Should I Ditch Calling Myself “Bluestocking”

I came across the word “bluestocking” years ago along with my fascination with early 18th century French literary salons run by “learned women.” These btw, were often “courtesans” as they weren’t not bound by the rigid female mores and roles of the times. In the 20th century, it was a label worn proudly by feminist thinkers and attached to radical bookstores.

No being a long time advocate of sex workers rights, the association with prostitution would never motivate me to consider ditching the “bluestocking” label.

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Turns out though, that I (perhaps along with many of those radical and feminist booksellers), didn’t realize the full nature of those bluestocking societies. In Keats, Modesty, and Masturbation, Rachel Shulkins talks about the bluestockings “doctrine of rational morality” being essentially a doctrine of “female chastity.”

Having achieved self respect and independence through suppressing their sexuality, they prized emotional control as an essential virtue….the Bluestockings were celebrated as a conservative and religious group of female thinkers who exemplified Anglican piety and virtue.

Shudder.

Not the libertines and radicals I envisioned. Well, in early 18th century England, anyway.

No matter.

Vive la France!

 

 

 

Putting My Dog Down (a life heart break)

Scratch that.

As I put it on my FB page, he was “more than a pet, he was family” Devoted. Fiercely loyal. Companion. Partner. Beloved.

Cody was my “best friend.”

He developed cancer over the summer during another stressful, horrible time: my mother was dying.

At the time, I didn’t realize my mother was dying.

Nor that the bleeding stool and teeny, tiny “tag” protruding from my dog’s back end would be something–a BIG thing–that would eventually bring an end to his life.  A life that spanned 16 years and four months.

A long life for a dog, for sure (though Bichon Frises live 15 years on average, so I guess I got 1 year and 4 months as a bonus).  Despite that, I have wrestled with my decision to “put my dog down” these past couple of days. Even though I have long been an advocate of “assisted death” for people.

When it became apparent that my dog was terminal, I vowed to “keep watch” and “do the right thing” when the time came.

I didn’t want my dog to suffer. Just like I believe that people shouldn’t have to unreasonably suffer. People, unlike dogs, have direct agency over their lives. They can decide when they have suffered greatly and the benefits of still being here no longer outweigh the pain and suffering they feel.

With dogs we have to infer. Or intuit.

Cody had a horrific weekend. But a glorious Christmas Day. It snowed here and he asked to go out several times. He sniffed and sniffed (there is a wooded area behind us so birds and all manner of wildlife are always getting into the yard).

He bounced and played. Ran up and down the large expanse of back yard.

And ate snow.

Cody got a gift from the Universe that day. But not a Christmas miracle.

So we went to the vet. And I put my dog down.

My beloved canine companion. My best friend.

I will miss him beyond belief.

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I was so busy enjoying him frolicking in the snow that I didn’t think to take photos. However this is one of my favorites (from summer four years ago).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firsts: Girls Trip’s Tiffany Haddish Hosted SNL Last Night

In my Yahoo feed, I read that Tiffany Haddish hosted SNL last night (no I didn’t watch it first hand). In her monologue, Haddish talks about how the movie she starred in–Girls Trip–made over $100 million at the box office.

That’s a big deal.

Girls Trip made 6x it’s production budget.Which of course, isn’t a first. Hollywood movies do that on occasion.

But Girl’s Trip was produced by black folks (though unless you read the credits, Variety, Hollywood Reporter or any other of the trade rags couldn’t be faulted for thinking “who the h*ll are Will Packer and Malcolm D. Lee?”) aren’t Will Smith or Spike Lee.

And it starred black women: Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish.

And THAT’S a very big deal.

Because black women aren’t supposed to “open movies.”

But they did.

Which is how Tiffany Haddish (not Queen Latifah or Jada Pickett Smith which is also notable) came host SNL.   Haddish, was Girls Trip’s break-out star. And she’s a black female comedian.

Becoming the first black female comedian SNL host.

A very big deal. Though I think you have to add the caveat” first black female comedian who isn’t/wasn’t also a SNL writer. Because Maya Rudolph hosted SNL. Back in 2012. I looked it up.

Besides being an active female comedian, the choice of Haddish is also notable for another reason: Tiffany Haddish talked like a sista.

Real talk 100.

She riffed on what men should think about before pulling out their “thing-thing.”

Good advice that Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and all those other wienies caught up in the wake of “the Harvey Weinstein effect” would have benefited from [not that they would have paid attention before Weinstein caused it all to come tumbling down because, well…powerful men who belong to dominant culture get confused into believing they are “gods” to which nothing bad will ever happen…of course, because for eons that’s what society told them].

She also did a bit on the $4000 Alexander McQueen dress she was wearing. The kind of thing that regular people don’t typically say “out loud.” Whether most folks inside Hollywood or dominant culture “got it” I don’t know.

But funny as h*ll.

Especially the end of the bit about wearing the McQueen dress to “praise dancing.”

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Tiffany Haddish and the Alexander McQueen dress. photo credit: ABC News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diversity Pays Off

The Center for Talent Innovation found that companies with diverse employees are 70 percent more likely to report new or improved market share than companies with nondiverse employee populations. A study by Ronald Burt, a professor at University of Chicago, concluded that any diverse group will surface better, more effective ideas than a group of more homogeneous “top talent.”
found @ s+b How to Unlock the Potential of Diverse Teams