Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Random Wednesday

In a confluence of university-related events:
--Gilmore Girls had Paris complaining last night that her exam was take-home; what was next, she ranted, Y@le handing you the diploma the minute you walked on campus?
--Two of the top 10 e-mail articles in the New York Times this morning were this one, which is an op-ed piece wherein the author talks about how he wanted to write a satire on universities trying to sell themselves, but reality out-stripped his imagination, and this one, which is an article about how universities/colleges are trying to sell themselves to their prospectives.
In undergraduate, I had a roommate of a particular minority. She was very involved in increasing the presence of said minority group on campus, revitalizing the minority's on-campus organization, organizing protests to get a department of minority studies, etc. She was proud of her status as this minority, and wanted more people to know about this minority.
She would tell us (me and our other suitemates) how frustrated she got by being asked questions about the minority-ship: what it's like to be said minority, what the historical details of the minority were, etc.
So there's a blog out there, somewhere -- two to four links away from one of my regular reads -- written by a woman who has prosopagnosia. (It's not that site; it's a regular blog.) I'm dying to ask her about it, because, in an abstract sense, it's really cool. Obviously, though, it's not very exciting if you live with it. And she probably is just as frustrated as my roommate at being the token.
(Does anyone out there have anything they're the token of?)
See Jane Compute has some posts about being harassed, and how her department/university drags its feet about it. Yesterday's post asked if she should push the issue: the higher-ups essentially know who it is, but didn't tell her, still haven't told her, and seem to think everything should be left alone.
I wanted to leave a comment that she should not leave everything as it is. The source for the higher-ups is, as she quoted the higher-ups as saying, "a model student, a pillar of the community, a real nice kid..." All I could think of was: so were the lacrosse students. That is, the higher-ups are jerking her around because they don't want the surface ruffled, but they have a real problem they are doing nothing to get rid of because of school pride.
But I didn't.
Because I don't have to live with the consequences. I don't have to continue to deal with the higher-ups. I don't have to face the nastiness from all the "nice kid's" friends and admirers. I don't have to be dragged through the mud as being a bitter woman just trying to bring down a nice kid.
In fact, I don't even know if that's what would happen. I only know what she can tell the internet without compromising her anonymity. She had been harassed, and attacked, and no one in power is supporting her right to be free of that -- but I don't know the consequences of her standing up for that right.
So I have no right to say she should.
Aren't you impressed by all the links I put in?

Monday, April 24, 2006


I had to be a bitch the other day.
I hated it.
It was something simple. Some undergraduates were not treating research they were doing with enough respect; the PI was going to get bad (i.e. misrepresentative) data as a result. I told the students to stop the behavior and pay attention to what they were doing.
Not bitchy, right? I mean, that's not really being a bitch.
But it made me upset for about an hour.
And I wondered if it was a gendered thing, if I hate correcting bad behavior because I want to be the "good girl."
And I realized that it is
I returned to graduate school (mumblty mumble) years after I finished my BA. During those intervening years, I worked. And at every single job I had, there was at least one manager who didn't have the nerve to be bitchy.
Example: a couple of employees in a department are misbehaving in a specific way. Let's pretend it was getting chocolate smears on the walls. No, that can be anonymous. Let's pretend it was getting chocolate smears on their specific reports that no one else does; those employees have to have made the smears. Does the manager take these employees aside and tell them chocolate smears will not be tolerated anymore? No. Instead, the manager imposes a regulation on the entire department. In our pretend story, the manager tells the whole department that not only can we no longer eat chocolate in the office, but we can't eat anything in the office.
Because the manager was afraid of being a bitch.
The manager, by the way, was male.
And, by the way, the chocolate smears kept happening.

Me too! Me too!

a.k.a. the ABC meme, as seen at Anastasia's, Bright Star's, Scrivener's...

