Nora Ephron, 1941-2012

Now I will really miss her.

From the New York Times obit:

The producer Scott Rudin recalled that less than two weeks before her death, he had a long phone session with her from the hospital while she was undergoing treatment, going over notes for a pilot she was writing for a TV series about a bank compliance officer. Afterward she told him, “If I could just get a hairdresser in here, we could have a meeting.”

Ms. Ephron’s collection “I Remember Nothing” concludes with two lists, one of things she says she won’t miss and one of things she will. Among the “won’t miss” items are dry skin, Clarence Thomas, the sound of the vacuum cleaner, and panels on “Women in Film.” The other list, of the things she will miss, begins with “my kids” and “Nick” and ends this way: Continue reading

I think that went well

Teresa Sullivan reinstated unanimously by the University of Virginia governing board.

Looks like her political capital is pretty high!  This is something that always leaves me filled with mirth:  the incompetence of the evil when they try to oust the decent and the responsible.  They do it poorly, at a truly amazing rate.  They’re so stupid they can’t even find stupid with two hands and a looking glass.  I’d say the governing board has pie on its faces, but that seems to underestimate the amount of damage they’ve done to themselves, unless it is a pile filled with horse crap-covered M-80s and frosted with napalm.



Wildfires, cities, rural landscapes, and the wildland-urban interface

Stay out of the woods, my pretties!

In a very smart and measured editorial last Sunday in the Denver Post, Professor Lloyd Burton of the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Denver, pointed out how language shapes our views of wildfires and forest management:

We have three problems with our narrative: First, it is an urban narrative applied to a mostly rural landscape; that is, it reports on [wildland-urban interface] wildfires as if they were urban fires. The initial focus is always on proximate causes (what ignited the fire), followed by a quest for fault-finding, usually around the issues of why the fire wasn’t immediately eradicated or why everyone may not have been moved out of harm’s way.

Applying the urban narrative to the WUI also stresses the necessity for the immediate and total suppression of all fires, whenever and wherever they arise. In the urban context, this is absolutely understandable. To do anything other than that would invite catastrophe in our densely populated cities. But applying this urban expectation to WUI wildfires is both futile and inappropriate.

A second problem is that the news media mindset and resulting language of its discourse is saturated in metaphors of war. We are treated daily to visuals of ex-military aircraft bombing fires and structures with toxic fire-retardant. We have strong, courageous, well-trained and well-disciplined “fighters” in the field being coordinated by a top-down incident command system; and we use many of the same communications technologies and terms to implement tactical field maneuvers. Continue reading

Michigan mishegas over vaginas

Michigan border guard

I’m about to fly off for my annual sojourn to the ancestral heartland, and while I was buried in the eighteenth century last week, it came to light that some time-traveling pols from the eighteenth century have joined the Michigan House of Representatives!  Remarkable providences!  I try to prevent my worlds from colliding, but the Michigan ledge just won’t let me.  According to their thinking, vaginas should be the object of legislation, but people with vaginas should not be heard, and we sure don’t need to discuss the icky particulars.

I’ll be sure to ask every Michigander I meet if I’m truly welcome in their state.  Will there be a border check, I wonder?  Continue reading

We don’t want “it all:” we just want your slice.

Per the last post (and many of your thoughtful comments), I’ve been thinking about that expression, “having it all” which has been evoked as a proxy for feminist goals for at least thirty years.  (Some intrepid M.A. student in a History or American Studies department should do a history of this expression, “having it all,” and its application to the women’s movement.  There:  that’s my mentoring for the day, and it’s only just 8:30 a.m. MDT!  On to the laundry and the library, now.)

What an ugly expression, meant to portray feminists as greedy consumers rather than social justice advocates.  And yet, many feminists have accepted or embraced “having it all” as the terms of the debate!  Continue reading