Convivial hire

July 25, 2007

After yet another instance of GB* and I expressing the same snide thought at the same time with the same exasperated intonation, I remarked that we should push for what he cleverly called a ‘convivial hire.’ Tweaking the spirit of spousal hires, this would be a case of ‘take me, take my platonic partner.’ What a good idea – to have institutions recognize and acknowledge that that a marriage (or a common-law relationship) isn’t the sole source of vital intellectual and emotional support. Families are formed from connections beyond blood or binding legal agreements; we choose our friends as carefully (even more so, in some cases) as we do our romantic partners, and my core friendships are lasting longer than many marriages. In the wake of a professionalization workshop last year one of my professors asked what else should be included when they run the seminar again, and I suggested broadening the range of advice to address precisely this. “What,” I asked, “do you do if you don’t have a partner trailing after you?” I was told that things were much easier in that respect. Easier when negotiating a contract, yeah, but when allowances aren’t made for the other ties that bind everything else is harder. Restarting your life is tricky enough; when doing it alone, taking leave of the people with whom you have weathered everything that has gone before, it becomes even more difficult. Sure, GB and I could get married as convenient lark, but I’d step out on him eventually and adultery is so 2005.

*He needs a pseudonym and is not content with Gay Boyfriend. The initials stick until inspiration strikes.

Quote of the day

July 16, 2007

The broader implication is this: that one’s own collaboration with mass-approved violence – i.e., institutional racism, First World nationalism, and apathetic complacency – doesn’t count. Climb the corporate ladder, buy American, tune out on Prozac – these silences equal death. But there’s a popular illusion that ‘violence’ is limited only to the physical, the actual contact of skin on skin. What about the daily devastation of poverty, the lack of child care, the shortage of clean air, the sight of children going without – and one’s own active or passive participation in these devastating institutions? If Jane Six Pack hits you, she’s a lower-class bitch. If Jane Six Pack sits in her air-conditioned stockbroker suite investing in Latin America, it’s affirmative action.
-Veena Cabreros-Sud, “Kicking Ass”


July 14, 2007

My current stash of library books. And yes, I stacked them on purpose to take a picture. Clearly I was procrastinating. Clearly I still am.
Top to bottom:
Entanglements of Power: Geographies of Domination/Resistance (eds. Sharp et al 2000)
Rape on Prime Time: Television, Masculinity, and Sexual Violence (Lisa Cuklanz 2000)
The James Bond Phenomenon: A Critical Reader (ed Christoph Lindner 2003)
Cultures of Masculinity (Tim Edwards 2006)
Feminism After Bourdieu (eds Lisa Atkins and Beverley Skeggs 2004)
Masculinities (R.W. Connell 1995)
Masculine Domination (Pierre Bourdieu 2001)
Marxism and Literature (Raymond Williams 1977)
The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection (Judith Butler 1997)
Masculinities and Crime (James Messerschmidt 1993)
Generations: Academic Feminists in Conversation (eds Devoney Loose and E. Ann Kaplan 1997)
Masculinity and Power (Arthur Brittan 1989)
Blown Away: American Women and Guns (Caitlin Kelly 2004)
To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism (ed Rebecca Walker 1995)
Feminism and the Technological Fix (Carol A. Stabile 1994)
Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics (R.W. Connell 1987)

ADDENDUM: It’s been brought to my attention that many of these titles contain the word ‘power’. Four in total (five, if you consider ‘domination’ a synonym for power, which the OED certainly does). I am a feminist, and a Leo to boot, such things preoccupy me…

they might be the type of people who get really giddy the first week of their retirement. They might call you around 2pm on a weekday to ask how to make Jell-o shooters, and not believe you (with good reason) when you say you don’t know. They could threaten to look it up on the internet. And you could spend the rest of the afternoon really glad you shell out the extra few bucks a month for call display.

If only

July 6, 2007

There is no Patriarch Headquarters, with flags and limousines, where all the strategies are worked out.
-R.W. Connell, Masculinities

It would be so much more convenient if there was. I’d apply for a travel grant to visit Patriarch Headquarters – give a quick slideshow presentation, have a light lunch, effect some change in the social order. I’d make a day of it.

I can’t imagine living in one place all my life – to not have that dialectic of leaving and returning, moving between pasts and present, the liminal space of the highway. My one-week tour of places called home was both predictable and revelatory (revelations saved for later). Quintessential Ontario moments: being back-slapped by a biker, at the skeezy pub ordering a 50 (and then another, and another), swatting in frustration at mosquitoes the size of quarters, the Quebec license plate on my rental car prompting someone to shout “Go back to your own country!” The expanses – of roads, of fields, of skies, of water – provoked a profound inner quiet that I desperately needed to find again. I was overwhelmed, as always, with wanting to linger in the way it was just a little bit longer: the slow-running comfort of familiar conversations and faces with long histories. My girls, my wine. Life carries on with little regard to how hard that can actually be …

What is hardest to accept about the passage of time is that the people who once mattered the most to us are wrapped up in parentheses (John Irving – I know, I’m sorry, but it’s true).

I cried at the wedding – don’t tell anyone (and that was even before I started dipping into the fountain of cosmopolitans). Not at the legally-obliged-to-be-everlasting-love, but at watching two people so dear to me dancing and smiling and nothing but each other, oblivious to the fireworks of camera flashes. Quintessential wedding moment: the inevitable dance with that guy who spills his beer down the back of your dress as he’s trying to grab your ass.
Final tally: 1860 kilometres on the rental car, three awkward conversations with my mother, one drunken 4 a.m. limo ride, two pieces of wedding cake, five in-transit Tim Horton’s coffees.