Six In The Morning: Ambivalence At Length

6-in-the-morning 1 DEFINITELY A GREAT USE OF MONEY Leaving aside the question of whether or not their figure is actually accurate – I can find evidence in the budget books of about a 20% increase in post-secondary funding between 2007 and 2009, and it should be noted that one of those budgets was under the previous government, but my memory was right and PSE funding fell sharply after the tuition freeze expired, sooooo – it’s pretty funny that the government blew $200,000 of what appears to be taxpayer money on signs advertising, uh, how good they are at spending money on universities? Maybe that money could have gone to the universities, guys, this is just a suggestion.

2 DOG DAY AFTERNOON Oh, and the Regina police are still conducting a review of that depressing dog shooting scenario from last month. Maybe the recent New York Times piece on the role portable video cameras play in the application of police force has something to do with this, maybe not.

3 MAYBE DON’T BE UNIVERSALLY REVILED AND THIS WON’T HAPPEN, PT. I Everyone is sharing the eloquent Russell Brand piece about Margaret Thatcher, and they should, because it’s good. I grew up in the ’90s and not the ’80s, though, so I’ve got to admit that I don’t really know what it was like to live in the Iron Lady’s long, truculent shadow. It doesn’t seem like it was very pleasant,* though, especially considering that Britain and its people are still living through the consequences of how she ran her national economy. (*except for posh people)

4 MAYBE DON’T BE UNIVERSALLY REVILED AND THIS WON’T HAPPEN, PT. II Senate GOP leader and Turtle Club president Mitch McConnell was secretly recorded, along with his team, coming up with ways to discredit actress Ashley Judd during that brief period where she might have maybe considered running for Senate in her home state of Kentucky, with the emphasis being on her struggles with depression and her religious beliefs (such as “knowing things about St. Francis of Assisi). Then Mother Jones published the recording. It’s a nasty bit of business coming from a guy whose incumbency is perplexing on account of how many people just hate his guts, but what might wind up putting McConnell in real hot water is the way the tape implicates his taxpayer-funded legislative assistants in the anti-Judd research, which is a hell of illegal concept. Meanwhile, McConnell is likely to find that the first amendment holds. (Side note: McConnell reps have called the taping “Nixonian” in the same breath as they decry the way “leftists” will stoop to anything. Everybody remember famous Democrat president Richard Nixon???)

5 I ALSO TRUST THE OPINIONS OF AGGREGATED YAHOOS Not sure how I feel about the CBC’s RateMyHospital thing. Guys, remember when RateMyProf had a “hotness” criterion? Remember ever reading Urbanspoon or Yelp or anything and thinking to yourself, “God, these people sound like such assholes”? Hospital visits are emotionally fraught experiences, more so than being in a particular university course or eating a meal at an ethnic restaurant where the food isn’t identical to that a different restaurant trading in the same ethnic food, thus confounding your expectations. So people reviewing their hospital experience may have a difficult time being sufficiently dispassionate about it. Hospitals and the healthcare system are also nightmare tangles of bureaucracy, huge and frightening webs that catch money in all of the oddest places, and these kinds of surveys will only ever evaluate the front-end experience (you could even think of them as “standardized,” perhaps) and tell us pretty much nothing about the organization of capital and power in places that aren’t the nurse’s reception desk in a given ward. But hey, maybe naming & shaming particularly shit hospitals will motivate some change in the way they deliver services, who knows, I’m not a doctor.

6 OKAY NOW GO READ SOMEONE ELSE’S WORDS I haven’t read The Interestings yet but it sounds, well, interesting, and Meg Wolitzer is smart, and I like fiction and writing and people talking about those things, and so this interview pretty much runs its fingers along my intellectual pleasure centres the way Jerry Lee Lewis used to drag his across a piano’s keys. Or something.

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9 thoughts on “Six In The Morning: Ambivalence At Length”

  1. Quality post. Thanks for the heads-up on the Brand piece. Liked this:

    Barack Obama, interestingly, said in his statement that she had “broken the glass ceiling for other women”. Only in the sense that all the women beneath her were blinded by falling shards. She is an icon of individualism, not of feminism.

    Loved this:

    Barack Obama, interestingly, said in his statement that she had “broken the glass ceiling for other women”. Only in the sense that all the women beneath her were blinded by falling shards. She is an icon of individualism, not of feminism.

    I always feel the need to point out that some rightwing ppl have taken to snidely pointing out how leftist leaders frequently seem to die from cancer, as if they’re weak and feeble. Hmm. I’d point out that rightist leaders just as frequently seem to die with dementia, and snidely add that yes, they probably had it all their lives.

  2. Meant to say loved this:

    I hope I’m not being reductive but it seems Thatcher’s time in power was solely spent diminishing the resources of those who had least for the advancement of those who had most. I know from my own indulgence in selfish behaviour that it’s much easier to get what you want if you remove from consideration the effect your actions will have on others.

  3. Wow. Russel Brand just shot up in my estimation. I’d no idea he could write that well. Particularly liked this bit…

    “This demonstrates, I suppose, that if you opposed Thatcher’s ideas it was likely because of their lack of compassion, which is really just a word for love. If love is something you cherish, it is hard to glean much joy from death, even in one’s enemies.”

    And this bit…

    “The blunt, pathetic reality today is that a little old lady has died, who in the winter of her life had to water roses alone under police supervision. If you behave like there’s no such thing as society, in the end there isn’t.”

  4. One of the things Margaret Thatcher will never be forgiven for is that, at a time when some people longed for more women to achieve political leadership, in the firm belief that “feminine values” would work wonders in the world, she did achieve leadership…but then refused to act according to stereotype.

  5. What she won’t be forgiven for is being a hardass ideologue who broke the United Kingdom’s economic back at the same time as crippling it socially. The only gender dynamic she broke was the idea that the old white dudes who came before her maintained the status quo; as it turned out, it took a woman to regress Britain several decades from which they have not recovered.

  6. I mean, I don’t think anybody reasonable cares that she “didn’t act to stereotype” because nobody elects women to office on the basis of whether she fulfills prescribed feminine gender roles. Like, whether or not she behaved like an emotion-led nurturer or not is sort of beside the point, unless you’re Kingsley Amis or one of her other weird late-’70s-to-mid-’80s admirers and your relationship to her is wrapped up in your screwball ideas of gender and your bizarrely-framed attraction to her, in which case everybody looks at what you said about her seriously cockeyed. The only difference her sex made is in how her being the first woman prime minister of Britain compounded how bad it is that she was so terrible, because it sucks when something historic is also really awful for almost everyone.

  7. I guess you’re far too young to remember the disappointment of a surprising number of really naive women, both feminists and not, that Mrs.Thatcher was so hard-nosed. I do not include myself, because I’ve read history and I’ve observed human nature.
    Add a slug of vodka to that Valium.

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