Today in history – September 20

1975 – The Scottish pop band The Bay City Rollers makes their US debut on a short-lived ABC television show called Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell. The BCR had already become a teen phenomenon in the UK, inspiring scenes reminiscent of the Beatles from a decade earlier with their biggest hit and number one, Saturday Night. As it turns out, however, neither the Rollers nor the Cosell show have the same staying power of the Beatles, as SNL with Howard Cosell is cancelled after only 3 months (opening the way for NBC’s Saturday Night to change its name and go on to make history) and the Bay City Rollers themselves fade soon thereafter. But their biggest hit still makes the occasional pop culture appearance:

1973 – Wimbledon’s two time reigning women’s champion Billie Jean King defeats former Wimbledon men’s champion Bobby Riggs in a much anticipated exhibition tennis match dubbed “The Battle of the Sexes”. The 55-year old Riggs, who had been openly contemptuous of women’s tennis, had challenged the 28-year old King the previous year, a challenge that King had ignored until Riggs trounced the women’s leading money winner Margaret Court 6-1, 6-2 in the first (and long since forgotten) first battle of the sexes. Once King accepts the challenge, the match quickly becomes one of the most hyped sporting events in history, being staged in the Houston Astrodome in front of a record crowd of over 30,000 people, along with an international television audience. King beats Riggs fairly easily in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. The match has long been hailed as an iconic moment in the history of the women’s liberation movement, but ESPN recently raised question about the event, alleging in an Outside The Lines broadcast that Riggs, a notorious gambler and hustler, was involved with the mob and in fact threw the match.

1519 – Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan sets out from Spain in an effort to find a western passage through the Atlantic to the Spice Islands in Indonesia. Magellan will eventually find the passage after probing the South American coast, becoming the first European explorer to pass through the Atlantic to the Pacific through what will come to be known as the Straits of Magellan at the southern tip of South America. One of Magellan’s 3 ships to pass through the straits will eventually make it all the way back to Spain, the first ship to circumnavigate the globe, although it will do so sans Magellan himself, who is killed in the Philippines, the victim of a poison arrow strike.

20 Responses

  1. that Riggs, a notorious gambler and hustler, was involved with the mob and in fact threw the match.

    I remember watching the match and loved it but I never heard the speculation that he threw it……………….wow.

    And what can anyone say about SNL, except thank God for comedy over Howard Cosell, icon or not.

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    • lms:

      I never heard the speculation that he threw it

      I vaguely heard about the OTL program last month, but only read the article last night. You should read it. Very interesting, but hardly conclusive.

      And what can anyone say about SNL, except thank God for comedy over Howard Cosell, icon or not.

      You can say that again!

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    • …as a result, advertisers have to buy offsets in women’s magazines.

      Why? Anyone here have a clue why?

      It is surely interesting to advertisers that The New Republic has a male readership by 4-1. Is there some rule where they advertise?

      Is there a reason why it should have a more balanced readership, by gender? What is the gender balance of readership of The National Review? The Architectural Digest? The Houston Chronicle?

      I know this was intended as amusing snark by George – I guess because that magazine is liberal, right? But what is the snark? And why is it amusing? If that magazine was outspoken as a crusader for publicly assisted abortion services even ‘though it has a predominantly male readership would that tend to diminish the view that R opposition to publicly assisted abortion services was focused against women? Especially when that opposition was usually performed with a cudgel rather than a scalpel, so that clinics that provided assisted abortion services as a fraction of the women’s health care services panoply were completely defunded?

      I get that the most zealous opponents of abortion think it is murder and don’t want to publicly assist it. I get that most economic libertarians don’t want to publicly assist medical care. I get that they are not actually motivated by hating women and that many of them are indeed women and that the “R war on women” is a phrase turned for a purely political purpose.

      But singling out defunding health care of a type that is only of interest to women will strike many of us as pregnant with the implication that women are thought to be of a second and lower class by those who single them out, regardless of the actual intent of the authors.

      I have written all of this in an attempt to get everyone here who ever writes about abortion related stuff to not use the phrase “R war on women” either pejoratively or defensively. Knowing where the fault line is should make it possible to discuss this, if we ever do again, without that phrase, and without assuming the motives of others here are sexist or misogynist.

      But also, it seems so weird to me that the article George cited actually says

      …as a result, advertisers have to buy offsets in women’s magazines.

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      • Mark:

        Why? Anyone here have a clue why?

        I don’t know what they mean when they refer to the magazines “advertising team”. Is this the team that sells advertising in TNR, or the team that buys advertising for TNR? My first inclination was that it was the former, but after re-reading it I am not sure. Anyways, if the former, then the benign explanation is that advertisers who want to reach both men and women will have to double up their advertising rather than just advertising in TNR.

