Category Archives: the Loneliness of the Long Distance Blogger

October 7, 2011, 3:18 pm

Is Steve Jobs’ Life An Inspiration To All Of Us? A Meditation On The Difference Between Having A Life And A Lifestyle

Great minds so think alike. Following the death of Steve Jobs, Historiann asks whether the outpouring of grief over the death of this brilliant and peculiar man is yet another symptom of anxiety over national decline. Oh yes — and, since our friend brings up the exploitation of Chinese labor by Apple —  I would add that Apple is a potent nexus for the ambivalent historical relationship that American politicians and manufacturers have with China.  Apple products are one of the very few consumer objects that people around the world seem to crave, much as American merchants have craved unfettered access to Chinese consumers since the 1870s. Simultaneously, Chinese consumers have craved the American consumer culture that is shamelessly knocked off there and sold to billions of people from Beijing to Times Square. An iPhone also closes the circle between a Cold War capitalist model and 2…

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May 18, 2010, 1:10 pm

Another One Bites The Dust: On The Richard Blumenthal News And The Politics Of Mendacity

What is it with lawyers this week? It wasn’t bad enough for your favorite Radical to be read out of the community of queer scholars yesterday for reductive identity politics by a hotshot New York law professor who does not hide her sexual orientation (which could be described as….?) There is worse news, at least for the people of Shoreline.

This morning, I scooped up the paper of record from my front porch to discover that Richard Blumenthal has lied by omission and commission about his military service during the Vietnam war. Is this a crime? No. But whether by commission, omission, or inference, coyness around stigmatizing issues — such as evading military service to promote one’s career — is, as Tennessee Williams’ Big Daddy would say, “mendacity!”

As we historians are aware, it is also sleazy. As in the even more puzzling case of Pulitzer Prize-winning Joseph Ellis, I don’t…

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November 22, 2009, 11:21 am

Ask the Radical: Blogging and The Untenured Academic

Leaving the country often has the happy effect that people stop sending email to me almost entirely. Why sabbatical doesn’t accomplish this I do not know, particularly given the vivid bounce-back I composed this time around. Only the chair of my department removed my from the distribution list in September, but I am pleased/dismayed to see that now everyone else has too. Perhaps while I was still state side some secret hope was cherished by many colleagues that I would, in fact, come to advertised meetings of various kinds? If so, I am happy to say that they have not taking to dashing their brains on the flagstones in despair that their coy invitations have gone unanswered.

Since arriving in Cape Town, South Africa, the most sustained correspondence I have had to date is with a group of very capable people who are taking care of my affairs (dog and house) while I am away. We have…

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August 6, 2009, 3:42 am

When The Radical Hits The Road: Dispatches From The People’s Republic Of Berkeley

Every time I fly to the left coast and feel this disoriented I try to remember that getting from Shoreline to San Francisco back in 1848 took between six and eight months, depending on whether one went overland or took the water route. Of course I feel disoriented: I deserve to feel disoriented, since it is actually absurd to travel that far as fast as I did.

Where am I? Why am I here? Oh.

Well, I’m in Berkeley, where I have never been before, although I have visited San Francisco about four times, and every time I do I phone Mrs. Radical and say, “We’ve got to move here.” Actually, she made the same phone call to me a few months back. And while the part of Berkeley I am in (at least so far) doesn’t seem as spiffy as the parts of San Francisco I have been in, the short walk from the hostel where I am staying to Telegraph Avenue was a reminder that there are some places in the world…

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October 5, 2008, 7:14 pm

The Radical Goes To A Genteel Academic Conference (Disguised As A Blogger Meetup)

I just got back from the Little Berks, which is a weekend conference composed of the group of people who organize the Big Berks every three years. One of the things we do in the meeting immediately following the conference is elect the new President. I am happy to say that the results of the election can now be revealed: the new President of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians is Kathleen Brown, Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. She replaces Ruth Mazo Karras, Professor of History from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Ruth has done a great job, and Kathy will too.

