Tag Archives: Jill Lepore

Reading Women’s Anger

Highlights from what I’ve been reading:

The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud

This novel launches auspiciously with a rant by a self-identified middle-aged angry woman, about the nature and depth of her anger. Methought “yes, please!” And I enjoyed it. Lovely sentences, interesting characters. But the symbolism was too on the nose. An unfulfilled, meticulous, self-contained woman artist making meticulous, self-contained dioramas of famously unfulfilled women artists. Her foil, a fulfilled, vaguely exploitative, worldly woman artist making room-sized joyful worlds out of “trash” and, it turns out, exploitation. Didn’t you hear? The Art Machine grinds people up! OTOH, Alice Munro said that all the women she knew upended their lives between 36 and 45. This is a decent story about that.

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Disrupt This!

Disruption is popular these days. Maybe you  noticed.

Maybe you heard a corporate type complete a full sentence, with complex clauses and maybe even a metaphor, without uttering the word aloud. But you know she was thinking it.

Even if she says the word without salivating, the way I might say “train station” or “zoology,” even when delight or greed or hubris is not evident on her face or in her voice, you know she’s thinking about disruption as the ticket to her new life as Steve Jobs.

I realize I generalize.

But this is the Internet.

Sometimes a Thinker for Hire needs to make a point.

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Jill Lepore on Conceal/Carry Laws

I reread my April post on Jill Lepore’s fantastic article about the history of gun control legislation.

Given my pre-occupation, since the Aurora shootings, with gun control legislation, I wanted to re-post what she wrote about the possibility of a vigilante society:

Gun-rights advocates say that the answer is more guns: things would have gone better, they suggest, if the faculty at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Chardon High School had been armed. That is the logic of the concealed-carry movement; that is how armed citizens have come to be patrolling the streets. That is not how civilians live.

When carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense is understood not as a failure of civil society, to be mourned, but as an act of citizenship, to be vaunted, there is little civilian life left.

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Health Care Decision Roundup

Thank goodness for the Daily Beast.

Wait, did I just say that?

Here I was, trying to come up with an efficient way to understand the left and right smarties’ reactions to the health care decision. How can I possibly ingest all that opinion? Would my head have to start radiating beams of yellow light as my skull fails to withstand the pressure of so much agenda-driven analysis, combined with the stress of wading through the internet to find it?

Nope. Tina Brown did it for me. Hope her skull’s intact!

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Beautiful Writing (About Gun Control)

In last week’s New Yorker, the inimitable Jill Lepore lays out the history of gun control legislation from the Constitution onward.

Turns out, and it’s not surprising, that the current civil-rights-based interpretation of the 2nd Amendment was radical when the NRA started floating it in the 70s. For 200 years prior, everyone understood the Constitution to affirm the people’s right to form militias for the good of the commonwealth. The 2nd Amendment goes along with the 3d Amendment, protecting the commonwealth from a military regime (that part about not having to quarter a soldier without your consent).

Li’l militias soon got absorbed into the standing national army, and armories were publicly operated storehouses for the sanctioned army to use. Citizens used guns for hunting and didn’t think of the two as connected.

The right to defend your property from a shady-looking nogoodnik had nothing to do with it. But in the 70s, the NRA formed a lobbying arm. And during the Reagan administration, the NRA lobbyists started to succeed in getting this new, radical, civil rights interpretation placed in legal journals–and in getting it passed into law.

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