Monday, May 16, 2005

 

I Ain't Dissin' Julia

Professor Bainbridge (bless his soul) seems to have misconstrued my remarks about Julia Child. At first, I was prepared to let this misunderstanding slide, but now there are others who have attributed anti-Julia sentiments to me.

I want to clarify that I have no objection to putting her on the list. I merely found it remarkable that she was the only woman he thought "definitely" belonged on the list.

Even Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart didn't make it to a list of "definites" that included Knute Rockne and Barack Obama (although, now I can't find Obama on the list - was he removed?). And, according to PB, neither Helen Keller nor Harriet Tubman even "remotely" belongs on the list??

The fact that PB's list leans heavily towards Politics, History (by which I mean historical events that the dominant culture considers to be important) and, apparently, War (see the inclusion of Chester Nimitz, Omar Bradley and Raymond Spruance) renders his list predominantly male.

And yet, because he is a "foodie" Julia makes the list, even though arguably, there are women who have contributed as much or more to society, culture, history, etc. I have no problem with acknowledging a foodie - I am no Foodist. But what about artists, writers, cultural critics, anthropologists, activists, many of whom had influenced society in significant and permanent ways. Is Julia really the only one worthy of receiving PB's "definite" nod?

The good Professor argues that my criticism is merely that his list is not PC enough. That criticism may have merit, but it is not my main point. I don't think you have to be PC to think that there has been more than one "definitely great" woman in the America. I agree (again) with Shraub, who says "maybe Childs [sic] should indeed be on the list. I'm just saying that it is pretty skewed priorities to place a woman's contributions to the culinary arts over those who were critical to racial equality, woman's suffrage, and woman's equality, respectively." I would add that contribution to the culinary arts, while important, is no more or less important that other artistic, literary, and cultural contributions.
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