Elliot: Floods, models, women


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Recently, Iowa Public Radio cheerily told us that the bottom two floors of the IMU needed to be renovated to repair the flood damage.

Yeah, I know; you’re tired of hearing about the flood of 2008, and you’re tired of wondering how long the recovery will take. So am I, and I was here for the flood. (It occurs to me that most of the fourth-year seniors here probably weren’t in Iowa City during the summer of 2008, which means that most of the UI undergrads have no idea of what the Fine Arts Campus was like, pre-flood.)

When I was young, back in the days when undergrads had to dodge to the occasional wooly mammoth and mastodon wandering through the streets of Iowa City (you had to be there; it was a tusk task), I was a theater major, so I spent a lot of time on that campus. One day, when I was waxing poetic about how beautiful that campus was (OK, I was probably waxing prosaic), my father looked at me and just shook his head with that resigned sort of look that fathers do so well. (You’ve all seen it.)

My father is a geoscientist/hydrologist and is an expert on, among other things, floodplains. Beau, he said (thus proving he knew my name), one bad flood will wipe it all out.

Um, yeah. Former UI President Virgil Hancher (the eponym for Hancher Auditorium) had a great idea for the Fine Arts Campus. His vision was just a bit shortsighted.

Meanwhile, back at Iowa Public Radio, it was a fine report about how the IMU’s bottom two floors needed to be renovated. Except that the IMU has only one bottom floor.

Oh, well. Details, details.   The spirit was willing.

Kind of like Mitt Romney talking in last week’s debate (remember last week?) about all the women he hired when he was governor of Massachusetts in order to prove how pro-women he is. Which is kind of a tough task, given that he is one of those males who deeply believe that government (and males) should determine what sort of reproductive health care women may have.

(Kind of curious that the Mitt would talk about his days as governor of Massachusetts, given that back then, he was mostly the moderate sort of Republican and he has spent the last eight years or so trying to prove that he’s the deeply conservative sort of Republican.)

“I went to a number of women’s groups … and I brought us whole binders full of women,” is how the Good Ship Mitt put it in the debate (as the New York Times reports).

The “binders of women,” of course, set the pundit world on fire. You could say the Mitt that launched a thousand quips (to steal a line probably used a thousand times, but who’s counting?). I, of course, would never say “launched a thousand quips,” because I never, never resort to puns. They’re a kind of punishment.

But. The Good Ship Mitt didn’t actually bring the binders of women. As Gail Collins of the Times reports, “Later, it turned out that the binders in question had actually been submitted to Romney by a Massachusetts group that had been formed to push for more women in important state government posts.”

Oh, well, Mitt. The spirit was willing. (I think.)

And as the Boston Globe has reported, by the end of his term of governor, the number of women in high government in Massachusetts was fewer than when the Mitt became governor.

By that time, of course, the Good Ship Mitt was eyeing a run for the presidency, so he had shucked the clothes of moderate Republican for the attire of a deeply heart-felt conservative.

Women, of course, were shocked by this, because they have never known a man to change so much that he wants a newer model.



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