Sunday, August 7, 2022

Reading 11

Silvia Federici, "Revolution Begins at Home: Rethinking Marx, Reproduction, and the Class Struggle," Patriarchy of the Wage

Some interesting stuff here. Federici criticizes Marx for not taking seriously the negative effects modern industrial economies were having on families and family relations. Marx believed that these industrial economies were a necessary step toward a more egalitarian society, and he predicted with men and women working alongside one another in the late 19th century in the factories, necessarily there would be more equal relations between men and women. But Federici also notes how minutely Marx documented the modern economy's need not only for a cheap labor supply but to regulate that supply. The only way businesses can truly regulate the labor supply is by getting involved in reproductive rights. QED.

Beth Nugent, "Riding Into Day," City of Boys: Stories

Alice is on a three-day train ride cross-country with her mother and father to attend the wedding of some cousin she doesn't know. The journey begins hopefully, the father eager to trace the route on a map, until eventually it appears to Alice one vein after another through one rectangular Midwestern state after another, and even her father loses interest. Alice's mother grows bored too, telling Alice's father that being aboard a train for so long on the way to a wedding for someone they hardly know is not much of a vacation. The father gets grumpy and says she can play every vacation from now on, then. The mother begins spending most of her time in the smoking car. She meets a man named Mr. Gregg. She and the man have flirtations. She says she wanted to be a nurse but she's now past her prime, he tells her it's never too late. Alice overhears some of this, and Mr. Gregg tells her her mother is a very remarkable woman. The mother's meetings with Mr. Gregg have the mother seeing if she can get the same response from Alice's father. I always wanted to be a nurse, she says. I'm still young, she says, I could be, don't you think? But the father just spends his time reading the newspapers, and the only time he perks up about something is when he reads about a family man who took a dive headlong over a bridge into deep waters and drowned. He shares this information with his family like it's an exciting true crime case. Alice can't wait to get to wherever it is there supposed to go, but even more now she just wishes she can become an old woman so she can avoid going through all these doldrums of adulthood she sees in her parents.

Ted Hughes, "Drawing," Birthday Letters: Poems

I understand now why most volumes of poetry are slender. Brevity is angelic. But this book of poetry just goes on and on. Ted recounts how drawing the sites around Europe calmed her during their travels and calmed him too. Great, Ted. I can't wait until I finish this book.

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