Archive for March, 2010

March 21st 2010
International flight film reviews

Posted under American history & art & childhood & Gender

I don’t really get out much to see new movies–the best I can do is get them on NetFlix and hope that I can manage to stay awake past 9 p.m. to watch them.  So, international travel permits me an almost unparalleled opportunity to watch a variety of recent movies!  Herewith are a few short reviews of the movies I saw (and/or dozed through) on the flight back home from our spring vacation:

  • The Blind SideO.  mai.  Gawd.  I’m shocked that anyone involved in this movie was considered for an Academy Award.  This by-the-numbers plot traffics in some of the worst stereotypes I’ve ever seen in pop culture in my lifetime.  It’s like a bizarro world view of how the U.S. really works, wherein the “bad guys” who threaten the African American protagonist are all black (drug dealers and a rep from the NCAA), and the “good guys” helping the protagonist are all rich, white people (the adoptive family, the tutor they hire, and top U.S. college football coaches.)  One exception:  one white “bad guy” is a high school teacher who dares to assign the young football hopeful a D for his schoolwork!  Yeah, that’s a reasonable representation of how power works in America:  if only the evil high school teachers and drug dealers would yield all of the power to rich white people and let them do whatever they see fit, all of our problems would be solved!  I saw nothing special in Sandra Bullock’s performance of a stereotypical pillar of True Womanhood, although I thought they could have afforded to give her a better dye job.  (How she beat out Gabourey Sidibe for Best Actress is beyond me.)
  • Whip It:  A totally awesome movie about a high school misfit and reluctant beauty pageant contestant from Bodeen, Texas who goes to Austin and becomes a rocking Roller Derby queen, starring Ellen Page, Juliette Lewis, Kristen Wiig, Marcia Gay Harden, Alia Shawkat (“Maeby” from Arrested Development) and Drew Barrymore (who also directed the film), among a bunch of other women actors of all ages.  It’s a great coming-of-age movie, with some of the classic markers of the genre (the first love affair, the confrontation of parental foibles, tensions among friends), but it’s smart and sensitive without being overly sentimental.  If like Tenured Radical you also didn’t like The Hurt Locker because of its simplistic and hackneyed portrayal of masculinity in war and because of its exclusion of women charactersWhip It is the antidote.  Continue Reading »

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March 20th 2010
Historically historic hope and change!!!!

Posted under American history & Gender & the body & unhappy endings & wankers & women's history

It’s coming tomorrow, right?  Well, except for American women, who will be subject to a fascinating neo-coverture thanks to the Senate “health” “care” “reform” bill!  Go read Natasha Chart over at Open Left for why exactly this scheme will offer millions of American women neither true health care nor reform:

Under the Senate system which makes abortion part of the initial purchasing decision, a woman’s employer, male partner or parents can all potentially prevent her getting insurance coverage for it, whereas now, it usually doesn’t come up because most private plans just cover it. Now, of the one in three women likely to need an abortion in her life, millions of women never have to have that conversation. Under the current wording of the health bill, that second check is the federal spousal and parental notification law that never managed to pass.

Then if the administrative expenses and familial approval weren’t enough, the second check creates a stigmatizing paper trail for anyone worried about public pressure or vulnerable to retribution by disapproving superiors. Even people who might support abortion might be pressured into dropping plans that cover it and one way or another, abortion coverage will end. That’s always been the point of both the Stupak amendment and Nelson’s Senate compromise, which will simply work more slowly to eradicate insurance coverage of abortion. Continue Reading »

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March 12th 2010
Spring breakin’

Posted under Berkshire Conference & conferences & women's history

Catch you next week!  Don’t forget:  proposals for panels, workshops, and single papers for the 2011 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women are due March 19!  So spend whatever time you’d otherwise be spending at Historiann.com this week putting together a proposal for the Berks instead.

We’ll have to do a massive femblogger meetup there.  The conference will be in Amherst at the University of Massachusetss, June 9-12–the Pioneer Valley is lovely in the late spring, friends!  And remember:  this comet only comes around every 3 years, so if you miss this one, you’ll regret it for sure.

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March 12th 2010
Tempus fugit

Posted under art & childhood & fluff

Do any of you ever wish you could crawl back into the 90s again? Or is it just me and Fratguy?  We were poor for most of the ’90s–and when we were no longer poor, I had a bad job, but we always had very good friends and neighbors wherever we were–Philadelphia, Baltimore, Hartford, Somerville/Cambridge, Washington D.C., Providence, R.I., and “Winesburg,” Ohio.  I’m probably just nostalgic for the first decade of adulthood, when the possibilities seemed endless.  (I will say that it’s nice not to have moved at all for 8 years in a row!  It seems like I spent half of my 20s in a U-Haul, driving up and down I-95 and figuring out how to avoid the New Jersey Turnpike.)

(Aside:  Does anyone know if there have been any articles or dissertations written about all of the babies, baby dolls, fetuses, and allusions to reproduction that populate both Nirvana and Hole songs and videos?  Does anyone want to offer an analysis in the comments below?) 

Although this video of “Malibu” might suggest that we’re going to the beach for Spring Break, we’re not.  More details later–but I think I’m going to stay off-line and just live in the meat world on my vacation. Continue Reading »

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March 11th 2010
This one goes out to all the historians

Posted under American history & bad language & European history & Gender & GLBTQ & race & women's history

How long has it been since you heard someone called a “revisionist,” or heard someone muttering darkly about “revisionism” after a job talk or search committee meeting?  (For all of the non-historians out there who might still be reading:  “revisionism” was a charge thrown around a lot in the 1980s and 1990s by those historians who imagined that history is the pursuit of Unchanging Truth, and who were generally quite hostile to most of the new approaches to history since 1960 or so–social history, subaltern history, feminist history, queer theory–pretty much everything except political and intellectual history focused on DWEMs, that is, Dead White European/Euro-American Males.  Anyone who had different ideas or subjects in mind were called “revisionists,” which implied that we were doing Made-Up history, which was seen as an attack on the Unchanging Truth.)  I think it’s been nearly a decade since I’ve heard these terms in serious conversations. Continue Reading »

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