Bitter Grace

From The Lemon Trees by Eugenio Montale:

You realize that in silences
things yield and almost betray
their ultimate secrets.
At times, one half expects
to discover an error in Nature,
the still point of reality,
the missing link that will not hold,
the thread we cannot untangle
in order to get at the truth.

You look around. Your mind seeks,
makes harmonies, falls apart
in the perfume, expands
when the day wearies away.
There are silences in which one watches
in every fading human shadow
something divine let go.

Found at Bitter Grace Notes

The rest of the poem is here

cross-posted at ellusive …

Bits That Bite

Echidne on David Letterman:

Bosses harvesting their subordinates for sex is almost always a bad idea.

 

 

Dr. Eric Steele on the opposition to gay/lesbian marriage (via Pam’s House Blend):

. . . the clothing of rationality and God’s word have been used forever to hide the naked truth of racism, sexism and other prejudices. The arguments against the right of gays to civil marriage is no different; if you peel off the clothing, what lies underneath most opposition to civil marriage rights for gays is just naked fear, ignorance and prejudice.

 

Dave Zirin on football and homophobia:

Football came of age at a time when America was embarking on imperial adventures around the globe. Football was seen as a way to toughen up the youth so they wouldn’t become “sissies” and a way to teach the very “values” of Christian expansion and manifest destiny. This philosophy was known as “Muscular Christianity,” and its most prominent spokesman was an aristocrat-turned-boxer named Theodore Roosevelt .

 

Katha Pollitt on Roman Polanski:

What happened was not some gray, vague he said/she said Katie-Roiphe-style “bad sex.” A 43-year-old man got a 13-year-old girl alone, got her drunk, gave her a quaalude, and, after checking the date of her period, anally raped her, twice, while she protested; she submitted, she told the grand jury “because I was afraid.” Those facts are not in dispute–except by Polanski, who has pooh-poohed the whole business many times (You can read the grand jury transcripts here.) He was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge, like many accused rapists, to spare the victim the trauma of a trial and media hoopla. But that doesn’t mean we should all pretend that what happened was some free-spirited Bohemian mix-up. The victim took years to recover.

 

Diane Loupe on prostituted young women in Georgia:

A Future. Not A Past wanted to get a better estimate of girls on the street, so it funded independent researchers to track how many adolescent girls are being hawked. The research was based on scientific probability measures and estimates of the age of prostitutes, using methods similar to those used by scientists to determine the population of endangered species.

The number of young victims has been increasing since 2007, according to that research.

An estimated 374 juveniles were being commercially sexually exploited in August 2009 in Georgia, up from 251 in 2007 and 361 in 2008, according to Danielle E. Ruedt, public health programs coordinator for the Governor’s Office for Children and Families, which took over funding of the research from the campaign.

Numbers for the street, hotels and escort services have remained flat, but “the Internet number is going through the roof,” said Kaffie McCullough, campaign director of A Future. Not A Past.

Internet ads promising “young girls,” “barely legal” females and other code words for underage females got a much higher response from potential customers than other ads, the campaign’s researchers found.

While applauding the decision of Craigslist, an online provider of information about goods and services for sale, to eliminate its “erotic services” category, McCullough noted that many ads pimping girls have moved to other Web sites.

 

The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness [pdf], Betsy Stevenson & Justin Wolfers

 

Katha Pollitt on Stevenson and Wolfers (and Huffington):

But how happy were women, really, in that golden pre-feminist era? Culture critic Caryl Rivers pointed out to me that in 1973, studies showing that married women had the highest levels of psychiatric problems, including depression and anxiety, prompted sociologist Jessie Bernard to declare marriage a “health hazard for women.”

 

Alex Dibranco on the student sex column movement:

Isabel Murray, feminist columnist for the Free Press, takes Cosmopolitan to task for its heteronormative, male-pleasure-oriented approach, while pointing out that it and similar women’s magazines are nonetheless the only noncampus media addressing female sexuality (explaining why until recently it was the most read magazine among college women). People are downright uncomfortable with the concept of female sexuality: even at Dartmouth’s SexFest, where Murray managed a table, she was struck by how “hesitant and disturbed” people seemed by her dental dams and a two-dimensional model of a vagina–far more so than by the condoms and three-dimensional plastic penis. The most controversial Dartmouth sex column took heat for dealing too explicitly with female sexuality.

 

Elsie Hambrook on women voters:

Women hang their vote on issues and often, on different issues than what men consider important. New Brunswick’s own Joanna Everitt, a political studies professor at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, is a Canadian expert on gender and politics. She says there are differences in how women and men vote, and that that split has been growing.

