Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Reminds me of Clinton and Wallace
Readers who can point out the errors of the following letter get extra credit.
Ms. Grabar: In your opinion column in today's AJC ("Celebs' opinions don't deserve added clout"), you relied on misinformation to charge popular entertainers with making distasteful political statements. Bill Maher did not say the 9/11 hijackers showed "courage" (your quotation marks). Maher said, "Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly," which is far short of calling it "courageous." Your erroneous example implies that Maher expressed admiration for that horrible act; it's your claim that is "sophistic," not Maher's. This is only one example of sloppiness in your writing, by the way. Other examples include hyperbole in claiming that "every actor's and musician's" opinion on foreign policy is given a forum, and the illogical implication that Rosie O'Donnell, who is given a forum because of celebrity and not because of her opinion of foreign policy, should be censored because she doesn't have an advanced degree or job experience in theology, foreign policy, or philosophy (why, by the way, would that last one matter?). Interestingly, all of your examples are of speech critical to Bush, meaning that you have a problem with the politics of celebrities only when they disagree with you, which is a distasteful theme, indeed. You admit once earning a "well-deserved C-" on a political science theme for "not providing enough support." If you can learn to begin providing factual support, and put more effort into constructing logical arguments with precise language, perhaps you can push yourself up toward the B- level. Until then, there's no need to knock O'Donnell for not having an "advanced degree," as yours appears not to be serving you as well as one would expect. Bob Pritchard
Saturday, September 23, 2006
A picture is worth a thousand words
The reading lists for graduate students in English departments and for Chavez are the same. How many syllabi have I seen with Noam Chomsky as required reading!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
So, there, Rosie O'Donnell! (my article)
Read my article in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, September 18, 2006
what feminists have wrought
By Mary Grabar
In one piece of footage shown on prime time television an eighteen-year-old woman jumps out of a birthday cake with nothing on but pasties and a g-string. Applauding her are two sister girlfriends of the 80-year-old birthday boy for whom this cake act is being performed. Both of the other girlfriends are attired in skimpy lingerie that pushes up their surgically altered breasts. The birthday boy is attired in his customary silk bathrobe.
In another piece of footage Bible-clutching people head for church. They could be on the set of “Little House on the Prairie.” Men are dressed in black pants and white shirts. Women and girls are covered in yards of cotton fabric from neck to wrists to ankles. There is no make-up, dyed hair, or exposed cleavage.
Footage of both groups was shown on CNBC and on other stations. The reason for showing the footage was the sexual practices of a man with multiple women.
Which man was deemed offensive by the talk show host? No, it was not the silk-pajama-clad octogenarian, Hugh Hefner, who has built a fortune by pimping young women and selling their naked images.
It was Warren Jeffs, the leader of a splinter cult of the Mormon Church.
And although I firmly believe Jeffs should be prosecuted (in Nevada he faces two counts of rape by accomplice for arranging marriages for underage girls), I find it interesting that talk show hosts of “smart, sexy, hip, irreverent television” (as Donny Deutsch’s “The Big Idea” promotes itself), become apoplectic about a man who goes back to the Old Testament to justify his polygamous practices. Words like “abuse” and “exploitation” are spat out in such a manner that you’d think these men are at the verge of defending the honor and chastity of women with fists and firearms. Not for the lisping eighteen-year-old sister who has jumped out of the cake in the dirty old man’s mansion.
The indignation is for the fully clothed women on the way to church.
It’s the Bibles.
That’s what makes them angry.
But whenever Hefner makes the talk show circuit with his three girlfriends, he is treated with awe and envy. The three giggling young women, who admittedly are paid “allowances” to live with and bed the old man, are presented as liberated women. The host Donny Deutsch gushes, “It could not get any better than being you”; a caller gets advice from Hefner about introducing another woman to his girlfriend for a ménage a trois. Much congratulatory talk goes around for this liberator and businessman on what ends up being free promotion for his new reality series “The Girls Next Door,” where viewers can be entertained with such sights as the three thong-bikini-clad women going down a water slide.
The difference in reaction to the two polygamists, Hugh Hefner (I’ll apply the second, zoological definition of mating with more than one individual of the opposite sex) and Warren Jeffs, encapsulates the difference in attitude at large. What is considered women’s subjugation these days?
If an eighteen-year-old high school student receives plastic surgery, poses naked, performs sex acts before an audience, and has sex with a man older than her grandfather for money, she is seen as liberated. In fact, one segment of “The Girls Next Door” showed the mother of Hefner’s eighteen-year-old “girlfriend” joining the festivities in the Playboy Mansion.
If a young woman gets married (as the only wife for life), belongs to a church, stays home and raises children, she is viewed as subjugated. Feminists have been quick to jump on Saint Paul’s injunction in Colossians 3:18: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” But they have ignored the second part: “Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.”
The public reaction and attitude by the media towards these two polygamists reflects the attitude that reigns in academe. While feminists argued against pornography in the 1980s, in the twenty-first century, professors write papers for journals and conferences on pornography and teach classes on the “rhetoric of pornography.” It began with the touting of Madonna as a symbol of female empowerment. The “performative acts” (performance as more in line with feminist thinking than the “linear” male writing) became more extreme until we got to the point where we currently are: Pornography is deemed a legitimate subject of academic inquiry.
