I don’t have many role models — living ones, anyway. I tend to avoid idolizing celebrities. As for the few I do admire, I make it a point never to glimpse behind the curtain and into their personal lives, lest the spell be broken.
And then there’s Ann.
As extremely private as she is, Ann Coulter reveals another dimension of her heart in her latest book, Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 –Especially a Republican. A massive compilation of her best columns ranging from gun control to Sandra Fluke, the book’s last chapter contains her eulogies of her father and mother. Only Ann could manage to weave together comic one-liners about liberal attitudes towards Islamofascism with warm, heartfelt remembrances of the two most powerful influences on her life:
Your parents are your whole world when you are a child. You only recognize what is unique about them when you get older and see how the rest of the world diverges from your standard of normality.
Divergence is the theme of Ann’s latest tome, and it plays out in a variety of ways. Agreeing with much of the conservative blogosphere, Ann is quick to criticize the failures of Republicans more focused on their ego than party success, while arguing for Republicans to embrace liberal tactics in order to beat liberals at their own game.
We need to adopt the Democrats’ merciless enforcement techniques without the ideology. Is that so hard? Instead, we keep getting all the passion with none of the discipline.
“If we were actually interested in looking at how boys are “taught” to expect sex, we might consider asking a few of them. But instead, we treat them like mute forces of nature, incapable of empathy when given access to sexting. We assume that men exploiting women is inevitable the moment we let girls onto the internet or out of the house.”
It was a blip of an argument buried in a thesis against blaming social media instead of the “misogyny and hatred it reflects” when it comes to sex-related crimes and bullying among teens. What the author did not fully address is the misandry inherent in any discussion relating to teenagers and anything remotely associated with sex. Ironically, I hadn’t ever heard the term “misandry” until I began researching modern feminism. “The hatred or dislike of boys or men” is quite common in the feminist world, often expressed through a series of Steinem-esque stereotypes that define the male sex as inherently oppressive of women and sexually perverse.
“I feel like I’m a rapist,” one male college student once told me. “I go into my film theory class and suddenly I’m just some perverted white guy who wants to have sex with anyone and is going to attack them to get it. I feel disgusting.” His wasn’t the only liberal arts experience laced with misadronisitic notions. I faced my own battles with feminist professors who taught quack phallocentric theories about (white) men controlling money, dominating their wives, and forging an aggressively abusive path through life.
In his first ever interview with BBC Persian TV last week, Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu warned against a nuclear-armed Iran and encouraged the Iranian public to overthrow their oppressive regime. In the midst of his remarks geared toward a younger audience presumably hungry for freedom, he made the analogous statement, “If the people of Iran were free they could wear blue jeans, listen to Western music and have free elections.” Some snarky Iranians took to Twitter to smartmouth Netanyahu’s ignorance. Sure, their women are expected to “preserve hijab and morality” – but somewhere in the midst of oppression, these folks own denim, gah!
Instead of latching on to the story of an Israeli PM using what was, perhaps, his only opportunity to speak directly to the Iranian people to advocate a fight for freedom supported by tens of thousands of Iranians, the Internet jumped on #IranJeans and joined in the joke. Forget the Iranian government’s massive human rights abuses against their own people. (After all, Obama did.) Netanyahu dared to assert that the Persians can’t wear jeans. That’s as funny as the time Winston Churchill asserted that the Hitler Youth didn’t want to burn all those books. Are you kidding? They loved the roar of the campfire as they mocked those stupid Jews! #burnbooks #stupidJuden
In what was, perhaps, the most intellectually flatulent response to the story, Max Fisher, writing for the Washington Post, eloquently scoffed, “The elections might not be so free, and some Western music is officially banned, if generally tolerated. But Iranians do wear jeans — as a great many of them pointed out by posting photos of themselves in denim online, often with a message deriding the Israeli leader for his ignorance.” Gawd, he doesn’t know they wear Levi’s? How gauche!
New Jersey is a tricky little state. Within an hour or so you can be hiking the mountains or sunning at the beach, walking a major city or driving through farm fields. You can even be driving through a suburb and run into a vineyard.
Tucked in the north Jersey farmlands, the tasting/barrel room of Beneduce Vineyards sits amid 10 Estate acres planted with a variety of grapes including Riesling and Pinot Noir along with some unique to New Jersey like Blaufrankisch and Corot Noir, reflecting the winemaker’s Cornell University background.
