So last week I ragged on guys for reading comic books and playing video games and consuming instead of creating and basically committing slo-mo suicide in a miasma of onanistic escapism.
I just know lots of female readers were going, “Right on! I am so forwarding this to my husband!!” — then they got to the last line of my article, about how I was going to rake Today’s Woman over the coals next.
Trouble is: the ladies who need to read this article aren’t on the internet right now; they’re at a “spa,” trying to decide between the “Brazilian” and the “Californian.”
PJ Media’s female readers are presumably politically engaged, well-informed and — just a guess — not too skanky.
So I’m preaching to the converted rather than the perverted.
Let’s consider a stereotypical suburban mom.
She’s upset about all the mayhem she hears about on the news.
Another school shooting! Why do other people need all those horrible guns?
Why do other people’s children turn out so horribly?
She wonders this while racing her daughter to yet another extracurricular activity — because it’s easier and more pleasant than actually having to — ugh! — spend too much time alone with a fourteen year old.
The SUV’s CD player blasts out another Katy Perry song — or is it last year’s American Idol? — about “loving yourself” and being a “hottie” or a “single lady” or something. Mom can’t make out all the words.
Her daughter knows them by heart, though.
Her daughter wants a tattoo one day. What can mom say? She’s got a butterfly on her ankle.
As for a tongue piercing, well, mom thinks they’re just jewelry and doesn’t know what those are really for.
Dad does, but isn’t saying. Life’s easier and quieter when he keeps his mouth shut.
Yep, the world is a horrible place, thinks mom.
Good thing she ferries her children everywhere instead of letting them take the bus, and sets up play dates and makes them wear helmets and shields them from peanut butter.
She photographs every move her children make. She does it because all the other women do, too.
Plus she has some vague notion that all this picture-making is an outward visible sign of her affection.
But in reality, she’s avoiding reality, carefully constructing a future-past instead of living in the moment, and holding up a small but powerful barrier — a camera, a cellphone — between herself and the kids.
Just like getting those children into the next “good school” is more important than what’s happening now.
At the end of a long day doing all that stuff, mom likes nothing more than to curl up with a good book, or maybe a favorite movie.
Which revolve entirely around teenagers fighting each other to the death.
And no, I’m not impressed by that Hunger Games girl. A genuinely “strong female character” would just aim her arrow at the Bad Guy and liberate the country.
(I know: And then there’d be no story…)
Like I did with the guys, I’m asking women to raise their cultural consumption bar.
My own well-documented junk diet means I understand, ladies.
We all know that reading supermarket checkout magazines and watching Real Housewives skyrockets our envy and increases our dissatisfaction with our own unglamorous lives.
St. Ignatius talked about the same phenomenon hundreds of years ago. When convalescing from a battle wound, he passed the time reading the “trash” of his day: sagas of chivalrous knights and their (actually, they were usually other men’s) ladies. After the initial thrill wore off, Ignatius always felt somewhat sickly, dissatisfied, and depressed, however. Reading these romantic, decadent stories left a bitter taste in his brain, as it were. (A creepy sensation he cured by switching to The Lives of the Saints.)
Fast forward to today: surely we all know, deep down, that this ubiquitous, morbid, pagan “vampire” crap is symptomatic of some shameful social and sexual sickness, now in its second AIDS-era decade.
Between all these zombies and werewolves and bloodsuckers — and transparently shallow “real” women who are literally made of plastic — why do we insist upon surrounding ourselves with “glamorous” ghosts?
(As I’ve said too many times to count, there’s a reason Catholics renew their baptismal vows once a year and promise to reject “the glamor of evil,” an ancient phrase with an eerily modern resonance.)
So two words: Jane Austen.
Hell, read the blessedly fang-free The Jane Austen Book Club.
Call it Galatians 6:7 or “garbage in, garbage out.”
We can’t escape that unrelenting Law of the Cosmos, no matter how fast we drive that SUV.
Previously from Kathy Shaidle: