The World Before Her


The Raincoats: proof that awesome gets better with age


I love The Raincoats, so I was thrilled to find a flyer announcing a show in Brooklyn. At first I thought it must be a new band with the same name, because I didn’t think they’d played in about 25 years… thankfully, awesome reunions are still in vogue.

What a show. The venue, Warsaw, might be my favourite in all of Brooklyn/NYC – a beautiful Polish community club at the bottom of Greenpoint, built in 1914, with a stunning olde-timey ballroom that must have fit over 500 people. After the strange No Bra opener (she lived up to the name, and didn’t wear a shirt or pants either. Hmm.), support act Grass Widow were tons of fun, and then the grande dames themselves took the stage. It made me think about how older women are almost invisible in our culture, and why it’s so rare to see older women rocking out – seeing Patti Smith a couple of years ago was the only instance I could think of. We’re all the poorer because of it.

The Raincoats sounded as fresh and punky and cross as ever, sweet one minute, pissed off the next. I hope I can be as awesome as them when I grow up.

Stephanie Coontz: “women’s issues” vs labor rights

I think that at this point it’s extremely important for us to start talking more about how to answer this campaign, and not to divide things into a “woman’s issue” over here and a “unions issue” over there. It’s a full-scale attack on all the progress we made right after the Depression and then built upon in the ’60s, toward actually creating a social safety net and improving the security of all Americans. I get upset when I hear women’s groups taking about women’s poverty without linking that issue to the problem of declining real wages and increasing economic insecurity for less-educated men. And I also think liberals have to stop talking so much about “compassion” for blacks or women and should pay equal attention to the crisis of working people who do have jobs. It’s a sad day when the main people talking about defending the working class are right-wing ideologues whose social programs are destroying the security of working Americans and fostering the concentration of wealth among the richest 10 percent of the population.

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