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This Week in Humanism 2018–08–26


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/08/26

“Charles Blackman was not only a much celebrated painter but also exceedingly prolific. On both counts his immortality is assured. His remarkable contribution to Australian art was recognised publicly in the huge retrospective exhibition Charles Blackman: Schoolgirls and Angels at the ­National Gallery of Victoria, which travelled around Australia in 1993–94.

That exhibition coincided with the making of the documentary film Charles Blackman: Dreams and Shadows, of which Blackman himself somehow became the star. Always articulate and variously poetic, reflective, comical and crazy, Blackman revealed in the film some of the emotional intensity that underpins his art. His performance, in the company of the narration of Barry Humphries, captured the duality of fact and fantasy, or indeed surreality, of his art and life. But his profound and unaffected humanity more than anything else struck viewers.

English journalist John Pringle, writing in Britain’s The ­Observer in 1961, described Blackman’s humanism as “emotional and honest, compassionate but tough (and) rooted in the working class from which he comes”. ­Although no doubt partly true, the class cap never really fitted this mercurial self-made artist.”


“The former chair of LGBT Humanists, the special interest section of Humanists UK, has expressed concern about ‘transphobia’ among members of the organisation.

Chris Ward called out the president-elect of Humanists Students Angelou Sofocleous for retweeting a post that read “RT if women don’t have penises,” which enclosing an article titled “Is it a crime to say ‘women don’t have penises’?” published on The Spectator on Sunday.

The article referred to a series of penis-shaped stickers featuring the transphobic slogan that have appeared in various locations in London and Liverpool in the past week.

“As former Chair of @LGBTHumanistsUK, the opposition I experienced from a number of longstanding @Humanists_UK members to trans people and trans issues was a stain on an otherwise great organisation. And here’s the new President of @HumanistStudent RTing horrific transphobic s**t,” Ward wrote on Twitter.”


“In June, the Belfast Court of Appeal ruled that humanist marriages must be legally recognised in Northern Ireland. This weekend, the first two legal marriages to follow that ruling will occur.

On Saturday, Emma Taylor and Paul Malone will be getting married at Queen’s University Belfast, while on Sunday, Alanna McCaffrey and Ronan Johnson will be getting married in County Fermanagh. Their celebrants are Stewart Holden and Lara Harris, both trained and accredited by Humanists UK. Humanists UK and its section Northern Ireland Humanists have expressed their delight at the news and congratulations to the couples.

A humanist wedding is a non-religious ceremony that is deeply personal and conducted by a humanist celebrant. It differs from a civil wedding in that it is entirely hand-crafted and reflective of the humanist beliefs and values of the couple, conducted by a celebrant who shares their beliefs and values.”


“The Freethought Party of India (FPI) and the AMOFOI here jointly celebrated “August 20”, the 75th Birthday of former PM Rajiv Gandhi and the 5th Death Anniversary of Dr Narendra Dabholkar, the founder president of Maharastra Andhasradha Nirmoolan Samiti, as the “Scientific Temper and Humanism Day.”

Speaking on the occasion, FPI general secretary B Ramchandra CST Voltaire observed that late Rajiv Gandhi was indeed a great humanist and a dedicated lover of scientific outlook. It was he who brought eminent telecom engineer Sam Pitroda from the USA and with his technological knowledge, he launched a knowledge-cum-telecom revolution in India. Besides, it was his humanism that could see the then Leader of the Opposition Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s successful kidney treatment in the USA.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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