The Plot Against AOC

Ruth O’Brien, Editor

Assassinating AOC? Wow. Trump seems to have literally succeeded in hiring a hit man the Trump way (no need to pay for it when you can incite folks to do the dirty work for free).  A good thing it didn’t work.

As a female professor in the nation’s biggest urban public university, at the campus with the strongest research record, years ago — in 2014 — I launched Heretical Thought, a book series I solo-edit with Oxford University Press, USA, that emanated out of my doctoral seminars in American political thought.  Now we are up to 4 books: Assembly, by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri; The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism, by Catherine Rottenberg; Insurgent Universality, by Massimiliano Tomba; and Call Your “Mutha,” by Jane Caputi. This compounds my existing series, The Public Square, from 11 years earlier, including Jill Lepore’s award-winning The Whites of Their Eyes, about the Tea Party, and a forthcoming book by Anne-Marie Slaughter. The schtick about Heretical Thought is that if you don’t have a fatwa or witch-burning against you, your ideas aren’t significant enough to be published by the oldest university press in the world.

Global in nature, Heretical Thought takes an image my direct ancestor could relate to, since she was mentored by the only woman to be banished from the Mayflower community, who later got a patent of land in Gravesend (now Coney Island).  Once the British took over, Penelope returned with her large family to the soil she had first landed on, in Sandy Hook, present-day New Jersey, where her first husband was killed and scalped, and Penelope herself was scalped and impaled but survived, being rescued by a matrilineal indigenous tribe.

I was taught this history by a great-aunt who disguised her own gender, not once but twice, in Esquire — to publish an article alongside Ernest Hemingway. I listened to Great-Aunt Mary, who heard my entire 600-page dissertation from UCLA when she was blind, as she advised me that I didn’t have to be a Frick; I could relate just as much to the Stouts. I have tried to live up to the Penelope Stout name.  Like her, I’ve had a lot of firsts as a woman in academia in a field that practices systemic sexism — being a member of one of the first classes with women to graduate from Claremont McKenna College (as it is now known, though my diploma has the distinction of saying Claremont Men’s College even though I was born female), and the first female EO of the CUNY Graduate Center Political Science Ph.D. Program, where I hired three central lines, including Peter Beinart for the Writing Politics specialization that I designed.  Meanwhile, APSA has only now started writing reports about PS misogyny, to some avail, and its journal now has 12 editors who reflect diversity.  I have had the honor (dis) of being named a “doctoral major” haha.

Gendering a Traitor

HANDOUT PHOTO:
Ashli Babbitt, 35, was shot and killed in the Capitol Wednesday.
(Courtesy of Timothy McEntee)

When women fought and won the right to fight, it wasn’t to then be romanticized as “poor her.”  She got killed. No.  She — Ashli Babbitt —  was trained by the U.S. military.

She knew the difference between the police — who shoot to kill in America — and enemy combatants. There’s no exception for the U.S. Capitol Police.  So stop gendering the woman’s right to die – by combat — her choice when she stormed the Capitol as a traitor.

It’s shameless for the GOP to invoke “due process” now.  So, Senator Ted Cruz is trying to steal the flag and the constituents who followed Trump.  Hopefully, he’ll thrown out by Texans who are now forming a blue wave in their state.

President Thomas Jefferson’s phrase “we are all Americans” came only after his election to office when he buried the Federalists — temporarily — and caught his own party wave as Jeffersonian Republicans captured both sides.  The United States never planned on having political parties — and their existence is a constant extralegal — potentially disruptive — disastrous force.  The GOP now can finally grab their party back from Trump.  What’s stopping them?  (Oh, the 75 million mob-sters — a gang of misogynistic white supremacists men and women — like Ashli they want to shamefully use and abuse to take power. Mob-ocracy.  What a silly word.)

Essential? Whose Body is It Anyway?

Essential is such a funny word.  Having watched doctors fill in forms for my reasonable accommodations since the 1990s you start to get a feel for medicine and why some physicians are M.D.s and some are O.D. or D.Os as well as who is entrepreneurial in the field of medicine starting, for instance, physical medicine (dominated now by Physical Therapy or PT) and even more importantly what doctors contribute to the ever increasing and expansive field of “public health.” Were I home, look at my  neighbor Cornell Tech and its initiatives.

Not surprisingly public health is one of those fields that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg favors. Doing good by algorithm or at least taking the drama (read female) out of who lives or dies. To me, public health is really about what or whose bodies matter. The politics behind it, forget economics, gets translated into law.

I mean with behavioral economics out there like Freakeconomics, we don’t need to think there’s any one rational person that creates a standard for all. Thanks to AI we can quantify irrationality as well as rationality. This is actually quite serious or essential when you think about it. The American rule of law is based on that so-called rational person or human being, yet AI has replaced it with some courts going so far as mandating their judges use algorithms to determine sentencing.

Now that we’ve got “essential” workers (truck delivery, restaurants, meat processing plants, K-12 teachers), as opposed to those on the frontline in public health, what is to become of them?  

The term is perverse, risking your life and the life of your extended family all for minimum wage and life in a gig economy that cements working poverty as well as institutional racism and injustice. 