For $5 you’re offered a tasting of what’s available at the moment. ($10 includes a cheese platter with your tasting.) The five wines available to us were each impressive in their own right. The 2012 Chardonnay fermented on the lees in 60% new oak carried lively citrus notes too often stifled by winemakers looking to achieve the buttery oak flavor that has become the standard expectation of the varietal. Rather than live up to expectations, the winemakers at Beneduce found a unique balance of oak and fruit that produces a refreshingly lightweight, well structured Chardonnay.
If you, like me, are exhausted with the trendiness of Cab Sav (which, I’m beginning to believe, has unfairly become the go-to alternative to the much-maligned-by-Sideways Merlot) refresh your palate with Beneduce’s Cab Franc. The mother grape of Cab Sav, this Cabernet Franc opens with an essence of tobacco and offers up berries on the finish. Lacking the heaviness typical to a Cab Sav, this full-figured wine has a lighter mouthfeel and warm, rather than tannic nodes. This is a perfect dry red for Thanksgiving dinner.
There’s a hysterical scene in ABC’s The Middle where the parents ask each other, “Did you have the talk with the kids?” After bantering “I thought you did,” back and forth, they finally conclude, “Eh, that’s what school’s for.”
For my mother growing up in the 50′s, “the talk” about sex was unheard of. By the time I came of age in the 90′s most of my contemporaries masked ignorance with vague remarks about their older siblings’ Playboy collections or music video observations. “The Talk” was something held in sexually segregated health classes beginning in 6th grade (“We are talking about animals, not people,” I can still hear my health teacher adamantly explain) and stretching through 10th. By the time junior year rolled around the boys and girls sat together for a lecture on STD’s by Mr. Morelli who had no problem telling my fellow underage females that his favorite drink was Sex on the Beach. Senior year brought my friend Chris passing out while watching the live birth video. When my own mother attempted “The Talk” I insisted I knew everything I needed to know. “Lalalala,” I stuck my fingers in my ears and went running from the room. Sure, I was near clueless, but no one at the age of 12 wants to think their parents do that.
Today’s young teenagers, however, are better prepared than ever to teach Sex Ed classes, albeit from a rather skewed perspective, that is. A survey of 80 British teens conducted for a BBC documentary called Porn on the Brain “…proves the vast majority of UK teens have seen sexual imagery online, or pornographic films. According to the survey, the boys appear largely happy about watching porn – and were twice as likely as girls to do so – but the girls are significantly more confused, angry and frightened by online sexual imagery. The more they see, the stronger they feel.”
Surveying a group of teenagers, the documentary’s presenter Martin Daubney heard from one 15 year old girl, “‘Boys expect porn sex in real life’.” How are parents already uncomfortable with conversing about the basics of sex with their teenage girls going to breach the topic of “porn sex”? The bottom line is: They don’t have a choice.
When I turned 16 I had a choice: A Sweet Sixteen Party or a trip to London. Unlike the rest of my peers I chose the latter. Not for the Spice Girls, but for the Beatles. I had spent the past year and a half papering my walls with photocopies my Dad would make on his lunch hour from books I’d checked out of the library. While most of my fellow classmates were crying along with Jewel, I was blasting the likes of The Supremes, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and the Mamas and the Papas. Backstreet Boys versus NSYNC lunchroom arguments baffled me as I tried to explain to my friends how Yoko Ono busted up my favorite boy band of all time.
Thanks to Brad Pitt I was beginning to think I had some kind of mental Benjamin Button syndrome until the other week when I came across the Pew Center’s “How Millennial Are You?” quiz (h/t Becky Graebner). Technically I fall into David Swindle’s Millennial-X’er Blend generation, but according to the Pew Center, I’m a Baby Boomer verging on Generation X.
No wonder I tend to gravitate towards my elders, especially when it comes to entertainment. Of course, being Jewish, I blame it all on my Mother. At 7 our first video rental was the Amy Irving film Crossing Delancey. Years later I married a good Jewish boy with curly hair and New York roots, and I still have a thing for Peter Riegert. Unlike fellow high schoolers obsessed with Ross and Rachel, my teen years were defined by Rupert Holmes‘s much under noticed classic Remember WENN, a dramedy set at a Pittsburgh radio station in the days before World War II. I scoffed at fellow film students in college who balked at the idea of watching anything in black and white. The other day, when I found out that Jason Alexander would be performing live in my neck of the woods, I scrambled online to get tickets. I am a middle-aged woman stuck in a Gen X/Millennial body. How did this happen?
