I’ve been reporting on the grammatical contortions of the student body at Smith College, the women’s college in Northampton, Mass., whose student government voted last year to eliminate the words “she” and “her” from the student constitution in deference to the institution’s “transgendered” community of once-female students who now identify themselves as males. (See Sanity at Smith College?, March 12, and Smith College’s Gender-Change Operation, March 26) The change has engendered, if I may use that word, hefty opposition among members of the Smith student body who were under the impression that they were attending a women’s college and want the school to go back to being one. Today the student senate votes today on whether to turn the issue over to the entire student body for a vote that could well nullify last year’s vote.
In my post of March 26, I quoted from an opinion piece in the Smith student newspaper, The Sophian, opposing the changeback, written by a Smith student named Schuyler Clemente, and I made fun of Ms. Clemente’s name. Molly Laas, editor-in-chief of The Sophian, e-mails to reprove me:
“Regardless of what she thinks of what goes on at Smith College, I would ask that Charlotte Allen refrain from mocking my editor’s name in [the] ‘Inkwell’ blog. Schuyler Clemente is the news editor of the Sophian. Her name was given to her by her mother 18 years ago, and does not reflect what Clemente (or her mom) thinks about the Student Government’s move to make its constitution’s language gender-neutral. Regardless of what I think of the IWF, I appreciate the fact that its writers read our newspaper. Seeing the Sophian talked about outside of Smith is always a pleasure.”
Ms. Laas is absolutely right to take me to task, and I apologize to her and especially to Ms. Clemente for my rudeness. While people who change their names as adults deserve guffaws for the oddities that sometimes emerge (“Barbara Seagull,” “P. Diddy”), no one should have to endure derision for a name given one as an infant by one’s parents. I was wrong, and I’ve already edited my mockery of Ms. Clemente’s name out of the post.
I’m of course equally delighted that the InkWell is being read at Smith. And I’ve learned a new P.C. word from The Sophian: “transphobic.” It has nothing to do with “trans fat,” I’m sorry to say. Apparently, if you oppose last year’s constitutional change at Smith, and you’d like the constitution of a women’s college to refer to the students as women, you’re a transphobic.
The Other Charlotte has been covering Richard Clarke’s 9/11 grandstanding jamboree and the rich liberal paradox that has emerged: The libs used to deride G.W. Bush for overreacting to 9/11, but now they’re deriding him for not having done enough, at least in contrast to his sterling predecessor Bill Clinton. (See Dick Clarke: Not the Grandstand, the Rorschach Test, March 25, The Other 9/11 Families, March 28, and American Grandstand: The Beat Continues But Nobody Seems to Be Dancing, today). Reader S.S. e-mails us to point out further ironies:
“You do realize that when the [World Trade Center] twin towers were first attacked [in 1993] under Bill Clinton, he declared it a police action, closing the Federal Bureau of Investigation files for review by any other agency. Protecting the criminals responsible contributed to the 9/11 disaster. Bush immediately called it an action of war which made all information available to the FBI, Central Intelligence Agency, etc. Having the ability and shutting down every airport in the nation saved lives. What other country could do that–immediately? I feel safer, poorer but safer.”
And reader S.C. just likes the IWF in general:
“Until your site came to my attention, Wendy McElroy seemed to be one of the lone detractors from the feminist majority. It’s nice to see a site for women who believe that we are capable of thinking and making decisions for ourselves without the ‘help’ of self-righteous, self-important liberal feminists who believe they are the only women with a modicum of common sense and should be set up as spokeswomen for the entire gender.
“P.S. Is there a print publication that reflects the ideology represented here? As nice as website is, it doesn’t offer much in the way of travel reading!”
We know exactly how you feel, S.C.–it’s hard to peruse a website while shoveling your breakfast eggs with the toast. The IWF did have a magazine, The Women’s Quarterly, but we suspended its publication so that we could turn our site into an electronic magazine that we could update daily instead of once every three months. But we’re always thinking about supplementing the site with print, and your letter will help us think a little harder..