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Houston Breakthrough 1977-09
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Houston Breakthrough 1977-09 - Page 3. September 1977. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 22, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3036/show/3014.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(September 1977). Houston Breakthrough 1977-09 - Page 3. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3036/show/3014

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough 1977-09 - Page 3, September 1977, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 22, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3036/show/3014.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Compound Item Description
Title Houston Breakthrough 1977-09
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date September 1977
Description Vol. 2 No. 8
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 25 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 3
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_531c.jpg
Transcript Editorials ^Wf ''-H^4 Hurricane warning She sulked. She teased. She danced. She loafed. She plied her trade. This is how the local media described her attributes. Who is this frivolous female? "She" is a hurricane—a terrifying and destructive phenomenon of nature. Over the last 40 years, over 1500 lives have been lost in this country alone. In 1928, nearly 2,000 were killed in the "San Felipe" hurricane that struck Florida. Property damage over the years has run into the billions of dollars. In view of the tragic consequences of hurricanes, it seems extremely irresponsible to trivialize their potential for destruction by giving them "girls' " names. The logical outgrowth of this practice is to endow them with so-called feminine characteristics—whimsical, fanciful and capricious. A striking analogy to this situation is the plight of female flight attendants. As long as they objected to being portrayed as "empty- headed, whorish sexpots" on the grounds that it was demeaning to them as women, they got nowhere. Remember "Fly me...I'm Anita, Babe, Clara, etc."? Results only came when they started making the point that such a portrayal poses a threat to the safety of the passengers, who must obey a flight attendant's instructions immediately in emergencies. So it is with hurricanes. It is a dangerous practice to embellish the threat of impending disaster with "humorous" remarks on the vagaries of the female sex. It confuses the issue. How can a hurricane be taken seriously when "she flirts and teases"? This media mixing of the news with entertainment has been called "news theater" by Robert Brustein, dean of the Yale School of Drama. He points out that it is an unhealthy kind of theater because it robs real events of their significance. Witness the Son of Sam saga, as relayed to us by network T.V. By the time of his capture, it was the hottest property on the home screen. Terry Ann Knopf (Knight-Ridder Newspapers) in a brilliant series on news theater and Son of Sam, says, "A continuing police drama had made the evening news." Knopf expands on her theme: "It is news when Patty Hearst is kidnapped. But the manner of the kidnapping is theatrical, as the kidnappers plan every step to gain maximum media attention, even selecting a bank for robbery that has an automatic camera to record the event. It is news when a group of Hanafi Muslims seizes 149 hostages in three buildings in Washington, but it is theater when they insist on airing their demands through a local television anchorman." Everyone is playing the ratings game, and it becomes increasingly difficult to separate reality from fantasy. The media must accept responsibility for blurring the distinction between the two. In sensationalizing murders and kidnappings, it exploits the tragedies that real people suffer. In trivializing the dangers of hurricanes, it sacrifices accuracy for cuteness. The end result is an affront to our sensibilities. Whatever name changes will be made in the future, for the time being we are stuck with Clara, Dorothy, and Evelyn. The least the media can do for the safety of us all is to resist the impulse to capitalize on this unfortunate fact. •^Houston- .« ******* 1» Breakthrough Vol II, no. 8 STAFF - THIS ISSUE Ailene English, Nancy Landau, Jane Little, Pat Bohan, Tucker Bradley, Jan Adrienne Hirst, Kiki Neumann, Jim Nelson, Mark Stinson, Trudy Sween Frances Belikoff, Juannita Lalor, Lana Lalor Sam A. J. Akers, Deborah Diamond Hicks, Esther Horton, Jeannine Klein, Cheryl Knott, Molly Rein burg, Mary Jane White Janice Blue, Lana Lalor, Mary Jane White Janice Blue, Janis Fowles, Marilyn Jones, Nancy Landau, Beth Parker Janice Blue, Gabrielle Cosgriff, Niami Hanson, Cheryl Knott, Lana Lalor, Ernie Shawver Debbi DuBose, Deborah Diamond Hicks, Jeannine Klein Neil Barrett, Ruth Barrett Gabrielle Cosgriff, Cheryl Knott Deborah Diamond Hicks, Lana Lalor, Niami Hanson, Jeannine Klein, Molly Reinburg, Ernie Shawver EDITORIAL BOARD Janice Blue, Gabrielle Cosgriff, Gertrude BarnStone Houston Breakthrough is published monthly (with the exception of the July- August and December-January issues) by the Breakthrough Publishing Company, 1708 Rosewood, Houston, TX 77004. P.O. Box 88072, Houston, TX 77004. Tel. 713/526-6686. Subscriptions $5 per year, newstand 50? per copy. This publication