I first came to the attention of Hipster Anne Frank thanks to the Forward. I don’t Tweet much and when I do, I’m not exactly looking to hook up with faux profiles. Like most pre-tech dinosaurs (currently known as “the work force”), I can barely keep up with the real friends I have through the ‘net. Most of us still catch up on each other’s news the old-fashioned way — through talking, preferably in person. I found this out this weekend when three folks I collided into at a friend’s wedding all asked me, “So, what are you doing lately?” I did not respond, “Don’t you read my Facebook?” Why not? Because that would’ve been, well, weird.
Unfortunately, most folks don’t have such a laissez-faire relationship with social media. In fact, in the world of 24 hour news and instant Internet, news agencies rely on technology to provide them with fresh material around the clock. Hence a Twitter profile for Hipster Anne Frank became big news in some big publications including Ha’aretz, The Atlantic, and Time. Jumping on the trend, Renee Ghert-Zand proffered her opinion at the Forward: “Nonetheless, I maintain that there are better ways to get young people to learn about Anne Frank’s legacy.”
There absolutely are, and by pointing out that fact, Renee Ghert-Zand has missed the point of Hipster Anne Frank. This Twitter account, as with most faux-Twitter profiles, doesn’t exist to educate or inform, but to feed off the postmodern millennial belief that everything is nothing and can therefore be manipulated at will for the ultimate currency: hits, followers, re-tweets.
“I fear that this kind of tasteless misappropriation of Anne Frank’s memory and legacy, and that of other historical personalities, will only increase now that people can hide behind Twitter handles,” Ghert-Zand remarked.
Exactly. That’s the point.
Whether you drink once a year or once a day, no wine aficionado can survive without these basic tools in their cellar. While you can take a rain check on the fancy glasses (despite what wine snobs may think, you really can appreciate wine out of a Wal Mart glass) there are a few gadgets out there that make your wine experience so much easier and more enjoyable without breaking the bank. Here are my Top 5 budget-friendly wine toolbox must-haves.
5. A Foil Cutter
Ever try slicing at that wine wrapper with a steak knife? Yeah, not so good. Spend a few bucks on this little tool that will get you into the bottle that much quicker. This one from Le Creuset verges on high end (if there is such a thing in foil cutters, which there most assuredly is) in price, but the four-wheel system will spare you the wrist-cramps and keep going long after those cheaper models have jammed up and bit the dust.
4. A Good Corkscrew
The Butterfly Corkscrew is my personal favorite. I happen to own one that graced my grandfather’s bar since the mid-1960s. If you don’t shop flea markets or have access to that kind of nostalgia, be sure to shop for a heavier gauge model. Don’t waste your money on a cheaper model made of lightweight metal. If you do, you’ll bend the arms of the opener long before you pry the cork from your bottle.
Many friends favor the electric bottle openers, but don’t be fooled. Unless you’re willing to invest in a truly high-end model, these openers are all talk and no action, and nothing is worse than losing charge in the middle of opening a bottle.
The Rabbit Corkscrew, the favored opener among middle aged women everywhere, is an easy alternative. With a no-slip grip and lever screw, the Rabbit opens a bottle in 3 seconds making it the ultimate tool for Girls’ Night Out.
The 1980s were the decade of family television.
Okay, to be fair, family TV is a concept that stretches back to the nascence of the medium. But, unlike previous decades, ’80s family sitcoms featured nuclear families strengthened by empowered marriages, a concept struggling to survive in 21st century television. My generation was raised on the Huxtables, the Keatons, and the Seavers. A decade of friend-based sitcoms later (Seinfeld, Will & Grace, and the eponymous Friends) and what kind of families are premiering on TV in 2013? Struggling single mothers, gay single dads, middle-aged divorcees wreaking havoc on their grown children’s lives, and The Goldbergs.
Why does television have to flash back to the ’80s to produce a good look at American family life?
To be fair, we do have Modern Family, The Middle, and Last Man Standing. But where are the power couples? Where are Cliff and Clair Huxtable, the working professionals who managed to raise 5 brilliant kids in a rather down-to-earth upper-middle -class household? Or Jason and Maggie Seaver, who cut a deal so dad could work from home and be there for the kids? What about Steven and Elyse Keaton who relished in the political-intellectual challenges posed by their son Alex? Even Roseanne, for as brutish a look at blue collar America as it was, featured a loving and supportive married couple that weathered some serious storms.
This year’s premieres feature MOM, a single mother going through AA with their own drug-addicted mother, Back in the Game, a single mother left penniless on her father’s doorstep for refusing to get a boob job, and a self-titled Trophy Wife trying to relate to her step-kids.
So much for female empowerment.
