I just read Atlas Shrugged. It was my third attempt in 20 years. It took me five weeks of fierce determination. If you’ve mulled reading the book, I may be able to add precious days to your span on this mortal coil. (WARNING: The rest of this little essay is pure, unalloyed, spoiler.)
Dagny Taggart runs a transcontinental railroad company. Dagny is slim, elegant, bold. In her spare time, she’s writing a 1,168-page novel in which she has sex with three different slim, elegant, bold men. She’s not a slut, mind you, nor horny as a rabbit during the rut.
No, she has sex with each man because she agrees with his philosophy, best summarized thus: I am the most important being in the universe, and my pleasure is the goal of the universe, so leave me alone.
Dagny has sex in her youth with Francisco D’Anconia, heir to an historic copper fortune and the richest man on earth, who’s also writing an 1,168-page novel.
Dagny has sex repeatedly with Hank Rearden, a rich (unhappily married) steel magnate, who, in his spare time, is writing an 1,168-page novel.
And finally, Dagny has sex with John Galt, the most interesting man in the world (who’s not pushing Dos Equis), but who IS writing an 1,168-page novel which, like the others’, contains a mix of economics, philosophy, daily news and sex. It’s basically the Huffington Post, in book form.
Galt has worked as a laborer for Dagny’s company for 12 years, in the same building as she, though Dagny doesn’t know it. In his spare time, Galt works to shut down the economy of the entire world by getting a handful of effective producers to abandon their life’s work and to defect to Galt’s Gulch, an idyllic hideaway in the mountains.
Is it just coincidence that each svelte, ingenious, wealthy member of this foursome has all of this amazing perfect sex while running his or her massive business, and writing an 1,168-page novel?
No, not coincidence: It’s Ayn Rand.
Miss Rand, (whose first name is pronounced any way you please), is the author of an 1,168-page novel called Atlas Shrugged. She’s her own inspiration for each of these characters. So, in a very real sense, Atlas Shrugged is about a svelte genius who wants to be left alone, to fantasize about an industrial Utopia while having sex with herself.
Check out the round-up of Last Week’s 125 Most Horrifying Headlines in this new PJ Lifestyle series juxtaposing high and low.
— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) October 20, 2014
3. Joel B. Pollak: Extremists Like Ezra Klein Shouldn’t Offer Sex Advice
Though he acknowledges that the law creates “a haze of fear and confusion” around sex, Klein says that is really a good thing: “everyday sexual practices on college campuses need to be upended, and men need to feel a cold spike of fear when they begin a sexual encounter.”
A “cold spike of fear.” We are not talking about some kinky BDSM fantasy. We are talking about the most precious, exciting, intimate moment a loving couple can share.
It would be too easy to invoke the stereotype of the beta-male liberal–afraid of sex, afraid of football, afraid of adulthood.
Suffice it to say that Klein has joined those, left and right, who wish to use the state to intrude into personal lives. He is a totalitarian, and proud of it.
At the Daily Caller:
5. Lead Story: WEDDING BELLS OR JAIL CELLS: Idaho City To Christian Pastors: Perform Same-Sex Weddings Or Face Jail, Fines
Alkadi’s remains were discovered around midnight near Interstate 10 in Palm Desert, an upscale, miserably hot town in the Coachella Valley of Southern California,reports Los Angeles television station KTLA.
The electrical engineering student was last seen in his home on Sept. 17. His older brother, Ahmed Alkadi, said the younger Alkadi had sold his car the previous day. He had listed the Audi on Craigslist for $36,500.
Waynesboro police tell media outlets that 28-year-old Rachel Lynn Craig is accused of posting a nude photograph of another woman on Facebook.
Immediately after his sword falls, the Saudi Arabian executioner steps backwards to avoid soiling his clothes with the blood of the condemned man, whose headless body can be seen slumping over backwards in the shaky online film.
