Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Courier-Journal bending the rules for the gender benders at U of L

If you want to respond to an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the newspaper's policy is to allow you 250 words, no more. [See clarification on this below] But apparently this policy does not apply to those promoting public funding for research on drag queens at public expense. In today's CJ, Nancy Theriot, the chairperson of the "Department of Women's and Gender Studies at U of L," gets 685 words to respond to Family Foundation spokesman David Edmund's analysis of how U of L is using public money to advance special interest politics at the university--at a time when it is increasing tuitions.

And what is Theriot's defense of U of L spending public money on a scholar whose recent work involves "specifically investigating how the black male-bodied Drag Queen's presence within queer 'subcultures' disrupts mainstream notions of what is considered natural and fixed signifiers of black femininity and/or womanhood"?
Obviously, Edmunds has no idea of what the scholarship is all about (if he did, he would at least attempt to comment on it). What he doesn't realize is that Dr. Story is doing cutting-edge research in an area that is one of the fastest-growing fields of humanities/social science research. Since coming to U of L last August, Dr. Story has already brought distinction to the university by being invited to give lectures at one regional meeting and one national scholarly meeting.
Well, that explains everything. No doubt U of L students who get their bills for tuition next year with the 9 percent increase will be comforted knowing that the drag queen research of their faculty is "cutting edge" drag queen research, and that she is being invited to give lectures about such topics and that she goes to scholarly meetings with other scholars who presumably also think this is a good use of their time and the public's money.

The paper is not allowing Edmunds to respond to Theriot's piece, however, even though they cut Theriot a break that they don't give to others. [See clarification below] So here's my suggestion for Edmunds: Dress up in a campy outfit with a black leather skirt and high heels, apply plenty of make-up, and get yourself a new name--something like "Bootsy," or maybe "Peaches"--and deliver your response to the editors in person.

"Hey big boy, I've got an editorial response, how about it?"

It's bound to work.

UPDATE: We have been given to understand that the CJ does not have a written policy on word limits and that such things are determined on a case by case basis, and that, since there was so much response on this, a little more leeway was given. These comments were based on our own experience trying to get more than 250 words in different circumstance, and I should also say that the CJ has always treated me with great forbearance.

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