There were many highlights of the weekend, but Yours Truly had the pleasure of being on a history blogging panel with Clio Bluestocking and Knitting Clio. It was a real pleasure to meet both of them, and Knitting Clio really does knit. She was working on what looked like a baby…

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July 18, 2008, 1:14 pm

Bodies That Matter:* When the Scholar Becomes the Text

I admit it. Every once in a while I go on a Facebook binge. What triggered it the other night I truly do not recall, but I sent friend requests to former students of mine with whom I had worked closely, as well as one student I never taught, but know pretty well because we had a fellowship at a Zenith Humanities Center and we are both now bloggers. I added a colleague from the Economics department who I’ve always liked for her dry wit (what was she doing with a Facebook page? What am *I* doing with a Facebook page?) and it was only after I clicked the Friend request that I thought, “Aw — what if she doesn’t actually think of me as a friend? I mean, I think I was on the Executive committee when she was chair of the faculty, but committees do not friendships make.” She friended me back. Phew.

Then I started looking for colleagues outside Zenith. After a bit, I typed “Judith Butler”…

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June 6, 2008, 12:51 pm

The Return of the Radical: A Few Announcements

Well, vacation’s over. That’s the bad news. The good news is: vacation is about to begin! Yes, that time of year for which we all gave up the big bucks has arrived, the summer vacation. Of course, if you have an administrative job or two, as I do, there are always things to take care of over the summer: new faculty to get settled, post-docs to welcome, reports to write, searches to plan for, staff to oversee, budgets to finagle — er, I mean close. But this time of year calls to mind why many of us chose this profession in the first place: intensive reading, whole days to spend writing, imagining the classes we will teach in the fall with perfect students in them who have not yet misunderstood us or done anything weird that takes days to unravel. And did I mention the reading?

I have a few things to do before leaving for the Fourteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women

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November 30, 2007, 3:17 am

Through the Looking Glass (And Back Again)

In the spirit of a request made by Cliopatra’s Ralph Luker, I have removed an evening post that was in this space about my relations with a certain academic blogger and his followers, one that I wrote after deleting several days worth of ugly, pointless comments from the followers (who may be real people or not; it’s hard to tell.) Ralph also wrote to said blogger about his behavior and asked him to desist: thank you, Ralph. In my reply to both of them, I noted that I expected this blogger to do be a gentleman and do the right thing on his side as well, removing three recent posts that have sparked a particularly nasty and violent set of remarks about me on his blog (including two posts that feature a puppet show where a Harry “Potter” puppet is blown up by a ticking time bomb), on my blog, and in two of my email accounts. Since we now know that this history colleague of mine has…

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July 8, 2007, 1:56 pm

Saigon. I’m Still In Saigon. Or, It Sucks To Work On My Book

I bet you all have been wondering: with all of the Radical’s interests on display in the last month, is she really writing her book? What was all that fuss and bother about at the beginning of the summer? Has she just gone underground? Is there a book? Or is this “book” a blogosphere fiction?

Well the answer is, I am finishing my book. And it sucks. Utterly. It is like the last three weeks of pregnancy in August when, it has been my observation, it is relentlessly hot, peeing has become an hourly event, and my pregnant friends are weeping hysterically and saying, “Just cut it out, OK?” So in the interests of getting to work today (and not extending the childbirth metaphor), I would like to purge my mind of everything self-destructive, poisonous and distracting with the….(drum roll) “Four Reasons Why It Sucks To Work On My Book” post. I am giving you only the four top reasons (…

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June 14, 2007, 1:59 pm

Letter To An Anonymous Blogger

I just posted this as a comment on Tim Lacy’s History and Education: Past and Present, and realized that, although it is part of an ongoing discussion Tim has been trying to spark about anonymous blogging, the post I attached it to was old enough that it might get a little lost. This is my own reflection on anonymity, and on having come out as a blogger. I have edited it a bit more because I am a compulsive re-writer; I have also not included a link to the blog under discussion so that no one is confused that it is a critique of that blogger. It isn’t: this is a smart blog by a graduate student, with great posts, and you can find it over at Tim’s place.

Dear Tim,

Thanks for sending AnonymousBlogger to my post about relinquishing my anonymity — I do think anonymity raises ethical and practical issues that everyone at all ranks of the profession ought to think about on an ongoing…

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