After perfunctorily checking the white folds of his robe for flecks of red, the executioner wipes his blade with a tissue, which he drops onto the corpse and walks away.
A sudden surge in public executions in Saudi Arabia in the last two months has coincided with a U.S.-led bombing campaign against Islamic State. This has led to inevitable comparisons in Western media between Islamic State’s beheadings and those practiced in Saudi Arabia.
At the PJ Tatler:
12. Susan L.M. Goldberg: College Students Can Now Get Schooled in “Rihanna Womanism”
13. Walter Hudson: Your Tax Dollars Fund Retired Nazis
A story about two old Jewish ladies is making the rounds in the Jewish press, but not for the reasons you may think. Sure, they’re bubbes. They’re children of a Holocaust survivor to boot. But, the real reason they’re attracting so much attention is that they happen to be retired professional whores.
Dutch twins Louise and Martine Fokkens (probably not their real last name, since “Fokken” is a Dutch term for “old whore”) have become international celebrities since the 2011 release of their biographical documentary Meet the Fokkens. Women’s magazines like Cosmo picked up on their story shortly after the film’s release, publishing quick little details like:
Louise and Martine (mothers of four and three respectively), became prostitutes before the age of 20 in order to escape violent relationships.
It’s an interpretation that, at best, qualifies as a half-truth. Louise was forced into the sex trade by an abusive husband. Martine, however, became a prostitute out of spite:
Martine followed her sister into the trade, working first as a cleaning lady at brothels before she began turning tricks herself. “I was angry at how everybody around us shunned Louise,” Martine said. “I did it out of spite, really.”
Both women eventually divorced their husbands, whom they now describe as “a couple of pimps.” But they continued working in the district “because that had become our lives,” Louise said.
“Our life in the business became a source of pride, a sport of sorts,” Louise added.
In retrospect, both women say they regret becoming prostitutes.
Reading their story, one can’t help but wonder if mainstream feminist advocates for slut walks and “Yes Means Yes” legislation would condemn the pair for regretting the life they chose. After all, their body, their choice, right? They took control of their bad marriages, divorced the husbands they referred to as “pimps” and chose, fully of their own volition, to remain in the sex trade after their exes were fully out of the picture. Martine and Louise, it would seem, are the originators of the Slut Walk.
In ancient Greece, the gods were the hottest celebrities in town. Mount Olympus, where they lived, was essentially a bangin’ nightclub where everybody who was anybody came to drink, party, and bicker about whose pet army of humans would slaughter more enemies. The Greeks loved to gossip about them — Aphrodite, the iconically gorgeous starlet; Apollo, the dreamboat rockstar; Hephaestus, the misunderstood black sheep. And nothing hit the tabloids faster than a divine sex scandal. The Greeks wrote myth after myth spilling all the raunchy details of their gods’ heavenly escapades, which could have made Paris Hilton look as pure as the driven snow. From least to most outrageous, here’s the dirt on the ten most sinful scandals ever to hit heaven.
1. Zeus and Danae: one way or another . . .
The king of the gods could pulverize mountains, but he couldn’t keep it in his pants. How he had time to chase so much tail while running the universe is among the great mysteries of ancient Greek theology. But he always got the girl. Princess Danae was deadbolted inside a bronze cell, under the freaking ground, but Zeus managed to knock her up anyway. He turned into a shower of gold, then poured in through the ceiling straight “into her womb.” It’s unclear how Danae felt about all this, but it’s a good bet Zeus was pretty pleased with himself.
