The decline and fall of American feminism; or You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!

In one generation, we went from this:

I am woman hear me roar

To this:

Teaching rape is microaggression

But my experience at Harvard over the past couple of years tells me that the environment for teaching rape law and other subjects involving gender and violence is changing. Students seem more anxious about classroom discussion, and about approaching the law of sexual violence in particular, than they have ever been in my eight years as a law professor. Student organizations representing women’s interests now routinely advise students that they should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class sessions that focus on the law of sexual violence, and which might therefore be traumatic. These organizations also ask criminal-law teachers to warn their classes that the rape-law unit might “trigger” traumatic memories. Individual students often ask teachers not to include the law of rape on exams for fear that the material would cause them to perform less well. One teacher I know was recently asked by a student not to use the word “violate” in class—as in “Does this conduct violate the law?”—because the word was triggering. Some students have even suggested that rape law should not be taught because of its potential to cause distress.

However, according to today’s women of color, not all rapes are equal, and shouldn’t even be considered part of the rape spectrum:

White women can't be raped

Which means that today’s “feminists” are weaker than this:

Woman Fainting

And meaner and more racist than this:


You’ve come a long way, Baby

Call me old-fashioned, ’cause it’s true, but I think it’s untoward for a president to call someone “sexy”

obama-shirtless-hawaii-12-081If you get past the headline, which comes across as kind of shocking, and read the entire story, you see that Obama was just making a “throwaway line” joke when he said that Dr. Adam Levine, who heroically provided aid to Ebola patients in Africa, is “sexy.”  I still found that descriptor inappropriate coming from an American president.  I know I’m a different generation, but considering how important the president’s job is, I prefer a bit of gravitas.  Wit is good — indeed, I encourage it — but too much familiarity or coarseness offends me.

On Cuba, the difference between Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy

John F Kennedy and Pope Paul VIWith Obama and the Democrats reveling in having handed Fidel Castro everything in exchange for nothing (except a man who is still a committed Marxist after five years in a communist prison), I got to thinking about Pope Francis’s apparently pivotal role in this whole thing. And that got me thinking about how far we’ve come in history:

John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1960:  “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president . . . how to act. . . .”

Barack Obama, December 17, 2014:  ” His Holiness Pope Francis issued a personal appeal to me. . . .  In particular, I want to thank His Holiness Pope Francis. . . .”

In light of Obama’s dependence on the Pope in making a major and historic foreign policy initiative, a friend of mine asks “If we allow the Pope to help direct foreign policy, does that mean our government is unlawfully promoting and sanctioning a particular religion?”

And of course, when it comes to Kennedy there those little things about Cuba — such as his humiliation with the Bay of Pigs debacle, his administration’s efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro, and Castro’s allegedly reciprocal efforts to try to assassinate Kennedy.

The Bookworm Beat 12/18/14 — The illustrated edition and Open Thread

I’ve finally figured out how Caped Crusader is able to feed me this inexhaustible supply of wonderful social and political posters. You see, he went on a walk through the woods one day and came across a very old lady gathering wood, and muttering to herself, “I must have wood to heat my cottage this cold, cold winter.”

Taking pity on the lady, Caped Crusader offered to help her fill her basket. She immediately agreed, and handed the half-filled basket to him. Caped Crusader was surprised by how heavy the basket was for one seemingly so frail but set to work with a good will. Peculiarly, the basket never seemed to get more than half full. It did, however, get heavier and heavier.

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Watcher’s Council nominations for December 17, 2014

Here it is, it it’s entirety: The Watcher’s Council nominations post. Good reading, my friends. Very good reading, indeed.

With today’s announcement by President Obama that the U.S. will be normalizing relations with Cuba, American foreign policy took a very dark turn. Just at the point when this hideous regime was on the verge of collapse, our president took action that will not promote freedom for the Cuban people, but will throw an economic lifeline to a brutal dictatorship to enable it to stay in power. Disgraceful and shameful beyond words.

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The Bookworm Beat 12/17/14 — Hanging in by the skin of my teeth edition and Open Thread

Woman writingI sometimes wonder if my family’s entered into a secret compact to keep me away from my computer. I’ve gone from having five hours or so to myself every day from Monday to Friday to having perhaps two hours to myself for the entire week.  It’s hard to think sometimes.

Of course, my week’s gone a whole lot better than Sony’s week. It isn’t every day, is it, that a whole studio is forced to cave to blackmail and threats? While I don’t think Sony should have caved (more on that in a minute), I think much of the blame for today’s end game belongs with news outlets that should have assiduously ignored the hacked information.  By paying attention to it, they signaled to every hacker in the world, whether individual, NGO, or government, that hacks can be used to blackmail institutions, because the media will gleefully participate in the hack by disseminating stolen information.

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[VIDEOS] Without religious institutions, what guides people in a democracy?

Michaelangelo hands of God and AdamCaped Crusader sent me this really amazing video about the fact that organized religion (of the Judeo-Christian variety) is an essential element of a functioning democracy:

Somehow Dennis Prager’s video about the true meaning of the Third Commandment (and it’s not just that we shouldn’t say “Oh, my God!”) seems like a very appropriate companion piece:

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers some helpful advice for those who really want to help Palestinians

The Bookworm Beat 12/17/14 — The illustrated edition and Open Thread

Another day, another trip to the doctor with my mother. This is a trip that, I hope, should leave her feeling much better. She has no cartilage left in one of her shoulders, so any movement means that her bones are grinding against each other. Indeed, when I hold her hand to help her get in and out of the car, I can feel that grinding bones vibrate down her arm. It’s creepy for me and extremely painful for her. Today, though, she gets a cortisone shot, so she should be feeling much less pain in a couple of days.

Meanwhile . . . posters and cartoons, with the usual thanks to Caped Crusader:

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Open Thread: Normalizing relations with Cuba

cuban-missle-crisis-ffThis is an Open Thread about Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba. I’m woefully uninformed about the entire Cuba story, going back to Kennedy, so I don’t yet have an opinion and would very much like to hear from you.

I know, of course, that Cuba is an oppressive totalitarian regime that marches hand in hand with like-minded regimes around the world, but that hasn’t stopped us from having diplomatic relationships with those countries. Why is Cuba different, then, and why do you think Obama’s abrupt volte face in American policy is a good idea or bad idea?

Nominees for Weasel of the Week

It’s time for the Watcher’s Council to vote for the weasel of the week.  I’m sorry to say that voting is limited to Council members, but see what you think of these aspirants to the weekly Hall of Shame:

It’s time again for the Watcher’s Council’s ‘Weasel Of The Week’ nominations, where we pick our choices to compete for Award the famed Golden Weasel to a public figure who particularly deserves to be slimed and mocked for his or her dastardly deeds during the week. Every Tuesday morning, tune in for the Weasel of the Week nominations and check back Thursday to see which Weasel gets the votes and walks off with the statuette of shame!

Here are this weeks’ nominees:

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