Hey all, in response to several emails and (now-deleted) anonymous comments, it's disclaimer time again! (Unlike TP, I can't figure out how to put fun things in the columns on the sides, so I'm putting it here.)
To the very nice person who emailed me for suggestions about India, as well as the nasty person who accused me of misrepresenting and trying to destroy the country: My writings on India are a combination of factual descriptions of my own experiences as well as educated yet subjective opinions on things that go on there. On all subjects: as with most other bloggers, I write what I know, what I think, and what I feel like writing, and I do not claim to be an expert on anything but myself. If you like coming here, I'm glad, and I hope you find it enjoyable and informative; if you don't like coming here, nobody's forcing you to, and if it really causes you that much pain, I would suggest going elsewhere or turning off the computer entirely.
[Elaboration of the above: I also am very bad at getting my points across. I'll sit down with a point, and I'll write at length about various related things, and it's not until someone else misunderstands me (although their understanding is quite reasonable given what I've written) that I realize I haven't been clear at all. I may say Canadians are frightfully cheerful, but, when questioned, I'll probably refine that to say that, in my personal experience, Canadians in the Maritimes are frightfully cheerful, and here's this article and that study to back me up. So, before you come to the conclusion I'm an awful person, check to make sure I actually meant what it looks like I meant!]
To the marginally anonymous commenter: assuming you're the same person who left comments under that name back on blogspot and wrote me vulgar emails from a fake email account, and not in fact the person you claim to be, you will continue to be deleted. Should you be the person you claim to be, well, congratulations for finding me -- and your comments will be left as long as you give a valid email address. Same goes for everyone commenting: leave a valid email address or weblog address, and not a link to a casino, and you won't be deleted!
To everyone else living in Houston: How's say, January 4th? (If any of you are squeamish about discussing things in public,email me , and we can work this out there.) Now back to your regularly scheduled light vacation blogging.
As long-promised, a picture of me from India. This is my birthday, but it's just a midly fancier version of what I wore every day. I'm in the house of my friend Iswari; this is a typical dwelling for a middle-income family in Madurai.
Mr. Adesnik ponders the scarcity of high-profile academic women bloggers. He hypothesizes:
First and foremost, my sense is that women shy away from the kind of forceful and often scathing debate that takes place in the blogosphere.
Seems that way to me, in private, academic, and online life. Throughout high school, in Houston, London, and Germany, I was friends almost exclusively with guys, because my mind works that way. (Yes, I knit and cook and love sappy romantic films -- and enjoy the extent to which I can use my femininity to get men to do what I want (something many females do, but not too many admit to!); but I can park perfectly, I love building bookshelves, and I do long division when bored in class, so I don't fit either stereotype.) My best memories from high school in Houston involve listening to or participating in arguments with guys, several of whom have at least temporarily entered into academic/political blogging. True, my best friend in London was The Dancer, but she's got a manly mind (and a manly sexual appetite for women), so she doesn't quite count.
A case in point: I went on a road trip one winter with a group of Harvardians. After three hours in the "girls' car," I simply could not take the inanity of their conversation any longer. These young women, on track to count themselves among the best-educated women in the world, balked at my attempts to start a discussion about "issues," preferring instead to gossip and giggle and dance to Madonna. They are quite able to carry on intelligent conversation, but they see it as a chore rather than a pleasure. Making my escape to a car filled with those possessed of a Y-chromosome, I was thrilled to find a 4am argument on philosophy and the idea of a first cause.
"I am sorry to be hard on any of our sex, but, there it is."
This is not to say that all women or all men fit the stereotype. The Dancer and the Houston Roommate, along with the wife of one of those high school friends, have what I've called manly minds. That is, among other attributes, whether or not they participate in heated academic debate (or even like it), I think that they'd be able to follow it without getting panicky like my mother or longing to return to gossip about who-likes-who and how *too* cute those shoes are. In the other direction, while I am like my father in this regard, Bob is like my mother, and not possessed of an argue-capable mind. They both have the intellectual capacity to argue, but I'd be shocked to find out that they'd ever sought out an academic/political weblog for either edification or pleasure. (It's nice, in a way, when you get all het up about something you can't change, to have someone to smoothe out your forehead and tell you quite convincingly that it doesn't matter.)
Meh -- yet another ramble. So, in short form: I agree. There aren't many female academic/political bloggers, not because they're not welcome or not respected, but simply because more men than women have the type of mind that leans toward such things.
When your grandfather, who above all others earns your respect, spends a good half an hour praising your grandmother and telling stories about when he was trying to win her heart, and then, an hour later, says, "you remind me of your grandmother. I'm proud of you."
Come now, folks -- Join The Dead Pool! All the cool kids are doing it! Non-Bloggers like the Houston Roommate can join too, if they either bribe the judge or want to try their hands at blogging under the auspices of the frightening Mr. Simon.
(In other news: it's my mother's birthday tomorrow, so I'm going to Houston to surprise her. Don't tell!)