Feb 8, 2007


The team of dudes came back, this time huddling under my tub with drills, saws and blowtorches. I must leave this afternoon, so I am really hoping thier adventures today go speedily and I can shower before heading out. Strange thing that sensory memory is, when I was a little girl, our house caught on fire. The blowtorches downstairs are creating a very particular burning scent in my apartment that chilled me to the bone and almost made me well-up just remembering that scary night, decades ago. Wow, I am amazed to remember that exact scent. Spooky.


I was listening to the news this morning as the anchor and a few guest experts were discussing Lisa Nowak and a few things came to mind:

1. Some questions are surfacing about her being "an astronaut, a mother and a wife" and whether or not stress is a viable defense. Well, I'm not a, attorney so whether or not stress is or is not a viable defense is not anything I am qualified to comment on. But, what does concern me is that I have never, never, never in my life heard of a man freaking out and anyone questioning whether being a (insert professional title), a father and a husband/partner led to his stress. In fact, when men freak out, we usually just call them crazy and get it over with. Discuss.

2. It cracks me up how she went after the other woman and not, say, the man not making a solid decision. But, a lot of people do that. Watch an episode of COPS or Cheaters and see. I mean, generally speaking, don't you think a straying partner is more like to be bullshitting you than say his/her lover? Discuss.

3. My very good friend Vesna lives in Denmark and was just telling me in an email this week that she has unlimited sick days (which, because they are on the honor system, are rearely abused) and six weeks of vacation every year. In our (American) push for constantly obtaining, acheiving and doing more, are we all heading to stressed-out doom eventually and people like Lisa Nowak just the proverbial canaries in our coal mines? Discuss.

And on other newsworthy topics:

4. Senator Doug Jackson (D- TN) is looking to expand the death penalty to include persons perpetrating sexual abuse against a child. Would this, were it to move forward (which I imagine it will not), further contribute to a reluctance to report such crimes? Discuss.

5. OJ is writing another book, a fictional account called If I Did It. Oy, OJ. Discuss.

(I'd like to remind everyone that the comment section is for discussion but let's remember that the poised intellectual recognizes the difference between discussion and argument.)


Yo, Yenta said...

1. Dunno if this is true; when that guy shot the Amish girls there were references to his stress at having to provide for a family, as well as being a self-loathing child molester. I'm all for sniffing out the chauvinism, and you're right that the media is always shocked when a mother does something awful, 'cause you know, we're supposed to be all selfless and pure and shit.

2. Never got this either. If my man cheated, he'd be the one with the duct tape on his weenie and me and the other lady'd be out drinking choco martinis on his credit card.

3. Yup, we're total workalholic, consumption-obsessed corporate drones here in the golden U.S. Which is why I'm proud to say I've never had a real job.

4. Probably won't happen. Don't most child molesters get killed in prison anyway?

5. Like who would publish his crap now?

And girl, I know the value of a hot shower. I honestly thank God every day for hot, hot water. But I haven't had a bath in over eight months and I'm dyin' ova heah...

Thanks for all your commentary over at my place!

Amy Guth said...

Ah, Yenta-- great point about the Amish-killah guy. I did overlook him.

Phrases du jour:

"...cause you know, we're supposed to be all selfless and pure and shit."


"If my man cheated, he'd be the one with the duct tape on his weenie and me and the other lady'd be out drinking choco martinis on his credit card."

Yenta! I'm dying over here! Dying! Ha hahaha!

diane said...

