Because the new Miss America can’t be a “Real American.” Just look at how brown she is compared to that Miss Kansas!
I quite enjoyed Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men, although the whole was less than the sum of the parts. The often very smart and nuanced individual essays suffered from being wedged into the overall attention-grabbing titular framework that is obviously wrong for the reasons cited by its critics.
Rosin, alas, has doubled down on the weakest aspects of her argument. I direct you first to the excellent responses from Nora Caplan-Bricker, Katie Baker, and especially Kat Stoefell. To add a couple of points, I think this paragraph illustrates the crucial problem with Rosin’s “end of patriarchy” argument:
Coontz also makes the broader point that women, even college-educated women, continue to flock to less prestigious jobs. She points out that woman are even more concentrated now than they were before in the professions of legal secretary or “managers of medicine and health occupations.” We can call the pattern of women’s jobs by its old, disparaging name, “gender segregation,” and insist on seeing it as a choice that is imposed on them. But we can also see it through a new paradigm—as Coontz in her own work has so successfully encouraged us to do vis-à-vis marriage—that acknowledges women as agents making intelligent decisions about what jobs are available in this economy. Maybe women are choosing health occupations because the health care field is booming, not because they are blindly walking—or being led—into a female ghetto.
The key analytical error here is the assumption that if women are rational agents able to make choices that make sense for them then the patriarchy must have been vanquished. But this isn’t true: women, like men, “make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” This analysis doesn’t explain why the more rational choice to enter high-demand employment fields offers fewer rewards when these fields are dominated by women. The eligible women who make family choices that make it less likely to, say, be selected as Supreme Court clerks may be making choices that make sense to them, but it remains true that nobody would ever dream of writing a cover story for the Atlantic wondering how Antonin Scalia could “have it all” by raising 9 kids while being a successful academic and appellate judge. That’s what we call, er, patriarchy.
As Coontz says, it’s remarkably implausible that the gross underrepresentation of women among the financial elite of the United States is simply the result of free choices made by women. And to assume that the greater success of women in school will inevitably result in women outpacing men economically as well is begging the question. (Of course, if the latter ends up not following from the former, Rosin’s argument isn’t really falsified because it’s tautological; if most CEOs remain men this must be because women just don’t want the jobs for reasons that have nothing to do with assumptions that women should bear the brunt of the work at home.)
Her response to the point made my numerous critics about the ongoing underrepresentation of women in Congress has similar problems:
The 2012 elections inspired a similar reactionary response in some quarters. A record number of women were elected to Congress, and women were critical to Obama’s re-election, particularly single women.* And yet soon after the election, the New York Times published as its lead op-ed a study by two academics showing that women would not truly reach parity or be in a position to pass women-friendly policies until they controlled half of all congressional seats. This seems true enough, if a little obvious. But it entirely missed the revolutionary shift the moment marked. There was a group marginalized in the election: white men. They voted en masse for Mitt Romney, and lost.
First of all, the whole argument is just a non-sequitur. Leaving aside the fact that Romney got 52% of the male vote — not really “en masse” [UPDATE: as a commenter notes, the claim was about "white men," where the 62% is closer to en masse. Evidently, the more important rejoinders still apply. And of course Romney won white women too...] — under current political conditions women will be more likely than men to prefer one candidate to another and sometimes the women’s favorite candidate will win; this doesn’t really address the fact that political office is a field that remains dominated by men. Moreover, the presidential election isn’t the only election that took place in 2012. Yes, the GOP’s rape philosophers lost races they otherwise would have won, a real sign of progress. On the other hand, the House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans with a nearly monolithical commitment to values identical to Akin’s only expressed with a little more discipline. And the statehouses! Just start with #1 on Stoeffel’s list. If the 2014 midterms result in the GOP taking over the Senate, will Rosin concede that the patriarchy is alive and kicking? Kicking women in their reproductive and civil rights?
So, here’s a funny thing. I apparently cheer for a team with management that knows what it’s doing and excellent coaching. To those with prior experience* with those things, I must ask: what’s it like?
*Oddly, the only championship team I’ll ever root for even if the Seahawks are giving me glimmers of hope that will surely end horribly, is only a half-exception: it was the result of an insanely good run of personnel judgments, but the coaching was pretty second-rate, as evidenced by the fact that a team with several Hall of Famers in their prime and a good supporting cast got out of the second round once. The Mariners at the turn of the century briefly qualify, I guess, but Gillick and Lincoln let that team die on the vine after getting obliterated by the Yankees twice. And of course the Duquette/Alou Expos but we shall never speak of that again and go to hell Bud Selig.
Leadership, Direction and Legitimacy of the RAF Bomber Offensive from Inception to 1945, by Peter Gray, examines the role played by the senior leadership of the Royal Air Force during the interwar period and World War II. Gray, a retired RAF officer, focuses on strategic bombing and the activity of Bomber Command, which is appropriate given the importance of strategic bombing to the Trenchardist case for RAF independence. The book will appeal to those with a strong grounding in the subject, although it might be a bit tougher for a general readership.
Gray’s review of the literature on leadership in the civilian and military sector is quite good. Indeed, the opening chapters feel very much like a dissertation; readers without much interest in leadership theory can probably skip the opening without missing too much. In fact, I was both surprised and disappointed that the extended theoretical discussions of leadership in the opening chapter didn’t lead to a more theoretical treatment of RAF history. Granted that Gray’s interest here isn’t in theoretical generalization, but rather in applying the lessons of leadership theory to the early RAF, it still would have been helpful to return more consistently to the theoretical frameworks that open the book. By the end, I felt that I knew more about the RAF and more about leadership theory, but not really much more about leadership theory as applied to the early RAF.
Leadership, Direction, and Legitimacy (couldn’t he have come up with a pithy, one-word title?) is also an excellent resource on RAF historiography; Gray is obviously well-steeped in both the archival resources and in the secondary literature on the interwar and war periods. His account is far more concerned with organizational culture and strategic leadership than with technical aspects of the service; indeed, it probably would have helped to work through in more detail some of implications of RAF leadership decisions for procurement, training, and tactical employment. Gray could also have gone into somewhat more detail regarding RAF professional military education (PME), although he does delve into some of these details in reference to the ethical concerns described below.
Gray gives a good account of how the RAF approached questions surrounding the ethics of strategic bombing. The issue was more complex than is often presented, as the capacity to destroy cities Hamburg or Dresden style did not exist until the RAF could field heavy bombers in sufficient numbers and quality. Beneath a surface commitment to strategic bombing, the RAF didn’t think all that seriously about the ethical implications of area bombing during the interwar period, largely because it lacked the technical capacity to undertake such bombing. Gray also frames RAF thought against the broader canvas of interwar thinking on the bombing of civilians, noting that most proposals for limiting area bombing failed to make substantial headway. Gray doesn’t make much of the connection between “savage warfare” and the bombing of civilians in colonial areas, and civilian bombing in Europe, and apparently neither did the RAF.
Gray is less successful, I think, at developing the link between the thinking with the RAF and the Trenchardist project of retaining organizational autonomy and independence. The RAF was organizationally prepared, as Gray notes, to bomb civilians in retaliation, or if the generally laws of war collapsed. Moreover, it appears that the senior leadership expected that this would take place in context of a general war. And of course it’s true that the German attacks on Warsaw, Rotterdam, and London furnished the RAF with all the excuse it would need for a general campaign. The RAF anticipated that norms against strategic bombing would be breached, and prepared itself for that eventuality. I have to wonder, however, the extent to which the RAF believed that the gloves would come off because it needed to believe that the gloves would come off in order to maintain the Trenchardist justification for organizational independence. I suspect that an independent service dedicated to chemical warfare would also have assumed that norms against CW use would collapse in the face of actual war, especially if service survival depended on using such munitions.
Gray does cogently argue that Arthur Harris was not well-suited to helm Bomber Command, and that Harris displayed several problematic tendencies that would not necessarily have been shared by other senior officers. The contours of the area bombing campaign were in place before Harris took command, and Harris always followed orders when instructed to divert Bomber Command resources to other tasks. However, Harris never developed any appreciation for other facets of airpower, and effectively acted as Bomber Command’s attorney during intra-service debates. There’s some merit to this, but a senior commander should be expected to take a broader view of what’s necessary for the service and for the war effort as a whole. John Slessor, for example, displayed far greater flexibility in his appreciation of the various contributions of airpower. Gray helpfully details the various conflicts between Harris and other senior commanders, as well as Churchill’s growing frustration with the RAF’s approach to intelligence and prediction. And in some sense, of course, Harris was correct to reject “panacea” targets, although a greater focus on oil surely would have aided Allied efforts late in the war. As Gray explains, RAF senior leadership had reasons for believing that Bomber Command would succeed where the Luftwaffe failed, even if those reasons strike the modern ear as steeped in motivated bias. Gray gives us some sense of how Harris was positioned within the RAF hierarchy, and of how Harris retained his position despite growing military and civilian frustration with his performance, but he doesn’t really explain Harris, in the sense of describing how someone with Harris’ views and traits could rise to an effectively unassailable position.
