to attend a charter school. Parents are starting to move their children away from the nearly extinct public schools by enrolling them in charter schools and virtual charter schools. The problem with this equation is academics and money. A Stanford study found students at 100 percent of Pennsylvania’s cyber charters performed significantly lower than the peers at traditional schools. Five Pennsylvania cyber charters receive $200 million in tax money each year to produce unacceptable results. The Agora Cyber Charter, which is run by the for-profit company K12, made $31.6 million last year from state taxpayers. It’s interesting to note that billionaire Michael Milken is an owner of K12 and that Mr. Milken was convicted of racketeering and securities fraud in 1989.
Adding more fuel to the charter fire is the state’s law that keeps the school district powerless. Daniel Denvir says, “For reasons that aren’t clear, millions of dollars have moved between the network of charter schools, their parent nonprofit, and two property-management entities. The School District is charged with overseeing city charters but ‘does not have the power or access to the financial records of the parent organization.’” This is how companies like Aspira Inc. are draining the life out of Philadelphia schools. Denvir reports that Aspira Inc. of Pennsylvania operates four Philadelphia charter schools and owes large sums of money to the district. As of last June, that total had climbed to $3.3 million. The Philadelphia charter school scandal, however, has become common the past five years. Since 2008, 18 Philadelphia charter schools have been under federal investigations. A 2010 City Controller investigation stated that the district is “extremely vulnerable to fraud, waste, and abuse.” Superintendent Hite even went on record to say, “Unmanaged, self-directed, charter-school growth could force the district into a perpetual deficit.”
They are closing nearly 10% of Philadelphia schools, causing massive over crowding for next year because Republicans chose to build a $400 million prison. The schools they are closing would cost a fraction of that. 81% of the students losing their schools are black and 93% are poor. They are specifically targeting schools with high graduation rates in black neighborhoods. After all, if you dismantle public schools to build prisons, the school to prison pipeline is that much easier as is the Republican plan to take the right to vote away from black and poor citizens. They are also massively firing teachers in the hopes of breaking the teacher’s union and further dismantling the middle class, which is also an important ideological goal. As with Chicago, this is clearly a choice to use a manufactured crisis to destroy the public school system because rich Republicans have a vested interest in maintaining a permanent underclass.
I don’ follow Philadelphia politics closely since I don’t live there any more, but whenever I see Mayor Nutter he is doing something to make the world a better place. I teared up a little reading this article. The Philadelphia of my teens was one where cops hunted gay men for sport. The police are still refusing to investigate the case of a trans woman who accepted a ride home from police, but they murdered and dumped her on a street corner. I’m used to Philly being enemy territory. It is a huge fucking deal that they are taking major steps to make government jobs fairer and safer. This looks like the sort of progress I didn’t expect to see in my lifetime.
Now if they’ll start investigating murders and prosecuting murderers, I’ll be happy.
Philadelphia: 2nd Annual Philly Trans March, October 6, 2012.
“‘Not only a rally and demonstration, but a revolutionary movement and a celebration of ALL gender identities, expressions and experiences,’ the 2012 Trans March drew hundreds up and down Broad Street. Dedicated to Kyra (Kruz) Cordova, a 27 year old transgender woman found shot in the head on September 3, speakers also spoke about CeCe McDonald and other cases of injustice against trans people.”
I'm androgyne, transexual, poly, and androphilic. Nec hoc nec illud is Latin slang for bisexual, but I use it because it translates loosely as "Neither one thing nor the other." I think this is a good description of me, even though I'm not bisexual. This tumblr is neither one thing nor another also. It's random stuff I'm randomly interested in. I don't do "reblog if you believe X" posts, as I feel they are coercive to the reader and if you read my stuff you already know what I believe.
I will generally answer non-troll asks.