My father passed away on January 11. We had a strained relationship for most of my adult life. One of my biggest regrets about losing him is that I didn’t get to learn about his life story. He was an interesting, but broken man. I only knew him when he was broken. He was a wonderful storyteller, but he was reticent to tell the details of his adult life except for snatches of memories and the more mundane events that happened to him. The heart of his life was told only in fragmentary, hushed whispers. The rest I heard haphazardly from my mother. The defining
Like every good, card-carrying leftist, I know about Woody Guthrie and what he stood for. Surely everyone in the U.S. has heard part of “This Land is Your Land,” at least in the white-washed setting where it’s severed from its political roots. I didn’t know about the additional verses to the song, though. They are on on Wikipedia: In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple; By the relief office, I’d seen my people. As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking, Is this land made for you and me? The Wikipedia talks about how the lyrics were restored at
I have almost completed the first week of class. I have two more classes to go, but I can safely say that my classes this semester are going to rock. I’m psyched about school now. My students have lifted my spirits. This is why I entered this profession. I just came out of a class where we did the “I am From Poem.” I have written about using this activity in class before. I enjoy this poem because it teaches me about the students’ lives. One of the poem’s stanzas is a list of sayings you heard growing up. Today, I heard some of the
ColorOfChange.org is sponsoring a successful boycott of Fox New’s Glenn Beck. I read AOL’s “Politics Daily” blog on occasion. The audience is heavily conservative, so the comments are vitriolic, vituperative, and vigorous (I needed another v-word for balance). They make me point-laugh. Yesterday, Carl Cannon wrote some stupid BS about the boycott, claiming that it’s censorship and not good citizenship. Well, after reading pages of comments, I got totally frustrated and I actually posted a comment. I suppose it’s just a means of blowing off steam. It’s buried 5,000 comments in, so I doubt a soul will read it. But it was fun and it
This semester seems to show an increased number of Hispanic students enrolled in my classes, a reflection of the changing demographics of Baton Rouge. Perhaps the 2010 census will reveal similar changes in BR demographics. One neat thing about my college is its diversity. The campus is a much more wheel-chair accessible campus because it’s new. There are many students on the GI bill. This is just a speculation though. There are many newly immigrated students there too, especially Asian students. Perhaps the school is more welcoming and English is easier learned there. As a result of all this, the students in my classes are
With the recent deaths of many of my childhood icons — Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite, Ed McMahon, John Hughes, Bea Arthur – I got to thinking about the famous people who died this year. Growing up, we watched the Oscars segment honoring those who the industry lost during the year. It seems like there’s more celebrity deaths this year than ever before. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say I’m now old enough to recognize the famous people who are dying. Curiously, Wikipedia keeps track of the deaths of “important” or famous people by month and year. I looked over the list for
Today I visited the gynecologist’s office for my annual exam. The visit reminded me intimately of why I’m a feminist, and why feminism is still necessary today. Times have changed since the emergence of the women’s health movement in the 1960s (see Into Our Own Hands by Sandra Morgen), and since I read and studied Mary Daly’s Gyn/ecology and the early versions of the Boston Women’s Health Collective’s Our Bodies, Ourselves. Or, perhaps not. My visit was utterly..well…disheartening – even if you pretend all the problems about women’s reproductive freedom, the medicalization of women’s bodies, and women’s health were off the table. I waited an
In Tampa last week, I saw the movie “Food, Inc.” at the Tampa Theatre. The film made me feel sick to my stomach. After seeing it, I don’t want to eat anything ever again. Sort of like I don’t want to /buy/ anything ever again. Of course, I -will- eat, and I -will- shop, but I’m guilt-ridden about it. Food, Inc., was produced by Eric Schlosser, of Fast Food Nation fame. The film is about corporate farming, the food industry, and its effects on animals, humans, and then environment. I learned some harrowing things about the food industry by watching this film. For instance, 1.