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May 3, 2005 1:52 pm

Some Noted Things ...

After reading Stuart Taylor's reflections on recent speeches by Janice Rogers Brown, one of the administration's nominees to the appellate court bench, Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy says that the speeches are enough to give conservatives"serious heartburn." See also: Irfan Khawaja's"Only God Can Save Us" at Theory & Practice.

Glenn Reynolds points out that the 700 Club host, Pat Robertson was one of the original examples of an"idiotarian." If it is possible, he just gets loopier with time. I haven't commented about it since he was last praising Liberia's brutal and corrupt warlord, Charles Taylor. Now he is arguing that some federal judges are a greater national menace than al quaeda, a more serious threat to national security than Confederate rebellion or the Axis powers in World War II. At what point does someone take note of the loopiness of his claims and graciously intervene with a little white suit with straps?

At Rhode Island's Roger Williams University, the costume of the obscure Greek playwright, Testaclese, has been confiscated and his The Penis Monologues, a spoof of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, has been suppressed. Thanks to Tom at Big Tent for the tip.

GBJab does the British elections in"It Wasn't Me". Thanks to Sepoy and Sharon for the tip.

Our colleague, Mariam Burstein, has been taking her grading of student papers too seriously again. Alas, she says,"the semi-colon. Has any other punctuation mark ever caused so many dark nights of the soul?"

Mr. Sun! calls our attention to this 1877 print of a child-birthing on the frontier. Do you share my impression that the artist was never present at the birthing of a child? I've been present at the creation twice and, frankly, it's hard to imagine doing it, or even assisting in it, sidesaddle with your hat and boots on.

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David Lion Salmanson - 5/4/2005

Women and the Frontier? Oh good Lord. You could do a field on it. I like Women and Men on the Overland Trail by John Mack Faragher. Several important historiographic reviews were authored by Elizabeth (Betsy) Jameson and Susan Armitage. Check out their edited colleciton The Women's West and Sandra Myer's response. There is a lot of work on women of color coming out now. And by the way, what do you mean by frontier? Got a place or a process in mind? Time period? How do you feel about 1880s New Mexico (Sarah Deutcsh)? Colonial New Mexico (Antonia Castaneda, Deena Gonzalez) etc. etc..

Ralph E. Luker - 5/3/2005

Uuh, yes. Look up Paula Petrik's work, for one thing. I shouldn't think that the new mom will be mounting a horse immediately, but maybe she'll be out pulling a plow soon enough.

Sharon Howard - 5/3/2005

Apart from the boots and hat (!), it probably is a) accurate and b) an effective position. I should have a look for online images of early modern birthing chairs and the like. Upright and squatting type positions were, if I remember my manuals, the norm. And I have read about this position (supported/cradled by another woman) somewhere, too. Hmm, I might do a post later this month when I've done my final teaching push. (childbirth metaphor that just slipped out there... oops, another one...)

Thinking more about the boots and hat, I think we're looking at a rather neat little device: it says, Look at these tough frontierswomen, they just take childbirth in their stride (not like those soft townswomen back east?)... And you know she'll be back at work before you can blink. None of that wimpy lying-in for a month business for her. All of which leads me to wonder: has anyone published about women or gender and the American frontier? (I am currently on the lookout for interesting summer reading.)

Ralph E. Luker - 5/3/2005

It may be accurate, for all I know. But I think I'd take my boots and hat off.

Julie A Hofmann - 5/3/2005

I realize that the picture looks a bit weird, but I was under the impression that the "lying-almost-flat-in-a-bed" childbirth position was a fairly recent western thing. Many women's health books do advocate a more upright position, claiming it to be more natural. Or I could be talking entirely through a metaphorical hat.

OTOH, did this picture remind anyone else of the birthing scenes described in "The Handmaid's Tale"?

Ralph E. Luker - 5/3/2005

Your evil twin, actually. Thanks for catching it!

Miriam Elizabeth Burstein - 5/3/2005

Have you added someone to the list of contributors without mentioning it to us?


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