March
29th 2012
Thursday round-up: The Right Shoe, Judy Blume, No Obamacare for You Bluegrass Review

Posted under: American history, art, childhood, Gender, the body, unhappy endings, wankers

Well, well, well:  fires are raging here in Colorado, and hellzapoppin’ everywhere else these days.  Here are a few tidbits to keep you entertained today while I’m stuck in paper-grading hell. On a post last week that featured a new pair of shoes, a commenter asked if there were “shoes with manuscript-finishing powers?”  Girl, there’s a shoe, or a boot, for every job.  I’ve got these boots to inspire me to kick some a$$ and take names.  That’s what they say about me, friends:  Historiann really has a pair!  (Of boots, duh!)

  • Are your there, Judy Blume?  It’s us, your perimenopausal fangirlsAnna Holmes’s writes a valentine to Judy Blume’s unforgettable adolescent protagonists:  “Blume’s œuvre is filled with young female protagonists for whom boys, breasts, and sexual base-clearing are, if not irrelevant, sort of beside the point. In book after book, Blume gives us girls who have rejected the preciousness of childhood yet preserved the self-possession, ambition, and appetite for adventure that their peers and elders find in short supply. (‘What Mrs. Daniels didn’t know was that you could play with paper dolls like a baby or you could play with them in a very grown-up way, making up stories inside your head,’ reads one passage in ‘Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself.’) Contrast this with Blume’s exasperated, often derisive depiction of adult women—highly anxious, easily upset, overprotective, obsessed with outward appearances—and you begin to understand that what Blume is celebrating is that brief yet exhilarating time in a young girl’s life in which internal narratives take precedence over external attributes.”  Yes.  Don’t miss Holmes’s comments about the new e-book versions of Blume’s work, which totally undermines the way that the Blume books circulated in grade school back in the day:  someone would bring in their dog-eared copy, and each girl would have one or two nights in which to devour it before passing it along to the next girl.  Deenie.  Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret.  And the succes de scandale, Forever!  (I never understood the appeal of Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, Blume’s one foray into male adolescence.  But that’s her only dog, in my view.)
  • From the department of “oops!”  Dahlia Lithwick called her shot last week about the Supreme Court’s review of the Affordable Care Act:  “They will hear six hours of argument next week. They will pretend it is a fair fight with equally compelling arguments on each side. They will even reach out and debate the merits of the Medicaid expansion, although not a single court saw fit to question it. And then the justices will vote 6-3 or 7-2 to uphold the mandate, with the chief justice joining the majority so he can write a careful opinion that cabins the authority of the Congress to do anything more than regulate the health-insurance market. No mandatory gym memberships or forced broccoli consumption. And then—having been hailed as the John Marshall of the 21st century—he will proceed to oversee two years during which the remainder of the Warren Court revolution will be sent through the wood chipper.”  I’m sure she’s right that the constitutional shredding is just getting started, and we’ll have to see what the ruling looks like, but it looks like the Obama administration got pwned this week.
  • Lithwick’s columns this week are certainly worth reading.  I especially appreciated this one, as I too was struck by Antonin Scalia’s dismissive comments that suggested that he shouldn’t be on the hook to pay for someone else’s major organ transplant.  If he doesn’t need a kidney or heart transplant, why should he help pay for yours?  (As though people who need major organ transplants are consuming some frivolous luxury good.)  Me, I’ll be perfectly happy to subsidize Scalia’s treatment after he strokes out or has a massive MCI, so long as I remain healthy!  (Isn’t not needing a heart or kidney transplant compensation enough?)  Lithwick concludes, “[Tuesday] morning in America’s highest court, freedom seems to be less about the absence of constraint than about the absence of shared responsibility, community, or real concern for those who don’t want anything so much as healthy children, or to be cared for when they are old. Until today, I couldn’t really understand why this case was framed as a discussion of ‘liberty.’ This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms. It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another, freedom from the modern world in which we live. It’s about the freedom to ignore the injured, walk away from those in peril, to never pick up the phone or eat food that’s been inspected. It’s about the freedom to be left alone. And now we know the court is worried about freedom: the freedom to live like it’s 1804.”  As we like to say around here, friends:  awesome!!!
  • Adrienne Rich has died at the age of 82, and Earl Scruggs has died at 88.
  • Today’s Random Izzard Blogging, via Shakesville, featuring Eddie Izzard’s “technojoy!”
  • One of the things I liked about living in the Ohio Valley back in the previous century was the fact that it was Bluegrass Country.  I just can’t get enough of that old-timey music!  (Another thing I loved were the brilliant, verdant springs full of flowering plants and trees.)  In case you haven’t had your daily dose of bluegrass, here you go:  “Cripple Creek,” featuring Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson

11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Thursday round-up: The Right Shoe, Judy Blume, No Obamacare for You Bluegrass Review”

  1. Indyanna on 29 Mar 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Roberts will be the “John Marshall of the 21st century” only in that an upcoming Congress will soon revisit and *legislatively* overturn Marbury v. Madison, so we can get back to getting some actual productivity out of these overeducated clowns by putting them back on horses riding circuit, admitting evidence, ruling on motions, and deciding cases, not concepts–constitutional or otherwise. And that’s a whole lot more and longer circuits than back in the early 1800s. One more thing: let’s do away with this pre-air conditioning practice of taking July, August, and September off…

    Spring in Ohio is a pretty cool thing.