While men are more concerned with a candidate or party’s policies on the economy and federally, on the military, women are more likely to look at social policies, such as health care and education.

That difference has impacted the outcomes of some federal and provincial elections. Women and men vote in similar numbers, but differently, and parties need to be able to attract both genders.

Everitt recently concluded in a report, “If the (federal) Conservatives held as much appeal for women as they did for men in the 2006 election, they would not have ended up forming a minority government.”

 

Michael Valpy on women voters:

When he was host of BBC Two’s The Late Show in the 1990s, Mr. Ignatieff was called the thinking woman’s crumpet.

But interviews with Canadian women voters – businesswomen, academics, writers, PhD students in their 20s and 30s – elicited words well removed from crumpet. They called him stuffy, drab, arrogant, inauthentic, paternalistic, unmemorable, unsexy and, most of all, untrustworthy.

 

Michael Ignatieff on “Three Minute Culture”:

 

Stephen Harper tribute to friendship:

 

Harper and friends, redux:

 

But Harper hates more than 50% of Canadians:

 

So some women created a fan club [snark].

Fringe

 

LOL Your Stilted Agenda

[VI - Best post yet from friend of this blog mattt]

[UPDATE V- One more link]

[UPDATE IV - MORE LINKS]

[UPDATIE III]

[WOW UPDATE AGAIN: IT'S TEH GAY PANIC AT CJC AND THE TORONTO STAR]

[UPDATED BELOW]

On July 1st, Antonia Zerbisias wrote a piece for The Star noting four things for which she thought Canadians ought to be grateful.  Here’s one of them:

Freedom of Expression: Excuse me but since when did the interests of Zionist lobby groups determine who or what Canadians can see and hear?

In recent months, to list just three examples, there have been concerted campaigns against the staging of Caryl Churchill’s controversial Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza and an academic conference at York University where the so-called “one-state solution” was to be discussed. We also saw British MP George Galloway be denied entry to the country for a speaking tour, just because he brought aid to bombed-out Gaza.

Now comes word that the only way the respected Al-Jazeera English news service, currently applying for TV distribution in Canada, can win the support of these same Jewish groups is to have them become consultants.

Journalistically speaking, that is hardly kosher.

So then Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress wrote this letter which was published in The Star:

Antonia Zerbisias betrays her own rather stilted agenda by targeting “Zionists” (as though being a Zionist is a bad thing) as unworthy of constitutional protections.

According to Zerbisias, Zionists (that seems to be anyone who supports Israel and is concerned about anti-Semitism) should neither be seen nor heard. How dare we speak out here in Canada on issues that concern our community!

In Zerbisias’ society, only those with whom she agrees ought to be given a platform.

Thank goodness we live in Canada.

So then hysperia wrote this:

Dear Mr. Farber:

I’m writing to comment on your letter to the Editor of the Toronto Star with respect to a column written by Antonia Zerbisias on July 1st.

I respect the fact that Jewish people have the right to speak publicly about their views on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The dialogue between those who support the means that Israel currently uses to secure” peace” in the Middle East and those who don’t is becoming increasingly polarized, though, and sometimes I despair that we often end up arguing about what we’re “allowed” to say rather than the issues themselves. Perhaps this is just part of the journey, but still I would have thought that encouraging understanding between those who hold differing views would have been a goal that all of us could agree upon – so that in our dialogue with one another we are at least talking about the goals we want to reach instead of merely pouring out propaganda about why we think those with whom we disagree have no right to express an opinion. Often, accusations of anti-Semitism are just that. You didn’t quite accuse Ms Zerbesias of anti-Semitism but I thought you implied it.

After reading your letter I’m not sure on what grounds you found fault with Ms Zerbisias’ article. She wrote nothing that was untrue. In recent months there have been attempts to censor Caryl Churchill’s play, George Galloway was denied entry to Canada because of his political activities with respect to Gaza and there is still pressure to suppress a conference at York University in which a “one-state” solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict will be discussed.  I’ve followed each of these issues and I’ve certainly noted that some members of the Canadian Jewish community who are admitted “Zionists” have exerted pressure to suppress both art speech and political speech and, in one case, have expressed pride and happiness when they were successful (re: George Galloway).

Moreover, I still can’t find any evidence in Ms Zerbisias’ article that suggests she wants to deny “Zionists” their constitutional right to free speech. I thought she was protesting the desire of some in the Jewish community to suppress the speech of those who disagree with the Zionist agenda, such as it is.  Is that a “stilted agenda”?  If so, the discussion would be improved if we all had one.

