Friday, February 13, 2009

More on feminism and class

(((heavy sigh)))

Aunt B. just wrote a great piece in response to Lauren's post, linked here on Tuesday at DEAD AIR. And then, talk about timing, I read about the upcoming WAM (Women, Action and Media) conference.


If you need several months in advance to schedule time off, you won't be able to make it, will you? (It's next month: March 27-29th) That leaves out most women who work in factories or in retail. Possibly waitresses and bartenders also, but they tend to be a bit more flexible in scheduling.

How about cooks and chefs? Hotel workers? During Spring-break month? Are you kidding?

Who, then, is attending? Well, none of the people I have listed above, unless they have the seniority to request time off in such short notice.

Add in the considerable costs of lodging, meals, transportation to and from the event... and I think you get the idea. This conference isn't for WOMEN, it's for some women. And it always has been.

The conference is in Cambridge, MA. (Gonna let that location sink in a minute; gee, what else is in Cambridge?) Is that maybe a really highly-educated locale that some folks might find a trifle intimidating? For instance, I'm sure they check credentials before even letting you drive through... I've been told that if you have no college degree, they turn you back at the first few traffic lights. You've heard of racial profiling? This is educational profiling... they stop cars that look suspect (my ancient, oft-repaired Saturn with the flaky bumper stickers, for example, not to mention the South Carolina license plates) and ask questions:

Who is Judith Butler? Why is she so important?

What is "intersectionality" (in 25 words or less)?

Where was Joss Whedon born and how old is he?

Why is abortion the most important feminist issue?

Why is religion always unfeminist and evil?

When will you be receiving your advanced degree?
Possibly, there will be physical demonstrations required. You will have to be able to log into FACEBOOK (on demand), send TWITTERs and suchlike. At the very least, you will have to know how to text the person sitting right next to you.

And if you fail these very simple tests, they will absolutely send you back. Do not pass GO!

If you do manage to answer these questions to the satisfaction of the questioner, but speak in the wrong regional accent [1]--they will add a second round of questions:
How did you feel when your parents sold their summer house? Were you sad?

What is the highest price you ever paid for a piece of clothing? (extra credit: Did you worry that this might oppress destitute seamstresses in Mauritius, or do you feel this is a suitable method to keep the whole world gainfully employed?)

Have you ever met a person who was actually in prison? Were you scared?

Have you ever been inside a public school? For how long?

Is your BMI under 30?
(if you don't know what BMI is, instant fail)
And if you pass these, yes, it just gets hairier; the final lightning-round. The disqualifying questions. These are the trick questions, because if you can answer them, you will also be turned away from Cool Cambridge:
Can you give directions to the Wal-Mart that is closest to your house?

What are "Baptists"? Have you ever met one personally?

I read about __
(fill in the scandal)_____ in the National Enquirer.

Demonstrate at least one of the following:

1) loading-dock doors

2) retail pricing gun

3) soldering iron

4) cloth diaper changing, using authentic diaper pins

5) computerized cash register (selection of models provided)

6) Jacquard loom, or similar modern version

7) changing oil in vehicle

8) load and shoot the firearm of your choice

9) pole dancing

10) milk a cow, buffalo or goat

11) carpentry skills, including hammering several straight nails in succession

12) how to deep-fry french fries in one of those dangerously-sizzling deep-fryers (used in restaurants and fast-food joints)
If you can do any one of these, well, you ain't the media type. No ACTION for you!

After this rigorous weeding process, there is the possibility that you could STILL get in. If you do, I hope you wear the right clothes and have the right hair. (It should be easier, since all the unfashionable old ladies will have already flunked out due to the diaper/ oil-changing demos.) After all of that, you don't wanna get banished from Cambridge and sent to Southie for the wrong get-up, now do you?

The conference theme this year: INSIDE/OUTSIDE

For the first time this year, we’ll be exploring a theme throughout the Conference: Inside/Outside.

We all belong inside some communities or networks and are new to or feel excluded or alienated from others. The tension that exists between insiders and outsiders to any given movement, identity, industry or ideology can be destructive, but it can also be harnessed toward mutually beneficial change. At WAM!2009, we’ll explore both sides of this inescapable dynamic in our relationships, organizations, societies and movements.
Some people are more outside than others.

Although I am, ha ha, joking, I wonder how funny it really is.


[1] It goes without saying, NO identifiable regional American accent is good; optimally, you should sound like the people on TV. Non-American accents are a special case, though, and are mostly very cool, particularly British, Australian, French or German. The exception, of course, is if you are a non-white person with a Spanish, Island or African accent, in which case, an extra round with more consumer-goods questions and green-card inspections may be added. Since MIT is where the conference is happening, Asian accents will be overlooked just this once, but if this gets to be an ongoing issue and there are too many of you, Cambridge-border security reserves the right to change the rules any time they see fit.

[2] Regarding the above: Teh extra immigrant round will involve deciphering American slang, as well as demonstrating teh uses of "teh" in internet writing... when it's appropriate and when it is not. I'd advise you all to start studying NOW.


Amber Rhea said...

If you need several months in advance to schedule time off, you won't be able to make it, will you? (It's next month: March 27-29th) That leaves out most women who work in factories or in retail. Possibly waitresses and bartenders also, but they tend to be a bit more flexible in scheduling.

That's a bit of a red herring. While it's true that *registration* only recently opened (which is the case w/ most conferences - registrations opens 1-2 months in advance), the dates have been known since immediately following WAM last year. I've had it on my calendar since then.

I won't be going to WAM this year for other reasons - what I *didn't* anticipate and therefore couldn't put on my calendar was that I'd be buying a house and therefore not spend as much money on travel this year - but the dates were not a mystery.

Amber Rhea said...

Also, this entire post really bothers me. I was at WAM last year and it most certainly was not an exclusive elitist club. And yeah, as someone who meets many of the standards you impose and can "demonstrate" many of the abilities you describe, well, what can I say... I wasn't turned away. Overall I find this post dismissive and, yes, elitist in its own way, not to mention ignorant. I'm sorry if this comes off as harsh, as it's not a criticism of *you* as a *person*, Daisy, but I think this post is unfair, unfounded, disingenuous and a lot of it is simply ludicrous.

JLK said...

Daisy, just to let you know - Cambridge MA is a shithole. It's mostly low-income housing and bus stops with an Ivy league U in the middle of it, and MIT next to the bridge to Boston. It has one nifty little square near Harvard with a couple little shops and a Starbucks, but the rest of it is just not a nice area at all. It is by no means a community of well-educated elitists. Ivy students are walled into their colleges and professors mostly come from the Boston suburbs.

Us New Englanders joke about how (with the exception of Dartmouth college) the Ivy U's are located in the worst metro areas in the region. New Haven CT and Providence RI join Cambridge under that heading.

Okay, now that I've said my piece I'm off to continue reading.

DaisyDeadhead said...

(((another sigh)))

These lists were an attempt at very broad satire, rather self-consciously modeling myself on Ron White of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. If I were doing it, I'd substitute something else for the whiskey glass, for a more authentic vibe. Of course. But you get the idea... or maybe you don't. Obviously, you don't, which is likely my fault for not being funny enough.

I have not been feeling "included" lately, which I could handle by whining and yowling about it... or I could try (and obviously fail) to be funny and vent in a time-honored literary manner--rather than be outright MEAN, like some people. I have read lots and lots of unfunny political satire (feminist and non) that I didn't like or agree with or think was funny AT ALL...why am I not allowed to try some of that, too? My turn. Can't I be ludicrous on my own blog?

And speaking of which, sometimes hippie and/or redneck humor and satire ARE ludicrous at base, as are other kinds of humor. Sometimes it "works" and sometimes it doesn't, but Jesus Christ, the person who emailed me already, demanding that I DELETE THIS can fuck off. (no other reply forthcoming) Again, I am not apologizing for SATIRE.

Amber: the dates have been known since immediately following WAM last year.

And if you already know what it is, then you already know what it is. Well, sure. But what if you never heard of it in the first place? I just learned the dates today and I am a feminist blogger who is supposedly all in-the-know. I was never emailed or anything, and my email is clearly on my profile. I am easy to find. And I just heard about it, so doesn't that suggest something?

And I looked at LOTS of photos of WAM online... and I realized while looking at the photos that I would not feel welcome. This was my attempt to articulate some of that while keeping it funny. (For instance, of all photos I saw, I saw maybe a half-dozen gray heads, max.)

