Philobiblon: May 2005

Monday, May 23, 2005

Not in the news

No wonder newspapers are always struggling to find pictures of women to "decorate" their pages ...

"Women's views absent in the news

May 23, 2005
Women have come a long way in American society in the past 40 years - just not in terms of the news.
Women are quoted in stories far less frequently than men, 33 percent compared with 76 percent, according to a new report due out this morning. Daily newspapers did the best job of citing women, though less than 50 percent of the articles surveyed included a female voice, while cable television had the worst performance ..."
From Newsday

Friday, May 20, 2005

Friday femmes fatales No 8

Where are all the female bloggers? HERE, in my (usually) weekly top ten.

To start with some reflection on the practice of the keyboard,Miriam Jones, on The Valve, discusses why how Chinese scholars paid for their brushes and ink matters in considering their writing. Are you writing on a battered old second-hand PC or the latest Mac. Does it matter?

Staying philosophical, Green Consciousness explains how she tries to avoid "psychic slime" and in a short but sweet post, Worshipping at the Altar of Mediocrity welcomes an activist approach to atheism.

Turning political, Reclaiming Medusa rejects "the burqa excuse", while DED Space suggests Generation X women need to reinvent the consciousness-raising group and Iconochron finds that she can make relatively good choices in buying gas (petrol).

Nathalie on Mediabistro is meanwhile deconstructing Tom Wolfe's white suit. /Then if you fancy a refreshingly surreal online juice, check out this gift from Orangepulp.

Meanwhile Mommy blawg has worked out the grand Star Wars marketing plan, but she's let her four-year-old watch the new episodes anyway. The Cheeky Prof is, however, putting her foot down about her student's grades.

Please, if you read a post in the next week by a woman blogger and think "that deserves a wider audience", tell me about it, in the comments here or by email. Thanks!

(I try to cover as wide a range of female bloggers as possible, so the views expressed may not reflect my own.)

The most recent former edition is here.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The joys of moving

Moving house is famously supposed to be the third most-stressful experience after death and divorce (and I must have looked stressed at various times over the past week because lots of people have mentioned that to me), but it also has its pleasures, one being the exploration of your new neighbourhood.

And although I've mostly been buried under piles of old wallpaper in the past few days - dissolved wallpaper paste, sugar soap and water do make such lovely congealing blobs, which turn up in the oddest places - I have found a wonderful line of, for London, astonishingly cheap restaurants, in Drummond Street, around the back of Euston station.

There's a £6 vegetarian buffet with an _excellent_ selection of varied dishes made with palpably fresh ingredients, and the Ravi Shankar, which has a daily "three-course meal", well meal on a tray anyway, for £4.75. (The only problem with that is it makes the £1.75 salt lassilook scandalously expensive.)

I won't, however, be able to take a group of editors; there'd be meltdown over the menu. On Sunday I just had to have the "chic pea's curry".

I haven't been a great fan of Indian food for years - two months of being continually, horribly ill in its native land developed unfortunate associations - but I might have to redevelop the taste.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

This hiatus ...

... will continue for a little longer. The purchase of my new flat finally went through at 3 this afternoon (having been originally scheduled for last Friday), after my having taken off this week to work on it, so I've finally started an orgy of wallpaper stripping, painting et al - also removing what must be decades of nicotine crud from the woodwork - the cloths just turn yellow with what must be pure nicotine.

In the frustrating period of waiting I did manage to read a couple of good books ... stand by for posts on Colette and North Korea.

Friday femmes fatales is also likely to be postponed for a few days.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Friday femmes fatales No 7

Where are all the female bloggers? HERE, in my weekly top ten.

First, an unmissable if only irregularly updated blog, abortion clinic days, explains why one woman might be forced by circumstances into multiple abortions, being unable to find a workable method of birth control.

On a related topic, Brutal Woman, about her experience of getting an IUD fitted. (I did say I wouldn't mention any blogger more than once in the first ten weeks, but I think this post contains information all women should know. And don't miss the comments for further enlightenment.)

If you're looking for an entirely different form of contraceptive, you might want to read on Confessions of a Drama Mother about the difficulties of getting a child to play by herself. But beware abortion, at least if you are a character in a television drama, Cool Bean warns.

Finally on this topic, if you're feeling too depressed at this point, check out What was I thinking? for her "good gynaecologist" story.

Now, steering away from "women's stuff" ...

On reappropriate, "an angry little Asian girl" tries to reclaim the swastika for what it is, "an ancient icon in Buddhism". Eurocentrism means, she says, "for Asians in America like myself and my sister, that piece of our culture has been lost, probably for good". Meanwhile Reclaiming Medusa is finding that while a missing church-going white woman in America is big news, murdered Afghan activists are not.

I won't call it a meme, but J&J's Mum is listing those things she simultaneously loves and hates and others might like to follow suit. Many mothers - and others - might I suspect agree with some of her choices. I particularly sympathised with walking the dog after it has rained.

Music is my cultural blindspot - it all sounds like noise to me - but Joan Hunt, posting on Blogcritics about the
Adams Avenue Roots Festival might almost make me change my mind.

And finally, I feel like I should have a post on the British election, since it has consumed so many of my hours in the past week, but I don't really know any female bloggers who regularly post on British party politics, so I'm going to point to a modest little effort of my own, in which I made a reasonably accurate prediction of the result, and suggested sweeping constitutional reforms that would make it all much more interesting.

(Nominations for next week on this topic, when the dust has settled, will be particularly welcome. Other suggestions - including posts of your own! - are also greatly in demand.)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Today's the day

After what seems like years of campaigning, we finally get to vote in the British election today. My prediction, for what it is worth, which isn't much, is that Blair will see a significant, but not fatally damaging, loss of seats.

What I'd like to see happen is the Liberal Democrats win the balance of power, or something very close to it, so that some form of proprtional representation would be introduced, making the electoral system a great deal fairer. Under the first past the post system only a tiny percentage of the population really decide the result; the change would make politicians far more representative of the views of the electors.

As for the House of Lords, I have the perfect solution. It has a long democratic pedigree, would not involve a conflict of powers with the Commons, and would produce a delightfully eccentric, interesting body: selection by lot.