Nonetheless, Jill's generous call at Feministe for her readers to promote their "best-of-2008" posts got me browsing my archives, and once I started, I decided I might as well embrace the tradition. Heck, if Abba can hawk "greatest hits" albums, why not me? Plus, I was having a lot of fun looking back; the historian in me was seriously happy. So was the navel-gazer.
First, this is as good a time as any to say how much I appreciate those of you who read Kittywampus. I love you even more when you comment. So thanks! I hope you'll keep coming 'round in the new year. I'll try to not waste your time too much ... or (I hope) be mildly amusing when I do.
When I look back, I'm amazed and appalled at how much I wrote. This blog was supposed to be a place to park some ideas and reflections for teaching, and maybe an outlet for the excessively long comments I'd otherwise leave at some other poor soul's blog. Instead, I wrote more than a post a day - 385 and counting - and some of them were really more essays than blog posts. (Okay, some days I just posted Tina Fey's latest takedown of Sarah Palin, but that was all good, too.)
Can I earn a second Ph.D. for this? Oh, nevermind. I'm sure somewhere on the Internet, you can buy a Ph.D. in any discipline. Including blogging.
Anyway, here's my "greatest hits" selection. These posts actually aren't necessarily the ones that got the most hits; they're the ones where I thought there was a flash of an idea, or maybe more. I notice that like my posts themselves, this list is way longer than the average blog year-end round-up. I don't think this is necessarily a virtue, but it's who I am - the same gal whose dissertation ran to some 900 pages. To be honest, I'm compiling this list mostly for myself, as an index of sorts. If you see something you like, though, I'll be pleased.
Teaching - my original raison de blog - really did spawn a few decent posts:
- I'm still grateful to those former students of mine who contributed to my thoughts on men in the women's studies classroom. I presented this material at the National Women's Studies Association annual meeting, and the guys' comments were really the heart of it.
- A class discussion gave rise to an analysis of the relationship between finger length and prenatal testosterone exposure.
- I explained why I don't blame the Patriarchy - but instead prefer to think of patriarchy as a set of specific, historically situated conditions - and followed up by asking whether fundamentalist Mormonism meets those patriarchal conditions.
- A post on Bild Lilli - a sexy German predecessor to the Barbie doll - still gets oodles of hits. It's short and glib, but I was searching for good pictures of Lilli to use in class, and I found some great ones.
- I reflected on what it means to write the history of the body (a project that occupies most of my non-blog writing).
- I pondered aging as an experience of alienation from a "true" younger self.
- I explored the connections among blogging, narcissism, and the confessional impulse - and why tripe like the infamous Philip Weiss New York Magazine article sucks me in every time.
- I considered regrets at midlife (and my general lack thereof).
- My favorite piece on sexuality is probably the one I felt most nervous - most naked - about posting: how sexual vulnerability is both essential and terrifying. This post really belongs more in the last category because it's all about how particular embodied experiences shape our sense of self.
- I explained why I'm ambivalent about "sex positivity" as a label - and I still feel that way.
- I considered how commodification shapes desire in gendered ways - how commodification intersects with male privilege in prostitution. - and how the Elliot Spitzer case offers ample evidence of male privilege at work in prostitution.
- I chewed on the disparity between the rates of infidelity reported for men and women.
- I indulged in a thought experiment on "mindblowing" sex and traffic lights.
- Spurred by the revelation of John Edwards' extramarital affair, I pondered the less-obvious links between serious illness, infidelity, and relationship turmoil.
- I criticized Lauren Slater's assertion that a person can unilaterally impose a sexless relationship on their partner and expect them to be okay with it.
- I deconstructed the war metaphor so often applied to cancer, and took some potshots at "staying positive," too.
- I expressed outrage at the denial of insurance coverage for reconstructive surgery after prostate cancer and bemusement at the failure of the campaigns against breast and prostate cancer to make common cause.
- I speculated that the health benefits of ejaculation are systematically underplayed due to our culture's anti-sex, anti-body bias.
- To mark Viagra's tenth anniversary, I criticized doctoring women's desires.
- As the Duggar family announced the impending birth of their eighteenth child, I looked at how the Duggars fit into the fundamentalist Quiverfull movement.
- I mopped up after a truly fruitless food-fight between childfree people and parents, and then considered how "reasonable" it is to choose parenthood anyway.
- As 9/11 marked another anniversary, I mulled over the impossibility of preparing kids to live in a world full of atrocities.
- I explained why - even though I see it as a reasonable and a potentially feminist choice - I don't homeschool, and I followed that up by analyzing the risks of long-term at-home parenthood.
- I looked at how gestational surrogacy is entangled with notions of the Good Mother and socioeconomically inflected intimacy.
- I cast a skeptical eye on advocacy of orgasmic childbirth.
- Extrapolating from my knowledge of history, I imagined the impact of overturning Roe v. Wade.
- I reflected on the moral complexity of abortion and what we lose if we deny it.
- In a post that attracted a lot of detractors, I explained why reproductive rights are human rights.
- I explained why her decision to fly from Texas to Alaska while leaking amniotic fluid betrayed reckless judgment. This was one of several posts that took a more speculative and judgmental stance than is typical for me. (Another one castigated the idea that you can simply delegate the care of a special needs child - or really, any child - beyond a certain extent.) While I don't plan to make a habit of judging so harshly, I do think later events confirmed that my reading of Palin's personal behavior was spot-on as a predictor of her political character.
- I tried to articulate the principles of Palinofeminism. (Hint: they're not very feminist after all.)
- Extending Tim Wise's analysis, I considered the role of white privilege on the Republican ticket.
- Finally, I reflected on why so many of us feminists who actually had better things to do with our time obsessed about Palin in spite of ourselves.
- After describing my experience at Obama's rally in Berlin, I dabbled in actual reporting and knocked down the wingnutty rumor that the mammoth crowd only came for free beer and bratwurst.
- Based on phone calls I made for Obama's campaign, I reflected on the appeal of voting for a woman - any woman.
- As a canvasser, I tried to understand the political ramifications of deep poverty after a harrowing visit to a trailer park full of vicious dogs.
- Similarly, I drew on my experiences as a canvasser to try to fathom the effects of racism on the election.
- In a fit of post-election melancholy, I mused on the thing with feathers.