JLK: Daisy, just to let you know - Cambridge MA is a shithole

In a way, that makes what I wrote funnier. (As I said, you either get redneck humor or you don't.) As in "Them New Yorkers is so damn funny" and then talking about Yonkers or Utica or something... :D

And the New Yorker rushes in... but, but, but... NEW YORKER means MANHATTAN!!!!!

Ron White voice: "Thanks friend, but we'll decide what it means."

I was actually talking bout them elitist yankee feminists, and as I said, failing to connect, but you can't win em all.

PS: My tarot reading this morning told me that this would not go over well. ((sigh again)) I should listen to my own fucking cards sometimes.

JLK said...

Holy shit, Daisy.

The first half of your post described something that I consider to be a serious issue - you made very valid points about all the aspects of this event that make it difficult for real women to attend. If the first half of your post is serious, why would I expect the rest of it to be satire? Unless the first half of your post wasn't serious either, in which case I totally missed the boat on that one.

I got the jokes about the questions being asked in order to get into Cambridge, but it really seemed to me like the jokes I make about conservative republicans - they might be jokes, but that doesn't mean I don't mean them.

Regardless, you don't need to clarify shit on your own blog.

But I read the first half and was like "right on, Daisy" and then I got to the shit about Cambridge and was like "it doesn't sound like she's ever been there, or if she has it was only to the one tiny little section."

Your post didn't piss me off in the slightest - I apparently just missed the joke.

Senchi said...

don't worry if you don't please everyone. satire directed at more powerful is always judged 'bad' in some way - 'tasteless' 'unfair' (whatever) but satire directed at the powerless is rarely criticized.

Octogalore said...

Daisy -- no need to apologize for satire, but to be fair, satire is typically exaggerates characteristics of something that do already exist. I went to school in Cambridge. It ain't Boston. Go up to anyone in Central Square and very few will know about, to pick a random example, herbal remedies.

Additionally, while you appear to allude to Harvard, you omit mention of my own alma mater, a school that only gives scholarships for need, has over 40% international students, and most kids who go there are tech geeks who take the subway or drive beaters and eat a lot of ramen. Your Saturn would be a luxury vehicle to many of them.

I went to WAM last year, and agree with you, the attendees were mainly young women and many had flexible jobs or didn't work full time. That said, there were a number who were >50 there.

And the question of who feels left out is subjective. Personally, I felt a bit adrift at the conference, in that my resume was more corporate (and seemed less hip/radical) than most of the people attending or presenting. When we had to go around the room in the feminist bloggers discussion and say our jobs, I felt like everyone else got a "wow, interesting" and I got "oh. ok, next!"

So -- not to invalidate your impressions of things, but I'd be curious as to your impressions if you went one of these years to WAM (and of course, it would be great to meet up live).

Aunt B said...

I'm having fun just trying to imagine having something like this in, say, Itta Bena, Mississippi. Not that there's a spot big enough unless they'd let us use the school. But you bring up a point--sometimes just where a place is can make it hard for folks to attend. Of course, it's a lot easier to admit that you don't feel comfortable taking off through rural Mississippi trying to find some town hardly big enough to be on a map than to admit that you don't feel comfortable flying or going to a city you've never been to before or that you've never taken a bus or been on something like the T and wouldn't have any idea how to navigate.

Anyway, thanks for the kind words about my post.

Anonymous said...

Who is Judith Butler? Why is she so important?

any takers on this one?

John Powers said...

Class is a very important construct for understanding the world. The point that you Aunt B. and Lauren are all making is class is often the reason why women are excluded and marginalized by feminist institutions.

However I think that the way we construe class sometimes obscures our understanding of what's happening online. For example, networks and communities are not the same things. Networks perhaps can be used to build community, but often do not.

Class is very much about rational self interest in economic terms. Educational attainment is a marker of economic class, but not an altogether straightforward one. And it's difficult to make a consistent argument that advanced education makes economic sense for an individual. More often it's like a vow of poverty.