While I feel that Warren Jeffs should be prosecuted, I would argue that Hugh Hefner’s brand of polygamy has had a far greater reach. Warren Jeffs, while he may have harmed hundreds of girls and women, is viewed as a fundamentalist kook. School boys are not likely to look at him as someone to emulate.
But Hugh Hefner made smut respectable. He brought glamour to pimping. Through the decades, since he launched Playboy, his impact has been far and wide. Every woman of the Western world has been affected by it.
As a result of the respectability granted those like Hefner, we have nine-year-old girls dressed like hookers, teenagers getting “breast augmentations,” and mothers frolicking with near-naked daughters in a playboy’s mansion on prime time television. In 2006, according to the wisdom of the sophisticates, polygamy is just fine--as long you’re the bunny playmate of a dirty old man, the “ho” of a gold-studded thug, or the breast-baring groupie of an aging rock star. But whatever you are, young woman, don’t be a Bible-reading wife.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
paper call of the day: queer grad students only
It used to be that people in my profession focused on the writing. Who cared if Willa Cather was gay? Who cared if the professor was gay? Who cared if you, the student, were gay?
But not any more.
Now the focus is on oneself, to add support to Tammy Bruce's contention, noted in my previous post.
And if you can get through the drivel of this "call for papers" posting to the end, note the "peers busy studying Chaucer and Milton." You've got to be kidding! The calls for papers is replete with such curriculum-boosting pseudo-scholarship by which one can get the next fluff job where he/she throws all the nuances of his/her sex life into the faces of innocent students while masquerading as a lit professor. Ple-e-e-ase! How many departments still even offer seminars on the dead straight white male Christian, John Milton? The feminists have just about succeeded in demolishing his reputation and eliminating him from the curriculum.
From: http://us.f602.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?Toemail@example.com&YY=55030&y5beta=yes&y5beta=yes&order=down&sort=date&pos=0&view=a&head=b on behalf of M.J. WalkerSent: Fri 8/25/2006 2:41 AMTo: http://us.f602.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?Tofirstname.lastname@example.org&YY=55030&y5beta=yes&y5beta=yes&order=down&sort=date&pos=0&view=a&head=bSubject: CFP: Graduating Gender: Queer Grad Students Reading Culture (2/30/07; collection)"Graduating Gender: Queer Grad Students Reading Culture."I am seeking submissions for an edited collection of graduate student essayson queer/trans theory, gender issues, and cultural studies. This collectionwill focus particularly on the unique role that LGBT grad students play inthe analysis of culture, the various roles and spaces (including spaces ofexile) that they inhabit within the academy, and the anxiety of studyingqueer texts within 'straight' English and Comparative Lit departments. Whatis it like to be 'the only gay in the village,' the sole queer grad studentwho must 'represent' politically within a department? What types of queergraduate communities exist, either in metropolitan or rural universities,and what happens when a gay, bi, or trans student simply wants to write oncanonical texts (or only wants to write on queer theory when his/her peersare busy studying Chaucer and Milton?)All submissions should keep these questions in mind, and autobiographicaland personal-inflected essays are strongly encouraged. The collection aimsto present evocative, precise, and sharp readings of contemporary culturaltexts (novels, poetry, film, tv) from LGBT grad students, especially thoseworking within English, CompLit, and Women's Studies departments, althoughsubmissions from other disciplines will be considered. Each article shouldhave a solid theoretical basis, and should interrogate specific literary orcinematic works, but should also be written as much as possible from apersonal perspective. How is your work different because of your in-betweenstatus as a grad student, because of your various experiences withindepartments that may be either magnanimous, neutral, or outright hostile toyour sexuality or gender? What would you say if there were no rules, nocommittees, no supervisors, and no boundaries--what would you say, and why?I would like to receive abstracts by Feb 30, 2007 at the latest, although ifthere is considerable interest I will extend the deadline. Please enclose acurrent CV as well as a brief bio. If you feel that your work isparticularly controversial, and fear that it might even jeopardize futurejob prospects or relations with your department (as all great work probablywill), you are welcome to publish under a first name, pseudonym, or simplyto include no specific information about your institution.Email submissions to: http://us.f602.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?Toemail@example.com&YY=55030&y5beta=yes&y5beta=yes&order=down&sort=date&pos=0&view=a&head=b(graduating_gender_at_hotmail.com). Please use .rtf files for yourattachments, as they are much smaller and easier to view on both mac and pc.You will be notified that your submission has been received, and I should beable to let everyone know a month after the deadline (Mar 30/07) whichabstracts have been accepted. I have a publisher in mind, and will contactthem with a proposal once all of the abstracts have been received. Sinceuniversity publishers are often back-logged, the collection will probably goto press in late-2008, possibly even early-2009. Keep this in mind,especially if you are looking to publish right away, since these projectstake time to develop. I will keep everyone posted as things develop.Best wishesM.J. WalkerDoctoral Candidate and Instructor, Comparative Literature
Monday, September 04, 2006
Independent Women's Forum
Go to the home page and read the good stuff they have here.
Oh, and did you see Tammy Bruce interviewed on Book TV (c-span 2) this weekend? Very impressive. Listen to this lesbian talk show host who broke ranks with NOW. The left would like you to think that conservatives hate gays. That's not the truth. We just don't want to hear about your sex life, okay? It's not important. And Tammy nails it: the focus on sexuality is a symptom of the narcissism of the "gay rights" movement...and the left.