Monday, October 30, 2006

the past: bill can keep it

i don't know about you but when oprah had bill o'reilly on her show, i almost went blind. i mean, ok, she can have any sexual harrassing, falafel sniffing pervert whe wants on the show - but do we really have to look him seriously in the eye like *he's* the model of traditional values??

anyway, hearing everyone on that show bandy the term 'traditional values' vs. 'values that aren't traditional, never will be and will destroy life as we know it' (no, bill's not hysterical at all), as if these binary oppositions actually existed in a historical context, got me thinking.

while i like myth as a literary form, i've never much liked it as a structure for social behavior or law. so i went to borders yesterday and bought a stack of books i can barely afford and one of them was this:

The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap: Stephanie Coontz

traditional values, or what we assume is a common cultural 'sense' have never been so. they've never been natural things, things that just spring up like flowers. there is a Will, an Ideology, behind this world of ours. and bill doesn't want us to look at Ideology (or, rather, those hidden interests that guide these mythical 'traditional' values.) he wants us all to choose a side without even questioning the terms we're using.

no thanks.

and, besides, when was the past ever good for brown people? bill says he doesn't want to live in a world without traditional values; he'd rather live in a mythical bucolic past where everything was 'good.' but here's news - it wasn't good for everyone. what past is he talking about? is he talking about 1959? 1859? 1759? 1659? 'cause i can pretty much guarantee that life sucked hard, all the way back, if you weren't white, straight, male and rich.

anyway, i bring up this book because the amazon page has a neato feature that lets you look at its bibliography which is a great source list for women's history, historiography, some social studies and some really solid feminist academic texts. read books, people! you'll learn stuff!

5 comments:

jesus chick said...

you watch oprah? for real? hmmm. . . when is she even on??

ding said...

i actually have no idea when she comes on! my roommate and i DVR it - we've set up a timer for new episodes and we can just plow through one in just 30 minutes!

it's awesome.

and i have a like/frustrate relationship with oprah. i indulge in my craven materialism when i ogle all the stuff she seems to have, indulge my secret vigilantism when she totally busts child predators and pornographers, sort of roll my eyes when she goes all 'inspirational' about 2-legged dogs and stuff, and then have a mini-stroke when she just goes fluff over bill o'reilly.

Anonymous said...

n other news a Maryland court decided that if a man consents to let a woman perform fellatio on him she can give him a few good bites and he can't say no because the process has begun...and he tuned over ownership of his body when he consented to the act!

ding said...

ok, THAT i totally disagree with.
if a woman has the legal latitude to 'say no' (which is a presumption, i know) to sexual acts, then i think a man has that same latitude.

right?

matriarch8 said...

of course I was being veeeeeery sarcastic...Maryland decided that once sex begins a woman's partner can do as he likes as consent was initially given..