Blogger Phil Jones has a good page looking at Netocracy. One of the reasons I like this somewhat obscure concept is it seems to provide a way to analyze stratification of groups of people online that economic class consciousness doesn't get at. I just don't think that economic elites really explain the issue, nonetheless questions about who the elites are and what they're up to are always welcome.

John Powers said...

Oh shoot, why don't I just shut up?

Right after I posted I saw that Newsweek has a makeover in the works. The last page "'The Bluffer’s Guide,' will tell readers how to sound as if they are knowledgeable on a current topic, whether they are or not."

Our voices are not trivial!

Tangentially related to why Judith Butler is matters, and also to your rant about voice; I loved a recent essay by Zadie Smith Speaking in Tongues.

Alyson said...

A few things.

You might actually get bonus points if you can change a cloth diaper and make the new one stay on the baby - very, very, hip. Also, I think it might be cooler to drive a shitbucket at Harvard because it doesn't have the connotations of the new beemer. I only went to Tulane, but we always said that there were three types of students there: 1) can afford it and could get in 2) cannot afford it but deserve to be there 3) can afford it and DO NOT deserve to be there - the #3's were pretty obvious for their vehicles. 1 & 2 you couldn't usually tell apart.

And, I'm taking a Harvard extension school class as part of my master's program - which I'm sure says something about the advance degree thing - and it's AWESOME. But I think it's just the teacher and not some indicator that Harvard is better.

Oh - and, for the most part - Harvard undergrads DO NOT teach at Harvard...what does that say???

Isabel said...

Additionally, while you appear to allude to Harvard, you omit mention of my own alma mater, a school that only gives scholarships for need

This is Harvard's policy too, and has been for at least the past several years; financial aid is completely merit-blind and more extensive than almost any private school in the country. Which is not to say it doesn't have its own share of problems - a disproportionate number of students aren't on financial aid despite the fact that families are eligible with incomes into the six figures, and the people most likely to apply to Harvard are still more from ritzy places, and while the undergraduate body is gender-balanced it's still disproportionately white - but there are definitely a fair number of people who pretty much couldn't be here without the fact that up to a certain income, you automatically get nearly a full ride. (this is I think a pretty new policy; hopefully its becoming better known will result in continually increased socioeconomic diversity over the next several years).

I hope that didn't come across as too defensive; I don't want to make it seem like Harvard is perfect or problem free (and I DEFINITELY agree with Alyson - while Harvard has some awesome professors, so do a whole lot of other places!) and actually I laughed/winced at some of this post because, well, hit a little close to home! Just felt like clarifying.

Daisy, your post made me laugh, and also made me uncomfortable (as someone trying to be more aware of her economic/educational/cultural privilege without becoming, well, that really privileged person who wants a cookie for paying lip service to her privilege-recognition... anyway). For lack of anything better/more constructive to add, I'll leave you with an anecdote your line about the summer home reminded me of.

When I was applying to high school, at one of the schools while my mom was having her interview, she voiced her concern that the school had a reputation for being very rich in a way that might make non-rich students feel uncomfortable. The admissions officer - whose job it theoretically was to make us LIKE the school - told her, "Well, I'm not going to lie to you - after spring break, all the kids come back with tans." Later, I guess she felt bad about it, because she tried to rectify the situation, assuring my mom:

"But don't worry - it's not the kind of place where you're judged by where your summer home is."

Octogalore said...

Isabel, are you confident Harvard doesn't give sports scholarships?

Anyway, even if both schools give only financial need-based scholarships, Harvard has a helluva lot more legacies. I've been in the parking lots at both schools and I know what the cars look like.

Amber Rhea said...

And if you already know what it is, then you already know what it is. Well, sure. But what if you never heard of it in the first place? I just learned the dates today and I am a feminist blogger who is supposedly all in-the-know. I was never emailed or anything, and my email is clearly on my profile. I am easy to find. And I just heard about it, so doesn't that suggest something?

Honestly, I really don't understand what is beginning to sound more and more like a persecution complex. You knew about WAM at the very least from last year, when I and many other bloggers we both read went and wrote about it. As for not being emailed, what, do you expect WAM organizers to email every feminist-leaning blogger individually? If you're on their mailing list, you got an email about registration. If not, you didn't. That's the way pretty much *any* event works. You also didn't mention in this post that WAM offers scholarships and free admission in exchange for volunteer time.

