Celebrity Weblogs

Is anyone in a popular culture graduate program writing a dissertation about celebrities' weblogs? I hope so. I just found the LJ of Elyse Sewell, who was on the first season of America's Next Top Model, and then there's Zach Braff, of course, and Margaret Cho. Al Roker's is underwhelming. Makes me think of Miller and Shepherd's observations about the "democratization of celebrity."

UPDATE: I forgot about Rosie O'Donnell's blog (linked from here, but there is some doubt as to its veracity. Also Wil Wheaton, but he's so much more real than the others and takes blogging so much more seriously; I tend not to categorize him as a "celebrity blogger."

Wikimedia Commons and

I'm a slowpoke...I'm finally getting one of those social bookmarking sites.

In looking through the Wikimedia Commons, I found a couple of cool collections of images: 18th Century Fashion (might use that image on the left as my new CultureCat image when I do the upgrade to Drupal 4.6 and accompanying redesign, do the whole thing in black and white), the collection of Louis Riel's family photographs, and the Edward S. Curtis collection. All these images are either copyleft or public domain.

Can't Get Enough Parenchyma/April Fool's Regrets

I've been consuming a lot of starchy fruits and vegetables lately. Today, for example, I've had two bananas, two Pink Lady apples, a baked potato, and a ton of steamed sugar snap peas. I have one more apple, one more potato, and three more bananas left, and I'm eyeing them artfully. What's the matter with me? What sort of vitamin or mineral deficiency could possibly account for this?

On an unrelated note, I'm sorry to say I didn't play an April fool's prank on my students. Instead, I just told them about two pranks I was thinking about playing on them, but was too lazy to follow through. You know that Internet Anagram Server? I was thinking about putting all the students' names through it, coming up with choice anagrams, and creating a roll sheet with the anagrams instead of their names. After I decided it would be too much trouble to do that with forty-one students' names, I was going to rummage through some of the CDs I have in my office and select one they might find really annoying, perhaps something by Enya, bring it into the classroom along with a CD player, and be all deadpan (like I'd be able to do that) and say, "Okay, everyone, we're going to listen to Enya's 'Orinoco Flow (Sail Away).' And as you listen to it, think about what Enya's purpose is. What is she trying to do rhetorically?"

Yeah...laziness probably served me well in this case.

New Meow Power

For those interested, a new issue of Meow Power just came out. The theme is "The Academy, Writing and Gender."

Publication, the Public University, and the Public Interest

I'm really excited about -- and plan to blog -- this conference, the Daily's announcement of which one of my students pointed out to me (thanks, if you're reading this!).

"Pretend We're Dead"

I would like to be rockin' out to L7's "Pretend We're Dead" right now, only I don't have it. If one of you has it, would you mind sending it? It worked for Meg Hourihan (yeah, I remember the most random things); maybe it will work for me as well.

UPDATE: Got it now. Thanks be to the benefactor.

Joan W. Scott on Equality and Difference

Placing equality and difference in antithetical relationship has, then, a double effect. It denies the way in which difference has long figured in political notions of equality and it suggests that sameness is the only ground on which equality can be claimed. It thus puts feminists in an impossible position, for as long as we argue within the terms of discourse set up by this opposition we grant the current conservative premise that since women cannot be identical to men in all respects, they cannot expect to be equal to them. The only alternative, it seems to me, is to refuse to oppose equality to difference and insist continually on differences -- differences as the condition of individual and collective identities, differences as the constant challenge to the fixing of those identities, history as the repeated illustration of the play of differences, differences as the very meaning of equality itself.

Joan W. Scott, Gender and the Politics of History, Revised Edition, 1999, p. 174-175.

Are a few queen bees enough?

Here's another take on the underrepresentation of women in op-ed positions. Sterrett says, "There are more male columnists than female columnists, just as there are more straight columnists than gay columnists, and more white columnists than black columnists." Yes, and ideally I'd like to see more African American, gay, lesbian, and working-class columnists. Not because it would be all PC and everything, but because just maybe it would be good to get a variety of perspectives on current events and issues. One's social location informs (doesn't determine, but does inform) one's perspective. Standpoint theorists didn't get it all wrong. Sterrett then writes, "Where [Susan] Estrich is wrong is in assuming that bare stats directly relate to an individual writer’s ability to inspire change." Okay...but then:

Consider the Newspaper of Record, every Republican’s favorite news organization. They have five regular males on Op-Ed (kind of), and one female. It’s Brooks, Friedman, Herbert, Kristof, and Krugman, versus Maureen Dowd. The reason that’s not as bad as it seems is that Dowd, the only woman, has all the power.

Ask anyone who regularly reads the Times’ op-ed page what Bob Herbert’s last column was about. A clever response would be “Iraq,” since that’s mainly what he busies himself with, but no one actually knows. Does Bob Herbert even remember? He’s a fine writer—despite having the foreign-policy IQ of a tubeworm—but his work is regrettably forgettable. Same goes for all the others, even the sole conservative, David Brooks.

Dowd is the only one that matters. That’s not to say that the others are completely without merit, but clearly she’s the star writer. She may be but a small slice of the Times’ sweet, maudlin, left-wing pie, but she’s what everyone’s waiting for.

It’s not enough to look at the statistical evidence. Percentages are good for grading tests, but rather ineffective when determining the place of women in editorializing. There are more men than women writing op-eds, but women are certainly equal to men in terms of prominence. Just ask Bob Herbert.

So one woman is okay, if she's a queen bee? Or "token," as Prof. B. said? In fact, just read her post, it's a lot better than this one.

Syndicate content