The Leftist obsession with gender roles extends even to stain removal

Dirty laundryI know you’re desperately curious to get to the stain removal part of this post, but you’ll have to bear with me as I first work my way through the Leftist obsession with gender roles and the Leftist denial about biologically programmed gender roles before I finally get to the dirty laundry.

Although I’m trained as a lawyer, for the last few years, I’ve mostly been a stay-at-home Mom.  I worked part-time as a lawyer through 2008, but the recession caused my clients to go away and they haven’t come back.  Last year, I spent a few months blogging full-time, but that was very difficult because I’m married to a man, who regardless of whether I earn money, wants me to be entirely responsible for the traditional feminine role in the house.  In other words, he wants a June Cleaver.  That’s not quite accurate. What he really wants is a life partner who is both a Ward and a June. I tried to do that for several years (and again last year), I decided I didn’t want an early grave that badly. Fortunately, my husband is a very hard worker (which is why I don’t mind being June to his Ward), and we are able to live on his salary.

My husband is rather extreme in his sexual role stratification, insofar as he won’t do any work related to the house.  Throughout our neighborhood, though, even amongst the working families, it’s the women who do the laundry.  They’re also the ones who cook on a regular basis, although the man may cook periodically, cook for special occasions, or help clean up.  The neighborhood women also do the bulk of housecleaning, although the men are more likely to take out the garbage and take care of the garden and garage. Those women who can stop working and focus solely on home and children have done so (as I have).

Part of the reason for the men’s lesser contribution to the house in my neighborhood is that they tend to work longer hours.  Yes, ours is the classic neighborhood in which working women earn less per hour than the men, because they’ve made the conscious decision — invariably because of children — to work part-time, flex-time, or “merely” full-time (40 hours, compared to the men’s 60, 70, or 80 hour work weeks).

I’ve heard grumbling from both men and women in the neighborhood, all of whom occasionally feel as if they’ve gotten the short end of the deal. On the whole, though, everyone recognizes that their various accommodations, although they may not be personally satisfying, work best for the family unit.  More specifically, they work best for the children.  I do know of two house husband situations that have been extremely successful, but they’re the exception, not the rule. From what I see, the average family falls in the traditional roles if at all possible:  mom at home, dad at the office.  That’s just the way it is.

The reason for this long rumination is twofold.  First, I’m thinking about these things because of the ridiculous Claire Shipman-Jay Carney puff piece in Washingtonian magazine, which has been roundly, soundly, and appropriately targeted because of the Soviet propaganda wall art; the ludicrously Photoshopped books, clearly intended to make the Shipman-Carneys look intellectual; and a carb-loaded diet that would have heads exploding among Michelle Obama’s food police.

At Power Line, John Hinderaker points out one other thing that lies in the text, not the images:  the article’s main point is that Shipman and Carney have such a wonderful partnership because she made the decision to put her career on the slow burner, so that he could work 12 hour days.  Of course, the way this is written, it’s not about a beleaguered little lady staying home, barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, because of male chauvinism.  The focus, instead, is on Shipman’s empowerment:

“Balancing Act” is written with the usual cloying feminist slant. The news hook, to the extent there is one, is a book that Claire Shipman has co-authored called The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know:

Their book posits that while confidence—rather than competence—plays a key role in female success, particularly in the workplace, many women lack this critical ingredient. …

Many women possess a deep-seated fear of being wrong or embarrassed, which prevents them from taking risks. Risk-taking is important, in part because it can lead to failure—and surviving failure, they say, is essential to building resilience and confidence.

“How often in life do we avoid doing something because we think we’ll fail?” the pair ask. “And how often might we actually have triumphed if we had just decided to give it a try?” They advocate “failing fast,” a tech buzzword that is the ideal paradigm for building female confidence. Take a small risk, fail, learn from it, and move on. Men are more comfortable taking risks, and tend to more easily shrug off failure. Women, on the other hand, stew, worry, ruminate, and second-guess themselves.

Men, of course, don’t mind being embarrassed at all. They don’t worry, they just plunge ahead, full of self-confidence. And failure? It doesn’t bother us a bit! We shrug it off! As a man, you don’t know how easy you have it until you read feminist tracts.

[snip]

And yet Carney’s own experience illustrates how silly the Democrats’ claims are. Shipman has worked part-time for the last five years to spend more time with her young children. Carney, meanwhile, leaves for the White House at 7:25 a.m. and tries to get home by 8:00 in the evening. As in most families, it is his wife who takes time out from her career to focus on children, and who devotes more time to her family: “Flexibility, she says, is what most working mothers really want.”

Even Obama’s closet associates put the lie to his blatant, hackneyed canard about women earning 77 cents on the dollar, as well as explaining the reasoning behind women’s slightly lower earning power:  given the choice, women want to be home caring for the children and men want that too.  It’s the triumph of biology over experience.

So that’s one article that got me thinking about gender roles in my home and my computer.  The other one was an NPR Fresh Air interview with a gal who has advice for getting stains out of things.  Her advice is very good.  If you’re in charge of keeping things clean in your house, I highly recommend it — but do be prepared to laugh as guest Jolie Kerr and host Terry Gross try desperately to assure any men listening that they’re not going to lose their man-card if they don’t immediately turn off the interview.

Before I get to their rhetorical contortions, let me assure you that Kerr isn’t writing like some coy 1920s “advice for the housewife” columnist.  That is, she’s not saying, “When you clean your husband’s clothes, you’re telling the world you love him.  You don’t want him to head off for work with ring around the collar and sweat stains under the arms.  Every woman needs to know these laundry tricks to take care of her man.”  Instead, Kerr just says “for X stain, do Y treatment.”  Gender-neutral, stain-killing advice.  Apparently, though, both Kerr and Gross were pretty damn sure they needed to reassure the male listeners in their audience — college educated Democrats who must have a sneaking suspicion that, notwithstanding the amount of sex the hook-up culture has given them, they’ve somehow sacrificed their core masculinity at the feminist altar:

GROSS: And I should say you address the column to men and women. You are not making the assumption that it is women who do the cleaning.

KERR: Absolutely I am not, no, no, no. I write for both men and women. It’s very important for me to that. It was actually one of the reasons that I moved my column away from its original home into a place where I could be writing for both a male and a female audience. I personally view cleaning as a human problem, not a gendered problem. I would not be interested in only writing for a female audience and to continue to reinforce the notion that cleaning is women’s work. I just don’t see it that way at all.

[snip]

GROSS: OK. Now in talking about these stains you mentioned underarm stains from sweat and deodorant, and we have two people on our show who wanted to know about that. One is a woman, Heidi Saman, and the other is a man, John Myers, and they’re especially interested in white T-shirts and white shirts. So what advice do you have for getting out sweat and deodorant underarm stains?

KERR: Sure thing. Well, the first thing I want to say is that I love that both a man and a woman asked that. It’s actually probably my number one question, both from men and women, total equality when it comes to pit stains.

(LAUGHTER)

KERR: Which is great. I think that that is a wonderful, wonderful thing when we can start showing that…

GROSS: Equality at last.

Yes!  ”Equality at last.”  Exactly what I was thinking . . . NOT.

Two for you to enjoy

Victorian posy of pansiesKevin Williamson has a brilliant article about modern feminism.  I won’t summarize it.  I’ll just urge you to read it.

I’ve called myself a small “l” libertarian, to distinguish myself from the Ron Paul crowd.  Richard A. Epstein has given me an even better name for my political view, one that recognizes the need for government, but that always hews to individual and marketplace freedom:  I’m a “classical liberal.”

Back to School Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesWinter break this year was very pleasant.  As I may have written before, while I’m not a big fan of small children, I really like teenagers, especially the teenagers my kids bring home.  We live in a tight-knit community and my house is often a gathering spot for the kids in the neighborhood.  When our pool is non-operational (as it is every winter), the kids swarm my living room for old-fashioned parlor games and new-fangled board games.  (My favorites are Telestrations, the Telephone Game Sketched Out!, The Resistance, and Quelf Board Game, all of which make me laugh.)  Nicely, the kids always ask me to play, and genuinely seem to want my participation.  Playing board games turns out to be one of the few things I’d rather do than blog.

