Monday, November 26, 2007

Bearded Ladies

I've always been a big fan of bearded ladies. As a kid, along with feminist heroines like Elizabeth Blackwell, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Queen Elizabeth I, I was fascinated with the bearded lady Julia Pastrana, who was horribly abused by her promoter-husband but was admired for her singing voice and literacy in three languages. Last weekend I went to see Igor Stravinsky and W.H. Auden's The Rake's Progress, in which a bearded lady plays a significant role.

The Virtualpolitik connection? The stock photography house now owned by Getty Images, The Image Bank, has acquired the collection of pictures from the estate of Believe It or Not kingpin Robert L. Ripley, which includes shots from a number of old-time freak shows. Thus, even more nineteenth century photography appears to be out of the public domain and into the realm of perpetual copyright.

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Blogger bob c said...

It seems that public domain is to go the way of the dinosaur. Except the cause is human not evolutionary or even cosmic in origin. Unfortunate developement for civilizaion as a whole,I think, as it fractures knowledge in a perpetual way for perpetual pay.

9:11 AM  

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