Archive for February, 2013

February 27th 2013
Mid-week roundup: it’s never to soon to start the Great Forgetting!

Posted under American history & art & Gender & GLBTQ & jobs & technoskepticism & women's history

Up on my hobbyhorse, again!

Howdy, friends:  quick post today as I’m up to my commuter horse Revenue’s a$$ in meetings today and the rest of this week.  As we shall see, it’s never too soon to start the Great Forgetting!  (That is, the tendency of men and women both to choose to ignore, overlook, or hide the importance of women throughout history.)  Here goes:

  • NPR featured a story last night on two women’s efforts to combat the Great Forgetting of women’s role in the Seattle punk and grunge music scene in the early 1990s.  “[Gretta] Harley and [Sarah] Rudinoff also wanted to address the disconnect between the history they had lived and the histories they saw written. In 2011, the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind sparked numerous tributes to the grunge era that didn’t capture the Seattle music community they remembered. ‘We started looking at the books that were written by different authors, and the women were absent, almost completely absent,’ Harley says. ‘And we thought, ‘Wow, this is a story that really hasn’t happened yet.” “  So, after recording more than 30 oral histories of women who were a part of the scene, they wrote a play called “These Streets” in order to document women’s presence in the grunge movement.
  • Speaking of oral history:  Temple graduate student Dan Royles describes his Kickstarter campaign to raise $6,000 to transcribe the oral histories he has done on AIDS activism in the African American community in the 1980s and 1990s.  As of this morning, he’s at $5,374–let’s raise a little coin for him in the next 36 hours, shall we?  Continue Reading »

11 Comments »

February 26th 2013
Missing persons alert!

Posted under American history & class & Gender & jobs & unhappy endings & women's history

If any of you can find the disappeared daddies in this article, please let me know.  I’m terribly worried about them!  Why, I wonder, is no one looking for them or asking them to do anything, not even apparently their own wives and children?

It sounds to me like Sheryl Sandberg’s and Marissa Mayer’s advice is for people who want to succeed in the real world now.  Even if the U.S. abandons its history and temperament to offer free child care to all children from birth to age 6, that still won’t completely level the playing field between men and women (although it certainly would help!)

Here’s the raw truth:  Continue Reading »

23 Comments »

February 25th 2013
Oscar d00dly b00bfest best for lying down, avoiding

Posted under American history & art & bad language & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & race & the body & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness & women's history

We had a much-needed little Front Range snowstorm yesterday.  It was so peaceful and quiet–Sundays are usually pretty quiet days in Potterville, but with the snow swallowing all outdoor sounds, it was even quieter.  I had a beef burgundy* in the oven, and we made a fire and watched a Harry Potter movie instead of the Academy Awards.

It turns out that it was a really excellent decision to shut out the rest of the world last night.  I keep thinking about the old Monty Python skit about Australian wines:  “this isn’t a wine for drinking!  It’s a wine for lying down and avoiding.”  (Don’t miss Linda Holmes’s review at NPR.)  In the end, I think Amy Davidson’s analysis was the best I’ve read today:

Watching the Oscars last night meant sitting through a series of crudely sexist antics led by a scrubby, self-satisfied Seth MacFarlane. That would be tedious enough. But the evening’s misogyny involved a specific hostility to women in the workplace, which raises broader questions than whether the Academy can possibly get Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host next year. It was unattractive and sour, and started with a number called “We Saw Your Boobs.”

“We Saw Your Boobs” was as a song-and-dance routine in which MacFarlane and some grinning guys named actresses in the audience and the movies in which their breasts were visible. That’s about it. Continue Reading »

13 Comments »

February 24th 2013
Confirmation of the bloody obvious

Posted under American history & class & jobs & race & students & wankers

From the “No $hit, Fred,” files: Some Groups May Not Benefit From Online Education, via Inside Higher Ed:

Some of the students most often targeted in the push to use online learning to increase college access are less likely than their peers to benefit from — and may in fact be hurt by — digital as opposed to face-to-face instruction, new data from a long-term study by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College suggest.

“Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas,” by Di Xu and Shanna Smith Jaggars, researchers at the center, examines the performance of nearly 40,000 Washington State community college students who took both online and on-ground courses, and finds significant differences in how various subgroups performed. Students of all types completed fewer courses and achieved lower grades online than they did in face-to-face classes[.  M]en, African-Americans, and academically underprepared students had the biggest gaps between the two mediums.

