Monday, November 30, 2009

gail collins, my heroine!

Or, The Moment When (not really) Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present.

One of my biggest pet peeves (you probably know this) is when people assume that "women" in the US went to work in the 1960s or that two-income households began then or whatever. Please. Only if you ignore the history of the (African-American, Latina, white, immigrant) working class. Bite me, Michael Pollan. Etc.

And a big working-class, feminist thank you to Gail Collins and to Ariel Levy, who reviewed Collins' book in the Nov 19 New Yorker!! Levy quotes Collins,
“In reality, however, by 1960 there were as many women working as there had been at the peak of World War II, and the vast majority of them were married,” Collins writes. Forty per cent of wives whose children were old enough to go to school had jobs.
This isn’t just about the haze of retrospection: back then, women saw themselves as homemakers, too. Esther Peterson, President Kennedy’s Assistant Secretary of Labor, asked a high-school auditorium full of girls how many of them expected to have a “home and kids and a family.” Hands shot up. Next, Peterson asked how many expected to work, and only a few errant hands were raised. Finally, she asked the girls how many of them had mothers who worked, and “all of those hands went up again,” Peterson wrote in her 1995 memoir, “Restless.”
The rest of the article is not quite so good, and, in fact, painful to read, in parts. Levy is worried that people are mis-remembering and mis-representing second-wave feminism, but she seems to have just as deeply misunderstood identity politics, liberation activism and sexuality.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

eustace tilley, lost at sea

I was watching the movie Lifeboat and one of the opening shots is a copy of The New Yorker magazine, with a Eustace Tilley cover. The magazine is floating amid other debris from the torpedoed ship that had carried the rag-tag crew that would eventually find themselves in the aforementioned lifeboat. Cute.

Monday, November 02, 2009

i love the NYRB

If you find yourself with time to read the Nov 19th issue of the New York Review of Books cover to cover, go for it!

More 1930s realism; Jonathan Raban on 2 Dorothea Lange bios. Critical in the right ways.

And a bit on Irving Penn. Smart enough.

The Gaia Hypothesis. Weird, brilliant and very British.

The Glorious Revolution. Not so British, after all.

American education: history, theory and practice. Excellent.

Peter Brooks on the history of the Louvre. Elegant.

And Dan Chiasson reminded me of all the reasons I love Wallace Stevens. Before I got (as usual) bored.