Accent: None. But I do pick up other people's, so maybe not so much anymore.
Booze: Red wine. In my partying days, it was vodka (Stoli, thankyouverymuch).
Chore I Hate: Really? Just one?
Dog or Cat: Cat. I grew up with about a gazillion of them. Yes, that's a real number.
Essential Electronics: Probably the TV and the internet-connected computer.
Favorite Cologne(s): No. Although I loved to smell the Opium sample when my mom & I went to the mall lo these many years ago.
Gold or Silver: Silver.
Hometown: One of those ones that would just about give me away. I was born in New York City, though.
Insomnia: No, thank god. I have a hard enough time with not-enough sleep.
Job Title: Graduate Fellow
Kids: Yes, oddly.
Living arrangements: House
Most admirable trait: Ummm... I'm quiet?
Number of sexual partners: I like Scrivener's answer.
Overnight hospital stays: Only one, I think.
Phobias: Germs. But this isn't merely following the crowd; I helped start it.
Quote: No favorites, but in college, I posted a daily quote on my door. One of the better ones involved something is better than being "kicked in the stomach by a broody camel."
Religion: None. I loved the Episcopal church when I was younger.
Siblings: Half-brother.
Time I wake up: Weekdays: 6:45-7:30 Weekends: 8:30. Too early, really.
Unusual talent or skill: I used to play the harp. I don't think I have any "unusual" ones currently.
Vegetable I refuse to eat: Mushrooms & olives.
Worst habit: Procrastination.
X-rays: Teeth, of course. Back. I've had an MRI, too. Boy, are they LOUD.
Yummy foods I make: I make a wicked batch of Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. I can also make a cake from scratch, and sometimes I make good pie crusts.
Zodiac sign: Aries.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I love this time of year.
I love the way the early-mid-morning sun gleams through the baby leaves.
I love that day when, all of a sudden, all the bracken and brambles have burst their buds, and a mist of green lies over undeveloped space.
I love spring flowers: daffodils, violets, lilacs.
I grew up in exurbia. We lived in a big, rambling ex-farmhouse, surrounded by woody tracts. We had one neighbor. Our street was so unused, it didn't get a yellow dividing line until I was well into high school. Across the street was a stream, a field, and more, seemingly endless forest and hills. Once upon a time, there had been apple orchards; there was a small pocket of survivors at the top of the first hill, behind the other trees that had grown up since then.
My parents planted a strip of daffodils across the edge of our lawn, right behind the old stone wall. The lawn came down to the top of the wall, rather than behind the wall, so the daffodils were visable from the house, from the road, from the field across the street. Every fall, my father would cover up the bulbs with fallen leaves for winter; every spring, I would watch for the earliest, bravest daffodils sending spikes through their winter blanket. It was a minor event when it was warm enough to rake the leaves off; sometimes, we had to be careful of the daffodils who did not follow our definition of warm.
Spring also meant walks in the woods across the street, walks up the unused road. We had to go look for coltsfoots (coltsfeet?), the first flowers of spring. We had to see if the bluets had started blooming yet, if the pussytoes were showing their soft flowers. We had to see if there were any new violets. We had to make sure that the pussy willows had put out their catkins. We had to check the gnome houses for signs of winter living.
Spring meant we could open the windows and listen to the peepers at night. We knew it was getting warm then. Soon, the bank of lilacs planted directly across from us by the long-gone families who had planted the apple orchard would be blooming. Soon, our own white lilac, and our own purple lilac would bloom too. Meanwhile, there was rhubarb to eat, and vegetable gardens to plan.
Soon, it would be hot. Soon, the rose would bloom, and the crayfish would be scuttling around the stream. Soon, the road would put out tar bubbles. Soon, the wild mulberry down the road would bloom and start bearing fruit. But now there were daffodils, and violets, and green mists in the trees.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Milk of Human Kindness

On “House,” Cameron, the “good” doctor, gets burned three times in one episode:
-she discovers the one lover actually does want to leave the other
-she discovers the other did not selflessly donate half a liver to the one
-she discovers her collegue doesn’t think it’s wrong to have not given her a heads up.
A friend from New Jersey calls last night. Her local radio station is running a promotion. Listeners sign up, and if their name is called, they have ten minutes to call back and win $100. Yesterday morning, when the winner calls the station, she tells the DJs that she hadn’t heard her name, but someone called her to tell her that she needed to call. The someone was a stranger, who got nothing from the exchange. The DJs think this is creepy.
Someone is in a marriage for legal reasons. There are no children, and both husband and wife have agreed that, were it not for these reasons, they would divorce. They are dating other people. Another friend thinks this is a scam.
Politicians. Need I say more?
I understand that the general agreement is that the human animal is selfish, is just as tuned into jungle rules and logic as other animals, is out to do what is best for him or herself. But isn’t the blessing of the human mind, of human reasoning, that we know this, that we know that things can be better for everyone if we try to be more selfless, less selfish? Isn’t this the point behind morality, and laws, and religions in general? Isn’t this the reason we are so disappointed in our leaders? because they should be the people who try the hardest to overcome this savanna mind-set and who try the hardest to share with others? Why is it too much to expect?

