Seamus Heany has a new translation of Antigone, which is excerpted in the Guardian today. It brought back those heady days of high school when my tenth-grade teacher was having us read Jean Anouilh’s adaptation. She swooned over her pet students, Omar and Leila (no, not me), as they read stanza after stanza while the rest of the class drifted gently to sleep.
I just heard that an earthquake struck the port city and beach resort of Hoceima in northern Morocco. Current toll is 226 says Reuters, but likely to rise to 300 says AP. There is concern that some surrounding villages where people live in ancient mud structures could be hit. The earthquake happened almost 44 years to the day after the 1960 earthquake which wiped out the southern port city and beach resort of Agadir. You can donate money for relief efforts here.
My voting record is such that every candidate I’ve voted for or supported in major elections has lost, not just a regular, dignified loss, but a spectacular one. I voted for Nader in 2000 (don’t blame me–I lived in California at the time; Gore took that state in a landslide) and the men and women in robes appointed the Shrub. I voted against the recall and the Terminator won. I donated to Dean and he became the butt of jokes. Now Nader is running again, and everyone’s already talking about the chances of another four years of Bush. But see, this time, I’ve got a plan: I’m going to vote for Bush.
Terry had a post over the weekend about the decline in readership of magazines, which he attributes to increased interest in blogs. Terry makes the point that bloggers ought to give credit for the sources of their links and discusses his own policy for giving link credit. But, he adds,
Not all bloggers feel this way. Certain of our colleagues are bad a few notoriously so about giving credit to other bloggers. I’ll name no names, but I will say that the stingy practice of link-poaching has lately come in for quite a bit of backstage criticism.
Jessa reacted to Terry’s post angrily. She disliked the mysteriousness of the quote above. She doesn’t dispute that she doesn’t always credit her sources, but she attributes that to the fact that she bookmarks links and then forgets their source (Interestingly enough, Terry admitted to the same habit in his post.)
What’s amusing about this little brouhaha is that it stands in sharp contrast to the view (most recently expressed by Jennifer Howard in that infamous Washington Post article) that lit bloggers are a clickish group who tend to uniformly praise one thing or berate the other.
In case you’re curious, I always try to cite the source of a link plucked from a fellow blogger, even if the link is from a site as widely read as the New York Times. But there are so few sources of literary interest, that lit bloggers are going to the same places, so it would be really surprising if people didn’t get to the same links independently. In fact, there are topics I won’t even cover (e.g. the recent Woolf/Bloom allegations) because several other bloggers are already on top of them and I’m not sure there’s much more I can say that I couldn’t just add to the comments sections of their sites. At any rate, I don’t see blogging as a zero-sum game where people compete for links and need credits. I’m too busy reading stuff to worry about who’s giving credit to my links.
With the change over to the new design I have a couple of MT changes I still need to make. If you’re willing to help, please email me: llalami at yahoo dot com.
When the March issue of The Atlantic finally arrived in the mail, I immediately started reading Caitlin Flanagan’s cover story, How Serfdom Saved The Women’s Movement (now available online.) I figure anyone who can inspire such feelings of disgust in both Maud and Emma while at the same time earn Jessa‘s admiration should be worth a look. But merely a couple of paragraphs into the article I found myself disliking Flanagan’s smug tone, the way she feels superior to (or bad for, depending on how you want to interpret her) other women who have to drop off their kids at day care because, you know, they “worked more because of economic necessity than because of a desire for professional advancement or emotional fulfillment.” These women, she says, were missing out because they couldn’t stay at home and note “every little moue of delight or displeasure” that crossed their children’s faces. But Flanagan did. And she did it all thanks to her very industrious nanny who “did all the hard stuff.” It would be easy to dismiss all of this if it were just a matter of tone. It isn’t, of course. Flanagan practically pillories mothers who keep their jobs and have to hire nannies. Of her own choice to do so, she says only
Why was I supposed to endlessly wipe down the kitchen counters and lug bags of garbage out to the cans and set out the little plastic plates of steamed carrots and mashed bananas that the children touched only in order to hurl them onto the floor?
Why indeed? Shouldn’t the answer to this question somehow involve the man of the house? Flanagan doesn’t say. She goes on:
Wasn’t I designed for more important things than putting away Lego blocks and loading the dishwasher? I was! It was time. Cherchez la femme.
And femme she does find, in the person of a nanny. Flanagan proudly says that she pays her nanny’s salary as well as her Social Security taxes. But while she is letting herself off the hook about her nanny hiring she hurls an enormous amount of guilt towards working women who hire nannies, accusing them of advancing their careers at the expense of thirld world immigrants. Where are the men in all of this? In our enlightened times, shouldn’t men share in the responsibility of raising the children and therefore face up to what their nanny choices entail? Why not throw a little responsibilty and guilt their way? But, no. Piling on women is so much better. The single worthwhile point that Flanagan makes is about Social Security. She makes it (very, very) abundantly clear that while the women’s lib movement has decried the loss of Social Security wages for women who stop working in order to have babies (the Mommy Tax), it hasn’t made an equal fuss over the fact that few nannies receive those wages. Okay, point taken. But again, a quick look at her Slate article about this confirms the argument that she is focused on women–not couples–as being the hirers, and therefore exploiters, of nannies. The rest of the 10,000-word article is more filler material. To top it off, Flanagan cites the loathsome Girlfriends books, playfully derides a woman’s choice to work outside the home (“leaving the New York Times! exposing herself to snubs at cocktail parties!”), and makes silly quips (“[Naomi Wolf] had wanted a revolution; what she got was a Venezuelan”). There is a point in the article somewhere, but you’ll have to slug through all the self-satisfied bullshit first.
French intellectuals are upset with the centre-right government over what they see as a war on intelligence. They’re upset about the current cultural climate, which they say tends to divide people over simplistic alternatives (veils: for or against.) They’re upset about budget cuts to scientific research. They’re upset about new powers accorded to police at the expense of civil rights.