Still, the kids are back in school, and Mr. Bookworm is almost back at work, so the house is almost back to me.  Since I’m a person who enjoys solitude, despite being quite gregarious, I can’t wait until it’s just me and the dogs (and the computer, of course).  When I’m alone, I can think.  I haven’t had any thoughts yet, but I’ve saved up other people’s thoughts for you:

The DiploMad is just like me, only smarter, more articulate, and with more real world experience.  But other than that, I would have written this post about the state of the world as we enter 2014.  (Hat tip:  Tom Elia.)

Mike McDaniel is always kind enough to say that I gave him the idea for a post.  Reading his post about non-falsifiable and infallible theories (such as guns and global warming), it’s quite clear that he didn’t need me.  He’s brilliant enough on his own.

Speaking of non-falsifiable theories, fellow Watcher’s Council member Simply Jews has a scathing indictment about the BBC’s approach to reporting on climate change — and even located its Ground Zero for scientific ignorance.

Those Americans who still think feminism is about equal pay for equal work need to understand that, nowadays, it’s about postcolonial milk.  This is the horror that academia has wrought on a legitimate demand, one stretching back centuries, that women not be denied education and opportunities on the sole ground that they are women.

I’m beginning to understand Obama’s approach to Obamacare.  Because it bears his name, it’s his law, and he can therefore do whatever the heck he wants with it.  Constitutional rules about the separation of powers — especially lawmaking versus executive — are for the little people.  A man of Roman columns and control over the oceans is not (in his own mind at least) a little person.  (I bet if you ask him, he explain that he brought about the polar vortex to impress upon Americans that global warming means climate change that freezes 90% of the U.S.)

If Pope Francis doesn’t make Asa Bibi a worldwide cause célèbre, he may well be the Leftist shill the Leftist shills think he is.

I may not be financially savvy, but when I’ve seen articles about Obama policies once again forcing banks to make bad loans so that poor risk people can buy real estate, I think “Hey, we’re heading for another housing market crash.”  I’m not the only one thinking that.  Add to that the Feds’ money printing, which has created a stock market bubble based not on value but on paper money, and I foresee a recession that will make 2008 look cute by comparison.

The War on Poverty is over . . . and poverty won.  This fifty year failure is an indictment of government market management, but nobody’s paying attention.

Okay, I’ve now depressed myself.  I’m going to walk the dogs.

 

A bouquet of stuff from all over

Quick Link and Open Thread imageThere’s so much good stuff out there on Mondays.  All the pent-up writer’s instinct and energy from the weekend seems to pour over into this day.  Here’s some of that good stuff:

Camille Paglia points out the obvious:  it’s false that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.  Men are necessary to women’s survival and well-being.  The important thing, as I frequently point out, is to cultivate men’s virtues — and, as my readers have pointed out, to raise women who appreciate men’s best qualities.

And while we’re on the subject of men’s importance, did you know that the majority of crazed mass shooters in the past decades have come from single-mom homes with no stable male role model?  Guns are just tools.  What’s interesting is to see the dynamic social forces that lead young men to those tools:  my list now includes boys and young men who take psychotropic drugs, have Democrat or other leftist backgrounds, and were raised in broken homes usually headed by single moms.  Those are the types of people who use tools destructively.

I keep saying that Charles C.W. Cooke is rapidly becoming one of my favorite pundits.  Posts such as this one, about the media’s endless efforts to pin mass shootings on the Tea Party (instead of on the shooter, or psychotropic drugs, or Democrat backgrounds, or single moms, all of which actually tie in to mass shootings) explain why I like him so much.

Whatever Al Qaeda touches, it turns to shattered human flesh and bones.

Lawlessness at the top of an institution invariably filters downwards.  In Obama’s America, sheriff’s are now refusing to enforce gun laws.  Actually, though, to the extent that this “lawlessness” involves sheriff’s refusing to enforce new laws that violate the Second Amendment, I’m inclined to say that the nation’s sheriffs aren’t being lawless.  They are, instead, engaging in the time-honored American tradition of righteous civil disobedience.

Of course, the lawlessness isn’t just at the top.  There’s also a deep dishonesty that permeates the Left from top to bottom, with its most malevolent outlet in the American media.

North Korea is looking increasingly unstable.  While I’d love to see Kim’s government collapse, I worry that, given North Korea’s massive dysfunction, and the result of 60 years of national brainwashing, anything that is able to topple the Kim dynasty will be worse than the Kim dynasty (assuming that’s possible).

Good for ESPN’s Stephen Smith to speak out against the pariah status imposed on conservative blacks.

Obama’s efforts to polarize America for political ends have resulted in something very dangerous:  a polarized America.

Two on Kerry:  (1) His horrible, awful, dreadful, truly horrible (did I mention horrible?), self-defeating diplomacy; (2) and the fact that he never shuts up, but just keeps spouting nonsense.  In England’s Restoration period, the Earl of Rochester got himself banished from King Charles II’s court when he wrote this little doggerel:  “Here lies our sovereign Lord and King, whose word no man relies on; Who never said a foolish thing, nor ever did a wise one.”  Had I a knack for rhyme, I would rewrite that for Kerry, emphasizing both foolish talk and dangerous action.

Add the University of Maryland to the list of schools that wants to have all students pay $15 more per year for insurance so that a very small number of transgendered students can get free surgery.  On the one hand, $15 is only about 1% of the total cost of student insurance.  On the other hand, if you keep adding in these small amounts, you end up with big amounts.  And to show you how that works, I had a poetry book when I was young that included a poem in which the narrator describes  how Jane would offer him some pie.  “‘Will you have some pie?’” asked Jane.  Said I, ‘Just a little bit.’”  The narrator and Jane repeat this pattern several times.  Eventually, the narrator decides not to wait for Jane to ask him if he wants some pie.  Instead, he asks her for a slice of pie.  To his chagrin, Jane tells him that there’s none left:  “Little bit by little bit, I’d eaten every bit of it.”  And so it goes with trying to insure for every eventuality, including politically correct ones aiming at making everyone feel included in the insurance pie — at the end of the day, there’s nothing left.  Little bit by little bit, insurance costs have became unsustainable and no one can be insured.

How public schools’ war on boys has led to an increase in gun crimes

The school year has started again and, with it, the insanity that is Zero Tolerance in America’s public schools.  The Washington Post, which originally reported the story, helpfully explains that our nation’s schools have been busy little bees for the past year when it comes to criminalizing child’s play.  I wonder if we’re looking at this anti-gun fascism a little bit backwards.  We’re seeing it as an attack on guns.  But in the context of public schools, isn’t it just a subset of the school’s over-arching hostility to boys?

Public schools like boys in the abstract, but they really hate the reality of boys:  boys are physical beings who live in a hierarchical world that reveals itself when they are as little as two or three years old.  For a nice discussion about the spectacular differences between boy and girl social interactions, if you haven’t already read Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, you should.

Boys’ physical, hierarchical world means that they have a terrible time sitting still, even when they’re in their teens or 20s.  (Heck, I know much older men who are still kinetic, whether it’s a jiggling leg or a tapping finger.)  They engage in physical or verbal play that is intended allocate them to their place in the day’s (or the minute’s) hierarchy.  They practice male roles of warfare and command.

All of this is antithetical to the hyper-feminine, hyper-feminist atmosphere that pervades America’s schools, especially her elementary/primary schools.  I don’t know what it’s like outside of Marin County, but here, almost without exception, elementary school teachers are female, with a handful of gay men thrown in for good measure.  Schools want students to sit still, which girls do naturally and boys don’t.  Schools want students to talk about their feelings, which girls do naturally and boys don’t.  Schools want to destroy physical competition, which is a hard sell to girls, and an even harder sell to boys.

What schools should be doing is to allow boys maximum physical activity, such as full physical breaks every hour.  Rather than prohibiting physical and competitive play, they should encourage it, while enforcing concepts such as honor, fairness, generosity, and loyalty, as well as the difference between play and cruelty.  Boys should learn to be good winners and good losers.

The schools’ anti-bullying programs also persecute boys.  Often, bullies are testing out their competitive and pack instincts.  Schools could address this by giving boys meaningful competitive and pack opportunities, with strong expectations about honorable behavior, or they should work to teach other students how not to become victims.  (This would be akin to teaching home owners how to lock doors.  There are bad people out there, but you certainly lessen your exposure if you take responsibility for protecting and defending yourself.)

Instead, schools out-bully the bullies by bringing the full weight of the school to bear on a kid who is, as likely as not, just testing boy boundaries.  The victim learns that people should never defend themselves because, if they do, they’ll get in trouble, and if they don’t, they’ll be celebrated for calling in the heavy-hitters.  The “bullies” learn that the best way to win is to be the biggest bully of them all.

When boys do not respond to this constant hammering away at them in an effort to wipe out their biological imperatives, they get labeled as “problem” students, or ADHD kids.  The schools then start pressuring the parents to put the boys on psychotropic drugs.  It seems appropriate to mention here that, in every one of the school shootings in the last twenty-years, the shooter has been on psychotropic drugs.  The “turn boys into peaceful girl” drugs and the fact that the boys’ families have Democrat political identities are the ties that bind these youthful mass murderers.

I understand that there are boys who are violent and angry, and that bad things happen.  I’m not blaming everything on the schools.  I am saying, however, that in their efforts to feminize boys, including taking away the pretend war games in which boys engage to test what they can do, the schools are creating boys who do not know how to harness their boy energy in a healthy way, and who too often become dependent on psychotropic drugs that have strong links to murder and suicide.

In this context, the anti-gun policy, while it is definitely related to the Progressive push to wipe out the Second Amendment, is also just another front in the Leftist war against men.  The stakes are high in this war, by the way, because manly men — men who are self-reliant and responsible — don’t like a big government that tries to infantilize or feminize them.

(For more information on the schools war on boys, check out Christina Hoff Sommers’ The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men.  I haven’t read it myself yet, because it’s expensive, but I’m keeping an eye out for it on our public library shelves.)

Feminist, leftist propaganda in the public school classroom

Earlier today, while my kids were still at school, I wrote about the way in which unions pushed a Leftist agenda into the classroom.  I should not have been surprised, therefore, when Little Bookworm came home from high school and told me that, because one of the teachers was absent, they spent classroom time watching Miss Representation instead.  Little Bookworm was not pleased with the movie.  Why not?  Because, according to Little Bookworm, the movie claimed that there had been a right wing takeover of media, and that Fox was a terrible, corrupting influence on the media.

Wow!  Really?

I recall reading about Miss Representation when it first came out, and thinking that it was rather foolish, with its usual Regressive . . . uh, Progressive worldview, one that’s rooted firmly in the early 1970s.  In Regressive-land, blacks are perpetually in the back of the bus, while women are barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen.  (Which is why it’s such a hoot when an arch Regressive such as Paul Krugman tries to ascend the “reality based” soapbox to accuse the Right of factual ignorance.  I mean, this is the guy who thinks you can solve the deficit by minting a trillion dollar coin.)

Where was I?

Oh, right — Miss Representation.

Since it seems that Miss Representation isn’t just some silly 1970s retread, I decided to check it out.  First, the cast, which already tells you that this is propaganda from one side of the political aisle and not the other:

Cory Booker Himself
Margaret Cho Herself
Katie Couric Herself
Geena Davis Herself
Rosario Dawson Herself
Dianne Feinstein Herself (as Sen. Dianne Feinstein)
Jane Fonda Herself
Paul Haggis Himself
Catherine Hardwicke Herself
Dolores Huerta Herself
Jackson Katz Himself
Jean Kilbourne Herself
Martha Lauzen Herself
Lisa Ling Herself
Rachel Maddow Herself
Pat Mitchell Herself
Gavin Newsom Himself
Nancy Pelosi Herself
Jennifer Pozner
Condoleezza Rice Herself
Gloria Steinem Herself
Jim Steyer Himself
Jennifer Todd Herself
Jan Yanehiro Herself
Daphne Zuniga Herself

Is it just me or, with the exception of Condi rice, are conservatives missing from this list of media and political luminaries? Except for Condi (and I don’t know how she stumbled into this crew of knaves and cutthroats), the speakers in this “documentary” all come from the Left or, failing that, the Far Left, with some of them even emerging from under those rocks that shelter the truly loony Left.

But maybe I’m just being nasty and judgmental.  Maybe this stellar cast of Progressive thinkers (ahem) was able to pull a Fox and present a “fair and balanced” approach to the issue of women in the media.  As far as I can tell from the reviews that people put on IMDB, the movie is the usual stuff about a male hegemony that deprives women of high visibility roles, which is funny coming from a film that features the highly visible, well-paid Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Gloria Steinem, Jan Yanehiro, Dianne Feinstein, and Geena Davis, to name but a few of the downtrodden women who regularly appear on American airwaves and are very, very, very rich.

The movie also earnestly explains how TV makes women feel ugly, because it’s filled with images of unnaturally beautiful women.  Yeah, like that’s never happened before in history:

Minoan statue from Crete 1600 BC

Venus de Milo

Gabrielle d Estrees & sister, mistresses to the French king, 1594

Madame de Pompadour

American Fashion print 1866

Edward VII’s mistress, Lillie Langtry

Clara Bow

Marilyn Monroe wishes President Kennedy a happy birthday.

Beyonce is not attired for the board room.

My point, of course, is that, at all times, in all places, women have been objectified for men’s pleasure.  And when men strut around in uncomfortable suits of armor, or ride off to the battlefield, or get their body’s tattooed, they too are preening for the opposite sex.  That’s nature, not prejudice.

Moreover, as Thomas Sowell explains in simple (not simplistic) terms in Economic Facts and Fallacies, 2nd edition, is that women fall off the career track, not because of institutional misogyny, but because they have babies.  A large number of women, probably the majority, when given the choice, elect to stay at home raising their children.  While their husband’s spend 18 years honing their careers (learning skills, climbing the corporate ladder, making contacts), women spend those same 18 years nurturing the up-and-coming generation.  It’s a Herculean and important task but, at the end of 18 years, they cannot simply walk into an office an demand a job at the same status and pay as their male counterparts who stayed in the office for those 18 years.

All of the above, in the context of Miss Representation, is the usual squawking that comes from a tired old feminism that, all real world experience to the contrary, continues to demand equality of outcome, rather than equality of opportunity.

The only area in which the movie seemed to try for some sanity was in its attempt to liken the media’s treatment of Hillary Clinton with that of Sarah Palin.  I haven’t seen the movie, but this sounds somewhat apples and orangey.  Back in the 1990s, Hillary did get challenged, but those challenges came from the right, which had no media outlets, not from the Left.  I was there and I remember how Hillary was lauded.  She was trumpeted as a career woman and a co-president.  She got a 60 Minute segment to forthrightly explain (to media hurrahs) that she wasn’t there just to bake cookies.  When the Lewinsky excrement hit the fan, the media loudly and proudly supported this valiant woman.

During the 2008 campaign, the media supported Hillary wholeheartedly, right until they turned against her.  But they didn’t turn against her because she was a woman.  They turned against her because they’d discovered an even more exciting, more politically correct candidate, and one with a drool-worthy body to boot.  (And yes, the media went crazy sexualizing Obama, with New York Times articles detailing women’s Obama-centered sexual fantasies, with photo spreads about his pecs and abs, and with icky stories about female reporters on the plane begging Obama to showcase his manly assets.)  Having found an even sexier candidate than Hillary, all that they could do was turn their back on her with stories about her temper.  Boo-hoo.

What happened to Hillary was utterly unlike the savagery unleashed against Sarah Palin.  She was persecuted in a way hitherto unknown in politics, from garbage can trolling, to mail hacking, to scurrilous rumors about her pregnancies, to unending attacks on her intellect, and on and on and on.  This wasn’t because Palin was female, in which case her beauty would have been lauded as a campaign attribute.  This was because Palin was a conservative female.  She therefore had to be destroyed and, more importantly, her femininity had to be destroyed.

Comparing the media’s treatment of Hillary and Sarah is false equivalency with a vengeance.  It elevates Hillary without ever rescuing Sarah.

What really got my knickers in a twist, and what will have me contacting the school tomorrow, is that Little Bookworm told me that the movie aggressively attacks Fox news as emblematic of what the movie claims is a conservative takeover of the news media. Little Bookworm wasn’t exaggerating:

Numbers don’t lie: Women make up 51 per cent of the population, yet comprise just 17 per cent of Congress. That is just one of the facts director Jennifer Siebel Newsom highlights in her debut documentary “Miss Representation.”

The film strings together statistics and interviews with women leaders to underline what it sees as a barrage of criticism and deluge of negative imagery the media rolls out on a daily basis.

“Unfortunately, the media and our culture is sending back to us the message that a woman’s value lies in her beauty and sexuality, and not in her capacity to lead,” Newsom told ABC News’ “Top Line” today.

