WHEN I dream about my father, as I do even though he has been dead for more than a quarter of a century, I always wake up when I hear the crunch of tires rolling over rock salt — an unmistakable sound evoking the winters of my Michigan childhood in the 1950s and early ’60s. Dad, an accountant, would pull his car out of our icy driveway and head for his office long before first light. This was tax season, and he could keep his business and our family financially afloat only by working 80-hour weeks.
You won’t find Bob Jacoby or his unglamorous middle-class, middle-income contemporaries in “Mad Men,” the AMC series beginning its sixth season on Sunday. If we are to believe the message of popular culture, the last men on top — who came of age during World War II or in the decade after it — ran the show at work, at home and in bed.
. . . . . .
Nearly all institutional power for 20 years after the war was indeed wielded by the war generation (and eventually by younger men born during the Depression). Yet a vast majority of men possessed limited power that could vanish swiftly if they committed the ultimate sin of failing to bring home a paycheck. Continue Reading »
Archive for the 'American history' Category
Perhaps, if I’d had Ms. Patton’s wisdom and foresight about what really matters in college, I wouldn’t have taken so many pesky classes, and instead concentrated on designing my hair, makeup, attire and personality to create the perfect man-catching machine.
Perhaps it would have all worked out exactly as Ms. Patton implies — the perfect house, kids, husband and future. And yet I’m skeptical. I made a lot of stupid decisions in college; I’m really glad the choice of life partner wasn’t one of them. How many people, do you think, could choose a tattoo at 22 years old and still be happy with it by the time they are 50? Let’s be generous here: maybe a quarter of all people? And tattoos don’t even talk. Continue Reading »
Howdy, friends! I’m sorry about the extended blog silence–apparently, several of you have noticed the absence of posts here over the past few weeks, and are maybe a little concerned. Some of you have gingerly emailed me links and ideas for other posts–thanks! But my reasons for not-posting are even more trivial than being out of ideas: too much travel and too many RL command performances = too little time, energy, and/or reliable internet access for me to blog at all. (And then there’s my day job, after all.)
Other bloggers are on the ball. If you’re interested in intelligent commentary on marriage, civil unions, and the circus last week at the U.S. Supreme Court, then go see what Madwoman with a Laptop has to say about her visit to the famous marble steps last week, complete with photos and other interesting links. See also Tenured Radical‘s inaugural post post-Spring Break and her discussion about the economic and cultural privilege it takes for her and her partner to resist marriage while ensuring that they’re economically and legally protected otherwise. Smart stuff.
In any case: I’ll be back on the high plains real soon, and will resume regular posting post-haste. In the meantime: Continue Reading »
Howdy! Didja miss me? One of the reasons–aside from spring break!–I’ve been offline recently is that I have some real-life presentations to prepare and research talks to get ready. For example, tomorrow I’ll be hitching up Seminar, my commuter horse, and high-tailin’ it down to Denver tomorrow right after class to convene a discussion on feminist blogging at the MCA Denver as part of the Feminism & Co. program this year.
I’ve been doing a little reading and reflecting on the feminist blogosphere lately, a timely undertaking since I’m sure you’ve all heard of the recent $hitstorm inspired by New York Magazine’s linkbaiting article on so-called feminist “retro-wives.” Inevitably, this hi-larious fiction in turn inspired a foul and NSFW (but delicious) parody. Perhaps just as inevitably, the women profiled in the original article complain that their comments were taken completely out of context and distorted beyond reason (h/t to Echidne for both of these last two links.)
The internet is an outrage machine, innit? I’ll be talking tomorrow night about the ways in which blogging fits in with the history of feminism as well as addressing some of the personal and professional issues that come up in blogging and other social media tools. Continue Reading »
On the day before the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, John Judis has an interesting reflection on “What it Was Like to Oppose the Iraq War in 2003.” He reviews the crazy consensus among “serious” thinkers (even of the so-called “liberal” sort) about the righteousness of the Bush administration’s obvious hard-on to take out Saddam:
In December of 2002, I was invited by the Ethics and Public Policy Center to a ritzy conference at an ocean front resort in Key West. The subject was to be Political Islam, and many of the best-known political journalists from Washington and New York were there. The conversation invariably got around to Iraq, and I found myself one of the few attendees who outright opposed an invasion. Two of the speakers at the event—Christopher Hitchens, who was then writing for Slate, and Jeffrey Goldberg, who was then writing for The New Yorker—generously offered to school me on the errors of my way.
