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11 Star-Spangled Super Women

Friday, July 4th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

11. Wonder Woman

Her fresh, All-American face premiered on comic book stands during World War II, making her the greatest enemy of the Axis powers. Daughters of original readers would go on to be inspired by Lynda Carter’s televisual portrayal of the superheroine in the 1970s. The Wonder Woman arsenal includes a dual-function tiara with bracelets to match and the awesome Lasso of Truth.  Before there was Lara Croft or a chick named Buffy, Wonder Woman proved that strength could be sexy and gave Captain America a run for his patriotism with her flag-bearing style.

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13 Jewish Women Who Changed the World

Sunday, June 29th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

13. Bess Myerson

Recognizing a woman who appears to have parlayed her Miss America recognition into a minor-league acting gig may not seem logical, until you realize that Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America, paved an uphill path for diversity in the pageant circuit. She was told by one Miss America exec that she ought to change her name to something “more gentile” and refused. Pageant sponsors refused to hire her as a spokeswoman and certain sites with racial restrictions refused to have her visit as Miss America. This was of no consequence to Miss Myerson, who was the first Miss America to win an academic scholarship. The racism she confronted was motivation for a lifetime’s work with organizations like the ADL, NAACP, and Urban League. She would go on to co-found The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and make boundless contributions to the city’s art community. Along with becoming a television personality, Myerson received several presidential appointments in the 1960s and ’70s and would receive two honorary doctorates.

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VIDEO: Are We Not Men?

Sunday, June 29th, 2014 - by Andrew Klavan

A character in my novel Man And Wife points out that it’s difficult to talk about manhood because an essential part of manhood is not talking about it. But that didn’t stop me from joining a panel with my friends at BOND during their annual Father’s Day Conference on Fatherhood and Men. With the fearless and humorous preacher Jesse Lee Peterson leading the discussion, the 45-minutes or so absolutely zipped by. Here it is for your delectation and delight:

By the way, if you click on the Jesse Lee Peterson link, you’ll find my City Journal profile of him, the anti-Jesse Jackson. If you click on Man And Wife, you’ll have something absolutely great to read for the weekend! Is this blog a resource or what?

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10 Frozen Costumes Sure to Delight Your Child and Available NOW!

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 - by Megan Fox
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This is the reality when searching for Frozen merchandise. Great work, Disney.

Walt Disney’s Frozen is a huge hit and is causing some serious angst among mothers (like me) who are frantically trying to find Elsa and Anna costumes for their little girls. Normally, The Disney Store would be stocked with dresses and merchandise in preparation for a new release. For some reason, the brains in marketing dropped the ball on Frozen and there are now empty shelves where merchandise should be.

The most coveted items are the costumes. Disney makes these for around $50 each. You’ve all seen them: shiny, itchy ball gowns for little girls to play pretend. At some point, Disney stopped making quality items and outsourced everything to China where everything is cheaply manufactured with hideous material that falls apart within a year of playing. Up until now, we’ve all just put up with it and accepted that we must buy these costumes so our daughters can have their fantasy play.

It is a lot of fun to watch them pretend in these get-ups, but I started to realize they are seriously not worth the money when my oldest daughter, Kit, was visiting Walt Disney World for the first time. She had just visited the Bibbity Boppity Boo Salon where they give the children a princess makeover and do their hair and nails and give them a princess costume and a photo shoot, for the bargain price of $200 per child. (I did NOT pay for this. My parents decided they had to have this for their grandchildren. For the record, I objected to this foolish expenditure but grandparents are entitled to do what they want.)

Kit was beyond thrilled. She chose a Jasmine costume for her makeover and she looked adorable with a pink hair piece and crazy nails. However, within 10 minutes of leaving the air conditioned salon she began to sweat profusely in the Florida sun. By the time we reached the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland she was ready for her cotton shorts and teeshirt back. Her fantasy of wandering the parks in her costume ended there. Whose bright idea was this to make these things out of non-breathable polyester and non-washable acrylic?

As she got older, she began to stop dressing up, claiming she itched too bad and the costumes were uncomfortable. Who could blame her? They feel like scouring pads. Her little sister, Kat, still loves to dress up and it is she that sent me on the hunt for the elusive Elsa costume.

What I found disturbed me.