To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, “A person should not believe in an -ism, she should believe in herself.” Especially when the -ism is being managed and marketed by a couple of flakes.
Allison Rapson and Kassidy Brown are two behind-the-scenes media personalities looking to re-brand feminism in a marketing campaign with only a few more syllables than something Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone would have fashioned in between hits of vodka and cocaine. The only thing vaguely permanent about their manifesto are the matching tattoos the pair appear to receive on camera. We Are the XX is the latest in a movement that has been floundering for a purpose since women got divorced and entered the work force en masse in the ’70s and ’80s. Life is good, the theory goes, so what exactly are we fighting for again? Feminism doesn’t know and, as a result, a series of disparate voices have arisen, spending more time arguing than accomplishing.
Contradictory leadership and incessant infighting plague any and every movement. I often receive criticism from readers who cannot comprehend the idea of Biblical Feminism. After all, the Bible, as they see it, is just a loaded patriarchal cannon prejudiced against women. That’s what the world has taught them, and quite a few religious officials, both Jewish and Christian, claiming to represent the Bible have lived up to that stereotype causing plenty of discord and disillusionment in the past few decades.
Take, for instance, the ongoing struggle of the Women of the Wall, an egalitarian Jewish women’s group seeking equal rights to pray and read the Torah while wearing tallit and tefillin (prayer shawls and phyllacteries) at the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem. The 25 year old movement gained worldwide attention this past summer after many members were arrested for fulfilling their goals, something the ultra-Orthodox political establishment within Israel deems offensive. After winning their court case, the Women of the Wall faced a series of ultra-Orthodox protesters who turned Judaism’s holiest site into a grudge-match arena, throwing dirty diapers at the praying women while brandishing signs claiming they were shaming Judaism and turning their backs on God to form a new religion. All this because the Women of the Wall did not perform their Judaism to the ultra-Orthodox’s liking.
Ricky Gervais, an avowed atheist, smartly commented on Facebook earlier in the week: “Free will: That thing that God gave us so that we could do what we want and then he could punish us for not doing what we were told.” It is a logical assumption that anyone would agree with if all they ever knew of the Bible was a corrupt official’s interpretation. Women of the Wall leader Anat Hoffman quite rightly reflected: “This is a territorial war by rabbis who don’t want to cede power.”
Last Spring at PJ Lifestyle my friend Susan L.M. Goldberg began developing her own vibrant brand of cultural criticism. Combining the provocative literary style and rebellious ethos of Camille Paglia and Ann Coulter with a proud Jewish heritage and hard-learned lessons in the wilderness of postmodern academia, Susan has developed an exciting polemical vision, laden with erudite analysis and witty humor. She’s become such a fun writer to edit.
Her first target was Seth MacFarlane’s overrated cause célèbre, the cult TV show Family Guy. Susan knows this territory well. Through her series she’s able to explain how behind the show’s seemingly random structure, non-stop pop culture references, and all-purpose viciousness lies a dangerous worldview which causes real life problems. Ideas have consequences. And a culture grown numb with shocks, endless narrative deconstructions, and a hipster’s nothing-is-sacred shrug will not be prepared to defend itself when real evil strikes.
Not every idea in human experience should be put on a manatee ball and randomly combined into a 30 second sex joke for junior high boys. Susan explains why here.
- David Swindle
Click to jump to the part of your choice:
If you haven’t heard of The Judgement of Paris you should check out the film Bottle Shock starring a pre-Star Trek Chris Pine. If you haven’t heard of The Judgement of Princeton, you should check out Unionville Vineyards.
Tucked away in the hills of Revolutionary New Jersey not far from Princeton, Unionville is the leader in high class, home grown wines at affordable prices. With Unionville it’s all about style. Set amid the rolling acres of vines are a brick farmhouse dating back to 1858 and a huge red barn that houses a rustic tasting bar and seating area. Acoustic jams echo through the beams on weekends and special events.
For $10 we selected 8 wines from a list of 17 broken into four series: George, Fox, Artisan, and Single Vineyard. Given that this particular weekend was the launch of three new single vineyard Chardonnays, grown at three separate vineyard locations across the state, I aimed toward the latter series selecting the Bell Well, Mountain Road and Pheasant Hill to try first.
According to our tasting guide, the Bell Well is the most popular of the three single vineyard Chardonnays, described by the winemaker as “full but retrained with wonderful balance.” It is a friendly Chardonnay to be sure and my husband, who despises all things oak and dry admired it the most out of the three in the series. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with Bell Well. It is clean, fresh, smooth and lacking the kind of overwhelming buttery nature that makes a Chardonnay so incredibly offensive.
