April
8th 2009
Wednesday round-up: flashing red at angry bulls edition

Posted under: American history, European history, Gender, GLBTQ, happy endings, publication, students, women's history

cowgirlmatadorWell, well, well:  If all I have to do to drive up my hits is use the word “adjunct” in a headline, why didn’t you tell me sooner?  Man, that worked better than calling a certain prominent (and dead) early modern British historian a you-know-what!

For all of you pro-pr0n readers out there, you’ll be just thrilled to know that this blog is getting hits when people google the title of a certain trashy flick that was briefly screened Monday night at the University of Maryland.  That’ll teach me to suggest that women shouldn’t be degraded on their own campuses just for kicks, I guess!  It’s tremendously entertaining–and sexy!–to watch images of people who must resort to sex work in order to pay the bills.  What was I thinking?  I know, I know–that’s what women–especially poor women–are for!  I keep forgetting.  And let’s not also forget:  women have no expectation of safety or bodily integrity on most campuses, so why cry about a little spank movie?  Clearly, I have no sense of perspective.  May I offer you a HandiWipe?

But, there’s (some) other stuff going on that I’m sure you’re desperate to know about, right?  Well, here ya go:

  • Roxie’s World features an in-depth description of the 30-minute clip and panel discussion of the Pr0n That Shall Not Be Named at the University of Maryland, including links to video clips that provide more information and insight.  I agree with Roxie and her moms that we can (in their words) “learn from porn,” and that Monday night’s teach-in was a good example of that.  As Roxie says, “this issue quickly got re-framed for us in terms of the deep, broad threat posed by (State) Sen. Harris’ efforts to blackmail the university into doing his bidding.”  Fair enough–around these parts we are all too familiar with state legislators and governors poking their noses into university business to make political hay, so I understand the instinct.  (Still, I don’t think that a lot of “learning” is happening at midnight screenings on Saturday nights.)
  • Civilization as we know it is on a handcar to hell (and thank goodness for that)!  Yes–another state (Vermont) legalized gay marriage yesterday.  I don’t think even most American historians appreciate how appropriate it is that New England has pioneered marriage equality, when we reflect on colonial New England (which I’m sure you all do quite frequently!)  As Cornelia Hughes Dayton demonstrated so well in her 1995 book Women Before the Bar:  Gender, Law, and Society in Connecticut, 1639-1789, New England led the way in the colonial Americas with its liberal divorce laws (well, liberal in that it permitted divorce at all!) because puritans as reformed Protestants didn’t see marriage as a sacrament.  It was just another contract among mortals, like so many others, so it could be broken if one party didn’t live up to his or her end of the deal.  This stunningly sensible legal insight is one that Historiann thinks has been lost amidst all of the talk of late–by Protestants!–about the “sacred” nature of marriage!  Protestants, please:  if you don’t want the gays to marry, just say you don’t want them to marry because you hate or fear them, because you like making invidious distinctions among people, or because you fear that you’ll fall into a delicious, seductive, forbidden gay marriage yourself.  Don’t turn your back on centuries of Protestant tradition and say that marriage is “sacred!”  Civil marriage is an American tradition.
  • Now, this is funny!  Apostles, apostates–whatEVER!

OK, enough of the angry bulls and sacred cows for me.  Your turn, my little matadors!  What makes you see red?

11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Wednesday round-up: flashing red at angry bulls edition”

  1. GayProf on 08 Apr 2009 at 9:54 am #

    What makes you see red?

    Alas, given that I am color blind, nothing.

  2. Historiann on 08 Apr 2009 at 10:26 am #

    You poor thing! You can’t even appreciate the full splendor of Wonder Woman’s dynamite all-American getups then, can you?

  3. guez on 08 Apr 2009 at 10:30 am #

    Historiann,

    I love the picture of the female matador! Very clever. It raises an interesting question, though: to what extent do you intend this blog to be deliberately provocative?

  4. Dr. Crazy on 08 Apr 2009 at 11:19 am #

    Oh, Guez, just, sigh.

    (I’m going to put words in your mouth, Historiann, so feel free to correct or amend what follows.)

    Historiann’s blog, like many blogs written by academics, does certainly offer posts that “provoke” intelligent, thoughtful, interested conversation. Most of the time, that happens. Most of the time, everybody is respectful, engaged, and on board with the tone that Historiann sets. See, because she, in general, has a thoughtful, receptive, considerate audience.

