Friday, September 04, 2009

Five for Smoking but not for Breastfeeding, Continued

A few months ago, Solon wrote a post on a case before the Ohio Supreme Court. A woman employed at the Totes/Isotoner Factory was fired for taking unauthorized breaks to pump breast milk for her baby. About two weeks ago, the Ohio Supreme Court reached a verdict. They upheld a ruling that said the woman had been legally fired. As Motherhood Uncensored explains, the court had little choice given how the law is written. Technically the mother was in the wrong. I could say a lot about this particular issue (and I do me A LOT), but for now I just want to draw everyone's attention to Motherhood Uncensored's post on this. As we've discussed some at TRS, breastfeeding is a contentious issue. Women are told unequivocally that "Breast is best!," yet, as Motherhood points out, many, many women aren't given the support they need to breastfeed. A lot of women who want to breastfeed stop because breastfeeding takes time and effort--and quite a lot of both. Yes, breastfeeding is free in so far as moms don't have to pay for breast milk, but in terms of the amount of time required to nurse a baby and/or pump when putting baby to breast isn't an option, breast feeding costs is damn expensive (I know; I'm breastfeeding as I write this). I like this post by Motherhood because it points out the breakdown between the incessant demand that mothers breastfeed and the reality that many don't have the time to do so.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Intellectual Honesty Watch: Katie Roiphe Edition

Last week we discussed anxiety and motherhood, which was based on Katie Roiphe's experiences as a new mother headed back to work. In some parts of the Internets, Roiphe's article was attacked. We only attacked it for a very stupid paragraph.

Well, Roiphe has a new article up on Slate in which she states:
No, I am not responsible for the subtitle, nor did I see it until the piece was on the site, which is in no way unusual.)... To answer some of the other comments: Nowhere in the piece did I tell anyone else how to live. Nowhere did I suggest that my experience of the first days of motherhood was any better, richer, or more interesting than anyone else's. (To me, the addiction metaphor implies a derangement and desperation not entirely to be recommended.) Nowhere in the piece did I attack anyone for having a different viewpoint or experience. (Though frankly one does worry about the fragile commenter: If someone chooses to wear an orange dress are you hurt because of the implied critique of your yellow one?) Nowhere did I say that feminists hate babies. In fact, my own mother was a feminist, and I like to think she liked me.

While the first two sentences maybe fine, though they are quite debatable, the third sentence reveals a lack of memory. Last week, Roiphe wrote:
One of the minor dishonesties of the feminist movement has been to underestimate the passion of this time, to try for a rational, politically expedient assessment.
It seems to be quite the trick to blast a group of individuals, all of whom have, according to the author, the same dishonest viewpoint, but not "attack anyone for having a different viewpoint."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Quoteof the Day

In light on Jenna Bush Hager, Glenn Greenwald at Salon discusses the perils with meritocracy:

They should convene a panel for the next “Meet the Press” with Jenna Bush Hager, Luke Russert, Liz Cheney, Megan McCain and Jonah Goldberg, and they should have Chris Wallace moderate it. They can all bash affirmative action and talk about how vitally important it is that the U.S. remain a Great Meritocracy because it’s really unfair for anything other than merit to determine position and employment. They can interview Lisa Murkowski, Evan Bayh, Jeb Bush, Bob Casey, Mark Pryor, Jay Rockefeller, Dan Lipinksi, and Harold Ford, Jr. about personal responsibility and the virtues of self-sufficiency. Bill Kristol, Tucker Carlson and John Podhoretz can provide moving commentary on how America is so special because all that matters is merit, not who you know or where you come from. There’s a virtually endless list of politically well-placed guests equally qualified to talk on such matters. . . .

All of the above-listed people are examples of America’s Great Meritocracy, having achieved what they have solely on the basis of their talent, skill and hard work — The American Way. By contrast, Sonia Sotomayor — who grew up in a Puerto Rican family in Bronx housing projects; whose father had a third-grade education, did not speak English and died when she was 9; whose mother worked as a telephone operator and a nurse; and who then became valedictorian of her high school, summa cum laude at Princeton, a graduate of Yale Law School, and ultimately a Supreme Court Justice — is someone who had a whole litany of unfair advantages handed to her and is the poster child for un-American, merit-less advancement.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Question of the Day, or Decade, whichever you prefer?

In light of a discussion with P-Duck over torture, otherwise known to some as enhanced interrogation techniques, when did the virtue of manliness become expressed through the notion of raw power or strength rather than manliness as an intellectual endeavor?

And a second, but related question: if the virtue of manliness means raw power and strength, why do those who advocate for torture call it "enhanced interrogation technique?" Why not take the virtue to its logical extension and call it what it is rather than diminish or mask the concept of torture behind the Orwellian "enhance interrogation technique."

Bonus: Song of the Day. "I Am a Man" by Bo Didley. Where are the Tony Sopranos of yesteryear?

Something you might not expect from me