Good morning, all y’all tenderfeet and dudes! Here is a collection of some interesting news and views that Historiann roped up this morning. I’ll be out mending fences this weekend before the next big Rocky Mountain snowstorm comes in tomorrow–pour yourself a cup of cowboy coffee to ward off the chill of that Alberta Clipper, and read on:
First of all, Judith Warner provides more evidence for the viewpoint that raising your children among the upper middle-class in these United States makes you a bad person. (Don’t get me wrong–I admire her honesty, but it sounds like she would have been happier if she and her family had stayed in France.)
Here’s an evidence-based argument that the teevee–watching it and appearing on it–makes you stupid: Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler says that cable TV and Washington village media politics have taken over Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC (see Wednesday’s and Friday’s edition especially.) Sad, sad, sad.
Am I cynical about the teevee? You bet! Historiann has had brushes with TV documentaries: I appeared in one historical documentary, “Captive: the Story of Esther” on the subject of my current research. I was interviewed several times over the course of 18 months before the shoot, and I believe that my ideas were influential with the filmmakers. Around the same time, I was contacted by the producers of another documentary that wasn’t on my research topic. When I told them that I had no particular insights to offer or research expertise in the topic and therefore felt that I was unqualified to appear in it, they replied, “oh, you’re very well qualified,” and went on to explain that the sole qualification for the job was basic literacy. They wanted me merely to read a script, probably in front of a bookcase full of books to prove that I’m a “real” historian. No, thankee! That’s a job for a chimp–well, a chimp that reads, anyway. The only TV gig I dream of is an appearance on C-SPAN 2: Book TV. Production values a-go-go, am I right? (I love it, but it reminds me of community cable access in the 1980s.)
Memo to Tom Daschle: Health care for all won’t happen if your plan is just giant subsidies for private, for-profit insurance companies. Remember the $700 billion doled out to the banks this fall? And how has that worked out for us? Are you feeling the liquidity, my darlings?
In a related story, Susie Madrak reports on a trip to the University of Pennsylvania dental clinic, where it sounds like the student dentist needs an empathy implant. (And she provides more evidence that upper middle-class and elite Americans are bad, bad people who seem to have forgotten a little amendment to the U.S. Constitution I like to call the No Slavery Allowed amendment.)
Finally, some good news for working women and men, also via Susie at Suburban Guerilla: the United Food and Commercial Workers has successfully unionized the Smithfield Packing slaughterhouse in Tar Heel, N.C.
Et vous, mes amis? How are you planning to de-ice and warm up this weekend?