Recommended reading

Here is some interesting stuff I’ve found on the interwebs to keep you busy until this blog returns to the capable hands of Ed Kilgore tomorrow:

— Dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar has apparently won a seat in her country’s parliament. It’s hard to say what this means yet, other than that it’s a huge, and extremely positive, deal.

— Did you know that people who have been unemployed for a long time lose the ability to read? Other consequences of long-term unemployment include permanently reduced earnings, poor health (“a worker laid off at age 40 could expect to die at least a year sooner than his peers”), and lower earnings for your children, as compared to the children of comparable workers. Really awful stuff.

— David Cay Johnson reports that “[T]he guarantee of landline telephone service at almost any address, a legal right many Americans may not even know they have, is quietly being legislated away in our U.S. state capitals.” Why is this important? For nearly 100 years, telephone companies have been legally required to be the “provider of last resort” and to offer low-cost service to poor people and people in underserved rural areas, where cell phones often don’t work. Johnson says that as a result of new laws instituted after intense lobbying by the telecommunications industry, “millions of people, urban and rural” could “lose basic telephone service or be forced to pay much more for calls.”

— Over at The Incidental Economist, Howard Pollack schools Ross Douthat on the realities of health care. Pollack writes that, contrary to Douthat’s assertion in today’s New York Times, there actually is not “a fundamental tradeoff between medical cost and social protection.” Many countries, such as Canada, have health care systems that offer universal access and provide high-quality care at significantly lower cost than in the U.S.

— Pandagon’s Amanda Marcotte has written a brilliant post on the causes of misogyny. Go read, especially you dudes.

— Over at her personal blog, Heidi Knabe recently wrote a remarkable autobiographical post titled Slut: A Journey. Someone should hire this woman as a regular essayist or columnist or blogger, because she is a really amazing writer.

— And last but far from least, there is Katha Pollitt’s moving tribute to the late Adrienne Rich. You know, I was meaning to write my own tribute to Rich this weekend but unfortunately I never got around to it. Suffice it to say that Adrienne Rich was one of the great American public intellectuals and someone who was absolutely essential to second wave feminism, in ways I don’t think we yet fully appreciate. She provided modern American feminism with some of its key ideas and insights, and she also gave us a language with which to express them.

Her poetry, of course, was electrifying, but she was also a brilliant essayist and prose writer. On Lies, Secrets, and Silence is a great book — I love her literary criticism (especially her stunning piece on Emily Dickinson, “Vesuvius at Home”) and also her classic feminist essays (“When We Dead Awaken,” “Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying,” “Disloyal to Civilization,” “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” etc.). And if you want to read something that will help you understand why abortion is still, after all these years, such an explosively controversial issue, Of Woman Born would not be a bad place to start.

And yes, there’s also all that unforgettable poetry:

A thinking woman sleeps with monsters.

The beak that grips her, she becomes.

R.I.P.

Kathleen Geier

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee