#oscarssowhite: did you watch the show?

I warily watched the opening ceremony, and felt some relief that Chris Rock managed to call out at least the implicit racism (“the sorority racism:  we really like you but you are just not a kappa”) in Hollywood.  Every once in a while I turned the TV back on:  racism was a major topic.

here’s the transcript of Chris Rock’s opening monologue.

  1. The NY Times chief films critics discussed the ceremony here.  The beginning of their discussion:

MANOHLA DARGIS Our national nightmare is over: The 2016 Academy Awards are history. They were also history, too, just because for a few minutes Chris Rock tore the smiling mask off of the industry. Unlike most Oscar hosts, who just have to ease us through another grindingly dull show, he had a tough job Sunday night because everyone knew he had to confront #OscarsSoWhite, which he initially did pretty brilliantly.

Because while at first it seemed as if Mr. Rock was going to go easy on the room, with soft laughs about the “White People’s Choice Awards,” you could feel the room begin to cool when he started dropping words like “raping” and “lynching.” Rarely have the cutaways to the audience seemed as surreal. It was as if a chasm had suddenly opened between this single black performer and all those increasingly uneasy white people. The industry likes to obscure its racism and sexism, but its inequities and hollow insistence that the only color it cares about is green have become untenable as more people speak out. So, I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed watching that room squirm.

Joan Rivers & a chilling frankness about a woman’s life

Compared to how women’s lives were described in the fifties – at least in the militaristic-Roman Catholic culture of my family – this seems quite textured. Earlier she was just freakish.

From the NYTimes:

Female comics today like Kathy Griffin and Sarah Silverman are not as self-deprecating as Ms. Rivers and other female pioneers who were considered freakish just for daring to do stand-up. Acceptance then meant accepting the role of self-hating clown.

As illustration:

Onstage, Ms. Rivers was her own best target, ransacking her deepest insecurities for a laugh: her looks, her sex appeal, her marriage and even, a few years after he died, her husband’s suicide. She mocked aging and, most of all, her obsession with plastic surgery. In an interview on the occasion of her 80th birthday last year, Ms. Rivers said, “I’m celebrating with my 80th face.”

How to get a faculty member down from a tree

Well, the method worked with a bear, and I think it is obviously even more likely to work with faculty. Read on:

Two young bears who were hanging out in campsites and a bar in California ended up in the Houston Zoo. They were put into an enclosure where they could be seen, and within thirty or so minutes they were out of the enclosure and up trees.

This caused some consternation among zoo officials, and they lured one bear into a crate with bread and honey. The next bear required a lot more thought:

[after two and a half hours] The zoo team brought in a bucket crane like the kind used by window cleaners and hoisted the zoo director and the area supervisor up above where the bear was hiding in the branches.

The animal then decided enough was enough and climbed back down and into her exhibit on her own.

“We were certainly surprised, we were not expecting to spend our afternoon like that,” [Beth] Schaefer [museum curator] said.

One second thought, I suppose some faculty might just hang in there and shout things like, “I have tenure,” “Nothing in the faculty handbook says anything about trees,” and other, much ruder things. But a lot of us would indeed give up, I’d bet.

It’s a girl thing (spoof version)

Over at the Telegraph:

A group of British female scientists have made a spoof video of themselves  strutting around in high heels and losing their make-up in science labs – to the  song ‘I’m Sexy and I Know It’ – in response to the “demeaning” science ‘girl  thing’ video published by the European Commission earlier this year.

The Onion strikes again

But sadly, this satire likely reflects greater gender equality than reality, as unemployment benefits in the US are calculated by the wages you did earn while employed.

In a historic development for gender parity in the American workplace, recently laid-off consultant Paula Saunders, 32, is at last earning an income identical to that of her unemployed male counterparts. “Right now, I’m earning the same amount of money for the same amount of work as [former coworker] Greg [Lowell], who, just like me, started in 2004 and was laid off last week with no severance package,” a visibly proud Saunders told reporters Monday while sitting on her couch at two in the afternoon. “Finally, after years of trying to achieve equality, it’s nice to know that my gender isn’t a financial strike against me. The glass floor has been shattered.” According to company sources who wished to remain anonymous, it was no coincidence that Saunders’ employment was terminated two months after telling her bosses she was pregnant.