        But it is not beyond the pale to imagine that someone at TNR, steeped in feminist ideology and notions of “fairness”, actually believes that advertisers should, as a matter of equity, spend as much money advertising in magazines with a female readership as they do in magazines with a male readership. After all, it it is just such bizarre notions of “fairness” that drive things like the idea that universities need to spend equal amounts of money on women’s sports as they do on men’s sports, despite the fact that women in general have demonstrably less interest in sports than men, and there are far fewer women athletes than there are men athletes.

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      • Mark:

        I meant to respond to this earlier:

        Knowing where the fault line is should make it possible to discuss this, if we ever do again, without that phrase, and without assuming the motives of others here are sexist or misogynist.

        What I have taken from our previous discussions is that some people actually view opposition to abortion as inherently sexist. To even suggest that a woman does not have a right to get an abortion is in itself taken to be “insulting” and “offensive”. And so for those people it is not possible to discuss this without assuming the motives of others here are sexist.

        I think the primary obstacle to reasonable discussions about abortion is a desire on the part of many to avoid the central issue in the debate, and make it about something else about which there is a more clear cut, obvious answer. Hence killing babies vs women controlling their own bodies.

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  2. advertisers have to buy offsets in women’s magazines

    I don’t even know what that means. And I quit using the term “WoW” ever since I was scolded here for using it. As a matter of fact the only one I’ve seen use it since, is McWing. I’ve also resisted using the same snark approach to all the little things that bug me about conservatives and libertarians. In general I avoid issues, like the plague, that could reconstitute some of the more heated debates here.

    One thing Emily and I discussed frequently was the lack of female voices, both in journalism itself, and the comments of various blogs. One of the reasons I came back is partly because of her, although I have to wonder if she would actually approve of my new approach……………….lol

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    • lms:

      One thing Emily and I discussed frequently was the lack of female voices, both in journalism itself, and the comments of various blogs.

      I actually think there are a lot of female voices in journalism. Katherine Jean Lopez, Meghan Mcardle, Peggy Noonan, Kimberly Strassel, Anne Coulter, Michelle Malkin…to name a few just off the top of my head.

      My experience on blog comments is that there are indeed fewer women, but the real lack is in conservative female voices. Women who comment regularly on blogs seem to me to be almost exclusively liberal. Which is a shame, because it can lead to the false perception that there is a “woman’s” perspective on politics, and that liberal women represent that perspective, but of course the opinions of women are as varied as those of men.

      For my part, though, I don’t really care whether the comments I read are coming from a woman or a man. I am more interested in the thinking behind the comments than I am in the gender of the person expressing it.

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  3. Man I am digging Senator Vitter ‘s suicide run here. He’ll cave, as all R’s eventually do, but it’s a blast to watch. When we last checked, he was accusing fellow LA Senator Landrieu of lying. Now. He wants to have an ethics probe of Senator’s Reid and Ma’am!

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/david-vitters-obamacare-feud-deepens-96927.html

    http://www.politico.com//story/2013/09/david-vitter-ethics-probe-harry-reid-barbara-boxer-96786.html

    And their retaliating with the old hooker charges against him!

    The collegiality needs to end!

    I blame Ted Cruz

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  4. Scott, there are certainly more women every day which is one of the reasons Emily encouraged me to keep pressure on Greg Sargent to have a female guest blogger and to be present as a commenter myself. But women are still under-represented even though more women than men graduate with degrees in journalism, despite your anecdotal list. This piece gets to some of the numbers and where women are lagging the most and where they’ve made the most gains.

    http://theopedproject.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/the-byline-survey-2011/

    I believe there are generic sorts of differences between men and women and I actually do consider the gender of the author depending on the subject being explored. There may not be a Republican “War on Women” per se, but it would behoove men to at least consider that women have a unique perspective on child bearing. That’s not to say that we all speak with one voice obviously.

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  5. Here’s a piece by a female journalist at CNN. This is where I found the link above. She has some interesting stats re bylines etc.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/18/opinion/antilla-women-journalists/index.html

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  6. Was her intent to explain why women lag in journalism? If so, was her answer men were to blame?

    Also, what is the gender ratio in different genres? Fashion I might think has a higher female writer ratio then cars. What about psychology? Or Education? Entertainment? Should it be 50/50 in every genre?

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  7. McWing, I didn’t read where she blamed men or anyone really. Just because women complain about being under represented in certain fields of journalism, not the “pink” ones (that’s in the first link), doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all demanding fairness from others in the form of quotas or something. It might just mean we’re working toward it ourselves by encouraging other women and sharing professional tips. Isn’t that the free market at work? Me putting pressure on Greg is just me being a consumer exerting whatever paltry influence I may have………………not much obviously.

    I’m not advocating for some sort of intervention in journalism, just saying that women still have a ways to go, so we keep working. What the advertisers decide to do is up to them, I don’t really care that much.

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    • lms:

      McWing, I didn’t read where she blamed men or anyone really.

      I thought it was pretty clear she was insinuating the existence of continued discrimination against women. After describing a past in which women were indeed discriminated against, she says “But 42 years after that lawsuit, women are still shut out: Men make up 60% of newspaper employees, write 80% of newspaper op-eds and author most articles in “thought leader” magazines such as the New Yorker, which last year had 242 female bylines, 613 male.” Why the “But” and the “shut out”? And why preface today’s circumstance with the horror stories of past discrimination if not to imply a relationship between them? She’s not just wondering aloud about why the disparity exists, as a matter of intellectual curiosity. She obviously thinks she knows why, and thinks the fact is indeed blame worthy.

      Personally I am opposed to the whole identity politics game and, as I said earlier, I don’t really care at all about the gender of the writer of a political piece or news story that I might read. The value in what is being written rests in the ideas being expressed, not in the sexual organs of the person who expressed them. Of course I understand that, precisely because of gender, certain types of experiences are necessarily limited to one gender or another, and so it makes sense, when looking for information about about those experiences, to seek out the voice of someone who experienced it. But even then one is looking for an experienced voice, not just the voice of a man or a woman. If I wanted to read about the experience of giving birth, I would seek out someone who has given birth, which necessarily would be a woman, but still I would not seek a woman’s voice in and of itself. Lots of women have not given birth, and so would be just as useless as a man. The relevant factor is the experience, not the gender.

      I just don’t get the idea of reading a “woman’s voice” just for it’s own sake. The idea that there is a singular “women’s perspective” on political issues, and that therefore reading what a woman has to say about the issue is valuable because she is a woman, is, to me, quite a sexist notion.

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  8. Lms, the headline of the piece was confusing to me in that I missed the question mark at the end of it.

    An interesting question is what is the readership make-up of political sites. If, for example, there are more men than women, is it because of inadequate women authors? Or just decreased interest among women regarding the topics? Or flip the assumptions around, do more women pay attention to fashion because there are not enough men writers to keep men interested? Which is interesting in and of itself, is it sexist to prefer, say, a female writer on child rearing? Personally, I don’t know.

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  9. Sorry Scott, I happen to believe the totality of one’s experience forms who we are and women and men just have different life experiences which color their perception of, and relationship to, the political system. Why else would politicians appeal to different segments of society based on age, gender, race, religion, income etc. etc? I suppose one could say it’s too bad our politics has evolved in such a way that identity politics has become so important but I sure don’t know how to unring that bell.

    If I bump up against a candidate who has a good economic message but is a foaming anti-abortion conservative, I’m just not going to go there. Too many young women I know may be affected by his politics. There are other things that are important to me besides the abortion issue obviously, but honestly, as a woman, it’s a big one.

    One thing I learned which was actually somewhat valuable to me is that the men here, for the most part, believe in the idea that abortions/morning after pills etc. should be available up to a certain point which seems to vary among you slightly. And yet, it’s not an issue that sways your vote necessarily. It is one for me. I think it’s because I’m a woman, not because I’m a liberal.

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    • lms:

      I happen to believe the totality of one’s experience forms who we are

      So do I.

      and women and men just have different life experiences which color their perception of, and relationship to, the political system.

      I think all individuals have different life experiences. And while gender will certainly have effects on those experiences, I don’t think it is determinative or even of primary significance with regard to politics. If it was, then we would not see that political opinions vary so widely within gender classes, which of course they do. Again, to me the political opinions of a woman (or a man)as a woman (or as a man) have no value at all. I am also skeptical of such valuye even to people who claim otherwise. My experience with women who claim to want to hear more women voices on this or that topic indicates that they are more likely looking for women who express certain opinions, not just women in general. A feminist, for example, who complains about the lack of women speakers at some political event isn’t likely to be assuaged by the presence of, say, Phyllis Schlafly or Anne Coulter.

      Why else would politicians appeal to different segments of society based on age, gender, race, religion, income etc. etc?

      Politicians appeal to different segments of society based on the assumption of some shared self-interest. With some segments this assumption makes sense…income, religion, age. But with others, like race or gender, while it may have at some time, it no longer makes any sense at all. Although it could make some strategic sense for politicians to try to convince those segments that they do have some shared self-interest that only that politician will pursue for them. Race is classic example of this. Liberal politicians try to do it with women, too, but with obvious less success than with, say, blacks.

      It is one for me. I think it’s because I’m a woman, not because I’m a liberal.

      If gender were the determining factor in what you think politically, what you find important, why you vote the way you do, then why do so many other women not think the same way? Are they somehow not really women?

      Like

  10. Scott I’m out the door but will respond later today or this evening.

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