Mainstream media, Newsom said, is particularly guilty.

The film highlights a jarring headline from New York Magazine juxtaposing Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin: “The Bitch and The Ditz.”

Fox News appears to be a repeat offender. The film shows a montage of the cable news network’s anchors and guests zeroing in on the physical appearance or mood swings of political female leaders.

Fox News is a “repeat offender” only because Ms. Newsom (who is married to San Francisco’s stylishly metrosexual ex-mayor Gavin Newsom) focused on Fox in much the same way that Jon Stewart, as partisan a comedian as one can find, focuses obsessively on Fox coverage, while carefully avoiding the drive-by media’s slavish devotion to Obama, fixation on celebrity (and everybody else’s) sex and sexuality, and general “race to the bottom” culture.  I’ll just note that the Leftist media was fascinated by General Petraeus’ fall from grace, but couldn’t be bothered to cover Obama’s drone war or his malfeasance in Benghazi.

Movies such as Miss Representation might have some good points.  However, to the extent that they are carried along on a wave of Leftist rhetoric, faulty statistics, a denial of human biology and its real world effects, and a deep and abiding hatred for the single somewhat conservative media outlet in America, they have no place in public school classrooms.

 

The real threat that the Ann Romneys of the world represent to the statist Left

I’ve been thinking (and if those aren’t ominous words, I don’t know what are).  I’ve been thinking about the Left’s attack on stay-at-home Mom’s, an attack that Hilary Rosen started, and that others have continued.  To refresh your recollection, let’s start with Rosen, who says that Ann Romney “has actually never worked a day in her life”:

While Rosen made a “fulsome” (i.e., offensive, disgusting, and insincere) apology, others doubled down on her behalf.  NOW President Terry O’Neill carefully explained that, if you don’t get paid for your work, it doesn’t count — which is precisely what my liberal Facebook friends have been saying, in an eerie echo of 1960s’ male chauvinist pigs.

The doubling down continued when Judith Warner, who writes for TIME Magazine, agrees that Ann Romney is “out of touch” with most women.  You see, Ann Romney comes from an intact family where the man is the primary breadwinner.  What could be more appallingly regressive than that?

And then, of course, there’s just the ordinary bottom feeder obscene ugliness than routinely emanates from the Left.  This kind of verbal violence is the Leftist equivalent of the old dictum that, if you have the law, argue the law; if you have the facts, argue the facts; and if you have neither facts nor law, pound the table.  If you’re a Leftist, you “pound the table” by calling women the most obscene names possible and threaten them with violence.

That’s the cursory rundown.  Now back to “I’ve been thinking….”  This is not just a war of tired old feminists who are trying to justify the fact that most of them paid illegal, undereducated women, many of whom speak little or no English, to raise their children.  This transcends Leftist feminist sensibilities and touches upon a core issue in statism — namely, who raises the children?

A small, but relevant, digression here:  One of the most interesting books I’ve ever read is Joshua Muravchik’s Heaven On Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. The title is self-explanatory.  I highly recommend the book, simply because it’s so good, but I mention it here because of the chapter involving Israeli kibbutzim, which were intended to represent the purest form of voluntary socialism.  Part of the socialist experiment was that children would be raised, not within family units, but as part of the cooperative.  Only in that way could the kibbutz defeat unhealthy, selfish individualism and assure a new generation of people dedicated to the movement.

Except that’s not what happened.  Some moms were very happy to allow the collective to raise the children.  However, it turned out that the majority of moms, once those mom-hormones started roaring through their bodies, didn’t want their children whisked off to the collective nursery, no matter how nice a place it was.  They’d bonded with their babies, and they wanted to nurture those babies.  The kibbutzim were quickly forced to reconfigure to allow for single family homes.  Had they not done so, they would have lost too many families.

And now, back to the main point….

For the last many years, I have been the single most important influence on my children.  Yes, they go to school (public school, yet); and yes, they both have thriving social lives; and yes, I’ve been unable to insulate them from a Leftist pop culture that is hostile to traditional norms and to conservatives generally, but I’m still the most important person.  Of all the influences in their lives, I am the one who is most present, most consistent, and most trusted.  I’m sure they’ll pull away as they get older, and they may even rebel, but I’ll still be that little voice in their brain, imparting facts, values, and analyses.

I am the counterweight to the state.  Therefore, I am dangerous.  I am subversive simply by existing.  My love for my children is a dominant force that works its way into their psyches and that trumps the state-run schools and the state complicit media world.  Some mothers, of course, are entirely in sync with schools and media.  They happily reinforce the statist message.  But those of us who don’t are a powerful anti-statist force and we must be challenged.

The Left’s problem with Ann Romney transcends her husband’s wealth, her (and his) Republican identification, and her decision to work for her children, rather than for a paying employer.  The Left’s problem with Ann Romney is that she represents the triumph of the individual.  No wonder they hate her so much.

UPDATE:  Welcome, Instapundit and PowerLine readers.  I’m going to go all Beverly Hillbillies and say “Y’all come back now.”  And welcome to you, too, Hot Air readers.  Y’all should also come back now!

Everything you needed to know about the Dems, run through the Kagan filter

Kim Priestap, who blogs at Up North Mommy, got an impassioned email from the Democratic Party, raving about Elena Kagan.  Does it rave about her brains?  No (although it mentions as an aside that she’s “among the best legal minds this country has to offer,” which is a depressing comment about legal minds in America).  Her legal expertise?  No.  Her judicial experience?  No (because there is none, no matter how one puffs up her limited management experience and some government work).  Her looks?  No, no and no.

Instead, the email is very clear about Kagan’s single most important virtue, along with a little subsidiary fillip to add to the Progressive excitement:  She’s a woman and, even better, she’s almost black because she once worked for a black man.

Read the following and tell me if the whole point of the Democratic euphoria isn’t that, after being the first female Harvard Law School dean, and the first female Solicitor General, she’s poised to become the third female Supreme Court justice sitting on the court, and one who is black by association, thereby raising both the female and black liberal quota on the Supreme Court:

Have you been watching the hearings? The nomination of a Supreme Court justice is a special time in Washington, DC. The air tastes different — it buzzes with an electricity even the humidity can’t conquer — and even more so this time.

Elena Kagan’s nomination is special. It took us almost 200 years as a country to get the first woman on the Supreme Court, but now we’re on a roll! If Elena Kagan is confirmed, for the first time, we’ll have three women serving together. We’re still a far cry from parity, but we cannot allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good. We’re making progress, and Elena Kagan is great progress.

Over the past three days of hearings, she has conducted herself with poise, grace, rigor, and humor. She has won praise from liberals and conservatives — prior to her nomination and since. It’s no easy feat to become the first female dean of Harvard Law School and the first female to serve as solicitor general. Her illustrious resume also includes periods as associate White House counsel and deputy policy director under President Bill Clinton, as a teacher at the University of Chicago Law School, and as a law clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Lend your name to help us show that the American people back Elena Kagan’s nomination.

Let there be no doubt: She earned this nomination. It’s not simply because she’s a woman, or because she’s among the best legal minds this country has to offer. I know firsthand the strength of Elena’s character and am certain she is the best choice.

The Supreme Court nomination process, like almost any political contest, is like a food fight where the nominee does his or her best to stay clean and dry while everyone else in the room slings Sloppy Joes. I’ve watched this before (recently) and there’s nothing the Republicans won’t do to take down a nominee chosen by a president they’ve vowed to obstruct at all costs.

Republicans are attacking her credibility, her credentials, and her character. They’ve become particularly focused on her work as a clerk for Justice Marshall, seemingly maligning his long and respected service to our country. As chief counsel to the NAACP, Justice Marshall argued the case of Brown v Board of Education. Later he would become the first African American to serve as solicitor general and the first African American to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court. We would be better off with more justices like Marshall, and Kagan’s work for him should be a feather in her cap, not a thorn in her side right now.

The other side is grabbing at straws, with nothing to support their groundless accusations, but it doesn’t stop the attacks. The Democratic Party is pushing back to ensure that this incredible woman gets a fair hearing, but we must also show that public support for Kagan is overwhelming.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony are rolling in their graves.  I think Martin Luther King is also starting to wiggle around in there.  This is not what they envisioned when they campaigned for equal rights for women, or demanded that people be measured, not by the color of their skin or bra size, but by the content of their character.  These trailblazers wanted women and blacks to enjoy full inalienable, constitutional, and legal rights in America.  For women and minorities to be valued just as numbers on some quota list is heartbreaking and as dehumanizing in its own way as the ancient status quo.