Here they are selling Elsa costumes (the same cheap, Chinese manufactured garbage) that goes for $50 at the Disney Store for $225 by Amazon poachers. The comments are especially entertaining. This is because Disney didn’t have the foresight to have enough merchandise for the demand and now enterprising scalpers are pillaging the pockets of desperate parents. Since Kat’s birthday is in July, I want an Elsa costume to give her by then. Clearly, I am not going to find the Disney version in time. It occurred to me to search Etsy, a website where handcrafted items are sold, and what I found there has turned me off from cheap and itchy Disney costumes forever.

Here are the 10 best, most creative Frozen costumes on Etsy that you can buy right now with no waiting or supporting of stupid companies that don’t seem to care about customer service.

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Scott Ott’s 7 Secrets for Using Professional Movers

Saturday, June 21st, 2014 - by Scott Ott
Scott Ott's 7 Secrets of Using Professional Movers

“I can” use a professional mover! But only if you follow Scott Ott’s 7 Secrets, now available in this easy to read article.

My family just moved from Pennsylvania to Texas, and we employed a professional moving company to load, drive and unload the 18-wheel truck. In the course of doing so, we learned 7 secrets of highly effective moving absolutely essential to your next move — secrets the pros don’t want you to know!

I should probably make a DVD about this and sell it to you, rather than just give away this valuable information. However, since you’re someone I don’t know at all, and because making a DVD is hard and takes too long, I decided to share these secrets with you for FREE. (Read that last sentence again! It might contain a typo. I wrote this quickly and didn’t proofread before posting.)

1. Don’t Get a Professional Estimate.

You may have read elsewhere that you should get a pro estimate, and then sign a contract with a company that will stick to the estimate. Only the latter is important. The key to an affordable move is to get the least experienced estimator to visit your home and make a bid on the job. Call a reputable mover, and ask for a guy who shaves weekly, drives a field-beater with floorboards covered in discarded “5-Hour Energy” bottles, and who voted for Obama (or meant to).

In our case, the rookie guessed the total weight of our household goods at 12,000 lbs. On moving day, the men who actually loaded the 53-foot-long truck discovered that we had a full-scale replica of the Space Shuttle in our basement, our mattresses were filled with clay, and one of the boxes in my office was marked “Dark Matter.” The jittery juvenile estimator also failed to examine the contents of our fallout shelter/survival bunker, missing all the ammo boxes, gold bullion, barrels of freeze-dried food, and steel drums of non-hybrid yam seeds. The actual weight of the load turned out to be greater than the estimate by roughly 473%. But the invoice, as promised, matched the estimate. The moving company has since filed for Chapter 11 protection.

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The 10 Most Underrated TV Comedies of All Time

Friday, June 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

10. Sullivan and Son

This working class comedy executive-produced by Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsley is fraught with all the non-PC ethnic and sexual humor you’d hear in a working class, Irish-Korean, middle-American bar like the one in the show. Created by Korean American actor/comedian Steve Byrne and Cheers writer Rob Long, the TBS sitcom reminds you that some jokes are still OK to crack. The stellar cast features Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years) and comic genius Brian Doyle-Murray, along with Christine Ebersole and Owen Benjamin, who portray the drop-dead hysterical mother-son dependent duo Carol and Owen Walsh. 

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3 Studies About Fatherhood that Will Shock You (But Shouldn’t)

Sunday, June 15th, 2014 - by Leslie Loftis

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Common law, case law, moves slowly. It basically crowd-sources notions of fairness and justice over time and turns them into rules. Normally this works well. But when the assumptions that informed the common law were faulty, then precedent drags positive change.

We can see this happening in child custody arrangements. The precedents set in the 1970s when the divorce rate rose were informed by Freudian attachment-theory studies in the post-war era on orphans, as they were the most commonly found victims of fractured families. As attachment theory developed, psychologists started studying mothers and young children. It seemed a logical first layer of detail to examine given the expectations that women took care of the children while men worked outside the home.

When the divorce rate rose in the ’70s and courts had to start declaring custody arrangements, the experts recommended primary mother care because they didn’t have data for anything else. From a 1992 “Origins of Attachment Theory” paper in Developmental Psychology:

Although we have made progress in examining mother-child attachment, much work needs to be done with respect to studying attachment in the microsystem of family relationships (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Despite studies by Belsky, Gilstrap, and Rovine (1984), Lamb (1978), and Parke and Tinsley (1987) that show fathers to be competent, if sometimes less than fully participant attachment figures, we still have much to learn regarding father attachment.