I’ve written here before about my skepticism that the MOOC and online “revolution” is being led by people affiliated with highly selective private universities, when after all they’re producing a product that’s intended for the state uni and community college crowd.  Here’s why  it’s important to talk to faculty who teach first generation students, working-class returning students, nonwhite students, and students who are financing their own educations through heavy student loan borrowing:  Continue Reading »

20 Comments »

February 20th 2013
On the value of majoring in business, from Professors Truth and Biafra

Posted under American history & bad language & childhood & students

Take it from Shmuel Ellis—a business professor and administrator at Tel Aviv University (via Gawker):

Ellis said in his email that the business school recommends undecided undergraduate students choose disciplines like pure sciences, math, economics, psychology, computer science, history, literature, philosophy and architecture.

“Study of academic disciplines prepares students to think scientifically in these fields and form the foundation for advanced studies in graduate degree programs,” he said.

Lemme translate this biz-speak for all you non-biz majors out there: “Don’t major in business, major in a real field of study instead.” What is this guy, Sojourner Truth, Professor of Truth at Truth University? (Learn about who Sojourner Truth was, and what “truth” means, in real majors, like history or philosophy.)

Continue Reading »

7 Comments »

February 19th 2013
It’s only February, but I think we have the mansplanation of the year already.

Posted under American history & Gender & unhappy endings & wankers

Courtesy of one D. M. Horn, whose a$$hattery is on full display in his attempt to explain why the term “feminist” is in fact itself a sexist term.

O.M.G.  Yeah:  there’s no relevant history or intellectual tradition you need to learn about before you generously share your expert opinion with us.

Dude, you should have just let your sister do the talkingContinue Reading »

16 Comments »

February 18th 2013
Colorado Dems lead the way on gun safety legislation; who will follow?

Posted under American history & Gender & race

Go ahead: make my day.

The Colorado House passed four bills today:

• House Bill 1229 requiring background checks for all gun transactions;

• House Bill 1226 banning concealed weapons on campuses;

• House Bill 1228 instituting a fee for gun buyers to cover the cost of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to perform background checks; and

• House Bill 1224 limiting magazines to 15 rounds.

All of these seem to me to be modest and reasonable measures.  We’ll see what the Dem-majority Senate and Dem Governor John Hickenlooper decide to do.

 

While this debate was engaged last week, a local manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines has threatened to leave the state if the 15-round limit is signed into law.  This is the kind of thing that usually brings Dems to their weak little scaredy-cat knees, but I think they should do a jujitsu move with this and ask if 200 jobs are really worth the health and safety of our schools, parks, and public spaces.  As this article by Dan Baum in the Wall Street Journal makes clear*, the NRA doesn’t in fact represent gun owners–it represents munitions manufacturers.  Why should we permit ourselves to be manipulated by the financial interests of one industry?

It’s downright un-American to ignore the public interest and let one industry run our politics.  Continue Reading »

14 Comments »

February 15th 2013
Gone skiin’

Posted under fluff

We’re heading for the mountains, where the snow is better and you can do something useful with it.  As for the rest of you:  behave!

5 Comments »

February 14th 2013
The College Scorecard: how does your institution rate?

Posted under American history & students

Most of you probably heard about the new College Scorecard that the White House has assembled so that students can compare raw data across the board when deciding where to go to school.  Baa Ram U. looks pretty good in terms of its affordability, graduation rate, and loan default rate.  (You’ll have to click the link and then look it up yourself–for some reason it won’t link directly to searched institutions.)  Shockingly good, actually, when you consider the massive de-funding that we, like most public unis, have experienced over the past twenty years.

Just compare our numbers to the University of Phoenix, suckasContinue Reading »

20 Comments »

February 12th 2013
Lose weight now the William Howard Taft way!

Posted under American history & class & European history & Gender & happy endings & jobs & women's history

Do you still have a stubborn few pounds to drop after the holidays?  Why not try the William Howard Taft diet?  He lost nearly seventy pounds on it.  Behold (via New York Magazine):

Taft is an interesting case–being fat certainly didn’t shorten his life (1857-1930) relative to those of his age peers.  He lived to the ripe age of 72, when the average life expectancy for people born around 1860 was still in the low forties.  (That’s a crude average that probably counts people who died in infancy and childhood, so it’s extraordinarily low.  But still–his longevity was pretty impressive.)  I’m sure his abstention from both drinking and smoking helps explain his lifespan.  Here’s something equally impressive:  he was not famous for telling people to “shut up” when they talk about issues that he himself has raised.  How would that have sounded in a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court?  (Taft, like John Quincy Adams, went on to a post-presidential career that was more distinguished than his presidency.)

More fun Taft facts:  Did you know that he was the father of Helen Taft Manning, famed historian of the British Empire at Bryn Mawr College?  Continue Reading »

18 Comments »

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