is on file at the International Women's History Archive in the Special Collections Library, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60201. PAGE 2 SEPTEMBER 1977 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH Advertising Art Circulation Copy Editors Office Photographers Production Promotion Proofreading Typesetting c letters to breakthrough This being hurricane season, I'd like to share some correspondence about a personal campaign that I hope your readers will find timely and relevant. My first letter was written to Dr. Juanita Kreps, Secretary of Commerce: J am writing to request that the present National Weather Service method of identifying hurricanes by means of an alphabetical sequence of women's names be replaced by a more objective system using neutral nomemclature. It is my understanding that a major objective of hurricane identification is to encourage serious public awareness of hurricane danger and to secure the cooperation of the public in carrying out appropriate safety measures in the event of a hurricane. The present identification mode, with its frivolous emphasis on personification, is more conducive to colorful writing than to informative reporting. Radio and hurricane television bulletins offer the same misleading and distracting image, all tending to incite an unrealistic emotional response. Hurricane preparedness is not effectively promoted by anthropomorphic fantasies representing an immensely powerful atmospheric force as a "tempestuous female ". The confusion of purpose fostered by personfication of hurricanes is exemplified in the opening statement of the principal speaker at the Gulf Coast Hurricane Awareness Conference in Clear Lake City, Texas in July, 1975. Said Mr. Joe Moseley of the Texas Coastal and Marine Council: "Its no surprise that hurricanes are named after women, because they are so vicious. " No rationale of tradition or personal preference can offset the total negative impact of the present method of hurricane identification. I therefore recommend that a new 10-year list of neutral terms, retaining the useful mnemonic of alphabetic sequence, be developed and put to use, and that the old list be retired. This change could be effected, I believe, without inconvenience to anyone except, possibly, a few diehard misogynists who like ex- i public, posing their aberrations in p or a few hack reporters who can Y start a story without a cliche in the opening sentence. Thank you for your consideration of this request. This letter was answered by Wilmot N. Hess, the Acting Associate Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as follows: The routine practice of using feminine names for hurricanes goes back to World War II when military personnel began to name typhoons in the western Pacific for their wives and sweethearts. The National Weather Service first adopted this technique in 1953. The practice of using feminine names has proven to be especially useful from the communications standpoint, since it eases the problem of tracking simultaneously occurring multiple hurricane e- vents. Mail received at our National Hurricane Center runs a- bout 4 to I in favor of the method, generally with requests to add a particular woman's name to our list. With regard to changing the system, an Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference is held at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, in January of each year. The major participants are from the Department of Commerce, Defence, and Transportation. The purpose of the conference is to review the previous hurricane seasons activities, to analyze any operational problems, and to adopt changes in procedures and techniques that improve our capability to save lives, reduce human suffering, preserve property and reduce economic losses. The subject of hurricane names is taken up at this conference whenever necessary. The approved list of names is published 10 years in advance and repeated when a cycle is completed. The National Hurricane Operations Plan for Calendar Year 1977 has been completed. It is not po- sible for the Department of Commerce to recommend changes in hurricane names for the forthcoming 1977 hurricane season because of the internal United States and international coordination necessary. We are taking a look at the problem and I can assure you we will attempt to have an alternative method of naming hurricanes ready for the 1978 season. Thank you for sharing with your readership. this -PATRICIA M. BUTLER Editor's note: Patricia Butler, a Baytown resident, has been concerned about the hurricane naming system for many years and has been one of the most persistent voices in this country calling for a total "name change". At press time, she received a letter from i Meg Power, a legislative assistant to Senator Edward W. Brooke (R- Mass) saying that the Senator had just learned that the hurricane naming system will become a "bisexual" one in 1979. While this is less desirable than getting away from human nomenclature (both sexes will now bear a share of the calamities), "it is somewhat of a victory," Power wrote Butler, adding "Let us know your reaction, as the Senator is grateful to you for having raised questions to this issue in the first place." (See Pats, Pans & Dead Pans, this issue) WEATHER "That's right ma'm. . . There's a 30 per cent chance that we'll stop naming hurricanes after women."