Formal studies of children in broken homes didn’t really start until the ’80s when there were children of divorce to study and a fierce need for relevant data. And the father and child arrangements that the data recommend look little like the modern arrangements formed under the inertia of legal precedent.

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Who Are Your Favorite Fictional Married Couples?

Thursday, June 12th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

Carl and Ellie?

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. Last Week’s Pop Culture Debates focused on video games, so it seems only reasonable that this week should go in the opposite direction: so how about a week of discussing the best/worst/over/underrated in romantic movies and books? Check out the previous questions this week: “What Is the Difference Between a ‘Chick Flick’ and A Romantic Comedy?,”What Are the Best Romantic Comedies Of All Time?

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: 5 Questions To Figure Out What Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

Carl and Harriette? 

Bill and Alice?

Mickey and Mallory?

Robert and Cora?

Are Marge and Norm the best married couple of 1990s cinema?

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The Top 10 Movies Every Young Man Should Watch Before Dating

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

There’s a lot to learn before a young man enters the world of dating.  Here are the top 10 movies that have lessons that will educate him, help him, and get him ready to navigate the difficult world of dating.  Let’s start with number 10:

10. Starship Troopers

What? Did you expect The Notebook?  This movie about an alien invasion and battles between humans and bugs is nominally based on Robert A. Heinlein’s classic of the same name.

Why it’s important: The main character, Johnny Rico, is oblivious to Dizzy Flores, his fellow high school student.  She has a huge crush on him and eventually lands him by the oldest play in the book: proximity.  She sticks with him.  She’s at his side in the mud and blood of battle and when it comes time for him to decide between her and the gorgeous Carmen, his original love interest is far away and way out of the picture.  This is a movie with many flaws, but the singleminded pursuit of Rico by Dizzy Flores is worth examination.  Plus, of course, the battle scenes are epic.

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The 10 Most Dangerous National Parks

Saturday, June 7th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

Finding out the number of accidents and fatalities in our beautiful national parks isn’t easy. The National Park Service doesn’t want to scare away visitors so they don’t offer a handy guide to the number of tourists who fall, drown, are trampled, or are eaten while visiting our wild places. However there’s enough data in news reports and studies to come up with a top ten list of our most dangerous national parks. Which do you think tops the list? Yellowstone? Yosemite? Denali? Take a look and see if you’re as surprised as I was. Let’s start with number 10.

10.) The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New Jersey and Pennsylvania

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This lovely river valley encompasses 67,000 acres of land on both sides of the Delaware River in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Varied species of birds, mammals and fish call this area home and nearly two million visitors a year come to the area to enjoy boating and water recreation sports.

That’s what’ll kill ya in the Delaware Water Gap, which begins our Top 10 Most Dangerous National Parks. Failing to wear a lifejacket while on the river is the number one cause of death. Adding alcohol consumption ups the risk. The Delaware River looks tranquil but can have unexpected currents which can overwhelm a swimmer. Keep the life jackets on and enjoy this beautiful (and only occasionally deadly) recreation area.

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Jane the Virgin: The CW’s Take on ‘Immaculate’ Conception

Sunday, June 1st, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The CW is planning to add Jane the Virgin to its fall lineup. Based on a Venezuelan telenovela of the same name, Jane the Virgin is about an intentionally virginal girl who is “accidentally artificially inseminated” by her OB-GYN:

Jane stars Gina Rodriguez (Filly Brown) as a hard-working, devout Latina who is kind of hoping her boyfriend proposes — though she’s a little worried he’ll get down on one knee so she’ll finally agree to do the deed. When a mix-up at the OB-GYN leads to that artificial insemination plot line, Jane must choose whether to keep the baby — and whether to let the handsome father into her life.

Aside from containing a number of Spanish stereotypes, including the paranoid grandmother putting the fear of God into her pre-teen daughter (“Once you lose your virginity, you can never go back!“) to a cast of overtly sexualized Latinas, the show appears to be a platform for some long overdue, serious conversation regarding abortion. However, the show sounds eerily like one of the most famously influential and revered plot lines in the West’s repertoire, leaving one to wonder how a primarily Protestant audience might handle a story that’s been a hit in a Catholic country.

When it comes to the primarily pathetic representation of Latinas on television (does Sofia Vergara have to do it all?) at least Jane the Virgin appears to lack the typical trashiness of Devious Maids.

