"Not shaving was once important to me as an active statement of what I felt and believed," explains Sheri Reda in Conscious Choice (May/June). "I declared my independence, asserted the natural beauty of the human form, and proclaimed that I was at once feminist, nonmaterialist, and brave....Keeping my leg and underarm hair made me feel very European, very sexy, very mysterious. (My parents thought it was gross, which was another plus.)...Now, on the verge of thirty-seven, surrounded by smooth, young, hairless fashion trees, I don't feel mysterious and alluring anymore....I feel like the European peasant women I ride next to on the bus. They too are hairy, and unadorned, and wearing black. This is not the kind of European I meant to be."
Welcome to the Land of Lincoln, y'all. Joan Gittens in Poor Relations: The Children of the State in Illinois, 1818-1990: "Illinois, bustling and prosperous in economic terms, has always behaved less like its Progressive neighbors Wisconsin and Minnesota than a poor southern state in the care of its vulnerable people. Not only recently, but consistently throughout its history, the state has underfunded, underbuilt, and undertaxed in regard to children's needs."
Percentage of millionaires in Congress, according to Wastewatcher (July): 19. In the U.S. population: less than 1.
"Few have so readily embraced the multicultural vision of America as the nation's corporate elite," muses David Ciepley in the Hyde Park-based Cross Streets. "Those who imagine multiculturalist doxologies and marginalist subcultures to be forms of resistance to...consumer capitalism are woefully mistaken. From the corporate perspective, the new identities that such practices generate are just so many new markets waiting to be tapped."
Well, that's a relief. Advance publicity for the new book Shopping Around: Feminine Culture and the Pursuit of Pleasure, by Hilary Radner of Notre Dame: "Women do not shop because they are shopping addicts narcotized by the media, or because they have the urge to challenge masculine hegemonic control."
Dept. of demographics. According to Sardia Robinson in the DevCorp North newsletter Progress (Summer), "Rogers Park boasts the largest concentration of Jamaicans in the entire state of Illinois."
OK, he's on the ground. Now kick him right there... "If you are union, now is the time to review your collective bargaining agreements to be sure you are competitive," advises the management-side law firm Wessels & Pautsch, of suburban Saint Charles. "Unions are at their lowest level of strength in years and employers are finding this is an opportune time to make up lost ground."
"[Richard] Posner is in many ways a man without a constituency," says his former law clerk Dennis M. Black, quoted by Chris Bull in the Advocate (August 23). According to Black, Posner--chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which is based in Chicago--is "certainly the only Reagan appointee and conservative academician I know of to discuss gay rights in a thoughtful and sensitive manner." But, Bull writes, Posner is unlikely to find a large constituency in the gay community because "in his current book, Private Choices and Public Health: The AIDS Epidemic in an Economic Perspective, he argues that the 'economically optimal' level of AIDS cases is above zero because the cost of completely eradicating the disease is likely to prove prohibitive."
"As a public relations person, I was very sensitive to the issues of media coverage and image, and I was constantly frustrated with the lack of fair media coverage of many black politicians and other public figures," Hermene Hartman tells Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (July 25). "And where were the black people I knew and interacted with every day? I didn't see them in the media. Where was my life?" According to Muwakkil, such feelings have prompted a number of African Americans to reverse the historic pattern and leave mainstream journalism for a revitalized black press, including Hartman's N'Digo. "I had some energy, I knew good writers who were not writing anywhere, I knew that one-half of Chicago was of a darker hue and that all of them didn't live in public housing. I knew there was a void, so I made it a niche."
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.