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Boys Will BE Boys…Pity

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Last night I was in the both illuminating and uncomfortable position of witnessing a grownup professional man trying to outdo, compete and basically belittle a female from the same professional group.  It was misogyny in action.  As I stood watching this architect “John” carry on, it reminded me of an old English film,  where the elitist school master is trying to shame a female student who dares to want to study math.

The episode occurred at an event I happened upon at my local center of good activity,  St. Mark’s Church. It was a reception for The Grassroots Preservation Awards, honoring  people involved with the preservation of New York buildings. After my dog Darling received her usual round of accolades for complete cuteness, I started to chat with an architect, Ronnette Riley. Our conversation covered everything from Malcolm McLaren, about whom I made a film to 9/11 conspiracies. She is feisty, smart as a licorice whip and a lot of fun. She was the first woman from her family of fireman and investigators to go to college. She graduated Berkeley and Harvard Graduate School of Design and worked for Philip Johnson. She has run her 100% woman owned architecture firm for many years doing a wide range of projects; to say that her trajectory is long and full of substance is saying too little.

“John’s” argument with her was his insisting that she didn’t believe in preservation work. According to Ronnette, “I’ve had 15 preservation projects, compared to his five.” One of her  successes is the Restoration Hardware Building on lower Broadway where she maintained the beautiful white facade, among other details.

Apparently, John had had a dust off with her in the past about this subject and took the opportunity at this lovely event to go at it again. Well, Ronnette is no lily and gave as good as she got. But I felt like I had fallen into a time warp what with this smug, tweedy, too old to act like a school boy fart behaving in a way I had believed was a a thing of the past. Perhaps he represents the last vestiges of a dying breed, but probably not.

Still, kudos to the for their honors. Karen Ansis  received the Mickey Murphy Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with Landmarks Conservancy and honors were given to  Bowery Boys, George Janes,  Susan Olsen and Senator Brad Holyman.

Ok, now I remember the film this reminded me. It was the footage of the great The  Germaine Greer- Norman Mailer debate.  Bullies must be resisted.


Written by nancykoan

April 26, 2018 at 1:38 am

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