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Untold War Stories: My Family’s Secret Agent

Monday, May 26th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

John Phillip Sousa on 33 1/3 blasts from the Hi-Fi — yes, you heard right, “Hi-Fi” —  conducted by my flag-waving Grandfather, proudly standing at attention at 8 o’clock in the morning in the doorway of his open garage, wondering why it took us so long to get there. We may have been at the shore, but Memorial Day was not about a barbecue on the beach.

My grandparents lived down the street from my Great Uncle and Aunt. My Grandfather idolized my Great Uncle (his brother), naming his only son after his brother who had spent World War II as a gunner on a Navy ship in the Pacific. Having broken his back before the war, my Grandfather wasn’t able to get into the military during the conflict. Instead, he busied himself crafting knives to send to his buddies overseas (yes, they censored letters, but allowed knives to be carried through V-Mail) with the instructions “leave them in the enemy’s guts and I’ll make you a new one when you get home.”

My grandfather also played a key role in the war effort, one that goes overlooked when we take the time to honor the troops on Memorial Day. Recruited by the FBI in 1940, my grandfather and his father played a key role in the creation of the Iowa Ordinance Plant, the largest shell and bomb loading facility in operation during the war.

In the autumn of 1940, when a fairly isolationist population still dismissed the idea of entering into Europe’s conflict, my grandfather was pulled out of his job as a tool and die maker by two fairly typical FBI mugs. They strapped secret plans for a military facility, designed by Day & Zimmermann, Co., to his body and handed him a train ticket and a gun with the instructions, “Don’t be afraid to use it.” At the age of 23, my grandfather was the perfect cover: “If anyone asks, you’re on your way out west to go to college.” His job was simple: Escort his father, recruited by the government for his skills as a tool and die maker, to San Francisco to convene with a number of highly skilled Americans engaged to prepare America for war.

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Harry’s Last Mission: A Dying SEAL Battles Death to Care for His Wife

Monday, May 26th, 2014 - by David Forsmark

In 1966, nobody put the acronym “SEAL” in print. And about half of the two paragraphs about the erstwhile “counterinsurgent” and “Navy parachutist” were a cover story.

We are getting used to tales of heroism from US Navy SEALs. They have become almost mythic in stature in both fictional and non-fictional accounts of covert ops and wartime derring-do.

But perhaps the bravest thing I ever saw was the last mission of Harry Dale, one of the first Navy SEALs, among the first in Vietnam—and it happened nearly a quarter century after his retirement.

I met Harry in the mid-1990s.  The retired Naval officer had called the Flint Public Library because he was looking for a co-author.  The librarians there said it sounded like it was right up the alley of a local book reviewer who liked that kind of stuff—me.

If you scratch a book reviewer, you will find an aspiring novelist.  So when Harry called, I arranged to meet him at his home.  I arrived about 15 minutes early, having misjudged the time the drive would take.

When I pulled in, I saw this wiry old guy climbing out of the lake.  “Hi, Dave!” he greeted me. “Sorry, I thought I had time for a couple before you got here.”

“A couple?” I echoed, impressed. “You swam across and back a couple times?”

“Hell no, I’m an old man.  I don’t go out that deep.  What if I had a heart attack?”

Then it hit me.  He was doing laps.  Now I was impressed.  Harry brushed it off: “Not much compared to my old frogman days.”

Frogman… the age… “Were you a SEAL in the Vietnam era by any chance?” I asked.

“Very good, I think the ladies sent me the right guy.  Have a seat while I get some clothes on.”

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Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Mothers Being at Home Would Be This Hard?

Friday, May 23rd, 2014 - by Leslie Loftis

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I’m sick of this post. Not the specific post, “The Stay At Home Mom Conspiracy Theory,” but the gist of the post: career woman goes home and is shocked to find that motherhood is more intense, boring, messy, fractured—difficult, than she thought. That the details and difficulties of motherhood surprise career women is a commonplace complaint that hasn’t quite settled on a cliche to describe it.

“Why didn’t anyone tell me it would be this hard?” she, and countless others, ask. We tried, or at least some of us did. But during their office days, women don’t like to hear about stay-at-home motherhood. First, career women rarely listen to anything that contradicts what they think they know. Second, most stay-at-home moms, when faced with the vacant stare mask of disapproval, stop telling the truth. Much like the author did. (Oh, the confidence gap is not so much a gap as a canyon with many caves and crevices.)