“I hate the ’80s!”
Little millennial twerp, I thought. I was a grad student, she was a freshman. Thrown together by virtue of shared religion/culture, I balked at this barely legal ’90s babe who scoffed at my decade of choice. Ten years later, she’s the loser now. The ’80s are back and better than ever.
’8os nostalgia, birthed in the fashion world through stretch pants (now termed “leggings”) and blousy tops, is coming of age on television this fall with the premiere of the ’80s-era flashback sitcom The Goldbergs and the return of ’80s icon Michael J. Fox to the small screen in The Michael J. Fox Show.
Rattling reality TV ennui is a task welcomed by ABC, the frontrunner in resurrecting the family-sitcom formula. The marketing campaign for The Goldbergs is as ‘roided as Hulk Hogan on Saturday morning WWF. Along with lacquering social media with a series of ’80s flashbacks and publishing endless ‘80s nostalgia lists on BuzzFeed, ABC mass-mailed every Goldberg in the country (including this one) a faux 5 1/4″ floppy with a letter from “the family.” A USB sticking out from the cardboard classic linked you to the Goldbergs’ TV room online, harkening back to a simpler, pre-cordless phone time when everyone in the family watched television and did virtually everything else …together.
Michael J. Fox’s new self-titled show on NBC brings Family Ties into the 21st century. In the “old school family comedy,” Fox is now the dad who, in this case, isn’t letting his Parkinson’s get him or his family down. While the show is not set in the nostalgic decade, Fox’s return is the crowning moment for the family sitcom, a genre nearly murdered in the ’90s by snark and the rise of friend-based sitcoms.
We live in an exceedingly selfish culture. That selfishness is fueled in part by the feminist trope that women can – and should – have it all. What’s more, feminism preaches that women should be able to attain “it all” themselves, without the involvement of anyone else except, of course, for fellow advocates who band together and fight voraciously for everyone – men in particular – to get out of the way.
A recent online survey entitled “Is Patriarchy Killing Your Career” yielded the following response:
“Of course, it is very few women who are so perfectly fulfilled with raising their kids that they choose to do nothing else. And even fewer who can afford that choice. So we work. Many of us work within strongly patriarchal cultures that were intended for men who have no breastfeeding, nappy-changing, illness-nursing responsibilities. The very organization of most places of work therefore makes very little room for women who have those responsibilities.”
Perhaps that’s because you applied knowing breastfeeding wasn’t listed in the job description. Nor was “perfect fulfillment.” Oh, but we could just be so happy if every other person on the planet just got out of the way, including our children, their fathers, and those corporate bosses who expect me to sacrifice my role as a mother for the sake of my search for personal fulfillment!
Of course, some companies are catching on to the needs of working parents, offering more flexible work from home options or on-site daycare for children of employees. But, while labor unions celebrate the end of sweatshops, they have yet to face the potential crisis of another kind of child-fueled labor: the death of the 8 hour work day.
HBO CEO Richard Plepler is thoroughly amused at the fact that his network’s original programming can be so easily misconstrued as pornography.
No, the laughs didn’t come at a Porn Addicts Anonymous meeting. Rather, it was a blip on the Internet’s radar along with the short that garnered the remark and a few million hits to boot. (It’s so NSFW I’ve elected not to embed the actual video — you can find it here.)
According to Plepler, the video showing a series of actors detailing the parts they landed to family and friends who immediately (and ashamedly) assume they’ve been cast in porn films (until the actors explain, “No, it’s HBO!” to unfolding declarations of “I’m so proud of you!”) is good PR:
The HBO CEO said these sort of videos and spoofs prove that the network and their shows have become part of the “global conversation.” Instead of taking offense to the clip, Plepler seems to think the spoof is a great deal of fun.
“If you’re on ‘Saturday Night Live’ or parodied on Facebook you know you’re part of the cultural landscape. The guys who did this did great work. I laughed. I take it in the same manner in which it was intended, with a lot of humor,” the CEO explained.
Some might call Plepler’s reaction refreshingly open, in which case he’d share a title with one of HBO’s newest additions to the “global conversation” about mainstreamed porn. Described as ”multicharacter exploration of the complex, ever evolving landscape of sexuality, monogamy and intimacy in relationships,” Open is slated to premiere in 2014. No news yet on any planned SNL spoofs that will garner hits on Facebook.