    But starting a conversation doesn’t equal being “deliberately provocative” (with all of the negative connotations that go along with that when you put that label on something a woman writes) nor does it come off as anything but pejorative when a commenter such as yourself feels the need to note how “very clever” an image is just before asking that question.

    You bore me, Guez, and seriously, your tone in every comment that you’ve left here recently shows a serious lack of engagement, a lack of understanding about how conversations on this blog typically work, and a lack of interest in figuring out how they work so that you can participate in a way that is anything other than irritating.

    So, to respond to Historiann’s query, what makes me see red is when people show up to comment on a blog, fail to take subtle and not-so-subtle cues about how conversations work on that blog, and then they insinuate that they think the blog’s author is being “deliberately provocative” and thus has no right to be annoyed.

  5. guez on 08 Apr 2009 at 11:33 am #

    Message received. FWIW, it was an honest question, provoked by what I genuinely thought was a clever visual joke.

  6. Mother of ALL on 08 Apr 2009 at 11:47 am #

    Thank you Dr. Crazy. I couldn’t have said it better!

  7. Digger on 08 Apr 2009 at 12:11 pm #

    Historiann can be as provocative as she’d like; this is her personal blog, and she doesn’t have to answer to anyone. If anyone thinks she’s getting all uppity, they can leave. Or, stick around for the conversation while decorating their handcarts.

  8. John S. on 08 Apr 2009 at 12:27 pm #

    Well, FWIW, I encourage deliberate provocation. If intellectuals can’t try to upset the apple cart by challenging people to think new things, then who can?

    Regarding the religion and history thing: Dayton’s book was actually a sticking point for my students when I taught it in a religious history class. They absolutely could not wrap their minds around the fact that Purtians saw marriage as a civil contract. Many of the students were fervent evangelicals who very much thought that Christian faith and practice had been pretty constant through the ages. And here they were, confronted with the notion that the Puritans weren’t as “puritanical” in their ideas on marriage as modern day Californians were…

    (Of course, what really blew their minds was Richard Godbeer’s “Cry of Sodom” article. They were not ready to have a discussion about Puritans and same-sex erotic encounters.)

  9. Historiann on 08 Apr 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    John S.: smell the toast burning! I love it. A few years ago, after Ted Haggard (the pre-gay sex scandal Haggard, that is) was quoted in the Denver Post blathering on about the “sacred” nature of marriage for “Christians,” I had had enough, so I wrote a letter to the editor correcting Haggard’s understanding of Reformation history. I braced myself for a barrage of hate mail and angry phone calls on the office phone, but I had only one phone message, from a grateful older gentleman who knows his religious history and who was also piqued by the retro-resacralization of Protestant marriage.

  10. Indyanna on 08 Apr 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    John S.: Then you hit them with the Smith and Hindus part about pre-marital pregnancy in 18th c. New England, right? It even shocks (“shocks”) the deists in my American Revolution class. Same as it ever was, I guess…

  11. The Wonders of the Visible World : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 07 May 2009 at 7:26 am #

    [...] As Historiann wrote just one month ago,  “I don’t think even most American historians appreciate how appropriate it is that New England has pioneered marriage equality, when we reflect on colonial New England (which I’m sure you all do quite frequently!)”  Humor me with this re-run–it’s such a sweet, sweet victory lap, after all:  As Cornelia Hughes Dayton demonstrated so well in her 1995 book Women Before the Bar:  Gender, Law, and Society in Connecticut, 1639-1789, New England led the way in the colonial Americas with its liberal divorce laws (well, liberal in that it permitted divorce at all!) because puritans as reformed Protestants didn’t see marriage as a sacrament.  It was just another contract among mortals, like so many others, so it could be broken if one party didn’t live up to his or her end of the deal.  This stunningly sensible legal insight is one that Historiann thinks has been lost amidst all of the talk of late–by Protestants!–about the “sacred” nature of marriage!  Protestants, please:  if you don’t want the gays to marry, just say you don’t want them to marry because you hate or fear them, because you like making invidious distinctions among people, or because you fear that you’ll fall into a delicious, seductive, forbidden gay marriage yourself.  Don’t turn your back on centuries of Protestant tradition and say that marriage is “sacred!”  Civil marriage is an American tradition.   [...]