Usually I have more sympathy for women surprised by realities—elder women do withhold a considerable amount of information from younger women—but failure to acknowledge and express some regret about past complicity in the silencing of stay-at-home moms buries my sympathy in annoyance.

I am not one of the SAHMs who stop telling the truth. (I blogged as An American Housewife precisely because I refused to perpetrate the notion of a “mere” or any other “no really, I’m smart”’ adjective modifying “housewife.”) So I offer some truth for after the shock: motherhood doesn’t have to follow the covered-in-spit-up-with-no-time-to-shower format that typically sees women run screaming back to the office in avoidance or plunging into motherhood in full submersion. It can be sane. But to get to sane, women have to stand against conventional wisdom and peer pressure. To use the Mommy Wars analogy, sane is walking though the crossfire and ignoring the bullets as they wiz by. (Don’t worry, they’re blanks.) In my experience, fewer moms want to hear about how to do that than want to listen to facts about motherhood.

There isn’t so much a conspiracy as a crisis of confidence in which women hide behind assumptions or seek safety in numbers. Nothing gets solved. And the same posts get written again, and again, as if it is all a surprise.

*****

image via shutterstock / Gladskikh Tatiana

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The #1 Reason We Watch Call the Midwife

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

This past Sunday, American audiences finally had their chance to wave goodbye to Nurse Jenny Lee, the lead character in the famed Masterpiece series Call the Midwife. However sad it may be, the departure of the show’s Hollywood-bound lead actress Jessica Raine was, ironically, in no way a traumatic one.

Most American shows die when their lead actor disappears. Dan Stevens’ untimely departure from Downton Abbey still enrages fans over a year later. Yet, while Nurse Jenny Lee will be a much missed character, fans are far from outraged at her departure. Perhaps this is because Call the Midwife was never just about Jennifer (Lee) Worth, but about the many lives she encountered and a profession that is finally being given the credit it so sorely deserves. But there is more to the massive success of what began as a 6-episode BBC show about nursing in mid-century London’s bombed-out East End than giving credit where credit is due.

In an era of roughshod marketing tactics and semiotic overload, Call the Midwife, with its pure, heartfelt approach to the vicissitudes of life, is therapeutic television. We are a desensitized audience: No one cries when a pregnant mother is stabbed to death on Game of Thrones. Yet, everyone, including the burly guys on set, shed a tear at every birth on Call the Midwife. We are treated to an East End rife with chamber pots, not sexy chamber maids, and yet audiences are drawn to the show in droves. We love the midwives, even when they are dressed in habits and wimples; they are the ideal face of medicine, mother, and God in an era when we’ve been taught to doubt all three. Like a nurse checking our pulse, Call the Midwife reminds us that we are human after all, and perhaps not as sick as we’ve been led to believe.

And yet, while TV execs struggle with sex and violence in the name of Tweet power, they remain blind to Call the Midwife’s axiom for success: There is powerful endurance in simple truth. Call the Midwife will survive without the character of Jenny Lee because the show has embraced Jennifer Worth’s own mystical sense of timelessness. It is the stuff that fueled her memoirs of both London’s East End and her time as a nurse caring for the dying. Brilliantly captured in the season finale, this sense of the eternal in both life and death is what makes Call the Midwife a healing balm of a show and transcendental television in its finest form. Forget bloody battles and wild, nameless sex. Call the Midwife empowers its audience with the strength to face, not escape, life’s pressures, and the faith to believe that while “weeping may happen for a night, joy breaks forth in the morning.”

Now and then in life, love catches you unawares, illuminating the dark corners of your mind, and filling them with radiance. Once in a while you are faced with a beauty and a joy that takes your soul, all unprepared, by assault.

Jennifer Worth

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Watch Your Mouth In Neptune Beach!

Monday, May 19th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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These days, you can’t go too far in public without encountering profanity. From hip-hop songs blaring out of car windows to private conversations that aren’t so private to teenagers who don’t seem to possess more creativity than four-letter words, profanity has become increasingly prevalent. One beach town outside of Jacksonville, Florida may do something to try to stem that tide soon.

After a community Independence Day celebration last year that drew huge, boisterous crowds, David Sembach, Police Chief of Neptune Beach, is looking into an ordinance that would allow officers to issue citations for profanity in public when such language leads to violence.