(Apollodorus, Library 2.4.1)
Get caught up with yesterday’s selections here: 33 Headlines Today That Know the Secret For Grabbing Your Attention
At Truth Revolt today, a new video from Ben Shapiro, sifting the numbers to find what percentage of Muslims worldwide believe in radical interpretations of their faith that include honor killings and death for apostates: The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority
More at Truth Revolt:
- A Hermaphroditic Snail Named to Honor Same-Sex Marriage
- Crowder: Real Rape vs “Rape Culture”
- Slate: Time To Fully Embrace Abortion As ‘Social Good’
- Teen Girl Cuts Off 10-Year-Old’s Fingers As Sacrifice To Satan
Via Drudge this morning:
- Professional Clowns Protest ‘AMERICAN HORROR STORY’ Murderous Character…
- Cops: Barber slashed customer’s throat…
Two lead stories juxtaposed at the New York Post:
Eleven stories at the Daily Mail today:
- Watching child porn does NOT make you a pedophile, says author John Grisham in bitter attack on US judicial system after a ‘buddy from law school’ was locked up
- Third law enforcement agency investigates Stephen Collins after he is accused of exposing himself to 13-year-old girl in 1983
- I blame myself for Peaches’ death, says Geldof: Boomtown Rats singer reveals he ‘goes over and over and over’ what he could have done to help his daughter
- ‘Oscar faces death if he goes to jail’: Prison gang leader ‘The General’ has ordered hit on athlete behind bars, claims Blade Runner’s lawyers
- Playboy model in ecstasy drug bust after flying into California on a private jet with more than 50,000 pills and 90 pounds of MDMA
- Man who murdered Hee Haw banjo-playing comedian David ‘Stringbean’ Akeman granted parole after 40 years
- Washington high school football student quits his team as he faces rape charges even though coaches told him he could continue playing
- Most decorated officer in state police history reaches plea agreement on gross sexual assault charges against child relative
- ‘We will chop off the heads of whoever you bring’: British ISIS fighter dares west to send ground troops in new video rant – despite fanatics being pushed back in Kobane
- Killer Queen and Another One Bites The Dust: Killer gigolo who cooked his transgender lover before slashing his own throat is farewelled at Queen-themed funeral as family remember a ‘loving young man’
- Police investigating the possibility that a father murdered his daughter by slashing her throat before killing himself – just days after she moved home to care for him following surgery
These two headlines next to each other:
- Embattled Seattle megachurch founder who called women ‘penis homes’ resigns amid accusations of bullying and financial corruption
- Multimillionaire mom on trial for death of her autistic son, eight, claims ex-husband put a contract on her life… but she didn’t tell police
And these two together:
- Prison camps? Torture? Human rights abuses? Not us says North Korea – and world’s most secretive regime tells UN ‘we have nothing to hide’
- Brazilian police crack open haul of child pornography on ‘dark internet’ and rescue six children from abuse
I am not one of those people who reflexively think European goods are superior to American ones—you know the kind of people I’m talking about—but boy do I sometimes wonder about the coffee in this country. The average American takes his or her daily caffeine in the form of a tepid, mud-like beverage that delis, diners, and commercial chains have chosen to call “coffee.” Is it? It can’t possibly be. Even the coffee at Starbucks, which is supposed to be something special, more often than not tastes like the business end of a drainpipe. It’s a shame so many people have been duped by words like “venti” and “macchiato.”
This dislike of mine has nothing to do with snobbery. I don’t care about price, brand, origin, or other markers of prestige. I know precisely nothing about the agriculture of coffee beans or the chemistry of brewing. I do know, however, that the proof of the coffee is in the drinking, and the motor oil served at most American establishments is barely potable.
I suspect I’m not alone in this judgment. If not, follow me, dear reader, on a mental trip to the beautiful city of Lviv, in western Ukraine—a place where I found some of the best coffee I have ever tasted. This was after I had tried the product of Vienna’s famous Cafe Hawelka. In fact, to imagine what Lviv is like, picture Vienna, only not as well preserved, with extra grit and grime on the buildings, and with occasional glimpses of drab Soviet architecture.
At the Daily Mail today, as referenced in the above video introducing this new series: “EXCLUSIVE: Brigitte Bardot had 100 lovers – including women – and four husbands, but fame led to despair as she tried to end her life four times and abandoned the only child she ever had, reveals new book”
Bardot didn’t get the assignment but she and Vadim instantly fell madly in love.