La Lubu said...

Daisy, for what it's worth, I got it. I laughed out loud! I didn't know what the dates of this conference were either until I saw the post on Feministe. Not that it would matter, as I'm also not the demographic the conference organizers are looking for or want to attend. I couldn't attend anyway; this is during the school year, I'm a single mother, and there is no childcare available for attendees (other than what you can scrape up on your own, I guess. I don't have any friends or family in that area, so I'd be SOL).

I found that strange, that the WAM conference didn't have any links on their site for childcare, seeing as one of the topics is "Hip Hop, Motherhood, and Social Justice".

Isabel said...

Octogalore - ha, called OUT! I admit, I completely forgot about sports scholarships, by which I mean I sort of forgot sports exist because they have so little to do with my life. but, wikipedia informs me that actually the founding agreement of the Ivy League (in 1945 - I assumed it was older) explicitly prohibited the granting of sports scholarships, a policy which as far as I can tell is still in place! Who knew???

again, you'll brook no disagreement from me re: legacies, etc. I do think (and I am very cynical about these matters) they are genuinely committed to equalizing things; I don't think they're anywhere near there yet, at all. also, while I believe your comments about the parking lots for sure, I was not aware until your comment that Harvard actually had a parking lot. who the fuck drives a car as a college student in Cambridge??? wow your comment has been very educational for me :)

La Lubu said...

You also didn't mention in this post that WAM offers scholarships and free admission in exchange for volunteer time.

I noticed that; I also noticed that the housing was affordable. Still, it's going to be several more years before I could think of attending a conference like that. Childcare is a barrier for me, and it is disheartening to see specifically feminist events take the same attitude as conservatives---that childcare is an individual problem with individual solutions.

I don't mean to whine; it's just that I'm not very technically adept, and I would love to attend a conference like this to learn more about the "hows" of blogging. I think I can turn a good phrase when I put my mind to it, but I know fuck-all about the technical aspects of it.

Meowser said...

Daisy, I love this. I'm also loving your comments over at Lauren's place (and also her posts and Aunt B's).

For most of my life, I have longed to be one of those lucky-ducky "creative class" women who got to do only what they loved for a living and live in a wonderful city they loved and have a great relationship and fabulous meatspace friends and all the rest of it. And I've felt like a horrible failure for not getting to be that person. (I eventually got the great relationship -- in my 40s! -- but totally flunked the others.)

Not attractive enough. Not thin enough. Not neurotypical enough (and did I mention blundering through the first 44 years of my life not even knowing neuro-orientation was an issue, and just thinking I was a chronic fuckup who needed to try harder harder harder?). And now, not young enough. Or rich enough to attend all (or really, any) of these lovely conferences and retreats that sounded oh so good and enriching. Talent? Schmalent. Let's not even talk about how I didn't develop my talents like I wanted to because I felt like I was flunking everything else.

What a number I did on myself for all that. I don't even want to THINK about what all that stress has done to my health. For things that are not my fault, were never my fault. I got it, Daisy. Oh boy did I get it. THANK YOU.

Octogalore said...

Isabel, that is interesting info about sports scholarships.

I must admit that I went to school in Cambridge almost twenty years ago (wow, that sounds so distant). It was fairly clear that there were more wealthy students at Harvard, and more athletes who, if they didn't have scholarships, got other kinds of assistance through the admissions process, than we had. We didn't even have a football team.

And yes, people do drive in Cambridge, although it's not too hard to get away with just the T. About 1/3 to 1/2 of the kids have cars. I got my first car at 22 in Detroit, but would hitch a ride with others to take road trips during spring break etc.

In any case, I am straying a bit afield, so to speak. My point is just that the inhabitants campus where WAM is being held aren't particularly moneyed, in the main.

Octogalore said...

La Lubu, check this out:

If you set up a fundraiser on your site for this, you can take your daughter to WAM. I forget if she is old enough to attend the programs; if not, she could go to the child care above, possibly, and the fundraiser could cover airfare and hotel.

Octogalore said...

La Lubu -- in case the other link is more for full time, here is one that's a la carte:

sheila said...

I would stand and applaud you right here in my living room, but my family would think I've gone just know I would if I could. lol. LOVE your questions posed. BRAAAAVO!