I have nothing more to say.

There’s a deeper meaning to Michelle’s appalling fashion sense

I need help from you guys developing a thought.  The thought started with this picture of Michelle Obama in a deep-veed, fluffy blouse; a saggy sweater; a bondage belt; and the gypsy skirt from hell:

Michelle Obama bondage BeltAside from the fact that the picture pretty much puts the lie forever to the media’s desparate attempt to liken Michelle to Jacquie O, I think Michelle’s completely bewildered clothing speaks to something deeper about what society’s Leftist grip does to women’s self image.

I’m thinking about the difference between elegance and femininity, as opposed to a sort of trashy, hard-edged “feminism” that equates female sexuality, which can be beautiful and graceful, with Hustler-esque sex.  There’s definitely been a trend in the past years that cheapens, rather than elevates, women, and this trend has marched hand-in-hand with the radicalization of feminism.

Recall, if you will, that feminism was originally sold as a way to ensure that women got equal rights under the law and equal opportunities.  It’s now morphed into some shrill Leftist monster that says women should have sex like a porn star, be able to cry rape at will, get opportunities denied to men, ignore the plight of their truly oppressed sisters around the world, forgive rapists as long as they’re “good” presidents, get more than equal pay for unequal work, etc.  At precisely the same time women stopped being women and started being these weird Frankenstein monsters, the concept of attractiveness and feminity in clothing vanished — something I’ve bemoaned my entire adult life.

In other words, I think this picture speaks to something larger about the way women, for all their greater earning power and societal presence, have lost something over the last 30 years.

I know I’m old-fashioned, and getting more so with every passing day, but I’m pretty sure “viva la difference” didn’t mean you guys look like effete metrosexuals and we gals look like bondage vixens.

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”

If you’re over thirty, you remember the shampoo commercials that had the tag line “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”  If you’ve forgotten, let me refresh your memory:

That slogan started repeating itself in my head with the attacks on Sarah Palin. I won’t repeat here (or link to) the startling savagery of the hatred heaped upon her, but I’ll remind you that it included denying that she was a woman at all, asserting that she was manifestly stupid, and calling her a traitor to her sex.

The same slogan has now moved to the forefront of my brain with the savage attacks on Carrie Prejean.  Believe me, if a less attractive woman had said precisely the same thing that brought Prejean such notoriety, the Left would have sneered and moved on.  It’s the fact that a beautiful woman had the temerity politely to state that she believes marriage should be between a man and a woman that drives the Left into a frenzy of abuse.

The flip side of this deep hatred the Left has for beautiful women with whom it disagrees is it’s fanatic desire to convince Americans (nay, the world) that its female political icons are beautiful.  Bloggers are starting to take notice of the fact that those on the Left, not satisfied with saturating the media with pictures of Mrs. Obama, are now trying to elevate her to the pantheon of Goddesses, a woman not merely beautiful, but one whose beauty makes her an amalgam of Mother Earth and Venus.  The latest to advance this notion is the always reliably silly Sally Quinn, who waxes lyrical about Michelle’s arms:

Michelle Obama’s arms, we determined, were transformational. Her arms are representative of a new kind of woman: young, strong, vigorous, intelligent, accomplished, sexual, powerful, embracing and, most of all, loving.

Today is Mother’s Day. Today we should celebrate Michelle Obama’s arms as the arms of a mother.

This is a woman who has the courage to say “I am mom in chief” and make her children and her family — unapologetically — her No. 1 priority. She is able to do this because she is so intelligent and accomplished that she doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. She is healthy enough to be able to say, this is who I am, these are my values and my priorities.

Reading stuff like that (and it goes on and on and on, far beyond what I just quoted), I’m beginning to think there is some virtue to the Roman idea of a vomitorium.  I could use one right now.

Just so we’re clear here: The Left verbally brutalized a truly beautiful woman who had reached one of the highest echelons of American politics by denying her any claim even to being female.  Now, it engages in hagiography by taking an ordinary woman who abandoned her career to support her husband and celebrating her old-fashioned role as mom.  As you know, I have no problem with the old-fashioned role of Mom, but the Left certainly has had that problem — except when it came to Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Obama.

As for me, when I see Michelle Obama, I think two things:  nice enough and, when her face is in repose, angry.  It’s the latter that makes her the perfect poster child for the Left, but they can’t admit that.  It would be impossible for them to elevate her to their pantheon as some sort of vengeful warrior goddess.  Instead, she must be objectified as the personification of all female virtues.  They don’t have to worry that you’ll hate Michelle because she’s beautiful — she isn’t.  But they’re going to force you to love her because she’s a Leftist female without hair in her pits.

(By the way, check out Ann Coulter talking about attacks on Prejean.)

PC strikes again, weakening the British military

When my mother was liberated from concentation camp in Indonesia at the end of WWII, she found herself facing another threat:  the native Indonesians were rising up against the colonial Dutch.  For them, killing the sick, starved Dutch ex-POWs, all still clustered in the camps pending repatriation, was like shooting fish in a barrel.  Relief came in the form of the Gurkhas.  My mom still remembers these fearless fighters hiding in bug/reptile infested ditches outside the camps, armed (literally) to the teeth with knives and other weapons.  Within days, the Indonesian attacks against those pathetic ex-prisoners stopped.

Don’t expect the Gurkhas to be able to help out much longer, though.  PC has struck the Gurkhas and the British government, as a preemptive strike, has demanded that Gurkha women be allowed to join the regiments, despite the fact that they cannot meet the standards:

Junior defence minister Derek Twigg revealed last year that the Army would recruit female Gurkhas from 2009, but gave no details.

[snip]

Half the Army’s 3,400 Gurkhas are infantry soldiers in the Royal Gurkha Rifles, and half serve in specialist Gurkha ‘corps’ units providing engineering, logistics, signals and medical support.

Unlike the rest of the Army, every Gurkha undergoes full infantry combat training.

As a result, if infantry are in short supply in the field, a Gurkha engineering or signals unit can pick up their rifles and join in an attack.

The flexibility it offers is hugely prized by the Army, already facing a serious shortage of infantry.

[snip]

The problem is it is illegal to recruit and train men and women differently to do the same job.

[snip]

Putting female Gurkhas through gruelling infantry training will leave them more at risk of injury and failure, it is feared, and liable to sue the Army for sex discrimination. [How are they being discriminated against if they're being trained in the same way as men? Rhetorical question. Don't bother to answer that in the Bizarro-land of sexual politics the only way to avoid discrimination is to treat women as -- and the Victorians would love this -- the weaker sex.]

In a trial in Nepal last year no women passed the current tests.

On a slightly related topic, I have a question for you.  As I’ve always understood it, military guys wear buzz cuts because (a) it helps hygiene, especially in combat or near-combat situations and (b) it means that you don’t have a handle that a bad guy can grab.  If short hair serves a practical purpose, why aren’t military women required to shave their heads too?  I think they should be.

Rhetoric versus reality

One of the things that’s been playing through my head lately is the distance between the liberal worldview and actual reality.  The media arguments directed at Palin, especially those that deal with women’s issues, really highlighted that divide for me.

Let’s begin with the way in which liberals distinguish themselves from conservativeds, something David Smithee examines in Palin and the Left’s Comprehension Gap.  The title is self-explanatory.  Smithee explains that part of the hubris that characterizes the Left is the fact that it is unable to take a clear look at conservatives.  It sets up easily defeated straw men, without ever really touching upon true conservatism, a mistake the conservatives tend not to make:

But we also know that when liberals look at conservatives, no such courtesy or openness of mind is extended. They don’t see considered issues, critical thought, or the faintest possibility of reason. They see white trash men waving bibles at teen brides, while a gaggle of kids groom each other for lice on a cracked linoleum floor. ‘Bitter clingers’ who mindlessly adhere to second-amendment rights so they can shoot baby possum off a tin fence on slow Friday nights. The other sort of conservative invariably invokes 19th century robber barons, plutocrat industrialists swollen with loot plundered from the proletariat, abating their whipping of Dickensian child labor just long enough to polish a monocle.

The flip side of this hysterical denigration is the liberals’ own self-aggrandizement.  If conservatives are people who crawl in the dirt, alternately praying to God and picking lice, liberals, by obvious corollary, are higher beings, with vast intelligence and delicately refined sensibilities.

