I can't say that this first episode of the third season of Mad Men wowed me, but I suppose it was inevitable, amidst all the hype, that the episode would disappoint at least one person in its audience. And indeed, it was something of a shaky start. Don's reminisicing - or, really, more accurately, reimagining, since he can't possibly remember - the circumstances of his own birth made for a rather confusing opener. Not only did there seem to be, literally, a dick joke in it (not a particularly clever one IMHO), it was an oddly sentimental moment for a character whose trademark is emotional opacity. Don has never been the kind of man who much interests himself with the inner lives of women, or more particularly someone attached to the notion of mothers and origin. He is, as the old saying goes, the epitome of a self-made man, constructed entirely of the things he thinks he wants to be, however disappointed he may be when he gets them.
These scenes seemed designed to tell us that Don is newly recommitted to his life at home with Betty and the kids (who are soon to number three). But we swiftly learn that he is still a womanizer. But there's something new about his taste. One of the things that has always rescued Don from the "complete tool on the subject of women" column has always been his interest in what used to be called "difficult" women - sexually-free, bohemian Midge; reluctant adulterer Rachel; ambitious Bobbie; mysterious Joy. Whatever might be said of Don's philandering, in short, at least the man had taste. But this time, Don is after an airline stewardess (played broadly by Sunny Mabrey with an irritating accent) for whom mystery and subtlety are foreign concepts. And, for the love of God, she's a blonde - very much what Betty might have been had her modelling career tapered off (the
stewardess coyly offers that she is asked all the time whether she, herself, is a model) and she had never gotten married.
What's an office with over 800 page-turning books to do? Lend them out to the public, of course! That's what we here at Bitch Headquarters decided to do after we realized that our 13-years-in-the-making book collection, covering topics such as feminist theory, media studies, art, queer and gender studies, history, and sociology, was too impressive to hoard to ourselves. So last summer, an admirable group of radical librarians offered to come into the office and catalog our books for us so that we could start lending them out. We got ourselves an account on LibraryThing.com (which you can use to view our online catalog by clicking here), designed some library cards, and now we're up and running. And don't worry--even if you're not in Portland, there are still ways to get involved.
It was made known to us last night (by a big hole in the wall) that our Bitch door sign has been stolen! Here is a photo of the purloined sign in its former glory (in case you need to make an I.D.):
Red alert, readers! Lock up your signs because there is a thief on the loose! If you see this sign floating around NE Alberta Street (or in some jerkwad's apartment somewhere) please bring it back to us! Our sign was a donation from Ferrousity and we really feel it tied the whole office together.
And to the major A-hole(s) who decided it was cool to take this sign in the first place: Congratulations! We hope your friends are impressed by your feats of thievery. You should feel especially proud of yourself since we are a nonprofit organization, which means that money for a new sign will have to come out of funds that would have gone toward hosting community events, publishing our print magazine, and obtaining books for our free lending library. So, you know, way to go on the whole stealing thing.
And another thing, thief: If, by chance, you stop feeling quite so good about your crimes, or your d-bag friends stop being impressed by your ability to steal a sign that says the word "bitch" on it (hilarious!), please return our sign to us. We won't be mad; we just want our darling sign back in its rightful place above our door. If, however, you do not feel any remorse for stealing the sign of a struggling, independent, nonprofit organization, then hopefully said sign is not too big to shove up your ass.
I know most people don't care for Lois, but I think that's because they haven't really given her consideration. I mean, here's a female character who, despite office sexism perseveres with moxie. She's tough-talking, street smart, and modern. She has her own apartment in the City, is an award-winning reporter, and is dedicated to her profession—all of which sounds admirably progressive, even feminist to me. It reminds me of something I wrote in my book about Gloria Steinem's comment about rescuing Wonder Woman by putting her on the cover of Ms. magazine. While Wonder Woman serves as a symbol of our highest aspirations, Lois may have more accurately reflected the lives of journalists at Ms., and at the time was certainly in need of as much rescuing as Diana Prince.
Every year, Advertising Age publishes a special report (and subsequent ceremonial luncheon) called Women to Watch that highlights the great work being done by women in the fields of advertising, marketing, PR, and social media. Apparently, because they are super-organized market-y type people, Ad Age also sends a question in advance to each of the honorees that they then answer in front of the group at the ceremonial luncheon. This year, the question posed was "Why do there continue to be so few female creative directors at ad agencies?"
Here is Tiffany Kosel of Crispin Porter & Bugusky with her answer:
"Rave On" is the Page Turner series that asks feminist writers, artists, musicians, activists, leaders, and scholars to talk about a book that completely rocked their world. Today we feature illustrator and writer Cristy C. Road on Assata: An Autobiography, by Assata Shakur.
I'm originally from Miami, where I felt frigidly alienated for a billion reasons, many of which were ignited by the republican Cuban-American community, which seems to run the social consciousness of every Cuban community there—despite class, neighborhood, etc. I left when I turned 18 and hung out around northern Florida in the punk rock community, and I felt very alive, but sincerely in denial about a lot of the new prejudices I was seeing in this new territory.
When I was about 20, I began feeling completely isolated from the punk rock community as well. I used a lot of denial-based tactics to feel "sane" back then, because I was so romantic about this community since it had salvaged me from preteen turmoil. As I grew older, it was becoming clearer that there was still sexism and racism clouding the positive effects of punk rock.
A gigantic, Bitch-y thank you to everyone who supported us during our Bitch 500 subscription drive! With your help, we reached our goal of 500 new subscribers/renewals in two weeks! Hooray!
We are so lucky to have subscribers and readers like all of you, who stick by us even during these oh-so-tough economic times. Together, we are keeping independent feminist media alive and kicking (even if we've gotta collectively tighten a few purse strings in order to do it), because we realize that providing a feminist response to pop culture is of the utmost importance. After all, sexist media isn't going to critique itself now, is it?
As ever, our fundraising work is far from over, and if you missed out on joining the Bitch 500 (of if you did in fact join but now find yourself with tons of extra cash, you moneybags, you) there are still lots of ways to support what you love. Make a donation to Bitch Media, become a monthly sustainer by joining our B-Hive, host a Bitch house party, or just show your support by decorating your web page with one of these bitchin' badges!
Whatever you do, we appreciate it. Thank you again for your support! Your efforts are keeping Bitch Media going, so that we can keep the feminist responses coming.