Monday, March 31, 2008

I Am A Teapot, Short And Stout

Not really, but I spent the weekend at two conferences and in trains. There's something in me that doesn't thrive well under those circumstances so the total amount of sleep I got in the last three days was ten hours. Which brings up interesting bits of the brain and the mind, the ones that sing, in duet, a song about teapots.

First there was the Women, Action and Media conference in Cambridge. I heard Helen Thomas speak on Friday night. She is funny and has eight rings on her fingers. She gave her views on the last nine presidents. Remember that this woman has known the last nine presidents! She should be named A National Treasure.

The most astonishing feminist recollection she made was about Nikita Khrushchev's visit to the States. The speech he was to give was at the National Press Club, which in those days did not admit women unless they were invited by one the male members. Can you imagine being Helen Thomas and having to find a guy to ask her for a date just so that she could do her job? The world has improved, and Helen Thomas is one reason for that.

Then I participated at the EschaCon meeting in Philadelphia. I was on a panel with Paul Krugman and Atrios Himself, on economics. Krugman! And Atrios! What was I thinking when I agreed to be on this panel?

I had the strongest of "flee, woman" reactions of my life when I was walking over to the panel, and the only way I could stop that was to engage the opposite reaction, the "fight, woman" reaction. This is to explain the picture of me with my arms raised high up in the air that some of you may have seen. I was responding to an imaginary voice which introduced the panelists, saying "And in the right corner, weighing in at 130 lbs, Echidne of the snakes".

Yes, I am nuts.