Checking out careers and professions as I’m won’t to do with two sons in their twenties, I noticed that K-12 teaching as a profession dropped out of the top fifty professions.  What a shame.  Meanwhile, of all things, Political Scientists still don’t beat economists, but one site had them ranked as 47th. I can never get comedian Robin Williams’ pronunciation of the term out of my mind.

Meanwhile, those on the frontline can feel proud as they helped stop death and hindered harm.  

The rest of us, as Harvard’s Ethic Professor Danielle Allen noted, are remote and will be the last to return to work.  I got notice that CUNY is going back. No more remote. I’m happy for what I learned but I can’t wait to get back into the seminar room.  

It’s hard to know how well one connects remotely unless we get great training. Fall 2019, I happened to be teaching one seminar on social justice and the ADA in the workplace at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies (SPS). Being the semester before COVID I happened to have gotten excellent training.  I was so happy to have learned my way around Blackboard. 

One happy surprise was that the post writing aspect of remote work makes the online teaching sometimes profound, more profound than utterances in the seminar room.  I suppose we all have a voice and some integrity late at night or in the wee hours of the morning when we’re composing our thoughts and committing them to our online or remote machine.

New York Running Insult Tally

Click on URL below since the New York Times keeps adding to who President Donald J. Trump, our 45th, insults. Plenty of stories to tell with this material, hence Jim Phelan’s reference to Narratives as well as the ole’ machine folk is like me started using when we were in.

Stories We Told mode. (Check out https://ruthobrien.org/2020/10/05/stories-we-tell-part-2/ ). I’ve been insulted for writing since I was 12 years old. The first insulter-in-power was my Principal Morrisey who ran Thompson Junior High School in Bakersfield CA. He told me to knock off writing letters that the Bakersfield Californian published. I ignored him and wrote at least one more to show him I would not be cowed.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/28/upshot/donald-trump-twitter-insults.html

black vintage typewriter
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Political Elites, Public Opinion, Social Media or No — Women Writing Politics

Men don’t follow the rules; they make the rules.  And by rules I mean political rules that do determine economics or the market, let alone society (norms, beliefs, values, et al.).  Though women in power get to dictate in a multitude of directions (which is why they get called “uppity bitch” all the time).  (My partner does not know what color of shoes to wear to what function.)

Put differently, SMIGS (straight male, Ivy, gender speak), instead of mugs (not to be confused with maiden names), who are not all smug (who again don’t know how to pair maidens with mugs any more than Ivies and their sisters — colleges that is).

At least my mug is not smug.  He may have gone Ivy, and the only one in the largest city once controlled by the Dutch (New Netherlands), but he wasn’t about to attend HPY (our license plate – Harvard-Princeton-Yale connection, though we had no intention of being part of the “H’s: when it came to license plates).

My partner also helped me with SLAMs and SCAMs, though a great colleague thought this was insulting to men.  With a 50 percent admission rate for legacy, we are talking about a very small group of smug people, and only one gender who could get in.  Not only my partner but first generation of any nationality, let alone religion or tradition, or mixed first generation of any kind has this high of an admissions rate.  (CUNY has a much lower admissions rate, in effect, than Harvard,  Go figure.)

How do I know this?  I went from CPS (Capitol Page School) to CMC (Claremont Men’s College), where they tried to “GCO” us (Get C-word Out). This is similar to the Princeton University Press book ”Keep the Damned Women Out”: The Struggle for Coeducation.

A better way to look at gender, or women as the most trod-upon gender, is that when we enter the institution we make it stronger — intellectually first and foremost.  No more need for Gentleman’s C’s.  Having been disappointed by my mother’s notion that I only had to “earn” a Gentleman’s C, I was happy that I got into CMC instead of an all-female sister school, or the Western equivalent nearby.  She transferred from Mills to Berkeley and regretted it.  I got in via transfer and decided against going.  I preferred understanding how socialism succeeded in the former Yugoslavia rather than attending a university with more men. I didn’t even accept an invitation to be the prototype or the type of professor — University Professor — since I found California less diverse than, yes, NYC, even though it is a one-Ivy town.  UC Berkeley, or Cal, is over 85 percent privately funded with a public purpose, so where better to hide your former superiority to Harvard?

Before I forget, though I haven’t found the citation to this day to “Gov-Speak,” a Harvard thesis, MA thesis, or dissertation that gave us the rules of Gov-Speak, which is to say male speak.  And while I’m the third professor in my 11-generation family, I’m only the second one who addresses religion.  The first helped found Brown, was George Washington’s aide-de-camp, and practiced “pro-fessing,” not confessing, when he was a prof back in the 1790s.  So the first prof in my family was a prof of religion.  Back then Brown and other institutions were “liberal” (i.e. secular).  Not only did I assume that this meant the religion professor helped clean Washington’s boots, but that the town he professed in must have been Princeton or New Brunswick, not Providence, Rhode Island. Being from a radical county of a radical state — New Jersey — (which allowed women to vote for a nanosecond or from the 1790s until 1807) — he helped found the community with Native Americans from one sovereign nation.