Certainly that’s how I always understand myself as a Democrat:  I was better educated, more refined, and better traveled than my conservative counterparts.  Therefore, any conclusions I drew, values I had, and opinions I held must be better too.  Never mind that there are large numbers of educated, refined, and well traveled conservatives, and never mind that conservative conclusions, values and opinions actually operate with more efficiency and humanity in the real world (as opposed to the theoretical one).  It was enough that I knew I was better than they were.

For a long time, because they own the MSM, Lefties have been able to sell the American public on their “we’re better than you are, so just shut up and follow our lead” meme.  What’s so wonderful about the Palin candidacy is less what it says about conservatives, who really haven’t changed, and more what it says about liberals, who are casting off their loving sheep mantels and showing the wolfish reality behind the rhetoric.  It’s not pretty.

The “feminist” attacks on Palin are the ugliest thing of all, of course.  They reveal that “feminism” has absolutely nothing to do with enabling women to live as fully realized citizens in the United States of America, able to strive for all the opportunities this great country makes available to its citizens.  (Or, alternatively, opting to take advantage of the opportunity to be an old-fashioned wife and mother, which is just another right of citizenship in America.)

Instead, feminism has almost nothing to do with paving the way for full and equal citizenship for women, and everything to do with bowing before the Leftist political line.  Politically-aware conservatives have long known this.  The attacks on Palin allow others to see it.  (For more on this topic, I recommend Jonah Goldberg’s column, which spells out what’s going on with these current anti-Palin attacks, and Christina Hoff-Sommer’s wonderful Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women, which was published in 1995, but is as fresh today as the day it was written.)

When it comes to women, Obama is just as guilty of putting distance between himself and his high flown rhetoric.  Despite the fact that equal pay for equal work has been the law of the land since 1964, Obama has shrilly demanded he be elected because, he assures us, under his tender loving care American will finally see the realization of the historic goal  of “equal pay for equal worth.”  Let’s ignore the fact that his muddled rhetoric really seems to be aiming at the nightmare of “comparable worth” pay, which seeks to have some Leftist college professor assign an abstract value to women dominated jobs, to make them line up nice will men dominated jobs.  The Hell with the market.  Let the government and the professors assign wages.  It worked in the Soviet Union, right?

But as I said, let’s ignore that.  Instead, let’s focus on Obama’s own reality.  It’s obvious that, if he’s saying those things he must mean them, right?  Right? I’m sorry to say that the answer is “wrong.”  As Deroy Murdock explains, a non-partisan group that presents data about the wages American senators pay their staff reveals Obama’s ugly little secret:  the women who work for him have lower level positions and lower wages.  Strikingly, McCain’s staff has women holding the higher level positions and receiving higher wages.

Keeping on the subject of women, it turns out that the whole “pro-Choice” theme constantly sounded by Leftists since 1973 is also more rhetoric than reality.  For 30 plus years, Americans have been told that the Left isn’t pro-Abortion, it’s pro-Choice (with the corollary being that the conservatives are anti-Choice).  It turns out that this too was also more rhetoric than reality.  I already quoted the following yesterday, but I’m going to quote it again today — “it” being James Taranto’s analysis of three of the more horrible attacks against Sarah Palin for her decision to have baby Trig:

This is worse than tasteless or even unhinged. It is depraved. It represents an inversion of any reasonable conception of right and wrong, including liberal conceptions.

Fowler uses Palin’s motherhood to disparage her accomplishments, an obvious betrayal of the principle of women’s equality. And although proponents of permissive abortion laws nearly always claim to support not abortion but “a woman’s right to choose,” here we have three of them rebuking Palin for choosing not to abort her baby.

Sullivan and Wilson go further, ascribing evil intent to an act of maternal love. To Sullivan, Palin’s decision to carry her child to term is a salvo in a “culture war”–that is, an act of aggression against those with different political views. (That, at least, is how he sees it for the purpose of this post. In an earlier one, he praised her for going through “eight months of pregnancy and a painful, difficult, endless labor for a cause she believes in”–which, although considerably less obnoxious, still depicts the decision as a political rather than a personal one.)

To Wilson, Palin’s adherence to her own principles about the sanctity of life is an act of neglect toward her children–proof “that her most beloved child is the antiabortion platform.” Never mind that the alternative would have ensured that one of her actual children did not live.

Since I’ve kept these examples of the vast gulf between Leftist rhetoric and Leftist reality in the realm of women’s issues, I’m going to close with another example that arises, not at the political level, but at the personal level — and that appears in a book that, like Hoff-Sommer’s book, was originally published in the 1990s (and republished in 2003).  The book is called The Second Shift, and it focuses on the fact that the average working woman work harder than her average husband, since the woman, on average, layers housework and childcare on top of her paid job.

I don’t think most women will find this conclusion all that exciting.  What the writer did find — at least in the 1990s edition of the book, which is the edition I read — is a fascinating divide between older, traditional men and younger, more liberated men.  The older men resented bitterly that their wives had to work, believing women should take care of the home and children.  The younger men thought it was wonderful that the women contributed to the family wealth and said that, of course, they (the men) would help in the home.  One would think, therefore, that the women in traditional households would be buried under double loads of work, while the women in progressive households would have an equal partner.  The opposite was true.

It turned out that the conservative men actually valued what the women did in the home, and helped a great deal.  (And indeed, my father exemplified this attitude when my mom was forced to take a job.)  The progressive, modern men paid lip service but, in fact, did almost nothing.  They’d say things such as “We’ve divided it in half.  I do the outdoor work, she does the indoor work.”  It sounded good, but the reality was that the outdoor work consisted of taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn once a week, while the indoor work meant shopping, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and taking care of the kids, all on a daily basis.  There was a complete divergence between rhetoric and reality in the progressive households and it did not redound to the women’s benefit.

I leave you to find other examples of the divide between Leftist words and Leftist reality.  While Leftists blindly castigate the conservative straw men they’ve created, they remain curiously unmoved by the vast divide between their perfect intellectual world and their own acts.  However, because of Palin, ordinary Americans are getting a glimpe of this divide, and they might not like what they see.  If for this reason alone, therefore, the Palin nomination was a blessing for America.

Embittered women

In the past couple of days, I’ve read more than a few articles in which liberal women express incendiary anger about Sarah Palin. I blogged yesterday about Michelle Cottle’s screed, and today read equally over-the-top material from Judith Warner (h/t The Anchoress) and Heather Malick (h/t Small Dead Animals).  In each of these articles, women complain that those who play by feminism’s rules are kicked in the teeth and that Quislings like Sarah Palin get rewarded with perks and praise.  Never mind that their feminine ideal, Hillary, got ahead the old-fashioned way, by marriage.  It was her rhetoric, not her conduct, that appealed.

I find the attitude these women express interesting, because I understand it so well.  When I worked at my first law firm, I was a horrible employee because I had all these ideas that, as a woman who paid full (and sincere) lip service to feminism’s principles, I was entitled to special treatment.  I couldn’t understand why the men who started the same year as I did were treated better and liked more — overlooking completely the fact that they worked harder, complained less, and contributed more.  I was a woman!  Didn’t “they” understand that?

Incidentally, I didn’t arrive at this self-serving, egotistical hubristic attitude on my own.  My year was the year the law firm decided to embrace diversity and hired a large group of whiny women, African-Americans and gays.*  We knew we were affirmative action hires but, instead of being grateful, we felt we were owed more than just a job.  We expected to be coddled and given opportunities notwithstanding our failure to earn them.

As the years went by, we were horrified by how obvious it was that the firm powers didn’t like us.  It never occurred to us that we were neither likable nor beneficial to the firm’s business.  Eventually, I jumped ship for a different firm where, with a clean slate, I started to learn to be a lawyer and not a feminist.  The rest of the malcontents with whom I’d worked were all fired summarily a short time later as part of a — ahem — “cost cutting” move.

Reading the articles to which I’ve linked, it’s apparent that many American women still live in the “you owe me” bubble.  Worse, since they seldom get what they feel they’re owed, they find themselves embittered — and, sadly, without even having the countervailing consolation of guns and God.

______________________

*This is not to imply that women, gays and African-Americans are whiny.  It is to say that this particular group of women, gays and African-Americans, all of whom believed they were entitled to special treatment because of their non-white male status, were in fact whiny.

