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.
While there's a lot a feminist critique of Quantum of Solace, the new James Bond flick, could cover, such as the other-ing of the voiceless "ethnic" communities/Bond's sense of entitlement to their culture and resources, Judy Dench's role as M, or the current, very real political turbulence in Bolivia (FYI? George Bush is still our president), this post mainly focuses on the use of the rape-revenge themes and surprise, surprise, the objectification of women found in the movie.
And yes, there are spoilers.
I finally unpacked from last weekend's NCMR, and unloaded the special NCMR tote bag. I've learned from the past couple conferences I've attended that tote bags are apparently a necessary part of every conference. Am I being an ungracious a**hole when I say I find this ridiculous? Sure, tote bags are helpful in organizing all the conference materials and other items handed out at workshops, but don't people bring their own bags?