Folk songwriter Fred Neil said Karen Dalton "sure could sing the shit out of the blues," and Bob Dylan said she sang like Billie Holiday and played guitar like Jimmy Reed. Dylan's description wouldn't be the last time this under-the-radar folk singer was likened to Lady Day. Like Holiday, Dalton's haunting croon completely transforms whatever folk, blues, or pop standard she sang.
I almost don’t want to give the New York Times the pageviews it was obviously courting in publishing Ross Douthat’s stunningly underthought and journalistically sloppy column “Liberated and Unhappy.” But those of you who’ve read Beth Skwarecki’s article “Mad Science: Deconstructing Bunk Reporting in 5 Easy Steps” will immediately recognize the tricks Douthat uses in his “analysis” of the supposed link between the gains of feminism and the sad, benighted women it’s left in its wake.
The 2007 study on which Douthat hangs today's column is called “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness,” and was authored by two economists from The Wharton School of Business; reading it, it seems fair to say that, like many an interesting study, it makes a sweeping hypothesis — “By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women’s declining relative happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men” — and then spends much of the following 44 pages explaining that it’s not actually that simple, and exploring the many variables that may contribute to this decline. For instance, the social pressure on women of the 1960s and ‘70s to put on a happy face (even one that was chemically induced) is very likely a factor in the study’s self-reporting; so is the probability that, as revealed in a study by another economist published around the same time as “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness,” men have over the past several decades cut back on activities they don’t like and, as a result, have more true leisure time; women —whose leisure time, particularly if they have families, is not their own—have less.
Last week, at a panel session during the Seventh Circuit Bar Association in Indianapolis, a couple of judges aired a grievance regarding women in the courtroom. Their complaint? Lady lawyers are dressing too damn sexy!
Discussion of this all-important issue included the thought by Chief Judge Michael McCluskey that some women come to court wearing "skirts so short that there's no way they can sit down and blouses so short there's no way the judges wouldn't look," and Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin Goldgar's belief that female lawyers' clothing is "a huge problem." He said sometimes he wishes he could tell the female lawyer before him, "I'd really like to pay attention to your argument." But he can't, you know, because her boobs are too distracting.
What's next? Keeping women out of the courtroom entirely because some of the male judges can't handle their pretty hair or nice eyes? More of a discussion (if you randy readers can handle it!) after the jump.
That journalist Sheila Weller's NYT Bestseller, "Girls Like Us" also features Carole King and Carly Simon is a nice extra, of course. I haven't even finished this book yet, but I just have to gush about it. It's music history, it's women's history, it's American pop culture history...what's not to love?
France's Centre Pompidou houses the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe, so the banishment of male artists for an entire year is quite an expression of solidarity with women in the art world.