media check for the week of 2007-08-19

I decided to go to the IU library to check out the book The Suburbanization of New York: Is the World’s Greatest City Becoming Just Another Town? (ISBN-13: 978-1-56898-678-4) and found a wealth of other interesting books in the HN80.N5 section on the 7th floor. I also checked out There Goes The Neighborhood (ISBN-10: 0-394-57936-4), a book about the politics of race and class in Chicago neighborhoods, and passed on Praciticing Community (ISBN-10: 0-292-73118-3), a book about similar dynamics, but in Cincinatti, though it also looked good.

I heard an interesting recording of a Michael Parenti talk on Alternative Radio on WFHB on Monday, 2007-08-20 that was kind of all over the place, but mostly about how identity politics are exploited to divide people who are marginalized by race, gender, or sexual orientation. He also suggested that the division of power in this country often finds people with very different ethnic, gender, sexual, or other cultural identities on the same side of that power divide.

I read this article by Dave Zirin, author of What’s My Name Fool?: Sports and Resistance in the U.S., Welcome to the Terrordome, and other books about sports and politics. Zirin writes about the difficulties in sending copies of his books to a Texas death row inmate because

“It contains material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption such as strikes or riots.”

The offending content, according to the TXDOC, included quotations such as this from baseball great Jackie Robinson:

“I felt tortured and I tried to just play ball and ignore the insults. But it was really getting to me. … For one wild and rage-crazed moment I thought, ‘To hell with Mr. Rickey’s “noble experiment.” … To hell with the image of the patient black freak I was supposed to create.’ I could throw down my bat, stride over to that Phillies dugout, grab one of those white sons of [expletive] and smash his teeth in with my despised black fist. Then I could walk away from it all.”

I use for managing my bookmarks. Often, I want to access my bookmarks through my browser instead of having to visit the site. The Bookmarks Firefox add-on lets me do just that.

Roy F. Baumeister’s talk, Is There Anything Good About Men? is really interesting. It talks about the different ways that culture have used men and women to achieve its ends. It also talks about how a fundamental difference between men and women is that men favor wider, shallower relationships and women prefer closer, more intimate relationships and how this has driven the different cultural realms that are inhabited disproportionally by men and women. At the base of this, claims Baumeister, is the evolutionary reality that far more women reproduce than men. The wider, shallower, relationships or more risk-taking activities favored by men, in general, facilitates the differentiation that will allow some men to reproduce.

On a somewhat related note, this is a program that my friend is working with. The program is trying to organize
Men of Strength (MOST) Clubs in DC and other communities. A friend who works with the Middleway House, a Bloomington shelter for women and children affected by rape and family violence says that young men who stay in the shelter really lack a community of other males to critically examine their ideas of identity and masculinity and to model ideas of gender or relationships that differ from the violence that they’ve experienced. These clubs seem like a rare example of something that might begin to provide this support/education. The clubs are described as:

Men of Strength (MOST) Club has provided young men in Washington, DC and California high schools and colleges with a safe and supportive haven to connect with male peers while exploring masculinity and male strength.

Exposing young men to healthier, nonviolent models/visions of manhood, the MOST Club challenges members to define their own definition of masculinity and to translate their learning into community leadership, progressive action, and social change.


  • Provide young men with a safe, supportive space in which to connect with male peers through exploring notions of masculinity and male strength.
  • Promote an understanding of ways that traditional masculinity contributes to sexual assault and other forms of men’s violence, perpetuates gender inequity, and compromises the health of men and women.
  • Expose young men to healthier, nonviolent models/visions of manhood.
  • Build young men’s capacity to become peer leaders and allies with women in promoting gender equality and preventing men’s violence.

