Tuesday, May 24, 2011

All over the place

What do Galliano and Sheen, DSK and the I-P conflict, have in common? OMG Jews. That's about all I got out of Stanley Fish's latest. I mean, I always appreciate it when an academic study of representations of Jews and gender in literature reaches a broader audience, and will now have to check out Matthew Biberman's book, so there was that going for it... but otherwise?

-The piece is very much about, here are some tangentially connected thoughts, don't they make you think? There's not really any argument. Is Fish saying anti-Semitism's worse than it once was? That Jews are more powerful than ever before? That time is one, Jewish power and anti-Semitism unchanging facts across place and age?

-Or maybe it's more of a, hey, anti-Semites say Jews are rich and powerful, why, Jews are rich and powerful... just saying.

-We learn of "67 percent of Reform Jewish households in the United States making more than $75,000 a year; only 31 percent of all households hit the same mark." Is this the relevant comparison? Not Reform Jews and whichever demographic of Protestants is equivalent on the one hand, Jews and Christians generally on the other?

-Yes, yes, there are some overlapping key words - "Affaire," "French," "Jewish," and "conspiracy," but DSK=/=Dreyfus. DSK at best did a whole lot like what he was accused of, but might be innocent of the precise crime in question. Dreyfus was a fairly straightforward scapegoat. And, other than Jews concerned with whether there is a Jewish angle, no one in America thinks of DSK as a Jew. He is, like BHL, zee French.

-We have the following quote, in parentheses: "'You can insult any ethnic group and get away with it, except for the Jews.'" Who, exactly, is saying/thinking this? Fish?

-"Those who offer the criticism can never quite be sure that their distaste for Israel’s actions with respect to the Palestinians is entirely innocent of the influence of centuries of vilification." Just... just... what? Obviously, if you've decided I-P is the only issue of any significance in the world, and that Israel=the unequivocal villain, if you're incapable of differentiating between Jews and Israelis, Israelis and the Israeli government... But obviously if you're criticizing something specific (say, Bibi not being all that cooperative with Obama), you're not doing anything remotely sinister.

-What a crap title! I know, I know, these are typically chosen by editors, perhaps even for articles that are really blog posts, but seriously. What exactly does Galliano hurling anti-Semitic epithets at someone who isn't even Jewish have to do with "the Jews"? Was the point to bring charmers like this out of the woodwork? (Also the well-meaning-ish-but-staggeringly-ignorant.)


Are those stand-mixer things useful, and if so, for what? I didn't think we'd have much use (beyond latkes, that is) for the hand-me-down food processor we got a while back from my parents, but it's now how I make pizza dough, making it the most useful thing ever.


-Essie "nice is nice" is, well, nice. Lavender-lilac, but not too chalky, as white-based nail polishes often are. Also nice is Laura Mercier Sheer Lip Color in "baby lips." Also Korres mango butter lipstick in "frost pink." I still have some leftover/pent-up primping impulse stemming from my pre-wedding sense that I should care more about such matters, culminating in the frizziest weather imaginable, as well as my hair's decision to turn blond in the front every spring, something I understand women pay for but that does not suit my coloring. Lip and nail color, this can be controlled.


Britta said...

On the stand-up mixer, for you probably not. They are really bulky and heavy and take up precious counter space, and unless you do a lot of fairly serious baking not super worth it. A food processor can make pizza dough better anyways, and if your baking consists of cookies, brownies, and cakes every once and awhile, a decent hand-held mixer is fine. I got a Cuisineart 7-speed hand mixer for my wedding, which I am happy with. (I also got a Kitchenaid 5-speed hand mixer which I returned, but I am sure would have been nice as well.)

(p.s. my verification word is "whine")

Britta said...

Reading Stanley Fish normally makes me want to claw my eyes out, and that blog post was no different. On the I/P conflict, yeah, people who say, "omg I can't make any criticism of Israel because it might be anti-Semitic" drive me crazy (the very few people who DO actually call all criticisms of Israel anti-Semitic also drive me crazy too). It's a country. With a government. With policies. Of course you can criticize it. Not criticizing Israel ever is likewise a conflation of Israel with Jews, even though it is done from the opposite motivation from anti-Semitism, it still buys into a logic of Israeli exceptionalism. (That doesn't mean that there can't be anti-Semitic criticisms of Israel, but that has already been addressed.)

Also, incredibly minor point, but I take issue with his comment about anti-Semitism in China. There really is nothing at all resembling European or ME anti-Semitism in China. It's really hard to map Euro/Western concepts of race or ethnicity onto China. (It didn't even really work when the Chinese tried it). There's also just not the same history or associations with Jews.

kei said...

I had a stand-up mixer before the food processor; I used the mixer a lot for baking cookies and making tart crust (and green tea macarons that one time!). It saved me a lot of time and energy from mixing by hand. I have a food processor, but I'm still getting accustomed to it. The parts are kind of scary and it feels more annoying to clean even though the mixer has at least two parts to clean. Maybe it's just the blade.

"Nice is nice" looks like it'd fit in my palette...nicely! I like darker colors, neutral-y colors, but also purple. It also looks easy to apply. Is that what's on your toes?

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Britta and Kei,

Thanks for the advice re: mixers. At this point I don't have a hand or stand one, so I'm not sure what baking I would do if I did. I'm also not sure what bakeries will be like in Princeton, where we're moving, and may have to see what options are in that regard before proceeding...

Re: the food processor for dough - for that I've been using a plastic blade, which is far less frightening than the latke attachment.


It's not terribly surprising Fish messed up re: China and anti-Semitism, given how useless his insights (if we can call them that) were re: Western anti-Semitism.


"Nice is nice" is currently on my fingers (so much for the professional pale-pink manicure), and was indeed easy to apply. I'm considering making this "French" next time with some mint-green (also Essie) painted-on tips...

Isabel Archer said...

Re: stand mixers, I do find mine useful. It's particularly good for chiffon cakes of the kind that require you to beat the batter for a full eight minutes or so; holding the hand mixer in place for that long gets tiring pretty quickly. Also, the dough hook is very useful for kneading breads. I'm personally fond particularly of the Cooks Illustrated challah and almost no-knead bread recipes in this vein, both of which I think I've posted to my own blog at some point. I agree that counter space is a real issue, though, and I'm not sure I'd find my mixer as worth the space if I lived in NYC instead of NoVa.

Sigivald said...

On mixers, I can't speak for your needs.

If you want to bake, they're obviously Verra Useful for all sorts of kneading and mixing tasks.

I use mine primarily for making pasta, more than anything else - the attachments for the KitchenAid are at least half the value proposition.

Hamlet2007 said...

Hey if you get around to looking at my book, tell me what you think. just saying...

Matthew Biberman

PG said...

The Stanley Fish piece does sound massively useless. The Dreyfuss comparison made me face-palm and draws the same thought every similar statement has done: This person clearly doesn't take sexual assault very seriously.

If you're moving, I'd find out what your counter space is likely to be before buying something as big as a stand mixer. I'd really like one for those occasions when I'm feeling lazy about using a hand mixer (e.g. anything that requires being super whipped), but if you're also going to have a coffemaker, toaster oven, etc., then the stand mixer might not fit.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Isabel Archer, Sigivald, PG,

Stand mixer decision will indeed have to wait until counter space and local bread options in the new locale are assessed.

Matthew Biberman,

Gosh. Will do!