In memory of Agnes Varda…

… the French New Wave director who died yesterday, an essay UD wrote long ago about one of her best-known films, Vagabonde.

In memory of Sarah Auffret…

… killed in the Ethiopian Air crash, excerpts from an interview she gave about her two seasons at Port Lockroy, Britain’s most southerly post office. Auffret was – like so many people on that flight – an adventurer, an environmentalist, and a moralist.

As the sun never sets, days are long, but always enjoyable. The team wakes up around 7 a.m. – my morning alarm was the sound of penguins calling and snowy sheathbills knocking at the window. A typical day during high season very much revolves around ship visits – there would be two a day and sometimes a sailing yacht at lunch time. One or more of us would go on board the vessel first thing for a pre-landing briefing and perhaps breakfast – fans of bacon and eggs were always keen to get on board for this!

… Living conditions are pretty basic – there is no running water, only one gas heater in the team’s living quarters, and you may get one shower a week on a visiting ship if you’re lucky. You also need to be able to live with just a small number of people, yet also be very sociable, as you meet about 300 people a day.


When I left, I really missed the light and the tranquility of the island, and the absence of phones and internet. On base you can be connected to what is actually around you without the constant distraction of the online world.

We know who to thank.

First managing director! First chief economist! Take a bow, DSK.

“Hundreds give blood for the mayor of Gdansk.”

In the city of Solidarity, people come together in an ultimately losing battle for the life of their assassinated mayor.


O powerful western fallen star! 
O shades of night—O moody, tearful night! 
O great star disappear’d—

Supreme Court keeps worst state in the union from…

making itself even worse.

Well, you already know I spent my last birthday…

… heading into Woodstock with my sister at the wheel, the two of us belting out Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock. You know I sing and play guitar (though I mainly sing and play piano now), and that my roots are very Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell. (My aspirational roots are Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, but let’s get real…) For Joni Mitchell’s 75th birthday, Canadian singers talk about their favorite songs of hers.

Although I sat around my freshman dorm room at Goucher College obsessively listening to the sad songs on Blue, it’s her fast ecstatic songs that have stayed with me: Woodstock, Carey, California. These are the songs that, decade after decade, sashay through my head while I sashay.







Name of the hot dog pilot who did a crab landing while all the other pilots at Bristol airport aborted and landed elsewhere?

Brenda.







Since You’ve Been …

Gone.







Hopeless Hopeless Hopeless Hopeless

Lindsay Shepherd’s Song

(Sing it.)

There is a school in north Ontario
Witch hunt, Orwellian, despair
Urgently I need a different place to go
All its faculty’s bizaire

Open windows to my students’ souls
Higher thought on the rise
Then came the commissar patrols
Throwing shadows in their eyes

It’s just hopeless hopeless hopeless
Hopeless hopeless they lie to me now
Hopeless hopeless hopeless
Have to get out of here somehow

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(Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!
Sorry you recorded what we said!
Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!
Can’t believe where this has led)

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[T]hough social-justice ideology isn’t leading to the gulag, its worst forms have an obvious family relation to communism, complete with internal purges and hostility to dissent.







“I found a kindred spirit in Zuzana because she was someone who played the harpsichord simply in order to …

exist as a human being.”







The Girl Who Lived…

goes to Oxford.







Quotation of the Day.

“Take for example, female genital mutilation,” Anderson said. “So, they say ‘that’s a cultural practice.’ I’m sorry, no culture should be able to whack off sex organs, so you can’t have pleasure anymore.”

Karrin Anderson, a professor in the Colorado State University communications department.

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Also: Check out the great “Girls Belong in School” poster on the page.







Number Nine… Number Nine… Number Nine…

Laura Kipnis’s endlessly repeated Title IX investigations at UD‘s befuddled alma mater, Northwestern University, begin to sound like the famous Beatles song. She keeps getting investigated for sex discrimination and found not guilty of it. Her life is heading into Groundhog Day territory, waking up every morning to the same effort to nail her for nastiness.

She wrote about her first investigation in a recent book:

Her prior Title IX investigation, she writes, “has made me a little mad and possibly a little dangerous. . . . I mean, having been hauled up on complaints once, what do I have to lose? ‘Confidentiality’? ‘Conduct befitting a professor’? Kiss my ass.”

Failing to bring her down via Number Nine, Northwestern tried to ruin her for incivility.

The dean ultimately found that Kipnis did not violate the civility policy…

Rats. How about her violations of The Free Woman policy? She’s been flouncing around being a free woman – can we go after her for that?

No. Let’s stick with Title IX. A law professor specifies, in the New Yorker, how it can be used:

Title IX can … be used to discourage disagreement, deter dissent, deflect scrutiny, or register disapproval of people whom colleagues find loathsome. The problem is not with Title IX itself, much less the generic capacity of any rule to be used as a pretext for unrelated ends. Rather, it is the growing tendency to try, in the words of Kipnis’s book, “to bend Title IX into an all-purpose bludgeon.” This warping is made possible by ambiguous and undisciplined understandings — misunderstandings — of sexual harassment and its harms… Title IX is too often conscripted to serve purposes antithetical to the education of citizens in a democracy, in which disagreement, dissent, or disapproval should lead to argument, not to an infinite loop of institutional investigation.







‘[She] was captivated by the beauty of … hyperbolic geometry.’

The first woman to win a Fields Medal, Maryam Mirzakhani, has died at the age of forty from breast cancer.

“She had a sort of daring imagination,” [said her Harvard mentor.] … “She would formulate in her mind an imaginary picture of what must be going on, then come to my office and describe it. At the end, she would turn to me and say, ‘Is it right?’ I was always very flattered that she thought I would know.”

Just before she became ill, she talked about her “big plans for the next chapters of her mathematical story. She has started working … to try to develop a complete list of the kinds of sets that translation surface orbits can fill up.”







What a sweet, late in life victory for Renee Rabinowitz.

And of course since it’s part of the endless legal and moral battle against Israeli’s ultra-sexist ultra-orthodox, this story also stars UD‘s beloved Anat Hoffman, a woman who spends her life filing one successful lawsuit after another.

The suits are virtually all successful because it’s ultra-obvious that discrimination, physical assault, property destruction, and other shit Israel’s wild and crazy haredim routinely do in defense of their way of life is illegal. You just have to file a case against them and you’ll win.

Not that your victory will mean much. Do they pay financial penalties? UD doubts it. Do they change their ways? Well, if you denied the legitimacy of the Israeli state, would you obey directives from its courts?

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El Al airlines, however, is another matter. El Al is not a medieval cult. El Al is a modern corporation which has been kissing the ass of the ultra-orthodox by humiliating the female passengers they refuse to sit next to.

Move it, lady! This guy finds your devil-stench disgusting and you must take your foul carcass away pronto or things will get ugly because he and his friends will stand in the aisle of the plane and refuse to move so we won’t be able to take off until you slink away like the guilty thing you are to whatever seat we can dig up for you..

And listen, hon. It’s really no big deal. It’s not really a humiliation at all. Think of it as like that adorable little genital nick Alan Dershowitz has been all excited about lately. Just an in-flight version of the ritual nick! Just a tickle! Just a very small sacrifice for womanhood and for the larger community!

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El Al! Is this the airline whose pilot ended a terrorist takeover of his plane by suddenly throwing it into an unbelievable dive that killed one of the attackers and knocked out the other? And now they can’t stand up to random obnoxious ultra-orthodox?

So 83-year-old Renee decided fuck that – After she was put through this humiliation, she got together with Hoffman and they sued El Al and of course Hoffman just racked up another win because the whole thing is so ultra-bloody-obvious.

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The real question now is how long it will be before El Al designates an entirely separate fleet of planes for use by the ultra-orthodox.

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It’s a victory over “the gender segregation that Israel has been battling for more than a decade — all of the attempts by the ultra-Orthodox community to push women out of the public sphere.”







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