Rewrite Women’s History? I Think Not (And Other Fun From Around The Web)

September 1, 2013, 10:40 am


Take your hand off me before I help myself to another ball, d00d.

You know it’s Labor Day Weekend in New York when you see little packs of kids nodding off on the 7 train, sunburned and exhausted from a day chasing balls at the National Tennis Center.

While we are talking about tennis — what’s this mansplainin’ horse puckey from Bobby Riggs about throwing The Battle of the Sexes in 1973 to pay off his gambling debts? He would rather be remembered as a cheater, a criminal accessory and a thief than as a man who lost to a legendary female champion like Billie Jean King?


This is a man whose narcissism and a$$hattery seem only to be exceeded by that of the sports journalism establishment who rushed to press with a story that seems to have no second source. King says “she was there” and the match was fair and square. This is the kind of thing an athlete knows, particularly an athlete who has probably been on the court with someone who has actually tanked a match. That the story is gaining traction at all suggests that even now it is hard for some people — like the overwhelmingly male sports department at the New York Daily News – to believe that any man is not a better athlete than any woman.

No wonder we see so little reporting on women’s sports in major urban newspapers, except at moments like the U.S. Open Tennis championships. Even when we defeat men, they don’t take us seriously — so why would they care when we are only competing against each other?

Other great shorts for your Labor Day pleasure:

  • Kelly J. Baker started it by quitting her job as a contingent faculty member and gracing herself with a sabbatical; Historiann picked up the ball and ran with it, generating a great comments thread on when enough is enough; and Madwoman With a Laptop hit the wave with a terrific post about tenure-stream people who walk away from good jobs. Will there a be a third post on this topic from Tenured Radical? It could be cooking out there on the grill — let’s wait and see.
  • Journalist Jim Sleeper, currently a lecturer in political science at Yale, comments on the cynical deals universities make with authoritarian host countries eager for the prestige of “liberal education” but not freedom of thought or expression.
  • Historian Matthew Pratt Guterl becomes the first book-writing #GraftonLiner to finish, with a book manuscript written in three months! Are we a boss crowd or what? Go here for Guterl’s account of how he did it. Hint: he didn’t leave his family, but he did neglect his blog. (Hat tip LD Burnett.)
  • Are you a member of the American Historical Association? If so, balloting has begun in this year’s election. I note that Vicki Ruiz and David Levering Lewis have both been nominated for President-Elect. Wouldn’t it be nice to have such great choices for POTUS in 2016?
  • I tweeted this link and it was so popular I’m putting it up again: publisher W.W. Norton’s “Nine Tips for Writing for a General Audience.” Here’s a tenth tip: many of these things will make it possible to sell your academic press book too. I’m not sayin’ — I’m just sayin’.
  • Clicking through to Tara McPherson’sWhy Are the Digital Humanities So White?” will introduce you, if you didn’t know about it already, to the open-access eBook Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by City University of New York’s Matthew K. Gold. It’s breathtakingly gorgeous design is matched only by it’s content. The only reason not to read it is if it will make you too jealous that you didn’t think of it first.
  • Scott Jaschik reports on “The Feminist Anti-MOOC” at Inside Higher Education, an article that features my New School colleague and Dean of the School of Media StudiesAnn Balsamo.

Happy Labor Day, and watch out for flying tennis balls!

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