But… I knew that Harris’ leadership was problematic, and that relations between Harris and the other senior commanders were troubled, and that Harris was dismissive of the use of strategic airpower in anything other than area bombing. And this is part of the problem, because, as implied above, there was very little connection between the discussions of theoretical work on leadership and the historiography of the RAF. I don’t always need careful hypothesis testing, but there was little effort to set forth even “soft” evaluation of the various arguments on leadership. In terms of policy recommendations, it was hard to to sort out whether Gray had any particularly meaningful lessons to share. It’s surely an interesting book for specialists, but I think it’s also a missed opportunity for a coherent, productive argument about senior leadership in functional and dysfunctional organizational contexts.
For a somewhat more positive take, see Ross Mahoney’s review.
$10 an hour is not enough to live on, especially in California. But the Golden State creating the highest minimum wage in the nation is a major step in the right direction. Hopefully a national $10 wage will become an important progressive priority soon.
Jellyfish are taking over the world. And they love the conditions of the ocean created by climate change. Not only are the oceans likely to become jellyfish deserts that also make swimming in many areas increasingly dangerous, but they also wreak tremendous havoc on economic activity along the coasts, not to mention shipping.
Forgot our robot overlords. It’s jellyfish overlords that we actually have to worry about.
The linked article is terrifying.
Wow. I have to give him credit for recognizing what Obama apparently wouldn’t.
And, of course, a great deal of credit has to go to the Democratic senators who made the choice too politically costly. Now one has to hope that Obama will do the right thing and nominate Yellen rather than spitefully picking a white guy worse than Summers (such as Donald Kohn.)
UPDATE: The no-brainer case for Yellen.
This is a guest post by Robert Widell, who is unlucky enough to be my colleague in the history department at the University of Rhode Island, yet still watches Oregon crush Tennessee with me despite his affinity for the Auburn Tigers. His book, Birmingham and the Long Black Freedom Struggle is coming out later this month from Palgrave MacMillan. You can follow him on Twitter at @ProfessorWidell.
Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Earlier this week the four girls that were killed in that blast, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair, were each awarded a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony that also included Addie Mae’s sister, Sarah Collins Rudolph, who survived the attack but was herself critically injured. Much of the coverage of the anniversary has noted the role of the tragedy, coming as it did on the heels of the March on Washington that summer and the Birmingham Campaign that spring, in further galvanizing national support for the Civil Rights Movement. Pointing out subsequent milestones like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights of 1965 is a seemingly obligatory part of such stories. Indeed, the popular narrative of the bombing portrays it as a reference point for how much progress the country has made since that day.
Retellings of the efforts by Alabama’s Attorney General, Bill Baxley, to reopen the case in the 1970s and secure the conviction of Robert “Dynamite Bob” Chambliss – as well as the successful convictions of Chambliss’ co-conspirators, Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton, in the early 2000s – reinforce such notions. These stories celebrate the fact that Baxley pursued the case despite being a white Alabama native and emphasize that the convictions are remarkable in part because they would have been unlikely in the immediate wake of the bombing.
When presented as a story of “justice delayed yet not denied,” though, the bombing is too easily rendered simply a tragic misstep in the country’s inevitable march toward post-racial harmony. In truth, it was a cruel reminder of how much work remained to be done. And while the story of Baxley’s response to the hate mail he received from white supremacist Edward Fields has to be considered one of the finest uses ever of official state letterhead, a focus on one man’s personal commitment to justice obscures the more intractable institutional racism that persists into the present.
At least part of the problem is Americans’ unease with dealing directly with the United States’ violent and brutal past. Americans wish to consign events like the bombing to an unenlightened past that no longer bears any relation to the present. In a similar way, Americans have an understandable desire to transform tragedies like the church bombing into stories of transcendence with ultimately uplifting resolutions. Death, particularly that of young children, is difficult to accept and the search for silver linings, however faint, becomes a coping mechanism. Victims are transformed into heroes and martyrs; their deaths viewed as part of what Martin Luther King, Jr. referenced in his call to “redeem the soul of America.”
