My career in teaching high school English is a lunch-bucket version of academics. Real teachers rarely become community activists, much less political polemicists. They are far too busy.
They get shuffled off to 'workshops' by the very people who could not hack it in the classroom and became Administrators with degrees in Education from the community college at best or mail-in diploma mills in order to hear Academics from the Colleges of Education who never once set foot in a classroom.
Teachers toss the hand outs and get in forty-winks, or grade papers while some tweedy jerk struts the stage and lights up the video.
Real teachers teach English, History, Business, Physical Education, Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Languages. They are Jim the Physics Teacher; Donna the Volleyball Coach.
Seth the Fourth Vice Principal for Curriculum Development sets up Workshops and is paid seven times what real teachers make per year.
A Real Teacher from Northwestern University, Joe Epstein*, has recently scaled down his teaching load and written another book - this one on Fred Astair The Hoofer!
Today, Joe the Writer, presents an essay on the great shout-down: Joe The Plumber is being assaulted by the American Media, because he asked a question of Sen. Barack Obama and managed to pin Obama to the mat on his Redistribution of Wealth Agenda.
Joe Epstein concentrates on the Progressive pile-on by Progressive Feminist of Sarah Palin. The Progressive Feminists loath Sarah Palin, because the Governor of Alaska is a happy person. She is beautiful, successful, active, healthy, married, centered and powerful. Most of all they hate her because Sarah Palin is very happy. Most Americans are happy- beset by troubles, heartbreak, worry to be sure, but essentially happy. Progressive Feminists like Salon's Joan Walsh demand their Female Icons be as battle-damaged as she herself seems to be, but Sarah Palin, Doggoneit, is too happy!
Here is the nub of the rub from Joe the Writer:
Strongly liberal women get most agitated over the issue--though of course to them it is no issue but a long since resolved matter--of abortion. Abortion, to be sure, is the great third-rail subject in American politics. But when a male politician is against abortion, these women can write that off as the ignorance of a standard politician, if not himself a Christian fundamentalist, then another Republican cynically going after the fundamentalist vote. A woman not in favor of abortion is something quite different.
And it is all the more strikingly different when the same woman not only holds this opinion on abortion but acts on it and knowingly bears a child with Down syndrome, a child that most liberal women would have thought reason required aborting. What else, after all, is abortion for?
A few months ago Vanity Fair ran an article about the discovery that the playwright Arthur Miller, with his third wife, the photographer Inge Morath, 40 or so years ago had a Down syndrome son. Miller promptly clapped the boy into an institution--according to the article, not a first class one either--and never saw the child again. Most people would have taken this for a heartless act, one should have thought, especially on the part of a man known for excoriating the putative cruelties of capitalism and the endless barbarities of his own country's governments, whether Democratic or Republican. Yet, so far as one can tell, Arthur Miller's treatment of his own child has not put the least dent in his reputation, while Sarah Palin's having, keeping, and loving her Down syndrome child is somehow, by the standard of the liberal woman of our day, not so secretly thought the act of an obviously backward and ignorant woman, an affront to womanhood. "Her greatest hypocrisy," proclaimed Wendy Doniger, one of the leading feminist lights at the University of Chicago, "is her pretense that she is a woman."
*Joseph Epstein (born January 9, 1937) is a Chicagoan essayist, short story writer, and editor, best known as a former editor of the Phi Beta Kappa Society's The American Scholar magazine and for his recent essay collection, Snobbery: The American Version. He was also a lecturer at Northwestern University from 1974 - 2002. He is a Contributing Editor at The Weekly Standard and a long-time contributor of essays and short stories to The New Criterion and Commentary. The late William F. Buckley, Jr. in his review of Snobbery called Epstein the wittiest writer alive.
Essay collections and books
Divorced in America: Marriage in an age of possibility (1974)
Familiar Territory: Observations on American Life (1979)
Ambition: The Secret Passion (1980)
Middle of My Tether: Familiar Essays (1983)
Plausible Prejudices: Essays on American Writing (1985)
Once More Around the Block: Familiar Essays (1987)
Partial Payments: Essays on Writers and Their Lives (1988)
A Line Out for a Walk: Familiar Essays (1991)
Pertinent Players: Essays on the Literary Life (1993)
With My Trousers Rolled: Familiar Essays (1995)
Life Sentences: Literary Essays (1997)
Narcissus Leaves the Pool: Familiar Essays (1999, paperback 2007)
Snobbery: The American Version (2002)
Friendship: An Exposé (2006)
Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy's Guide (2006)
In a Cardboard Belt!: Essays Personal, Literary, and Savage (2007)
Fred Astaire (2008)
 Short story collections
The Goldin Boys: Stories (1991)
Fabulous Small Jews (2003)
 Short Stories
My Brother Eli appearing in The Best American Short Stories 2007 pp. 85-112.
 External links
"The Culture of Celebrity: Let us now praise famous airheads" in The Weekly Standard
"Friends Aren't What They Used to Be: The New Ethos of Intimacy" a review of Friendship: An Exposé, in Slate
"Kid Turns 70: And Nobody Cares" in The Weekly Standard
"Golden Juggler" a review of In a Cardboard Belt! by Joseph Tartakovsky, in the Claremont Review of Books
From the Good Folks at Wikipedia