November 12, 2012 4 Comments
November 1, 2012 2 Comments
About ten days ago I was at a friend’s wedding in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is the home of the University of Virginia and its well-known architect, a guy by the name of Thomas Jefferson. I visited President Jefferson’s home, Monticello, and was quite glad that I did. Sure, intellectually I knew that there was a contrast and contradiction between Jefferson’s arguments for freedom and his ownership of slaves. But it’s quite a different thing to see the material reality of the situation.
Monticello is a gorgeous estate which ran on slave labor. On the inside tour, they talk about Jefferson’s precocious reading ability and inventions, and I couldn’t help thinking about all of the slaves who were owned and worked so that Jefferson would have the luxury of time to even think about freedom. They have “Slavery at Monticello” tours, which used to be known as the “Plantation Community Tours.” And they do address Jefferson’s so-called “relationship” with Sally Hemings, but I left the tour after audience members were joking with the tour guide about the “fun” that Jefferson and Hemings had together, as if a sexual relationship with a slave could be anything other than rape. Oh, what hijinks!
So yeah, a fascinating mix of beauty and evil. I took pictures of the house and grounds, including Jefferson’s grave and an African American graveyard without tombstones.
February 17, 2012 6 Comments
I first mentioned this issue last night. Over at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick has one of the better rundowns of the new law passed by Virginia Republicans (and soon to be signed by radically right-wing governor Bob McDonnell) which will force many women seeking an abortion to be raped by a transvaginal probe. It’s for no medical reason, so it’s either to punish them for their supposed wrongdoing or because these Republicans get off on rape. Perhaps a bit of both.
February 16, 2012 3 Comments
Republicans this week banned women from participating in Congressional testimony about birth control and suggested that women should shut their traps about the cost of birth control and just put a Bayer aspirin between their knees: