Monday, March 24, 2008

"spring break"

Andrew left today as his spring break ended -- and the apartment feels empty (as it generally does after he leaves). Despite my needing to read at least a 100 pages a day, we still managed to do things:

- Saturday, a St. Patrick's Day party at Alex and Kaitlin's, where one of K.'s coworkers gave me a Buddhist meditation chant to use in lieu of anti-anxiety drugs prior to my oral exam.

- Sunday, a trip into SF to meet up with Rachel, Josh, and baby Joel for lunch (at the most bourgie and yummy food court ever) and a walk, and a visit to the Zeum carousel.

- Watched Ratatouille.

- Watched Michael Clayton.

- Hung out on the lawn, had tea with Sara.

- Ate out: Siam Royal downtown, Patxi's.

- Ate in: made sushi, lasagna, green curry, eggplant parm, corned beef (St. Patrick's dinner -- found out I can't process beef very well any longer).

- Had Saturday in Palo Alto (Patxi's, cupa) followed by reading on the terrace till the sunset, reading in the TA lounge together, watching Fight Club.

- Visited the farmer's market... read outside... had a dessert/wine night in the studios with Jill.

And somehow I still managed to read The Origin of Species, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Morris's News From Nowhere, some of Wilde's essays (including De Profundis), and at least start Hardy's Jude the Obscure (bad choice to be reading while Andrew left).

Eek orals are coming up.

But looking forward to Andrew arriving in mid/late may for his internship: yay to the last separation!

Friday, March 07, 2008

katha pollitt: new hero

About a week ago, Charlotte Allen proved once again that being a woman doesn't translate into understanding women's issues, by publishing a piece of drivel in the WaPo about how women are "kind of dim." It was poorly researched, poorly argued, and resisted considering any counterarguments. Unfortunately, there are never a shortage of women who seem to loathe their own sex.

So by taking Allen to task, Pollitt is officially my heroine of the day. The entire article is funny, articulate, and right on. It was hard to select just one chunk. Read the whole thing!

Why did Allen, by accounts a good reporter on religion in a previous life, write this silly piece? It's tempting to say she wrote it because she exemplifies the dimness and illogicality she describes -- after all, this is a woman who cheerfully claims not to be able to add much beyond 2+2. But I suspect that Allen, who works for the right-wing anti-feminist Independent Women's Forum, is just annoyed that so many educated middle-class women are cultural, social and political moderates and liberals. Democrats, in other words.

Girls swooning for Obama, Elizabeth Gilbert leaving her "perfectly okay husband" to eat, pray, love and write a huge best-seller, Meredith Grey and Dr. McDreamy smooching between surgeries, Hillary Clinton running for president instead of spending the rest of her life apologizing for her marriage -- it does indeed make a picture. But it isn't one of women's unique "stupidity" -- raise your hand if you think Hillary Clinton has a lower I.Q. than George W. Bush. What bothers Allen about this picture is that these women reject, with every fiber of their latte-loving beings, the abstinence-only, father-knows-best, slut-shaming crabbed misogyny of the Republican right.

A far more important question is this: Why did The Post publish this nonsense? I can't imagine a great newspaper airing comparable trash talk about any other group. "Asians Really Do Just Copy." "No Wonder Africa's Such a Mess: It's Full of Black People!" Misogyny is the last acceptable prejudice, and nowhere more so than in our nation's clueless and overwhelmingly white-male-controlled media. I can just picture the edit meeting: This time, let's get a woman to say women are dumb and silly! If readers raise too big a ruckus, Outlook editor John Pomfret can say it was all "tongue in cheek." Women are dingbats! Get it? Ha. Ha. Ha.

Here's a thought. Maybe there's another thing women can do besides fluff up their husbands' pillows: Fill more important jobs at The Washington Post. We should be half the assigning editors, half the writers, and half the regular columnists too (current roster of op-ed columnists: 16 men, two women). We've got those superior verbal skills, remember? Drastically increasing the presence of women isn't a foolproof recipe for gender fairness -- Allen is far from alone in her dislike of her sex -- but I have to believe a gender-balanced paper would reflect a broader view of women than The Post does at present.