‘He made on her the impression of a ‘wild wolf’’ Bardot wrote, ‘he looked at me, scared me, attracted me, I didn’t know where I was anymore’, writes the author, Ginette Vincendeau. ‘She wanted him’.
Vadim introduced Bardot to his friends in the media, to books such as Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex and to sex.
They became lovers meeting secretly and then openly against the wishes of her parents, who threatened to send their daughter away from Vadim to England.
They relented only when she tried – for the first and not the last time – to kill herself, but decreed that they could not be married until Bardot was 18.
Depressed by the thought of not seeing her lover, Bardot turned on the oven and buried her head inside to be discovered in time by her parents.
My first memory of thinking about dictators is a day I spent with my grandmother at age six or seven. Staying at her house while my parents worked, I was “reading” my latest edition of MAD Magazine, in which was printed a humorous depiction of such masters of malice as Pol Pot, Augusto Pinochet, Anastasio Somoza, and Hafez al-Assad. I asked my grandmother what this interesting new word “dictator” meant, and she informed me, as best she could to a child, that it was a leader who enjoyed absolute power in a country. Even at that young age, my instincts as an American were strong: I bristled at the idea of tyrannical authority, but naively suggested that the people suffering under these monsters could be free if only everyone agreed all at once not to listen to them.
As the years passed, I learned that I was utterly intrigued by these odd men—all of them bizarre in so many ways, always grotesque morally and usually physically as well.
Australian Teacher Tries to Seduce 10 Year-Old Boy By Tattooing His Name on Her Chest. Guess Her Punishment…
So says the father of a 10-year-old boy who was seduced by a 47-year-old teacher:
A primary school teacher who wanted to have sex with her 10-year-old student, and had his name tattooed on her chest, has walked free from court.
County Court judge Mark Taft said he was at a complete loss to understand why mother of eight Diane Brimble, 47, had engaged in “such utterly inappropriate conduct which must dismay every parent”.
“You breached the trust reposed in you by [the boy's] parents who properly expected that a classroom teacher would care for their son in a professional manner,” Judge Taft said on Thursday when sentencing Brimble on a two-year community correction order and 200 hours of unpaid community work….
“She tried to manipulate [the boy] to think that she loved him and that his parents did not. This hurts me to the very core,” the father said.
“I feel angry that if it was a 46-year-old man and a 10-year-old girl that it would most likely be a different outcome … I feel angry and betrayed by the Education Department who did nothing to remove this evil woman from other children,” he said.
“To think a woman would get a tattoo with my child’s name as a sign of her undying love for [the boy] baffles me. I would like Brimble to endure the pain of removing name forever.”
Whatever women do sexually to boys or men is viewed as a mental health problem to treat. Note the difference when it comes to men coming on to young girls.
Conservative columnist Ross Douthat has declared his love for Lena Dunham. It hardly comes as a surprise that a New York Times writer, even one who dwells to the right of the aisle, would find the Girls prodigy appealing. What makes Douthat’s devotion disturbing is that he has managed to transform a goddess chained to a slew of liberal causes into a sacrificial lamb for conservative culture. In his struggle to do so, his misses the mark in what could have been one of the most culturally relevant critiques of Girls to date.
The critic defends Dunham’s showpiece Girls, writing,
She’s making a show for liberals that, merely by being realistic, sharp-edge, complicated, almost gives cultural conservatism its due.
It’s a seemingly ironic observation, based in the idea that Girls “often portrays young-liberal-urbanite life the way, well, many reactionaries see it…” That is, a subculture on the verge of self-destruction due to excessive amounts of what sociologist Robert Bellah dubbed, “the view that the key to the good life lies almost exclusively in self-discovery, self-actualization, the cultivation of the unique and holy You.”
In other words, as Gawker so simply put it:
He likes watching the show because it allows him to feel superior to Dunham and her fellow sluts.
By employing a rote, traditionalist perspective, Douthat argued himself into a hole, turning his love into judgement and burying his point in poorly-worded theory and equally bad theology.
Jennifer Lawrence on Her Hacked Nude Photos: ‘I Can’t Believe That We Even Live in That Kind of World.’
From Vanity Fair, “Cover Exclusive: Jennifer Lawrence Calls Photo Hacking a ‘Sex Crime’”:
Lawrence speaks of the wrenching moment when she had to call her father about the hack. “When I have to make that phone call to my dad and tell him what’s happened … I don’t care how much money I get for The Hunger Games,” she says. “I promise you, anybody given the choice of that kind of money or having to make a phone call to tell your dad that something like that has happened, it’s not worth it.” She allows herself to joke a little about that terrible moment: “Fortunately, he was playing golf, so he was in a good mood.”
With her words now out in the open, the F.B.I. on the case, and a billion-dollar franchise to carry over the finish line, Lawrence seems to be regaining her footing.
“Time does heal, you know,” she tells Kashner. “I’m not crying about it anymore. I can’t be angry anymore. I can’t have my happiness rest on these people being caught, because they might not be. I need to just find my own peace.”
And what do you think of Lawrence’s explanation for why she took naked images of herself?
I started to write an apology, but I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for. I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.
Related: the new Hunger Games film was featured on today’s list of September’s 10 Most Popular Movie Trailers by Walter Hudson.
One of the more extraordinary experiences of my medical career was injecting rural African women with a long-term contraceptive in a Catholic mission hospital under a portrait of Pope Paul VI. The contraceptive was handed to me by an aged Swiss nun who was otherwise deeply orthodox, but who recognized that worn-out women who had already had ten children were in danger of their lives if they had any more. I refrained from remarking on the paradox: I had already learned that there is more to life than intellectual consistency.
In the west, of course, the problem of unwanted pregnancy is different: it arises mainly among teenagers of what used to be called the lower classes. Pregnancy rates among the latter in the United States are among the highest in the western world. According to a paper in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, such pregnancies cost the United States $10 billion a year: to me a suspiciously round figure, especially as it includes the cost of education foregone by the pregnant girls. Perhaps I am a cynic, but I am not altogether so sanguine about the economic value of modern education. Be that as it may, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set a goal of reducing teenage pregnancy by 20 percent between 2009 and 2015.
An experiment conducted in St Louis provided 1404 girls aged between 14 and 19 with free contraceptive advice and free long-acting contraceptive devices to see whether such provision would reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancy among them. The comparison group was that of similar girls in the rest of the United States who were not included in the experiment.
I didn’t fully appreciate how spiritually free I am as an American woman until I set foot on an El Al plane.
“Do you speak Hebrew?” the fretting woman in front of me asked.
“No, not really.”
“It’s okay, I speak English,” she hurriedly replied, obviously looking for a friendly face. “These Orthodox,” she motioned to the people sitting next to her, “they don’t like sitting next to women.”
“Well, that’s their problem.” My response was pointed, matter-of-fact, American.
She smiled as if a light bulb went off in her head. “You’re right!” Her expression grew cloudy. “But what if I take off my sweater? They won’t like that I expose my shoulders with my tank top.”
Again, I simply replied, “That’s their problem.”
She smiled, empowered. Removing her sweater, she took her seat and stood her ground.
And at that moment I thanked God I was raised in pluralistic America, and realized, oddly enough, that the Holy Land was giving me my first chance to practice the biblical feminism I’ve preached.
Israel is a Western nation in that women have equal rights by law. Israel is also a confluence of religious and ethnic cultural attitudes, not all of which are friendly to women. Two days into our trip to Jerusalem, a family member who also happens to be a retired journalist explained the latest story to hit the nightly news. A man accused of spousal abuse was released to return home. Later that evening, police found his wife had been shot dead. The husband confessed to the murder. Apparently, domestic violence and death is a relatively small but significant problem in Israel. When I asked my former journalist why, he pointed to the influence of Middle Eastern (both Arabic and radical Islamic) patriarchal culture as the primary source.
