Chivalry is dead (5×8 – 1/17/12)

Whatever happened to ‘women and children first,’ tough times in the wild; an orchestra, a viola, and a woman; how it’s all connected to the weather, and how the world might end.


The search is still on for a White Bear Lake couple inside the doomed cruise ship off the coast of Italy. Today comes word that two other people from Minnesota were also on the ship. Vivian Shafer and her sister, Ronda Rosenthal described the disaster to CNN and revealed, as others have, that the initial response of the crew was to lie to passengers and tell them it was a technical problem.

Listen to the entire interview here.

The Guardian reports today that the Coast Guard had to order the captain to return to the ship. He fled.

Whatever happened to “women and children first,” the Daily Mail asks.

But in our day, with the advent of feminism and the professional woman, chivalry and manners are considered stuffy and old-fashioned.

As the father of three daughters, I do not, with a single fibre of my being, wish to go back to a time when women could not have the vote or get a university degree. Nor do I, surrounded by extremely strong-charactered and intelligent women in my family and among my friends, feel tempted to regard women as the frail sex.

But the fact remains that there is a longing among most men to protect women and children, and chivalry is simply a manifestation of that longing.

And whatever transpires about the reason for the Costa Concordia disaster, the disappearance of a chivalric code is a sorry reflection on society today.


Who knew that it might be a crime to put pretty collars on deer? A Forest Lake man might be in trouble if he did so, but he’s upset with the police who shot both deer to death early Sunday morning, the Star Tribune says.

“Why would they come out at 7 in the morning when people are around to shoot a shotgun off?” the man told the paper. “There were a hundred different ways this thing could have been reconciled without incident. Wouldn’t you think they would knock on the door? How this was handled was ludicrous and outrageous.”

“You can’t be taking wild animals as your own and treating them as pets,” a DNR official said.

The agency thought they’d escaped from a game farm and would introduce disease.

Related: Harley is dead.

Harley the rescue eagle had been fitted with a transmitter in 2010 so that researchers could follow his flights. The transmitter stopped 18 months ago and the Duluth News Tribune reports that a DNR officer has found the eagle’s body.


Mary King Osterfield played viola with the Fargo Moorhead Symphony Orchestra until last season, when she neared 100. She wanted to play at least one more concert at 100 but she died on Sunday.

In 2005, the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra joined forces for a performance of Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem,” mixing the traditional Latin Mass for the dead with anti-war poetry by Wilfred Owen.

MPR’s Tom Crann spoke with Osterfield, then 93. She played in the premiere of the piece in 1962. (Sorry about the RealPlayer format)

Related (sort of): Classical playlist for yoga.


Heavy snow last winter? Blame La Nina. No snow this winter? Blame La Nina. In his appearance on MPR’s Midmorning last week, meteorologist Paul Douglas blamed below-normal sea surface temperatures for both, noting that the difference in the result could be that the second year of La Nina producers milder weather here than the first.

Now we’ve got something else to blame on La Nina — the flu. The CBC reports researchers have determined that the La Nina pattern alters the migratory patterns of birds, which may in turn promote the development of dangerous new strains of flu.

Jeffrey Shaman of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said the pattern alters the migration, stopover time, fitness and interspecies mixing of migratory birds, encouraging gene swapping and creating more variations of the influenza virus.

Among the flu outbreaks connected to La Nina is the one in 2009.

The weather is also being blamed for a coming shortage of crop seed for farmers. The Redwood Falls Gazette says the heat and drought of 2011 is to blame. With high prices, most farmers want to plant corn. But there may not be enough corn seed to plant.

More weather: Remember! Stay off the ice, unless, of course, you don’t think you’ll fall through.


Assuming the Mayans were wrong and doomsday isn’t on Dec. 21, considers how the world as we know it might really end. It has collected “several scientifically valid scenarios for you to worry about.” Pick your poison.

Live on it while you can:

WHY – Nikon D4 Release Video from Corey Rich on Vimeo.

2011 from hey_rabbit on Vimeo


An international team of astronomers now believes each star in the Milky Way has at least one planet around it. That adds up to billions of planets. Today’s Question: If there were indeed billions of planets in the Milky Way, how would your view of life on earth change?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The hidden toll of underemployment.

Second hour: The economic collapse of 2008 shook the faith that Americans had in our free market system, and created calls for reform. But in his new book, writer Thomas Frank argues that for many conservatives, the financial crisis and the Obama administration’s response has only bolstered their belief in the power of the free market.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: The South Carolina presidential campaign: political science professor Danielle Vinson of Furman University.

Second hour: “Ask the President” with MPR President Jon McTaggart.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The covert effort to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Second hour: Humorist Henry Alford, author of “Would It Kill You To Stop Doing That: A Modern Guide to Manners.”

  • A friend of mine was just reflecting on the casualty numbers from the Titanic disaster. Most of the people lost were men. Most women and children survived that disaster. He wondered aloud how something that would go down these days. I guess now we know.

  • Bob Moffitt

    I think the Daily Mail is off base here. What happened on the Costa Concordia had nothing to do with chivalry.

    From the early reports, it sound like many mistakes were made, but let’s start with AFTER the reef was struck.

    First of all, the ship failed to send out the approriate distress signal in a timely matter. At very least it should have alerted Italian authorities that the ship had run aground, and was assessing damage.

    I’m willing to overlook the “white lie” of lying to passengers if the goal was to prevent panic (which eventually occured, to some degree). That said, many of the crew — and certainly the ship’s Master — seemed to forget their basic disaster training and rules they all should have known.

    I think that as many people survived as they did because there were crew members, passengers, and other vessels that acted with great intelegence, compassion and courage, so that many other lives were spared.

    Indeed, I have heard reports that there were cries for “women and children first!” to the lifeboats, but by that time, the ship was listing badly and all hell had broken out.

    The cruise ship industry (especialy the Italian-flag lines) had better take some steps fast to show that this won’t happen again.

  • boB from WA

    Chivalry isn’t dead. It just smells funny.

  • Dan

    If chivalry is indeed dead, that’s probably a good thing.

    “But the fact remains that there is a longing among most men to protect women and children, and chivalry is simply a manifestation of that longing.” Isn’t this just nonsense? If this longing truly existed, chivalry would not, in fact, be dead, right? And, furthermore, doesn’t the notion that women must be “protected” imply they are incapable of protecting themselves?

    I suppose I’ve always associated chivalry between men and women rather than men and women and children. Perhaps because of this, I consider it a fairly misogynistic concept. I’m not saying that those stampeding each other to reach safety should be particularly proud, simply that perhaps gender should not be the prime indicator of who might require assistance in an emergency.

  • kennedy

    Men are, on average, bigger and stronger than women and children. In a physical emergency, gender is well correlated to a persons need for physical assistance.

    The more disappointing thing for me is dereliction of duty by the captain. It is offset by the bravery and honor displayed by many of the crew and passengers. I hope their stories get heard.

  • John P II

    Maybe women and children first is an antiquated part of our genetic wiring leftover from when our survival as a species was in jeopardy?

    The actions of the captain made me think about Capt Sully Sullenberger, who ditched his large plane in the Hudson River a few years back and famously walked the aisles twice before departing himself. There’s something very powerful about the idea of a captain or pilot putting passengers first – a sort of self-imposed personal accountability that’s rarely seen these days.