Thursday, April 13, 2006


(Note: I'm using spam-like spelling in an attempt to prevent google-finding.)
Why do companies have to ruin a good thing?
I'm not a gourmand by any stretch of the imagination. I rarely can tell the difference between "fine" foods and cheaper foods. If the store brand is made with enough similarity to the name brand, I won't notice.
This is not true for ice cream.
Now, I am an equal-opportunity ice-cream fan. It doesn't have to be Ha@gen Daas. (Actually, I think HD is over-hyped, like God!va chocolates.) I love soft ice-cream cones in the summer. But I hate the store brands. They use the seaweed & the chemicals & the what-not in an attempt to reproduce the creamy feel of real milk. Ick. Gummy, grainy -- and the taste isn't very good either.
High-end branding doesn't guarentee good ice cream. I've already mentioned the HD. Or the high-end version of 3dy's, Dre@mery -- the one they put in the pint containers and charge more than twice as much for. It's not worth it. It's not as grainy or gummy as store-brands sold in half-gallons, but the liberal Vermont ice-cream makers BJ's, and even HD, taste and feel much better.
But, as I mentioned, it doesn't have to be "gourmet," or whatever the branding word is now. My favorite, for a very long time, was 8reyers. I lovelovelove the Twirl: a perfect combination of vanilla and chocolate, with a lovely, creamy mouth-feel. Not high-end-creamy, but real-milk-creamy. My second-favorite was the mint chocolate chip. Minty, white, and nice big chocolate chips.
No more.
The company has re-formulated its recipe. They now use stabilizers -- some sort of gum -- and the chocolate is now flakes, thin bits of flabby stuff that feel like unmixed stabilizers instead of chips.
Next they'll be making it green.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Taking a Cue from New Kid on the Hallway

I really hate not having my little buttons of immediacy. I know coding HTML isn't hard, but it's time-consuming, time I'd rather be spending on composing an entry.
I had an entry, a lovely composition I wrote up in my head last night, and have forgotten it. Having forgotten even the topic, I was going to skip today's entry. But that's not the point of my blog. And NKotH's entry prompted me, in an indirect way, to remember that.
(Hm. I wonder if she does house calls concerning dissertations.)
I could tell you about the dream I had last night, but I've always been told dreams are only interesting to the people who have them.
So I'll talk about TV.
Do y'all watch Grey's Anatomy? (If you don't, this may not make any sense.) There was a repeat on this last weekend, the one that happens after McDreamy chooses his wife, who cheated on him, over Meredith. McDreamy and his wife were in couple's therapy, trying to fix their marriage. The counselor asked them what one thing would bring the most trust back to the relationship. Not in so many words, of course, and the implication wasn't "bring back *all* the trust to the relationship." McDreamy said if his wife moved from NY to Seattle. His wife said if McDreamy stopped talking to Meredith. Neither thought the other was being reasonable, of course. (Well, "of course" at least in terms of a TV show. I don't know this show well enough to know if the requests were unreasonable in reference to the characters' internal logic.)
So the couple is at an impasse. An excessively constructed one, of course; there could be other compromises possibly, but that would require too much nuance for a hour-long drama. McDreamy thinks he should be able to talk to Meredith because he likes her; even though he's not looking to have an affair with her, he was with her for nearly a year for reasons other than sex. The wife (sorry, I don't remember her name) thinks that she shouldn't have to give up her career just to prove her dedication to her marriage; it's a very successful career, and job openings don't grow on trees, even for very successful people.
What to do.
Well, one waits for the plot twists, of course. Meredith's boss (and McDreamy's subordinate) tells him to leave Meredith alone; she's a very public car wreck and his being with her is going to make things worse. The chief of surgery offers the wife an even better (monetarily) job at the hospital. And both are able to agree to the other's request.
So. What's the point, other than summarizing. Well, I think that it's interesting that the couple don't explain the reason for the change of heart to each other. They haven't really made a compromise for the other person; things just worked out so they had to do what the other person asked. (Okay, she didn't really have to take the job; on the other hand, the job was set up to be much better than her old job, with the perk of being near her husband set up to be low on the list of advantages.)
I was also caught by the lack of trust demonstrated by the hands. The couple explain that they have made the concessions to the marriage counselor, who is very pleased with the progress. The wife tentatively holds out her hand so McDreamy can take it; when he doesn't immediately, she reaches a little more toward him, then drops her hand. And then McDreamy makes a gesture like he'll take her hand, with the same hesitation and awkwardness. They can't quite connect. They haven't made the sacrifices for each other, but for themselves.
In particular, these exchanges are intriguing in reference to a later show, which I happened to see earlier. In it, McDreamy comes home and notes that his wife had an affair. His wife -- being someone who can bear the truth, even when she speaks it -- agrees, clearly wondering where he is going with this. And he notes that he may not have been fully involved in the marriage. And she agrees. It's a moment where the trust is coming back; it seems to me that there had to be some restored trust in order to make these admissions, on both their parts. Additionally, there had to be some empathy to understand each other's admissions.
I like it. I like it a lot. I read recently (I believe it was in the Utne Reader) about how love stories are always about the beginnings and the endings, and never about the basic, day-to-day slog through the middle. TV shows are especially prone to this, soaps even more so. And this exchange seems to be indicating that Grey's Anatomy may be trying to get at that slog.
They won't keep to it, of course. Someone important behind the scenes will say it's not interesting enough, and the marriage will fall apart, maybe to get back together again...
But it's encouraging to see this little slice.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I Luuurve Memes