Yet, even religious Jews in Israel (and around the world), despite their insular nature, are far from immune to sexual abuse. Sex scandals among the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) show up frequently on the evening news. In this case it’s not the Arab/Muslim influence, but perverted behaviors that arise from rabbinic abuse of biblical teachings. How do you expect a man to relate to a woman sexually when he’s not even allowed to look her in the eye?
I’m with Dave Barry that Neil Diamond’s “I Am, I Said” is one of the worst songs ever written. But I’ll go a step further and argue that the real shame of it is that it started off so promising. The first verse is not a bad piece of writing at all. Read:
L.A.’s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feeling is “laid back”
Palm trees grow and rents are low
But you know I keep thinkin’ about
Making my way back
Early ’70s California was, not to put too fine a point on it, a great place to get laid. I can vouch the same was true in the late ’80s and early ’90s, too.
But no longer. Not today. Not with the Junior Anti-Sex League running the joint. Amy Miller has the facts on California’s “affirmative consent” law, which just went into effect on Sunday:
Section 1 of the bill states that “the accused’s belief in affirmative consent” cannot have arisen “from the intoxication or recklessness of the accused.”
It also states that “it shall not be a valid excuse that the accused believed that the complainant affirmatively consented to the sexual activity if the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the complainant was unable to consent to the sexual activity under any of the following circumstances: (A) The complainant was asleep or unconscious; (B) The complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so that the complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity.”
Coupled with the campus “kangaroo court” system currently in place at so many American universities — including California — this bill is a recipe for disaster.
Real talk: sex happens. Drunk, sloppy, reckless sex happens on college campuses and there’s not a bill in the world that can eliminate the oft-depressing reality of “the morning after.”
This bill not only assumes a drunk male is guilty of assault, but assumes a drunk female is incapable of consenting to sex, and does not define what it means to be “incapacitated.”
Now, by law, in a situation where a substantial amount of alcohol is involved, consent cannot exist, the aggressor is by default a rapist, and an even-willing partner is by default a victim.
Stanford could call offering my boys a free ride and I would forbid them from accepting it. What California has done is the ex post facto criminalization of normal, healthy human behavior. Because let’s be clear about this: It’s already rape-rape to have sex with somebody who drank enough to pass out, but getting to know someone a little better over cocktails and then deciding to make the beast with two backs is a tradition predating, so to speak, the written word.
And now it could make one or both of my sons into criminals.
image via shutterstock / Ken Wolter
You’ve seen Thriller and heard all about Madonna, but what do you really know about the decade that ushered in the millennial generation? Think the era of scrunchies, boom boxes, pump sneakers and DeLoreans was just a fad? Think again. Some of the 1990s’ greatest pop culture trends were birthed in the millieu of Reaganomics, cable television, and a music video-loaded MTV.
15. Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon”
The ’80s was the decade of John Waters, the B-52s and all things camp coming to fruition. Decked out in eyeliner, lipstick and braids, Boy George popularized the aesthetic of this gay subculture with a poppy little tune about conflicted relationships. As for the music video, where better to set a gay guy’s love song in the ’80s than an 1870s riverboat called the “Chameleon” where a cheating gambler’s karma comes back to haunt him? Dude, it’s the ’80s: “Don’t ask, don’t tell” started here.
13. She has discovered a close kinship with George Costanza.
Sure, she may come off all serious in her videos, but Lana Del Rey has a seriously good sense of humor. According to Rolling Stone, Lana Del Rey ”has a George Costanza-like plan for the future.”
“I’m really specific about why I’m doing something or writing something,” she says. “But it always kind of gets translated in the opposite fashion. I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve learned that everything I’m going to do is going to have the opposite reaction of what I meant. So I should do the opposite if I want a good reaction.” She’s surprised to learn that George tried this approach in an episode of Seinfeld. “Oh really? That’s awesome. Me and George Costanza! Oh my God!”
