Transsexuals were a hot topic this week—follow the Fray Notes links to find out what "only on the Fray would you read this" referred to. And the Oscar Frays were predictably busy: from a distinguished scholar's input on John Nash (below), to wide-ranging comment on the awards show that went along with David Edelstein and Lynda Obst's wide-ranging "Dialogue."
Subject: Marriage for All
Re: "Frame Game: Transsexuality on Trial"
Date: Thu Mar 21 10:10 a.m. PT
Who or what you identify with sexually or otherwise does not turn you into the identity. Yes, if you love dogs you can have puppy ears attached, but will that make you a dog? Yes, if you are a pedophile you can get a facelift and say you are 15, but does that make you a teen-ager? ... My sympathy is with the alternate-gender identification person, but that is where it ends until we determine marriage to be legal for all gay persons rather than simply one portion excluded by contortion. Marriage or non-marriage for all seems a better way of facing this issue.
Subject: The Importance of Husbands
Re: "Assessment: The Politician's Wife"
Date: Fri Mar 22 10:07 a.m. PT
The formula for the first woman president [includes]: a first gentleman who is a known factor. People can accept that a husband can keep his wife's counsel in perspective but assume that women will give more weight to her husband's counsel. In other words, people will vote for a man who has a wife that doesn't necessarily inspire confidence outside of a first lady's traditional role. They will not vote for a woman whose husband they don't think could handle the job of president.
Subject: A Beautiful Achievement
Re: "The Earthling: Nash Equilibrium"
From: Norman Levitt, professor of mathematics, Rutgers University
Date: Mon Mar 25 6:50 a.m. PT
[John] Nash's stellar reputation among mathematicians does not center on the game theory work. …Other work of Nash's is much more important and striking. In particular, he is best known as the creator of the Isometric Embedding Theorem, which shows that arbitrary Riemannian manifolds can be realized, metrically, as submanifolds of Euclidean space. This is a fundamental result in differential geometry, a field far removed from game theory. The Nobel hardly makes up for the fact that Nash was denied a Fields Medal for this work—in retrospect, a defective judgment. The excessive emphasis on the game-theory paper is one of the ironies of Nash's sudden celebrity.
Subject: Branding for Kmart
Re: "Moneybox: Ad Report Card: Kmart vs. Target"
Date: Wed Mar 20 12:38 p.m. PT
The problem with Kmart's ad campaign is the same as their problem in general: middle-class angst. Instead of being virulently, triumphantly trailer-park and proud of it (like Wal-Mart) or making fun of their own image (like Target, pronounced tar-JAY for maximum hipness effect), Kmart seems acutely embarrassed by its polyester origins. … I think that they'd do better to take advantage of that cachet. "We Suck, but We're Cheap" would be my motto for them.
[Find this post here.]
Favorite poster Gordon the Aussie has been wondering what old posts will be worth in 50 years time: How much, he asks, for your "rant, cant, adverse verse, obtuse prose, whimsical maunderings, polemical punditry, and the odd gem of wit, from everybody who's nobody in the world of letters." As he says, "copyright your diatribe now."
"International Papers" writer June Thomas gets a Fray award for the best correction in Slate: Read and enjoy here.
Fray Talk: Loree explained in a poem why she doesn't want a star: "I'd much rather collect … those pretty blue checkmarks." A good moment to remind readers that Loree and Dave Phoenix are still running "KFDR ((((X)))) Radio Talk Show" at the Kausfiles Fray every Sunday evening—try this week's, here. Persephone in the "Poem" Fray is writing the missing Shakespeare play Henry II, with help from the board's poets. There was also a neat attempt at a co-operative poem, something that should be tried again. Meanwhile the Fray Novel—one chapter each from self-selected Fraysters—is growing ever bigger. Visit it here.
Should the Fray team work shorter hours? BML suggested that posters write their own "Best of the Fray." We are lost in admiration for Rachel's entry here. Meanwhile, is the Fray in decline? BML started the discussion, and Robespierre's contribution is a must-read—and not only because he suggests the Fray team should do less work ...