Renee James | All Articles

Renee James
Renee James
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      Renee James

      Renee James writes social commentary and resolves daily to keep up with her blog: It’s Not Me, It’s You. Her essays have appeared in 101 Damnations: A Humorists’ Tour of Personal Hells and May Contain Nuts: A Very Loose Canon of American Humor.

      Her opinion pieces have appeared in The Baltimore Sun, The Los Angeles Times, The Orlando Sentinel, The Morning Call and other Tribune newspapers, as well as The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Women’s Quarterly and Tango Magazine.

What to make of the NFL-domestic violence link

10:50 AM 04/04/2011

I never really bought the whole Mars/Venus explanation for the differences between men and women. I understand that our gender-driven instincts may not be entirely aligned, but different planets? Isn’t that a little extreme?

Is lowering the drinking age to 18 really such a good idea?

7:13 PM 02/10/2011

I looked up the definition and mission of the Amethyst Initiative so I could be certain of the group’s beliefs and purpose: “The Amethyst Initiative is made up of chancellors and presidents of universities and colleges across the United States. These higher education leaders have signed their names to a public statement that the problem of irresponsible drinking by young people continues despite the minimum legal drinking age of 21, and there is a culture of dangerous binge drinking on many campuses.

Is college a waste of time and money?

12:24 PM 01/24/2011

For everyone who just sent someone back to college for another semester, everyone who just opened up the FAFSA form online, wept softly for a minute or two, and then jumped into it in the hopes of getting some financial aid to send someone to college, and everyone who makes those faithful contributions to a 529 plan, the news is not good. And while I’m open to the exceptions to the following -- and thankfully, there are exceptions -- I can’t help feeling a little disheartened.

Mark Twain, Snooki, and the decline of American literature

8:33 PM 01/10/2011

Given the literary muck we find ourselves mired in, I thought it might be prudent to take a step back and think about just what makes a writer do what he or she does. I started by reading about two of the writers in the news last week. Both are barometers of their respective ages; both have a distinct view of what the creative, exhausting, frustrating, and ultimately rewarding process of capturing the word on a page means to them.

A nation of ‘slacktivists’

1:53 PM 12/14/2010

At this festive season of the year, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute…Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts.”

The elephant in the room

1:00 PM 12/02/2010

Let’s play a little game. Imagine you sell fruit for a living. All kinds of fruit for all kinds of fruit lovers. The good news is: you can stock a variety of fruit to bring in lots and lots of customers.

What’s next: Bob Dole’s Kansas?

11:18 AM 11/16/2010

I propose we slightly amend Martin Niemoller’s quote about standing by in silence as injustice takes place:  “Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out.”  I’m not exactly sure how to revise it but maybe something like:  “Because we didn’t go after them, it’s our fault they just kept coming at us.”

What would Ed(win) do?

3:39 PM 09/23/2010

I miss newsman and linguist extraordinaire Edwin Newman.  He would have offered comfort and a witty rejoinder about the following:

Enough with Eat, Pray, Love

10:47 AM 08/09/2010

Like almost everything in America that exhibits a modicum of success – The Real Housewives of Wherever, the Twilight series and The Situation spring to mind – this Eat Pray Love thing has gotten completely out of hand.

The price of pretty feet

3:04 PM 07/07/2010

A few years ago, I wrote a column addressing what I thought was the nadir of women’s self-esteem in the early twenty-first century.   The practice in question was “hand-plumping,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like: A procedure that injects fat into hands.  It delivers a more youthful-looking appearance, hiding veins and other telltale signs of hands that have grasped, carried, held, worked and, well, lived.

Developing ‘female Viagra’? Start above the shoulders

12:00 AM 06/29/2010

In My Fair Lady, Henry Higgins posed this question “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” How about this for starters, Professor? Because if we were, we couldn’t tell you what time your dentist appointment is a week from Thursday, how much money is due to summer camp for the field trip to the zoo, where we store the serving platter we use twice a year and the name of the plumber we used once in 1998. Because if we were, we’d attend “Ballerina Camp” every spring, while you went to Baseball Fantasy Camp. Because if we were, we’d hold the remote while we watched television.

My family, the reality show

12:00 AM 06/17/2010

This serves as our official notice that we have not signed a development deal to appear in a humorous reality show tentatively titled “The James Gang.”

Blago trial: The defense tweets

12:00 AM 06/09/2010

I’m not what you could classify as news junkie; far from it, in fact. I try to keep up with what might reasonably be expected of a responsible, tax-paying adult in America but most often, I have only a basic grasp of the facts. Even then, news stories fight for space with the other topics that crowd my mind daily. And I’m not ashamed to admit that often these include such important ideas as: why do I even imagine I’ll wear shorts in public every summer, why don’t my boys understand the benefits of hanging up a damp towel, and how will I ever be able to sneak a handful of Sun Chips again if I have to open that compostable bag in the cabinet? (That last one is obviously related to the first.)

Designer diapers, etc.: Ensuring a life of therapy and rebellion for our kids

12:00 AM 06/02/2010

Several years ago, a magazine titled Cookie appeared on newsstands. Initially, the concept behind Cookie, a magazine for upscale parents, flourished. One of the “thirty most notable launches” of 2005, circulation grew quickly. Advertisers appeared anxious to reach households with children under ten and incomes over $75,000 a year.

A eulogy for L&O

12:00 AM 05/21/2010

Fill in the blanks: In the ____ ____ system, there are ____ ____ yet ____ important ____. The ____, who ____ ____ and the ____ ____, who ____ the ____. These are their ____.

Where did my kids come from?

12:00 AM 05/14/2010

Last night, I thought about Cynthia Kaplan’s wonderful book, “Why I’m Like This,” while I helped two of my sons move home again, after a year away at college. I know everyone thinks about, talks about, writes about (I have) and dissects the “moving out” experience when young people head off to college. We spend almost no time examining their “moving back” experience. Now I know why.