Amber Rhea said...

I noticed that; I also noticed that the housing was affordable. Still, it's going to be several more years before I could think of attending a conference like that. Childcare is a barrier for me, and it is disheartening to see specifically feminist events take the same attitude as conservatives---that childcare is an individual problem with individual solutions.

The thing is, providing childcare takes money, which is something many of these events don't have in abundance. As an organizer of two grass-roots conferences, I know this all too well. People are always more than happy to complain about what the conference *doesn't* have, without stopping to think about how the hell it would actually be possible. The BlogHer conference, for example, *does* offer childcare, but they are unique in that they're well-funded by big-name sponsors (e.g., GM, AOL). Their admission is also higher than that of WAM, which, considering everything that is included, is a very fair price.

I know it's sometimes hard for people who don't have experience organizing conferences to think in terms of what is possible from an organizer's perspective, but after doing it twice, let's just say I've lost a fair amount of patience. There's this sense of, you can't win. I mean, even when I offered free admission in exchange for volunteer time at Sex 2.0, I got shit for *that*, bc a few people were like, "Oh, well, if you WORK then you can get in for free, and you're in this special separate group 'cause you're on the dole..." So what was I supposed to do?? I noticed none of those complaining took any initiative such as holding a fundraiser at their own blog for their attendance.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

It's true, talking about Cambridge as altogether elite because Harvard is there is a little like talking about Harlem as entirely elite because Ivy League Columbia University is right around there.

Still, I'm going to entertain myself by seeing how many of the skills listed I've actually done.

3) soldering iron

4) cloth diaper changing, using authentic diaper pins

7) changing oil in vehicle

On 10, I've never actually milked a cow, but I have cleaned up after milk cows.

11) carpentry skills, including hammering several straight nails in succession: Well, I'm actually pretty lousy at this, but I've hammered nails and put shingles on a roof.

And, of the above, the one I've done most of is soldering iron.

Cara said...

I guess I'm just confused because prior to now, there has been a lot of WAM coverage. I put up a post on Feministe about a month ago when registration first opened. Before that, several blogs posted the call for submissions back in, like October. I got info from their mailing list, but it's because I signed up last year after being sad that I couldn't afford to go, hoping that I could this year. Some bloggers have posted fund-raising info on their blogs for their expenses for the trip. There have been ads for WAM on the sidebars of several major feminist blogs for some time, including Feministing and Feministe . . .

I mean, if you're not checking out all these places, that's fine and understandable. But then it seems kind of strange to me to criticize no one talking about it.

I agree that conferences are expensive. That sucks. I also don't really know a workaround to that, when people are always going to live all over the country, and a physical gathering always has to take place in a set location. And when help with registration and lodging has already been offered by the organizers.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Cara, satire, really. (((sighs again))) Just trying to get people to think.

Amber: As an organizer of two grass-roots conferences, I know this all too well. People are always more than happy to complain about what the conference *doesn't* have, without stopping to think about how the hell it would actually be possible.

Amber, FTR, I have helped to organize a number of conferences in my life (at least a half-dozen), so I do know something about that. (And on one occasion, I ended up doing the child care myself because no one else would.)

PS--Cara, Amber and Octo have email from me.

La Lubu said...

Octo: thanks! I still can't go this year; it's not a question of money (I've been steadily employed for a while) but of time off and the fact my daughter is still struggling in school and I'd hate to have her miss a day she wouldn't have to. I'm kinda/sorta thinking about going to the Allied Media Conference, but right now I don't know if that's possible either---my mom isn't doing so well (metastatic breast cancer, so much uptake in her bones it's easier to describe where she doesn't have lesions, plus lesions on her liver) so I hate to make plans for traveling so far in advance when I might be needed closer to home (and that's another reason I don't want to take time off).

Amber, I understand the difficulty of trying to be everything to everybody when organizing a conference. My union doesn't provide child care for conferences, and neither do most other unions. That's why I haven't been to anything other than the biannual state conference (no road trip necessary!) in over four years. That's why a lot of women aren't more involved in labor organizing, though, and it's a perennial complaint of trade unionists---the "where are the women", yet at the same time not enough effort is put forth to make it feasible for more participation.

