There are papers to grade, classes to prepare, a search to finish, a conference to pack for, and yet….that last post gets colder and colder as the days roll by. So without further delay, here are some shorts to brighten your day:
Fat Armpits Are The Worst. Before returning to Brooklyn Sunday, I was in the newly-ronovated Acme Market in Bryn Mawr, PA loading up on my favorite diet foods — Tastykakes, scrapple — and reading gossip mags in the checkout line. The misogynist gem to the right caught my attention. Kim Kardashian, who was on the rampage last year because everyone could have a baby but her, has learned to her horror that a growing fetus can make a girl look dumpy.
It must be terrible to be so fragile. According to celeb mag In Touch, Kardashian is on the brink of a breakdown, having discovered that aging leads to age and pregnancy leads to weight gain. In her seventh month, she gained six pounds in a week, and is “’freaking out’ that she might not ”get her body back” after the baby is born.
Here’s the news, honey. The body you are in is actually yours! It isn’t some other body you were zipped into by one of your evil envious sisters. The heartbreak goes beyond that, however: being a mother to be is, it seems, the land of broken dreams:
“This is the opposite of how she thought pregnancy would be,” says an insider. “Kim thought she’d be the most stylish, sexy pregnant woman ever. Kanye would dress her and people would talk about her maternity style as trendsetting. Instead, she’s wearing clothes that people say make her look like Shamu the killer whale.”
Kim, who clearly never took high school biology, covets her sister’s lithe teenage body: as she points out “even my armpits are fat.” As you can see from the helpful inset, her armpits do fold over with a kind of zaftig charm. Wait until her ears blow up like little corn muffins!
To be serious — just for a moment — why do feminists no longer engage in sustained media criticism of stories like this, stories often produced by women, which serve absolutely no purpose except to promote a series of false ideas about female beauty that are designed to produce mass anxiety and body shame? (See Historiann on this very topic here.) And has anyone but me noticed that it is no longer okay for celebrities to just get pregnant and let nature take its course? Now, female celebs are supposed to look exactly the same for nine months, except for the newly named “baby bump,” a sign that you are not “fat” — there’s just a baby in there.
Srsly Associate Justice Girlfriend? Two wars, an economic collapse, and the creation of a new surveillance state later, Sandra Day O’Conner, one of my favorite Supreme Court justices, now thinks Bush v. Gore wasn’t such a good idea after all. Would things have been different with Al Gore as President? We’ll never know. Th-th-th-th-that’s history, folks. I’m waiting for Antonin Scalia to come to Jesus on Romer v. Evans (1996): “Come to think of it,” he might muse, “Homosexuality is really nothing like murder, polygamy or cruelty to animals. OK, well maybe polygamy.”
Remember Your Daddy’s Fiscal Meltdown? Spoiler alert! Mad Men fans (at least those who continue to watch despite the season’s lack of a narrative rudder) might have been surprised at how deeply account exec Pete Campbell was touched by the assassination of Martin Luther King. In an episode that mostly consisted of police sirens, white people being really awkward around their two Black employees, and Don Draper realizing he is incapable of love, Campbell gets into a shouting match with Harry Crane, the TV ad buyer when Crane complains about the loss of TV ad revenue during the continuing news coverage. In response to Pete telling him he is a shallow and immoral racist, Crane yells back that he doesn’t want to sit by and watch the city “turn into a shit hole.”
Of course, we of a certain age know that urban riots, garbage strikes, blackouts, crime, and diminished tax revenue is exactly the fate that awaited our beloved city as it entered the 1970s. Want to know more? Read one of my favorite recent historians, New York University Kimberly Phillips-Fein. Her description of the 1970s fiscal crisis in The Nation (5/6/2013) not only gives you a nice narrative description of how it happened, she argues that solutions to urban decay devised forty years ago by liberal Republicans were one of the early experiments in privatization, continuing to shaping urban policymaking today.