Sunday, October 02, 2005

Katha on the Desperate Housewives of the Ivy League

I posted on the Louise Story New York Times article (about how "many" Ivy League female students supposedly plan to stay at home) when it appeared and so did many other bloggers. Katha Pollitt had to wait because her column only comes out once a week, but the wait was worth it for all of us:

With all that excellent insta-critiquing, I feared I'd lumber into print
too late to add a new pebble to the sling. But I did find one place
where the article is still Topic No. 1: Yale. "I sense that she had a
story to tell, and she only wanted to tell it one way," Mary Miller,
master of Saybrook, one of Story's targeted colleges, told me. Miller
said Story met with whole suites of students and weeded out the women
who didn't fit her thesis. Even among the ones she focused on, "I
haven't found that the students' views are as hard and fast as Story
portrayed them." (In a phone call Story defended her research methods,
which she said her critics misunderstood, and referred me to her
explanation on the web.) One supposed future homemaker of America posted
an anonymous dissection of Story's piece at Another
told me in an e-mail that while the article quoted her accurately, it
"definitely did not turn out the way I thought it would after numerous
conversations with Louise." That young person may be sadder but
wiser--she declined to let me interview her or use her name--but history
professor Cynthia Russett, quoted as saying that women are "turning
realistic," is happy to go public with her outrage. Says Russett, "I
may have used the word, but it was in the context of a harsh or forced
realism that I deplored. She made it sound like this was a trend of
which I approved. In fact, the first I heard of it was from Story, and
I'm not convinced it exists."

And this is how you do research that will be printed on page one of one of the most respectable newspapers in the world! I thought it took something more...scientific and objective, but I guess I was wrong. Such a waste, all these years of trying to learn, to study, to understand, to write more like a real human being! I could'ave been a contender!