Ohhh Lisa. Poor Lisa.
This whole story has raised so many issues in my little brain. My biggest concern is that the public at large will use this as a crutch to say, "Women should not be astronauts!" and it's only a small leap to women should not ____ (insert whatever you want here)
I hate, hate, HATE the way the media is treating this one. Everyone has snickered about the fact she wore "diapers" in the car but what has not been emphasized in these stories is that the diaper she wore was the type astronauts wear on short-range missions. We're not talking Depends here. And while it is still weird, to me it just shows that the wires were not connecting quite right, but not entirely out of left field.
Another thing is that Nasa has done a very nice job of covering up the effects of space travel on astronauts in the past. Lisa is by no means the first astronaut to experience psychological problems, I wish I had the article handy but I was reading about other astronauts that have gone loco during or after their missions. Because she is a woman and it was a love triangle, it is fascinating and it sells and so the media is going to exploit the crap out of it.
It's sad. This poor woman's career is ruined. The effect on female professionals is going to be horrible. And I can't help but feel like something out there is trying to tell us we shouldn't be poking around in space--at least not with humans in the air--it seems lately to do more harm than good.
Last but not least, I wonder when we are all going to push ourselves too hard as a nation and collectively crack. The addition of cell phones and blackberries has only served to encourage the work 24/7 mentality. And to stay ahead of the others (if that is your goal), you must prove you can work longer and crazier hours than your colleagues. I think it's going to prove horribly damaging to our social structure--from destroying families to destroying our mental and physical health.

Wings said...

1. I think this is a great tragedy and has brought to light (as Diane had pointed out) a long standing problem with the psychological issues in the astronaut corps among men and women alike. There was a male astronaut on CNN last night being very up front about the two years of therapy he went through. From what has been said I believe the big difference in this case is that her actions involved the civil authorities in a public place, where the other incidence at NASA were caught “within the NASA family”. The other issue that was brought up was the reluctance of astronauts to come forward with psychological issues for fear of jeopardizing there flight status. That is a real tragedy.

2. As for the “Women shouldn’t be ________” because of this incident, I believe that society has evolved beyond that. There is very little argument with women in combat these days (Did anyone question whether Tammy Duckworth should not have been in combat … I didn’t see anyone) Danica Patrick is accepted on the Indy circuit without much hubbub these days. The majority of her publicity is tied around her winning, the fact that she drives for Dave Letterman’s team and the eternal “She ain’t hard to look at” issue (the same as you have with any attractive male athlete).

3. Something else that has come out is the much higher divorce rate among astronauts than the general public. (Even higher than in military families of those deployed to combat zones).

Bottom line, I think this incident brings a number of NASA’s “little secrets” into public view. Second it gives us a wake up call to the fact astronauts are human too. How smart or how skilled you are does not have anything to do with your psychological health. I just feel terrible that a career is ruined, a life is ruined and the U.S. has lost a great resource to its space program.

diane said...

Oh boy, I don't want to get into it with Wings again, but until we have a female President I will not believe the "Women should not be _____" position is something we, as a society, have gotten past. Sure, we might be all PC and say it on the surface, but men in power still far outweigh women in power. And I'm sorry, too many people hate Hilary Clinton for her to make any headway on that one. If Barack Obama were female, we'd be in good shape.

Amy Guth said...

Hey, it's cool by me if we "get into it" as long as we all play nice. :)

Wings said...

Diane, you are correct, I shouldn't have stated "society has evolved beyond that". I should have said that I believe society has made a great deal of progress towards that goal. As far as Hillary, I think you have to take her politics into consideration, not just her gender. There are MANY people who disagree with her politics, but want to see a woman in the White House.

Long live meaningful discourse!

jake ryan of sixteen candles fame said...

Sex is what is between your legs. Gender is what is between your ears.

I think my Ms. Guth said that on the blog once, speaking of women I would like to see in the White House.

Amy Guth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy Guth said...

Long live meaningful discourse, indeed.

Jake, you would not want me to be President.

"jew" "girl" said...

love discuss.

it seems that the trend right now is keeping employees living in abject terror of losing their jobs. I think it breeds competition and tremendous insecurity. I see my friends working much too hard for much less money.

forget a 401K or an IRA, health insurance is the hot commodity. in order to get a job and qualify for health insurance, one of my friends had to go through a rigorous health exam. how ridiculous is that?

I worry about this trend and how quickly my friends are burning out. even if you get the job and the health insurance, who gets time off for a routine physical?

it's a great topic for discussion!