Friday, June 27, 2008

not funny . . .

Men who joke about beating their wives are either:

a) really beating their wives
b) have beat their wives in the past (reformed wife-beaters)
c) have thought about beating their wives and thereby somehow feel they can justify being verbally abusive
d) sick

So here's a recent interview transcript from John McCain, in which he jokes about beating his wife.

As far as I can tell, McCain is definitely "c." It's been rumored for years that he's verbally abusive---calling Cindy a "slut" and a "cunt" and god knows what else. So it's just not okay. It's not funny. It's not something to shine the spotlight on. It's "d."


Thursday, June 26, 2008

thank you, StirFry Seminars

Today was our antiracism training. We'll have a follow-up 2-hour session in late July. Thirteen of us attended, and it was a solid step in our larger journey and toward the commitment we made to our readers around building awareness, diversifying, and so much more.

Today felt like a small but important step, as it provided a space for our staff to talk about where we stand, what we want to achieve, and where we're going from here. We'll check in periodically about what we're doing and what we're acquiring, but I hope that this message reaches many of you who commented to our blog back in April: We understand the difference between intention and impact and we are taking it all in, listening, and learning. The conversations that are coming from the mistakes we made are productive and promising, and I know that they'll carry Seal to a better place.

Thanks to StirFry, our readers, and our staff.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thank you NWSA conference

Another conference, good panels, great discussions, lots of booth duty, new friends, and good times. Despite extended exhibit hall hours and a raspy voice from talking way too much, Andie and I had a good time in Cincinnati (and an evening in Kentucky). Thank you to all the wonderful professors and graduate students who came by the Seal booth to express their appreciation for what we do. And many thanks to the Seal authors who came to the conference this year to sign books, talk to conference attendees, and join lively discussions. The new Seal Studies books were a hit, and Andie and I were both touched by the outpouring of support for Seal. We feel reinvigorated to bring quality books to your classrooms and to your lives.

Next year, NWSA is in Atlanta in November, and we'll be there.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Michelle Obama clearly rocks

Michelle Obama has been getting tons of press since her appearance on The View yesterday. More proof of the power of daytime TV on middle America. She talked about sending Laura Bush a thank you note, which people seemed to agree was a very stand-up thing to do. She talked about wearing her heart on her sleeve and about being passionate and taking risks.

If Hillary couldn't take the nomination, all I have to say is thank god for Michelle Obama. It remains to be seen how she's going to handle everything the media is throwing her way. The New York Times ran a piece on Michelle's "subtle makeover," which was picked up on by the Today Show this morning. From my take on it, the segment seemed to imply that Michelle would do well by the campaign to just fade into the background and let her husband shine. They talked about her fashion sense, and the hoopla about her $150 dollar dress from White House || Black Market (one of my faves) and how it's selling out across the country now.

As they sat there alternately comparing her to Jackie O. and Barbara Bush (whose popularity, apparently, is due to the fact that she doesn't do jack shit), I found myself thinking (hoping) that there's no way Michelle has it in her to be a wallflower, no matter how much the media and the public and even the campaign try to force her into being more palatable. I can see her doing it for the sake of doing it, until Barack is elected. And you know, if she's gotta play the game then she's gotta play the game. Here's wishing her luck for the long months until November!


Monday, June 16, 2008

another awesome anthology

The concept behind our newest anthology, About Face, is truly unique. Women writers write about the ways their faces have impacted their lives. At first pass that seems like an esoteric concept, and then you consider how important our faces are. Twenty-five women of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds considered this question, and their stories are moving---tragic, hilarious, revealing. I felt inspired to journal about my own impressions of my face when I acquired this book, to consider how I present and the impressions I make in the world because of the face I live with. I'm very pleased to announce this book to the world. It's a beautiful collection, a beautiful group of women.

Thank you to our editors, Anne Burt and Christina Baker Kline, for making it happen.


Friday, June 13, 2008

feminism is an idea, not a movement

A recent blog post by Amanda Marcotte asserts just this: "feminism is an idea, not a movement."

Amanda, along with Seal author Jessica Valenti, was recently referenced in an article by Linda Hirshman that's created a lot of upset in the feminist blogosphere and beyond.

The debates are complex, in part because the centerpiece of the conversation focuses on intersectionality---feminism through the lenses of race and age and gender. It's a huge topic, and it's been fascinating to follow those writers who are articulating all of it so eloquently. I highly recommend Jill Filipovic's amazing post if you want to read more.

But what's come out of this, and what's been coming up a lot in recent months (largely due, I think, to Hillary and Barack as the nation's first female and black presidential hopefuls), is that the feminist "movement" is pretty much over.

Its reference here and elsewhere in quotation marks speaks to the fact that we're in a different place than our foremothers of the 1960s and 70s. I've found myself trying to figure out where I stand in the movement, whether my own feminism is feminist enough; the Seal staff has been undergoing our own internal dialogue about our feminisms as a press, and what it means to be a women's press with a feminist sensibility that doesn't always publish exclusively feminist books.

I want to thank Amanda for her realization. Feminism as an idea helps me, at least, to better understand why we fight and struggle and grow and debate the way we do. It's an important struggle, and one that's wrought with frustration and reward alike.

Onward ladies. Have a great weekend.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

brushing up on the backlist: DESIRE

I like this interview with Lisa Solod Warren, editor of Desire because there's a lot of information here for aspiring anthology editors, and because Lisa speaks to Seal's mission to publish books that inform women's lives.

Desire is all about women's wants---and it's a fascinating exploration. Krista wrote about Desire last year, so here's a cool reminder that our backlist books are still out there and making an impact on readers.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

sucked away by BEA

We've been MIA, swept away by the blitz of BookExpo America.

The weekend was amazing. It's a treat to get to see what publishers are up to, and to experience the way the entire industry comes together once a year to show their wares. I'm always stunned and overwhelmed and humbled and grateful and inspired and moved. This year's show was in LA, and so it had its share of celebrities, most of whom I missed. I would have liked to have seen Brooke Shields, but the only celeb I saw was Dionne Warwick.

Krista and Andie and I manned our little Seal booth and took meetings---and thank you to all of you who were there and stopped by to say hello.

We're back in full swing and sort of glad to be home. I had no idea that downtown LA was such a happening place.

If you have any fun BEA stories to share, by all means, please do. The highlight for me was sitting in the nipple-shaped semi-enclosed full-size waterbed on the roof of The Standard Hotel.