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February 22, 2006


Lynn Gazis-Sax

I don't buy the "must be of your own gender"; I compare myself to men in my profession all the time. If I have to confine myself to women in my career, I have too short a supply of people to idolspize.


That's something I've thought about, Lynn. I'm not competitive with women, only with other men. It's not that I don't take women equally seriously, it's just that I see myself always as a "sexed" being compared to and judged by an exclusively male standard -- even in settings where I am surrounded by women.


yeah, me too Lynn. The last person I idolspized was a guy, younger than me, who's just had his second book published (while I'm still just blogging). I hate it. It's the worst feeling in the world!


I wonder if blogs are the new idolspize fodder?


Good question. We could have a long discussion about which bloggers we most idolspized.


oh man, bloggers are big-time fodder for idolspizing (at least for me). for me, if we're tacking towards the "idolize" end of the spectrum, i would say Amanda Marcotte and Lauren from Feministe are mine. i think the phenomenon is interesting in that i don't wish bad things upon them, i just greenly envy their levels of readership and the ease with which they are able to put together these amazing, cogent, funny, intelligent arguments about feminism. i want to be able to do that! i want to be able to make it look that easy!

but for now, i'll have to be content with just reading them...


I think the gender-specificity of idolspization is that you don't see someone of the opposite sex and think "dammit, he's prettier than me." That is, if you're straight. And if I am in danger of idolspizing someone, I generally fall back on my je ne sais quoi. The idea that led to the cure for cancer may have occurred to her while she was working up a sweat over a hot stove at her 4-star restaurant (and looked sexy doing it), but she just doesn't have my je ne sais quoi.


Thanks for getting me to read your blog, Hugo. (Via comment on Barb's.) Interestingly, I'm an English Anglican who heard of Anabaptism and now goes to a Mennonite church in Florida. I don't know if I'm any of those other things you say, as I know more about neuroscience than politics, but I'm trying to learn how to live intentionally. Oh, I'm an INFP. That's one I understand!
Just so I can say I'm on topic, I only started a blog out because I idolspized my friend Dave. Especially his photography. Just wanted to give him a plug.


Sounds like the idea of idolspizing is summed up pretty well in a quote from Tom Lehrer, I think. "It's people like that that make you realize just how little you've accomplished. For example, when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years."


Wow, this is completely foreign to me. I beat myself up for various personal failures all the time, but it's always about failing to meet my own standards and goals. I fully expect a significant portion of the population to be better and more successful than me, and good for them. And who cares?


Then how do you come up with your own goals?


They're indirectly based on various social standards, to be sure, tempered by knowledge about my own strengths and limitations, but not on the achievements of other individuals specifically. Example: I want to finish my dissertation in no more than six months longer than the national time to degree mean in my field. That someone in my cohort finishes two years before me is reason celebrate, not "idolspize."

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