Oh my lord, it’s nice to be home! It was absolutely lovely, reading by my brother’s pool—or, as I told the stepson, doing my homework. (Stay tuned, here, for the resulting review of Linda Hirshman’s forthcoming book Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution). My nephews thought I was crazy, swimming in March. But it was 90 degrees out!
But while I loved the physical climate, I can’t say I’m so crazy about the social. As we changed planes in the Atlanta airport, the flight attendant guarding the entryway to the plane asked, alarmed, “Who’s that stray black child?” "He’s ours," my wife said. Let me describe this clearly: He was standing between us, two white ladies, one of whom had just handed this woman all three tickets.
Last week, the authorities here at the Prospect were calling me the substitute teacher. I got grumpy about that at first (all kinds of anti-woman and bad childhood associations). But I’ve decided to embrace it. Rachel Maddow, here’s your homework.
Over at the competition (am I in trouble, editors?), E.J.’s close-up look at the challenge facing Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts provides a deeper and more thoughtful, not to mention professionally-reported, rumination on the redness of a true-blue state than my blog post of yesterday. You’ll want to read it for a fix while she is lounging poolside, and also to sound smart the next time someone takes the Bay State for granted.
There’s nothing like a double-barreled Holy Week/Passover to send media flacks leaping for “hooks” of relevance. Here’s my nominee for Most Dubious Holy Week Tie-in—an article from the august Council on Foreign Relations which documents, the email release promises me, how:
[W]hile Obama is by all accounts religious, that faith has not resulted in real foreign policy gains. "Rhetoric is important, but direct action grounds real diplomacy. And on that front, the White House has not kept up with the issue," Preston writes.
I live with my family in one of the bluest places in the nation—Montgomery County, Maryland. We have some things you might expect—relatively high taxes, some of the best schools in the nation, quite a bit of diversity (we’re nothing on Arlington County, Virginia, with 100-plus nationalities in the schools, but our announcements come home in English, Spanish, French, and Amharic, the local cult-ish house whose inhabitants wear head-to-toe purple).
Morning, all. I’m Heather Hurlburt, recovering political speechwriter, national-security wonk, mom, feminist, Gen X-er, executive director of a small-yet-mighty nonprofit, would-be ballet dancer. I’m also the child of two journalists, so writing on deadline is in my blood.
Following E.J. Graff, whose writing has done as much as anyone to create and shape the discourses on the politics of women’s sexuality and on marriage equality, is more than a little intimidating. In fact, while I’ve written on geostrategy and politics for almost two decades now, this’ll be my coming-out party for writing on women’s issues for a clicking audience.
I’ve been doing a little too much lately, as you’ll see soon in The Nation and the forthcoming print issue of The Prospect. So I’m running off to a foreign country—Texas—to see how much my nephews have grown, hang out by my brother’s pool, splash around with my wife and stepson, and prove to my mother that, yes, she does have an eldest daughter.
Is there an LGBT legal organization that hasn’t filed a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act? Yesterday, Immigration Equality got on the bus, with a lawsuit challenging DOMA’s Section 3 (which bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages) because it prevents American citizens from sponsoring their same-sex spouses for green cards. When my cousin Laura married a Dutchman, Erik, in a beautiful ceremony at the UN, no one worried that they wouldn’t be able to live together here; of course she’d be able to get him a visa to stay, even if he lost his job.
I have a new email correspondent—let’s call him “Joe,” because he doesn’t want to be named—who has suggested to me that the media storm about Trayvon is more than a little out of control. Joe writes: why isn’t there coverage to how many more young black men die at the hands of other black men? Why isn’t there a national uproar when black men murder white men? (He’s sent me clippings of a trial in one such Florida murder.) I’ve gotten hate mail, too, but from the exchanges we’ve had, my sense is that Joe’s different; he’s seriously trying to have a conversation.
So let me say this: what’s deeply upsetting to me is that, more than a month after a teenage boy was killed while walking home with Skittles, George Zimmerman has not even been arrested.
When a great feminist poet dies—a poet powerful enough to have left her mark in the minds of several generations of young women and men, powerful enough to have her obituary on the front page of the New York Times’ website—who do you want to write the obituary? Why, another feminist poet, of course, one whose work is also shaping the minds, etc.
So don’t miss Katha Pollitt, in The New Yorker, examining Adrienne Rich’s place in poetry and the 20th century, and poetry’s shifting place in the nation. Some of the highlights:
She was fierce. Once, when I was a shy young poet-hopeful who wrote for the feminist and gay press, I met her. I worried when she said she was following my writing (did I mention I was shy? and young?), because I couldn’t imagine anyone so august reading my work except to critique it. I preferred to follow her at a safe distance, through her writing, with their searing instructions to be awake, true, and relentless in observing the world honestly.
I’m furious that Trayvon Martin is getting blamed for his own murder. If smoking pot in high school were an executable offense, as the Miami Herald seems to suggest, we would cut the U.S. population by about a third. Add tardiness to the list—again, as the Miami Herald seems to be doing—and I believe we could eliminate Social Security entirely.
E.J. Graff writes on social-justice and human-rights issues, particularly discrimination and violence against women and children; marriage and family policy; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lives. She is a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center and the author of What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution (Beacon Press, 1999, 2004).