Celebrities

The line-up of speakers in the upcoming season of the Celebrity Forum at Foothill College (in Los Altos Hills CA):

Every year, I note the makeup of the speaker list. Figures from politics, journalism, and technology, mostly. Typically, (only) one of them is a woman, and (only) one of them is black. In the array above, all are white, but there are four women in there — but only one (biographer, historian, and political commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin) stands alone. All the rest are in couples: husband and wife Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords, father and daughter Jacques and Claudine Pépin, and Sixty Minutes correspondents Lara Logan and Bob Simon.

Note that in each of the couples, the man is older — in the case of Kelly and Giffords, only by six years, but in the others, considerably more. Some information on the participants:

Gabrielle Dee “Gabby” Giffords (born June 8, 1970) is an American politician. As a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, she represented Arizona’s 8th congressional district from 2007 until her resignation on January 25, 2012, having been elected to Congress three times.

… She is married to former astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander Mark E. Kelly [born February 21, 1964].

… On January 8, 2011, a week into her third term, Giffords was a victim of a shooting near Tucson, which was reported to be an assassination attempt on her, at a supermarket where she was meeting publicly with constituents. She was critically injured by a gunshot wound to the head; thirteen people were injured and six others were killed in the shooting, among them federal judge John Roll. Giffords was later brought to a rehabilitation facility in Houston, Texas, where she recovered some of her ability to walk, speak, read and write. (Wikipedia link)

Jacques Pépin (born December 18, 1935) is an internationally recognized French chef, television personality, and author working in the United States. Since the late 1980s, he has appeared on French and American television and written an array of cookbooks that have become best sellers.

… In another series [Cooking with Claudine, also Encore with Claudine], Pépin cooked with his daughter, Claudine, wife of chef Rolland Wesen. (Wikipedia link)

Lara Logan (born 29 March 1971) is a South African television and radio journalist, and war correspondent. She is the chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News, and a correspondent for CBS’s 60 Minutes. (Wikipedia link)

Bob Simon (born May 29, 1941) is a CBS News television correspondent.

… In 1996, Simon joined 60 Minutes as a correspondent, and in 1998 he was named a 60 Minutes II correspondent. (Wikipedia link)

Two of the pairs have a pretty young woman paired with an experienced (and more famous) older man. In the case of Kelly and Giffords, it makes sense for them to appear together, since extended speaking is a trial for Giffords. So three of the four woman are there with the support of a man — an advance towards gender equality, but a limited one.

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