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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Why the Image of Spineless Men is Real

  In response to the previous post, Karen Wilson from England argues that men are portrayed as effeminate and spineless in Western advertising not only to ingratiate and butter up female consumers. The image is real. Karen writes: I think men in ads are often portrayed as weak, partly as deliberate propaganda, but partly because that is in fact what many […]

Conservative Feminism

  Conservatives have long tried to have it both ways when it comes to feminism. They aggressively attack the silliness of women studies departments and the absurdities of feminist chic. At the same time, they happily embrace careerism in women. They secretly believe a benign feminism is possible and that they might go on lampooning radical feminism without any logical contradictions and […]

Men in Ads

  Why do men in television commercials so often appear effeminate, incompetent or stupid? This excellent article in The Globe and Mail states the obvious. Advertisers believe portraying men as feckless is an effective strategy. It flatters women consumers who control the purse strings for most domestic purchases. One advertising executive, however, disagrees. The practice is counter-productive and offends women, who prefer to think they have some […]

The Virtual Male World

  In the previous post on electronic games, I wrote: Electronic entertainment is one of the few realms in which boys can still be boys. I agree with Ron on this point. And, it’s a very important consideration. But, it shouldn’t be that way. Virtual games, at least the obsessive and exclusive playing of them, are not a good replacement for […]

Boys and Electronic Games, Cont.

  Ron Purewal replies to my post, Boys and Electronic Games. Ron makes a number of important points. His most interesting argument is that electronic games represent ”one of the few places left in our society where boys can still unabashedly be boys” Mr. Purewal writes: In that post, you wrote: “Can the outward passivity that is so characteristic […]

Should Smart Women Sweep?

  Mopping and sweeping floors goes with the territory when you are a woman at home. The broom is the universal and most primitive of kitchen appliances. No home which is truly lived-in goes a single day without need of sweeping. There is constant precipitation from above. Sweeping has the reputation of being boring and mindless, but I […]

The Choristers of Summer

  The fields and gardens, the empty lots and woods, even the highway median strips – all  resound with insect music here at this time of year, as if thousands of soloists, chamber groups, quartets and jazz ensembles were hidden in the bush.  Whatever evolutionary purposes it serves, there is nothing utilitarian about our pleasure in this music. Even you, dear reader, are mortal and this sweet evanescent sound is for […]

A Marriage Protest

  The institution of marriage is undergoing it’s most profound crisis today. But, it has been subjected to lesser controversies throughout history. Robert Dale Owen issued the following statement on the occasion of his 1832 wedding to Mary Jane Robinson, to protest the state of law by which women lost property and other legal rights upon marriage. […]

A Reader Asks About Comments

  Ron writes: I enjoy your blog, but I’m a bit surprised that comments are disabled. This surprise is multiplied when the post consists of a series of questions, whether rhetorical or not (as does your most recent post concerning gamers). Have you been getting spammed? Any other reason why comments are closed? Laura writes: Thank you […]

Boys and Electronic Games

  B. is a boy I know who is approaching adulthood. He has spent most of his free time for the past eight years playing electronic games. He is a good person, well-behaved, decent and intelligent. But, he is easily bored. He does not engage in lengthy conversation and seems impatient with the inefficiency of social interaction. He does not like […]

The Magic Spell of Useless Education

  In a follow-up to my post The Parental Serf, I wrote: “The enormous sums spent on higher education don’t represent adoration of youth so much as adoration of institutions and a superstitious belief in their magical properties. I don’t mind selling out to the future. I do mind selling out to colleges which offer […]

Soccer Moms and Same-Sex Marriage

  This winter, the legal battle against California’s ban on same-sex marriage heads to federal court and may ultimately end up before the U.S. Supreme Court. The court may declare government-supported traditional marriage unconstitutional, setting the stage for civil upheaval and an inevitable battle over a federal amendment. The most radical of social experiments is closing in upon us. What […]

Global Deadbeats

  A breathless report on global poverty in today’s New York Times makes no bones about the cause: Rotten Men. There must be a “women’s crusade” to save the world. Forget about men; they’re useless and cruel. Every peasant woman in India must be transformed into a Hillary Clinton. Here are a few of the strikingly misanthropic statements in this harangue […]

The Parental Serf

  The feudal slave who produced grain for his lord, the Communist proletariat beholden to Uncle Joe, and the medieval peasant who paid cash for the forgiveness of sins were no less free than today’s parental serf. The parental serf does not work for his family and his independence. He works for a higher master: his children’s educations. He starts paying college tuition when […]

Feminists and Working Girls

  Feminists have a long history of ambivalence about working girls. I mean, “independent contractors.” It’s an issue that ties them into philosophical knots. On the one hand, independent contractors are bad because their business involves gratification of male desire, treatment of women as objects for pleasure, and sometimes brutal physical abuse, sexual disease and even murder. They also dress in heteronormative high heels and hot pants, and wear too […]