Naturally, residents of Neptune Beach express divided opinions on the issue:

“There’s no place for that kind of stuff in a public forum,” beach-goer Ken Meadows said.

“I work with people a lot, so I kind of just ignore it when it’s unpleasant,” Kristen Nye said. “Just keep walking.”

[...]

As expected, some locals don’t like the idea; they think Freedom of Speech should always reign supreme.

“It’s a waste of time and taxpayer money to try and do something like that,” Edward Spear said.

The proposal is still in the infancy stage. In order for anything to officially get on the books, City Council will have to approve it. It will be discussed at the next workshop on May 19.

Sembach wants to go further in what he sees as ways to make his town safer:

In addition to pushing for citations if the aggressive language leads to fights, Sembach is also urging for ordinances that would result in penalties for blocking public passageways.

Here’s the reality check: Neptune Beach’s mayor is against the profanity ordinance because she knows it’ll be damn near impossible to pass it. Nice try, Neptune Beach.

What do you think? Is the city right in criminalizing profanity and abusive language when they lead to violence? Or is Sembach stepping on free speech?

This post includes an image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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4 Reforms That Would Make Our Schools More Boy-Friendly

Monday, May 19th, 2014 - by Prager University

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A Cartoon To Teach Kids About the Danger of Celebrating Crime

Friday, May 16th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Cartoon at Noon

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VIDEO: Have America’s Boys Been Left Behind?

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 - by The Factual Feminist

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thumbnail illustration via shutterstock / michaeljung

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When Moms Give Spider-Man a Spanking

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

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In its opening weekend, it grossed more than it cost to make. On the revenue-per-screen rankings it beat the Amazing Spider-Man 2, coming in second only to the R-rated comedy Neighbors, which stars Zac Efron and Seth Rogen.

Moms’ Night Out (PG) is a feel-good comedy about a harried young mother who just needs a little time away. It offers no hot superstars — unless you count Samwise Gamgee and “Everybody Loves Raymond’s” wife in supporting roles. (Granted, Sarah Drew played the Christian doctor on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but that’s not silver screen, and virgins are so not hot in Hollywood.)

The movie was shot in the glamorous state of Alabama, around Birmingham. Rotten Tomatoes says the critics find it “cheap-looking, unfunny and kind of sexist to boot…a disappointment from start to finish.” Despite the critics wisdom, 85% of the audience liked it. Why?

In a word: relatability.

Ok, I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but it’s a thing.

For the vast majority of Americans, traditional family life connects. Unlike the typical Hollywood production, this film features husbands who faithfully love their wives, women who love to be mothers, people who attend church regularly (not just show up in an empty darkened sanctuary when they’re suicidal, on the lam or searching for Knights Templar treasure). As a bonus, it includes characters who can speak without cursing and cope without drinking.

My lovely bride and I took our teen boys — ages 18 and 15 — to see Mom’s Night Out. I laughed and cried. (I blame Trace Adkins for the weeping.) As we climbed the steps to the top of the theatre, I remember thinking, “Look, two parents with two older teenaged boys going to a movie together!” Our younger son liked it so much he took his 19-year-old sister to see it the next day.

The folks who made this movie will likely watch the Oscars from their living rooms, out of curiosity…after they put the kids to bed. And that’s just fine. Because they’ve done something special — they’ve bonded emotionally with the people who do the most important work in the country, and with those of us who admire our wives, mothers and grandmas.

Watch the trailer on the next page.

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Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 - by Stephen Green

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A story of pure awfulness on both sides and it comes to us from California? Say it isn’t so!

But it is so:

A tenth-grade California girl allegedly passed out cupcakes to bullies at her school which she said contained “bodily fluids.”

I was pretty sure she got the flour and sugar and whatnot down at the Safeway, but it was more difficult figuring out how exactly she obtained the male bodily fluids in question. But then there was this:

As it turns out, the cupcakes were made with mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and soy sauce.

Either way, students in the girl’s French class were left with a bad taste in their mouths during a food day event last week.

Before the Bakersfield Police Department announced that the cupcakes weren’t laced with anything other than condiments, it was believed they may have contained “pubic hair, semen and expired food and pills.”