The real story in the porn spoof is that Plepler’s comments barely made press. Why? Since its launch in 1975, HBO has generated original programming “featuring high amounts of profanity, violence and nudity” to draw an audience of premium payers. The kids of those original payers are now parents happily buying Victoria’s Secret undies for their tweens because, let’s face it, “no one wants to be the girl with the ugly underwear.”
I’m a white wine drinker. I enjoy their complexity, their spirit, and their accessibility. Which is why on a rather hot and humid Labor Day weekend I opted to stick to whites on the tasting menu at Old York Cellars.
A gorgeous combination of modern and eclectic, the tasting room at Old York Cellars was buzzing with a diverse crowd of Jersey wine fanatics. You can tell the Jersey wine fanatic a mile away because while some wine tasters will mill about between sips, perhaps checking out the art hanging up around the tasting room, Jersey wine-o’s stand at the crowded bar determined to make their way down the list. What can I say? We’re used to waiting in traffic.
Claiming a spot at the bar our hostess supplied us with a wine list: six for $5. We commenced with the 2012 Dry Riesling. Rich and flavorful, this Riesling proffered a rather tangy finish. When it comes to a dry wine, I preferred the 2012 Vidal Blanc. At 0% residual sugar, this beautiful white gold wine played citrus notes as it danced across my tongue leaving a wet, smooth finish.
Their 2011 Sweet Riesling is truer to expectation. At 4% residual sugar it carried a pleasant flavor, richer, fuller body and almost creamy mouthfeel. A Silver Medal winner at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition is a serious honor given the fact that the Finger Lakes are the King of American Riesling. This wine should find a place at your dessert table with light, naturally sweet fare.
I still haven’t seen the latest film version of Les Mis. The promos were enough for me; the shot of Fantine singing “I Dreamed a Dream” while choking back tears as her hair was being shaved from her head was a sickening image that haunted me for days. I will never watch Les Mis for the same reason I will never watch Schindler’s List: When you have a clear understanding of the horror you are confronting, the safety of the fourth wall isn’t enough to keep your insides from shaking loose in rage, horror and sorrow.
Anne Hathaway ended her Oscar acceptance speech with the statement: ”Here’s hoping that someday in the not too distant future the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories and never in real life.” Yet, the Hollywood machine that made her a star has woven the pornographic exploitation of women into contemporary pop culture. In her criticism of the liberal reaction to Lovelace, feminist writer Megan Murphy observed,
“…the only thing that’s really changed since the 70s, when Deep Throat came out, is that porn has successfully woven it’s way into our everyday lives. It’s our fashion, our entertainment, our celebrity culture, it’s in the bars and at the parties we go to. That the foundation for our current reality was built, in part, on the abuse and exploitation of this one woman, Linda Lovelace, is not insignificant.
Linda Lovelace was called the poster girl for the sexual revolution, if that tells you anything about the sexual revolution… Women really got screwed on that one (pun acknowledged). Informed of our liberation, we became free to become the public, rather than just private, sexual playthings of men. What was different now that we were “liberated” was that we had to like it. We had to be turned on by our own objectification and enjoy whatever male culture deemed sexy. Our own “liberation” was used against us, to shame us into subordination — albeit with smiles on our faces, moaning and groaning in feigned ecstasy.”
Clinging to what Murphy has dubbed the “empowerment narrative” many liberal critics panned Lovelace as “pro-family, anti-porn” careful to note that today’s porn industry has resolved many of the problems of its preceding generation. Having covered the disturbing trend of male sexual domination in pop culture, both in HBO’s Girls and presidential-themed romance novels, I can’t help but agree with Murphy’s conclusion: the liberal media willingly turns a blind eye to the disturbing trend of female sexual abuse in pop culture.
Last week Billy Corgan, best known as the sole permanent member of the Gen-X band Smashing Pumpkins, created some Internet buzz when he remarked in a CNN interview:
You’re not supposed to talk about God, even though most of the world believes in God. It’s sort of like “don’t go there.” … I think God is the most unexplored territory in rock and roll music.
That quote prompted the interviewer to ask Corgan for his view on Christian rock, about which Chris Queen so eloquently commented this past Sunday at PJLifestyle. As a Jew I am rather ill-equipped to comment on the state of Christian rock, but another remark Corgan made that didn’t get reprinted multiple times got me thinking:
Most people are living lives of sort of survival. And constantly posing an existential crisis either through your fantasy or oblivion really has been pretty much explored in rock and roll, at least in the Western version of rock and roll. …We’ve sort of, kind of been through all of that.