15. Everything you know about the social stratosphere is wrong…
College is nothing like high school. You understand this in theory, but have never experienced the kind of social freedom you will in college. There are no cliques. There is no lunch table. Welcome to the world of being an adult. For the first couple of weeks you’ll attend pre-arranged mixers, usually orientation events or annoying team-building activities your RA spent all summer training to lead. These awkward moments are helpful for one reason: Discovering who has a car. As a freshman, be aware that the parties you crash at frat houses aren’t for making friends, they’re for getting drunk and hooking up. You’ve been warned.
1. Be proud of your body. Just the way it is.
Don’t try changing for anyone; you are beautiful no matter what culture says. Be authentic.
In the 36 hours since Beyonce’s muzzled, splayed, headless, and otherwise sexually submissive VMA performance, we’ve seen a comedy sketch at the Emmys that somehow is a setback for feminism because it objectifies women’s bodies. Mollie Hemingway heaped plenty of scorn upon that little inconsistency. But I’m still left wondering how any feminist loved Beyonce’s performance.
Yesterday afternoon, Jessica Valenti went up at the Guardian with this gem of an observation about Beyonce’s performance. After expressing her excitement about Beyonce putting “feminist” “literally in bright lights,” she talked about celebrity popular pressure:
I’m glad that [Taylor Swift] another celebrity with mass appeal – to young women, especially – is touting a movement necessary for gender justice. But the singer-songwriter calling herself a feminist for the first time in the same week that she released a video in which she twerks and crawls through the disembodied legs of women of color shows that it takes more than identifying as a feminist to understand feminism. (Perhaps as Swift browses the feminist section of bookstores she could pick up something on racism and cultural appropriation. Maybe she could read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as Beyoncé clearly has?)
I agree with Valenti that it takes more than identifying as a feminist to understand feminism. I am on record claiming that women rallying around a term about which they know little is the major problem of the movement. But Valenti’s position is that the problem with Taylor Swift’s understanding of feminism isn’t the objectifying nature of twerking, but that Swift is stealing the dance moves of women of color. Women of color are the ones who twerk. That is the essential assumption of the cultural appropriation argument. Maybe Swift isn’t the one in need of a book on racism.
Also check out Leslie Loftis’ analysis of Beyonce’s performance at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards here.
10. “Bow Down/I Been On”
The Church of Bey has clearly gone to the pop goddess’s head. A critic at New Wave Feminism writes:
Aside from repeatedly yelling “bow down bitches”, the song also contains lyrics such as “I know when you were little girls / You dreamt of being in my world / Don’t forget it , don’t forget it / Respect that, bow down bitches”. Apparently, Beyoncé thought the appropriate response for young women who admired her and looked up to her was to call them misogynistic slurs and demand they genuflect in her presence.
This Bey Anthem doubles as the death knell of the sisterhood.
My first notice of last night’s VMA performances came from my “Camille Paglia” Google alert. Someone wanted a Paglia analysis STAT. Curious, I checked my feminist feeds for some reaction context. They were either glowing about Beyonce’s Divine Feminism, asking as MTV did, “What more could we have asked for?” or silent. Then I watched and I […]
As a Gen-X/millennial crossover, I was fortunate enough to first meet Robin Williams as Mork from Ork on the sitcom Mork and Mindy. A comedic powerhouse, Mork’s colorful wardrobe and loud laugh were the first things I imitated as a child. As I grew up, I would look back and realize the many character lessons I learned at home were reinforced by a supremely acted alien outsider with a predilection for sitting on his head. In virtually every role he played, Robin Williams taught his audience a life lesson. As a young kid there was no one more fun to hang around with and learn from on TV than Mork from Ork.
