Marin Alsop has been selected to lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The development has gotten a lot of attention, presumably, because this makes Maestra Alsop (as she prefers to be called) the first woman to be named music director of a major U.S. orchestra. I saw her perform in Seattle earlier this year and thought she did a fine job. If I’d known she’d become a big newsmaker a few months later, I would have taken notes!
The focus on her “breakthrough accomplishment” just strikes me as odd. I thought we as a society were beyond being concerned about the gender of the best person for the job. I remember somebody asking, “What it like being from the first state in the United States to have your governor and both senators all women?” It never even occurred to me that all three positions were held by women. It struck me as silly as the question, “What it like being from the first state in the United States to have your governor and both senators all have blonde hair?” What kind of answer were they looking for?
(Curiously, if you ask Google Who is the governor of Washington?, it says the answer is Gary Locke. Don’t use Google to cheat on your civics exam yet.)