  2. ej on 29 Mar 2012 at 8:38 am #

    I read somewhere (though I cannot remember where) that they are making a film version of Forever. I want to say Blume (and maybe her son?) are involved in the process.

    Should be interesting. I remember reading that one under my bed covers with a flashlight because my mother considered it inappropriate. If only she knew…

  3. Profane on 29 Mar 2012 at 9:19 am #

    I find the commentary of Lithwick and others to be pessimistically over the top. If I had to read the tea leaves here, the SC will rule that the government cannot directly demand personal consumption of commerce – no doomsday scenario. This leaves open the prospect of a universal health care system for which there are many models worldwide, funded by taxes. That was a real prospect three years ago, absent the manner in which the politics were spectacularly bungled.

  4. Historiann on 29 Mar 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Profane: I agree with you–I’m a left-winger who opposed ACA because I resent being coerced by the government to support a for-profit industry. That’s the sticking point for me–I certainly don’t object to supporting and benfitting from a single-payer taxpayer-funded program. (I guess I like Lithwick’s analyses a lot more than you, though.)

    ej: Forever the movie? That sounds like a spectacularly bad idea! But it could offer super-campy fun fun fun.

  5. koshembos on 29 Mar 2012 at 10:14 am #

    Dahlia Lithwick’s tweets are my source of her writings; always a delight to read a wise person. I can afford to be less prudent about the supreme court. It has very little to do with court and a lot to do with the feudal politics that is elevated, pushed and sold by the right wing.

    Scalia plays Torquemada; his pretense of originalism is nonsense that allows him to do what he likes. Alito is evil spirited, Thomas is dead and his body belongs to Scalia. Kennedy is an idiot. Roberts is the smart right winger. He acts better than Tom Hanks but will end up voting NO.

    The three days were a legal Mardi Gras. It’s a game; the decision to prevent health care from the people was made long ago.

    Sad to hear about Adrienne Rich death; like her poetry and supported her cause. Earl Scruggs has been a great musician. Hopefully they had good health care.

  6. Indyanna on 29 Mar 2012 at 10:37 am #

    I’m for single-payer, too, but absent that I am in favor of the individual mandate. Further to my proposed judiciary reform act above: once confirmed, justices would be able to resign only with the advice and consent of the senate, much like troubled citizens with lifetime appointments to one of the bureau of prisons’ supermax facilities. That way they can’t get up and walk off to a white shoe firm or an elite law school just because their assigned circuit happens to take them up high into the Superstition Mountains, preferably on a bad mule.

  7. Historiann on 29 Mar 2012 at 10:56 am #

    “Scalia plays Torquemada; his pretense of originalism is nonsense that allows him to do what he likes. Alito is evil spirited, Thomas is dead and his body belongs to Scalia. Kennedy is an idiot. Roberts is the smart right winger. He acts better than Tom Hanks but will end up voting NO.”

    That about sums it up, doesn’t it? Well done, koshembos! (I would just disagree in that I think Kennedy’s jurisprudence is, um, idiosyncratic, but he’s not an idiot. He loves his “swing vote” powers and plays it like a violin.)

  8. truffula on 29 Mar 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    Oh, Adrienne Rich. A person I wish I could have met. Well, other than in her poems.

  9. Susan on 30 Mar 2012 at 6:14 am #

    So glad you mentioned Rich. She was really important in shaping my thinking.

    I’m too young for Judy Blume, but I was always fascinated by the buzz.

    And reading the Supremes decisions based on oral arguments is always a bit tricky. But it would be great (and ironic) if the result was single payer. That option, remember, was wrecked by Joe “independent” Lieberman, who will probably go work for a fancy lobbying shop next year.

    As for spring, I’ve got cherry blossoms out, my lilac is in bloom, and the first rose is about to open….

  10. Perpetua on 30 Mar 2012 at 6:26 am #

    I enjoyed Lithwick’s commentary on the arguments, as she seemed to mirror my own deep disgust, even horror, at Scalia’s “argumentation”which appeared to have little Constitutional basis, and demonstrated an absolutely breathtaking refusal to understand the basic premise of insurance. (I mean, if his issue is that people shouldn’t be paying for someone’s liver transplant, it seems to me that’s a problem with the entire for-profit health care industry and nothing to do with the issue of the mandate.) Also, in addition to transplants, did you notice they specifically mentioned maternity services and pediatric care? Awesome, dudes. Thanks! I guess we know who gets sold out first.

  11. Z on 30 Mar 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    Re Scalia, do any of these right wing types realize that that is how insurance works? My auto premium paying for others’ car accidents, etc.?