Here’s the weekly roundup of events of note that were worthy of longer comment, if I had more time:
The University of Florida has fired a male professor after finding that he made inappropriate comments in the classroom about how Latinas dressed differently from other women. He had been warned twice before that his comments created a hostile learning environment for female students. Three strikes, he’s out. More here
In the Sunday New York Times Book Review Emma Brockes reviewed Robert Gottlieb’s new biography of Sarah Bernhardt, The Life of Sarah Berhhardt. In summarizing some of the highlights of the book Brockes writes, “she was never coy about her illegitimacy — her father was probably a naval officer from Le Havre — or about the illegitimacy of her own child.” ILLEGITIMACY? Twice in one sentence? Please. I thought we’d put “out of wedlock” and “illegitimacy” to bed a long time ago. The review is here. Why the Times tapped Brockes to write the review is questionable. She is a journalist and author from the UK who got into tons of trouble when she wrote an unflattering profile of Noam Chomsky in the Guardian in 2005. It was so riddled with misrepresentations and inaccuracies that the Guardian pulled the article and issued an apology to Chomsky.
David Boies, one of the lead lawyers representing the same-sex couples in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, is also representing Jamie McCourt in her high-profile divorce from her husband Frank. Among the contested issues in the trial is whether the McCourts both own the L.A. Dodgers baseball team or only Frank does. Most of the paperwork surrounding the purchase indicates that the team was bought solely by Frank, but Boies’s trial strategy has been to have Jamie play dumb: when confronted with the paperwork she testified that she didn’t understand it, hadn’t read it, couldn’t recall anything about it, and had expected that her lawyer at the time had taken care of her interests. Jamie McCourt is herself a lawyer who practiced law for 15 years, including family law, and went to MIT, Harvard and Georgetown. Having his client play the dumb wife is probably good trial strategy in this case, but it bears reminding that this is the institution that Boies is helping to get gays and lesbians into – one where gendered stereotypes remain believable, worth exploiting, and can pay out big. Argh.