Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tulips, Minton, April 25, 2008

Or maybe it's Menton.

Diagnosis: Female

The New York Times review of Lisa Appignesi's book Mad, Bad And Sad: Women and the Mind Doctors.

It would be hard to imagine a mental illness that better evinces the slippery interplay among fashion, delusion, diagnosis and treatment than anorexia, which announces itself with the appearance of following rather than defying social directives and which women embrace, as they did neurasthenia, as a mode of femininity, in this case to be slim rather than morbidly sensitive and enervated.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pursuit of Youth

Ah, MSNBC is doin' good tonight, contrariennes.
Want to see what a mess celebrities have made of their faces?
Slideshow here.

i can haz chzbrgr?

WTF? Well, I tried. Txtng iz hrd.
The good folks at MSNBC offer instructions of a sort for those of you sometimes confronted with apparently indeciferable words and phrases creeping into print these days. Very common on blogs. And a must have if you want to communicate with the Millennials.

Say What? Oh, McCain

You may not have heard of Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but Sen. John McCain didn't even bother to vote on the bill that tightens up fair pay legislation to prevent courts from doing what they did to Ledbetter, imposing impossible filing deadlines.
Ledbetter didn't even know she wasn't being paid fairly until well after the deadline the court drew for the case.
McCain said what women really need is more education and training to obtain fair pay.
Credo has a petition you can sign to let McCain know how you feel about it.

Poem O' Teh Day: Wow

Dangerous for Girls
by Connie Voisine

It was the summer of Chandra Levy, disappearing
from Washington D.C., her lover a Congressman, evasive
and blow-dried from Modesto, the TV wondering

in every room in America to an image of her tight jeans and piles
of curls frozen in a studio pose. It was the summer the only
woman known as a serial killer, a ten-dollar whore trolling

the plains of central Florida, said she knew she would
kill again, murder filled her dreams
and if she walked in the world, it would crack

her open with its awful wings. It was the summer that in Texas, another
young woman killed her five children, left with too many
little boys, always pregnant. One Thanksgiving, she tried

to slash her own throat. That summer the Congressman
lied again about the nature of his relations, or,
as he said, he couldn't remember if they had sex that last

night he saw her, but there were many anonymous girls that summer,
there always are, who lower their necks to the stone
and pray, not to God but to the Virgin, herself once

a young girl, chosen in her room by an archangel.
Instead of praying, that summer I watched television, reruns of
a UFO series featuring a melancholic woman detective

who had gotten cancer and was made sterile by aliens. I watched
infomercials: exercise machines, pasta makers,
and a product called Nails Again With Henna,

ladies, make your nails steely strong, naturally,
and then the photograph of Chandra Levy
would appear again, below a bright red number,

such as 81, to indicate the days she was missing.
Her mother said, please understand how we're feeling
when told that the police don't believe she will be found alive,

though they searched the parks and forests
of the Capitol for the remains and I remembered
being caught in Tennessee, my tent filled with wind

lifting around me, tornado honey, said the operator when I called
in fear. The highway barren, I drove to a truck stop where
maybe a hundred trucks hummed in pale, even rows

like eggs in a carton. Truckers paced in the dining room,
fatigue in their beards, in their bottomless
cups of coffee. The store sold handcuffs, dirty

magazines, t-shirts that read, Ass, gas or grass.
Nobody rides for free, and a bulletin board bore a
public notice: Jane Doe, found in a refrigerator box

outside Johnson, TN, her slight measurements and weight.
The photographs were of her face, not peaceful in death,
and of her tattoos Born to Run, and J.T. caught in

scrollworks of roses. One winter in Harvard Square, I wandered
drunk, my arms full of still warm, stolen laundry, and
a man said come to my studio and of course I went—

for some girls, our bodies are not immortal so much as
expendable, we have punished them or wearied
from dragging them around for so long and so we go

wearing the brilliant plumage of the possibly freed
by death. Quick on the icy sidewalks, I felt thin and
fleet, and the night made me feel unique in the eyes

of the stranger. He told me he made sculptures
of figure skaters, not of the women's bodies,
but of the air that whipped around them,

a study of negative space,
which he said was the where-we-were-not

that made us. Dizzy from beer,

I thought why not step into
that space? He locked the door behind me.

Today's poem is from Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream, just published by University of Chicago Press. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

On Temporary Hiatus (sp?)

Yeah, I know I could easily check the spelling but I'm feeling unmotivated.
I probably won't return for a couple weeks, but when I do I'll be better.
Happy end of primary season.

Military Industrial Complex

No one until now has detailed the extent of the connections between retired military officers, military contractors and...wait for it...wait for it...broadcast news organizations.
It isn't necessary to read the very long article in the New York Times today, the result of a lawsuit that netted the paper some 8,000 documents unless you're very keen on the dreary details.
This little excerpt gives you the general idea:

Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration’s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.

Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.

Analysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show. They have been taken on tours of Iraq and given access to classified intelligence. They have been briefed by officials from the White House, State Department and Justice Department, including Mr. Cheney, Alberto R. Gonzales and Stephen J. Hadley.