Sarah Palin represents the feminist triumph

After pointing out how ignoble the attack on Palin is coming from the self-appointed coastal elites, Victor Davis Hanson sums up how Palin is the ultimate feminist triumph:

Sarah Palin is the emblem of what feminism was supposed to be all about: an unafraid, independent, audacious woman, who soared on her own merits without the aid of a patriarchal jumpstart, high-brow matrimonial tutelage and capital, and old-boy liaisons and networking.

Sweden joins the ranks of nations committing suicide *UPDATE*

Charles Johnson of LGF periodically gets into spats with the people at Gates of Vienna because of their (possible?) ties to organizations that have the whiff of neo-Nazism about them.  As for me, I don’t know where the truth lies in those arguments.

I do know that Europe in the 20th (and, apparently, in the 21st) century has always been distressingly binary, not around the center (as America is, or used to be), but around the poles.  For example, we now look back on the British ruling class of the 1930s with incredible disdain, because so many supported Nazism.  What we forget is that they supported it because they feared Communism more.  They didn’t see a third way out of those two -isms.  Instead, they just picked what, at the time, seemed the least horrible.

I see the same thing occurring in Europe now, where many people, across myriad European countries, are appalled by and afraid of their governments’ (1) embrace of unhindered immigration; (2) hostility to their own national cultures; (3) pan-Europeanism (which destroys the long-time bonds holding people together within a nation); and (4) obesiance before radical Islam.  Faced with this top-down destruction of their own countries and cultures, people in the various European countries are seeking an alternative around which to rally — and neo-Nazism, with its focus on white, European culture is there, ready made.

The problem with this European habit of rallying around the extreme is that it muddies the waters.  People who have an accurate understanding of the situation, and are capable of analyzing correctly what’s going on, seem to soil themselves by embracing the most extreme solution, instead of simply pushing back against their own governments’ and elites’ stupidity.  Of course, given how deeply entrenched and broad-reaching the stupidity is, maybe the only possible push-back is to head as far away from the government position as possible straight into neo-Nazi land, so as to get a running start.  This is why all the alternatives in Europe begin to seem very frightening.

This is a very long intro to an important post that Fjordman wrote at Gates of Vienna regarding the rising tide of rape in Sweden.  Fjordman is not advocating a neo-Nazi solution.  He is, however, giving a solid analysis of the perfect storm:  a government that hates itself, aided and supported by women who hate men, all of whom are steeped in Marxist ideology, and all of whom give their full support to the concept that immigrants (read:  Muslim immigrants) can do no wrong.  To me, the following paragraph just about perfectly sums up the insanity that has taken over the once rock-solid Swedes:

The effect of radical Feminism is to treat all men as criminals, except those who really are criminals, who should receive soft treatment. All men are rapists, except those who actually are. They are victims of “society.” Despite the fact that Muslim immigration has triggered an unprecedented wave of anti-female violence, women still vote disproportionately for pro-immigration parties, and yell “racism” at men who suggest it’s not a good idea.

Fjordman is the boots on the ground — he’s giving a first-hand view of the same problems that Bruce Bawer and Mark Steyn discuss to such good effect in their books about Islam in Europe.

One really cannot blame the Islamists for doing what they’re doing in Europe.  Like the redoubtable George Washington Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, they’re not really doing anything wrong.  Instead, as Plunkett always said, “I seen my opportunity and I took it.”  The Islamists are using to good effect the fact that the nations of Europe are holding a knife to their own throats.  Indeed, the Islamists would be fools not to seize such a juicy opening.

More years ago than I care to count, when I was in high school and took my Achievement exam (that was the one with the written essay, wasn’t it?), I remember distinctly being asked to comment on Walt Kelly’s famouse “We have met the enemy and He is us” phrase.  Back then, unaware of the fact that Kelly created that phrase as a slap at capitalism (because it went on an earth day poster decrying the destruction of the forests), I muddled on about how we can be our own worst enemies, etc.  I wish I could revisit that essay now.  Kelly is right in a way he never knew:  the enemy is us because we are handing to our enemy, ready-made, the instrument of our destruction.  It is we — not the nuclear, not the hijacked plane, not the IED — we who are our enemy’s secret weapon.

Hat tip:  Danny Lemieux

UPDATE:  By the way, the increasingly loathsome Patrick Buchanan is another animal altogether.  Rather than observing today’s social ills, he is embarking on a course of historical revisionism aimed at whitewashing the Nazis.  This guy is, plain and simple, a neo-Nazi trying to revitialize a dangerous, grotesque and violent political ideology because he thinks it was a good thing in the past and got a bum rap.  Tell that to the 6 million.

The problem with the -isms in this race

Christopher Hitchens has written a post-mortem on the alleged sexism characterizing Hillary Clinton’s abortive race to the top. Aside from scathingly examining both Hillary’s and the media’s myriad failings, he has this wonderful point to make about the double-edged sword her gender became in the race:

Going as far as it dared on the point, the same sternly disapproving New York Times report found the courage to say that the Washington Post, in mentioning Sen. Clinton, had also alluded to “her cleavage.” Living as we do in an age of the easily offended and the aggressively innocent, we were not regarded as sufficiently adult to be informed whether this cleavage was in the front or the back. (Something in me makes me hope very devoutly that it was not the latter.) But I think I see the emerging pattern. People who favor Sen. Clinton are allowed to stress her gender and sex at all times and to make a gigantic point of it for its own sake. They are even allowed to proclaim that she should be the president of the United States in time of war only because she would be the first vagina-possessing person to hold the job. But—and here’s the catch—people who do not favor her are not even allowed to allude to the fact that she is female and has feminine characteristics. In this way, we prepare our brave daughters and granddaughters and even disenfranchised grandmothers for a future that is sex-free and gender-neutral or, at any rate, something like that. How pathetic can you get? When will we learn that there is more to political and social emancipation than the simple addition of the “ism” suffix to any commonplace word?

Of course, as you, my discerning readers have already realized, the exact same paradigm applies to Obama’s race — his supporters are allowed to trumpet it as a (if not the) reason why he should become leader of the free world; his opponents are not allowed to mention it at all.

As you all know, I’m a loud, proud racist when it comes to Obama’s race.* Hitchens provides another reason why we should not allow ourselves to be muzzled. At the very least, we should be allowed to point out that, if they say race is reason to elect Obama, we are allowed to say that race is not.

Hat tip: Danny Lemieux

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*There’s a pun in there somewhere since, in Obama’s case, “race” applies both his genetic make-up and his race for the White House

Rape

If you haven’t already read Heather MacDonald’s debunking of the “Rape Epidemic” on college campuses, you must. The whole article is replete with gems such as this one:

The campus rape movement highlights the current condition of radical feminism, from its self-indulgent bathos to its embrace of ever more vulnerable female victimhood. But the movement is an even more important barometer of academia itself. In a delicious historical irony, the baby boomers who dismantled the university’s intellectual architecture in favor of unbridled sex and protest have now bureaucratized both. While women’s studies professors bang pots and blow whistles at antirape rallies, in the dorm next door, freshman counselors and deans pass out tips for better orgasms and the use of sex toys. The academic bureaucracy is roomy enough to sponsor both the dour antimale feminism of the college rape movement and the promiscuous hookup culture of student life. The only thing that doesn’t fit into the university’s new commitments is serious scholarly purpose.

The article’s first point is that the study that gave rise to the infamous “one out of four college women are raped” statistic was not merely flawed, a concept that implies that the researcher acted in good faith but erred in methodology, but was, instead, intended to arrive at the one out of four number — a result it could achieve only be stretching facts beyond all semblance of reality. There is, in fact, no rape epidemic on American campuses, and there never has been. The study’s “flaws,” of course, have never slowed down the college rape industry:

None of the obvious weaknesses in the research has had the slightest drag on the campus rape movement, because the movement is political, not empirical. In a rape culture, which “condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as a norm,” sexual assault will wind up underreported, argued the director of Yale’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Resources and Education Center in a March 2007 newsletter. You don’t need evidence for the rape culture; you simply know that it exists. But if you do need evidence, the underreporting of rape is the best proof there is.

In keeping with this political agenda, the fact that the highly funded rape centers dotting every college campus are ghost towns is irrelevant. Rather than scaling back on the centers to use the money for more useful purposes (education, anyone?), the feministas are going in the other direction: they are demanding more money, based on their contention that the empty rooms are a sign that more women are being raped than ever before. They’re just not talking about it.

