LINGUIST List 8.1580

Mon Nov 3 1997

FYI: WILMA, The Chomsky Barometer

Editor for this issue: Anita Huang <>


  • Monica Macaulay, WILMA
  • Randy Allen Harris, The Chomsky Barometer

    Message 1: WILMA

    Date: Sat, 1 Nov 1997 14:49:38 -0500
    From: Monica Macaulay <>
    Subject: WILMA


    **************************************** WILMA (Women In Linguistics Mentoring Alliance)

    A Project of the Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics (COSWL)

    Linguistic Society of America ****************************************

    WILMA is a project which provides women in Linguistics with mentors to help them with general survival skills and advice. We pair junior women with relatively more senior women at different institutions, creating ongoing mentoring relationships.

    All women in Linguistics are eligible. Membership in this group is self-defined, but possible criteria include being a student or having a degree in Linguistics (or a related field like Linguistic Anthropology, French Linguistics, Psycholinguistics), membership in the LSA and/or other professional Linguistics organizations, and so on. Participants include graduate students, faculty, women outside of academia, and undergraduates applying to graduate school in linguistics. Women in countries other than the US are also welcome to join (however, we caution you that it may be more difficult to make appropriate matches in such cases). Our aim is to be as inclusive as possible.

    We have been in operation since January, 1997, and have made numerous matches at all levels. At this point we have a large backlog of women who need mentors, so we strongly encourage women who are interested in participating to volunteer to be mentors as well as mentees. (Of course we are still accepting women who only want to be mentees as well.)

    For a copy of the WILMA brochure and/or questionnaire, contact: Monica Macaulay,

    We operate almost entirely via email, but hardcopy will be sent out if absolutely necessary. The snail mail address is: WILMA Project Director University of Wisconsin Department of Linguistics 1168 Van Hise Hall 1220 Linden Drive Madison, WI 53706

    Message 2: The Chomsky Barometer

    Date: Mon, 3 Nov 1997 20:25:32 -0400
    From: Randy Allen Harris <>
    Subject: The Chomsky Barometer

    A curious example of Chomsky's cultural status, from a Canadian radio programme ("Richardson's Round-up", 3 Nov 97, CBC National Radio).

    There is evidently some furor over a song, "Barbie Girl", by Aqua, in which the famous doll is represented as a shallow, pliant boy toy, and this show featured a (fake) comic interview with a (presumably fake) representative of Mattel. He claimed that Barbie's appropriate image is actually that a profound thinker. Ken, on the other hand, who is represented in the song "as a bit of an idiot" ... "really is a bit of an idiot". Mattel, therefore is scrapping Ken and coming out with a more appropriate companion for Barbie, the Noam Chomsky doll, complete with a tweed jacket and a miniature copy of _Manufacturing Consent_ ("abridged for the kiddies"). Jocularity aplenty follows (there are several models, including a "Malibu Noam Chomsky"), but what I find interesting is the extent to which his intellectual prowess is treated in proverbial terms; also, twice in the 'interview' he is referred to as a Nobel Prize Winner.

    (All quotations are approximate, but anyone so motivated could probably get a transcript or an audio file; CBC Radio has a web-page--

    -----====*====------ Randy Allen Harris Rhetoric, Linguistics, and Professional Writing

    Department of English, University of Waterloo, Waterloo ON CANADA N2L 3G1; 519 885-1211, x5362; FAX: 519 746-5788