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 'race' Category
Two weeks after disgraced journalist Jonah Lehrer publicly apologized for the “frailties” and “weaknesses” that lead to his firing from The New Yorker and withdrawal of his bestselling book Imagine, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), publisher of all three of Lehrer’s books, has decided it will no longer offer for sale his second book, How We Decide. After an internal review uncovered significant problems with the book, the publisher is “taking How We Decide off-sale” and has “no plans to reissue it in the future,” HMH senior vice president Bruce Nichols said in an email.
HMH, who pulled Imagine from shelves in July and offered refunds to those who had purchased the book, will “shortly alert accounts about How We Decide and offer to refund returns” from customers, Nichols said. He also noted that the company’s review of Proust Was a Neuroscientist, Lehrer’s first book, did not uncover any problems and that it “will remain in print.”
Nichols didn’t reveal the specifics of HMH’s findings, but shortly after the company withdrew Imagine I privately provided them with a handful of problematic passages, gleaned from a cursory look at How We Decide.
HA-hahahahahaha! The author of this article, Michael Moynihan, goes on to reveal that his “cursory look” at How We Decide probably involved no more than a simple Google search of Lehrer’s prose and a look at Wikipedia. That’s right: the world’s most obvious undergraduate-style plagiarist was getting paid to write for The New Yorker and publishing books with HMH. Most of you professor types probably would have found him out a lot sooner if he were trying to pass his stuff off on you than his editors or readers did. Continue Reading »
This is certainly shocking to me as well. From the New York Times article:
[R]esearchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.
The figure is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings at an academic forum in late January at the German Historical Institute in Washington.
Interestingly, the researchers at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. have uncovered a number of camps and slave labor sites in which sexuality and reproduction were central to the torture inflicted on women. Continue Reading »
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 »
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 »
• 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 »
NPR featured a story tonight about how poorly compensated home health care work is. Currently, they are not entitled either to the minimum wage nor to overtime pay. Most make between $8-10/hr., while the company that employs them pockets the $18/hr. payment from Medicare. Spokespersons for the home health-care industry were permitted to whinge and whine about the terrible hardship that a minimum wage and overtime requirements would put on their businesses.
The tone of the story tilted towards compassion for the workers and their clients, but they story’s historical perspective looked back only 40 years when I think a critical component of this story is the longue durée of this kind of low wage work, work that now (as in the past going back at least 500 years) is performed overwhelmingly by working-class women, and in the Americas for the most part, by black and brown-skinned working-class women.
Intimate body care has never been a well-compensated occupation. Continue Reading »
Check out part two of Chauncey’s podcast series on the relationship between America’s gun culture, citizenship, race, and masculinity, which features Richard Slotkin, the Olin Professor of English at Wesleyan University, and the man whom I would like to nominate as the Dean of American Violence Studies. Some of you may know Slotkin through his incredible work on the long, dark history of racialized violence and gun culture in the United States in books such as Regeneration through Violence: the Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860 (1973), The Fatal Environment: the Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization (1985), Gunfighter Nation: the Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America (1992), among other history titles and three historical novels. No other scholar has researched violence, firearms, and America’s frontier mythology across such an enormous span of time and space. Continue Reading »
I’ve been informed that my lecture on stays, material culture, and early American women’s history will air again this weekend on C-SPAN 3: Saturday at 11:20 a.m., Sunday at 6:20 a.m. (for the after-hours crowd, I guess, or the extremely bored parents of insanely early-rising infants), and Monday morning at 7:20, EST.
Of course, the streaming video is still available, at any hour of the day or night that suits you.
For the real costume history junkies among you: check out this video of a woman dressing another one in Ursuline choir nun habit. (Follow that link, then click the link on the right side of the page under “Vidéos” that says, “L’habit religieux des Ursulines de Québec.”) It’s in French, as it’s on a website assembled by Laval University in Québec, but even non-French speakers can get the gist. Continue Reading »
A friend of mine, interviewing candidates for a fellowship, once complained that students trained at Yale always wrote “southern history” this way, in the tradition of C. Vann Woodward: exclusive of African Americans. My sense is that it’s only a matter of time for white conservative southerners, who will eventually be outnumbered by white northern in-migration, Mexican and Central American immigration, and African American re-migration as the great-grandchildren of the Great Migration return to their ancestors’ native land.
History is powerful, probably more powerful in the American South than in other American regions, so this will likely take the majority of the present century, but the shift is already well under way. Continue Reading »