I can speak to existential crises: Jews do suffering and do it well. But Jews also take action. Seeded in the age-old Rabbinic notion that good deeds get you into God’s good graces, American Jews have been acculturated into avid philanthropy and social activism advocating for a wide-range of well-intentioned causes. As a result, a Jew’s existential crisis never ends: When you aren’t being persecuted you have plenty of time to beat yourself or your fellow people over the head for not being a better Jew. This intrinsic guilt has become a force driving my own Jewish generation into personal success and the pursuit of social justice …and as far away from God (i.e., “judgement”) as humanly possible.
A while ago I observed that the Jewish teaching of the biblical concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world) had been manipulated in the same way 19th century social gospelists manipulated New Testament teachings to serve their socialist political aims. To manipulate scripture you must take God out of the picture, and in a world where no amount of good is ever good enough, social justice becomes enslavement to the notion of an impossible salvation.
When 9/11 happened, I was a communications undergrad studying filmmaking. Therefore, I decided there’d be no other way to honor 9/11 than to turn its aftermath into a star-studded film pitch. Since historical dramas tend to be hot these days (from Downton Abbey to Hyde Park on Hudson, the 20th century is in) I thought I’d give it a historical bent. You know, not to make any points or anything, just for the ratings. So, I present to you for workshopping the first draft of: AFTERMATH: THE PRE/SEQUEL TO 9/11.
This guy is The Lead. He makes all kinds of promises, starting off with social reforms to “improve” the economy that boil down to a bunch of new taxes and the increased socialization of the American government, but people like him because he photographs well. He prefers golf to politics (after all, you gotta save face) so he sends out…
…his Right-Hand-Man. He’s happy for a supporting-character role and has prepped for the part by getting a bit of work done. He’s got people on the inside who hook him up with some interesting news about “The Bad Guy.”
No, not this guy. This guy is the Fall Guy. He made a deal with the last Fall Guy to store some weapons of mass destruction, but lately he’s gotten a little too big for his britches and needs to be taken down a notch, lest he draw too much attention to The Bad Guy.
“Your cousin Vinny is blocking people in with his gold Caddy again.”
Only in New Jersey can you really have a cousin Vinny.
Tom Amabile, owner of Cream Ridge Winery, laughed at my observation. Amabile couldn’t be a more appropriate name for the man who began the winery 25 years ago: Sweet by name, sweet by nature. After giving one of the most informative tours we’d ever been on, Tom stuck around to give us special insight into the cork versus cap debate running hot in the wine world.
Excusing himself to attend to his cousin, Tom returned shortly with a need for more chairs. “Half of my wife’s family was in that car!”
My husband and I pitched in and trailed out front with some folding chairs. Once we finished setting up, Tom entreated us to return to the tank room. “As a thank you,” he explained as he led us over to the cold steel beauties with a mischievous glint in his eye, “take a taste from the tank!”
We held out our glasses to the tap. “That’s pure Niagara right there,” Tom explained, beaming with pride.
Rightfully so. The basis of some of their most popular wines, Cream Ridge’s Niagara embraces the full fruit of the white grape. Lacking the foxiness typical to labrusca varietals, this golden elixir is luscious. Blend it with red raspberry wine and almond essence and you have Almondberry, a unique delectable best seller that has been the winery’s most popular offering for 23 years.
Biblical Feminism recognizes that life is a choice.
Life comes from God. Unlike pagan cultures, we do not believe that the sole purpose of a woman is to give birth in the service of mystical or political ritual. Rather, life is a gift that results from a three-fold cord union between spouses and God. Human beings can create physical bodies; God is the giver of the soul. The question of who has the power to terminate life, that is, who has the ability to choose whether another living being may live or die, is the crux of the abortion argument.
Today’s feminism teaches that women are in sole control of their bodies and therefore have the choice to end that life at their own discretion. The argument is wholly based on the idea that men don’t have the burden of carrying a baby and can walk away from sex without any consequences, so why shouldn’t women? The entire feminist’s viewpoint lusts after a man’s perspective, once again illustrating that contemporary feminism has more to do with wanting to be a man than celebrating being a woman. Moreover, the idea that men can walk away from sex consequence-free implies they are both physically and emotionally superhuman. Not only must they be immune to one of the many sexually transmitted diseases that could plague them for a lifetime or even kill them, they’re also stone-cold morons with no feeling. Only contemporary feminism could harbor a mindset that worships men as gods while slapping them in the face at the same time.
