kitchen table

from the book I’m currently reading
December 2, 2006, 1:16 pm
Filed under: books, Gender, Literature

It was all very well to insist that art was art and had no sex, but the fact was that the days of men were not in the same way fragmented, atomized by indefinite small tasks. There was such a thing as woman’s work and it consisted chiefly, Hilary sometimes thought, in being able to stand constant interruption and keep your temper. Each single day she fought a war to get to her desk before her little bundle of energy had dissipated, to push aside or cut through an intricate web of slight threads pulling her in a thousand directions–that unanswered letter, that telephone call…

May Sarton, Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing


journal of popular studies
November 29, 2006, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Activism, America, books, Literature

My lovely friend Brynn sent me a package yesterday with the red & black thigh-highs, a new skirt, and many recent issues of the JPS.

“What?” You may ask. “That is Us Magazine, not JPS or whatever you call it.”

If you’ve ever read Mountain Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, you know that we are stealing “JPS,” short for Journal of Popular Studies, from the book’s subject, Dr. Paul Farmer. The book is among my favorites–I sincerely think everyone should read it–and besides the kick in the ass it delivers to Westerners about our lifestyle, it also shares with its readers many of Farmer’s brilliant maxims and nicknames.

Journal of Popular Studies, which he reads on planes from time to time, is one Brynn and I celebrate.  Seriously though, I kind of wish I wasn’t including Britney Spears in the same post as Paul Farmer. His work, as Kidder describes it, is a moral compass for me. A welcome, consistent kick in the ass.

Why be a hater, Phyllis?
August 14, 2006, 5:58 pm
Filed under: books, Feminism, Gender, politics

Dear friend Brynn came to visit yesterday and before I slipped into my allergy-induced coma of sick, she and I walked to the bookstore for some browsing. I made my way to the back of the store and looked, shelf by shelf, for some titles in the women’s studies section. There, staring up at me from a stack 3-4 books deep, was a stack of the following book by Phyllis Chesler:

First reaction: What the fuck, Phyllis? I’ve been annoyed with her since I picked up a copy of the condescending Letters to a Young Feminist at the library several years back. My annoyance was only compounded when a friend bought me another Chesler tirade, Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman. I take issue not just with the content of her texts but also her flashy, attention-grabbing, a la Ann Coulter dust-jackets.

I can just imagine some asshole walking into the bookstore, seeing the cover of The Death of Feminism, and thinking, “Oh, it’s been proven by an insider!” Chesler should be aware of the rhetoric, aware of the frequency with which outfits like Time and Newsweek claim the feminist movement is dead, and choose her words and images carefully. Her title is reckless and ultimately damaging to a movement about which she claims to care and, it seems, not that appropriate for the content of her book.