Friday, July 23, 2010

Of Boobies and Baseball

Day 165 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and Ruthie is reading Fifty-Nine in '84, by Edward Achorn, about Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had, because of the coincidence that Old Hoss Radbourn lived in her town, she likes baseball history more than baseball itself, and a nephew happened to be a producer of the documentary We Believe, about Cubs fans.

I am not yet reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson, because I do not have it, in English or Swedish, but I fear Nora Ephron has read at least one book of the trilogy, as she nails it in this spoof (with a few spoilers, so be warned), "The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut," in The New Yorker online. I love Ephron, her sense of humor, and her own tiny boobies, which she has written about in an essay that appears in some college readers. It is really about bras, not boobies, but boobies go in bras. If they want to.

Speaking of feminism, I am reading In the Next Galaxy, by Ruth Stone, and Level Green, by Judith Vollmer--that is, I am reading two books of poems at the same time, along with The Death of Adam, a book of essays by Marilynne Robinson, as all of these things are intense, and I need to space them out a bit, by alternating--and both poets are steeped in feminism of the late-20th-century sort, its wild waters swirling around us if we grew up in it, its definitions and factions ever-changing. This came home to me in a recent discussion over at poet Martha Silano's blog, Blue Positive, and I will ponder it for a while, and also how lucky I am to be living when I do, where I do, with something closer to equal rights for women than many women ever had the chance to see or enjoy.

I've lived through the backlash, too, but women have worked very hard to secure rights and freedoms, and to be considered equally human, of equal human value. Thank you. (And I don't think a girl in baseball lingerie is a threat to what we've achieved.) I am lucky, for instance, to be able to read humor about boobies by Nora Ephron and shop for a baseball-stitch bra if I want to, and also to have women be called poets, not poetesses, with the old connotations of dismissal in that "poetess," and have their work taken seriously.

I am also pondering a few lines of poetry, from Vollmer, that state the opposite of yesterday's (pre-meme) entry concluding with Dickinson on the too-bright light. Here is a quotation from "Palomas Fountain" by Judith Vollmer:

He tells me poetry isn't so
different from welding:
you shield your eyes too long from the blue flame
you can't shape the iron.

The "he" is her father, evidently a welder. This hit me at the right time, thinking I need to look directly at the blue flame these days, even if it does blind me, or I won't be able to shape the poem.

This must be what happened to Ruth Stone, who is now blind. (Speaking metaphorically about literal blindness, which has its own causes, unknown to me.)

P.S. to Kim: A meme is something that gets repeated, particularly across the Internet, like those sets of questions you answer at Facebook, etc.

P.P.S. to random commercial services related to selling sex who might be attracted to the "boobies" in my title and image: I won't be posting your comments/ads for services. This is something else. I am not selling sex, nor using sex to sell the idea of reading. Sigh.... As if that would work or could happen. I am just mixing things together in a humorous, serious, in-constant-awe-of-the-world way. Everything is out there.


Julie Kistler said...

Did I ever tell you that I complained to a TV sportscaster (way back in the early 90s, I think) because he always included shots of large-breasted women and their cleavage in his reports on baseball games? I said then, and I still think it's true, that women are also sports fans, and it doesn't pull us into sports reports to see big boobs right in there with the home runs and the strikeouts. I am happy to say I got a response -- an actual apology! -- and that ended the parade of boobs (and his leering) on the sports reports on that channel. I don't think anybody does that anymore. But apparently there are still baseball bikinis and an attempt to sell baseball by selling sex. I don't get it. But football has scantily clad chicks and their pompons on the field, and basketball has them inside. So... I guess they don't want baseball to feel left out.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Julie. I think this particular baseball attire is here just to sell the attire. It's from a lingerie website.

As to the sports people showing cleavage in reports, or scantily clad cheerleaders, etc., that does all seem to be part of the general aggression/values thing, far more complicated than I can ever understand. I see a straightforward sports = war kind of thing, and wish sports could replace war, but since it doesn't, it seems bound up in human nature and cultures and political systems that favor the aggressive/competitive aspects of human nature over the cooperative/collaborative ones, both in the genes & cells, as I understand it.


I'm glad you objected, and that you got a response to your objection. And I hope I haven't offended YOU by showing the baseball lingerie, but it all seemed to tie in. If I have offended you, I, too, apologize!

Julie Kistler said...

Oh, heavens, no. I'm not offended by a baseball bikini!

Susan said...

I object to Nora Ephron's article. I LOVED all three books, was not bored in the slightest, and am wondering why she felt the need to make fun of them? Yes, I got the jokes, and yes, I have a sense of humor. I just don't get the need to bash the books. Felt slightly ugly-American-esque to me somehow? Or maybe I just need more coffee.

Kathleen said...

Yes, have some coffee and try on a number of colorful bras. I have a coupon!

Curt Bley said...

The war/sport correlation is on the mark, and both were originally and continue traditionally as grist for men. The addition of female cheerleaders was for the enjoyment of men. The evolution of skimpilly dressed cheerleaders followed the norms of the 70's. Televising attractive women at games has been done since then- Harry Caray would commend Cubs' TV director Arne Harris on especially buxom finds. This serves to keep adult and pubescent males watching televised games and coming out to the old ballpark. You know what men think with!!!
Back to the original topic- what's the problem?

Kathleen said...

Too bright for our infirm delight!

Julie Kistler said...

I thought Nora Ephron's thing was funny, and I'm a Svenskophile. But the two dots in Swedish are not the umlaut. It's the diaresis. Read more about it:

Or here:

Sorry to be pedantic. Some people are picky about such things and I happen to know at least two of them.

nene said...

First and foremost, this is a 'male' sounding off. I am a 'huge' Cub fan(live just east of Chicago in SB.IN). Second: I am not willing to give in to the pressure of not admitting that not only am I a 'sensitive', empathetic, spiritual being but I'm still a physical, sexual being. As I grow older, I refuse accept the societal pressure to surrender things of 'youth' because I will not take part in a discarding society. I admit being a sexual being but I reflect on a maxim that explicates to a more efficient methodology at addressing challenging issues,'...two heads are better than one'. Sorry for the aggressive asertions.