10. Old people rule.
Mork marvels at the way the elderly are ignored and maligned on earth. On Ork, old folks are revered as the wise, experienced ones to learn from. “The Elder” is called on to remind Mork of his Orkishness. His was an early lesson in the importance of respect and reverence for the elders in your life and how very important all people are, no matter and, perhaps, especially because of their age.
An excellent debate went on at The Week last week (h/t to director Jeremy Boreing for sending it to me). The issue was sex.
Welcome to sexual modernity — a world in which the dense web of moral judgments and expectations that used to surround and hem in our sex lives has been almost completely dissolved, replaced by a single moral judgment or consideration: individual consent. As long as everyone involved in a sexual act has chosen to take part in it — from teenagers fumbling through their first act of intercourse to a roomful of leather-clad men and women at a BDSM orgy — anything and everything goes.
All of our so-called cultural conflicts flow from this monumental shift — and the fact that some of our fellow citizens (religious traditionalists and other social conservatives) are terrified by the new dispensation.
Linker goes on to say that, while he feels comfortable with modern sexual liberty and appreciates its relief from “sexually inspired suffering, shame, humiliation, and self-loathing,” he has also come to appreciate that some traditionalist critiques of the situation are worth considering. The gains of the sexual revolution are clear: “It’s fun! It feels good!” But it may be that traditionalist fears that promiscuity threatens the stability of society and the welfare of children have merit.
“How times have changed!” rises the cry of every generation. At least, it can seem that way to one unfamiliar with the course of things over time.
I have in mind the recent exchange of thoughts between psychologist Dr. Helen Smith and PJ Media Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle, germinated by the recently publicized case of a man who, feeling that his wife had cut him off sexually, presented her with a spreadsheet detailing their recent encounters. Dr. Helen was sympathetic toward the man:
…it seemed she was confused about his behavior, and said the lack of sex was unusual and that it was because she was just busy with work. From what I remember, she is in her 20s and the couple have been together around five years and married for two and have no kids.
And she seriously wonders why the guy is mad? She has sex three times in seven weeks and he has probably been angry and boiling for some time before that. Why is she posting their problems on Reddit? She mentions his immature behavior; is hers any better? She says he wouldn’t talk to her about the chart etc., so maybe during this quiet time, she should stop and think about her behavior.
But more importantly, the husband should reflect on his marriage and ask himself a few questions. So far, there are no kids. If she lets her job interfere with her sex life, what about the kids? Will he have an eighteen year chart of excuses and pain? If kids are involved and he wants to get out of the marriage then, he is going to have a much harder time. Perhaps he simply needs some quiet time to reflect on what to do, whether this is going to work in the long run and why his wife would turn to strangers on the internet and post his chart on a Reddit site instead of sitting back and giving him some breathing room. This does not reflect well on how things will go for him in the future if they stay married.
…while Dave Swindle was not:
I’m actually going to take the wife’s side in this dispute. I have absolutely ZERO SYMPATHY WHATSOEVER for this loser. Why?
Because it’s not a wife’s responsibility to be her husband’s happy whore, eagerly providing him with his orgasms on demand.
Dissatisfied husbands, want to know the secret to having sex with your wife whenever you want? It is not your wife’s responsibility to be ready to go on command, it’s YOUR responsibility to know your wife so well that you are capable of seducing her anytime. When you want to have sex with her you don’t ask her, you put her in the mood yourself. It’s really that simple: know you wife well enough so you can push the right buttons, say the right things, and create an environment where sex just naturally happens.
Unfortunately, that’s more work than most men are used to for getting orgasms.
The frequency with which the unnamed subjects of the exchange actually “have sex” — Lord, how I detest that phrase! — strikes me as irrelevant. He feels she’s cut him off; she claims to be too busy and tired. Neither mentions whether the lovemaking they actually manage to do is pleasant or fulfilling, whether physically or emotionally. The conflict doesn’t involve sexual satisfaction, but rather sexual receptivity.
The questions that should follow aren’t being explicitly addressed.