*****

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

image via shutterstock / Ruth Black

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Why The Nursing in Public Battle Isn’t Worth Fighting

Monday, May 12th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

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I admit it, I’m a “lactivist.” What is a lactivist, you ask? I’m someone who believes in the power of breastmilk, who thinks breast is best, who will grin and bear it through pain and difficulty in order to breastfeed my child. Unfortunately, those like me have earned a bad rap over the the course of the mommy wars. Those who fight in the mommy wars have one thing in common: these women believe the way that they raise their children is how all women should raise their children. The mommy wars started between women who went back to work versus those who decided to stay home, but has expanded to every realm of childbearing and rearing, with breastfeeding as one of the hottest topics. Many in the lactivist camp shame mothers who can’t, won’t or don’t breastfeed their children for a myriad of reasons, all of which are deeply personal. This is where we part ways. It takes a lot of energy to raise my daughter. I have none left over to worry about how other people choose to raise their children.

Several lactivism pages over the past few weeks are abuzz over the above image, which is part of a student advertising campaign at the University of North Texas. The students are promoting the passage of HB1706, a bill in the Texas legislature that will protect women from harassment and discrimination if and when they decide to nurse in public. I might lose my lactivist membership card for saying this, but this isn’t one of those motherhood issues I can get worked up about. Personally, I breastfeed in public, with and without a cover, depending on if I think my daughter will stand it, depending on how discreetly I can do it, depending on how hot it would make my daughter and I to put her under a scarf or blanket.

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Debunking the Jewish Mother Stereotype

Sunday, May 11th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

bevgoldbergsmother

What is wrong with my children? Why won’t they let me completely immerse myself in their lives?!

Beverly Goldberg, The Goldbergs

Last week, my husband and I fell over laughing at the best line in the entire first season of ABC’s The GoldbergsJust renewed for a second season, the autobiographical series created by Adam F. Goldberg (no relation) features, in his own words, “the orginial sMother” Beverly Goldberg, archetype of Jewish moms the world over. In his comic genius (complemented by Wendi McLendon-Covey’s masterful performance) Goldberg has managed to take a figure much-maligned over the past few decades and craft her into a clan leader who is as lovable as she is obnoxious.  With her ballsy, brash bravado, Beverly is the living, breathing Jewishness in a show otherwise lacking in Jewish culture. For The Goldbergs, Jewish is not about kashrut, holidays or simchas; it is about a mother who smothers her children with equal parts love, confidence, and overprotection.

Thanks to Freud and Friedan, Jewish moms have taken a beating over the past few decades. Friedan used her own mother’s discontent with being a housewife as the impetus for her brutal criticisms of motherhood and housewifery, going so far as to describe the latter using Holocaust imagery. What Friedan failed to note early on was the antisemitic influence on her mother’s behavior. Not only was her educated mother forced to become a housewife the minute she married, she was also the victim of lifelong antisemitic prejudice. This attitude, something internalized by both mother and daughter, would later come out in brute force through Friedan’s feminist critiques of the Jewish mother. It was a position that Friedan would eventually come to regret. According to historian Joyce Antler:

…in later life [Friedan] has joined the modern aspirations of feminism with the popular emblems of her Jewish heritage, understanding that the myth of a controlling, aggressive Jewish mother has been as dangerous to the self-esteem of Jewish women (including her own) as the earlier “feminine mystique” was to all women.

The real-life Beverly Goldberg views her son’s television show as a “validation of everything she’s ever done.” I’d take her observation a step further; I believe Adam F. Goldberg’s seemingly simple, humorous portrayal of “the original sMother”  is a much-needed cultural validation of the Jewish mother figure at large. Beverly Goldberg may not have the zaftig figure of her televisual predecessor Molly, but she has a zaftig heart, one that infuses the kind of family love into a sitcom setting that hasn’t existed since the Huxtables went off the air. In the midst of intense cultural debates on the value and future of motherhood, Beverly Goldberg’s intense devotion, undivided attention, and proclivity for jaws-of-life hugs are refreshing.

Happy sMother’s Day to Jewish moms around the globe. Just please remember to let your kids come up for air once in a while.

bevgoldberglocket

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Who Are Your Favorite Fictional Moms?

Sunday, May 11th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, crossposted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

Liberty Island: A Gen-X Gandalf Mom Casting Thomas Sowell Spells

See also, from some of the moms at PJ Lifestyle:

Rhonda Robinson: 3 Steps to Rediscover the Lost Art of Mothering

Bethany Mandel: 8 Reasons Why Breastfeeding Is Best for Moms Too

Rhonda Robinson: 10 Myths from the Mommy Wars

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