The Thinking 
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Oprah Betrays Women, Again

November 24, 2009


Having announced that she’s giving up her TV show in 2011, Oprah is not headed toward retirement. She is redirecting her efforts, which will include a cable TV series focused on an L.A. housewife who dumps her family to pursue a life of erotic adventure.

Is this any surprise, dear reader? Oprah never was the girlfriend, true and loyal, she presented herself to be. She stands front and center with all those who would destroy any remaining shred of decency in America’s wives and mothers.


Our Conspicuous Consumption

November 24, 2009


In a previous entry, a reader named Joel complained that it isn’t possible for young hard-working professionals in their twenties to form families without some dramatic changes in social policy. To this, readers and I responded that young couples would be wise to accept relative poverty for the sake of having children while they are young. This, we argued, is the best way to save the West from further decline and to achieve personal happiness.

But, let’s be honest about what this advice means. It means that people such as Joel must step outside the world they live in and go it alone. The fact is, they will lose friends and status for the sake of a less materialistic way of life.

More than a hundred years ago, Thorsten Veblen, in his Theory of the Leisure Class, described our situation, a society in which large numbers of people would choose conspicuous consumption over family contentment and a higher birthrate.

He wrote:

The accepted standard of expenditure in the community or in the class to which a person belongs largely determines what his standard of living will be. It does this directly by commending itself to his common sense as right and good, through his habitually contemplating it and assimilating the scheme of life in which it belongs; but it does so also indirectly through popular insistence on conformity to the accepted scale of expenditure as a matter of propriety, under pain of disesteem and ostracism.

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The Breast: Sacred and Profane

November 24, 2009


Can you imagine any portion of the male anatomy deified as the female breast has been in recent years? If there were ten-foot phallic symbols lining the mall in Washington, would we be any more in thrall to masculinity than we are to femininity in our current state of outright breast-worship?

Last week, newspapers and TV news programs gave top billing to the news that women in their forties may do okay without mammograms. It was as if government officials had ordered mass mastectomies, so intense was the alarm and the widespread concern that the breast – o, sacred teat! – was not being given its due.

Breast cancer is a serious and terrible scourge. But, breast cancer in women in their forties is not as pressing a concern as male heart disease or childhood leukemia and yet it is hard to believe similarly minor news about these diseases would have received such near-hysterical attention.

No, the breast is sacred.

But it is also profane. With the current state of women’s fashion, the breast has been ironically cheapened at the very moment of its glorification. There is more exposed cleavage in the average corporate office than rump roasts in Costco’s refrigerated cases. The breast spills forth from its bindings with molten overabundance. Even the female leaders of Western nations –  senators, ministers and diplomats – freely advertise their wares. Over-exposed in this way, the breast becomes something sad:  just one more piece of flesh. 

And yet how beautiful it can be. How truly sacred it is. Fountain of life. Pillow for weary heads. Gift to men. Nothing more lovely was conceived by God. If we did not see the body itself as profane, a mere biological manufacture, we would not deify the breast as we do.


The Demented Sarah Palin Debate

November 24, 2009


Andrew Sullivan proclaims in his Atlantic Monthly blog that Sarah Palin is a “delusional fantasist” and a “deeply disturbed person.” At the other extreme, a writer for the American Thinker says Palin is the victim of sexual violence by leftists.

To say Sarah Palin is a polarizing figure is an understatement. The vile attacks of her by liberals such as Sullivan are far more unhinged and demented than the remnant of fanatical support for her.  But both sides have become un-glued.

Writing for the American Thinker, a writer named Robin does make a valid point: that it is Palin’s “unapologetic motherhood” that riles the left. It’s true, they hate her for her five children and her refusal to claim any kind of resentment for the duties of being a mother. You won’t hear Palin going on and on like Michelle Obama about how hard it is to take care of children or criticizing her husband for not doing his share.

But, Robin goes off the deep end in using Susan Brownmiller’s loony text on rape, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, to diagnose Palin as a victim of sexual violence because of crude attacks on her appearance. I didn’t know anyone still read the zany Brownmiller, let alone used her as an authoritative source for political analysis.  Inspired by Brownmiller, Robin says conservative men have been reduced to the passive spectators of an act of rape. 

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