I believe we have to stand up for journalists who aren’t afraid to take on powerful people like Bernie Farber when they think there are critically important issues at stake, like the ability to critisize Israeli policy without fear of repression or accusations of “anti-Semitism” and the rights of others, such as Caryl Churchill, George Galloway and those participating in the conference at York U. to express themselves in a society where free speech is supposedly not only protected but welcomed.  You GO Antonia!  Make sure you see Antonia’s follow-up to her Star column at her blog, Broadsides.

UPDATE:

My letter to Mr. Farber was published at The Star, here.  Here’s Mr. Farber’s response, for what it’s worth – and that’s not much.  He simply repeats his charges against Ms Zerbisias in an even more nasty and truth-bending fashion:

Ms. _

Thank you for your letter.
 
In fact Ms. Zerbisias made a number of claims that are “untrue” the most egregious of which is that “Zionists” determine public policy. The government and those who apply the law determine public policy. “Zionists” who live in Canada have as much right as anyone else to speak out on issues of concern to them. However to suggest that a small cabal of “Zionists” somehow control the country is ugly and untoward.
 
Secondly, many of us found “Seven Jewish Children” offensive many others did not. One Jewish organization called for the city of Toronto to ban it from publically funded theatres others did not but still voiced their concerns. That’s what makes our democracy great, the right to speak out. In the case of “Seven Jewish Children”  Ms. Zerbisias’ “Zionists” determined nothing. The play went on as scheduled in Toronto and has been viewed in many other places across Canada.
 
Ms. Zerbisias creates a straw man with her gratuitous use of the term “Zionist” paints those who support the Jewish state of Israel as having powers they simply do not and thus stirs the pot of ethnic tension.
 
I hope this has been helpful.
 
Best
BMF
 
Bernie M. Farber
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Jewish Congress
4600 Bathurst St.
Toronto Ont. M2R 3V2
416-635-2883 ext. 5186 PLEASE NOTE NEW EXTENSION
bfarber@on.cjc.ca

Well no BMF, not helpful at all.

For more nasty truth-bending, check out further comments on Zerbisias’ original article at Broadsides.  In fact, the word “truth” really shouldn’t be used in this context at all.  The “many of us” who found Caryl Churchill’s play “offensive” (without having seen it, mind you) pressed Mayor David Miller to stop the show.  That’s not merely expressing dislike when you have the power of a large part of the Jewish community behind you.

UPDATE II:

Well fans, check all this out:

First, there’s a WHOLE column by teh Star‘s public editor, Kathy English, about Antonia Zerbisias’ “gay” blog post.  Now who came up with THAT headline?  Here it is.

THEN, teh Star‘s moderators held up all comments but one, ALL DAY.  What’s up with that, as Kim Elliot of rabble finally gets to ask in comments.  Comments are now … closed.

Good comment on this nonsense at from rabble’s Andrew Brett, here.  (I ripped his headline!)

And from Dr. Dawg, although the trolls have come out in comments.

In one way, it’s about a tempest in a teapot, as Dawg says.  That is, if it’s really about whether Antonia Zerbisias called Bernie Farber “gay”.  On the other hand, it’s not, because it’s about trying to intimidate a journalist (believe me, it won’t work!) and access to media – that is, Bernie Farber’s got it and I don’t.  Someone “read” that comment, made by me at Dawg’s, to mean:  “The Jews control the press”.  Not.  What.  I.  Said.  Not.  What.  I.  Mean.

Have fun!

More on the blogs – this is first class coverage:

YayaCanada – Queer goings on

Stageleft – Political Correctness Rule #172

Creekside – Gay freakout at The Star

We Move to Canada – Support Antonia Zerbisias

POGGE? – Toronto Star publisher and public editor channel Joe McCarthy

A Creative Revolution: Supporting Mz Z

Even Mark Steyn is on Zerbisias’ side!

UPDATE V:

The Galloping Beaver – TorStar Public Editor fails to take Round-to-Round Disperson into Account

UPDATE VI:

bastardlogic- Antonia Zerbisias: Under their Wheels

Give Goodyear a Bad Time

 Open Anthropology headline “Extreme Canada: Ruling Party Interferes with Social Science Funding”:

There is nothing that is intentionally “alarmist” about this headline, as much as some Canadians would want to reassure themselves that only with reference to a corrupt and dictatorial African state would such a headline have any relevance. However, the fact remains, and it is documented and abundantly public, that the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear, has intervened in a political action. designed to impede academic freedom for daring to question the supremacy of Israel. Goodyear is a member of the ruling Conservative Party that won power, as a minority government, thanks to 22% of registered voters who cast their ballots for this increasingly extreme right wing party. Not in many decades has Canada seen such an extremist party in power, rendering Canada the last refuge of the Neo-Con agenda, and hopefully its final burial ground.