More interesting to me was something Judis writes in the second paragraph in his article:
[W]ithin political Washington, it was difficult to find like-minded foes [of the plan to invade]. When The New Republic’s editor-in-chief and editor proclaimed the need for a “muscular” foreign policy, I was usually the only vocal dissenter, and the only people who agreed with me were the women on staff: Michelle Cottle, Laura Obolensky and Sarah Wildman. Both of the major national dailies—The Washington Post and The New York Times (featuring Judith Miller’s reporting)—were beating the drums for war. Except for Jessica Mathews at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington’s thinktank honchos were also lined up behind the war.
I wish he had paused to reflect on the obviously gendered language he uses here, as well as the clear gender divide he recounts here in pro- versus anti-invasion journalist and think-tank opinions (Judith Miller excepted). Continue Reading »
I’ve been thinking about marriage today–gay, straight, what have you. Fratguy and I have been in a civil union for 15 years. I think that’s the right term, as we were “married” by a notary (you can do that in Maine), but because we’re an opposite-sex couple, everyone calls us “married,” although neither of us wanted to darken the door of any church in the service of enacting our civil union.
But you get used to this kind of thing when you’re in a straight union–a lot of the time you benefit from other people’s assumptions about you. It means (for example) that you don’t have to carry around your marriage license as proof of your legal relationship. The words “husband” and “wife” really are magic in that respect–I’ve never been asked to prove it. My husband’s agreement about our status suffices.
Sometimes those assumptions are annoying–such as when other people lay their trip about what marriage is on you, and judge your marriage by their standards, not yours. (These assumptions are almost always about the behavior of women in marriages, not the men they’re married to. Men usually benefit from the assumptions people make about them as married men, even if those assumptions are totally wrong.)
In any case, this is all just a windup to direct you to go read Madwoman with a Laptop‘s thoughts on her 29 years with the woman whose wife she will never be, along with a really thoughtful analysis of civil unions, gay marriage, and her very intentional rejection of marriage and wifedom although her state now permits same-sex marriage. Continue Reading »
How cool is this? I’ve been invited to talk about feminist blogging at the March 28, 2013 Feminism & Co. event at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
I’ll be joined by Ru Johnson of Westword, Heather Janssen of Get Born, Ellie Kevorkian of Violet Against Women, and Camille Bright-Smith of BlogInSong on March 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street. More details about the 4-week series of events are here. Continue Reading »
OK, so enough of the images of dudes with mustaches. Did anyone hear this interview on Fresh Air with Arizona’s Sandra Day O’Connor last week? Man, she’s a tough cowgirl, ain’t she? Half the time I was thinking, “what a jerk,” but the other half of the time I was thinking, “now that’s a real western woman.” Plenty of attitude, and no deference whatsoever to Miss Terry Gross. I mean, none, even though her publicist surely booked her on Fresh Air to let Miss Terry Gross help her sell some damn books, right? It’s not like Fresh Air showed up at the ranch uninvited.
(Whereas you know that if I ever get invited to be on Miss Terry Gross’s show, I’d be as slobbering and deferential as a Golden Retriever. Sandra Day O’Connor treats Miss Terry Gross like an irritating college intern in this interview! But Miss Terry Gross knows that there’s a big difference between Sandra Day O’Connor, for example, and your garden-variety douchehats like Bill O’Reilly or Gene Simmons, so she’s very good-humored about it all.) Continue Reading »
Comrade PhysioProffe‘s post last week on Thomas Friedman’s puffery of MOOCs calls out MOOCs as a “class warfare scam,” and makes an interesting comparison of mass-produced MOOC education to mass-produced poor quality chain restaurant food:
The children of the wealthy will never, ever be subject to MOOC-based education, and the elite institutions they attend–who are perfectly happy to publish some courses on-line for free viewing by the public–will never, ever allow their students to take MOOCs for course credit. (Or if they do, they will be *extremely* restricted in the total number of MOOC credits they allow to count for major and graduation.) These kids are being prepared to be leaders and bosses of the poor mooks who are gonna be subject to MOOCs, so they need real education.
Just like the Tom Friedmans of the world don’t eat cheap greasy fattening nutrient-poor corporate swill at Denny’s, they don’t allow their kids to be subject to shitteasse greasy educational corporate swill like MOOCs.
Compare this to a speech by the resurrected William Howard Taft in Taft 2012, by Jason Heller, pp. 186-87: Continue Reading »
- No one cares what you learn in college, because Google!
- College professors have no certification that we can teach, and all we do is lecture at students who passively take notes, and then administer tests of their passive learning skills.
- Lecturing to 14,000 “with audience participation” is a terrific way to share knowledge.
I just love these experts in “disruptive innovation” who trash learning in college classrooms and lecture halls with 15, 40, or 125 students because “all professors do is lecture,” who then turn around and brag about how scalable their educational model is because–wait for it!–it’s based on lectures! To 14,000 people who swooned like bobby-soxers fainting for Frank Sinatra.
Continue Reading »