The man-worship feeding contemporary feminism stretches even further into the modern female psyche, implying that her sole concern in life should be the ability to terminate her child’s life at whim, from the moment they are conceived until he or she is bursting forth from the womb. For “a woman’s right to choose” advocates abortion is the only issue bringing women to the polls. (Outside, of course, of unacted upon platitudes about equal pay.) In fact, liberal male politicians garner a huge fan base for their pro-choice stance (so much for that “consequence free male” theory) while anti-abortion politicians are “waging a War on Women.” In either case, reproduction transforms from a natural part of human life into a political threat, furthering the notion that it is as easy to stamp out a life as it is to cast a ballot.
In those pre-Amazon days there used to be a little used bookstore in my town that specialized in harlequin romance novels. For entertainment my girlfriends and I would pop in, pull out the used paperbacks and hold them open by the covers to see where the biggest gaps were between the pages. The joke was that those were the locations of the sexy bits; anxious readers would pull the book open that much further when they got to the good stuff.
Of course, most of those novels were covered in pictures of Fabio dressed as a pirate, a cowboy, or any other profession that was a primarily shirtless endeavor. Today’s most popular dirty novels have an entirely different career man in the lead: POTUS is now the sex object du jour.
In an article titled Why sex with presidents is so hot right now, Salon‘s Amy Odell detailed a disturbing trend in these presidential-themed dirty novels. Afraid of “slut shaming” should their affairs be discovered, “these women are completely powerless to dictate the terms of their affair: If you’re sleeping with the president, you must be available on his schedule, you must not upset him or he could easily banish you from his presence, and you must not tell a soul about it.”
In other words, lest they become the next Monica Lewinsky or wind up like Weiner’s Twitter galpal, they’d better keep quiet and play along. Which, in the case of the novels’ protagonists isn’t hard to do: Forget having the President’s baby, these ladies are sleeping their way up the career ladder. That makes the potential for slut shaming totally worth it. All the ladies are saying it in the hottest reading clubs around town: “At least she’s doing it for her career and not just to be a stay at home mom.” The scoffs are palpable.
Throw some country music on. My preferred tunes for the journey: Robert Earl Keen‘s “What I Really Mean”. Skip the highway and cruise the back roads through the farms of the Garden State, passing roadside stands offering zucchini, tomatoes, and zinnias with an honor system coffee can labeled “Money Can”. Make a few sharp turns, trust your GPS and there’s the sign: Laurita Winery.
Follow the curving driveway up and around to a massive building crafted from two historic barns originally slated for destruction. Walk the final hill to the entrance and be rewarded with a valley vineyard spread out before you, as far as your eye can see. In the center of the horizon a huge American flag waves proudly above primarily European vines.
Inside the barn, sidle up to one of two tasting bars offering 6 wines for $7. For an extra $4 you can try the Grand Cru, Laurita’s Chardonnay double fermented in aged Hungarian oak. This is a powerful wine, reminiscent of a single malt whiskey, meant to be savored after a great meal. A rich mouthfeel with flavors of butterscotch, oak and vanilla make the Grand Cru a succulent dessert experience not to be missed.
The Grand Cru wasn’t the only surprise in store for the tasting. Dubbed “extra dry,” the Lemberger, an Austrian dry red, proved to carry a remarkable fruit forward character. A light body carrying a black raspberry tang and spice nodes, I immediately took to this unique wine proving once again my palate’s preference for the spicy, fruit forward characteristics of German wines over the complex body of French grapes like Merlot or Cab Sav.
Biblical Feminism is not about being equal to a man.
I am not a man, therefore, why would I wish to be equal to one? Today’s feminists spend most of their time promoting the idea that men are ignorant, sexist, racist, homophobic meatheads whose solitary goal in life is to get laid. Yet their entire purpose depends on the claim that we’re equal to that bunch. That’s like saying you hate the popular kids in school while secretly wishing they had invited you to their lame beer parties.
When it comes to high school, you didn’t hate the popular kids as much as you hated being forced into a culture that tried to define you on the basis of their purview. The same goes for feminism: It is an ideology that forces women into ancient pagan notions of gender. To the feminist, women are defined by and confined within their bodies. Moreover, women are sexual beings whose number one concern is their fertility.
Of course, no feminist words it this way. Instead, they parade around claiming that all women would choose to have a man’s life if they had a choice. “If only I weren’t stuck with this uterus, I could be as sexually free as Don Draper,” the line goes. “If only I didn’t have these children suckling at my breast, I could be at the top of the corporate ladder.”
Feminism argues for biological liberation under the guise of social reform. It is an ideology that looks at the world and says, “Ermahgerd, I’m so totally like you, it’s just myself that’s getting in the way! Please invite me to your party!”