Next year, I'm going to make it a priority to attend at least one feminist or feminist-friendly conference where I can learn something. I'll probably only be able to go to one, and the one I'll pick will probably have more to do with how easy it is for me to attend rather than which event where I might learn the most. And in my current situation, that means: (1)it has to take place during the summer, (2)it will preferably be within driving distance so I don't have to spring for two plane tickets, and (3)it will preferably have on-site child care available, and preferably be somewhat child-friendly so I won't have to fucking lose my temper with anyone. My daughter is nine, and I think it is important to show her what feminist organizing looks like and how she can be involved. I got off on that kind of shit when I was her age, and she's fiercer than me by far! ;-)

I'm one of those folks that would gladly volunteer for an event, including helping out with childcare. I'd be willing to put in even more hours volunteering if it was someplace relatively close like Chicago or St. Louis (fewer travel hassles means more available time).

Ravenmn said...

Daisy, you know I am all about class consciousness and your post is hilarious in theory.

Unfortunately, the reality doesn't really match what you're saying. A lot of the Ivy League schools are smack in the middle of some seriously fucked up places where police brutality is rampant. Cops in those cities are busy protecting white privileged middle-class twit brats from their darker-toned neighbors. In other words, you are more likely to be arrested for Driving While Black then Driving While Baptist. You and I would be the privileged ones there.

WAM! is an event directed at professional women in journalism, new and old, whose aim appears to bring the non-activist professionals into a more activist lifestyle. That's my guess anyway. Sort of like one big union for the pixel crowd. Rank and file journalists aren't doing much better than other working people these days. I like the idea of finding ways for working people to become more activist-oriented. It's not directed at me or you, of course, but it doesn't have to be.

If you're interested in on-the-street activism, check out the Allied Media Conference, I was lucky enough to attend last year and the organizers provide childcare and support on the ground activism. It was a great place to find out how real activists in real communities are making a difference. I got lots of great ideas, met a lot of wonderful people and came home energized.

DaisyDeadhead said...

And John, the Zadie Smith article was FREAKING AWESOME. Thanks so much.

Everybody go read!

Red Betty said...

Class consciousness scares people. They are obedient drones who don't question. We have a long way to go.

DaisyDeadhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Octogalore said...

La Lubu, I am sorry to hear about your mom! I have been there with parental cancer and there are pat things to say about it other than, it sucks all around. I hope there is a way for her to be doing better soon.

I do know you work f/t, just that I know the flight and hotel stuff for two can be pricey, but I understand for a child, taking a day off school can be prohibitive. There is the possibility of leaving late on Fri b/c most of the content is on Saturday and early Sunday. But, the AMC one would be great as well.

At 9, your daughter might get something out of WAM. Although some of the sessions are a little more R-rated. For a future conference, it might be a good idea to organize a group of moms to do rotating daycare. If that were available, I'd bring my 4-year-old. We could alternate taking 90-minute breaks to watch the kids in the park or something.

Daisy -- got your email, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I am not apologizing for SATIRE.

How about for poorly-executed satire?

Satire works by what might be called narrowly-focused exaggeration, taking some aspect or facet of the target and running with it. The point is, it must have some recognizable connection to the real thing or it's not satire, it's just baseless ridicule.

I don't know about the WAM conference and your attack on it as elitist may be right on the mark. But your references to Cambridge bear no connection to the actual place and so fail as satire.

This may illustrate the point more clearly: Suppose the conference was being held at Harvard and your quiz was what you had to pass to get into Harvard Yard. That would be much better because the image of a condescending intellectual superiority can be applied to Harvard in a way it can't be applied to the general Cambridge community (which actually regards Harvard as an institutional bully).

~Macarena~ said...

Daisy: This post is sharp and high-larious! I laughed out loud and applauded educational profiling and you will have to know how to text the person sitting right next to you.

Amber Rhea: scholarships and free admission in exchange for volunteer time is neither free nor voluntary. It does mean that if you WORK then you can get in; it's paid work.

hazyday84 said...

Hey- leave Cambridge out of this! Yes, Harvard and MIT might be located there, but it's actually a really rad, working-class city- and incredibly diverse to boot.

Anonymous said...

its true liberals really don't have a sense of humor.