Although such dynamics are worthy of further exploration, the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing also provides an opportunity to reassess the popular understanding of Birmingham’s local freedom struggle and the impact of the tragedy on the city itself.
Birmingham burst onto the national stage in the spring of 1963 when images of schoolchildren being attacked by fire hoses and police dogs drew national and international media attention. Those attacks were part of the response by police commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor to the campaign led by King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and its local affiliate, the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), to push for the desegregation of the city’s downtown stores and businesses. Remembered, as well, for inspiring King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the Birmingham Campaign was a primary factor in convincing President Kennedy to draft what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Yet, as Glenn Eskew demonstrates in But for Birmingham, as much as the Birmingham Campaign generated national momentum for the Civil Rights Movement, it did little to change conditions for African Americans at the local level. Poverty, police brutality, inadequate municipal services, poor housing, and other problems remained persistent concerns for Birmingham’s black community.
In this context, then, the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church is less the story of an event that would further galvanize white support for the national movement and more a cruel reminder that, on the local level, Jim Crow was alive and well. In fact, Birmingham’s well-deserved reputation as a particularly violent defender of white supremacy – garnering the city the name “Bombingham” – meant that from a local perspective the bombing was in many ways business as usual.
At the same time, though, Birmingham’s black community had an equally long history of challenging Jim Crow. Indeed, had it been otherwise, violence would not have been so necessary to uphold it. In the more immediate term, there would have been no 1963 Birmingham Campaign without the local foundation laid by the work of Fred Shuttlesworth and the ACMHR. In the longer term, Birmingham had been home to indigenous efforts aimed at challenging Jim Crow since the early twentieth century. This longer history of black activism, especially within the context of the city’s penchant for racial violence, ensured that in the wake of the bombing Birmingham’s black community continued to do what it had always done: it organized and fought back.
In the years between 1963 and the election of Birmingham’s first black mayor, Richard Arrington, in 1979, a new generation of black activists emerged to carry the local black freedom struggle forward into the late-twentieth century. Comprised of Vietnam veterans, welfare recipients, public housing residents, steelworkers, hospital workers, and others, this new generation took to the streets, courthouses, union halls, and churches to stake their claim to not just “civil rights” but a broader freedom agenda that included economic justice, black self-determination, and an end to racial violence.
Unfortunately, the new phase of black activism that emerged in Birmingham during the post-1963 period has been excluded from both the local and national narrative of the movement. It was this new phase, though, that demonstrated the true legacy of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. Through their actions, groups like the Committee for Equal Job Opportunity, the Public Employees Organizing Committee, and the Alabama Black Liberation Front made it clear that, even in the face of deadly violence, they would extend the long black freedom struggle into the 1970s and beyond.
On this day, then, I will remember Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley. But I will do so in way that views the tragedy as a reminder that the long black freedom struggle that their deaths was intended to stop must continue. In the current historical moment – when African Americans remain confronted by mass incarceration, deepening poverty, and continued racial violence – it is essential to remind ourselves that frustration and despair must give way to activism and engagement.
Date rape is an apparently common campus crime that usually involves two drunk young people, one of whom has an erect penis, and the other of whom is unable to avert what the erect penis typically does.
Whether you’re trying to blame the rape victim or apologize for the rapist, positing a dick with a mind of its own is a useful device.
Here’s the thing about ketchup. It’s disgusting and those who love it should reexamine their priorities and the meaning of their lives. So I am righteously outraged that the Detroit Tigers fired this hot dog vendor who expressed his disdain to fans who wanted ketchup on their dogs, proving to the world that they did not deserve the suffrage.
And I’m not saying the mustard is the only acceptable condiment on a hot dog. At the ballpark maybe, but in real life, obviously sauerkraut is also a superior condiment. And in Mexico you can get all kinds of crazy awesome stuff on hot dogs. But ketchup, I mean really, doesn’t its existence make one question Darwin’s theory of evolution?
Note–I am talking about mass produced tomato ketchup here. Ketchup produced with other fruits or homemade stuff that is actually good, that’s different.
One also must wonder about the crossover between people who put ketchup on hot dogs and those who call vodka cocktails “martinis.”
UPDATE: Am I the only one who thinks kimchi on hot dogs could be really good?
Jonah Keri on the wondrous career of the great Vladimir Guerrero, a player no one could reasonably not love to watch.
In other news, I think we all are cheering for Oregon to crush Tennessee today in the kind of north over south victory that hasn’t been witnessed since the days of one W.T. Sherman.