A person’s a person that way

One of the girls has a record player, so I’ve taken to stopping by the bargain bin outside the local record shop. (There is one, and it’s excellent.) I’ve brought home any number of gems for 98¢ a pop – the white album, greatest hits of John Denver, Billy Joel’s Songs in the Attic – the soundtrack of my childhood, rendered just as scratchy and wobbly as it sounded the first time around. Two records in particular stick out – Helen Reddy’s greatest, which my mother played quite a lot, and Free to be… You and Me, which I can remember listening to over and over in a friend’s rec room.

Which is all prelude to my puzzlement over the Yvonne Brill obit fiasco. Quick summary: Yvonne Brill, prominent Cold War rocket scientist, died. The New York Times led its obituary with “She made a mean beef stroganoff.” Because it’s 2013, a bunch of people freaked out, and the Times corrected it. Because it’s the Times, they didn’t acknowledge correcting it.

For me, having grown up hearing “I am woman” and “A person should do what she likes to” it’s unimaginable to begin an obit like that. For my generation, feminism was supposed to be in the air, and to me it felt like it was. I’d be curious to know who wrote that obit – someone older, who predated commonsense feminism, someone younger, of the backlash generation, or someone who somehow missed the boat entirely?

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