I have Debian Etch with KDE installed as my workstation at work, and I had a hard time figuring out how to make Iceweasel (Debian’s all-free software version of Firefox) the default browser instead of Konqueror.  Turns out it was as easy as

$ update-alternatives –config x-www-browser

media coverage of ladyman’s closing

I guess I’m still trying to figure out my feelings about all of this. I’m collecting a list of articles about Ladyman’s to make it easier for people like me, fairly recent Bloomington transplants who have only a recent history with the diner, understand the history of the place and what its closing represents as part of the changes happening in Bloomington. I think the media coverage is also useful for helping to identify the people in our community responsible for those changes, or at least those who can make decisions about what gets closed, what gets built, how it’s funded, and how much community input is taken into account in the decisions made.

So far, I’m thinking that if there’s one thing that’s good about Ladyman’s closing at its long-time location and not reopening, it’s that the closing drives home the point that things that take a long time to build, that are really, truly, important to a community, are not so resilient and easily replaced. It’s incredibly sad, that something that took nearly 50 years to build into what it was will be replaced by something that will take only a few months. It’s also sad that something that brought people together across lines of generations, race, and class will be replaced by something that is used by and relevent to only a small group of people. Ladyman’s as a convergence of Bloomingtonians from all walks of life is an idea that I’ve been talking about for a long time to friends, but when I looked around the restaurant this past Sunday, I saw how true that really was. With the diner gone, I find it very difficult to think of many other spaces that offer such a meeting point for the community at large.

I was talking to my friend Chris the other night and he was mentioning the keynote speech at this past year’s bioneers conference and how it discussed the idea of designating and protecting places of importance to a community. I asked my friend Will, who recently studied historic restoration of houses, what gave places some kind of protection as historic places. He said that it usually had to do with some historic event happening there, some famous person living there, or the structure being architecturally relevent. It’s so frustrating that there is some precedence to protecting places around these criteria, but not protecting places that bring a community together and that are part of so many people’s personal histories.

I really like the idea of making new development take as long as the things it replaces.  I would feel much better about Finelight having it’s corporate headquarters and a supporting parking garage if it took 49 years to achieve those things.  I look at all the new businesses that have gone in around Smallwood Plaza and 10th and College and other things in the downtown area, and even in the 3 years that I’ve lived in Bloomington, I’ve seen so many things come and go.  Do we really want the physical and commercial reality of our community to be so fleeting and unsubstantial?
Good-bye Ladyman’s
by Steven Higgs
Bloomington Alternative December 3, 2006

Cafe’s closing brings end to cook’s 49-year career
By Kasey Hawrysz
Indiana Daily Student Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Update: J.J. Perry, news editor at the Herald Times sent me the following links to the HT’s coverage of the Ladyman’s closing. He also has authored a blog post, Covering Ladyman’s final weekend, that contains additional links to information about Ladyman’s closing.

Ladyman Family Gathers to Say Farewell
Herald Times December 11, 2006

Last Meal at Ladymans
Herald Times December 11, 2006

Ladyman’s menus: 1957 vs. 2006
Herald Times December 12, 2006

VIDEO: Cook Jack Covert: A Ladyman’s Legend
Herald Times December 8, 2006

SLIDESHOW: Five decades of Ladyman’s
Herald Times

Read our readers’ memories of Ladyman’s
Herald Times December 4, 2006

Ladyman’s guestbook
Herald Times December 8, 2006

SUBMIT: Share your favorite Ladyman’s memories and well wishes here
Herald Times

Bloomington event promotion list

All Events

  • Bloomington Alternative,
  • Herald-Times: The Scene (weekly supplement),
  • Bloomington’s Cultureweek (monthly),, 334-7743
  • The Ryder (monthly),, 339-2002.
  • WFHB: or fill out form at
  • WFIU: Fill out form at
  • Let’s Go! calendar (
  • PIX Message Board:
  • Boxcar Books website, MySpace, and Mailing List
  • IDS Happenings: Fill out form at
  • Bloomington Vibe:

Cultural Events

Volunteering Events has a more comprehensive, but not always relevent list of central Indiana media contacts.