Well, well, well: fires are raging here in Colorado, and hellzapoppin’ everywhere else these days. Here are a few tidbits to keep you entertained today while I’m stuck in paper-grading hell. On a post last week that featured a new pair of shoes, a commenter asked if there were “shoes with manuscript-finishing powers?” Girl, there’s a shoe, or a boot, for every job. I’ve got these boots to inspire me to kick some a$$ and take names. That’s what they say about me, friends: Historiann really has a pair! (Of boots, duh!)
- Are your there, Judy Blume? It’s us, your perimenopausal fangirls. Anna Holmes’s writes a valentine to Judy Blume’s unforgettable adolescent protagonists: “Blume’s œuvre is filled with young female protagonists for whom boys, breasts, and sexual base-clearing are, if not irrelevant, sort of beside the point. In book after book, Blume gives us girls who have rejected the preciousness of childhood yet preserved the self-possession, ambition, and appetite for adventure that their peers and elders find in short supply. (‘What Mrs. Daniels didn’t know was that you could play with paper dolls like a baby or you could play with them in a very grown-up way, making up stories inside your head,’ reads one passage in ‘Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself.’) Contrast this with Blume’s exasperated, often derisive depiction of adult women—highly anxious, easily upset, overprotective, obsessed with outward appearances—and you begin to understand that what Blume is celebrating is that brief yet exhilarating time in a young girl’s life in which internal narratives take precedence over external attributes.” Yes. Don’t miss Holmes’s comments about the new e-book versions of Blume’s work, which totally undermines the way that the Blume books circulated in grade school back in the day: someone would bring in their dog-eared copy, and each girl would have one or two nights in which to devour it before passing it along to the next girl. Deenie. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. And the succes de scandale, Forever! (I never understood the appeal of Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, Blume’s one foray into male adolescence. But that’s her only dog, in my view.)
- From the department of “oops!” Dahlia Lithwick called her shot last week about the Supreme Court’s review of the Affordable Care Act: “They will hear six hours of argument next week. They will pretend it is a fair fight with equally compelling arguments on each side. They will even reach out and debate the merits of the Medicaid expansion, although not a single court saw fit to question it. And then the justices will vote 6-3 or 7-2 to uphold the mandate, with the chief justice joining the majority so he can write a careful opinion that cabins the authority of the Congress to do anything more than regulate the health-insurance market. No mandatory gym memberships or forced broccoli consumption. And then—having been hailed as the John Marshall of the 21st century—he will proceed to oversee two years during which the remainder of the Warren Court revolution will be sent through the wood chipper.” I’m sure she’s right that the constitutional shredding is just getting started, and we’ll have to see what the ruling looks like, but it looks like the Obama administration got pwned this week.
- Lithwick’s columns this week are certainly worth reading. I especially appreciated this one, as I too was struck by Antonin Scalia’s dismissive comments that suggested that he shouldn’t be on the hook to pay for someone else’s major organ transplant. If he doesn’t need a kidney or heart transplant, why should he help pay for yours? (As though people who need major organ transplants are consuming some frivolous luxury good.) Me, I’ll be perfectly happy to subsidize Scalia’s treatment after he strokes out or has a massive MCI, so long as I remain healthy! (Isn’t not needing a heart or kidney transplant compensation enough?) Lithwick concludes, “[Tuesday] morning in America’s highest court, freedom seems to be less about the absence of constraint than about the absence of shared responsibility, community, or real concern for those who don’t want anything so much as healthy children, or to be cared for when they are old. Until today, I couldn’t really understand why this case was framed as a discussion of ‘liberty.’ This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms. It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another, freedom from the modern world in which we live. It’s about the freedom to ignore the injured, walk away from those in peril, to never pick up the phone or eat food that’s been inspected. It’s about the freedom to be left alone. And now we know the court is worried about freedom: the freedom to live like it’s 1804.” As we like to say around here, friends: awesome!!!
- Adrienne Rich has died at the age of 82, and Earl Scruggs has died at 88.
- Today’s Random Izzard Blogging, via Shakesville, featuring Eddie Izzard’s “technojoy!”
- One of the things I liked about living in the Ohio Valley back in the previous century was the fact that it was Bluegrass Country. I just can’t get enough of that old-timey music! (Another thing I loved were the brilliant, verdant springs full of flowering plants and trees.) In case you haven’t had your daily dose of bluegrass, here you go: “Cripple Creek,” featuring Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson.