This morning, a friend noted a discrepancy between two recent headlines at The Mac Observer:
I tweeted the two headlines and corresponding URLs, with a single word of commentary: “Hmm”. I said no more partly because I was near the 140-character limit, and partly to see what the reaction would be. Some got it, but many repliers missed my point, mistakenly thinking it was related to an exodus of executives from the company.1
My point was to draw attention to the disparate job descriptions: “Apple CFO” vs. “PR Queen”.
Julie Richert pointed to a similar discrepancy — two Philip Elmer-DeWitt headlines on his weblog at CNN/Fortune/Money:
Maybe you can find an article in which Peter Oppenheimer is described as Apple’s “finance king”, but I can’t. It’s true that Oppenheimer’s official title (“CFO”) aptly describes his position in a way that Cotton’s (“vice president of worldwide corporate communication”) does not. “Queen”, however, is the wrong way to shorthand it. Boss, chief, head, leader — honcho perhaps, if you want to be casual — any of these words can be used to convey authority. Queen, though, emphasizes something else: gender. It carries other connotations, none of them flattering: queens are arrogant, distant, prissy, entitled, superior; they become queens by birthright or marriage, not through merit.2
Unintentional sexism is sexism nonetheless. There’s almost never a good reason to use a different word to describe a woman’s job than the words you’d choose if the position were held by a man.
Which, admittedly, is not unreasonable. Apple’s executive ranks have been remarkably stable during the post-NeXT reunification years, and two high-level retirements in a short period of time is notable.↩
You know you’re in poor company when you’ve chosen the same word as Valleywag’s Sam Biddle, who describes Cotton as “the queen of evil tech PR” in his headline, and quotes an anonymous source who describes her as “wicked witchy”. Jiminy.↩
The Times-Picayune reports (thanks, Brad) that a committee voted 8-5 to approve HB 503 on Thursday, so it will now be considered by the full Louisiana House. The vote came after a debate in which legislators grappled with difficult questions, in particular this one: which Holy Bible should become the official state book of Louisiana?
As introduced by Rep. Thomas Carmody, HB 503 provided as follows:
There shall be an official state book. The official state book shall be the Holy Bible, published by Johannes Prevel, (Prevel, Jean, active 1510-1528, printer. & Petit, Jean, fl. 1492-1530.) [sic], which is the oldest edition of the Holy Bible in the Louisiana State Museum system. The use on official documents of the state and with the insignia of the state is hereby authorized.
In other words, Carmody says he wants to make a specific individual Bible the official state book. He explained later that when he started thinking about which Bible should be the state Bible, he decided it should be the oldest one in the state. That's apparently the one above. There are problems, though. For example, it doesn't make any sense. How could you "use" any book (let alone one that is 500 years old) "on official documents of the state"? Are staples involved?
There's another problem. According to Carmody, that particular book is privately owned, so—for a reason he didn't specify—it can't be an official state symbol. Carmody said he amended the bill for that reason, and the version he offered on April 10 looked like this:
There shall be an official state book. The official state book shall be the Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible that is housed in the State Library of Louisiana.
Turns out you can watch Louisiana's committee meetings on the internet, and the video is available the same day. Not that most people would want to watch a meeting of the Louisiana House Committee on Municipal, Parochial, and Cultural Affairs, but you could. And I did.
First the really important business was taken up. Thornwell was declared "Yellow Rail Capital of the World," and Grand Couteau was recognized as the state's "Sweet Dough Pie Capital." All lamented the witness's failure to actually bring a sweet dough pie with her, but the resolution was adopted anyway. After several other matters, Rep. Carmody appeared. (This is about 20% of the way in, if you care.)
To kick off this part of the hearing, a staff member read the bill aloud. It was probably just coincidence that the bill to make a Holy Bible the official book of Louisiana was read aloud by Ms. Tina Righteous, but then maybe it wasn't.
Carmody explained how the bill came to be. He said "a constituent" called and wondered why Louisiana had all these state symbols but no official state book. Why, that's true, Carmody exclaimed. Well, he responded, let's say we were to have an official state book. What book do you think would be appropriate? Why, the Holy Bible, said the constituent. And that's just how it happened, boys and girls.
As you have probably realized by now, there is yet another major problem with Carmody's amended bill, and when his statement was finished, Rep. Stephen Ortego lost no time in pointing it out. "Why the King James Version?" he asked. Wait, what? Somebody introduced a bill to make the Bible the official state book, and your first question is "why the King James Version?"
But yes. Ortego, who is Catholic, asked Carmody if his book wasn't missing a few pages. He meant the "deuterocanonical" parts, which (as I have since learned) are things like the Book of Judith that are accepted by Catholics (and Orthodox) but not by most Protestants. I don't know exactly which Bible they have in the State Library (they didn't either), but it appears that an "Authorized King James Version" doesn't have these books. In other words, Ortego had hit upon the basic problem: which "official Christianity" are we going to adopt?
Hold up, said Rep. Barbara Norton: what about other religions? She too was a Christian, she noted, but "We certainly don't want to offend anyone ... couldn't we put something in there that refers to all religions?" Carmody didn't think that was necessary, and he had an analogy to offer. It involved jelly. Our state has adopted various symbols, he said, and "just to use one particular [example], we adopted a state jelly ... [and] after one state jelly was adopted, the state came back and added a second."
This is not entirely true. Louisiana does in fact have two official state jellies, the mayhaw jelly and Louisiana sugar cane jelly. (Both can be "use[d] on official documents of the state.") But they were both added by the same act in 2003. Carmody had no intention of letting a second jelly, I mean holy book be added to this bill, so his analogy didn't really work. Norton had a different problem with it, though.
"Yes, I wouldn't compare the two, jelly and Bible," she told Carmody. "We're talking about the Word of God." Carmody had to bob and weave a bit here. His point seemed to be that adopting one official holy book didn't mean there couldn't also be another one, at some point, but not today of course.
I thought Carmody understood exactly what he was doing, but others honestly didn't seem to understand what the problem might be. One legislator suggested they might amend the bill to make "all versions of the Bible" the official Bible. Another one agreed, saying, what about "the Holy Bible, period ... according to anybody's religion?" Or as Ortego told the Times-Picayune, "Let's make this more inclusive of other Christian faiths, more than just the ones that use the King James version." So we need to be more tolerant is what you're saying?
This was really starting to hurt my head when finally Rep. Wesley Bishop spoke up. I'm a Christian too, he said, son of a preacher. But "as a state lawmaker and a lawyer, I can't get around the argument of separation of church and state." This is not Moby Dick we're adopting here, he pointed out. "By adopting the Bible, we're adopting Christianity. As a preacher, I don't have a problem with that, but as a lawmaker, I do." (Hallelujah!) Carmody, though, pretended he didn't really know what the problem was. The bill doesn't establish an official religion, he told Bishop. Just an official book. (The Bible.)
Okay, then how about we make "all books of faith" official state books, said Rep. Ebony Woodruff. "I would certainly be against that amendment," Carmody said. He didn't bother to explain why.
Ultimately, Ortego got his way. After a recess, he offered an amendment that changed it just to "the Holy Bible," and as amended, the committee then voted 8-5 to report the bill favorably. So if it were to pass, the law would read "The official state book shall be the Holy Bible."
Well, it wouldn't be for long. This bill is already on the ACLU's radar, and the law would have no hope of surviving the legal challenge that Rep. Bishop warned them all was coming. "I am so bothered by this bill that I just called my pastor," he said. "My pastor just told me legally we have a problem with this."
His pastor is right.
See also "Legislator Upset That Muslims Want to Use School-Voucher Program Too," Lowering the Bar (July 20, 2012) (coincidentally, also involving Louisiana).
Until NBC's The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams and its star, Dan Haggerty, no actor had ever frolicked opposite a grizzly bear. The species Ursus horribills is so untamable and treacherous that in all previous movie and TV sequences the beasts were controlled by unseen electric wires. But subterfuge was not for Haggerty, an animal trainer before he was an actor, and his 607-pound co-star, Ben, who apprenticed as a pet and in a circus. Then, just before Thanksgiving, Grizzly Adams production was abruptly shut down after a near-fatal accident to Haggerty.
Ben was not at fault; a fan was. At Dan's 35th birthday fete at L.A.'s Red Onion restaurant, a celebrant inadvertently splashed him with a flaming rum drink, immediately igniting the hirsute headliner. His quick-thinking wife, Diane, recounts Dan, "had a glass of Perrier in her hands, which she threw in my face. Then she pushed me to the ground and put out the flames with her body." Just a few days before, as it happened, she'd read in the paper about the Sherman Oaks Burn Center, and rushed him there. "I was led to it by some miracle," Diane says now. "I didn't really know where I was going."
Haggerty, a Thoreauback among Hollywood types, supplemented the center's pioneering techniques with his animal lore. He had only second-degree burns on his face, fortunately, but on his arms the damage was third-degree, requiring massive skin grafts from his buttocks. "The first couple of days I just lay in the dark room drinking water, like a wounded wolf trying to heal himself," he recollects stoically. "Nurses tried to give me morphine and encouraged me to open the curtains. But sometimes animals know more than people about healing." He refused painkillers and adds, "When the doctors warned me to turn over once every 15 minutes so fluid wouldn't collect in my lungs and give me pneumonia, I got myself out of bed and started walking." At one point he sneaked a look at his scorched face in a chrome towel dispenser, "because there are no mirrors in a burn ward." The hospital had hoped to discharge him in a month or so. Haggerty was home in 10 days. "When I was leaving, one of the doctors shook his head and said, 'Jesus Christ, you're a tough bastard.' " Next week Dan will be back before the cameras on location at Payson, Ariz.
That's not a flack's fantasy but the whole truth—unlike Dan's romanticized family-hour series. The real 19th-century Grizzly Adams was a criminal who fled to the wilderness to escape justice and then peddled his supposedly beloved fauna to carnivals. Dan, too, was a renegade as a kid, repeatedly running away from the military school where his parents (who separated when he was 3) had dispatched him. Finally, at 16, he settled with his Hollywood technician dad and stepmom in Burbank. He remembers it as "a life right out of American Graffiti," centered around high school athletics, cars and girls. Diane was his honey already and they married at 17 at the wedding chapel of Vegas' Silver Slipper Hotel. "Her dad wasn't too thrilled," notes Dan, "but I knew a lot about life." First as an ironworker and then a leather craftsman (he still sews his own TV costumes), Haggerty raised his family, which grew from two daughters to a menagerie once he moved to a little ranch in Malibu Canyon. "I told the landlady I was thinking about getting a lion and she thought it was a wonderful idea," he marvels. "We moved in right away." (All of their brood, which also includes a leopard, a cougar and a tiger, were either born in captivity or captured after being injured.)
Thanks to his uncanny kinship with beasts, Dan got movie jobs as stunt-man and double ("Actors didn't like animals leaping on them"). That led to performing himself in TV commercials with critters (Ralston-Purina, Del Monte, Alcoa). Finally, in 1973, producer Patrick Frawley, who was stuck with a half-shot movie called Grizzly Adams, asked him to star in some revised opening scenes. All or nothing, said Haggerty, and he redid the movie on a total budget of $165,000. It made almost $30 million, not counting the 1976 series sale to NBC.
Stardom has not affected the natural man. The Haggerty family car is a pickup truck and they live modestly near the Burbank airport while waiting to build a house of Dan's own design behind Malibu, where they can bring their pets out of boarding. "Dan has no appetite for Hollywood life," understates Diane. "We've had the same friends for years." Haggerty recalls the time "Otis Chandler, the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, invited me to his house and then took me into his den to see the huge bear he'd shot and had stuffed. I told him," Dan continues, " 'Hell, any jackass can point a gun at something and kill it. I got a bear that's bigger than yours, and he rides around in the truck with me.' " And that's no shaggy-star story.