MacDonald, after debunking the rape myth, then does something incredibly brave: she attacks a college social culture that is so nihilistic it creates the perfect environment for young women to find themselves in unpleasant sexual situations which are not rape, but which certainly lack any sign of love, respect, emotional commitment, or even mere affection:

So what reality does lie behind the campus rape industry? A booze-fueled hookup culture of one-night, or sometimes just partial-night, stands. Students in the sixties demanded that college administrators stop setting rules for fraternization. “We’re adults,” the students shouted. “We can manage our own lives. If we want to have members of the opposite sex in our rooms at any hour of the day or night, that’s our right.” The colleges meekly complied and opened a Pandora’s box of boorish, sluttish behavior that gets cruder each year. Do the boys, riding the testosterone wave, act thuggishly toward the girls? You bet! Do the girls try to match their insensitivity? Indisputably.

College girls drink themselves into near or actual oblivion before and during parties. That drinking is often goal-oriented, suggests University of Virginia graduate Karin Agness: it frees the drinker from responsibility and “provides an excuse for engaging in behavior that she ordinarily wouldn’t.” A Columbia University security official marvels at the scene at homecomings: “The women are shit-faced, saying, ‘Let’s get as drunk as we can,’ while the men are hovering over them.” As anticipated, the night can include a meaningless sexual encounter with a guy whom the girl may not even know. This less-than-romantic denouement produces the “roll and scream: you roll over the next morning so horrified at what you find next to you that you scream,” a Duke coed reports in Laura Sessions Stepp’s recent book Unhooked. To the extent that they’re remembered at all, these are the couplings that are occasionally transformed into “rape”—though far less often than the campus rape industry wishes.

For the unthinking, it would be easy to believe that the above paragraphs are yet another part of the old “blame the victim” mentality. (Laer, in a wonderfully thoughtful post, highlights a perfect example of this knee jerk reaction to any challenge to the campus rape paradigm.) There’s a world of difference between the two approaches, though. The old view took what was indubitably rape — forced sex on a completely unwilling victim — and pointed to inconsequential factors to justify the man’s conduct: she walked with a swing to her hips, she smiled at him, she wore a pretty dress, she’d been “flirting.” By ignoring the man’s conduct, and focusing solely on the woman’s, the legal system was able to ignore the fact that, as the woman was screaming “no,” the man was forcing sex on her.

The new rape paradigm has a very different scenario, one in which the “victim” admits that she did in fact say “yes” (although she may have intentionally reduced herself to virtually incoherent drunkeness first):

The magazine Saturday Night: Untold Stories of Sexual Assault at Harvard, produced by Harvard’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, provides a first-person account of such a coupling:

What can I tell you about being raped? Very little. I remember drinking with some girlfriends and then heading to a party in the house that some seniors were throwing. I’m told that I walked in and within 5 minutes was making out with one of the guys who lived there, who I’d talked to some in the dining hall but never really hung out with. I may have initiated it. I don’t remember arriving at the party; I dimly remember waking up at some point in the early morning in this guy’s room. I remember him walking me back to my room. I couldn’t have made it alone; I still had too much alcohol in my system to even stand up straight. I made myself vulnerable and even now it’s hard to think that someone here who I have talked and laughed with could be cold-hearted enough to take advantage of that vulnerability. I’d rather, sometimes, take half the blame than believe that a profound evil can exist in mankind. But it’s easy for me to say, that, of the two of us, I’m the only one who still has nightmares, found myself panicking and detaching during sex for many months afterwards, and spent more time looking into the abyss than any one person should.

The inequalities of the consequences of the night, the actions taken unintentionally or not, have changed the course of only one of our lives, irrevocably and profoundly.

Now perhaps the male willfully exploited the narrator’s self-inflicted incapacitation; if so, he deserves censure for taking advantage of a female in distress. But to hold the narrator completely without responsibility requires stripping women of volition and moral agency. Though the Harvard victim does not remember her actions, it’s highly unlikely that she passed out upon arriving at the party and was dragged away like roadkill while other students looked on. Rather, she probably participated voluntarily in the usual prelude to intercourse, and probably even in intercourse itself, however woozily.

Men actually have a name for the kind of sex described above. It’s called “coyote ugly” sex, a term that I was introduced to when I lived in Texas. It posits a man so drunk that he beds a physically unattractive woman. In the morning, he is so horrified by the ugliness lying in his arms that, rather than wake her to escape, he’s willing to gnaw his own arm off to sneak away. (The analogy being to the fact that coyotes will gnaw off a leg that’s caught in a trap so as to escape.) Interestingly, this response imagines the man imposing a punishment on himself for being intoxicated enough to climb into bed with someone he never would have considered otherwise. Women, faced with the same situation — the morning after regret following the night before — are now encouraged to place the blame elsewhere for their own conduct and to cry rape.

As indicated in the last paragraph I quoted from MacDonald, she too understands the difference between women assaulted just for being female, and women who have sex they later regret:

A large number of complicating factors make the Saturday Night story a far more problematic case than the term “rape” usually implies. Unlike the campus rape industry, most students are well aware of those complicating factors, which is why there are so few rape charges brought for college sex. But if the rape industrialists are so sure that foreseeable and seemingly cooperative drunken sex amounts to rape, there are some obvious steps that they could take to prevent it. Above all, they could persuade girls not to put themselves into situations whose likely outcome is intercourse. Specifically: don’t get drunk, don’t get into bed with a guy, and don’t take off your clothes or allow them to be removed. Once you’re in that situation, the rape activists could say, it’s going to be hard to halt the proceedings, for lots of complex emotional reasons. Were this advice heeded, the campus “rape” epidemic would be wiped out overnight.

But suggest to a rape bureaucrat that female students should behave with greater sexual restraint as a preventive measure, and you might as well be saying that the girls should enter a convent or don the burka. “I am uncomfortable with the idea,” e-mailed Hillary Wing-Richards, the associate director of the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Women’s Resource Center at James Madison University in Virginia. “This indicates that if [female students] are raped it could be their fault—it is never their fault—and how one dresses does not invite rape or violence. . . . I would never allow my staff or myself to send the message it is the victim’s fault due to their dress or lack of restraint in any way.” Putting on a tight tank top doesn’t, of course, lead to what the bureaucrats call “rape.” But taking off that tank top does increase the risk of sexual intercourse that will be later regretted, especially when the tank-topper has been intently mainlining rum and Cokes all evening.

The only area in which I’d differ with MacDonald is with regard to her second to last sentence or, at least, I’d expand upon it: “Putting on a tight tank top doesn’t, of course, lead to what the bureaucrats call ‘rape.’” If a woman is forced into non-consensual sex that the attacker justifies by pointing to her tank top, that’s rape. However, I’m in complete agreement with MacDonald that, if the same woman gets drunk, makes out with a complete stranger, takes off the tank top on the dance floor, and then goes into a room and climbs in the bed naked with that same stranger, while she may later have regrets, he hasn’t raped her.

(I’m going to stick with this topic for the rest of this post, but I do urge you to read the rest of MacDonald’s article, which also has an extended discussion of the way in which universities encourage the hypersexualized culture at American colleges by doing such things as inviting sex shows to perform on campus.)

On the subject of that tank top: One of the things the anti-blame the victim movement did was to create an environment in which women were told that they ought to have the right to do anything they want without any risk at all. This is a striking departure from the original challenges mounted to the old “blame the victim” mentality. The original feminist attack, which was valid, challenged a legal system that allowed men to walk away without any consequences despite the fact that they had clearly forced sex, often horribly brutal sex, on an unwilling woman. These early (and rational) feminists weren’t looking at whether women should be able to engage in any conduct they wanted without consequences. Instead, they were looking at the men and saying that, if a man engaged in certain illegal sexual acts, there would inevitably be consequences regardless of the woman’s own conduct. Under this original and equitable feminist system, women were still expected not to be stupid. The only difference was that, whether the woman was stupid or not, a man who committed rape was denied the “it’s all her fault” legal defense.

I strongly support that world view. It’s a tragedy and a travesty that it’s morphed into a view that is the mirror image of the view prevailing in the pre-women’s rights era. Back then, the man was never at fault; now, the woman is never at fault. Both systems are equally abhorrent and equally damaging to the relationship between the sexes. It makes all of them enemies of each other.