Not only has the ruling party,

but now Minister Goodyear also directly intervened to try to stop funding awarded for a conference, purely on political grounds, and at the behest of the Zionist lobby, and in a clear violation of academic freedom. This is the situation we are dealing with now. These actions and statements have been in public and are documented for anyone whose ideological blinkers are not so firmly nailed into their skulls that they cannot see any of this.

And to some extent, it is we academics, and the wider citizenry, that are to blame. As detailed and discussed in greater depth in my series of essays on SSHRC funding, the Federal Government has no constitutional right to be funding education, which is the domain of the Provinces. In setting up something like SSHRC, the Federal Government violates provincial jurisdiction, and overly centralizes research funding, thereby reducing any room for autonomy in local decision-making. If instead of mumbling and grumbling in private, as the majority of us do — now check how many articles or blog posts are “out there” by Canadian academics critical of SSHRC — we should be organizing. Funding for research should be managed by those who know what to do with it, and that means that any funds that the Federal Government has been accumulating from the Provinces, and directing into research funding, should instead be returned to the Provinces, whose universities should be the primary if not sole arbiters about how to distribute and manage research funds. It makes sense — which means it will likely never see the light of day. In the meantime, we continue to allow ourselves to be held hostage to funding that is aligned with state power that is itself aligned with a ruling party.

Let us look now at the latest episode from Extreme Canada, concerning political intervention designed to stop SSHRC Funding for Conference at York University, “Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace,” beginning with those who complained about the conference, and responses from many academics in protest:

See the rest here, including letters of protest and then send your own if you want this country to be freed from the right wing dictators who have taken over the country in the guise of a minority government.  And btw, if the Honourable Opposition was doing its job, this couldn’t happen.

Canadian F-Word Blog Awards

This just received from A Creative Revolution:

Just in case you didn’t know, you’ve been nominated for Best Feminist Blog – Oh! Canada! English in the 2009 Canadian F-word Awards! First round voting is April 11 – 14 (extended!).  One vote per IP addy, please.   

What does being nominated for an F-word Award mean, besides glamour, prestige, and a pretty badge to display on your blog?  In the big scheme of things, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! More acutely though, it means that someone who is aware of the awards likes your blog enough to nominate it in our anti-sexist snark festival.  It means someone thinks you kick ass! AND YOU DO! W00t! 

Come on over and celebrate blogging women – we’re having a party and you’re the guest of honour!

Good luck, and thanks for participating.

- Dr. Prole and Pale @ A Creative Revolution

My friend mattt @bastardlogic nominated me for this – thanks mattt.  I’m not voting for myself but if you want to, go on over to Creative Revolution by April 14th and do it.  Or vote for someone else.  Just vote.

Testimony

From We Who Are Left Behind … by Matthew Landis:

Celan refers to the poem as if it is a solitary organism in search of an ecology. “The poem”, writes Celan, “wants to reach the Other, it needs this Other, it needs a vis a vis. It searches it out and addresses it.”1 The poem pays great attention to and in fact lusts after this Other. Celan’s description of the poem’s “sense of detail, of outline, of structure”2 is reminiscent of the great care taken by a lover examining her partner’s body. The curves, textures, and totality of the body are subject to the gaze of the one who desires after it. It is a desire which is intensified in it’s repetition. But this repetition is not differential; for Celan the images in the poem are “perceived and to be perceived one time, one time over and over again, and only now and only here.”3

Each poem is the one path that seeks to send the voice to a receptive “thou”, it is a “sending oneself ahead of oneself [...] A kind of homecoming”4 which is always already a striking out for one’s home at the moment of arrival. It is a homecoming deferred; the poem emerges as that which is not yet found, but is to be found. The poem seeks itself, seeks its own homecoming even as it embarks upon the journey which is the coming-home. This openness is sought by the poem so that its “tropes and metaphors” can be developed “ad absurdum.”5 The logic of the “ad absurdum” is the impossibility of the arrival of the poem because its images, its hidden thoughts are rehearsed for an audience only once, one time, in the here and now6. Celan acknowledges that such poems—the “absolute poem”7—do not exist, but also recognizes that this perfection, this utopia, is the demand of the poem the questioning or indetermination of this demand haunts it. The poem demands presence, that is, self-presence, it demands here and now and recognizes its own lack in its desire, and asks why it has been separated from its own voice—it seeks to know why it only speaks in silence and is only addressed in its absence.

Much more.  Read here

via wood s lot where it’s never dull