Monthly Archives: July 2008

Where have all the ladies gone? [Heading out of the workforce]

From the Phlog:

Today, the front page of the New York Times declares boldly:

“Across the country, women in their prime earning years, struggling with an unfriendly economy, are retreating from the work force, either permanently or for long stretches.

They had piled into jobs in growing numbers since the 1960s. But that stopped happening this decade, and as the nearly seven-year-old recovery gives way to hard times, the retreat is likely to accelerate.”

Initially depressing? Yes. But not quite cause for despair – it doesn’t sound like we’re entering some sort of strange 1950’s timewarp, wherein we’ll need to consult our guide to being a good housewife and learn how to set a dinner table properly, just yet. In fact, it’s the opposite: women are realizing that they deserve better jobs and better pay.

The interesting thing about this article is that, while some women are giving up working to spend time with their kids, for many that’s not the reason (though it makes for a good cover). The current state of the economy has lead to stagnant wages, so many women are quitting to go to school, so they can find a better job, or quitting because they think they deserve a higher-paying job, and they refuse to settle. Even more interesting, the Times says, “the pattern is roughly similar among the well-educated and the less educated, among the married and never married, among mothers with teenage children and those with children under 6, and among white women and black.”

“Joyce Call, 39, of Howell, Mich., near Detroit… took an accounting job in January 2006 at Forming Technologies, which supplies plastic to auto companies.
The pay, $14 an hour — more than $25,000 a year — was acceptable, she said, but not the raises, which came to only 28 cents an hour over two years, or the Christmas bonus: $150 the first year and nothing the second.
‘I was treated poorly,’ she said, explaining her departure.”

So, it’s sort of an unintentional, unorganized strike, and it’s also sort of awesome – women are willing to pull out of the workforce if jobs can’t live up to their standards. But will it work? We’re not experts on the economy, but the prospect of better jobs turning up for women (or men, for that matter) anytime soon seems bleak. But what do we know?

Read: Women Are Now Equal as Victims of Poor Economy

Fast and dirty!

It was one of those nights where the Middle East crowd spills onto the sidewalk and then into the street (cars be damned), creating a scene that rivals the one inside the venue. Upstairs, the Seattle-based Sub Pop indie-folk band Fleet Foxes were playing; downstairs the Hollywood art-punk duo No Age, also Sub Poppers, held forth. The rivaling headlining sets from these hot-button labelmates felt just wrong — like your best friend throwing a party the same night as you.

Randy Randall and Dean Allen Spunt, the surprisingly unpunkish-looking pair who make up No Age, were unfazed — then again, there’s probably not much that pisses off two dudes who play free shows at vegan supermarkets.

Read on here.

Wednesday headphone songs

Oh, hello. Here’s a list of songs I’m currently listening to overandoverandoverandover. Some are old, some are new, some aren’t even officially “out” yet. Listen to them with a solid pair of headphones – not earbuds! Why not try the sparkling pair above? – they’re better that way. Sort of like hot dogs are always better at baseball games, popcorn is always better at movies (even when it costs half your paycheck), and coffee is better… oh wait, coffee’s always good. Listen away, friends:

French Kicks, “Abandon” from Swimming

Blitzen Trapper, “The Green King Sings” from Wild Mountain Nation

Beck, “Chemtrails” from Modern Guilt

The Helio Sequence, “Keep Your Eyes Ahead” from Keep Your Eyes Ahead

Faces on Film, “Natalie’s Numbers” from The Troubles

Deerhunter, “Little Kids” from Microcastle

Boards of Canada, “Dawn Chorus” from Geogaddi

Age Rings, “Rock ‘n’ Roll is Dead” from Black Honey (But I’m not allowed to post this one yet, because I don’t have the final version. So you’ll have to trust me – it’s awesome.)

God bless the Queen of Split Ends

Comic courtesy of Natalie Dee.

The Times Magazine, usually the highlight of my Sundays (especially when paired with coffee and/or the occasional Bloody Mary), has been sorta eh in terms of it’s music coverage lately. Last week’s profile of the freak folky sister duo Coco Rosie was fairly well-written (a tad breathless at the sisters’ involvement in Paris’s fashion community, perhaps), but seriously confusing, timing-wise. Nothing against Coco Rosie – I was a fan of the emotional weirdness of their last record (as I noted last year), and they’re artists and fashion icons, I get it, I get it, but so’s everyone else making music in Paris and Brooklyn. Why write about them now? The whole “freak folk” trend is years-old news, Coco Rosie’s latest record came out over a year ago, and I wouldn’t say there’s been any sort of Coco Rosie craze lately – not even a music blog or Pitchfork-propelled one. It looks like Fernanda Eberstadt just reaaaallly likes them, and somehow convinced an editor at the Times mag that that was enough to warrant a story. And that’s what blogs are for!

Then again, not more than a month ago they also printed Emily Gould’s entirely-too-long, rambling, self-obsessed, shoulda-been-a-LiveJournal-entry piece, so maybe they’re still coming to terms with the whole “difference between blogs and a respected news publication” thing.

Anyway, this week they’ve gone and totally redeemed themselves! First off, Deborah Solomon’s interview with Patti Smith is hilarious and totally intriguing. An excerpt:

You seem to cultivate a kind of wild-child mystique, even in your appearance. For instance, why don’t you use hair conditioner? I do use conditioner!

I’m surprised. You’re the queen of split ends. That’s very funny because I’ve just cut about eight inches off my hair because it was just too ratty-looking.”

The Queen of Split Ends? Damn Deborah! Way to just straight-up insult Patti Smith’s hair. Not everyone can have your shiny, bouncy, 100 percent split-end free locks. Elsewhere, Virginia Heffernan, the all-knowing voice of “adventures in digital culture” behind the Medium column – a weekly fav of ours – writes about enduring band presence on MySpace, despite the fact that most college kids have fled to the more stylish, application-filled Facebookland, with the main focus on Coldplay’s MySpace page:

“Mine is the 21,120,387th visit to Coldplay’s MySpace page. I am not greeted warmly. The British band — which is known for giant pop hits, a sheen of fakery and the marriage of its lead singer to Gwyneth Paltrow — does not exactly rush out to greet me. The page is rudimentary and indifferently decorated, like the apartment of four couchbound soccer addicts who barely look up when a girlfriend comes in.”

I love everything about that paragraph. Heffernan continues her dissection of “the world’s most insufferable band’s” MySpace page, with reference to Times music critic Jon Pareles’ infamous 2005 article, of course. Read the rest here.

Oh, and PS – I wrote a piece about drag kings. Maybe you saw me, dressed as a man, on the cover of the Phoenix this week. If not, check it out here.