Yes, this is supposed to be a Write, Dammit! blog, but I got nothin' today. So, A Meme**:

1) Who is the last person you high-fived? Mmm, I think it was a small child
2) If you were drafted into a war, would you survive? Nope.
3) Do you sleep with the TV on? Nope.
4) Have you ever drunk milk straight out of the carton? I don't think so?
5) Have you ever won a spelling bee? Nope.
6) Have you ever been stung by a bee? Yes! I hate creepy crawly things because I'm afraid they're bees. And don't let anyone tell you bumblebees don't sting.
7) How fast can you type? A lot faster than I ever thought I would.
8) Are you afraid of the dark? Yes and no. Depends on where & who's with me.
9) What color are your eyes? Blue.
10) Have you ever made out at a drive-in? I don't think I've ever even been to a drive-in
11) When is the last time you chose a bath over a shower? "Chose"? Well, "chose" would be every time. But I don't have the time to choose.
12) Do you knock on wood? Yes, but as a joke.
13) Do you floss daily? No
14) What happened to question #14? This is one of those things to test humor, right?
15) Can you hula hoop? No.
16) Are you good at keeping secrets? Like B*, I can't keep my own. As for others', so long as I remember they're secrets, I can keep them.
17) What do you want for Christmas? Finished quals & a well-on-its-way dissertation! Oh, wait. No one can give that to me.
18) Do you know the Muffin Man? Or creativity?
19) Do you talk in your sleep? Yes. I can't scream in dreams because I'm doing it out loud & some part of me knows that & is trying to stay quiet for others' sakes.
20) Who wrote the book of love? Maybe it's the fast-thinking. I don't have any of that either.
21) Have you ever flown a kite? Totally.
22) Do you wish on your fallen lashes? Almost always
23) Do you consider yourself successful? I'm a grad student; of course I don't.
24) How many people are on your contact list of your cell? A lot more than I regularly contact.
25) Have you ever asked for a pony? I don't think so.
26) Plans for tomorrow? Trying yet again to get lots done.
27) Can you juggle? Nope.
28) Missing someone now? Yes-ish.
29) When was the last time you told someone I Love You? This morning
30) And truly meant it? Of course.
31) How often do you drink? I drink water & milk on a daily basis.
32) How are you feeling today? Anxious. Stressed.
33) What do you say too much? (That is a fine, fine question.)
34) Have you ever been suspended or expelled from school? No.
35) What are you looking forward to? Getting home tonight
36) Have you ever crawled through a window? Hm. I don't think so. I know people who have, but I don't think I've done it myself.
37) Have you ever eaten dog food? Ick, no.
38) Can you handle the truth? Not really.
39) Do you like green eggs and ham? Again with the humor
40) Any cool scars? Like Brightstar says -- cool? I have scars, but I wouldn't say they're "cool."

**Stolen from Brightstar, hence the numerous references to her answers. As well as an answer (or maybe two, or maybe 10) she made that were just too perfect to change.

And since I'm phoning it in, I thought of another style-over-substance example. I know, it was yesterday and I know, I said I'd learn to let things go, but this one really eats my crumbcakes. The tv show NUMB3RS on CBS has a math professor as one of the main characters, and he's an expert in every kind of math. I mean... who's an expert in every sub-field???

Monday, April 10, 2006

Style over Substance

I fell into the seductive, but obvious, trap of style over substance.
You see it all over. The New York Times is a classic example, what with its Jayson Blair scandal, and the college e-mail story. I am always shocked when I read an article about something I know and how they get it wrong. I am shocked because I am surprised they get it wrong. I should know better; they always get it wrong.
Television of course gets it wrong all the time. It's a fictional show; I get that, I do, but it still makes me angry that the producers of the Gilmore Girls have Gettysburg close enough to Philadelphia that a school from CT can make it part of their overnight stay in Philadelphia. The lighting on CSI drives me nuts. Everyone is backlit into a halo, but not one character has full light on their face. (They are not *all* standing in each other's shadows.)
Magazines. Discover magazine, which one would think would be interested in accurately representing scientific endeavors, had a story a couple/few issues ago about a mathematician who crochets hyperbolic spaces. The blurb on the front cover and the first paragraph kept calling it knitting, because the copy editors could make all these funny puns like "Knit Theory." Trouble is, the mathematician pointed out that her creations could not possibly be knit, and knitting is not crocheting.
And the internet. Well! the internet. I mean, we all know how accurate that is. (Although I have to say that bit in Grey's Anatomy where the kid thought he was doing something brilliant because he got it off the internet was pretty funny.) Okay, sarcasm doesn't really work here, but I'm running out of specific examples.
Of course, I don't need specific examples. Everyone has a story of how something was misrepresented because the misrepresentation sounded better than the truth.
And now you have me.
In my last entry, I tried to write something that sounded good. Something... literary. (Yes, I do know it wasn't. This is what I was trying to do, not what I succeeded at doing.) And in the process, I made some statements that led to misrepresentations. So I wanted to correct myself.
I have had a very good experience with advisors in graduate school. I don't know if this is unusual or not, but this is my experience. Most of the professors in my department are willing to help students do what they -- the students -- want to do. Most of the professors in my department -- and the few outside of it about whom I hear stories -- are genuinely enthusiastic about helping graduate students find their own paths to this idea of "research" that the professors love so much. Very few of the professors I know of IRL have their own agenda that they push on their students to the detriment of the students' interests or education.
However, there does seem to be a disconnect between grad-student-bloggers and professorial-bloggers within the discussion of grad-student/professor interactions. (My belief is that it mostly comes from the fact that -- much like stories of undergraduates (e.g. thosewho come begging for/expecting high grades) -- it's the frustrating stories people want to tell, need to tell, and it's the frustrating stories readers like to pass along; however, since I'm not the one starting any of the threads, I can't say that with any authority, just as opinion.) I was trying to use that disconnect to write something fancy.
Style over substance. It will trip you up, every time.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Power Struggles

I was surfing around the blogs yesterday, reading about power struggles between professors and students.
That's too strong a statement. Neither professors nor grad students -- neither the blogging professors nor the blogging grad students whose blogs I read were talking outright about power struggles.
That's not right either. They were talking about power struggles, but I'm hesitant to call it such, because there's a good deal of talk among BPIR (blogging professors I read) that we grad students over-estimate the amount of time professors spend thinking about us. (I have thoughts about that discussion also, but that's for another day.)
But. Power struggles.
Maybe this is the day for those thoughts.
I am perfectly happy to believe that professors do not gather in the dead of night -- or the life of day -- and plot or plan or cackle over how to manipulate grad students' lives. To make it personal, I don't think my advisor spends more than the 15 minutes before our weekly meeting thinking about me -- about the work I'm doing and the progress I'm making.
However. I do think that, in those 15 minutes, he is disappointed with me -- with my progress and lack thereof. I am concerned that he regrets taking me on as a graduate student. I believe that, during our meetings, he tries to figure out ways to motivate me -- tries to figure out ways to get me moving faster. Which is a form of benevolent manipulation.
I also know that there are advisors who do not take their students' best interests into consideration. I know that there are advisors who think there is only one way to do things, and who ruin students' prospects because of this. I know there are advisors who can create such a hostile working environment, they can drive away students who came to graduate school solely to work with these specific advisors.
Of course, I do not say that all advisors are like this. My advisor is not. Even if he is disappointed in me, even if he regrets his choice, he is willing to help me get through what needs to be done. He is not the one impeding my progress.
Power struggles. And choices. There are choices people make to even the power imbalance. I don't think all of them are good choices. Even if my personal and academic lives were different, I don't think I'd make those. I might. I have made bad choices before. But I don't think I'd make those. And if I did, I would come to regret them.
Power struggles. I don't think of myself as someone who is deliberately avoiding them. I expect I would, if I knew about them. I expect that is part of why I would not make those "bad" choices I alluded to above. But I am not involved in the power struggles here. I think that is because I am not involved in my academy's life. I relish the little time I spend with those who are involved because I can catch up on the gossip. The gossip that makes the power imbalance feel a little more even.
Because that may be one of the biggest extenders of the power imbalance: the lack of knowledge. Professors don't spend all their time thinking about graduate students. They don't spend most of their time thinking about graduate students. But they spend some of their time. We graduate students get letters from our departments telling us how much progress we've made, and whether we're on track or not. At some point, the professors had a meeting about us, discussed us, discussed our progress,
And what else did they discuss about us? Yes, meetings are boring. But face it: academics love to talk. There was more of an exchange than just "Student A has finished her masters, and Student B has finished his class work, and Student C just had a paper published." There was gossip among the professors also. What else did our advisor say about us? What did people we don't work with say about us?
Power struggles. No. Bosses never spend all their time thinking about their employees. But they spend more time than they tell us.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I'm staying home to do taxes today (clear proof I'm a student), but in my blog-reading... um, break, I saw this.
Go, read it. So. Very. Funny.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Some Thoughts Inspired by Sex and the City

Once upon a time, I had HBO. I watched some movies; a season or two of the Sopranos; and Sex and the City. I liked the show. It was the second or third or fourth season, and I was so happy to see four women be friends, and not torn apart by jealousy over boyfriends. Someone pointed out that it was just a story about gay men in female bodies; I didn't care. There were no "happy" female friendships that I knew of on TV, and I was relieved to see one show portray them.
This mythical time didn't last long.
I rented season 1 a year or so ago. Additionally, one of the local channels is playing bowdlerized repeats of SatC late at night. I watch it occasionally, when I can't drag myself to bed. Now? I'm horrified by the neurotic, relationship-oriented attitude of these women. Even Samantha, the bed-hopper, starts out as looking for a relationship. And the whole thing with Mr. Big? I don't understand how it is that he treats Carrie so horribly. Honestly, he never lies to her about being in it for fun, so I don't understand why she's so mad when he's... just in it for fun.
I'm sure better writers, and better parsers of culture, have written about this, so I'll skip the rest of the general comments. But last night was the episode when Miranda found out she is pregnant, and it got me thinking.
First of all, even though Miranda's plan is clearly to get an abortion, the word is not spoken. I can only hope that it was edited out. A network that has the "courage" to put mobsters and polygamists should have the courage to say the word abortion. But it wouldn't surprise me if it wasn't, much in the way "masturbation" was never mentioned in the famous Seinfeld episode. After all, Miranda eventually decides to keep the child; that is, the producers eventually bow to the conservative forces in this country that don't allow a major character to have an abortion.
The same thing happened recently on ER: the character Abby got pregnant and agonized for an entire episode (ooh! a day!) over whether to abort or not: she wasn't comfortable with her genetic history, or her nurturing abilities. But she decided to keep the baby.
And on Seventh Heaven, the less famous Duff sister played a young woman who got pregnant while in college. She was quoted in gossip columns as being glad that the writers had her character keep the baby, that her character didn't take the easy way out.
(As an aside: What????)
And I've been pondering a puzzle. I can't tie it directly to this media black-out, but it's at least related on a broad gender level. What's the puzzle? Well, the US has never had a female president.
Now, I confess I took this for granted. The US isn't ready for it yet, I said to myself. But two weeks ago, the New Yorker had a profile of the first female president in Africa. (The first black female? the first of a major country in Africa? Nerts: she's some sort of first, and now I don't remember which.)
I realized that my underlying assumption was that the world was not ready for a female leader of a country.
And that I was dead wrong.
I'm terrible with history, and with names, but even I know that Margaret Thatcher was PM of Britain. In the 1980's. And that Britain has/had even more openly sexist attitudes than the US. And that not only had Thatcher been the head of state (and an of an "important" country), but that I -- me! with my poor grasp of history and world events -- could think of at least two other politically important women: Indira Ghandi and Golda Meir. And I knew there was another woman, whose name I can't remember, and whose country I can't remember, but she was the leader of a Pacific area country for several years.
So why isn't America ready for a female president?