This week’s House of Cards essay will expand on last week’s piece, “The House of Cards Vision of Infidelity: More Fact than Fiction.” Yes, unfortunately we remain stuck with this slimy theme of infidelity. But instead of pegging our nation’s male moral-offenders, this week let’s talk about the women.
Men have had a leg up in the world, especially in the workplace. Females are still trying to catch up. Salary comparisons and lack of women in certain fields will underline this fact. Unfortunately, Some women feel like they are faced with two options: be ruthless and work really hard to achieve their goals at the risk of the “ice queen” label or take an easier route and use other means… Some women do decide to hark back to medieval methods (think Anne Boleyn in the Tudor days) in order to succeed in the workplace… and this is all too evident in big cities like Washington, D.C.
Women have employed method #2 for centuries — men have as well. But dabbling in this kind of currency can lead to two very different ends: career destruction or the attainment of dreams. In our foray into the Little Black Book of Washington, D.C. last week, we talked about how scandals tend to be both concentrated and magnified in The District. The cutthroat culture here seems to breed an underground marketplace of give-and-gets with scandal as the most likely outcome. Ultimately, Washingtonians must decide if they are going to enter that market — or try and forge their own way up the ambition ladder.
* …Spoilers on coming pages…*
Slate’s Dear Prudence advice column is a social barometer of sorts, so when columnist Emily Yoffe pivots on a major issue my ears twitch, because change must be afoot. This week’s chat with advice-seekers revealed a shocking reversal: Prudie is actually advising readers to cut back on the porn:
When I started writing this column I had a very laissez-faire attitude toward porn, but it’s irrefutable that excess consumption can interfere with normal sexual expectations. It’s one thing if your husband made a reasonable request. … It’s another thing if he’s withdrawn from you sexually, has refused to address this, then announces he can’t get turned on by you if you don’t look like the people on YouPorn. …you two need to talk about how hurtful his behavior has been over the past year, and that you hope he understands that putting his demands in such a demeaning way is not likely to turn you on.
What was the husband of this letter-writer requesting? That the woman shave down under or he wouldn’t get intimate with her. The bald eagle (aherm) look has grown so immensely popular this year it’s actually made headlines, and most commentators agree it was popularized by porn’s hairless superstars.
Okay. So porn is as standard (and standardized) in American males’ homes as sliced bread. Old news. What’s new news is that someone besides the ultra-feminist anti-porn crusaders and the ultra-Christian anti-porn crusaders is saying in a major public forum that maybe porn is not so healthy for relationships. Well, excess porn.
For what it’s worth, I don’t support the censorship of porn that’s performed (and consumed) by consenting adults. But I do object to the tacitly ubiquitous attitude that “porn is okay, and if you object to it you’re a prude, because everybody watches it.” It’s another form of political correctness. Let’s see a healthy dose of skepticism.
This is funny — and kind of weird.
I watched the film Hitchcock on pay per view the other day: it’s the story of the making of Psycho based on the fascinating 1990 non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, which I read and enjoyed many years ago. The movie? It’s not bad. Its take on the Hitchcock marriage is rigged and sentimentalized. But the cast is amazing — Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Toni Collette — and the glimpses of the true story that survive are still very interesting. It’s a small, satisfying entertainment about the movie biz.
However… The movie is about ten times better than last year’s unfortunate HBO production The Girl, which starred Toby Jones as the Master of Suspense, and told Tippi Hedren’s version of their relationship during the making of The Birds. Hedren claims Hitchcock sexually harassed her, mistreated her, and ultimately destroyed her career — although my memory is that Hedren was an awful actress, which may have also had something to do with it.
1) An elevation of victimhood
In a weird reversal of how the world has worked since man was raised up out of the dust, it has become good to be a victim in America. In fact, many of the people held up as “victims” in our country are loving every second of their “victimhood.”
The best recent example of that phenomenon is Sandra Fluke. Here’s an unaccomplished 30-year-old student who went to Congress and demanded that other people be forced to pay thousands of dollars a year to subsidize her birth control. It’s like the set-up of a stand-up comedian’s joke, except that when people responded with the natural punch lines that featured lots of “She’s a slut” jokes, Sandra Fluke was treated like a victim. Next thing you know, she’s on TV, she’s treated like a heroine, and she gets a speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention. For a fifth-rate mediocrity like Sandra Fluke, her supposed “victimhood” was the best thing that ever happened to her.
Then there’s bus monitor Karen Klein. People felt sorry for the nice old lady who was bullied by kids on a bus — so much so that they chipped in more than a half million dollars to help her out. However, this was an adult whose job was to keep kids from being bullied. How many kids on that bus must have been abused because she was so completely unsuited to the job she willingly chose to take on? At the end of the day, she wasn’t a “victim” in any meaningful sense; she was just a failure at her job.
Does treating people like this as heroes strike anyone as healthy or good for the country? At best, victims should be pitied, not celebrated or rewarded.
What’s the female equivalent of “I’ll never get an erection again”?
I experienced that abysmal sensation when I learned that actor Alan Rickman was directing a play about deceased Jew-hater “activist” Rachel Corrie (or, as I like to call her, “St. Pancake”).
You see, women’s sexual fantasies are notoriously… odd, as anyone who’s read Nancy Friday’s 1970s sensation My Secret Garden can attest. (I’ll give you Mr. Spock, ladies. But Terry-Thomas?! Seriously?)
And up until the day he broke my, er, heart, my idea of a big thrill would’ve been sitting on Alan Rickman’s lap while he read aloud from the Manhattan telephone directory.
His face has been politely and aptly described as “anachronistic,” and he’s not as young as he used to be. And now we learn he’s a leftist.
But that voice!
(What are you laughing at?)
Yes, gentlemen, you can fake a British accent and maybe get lucky (unless you happen to be in Britain at the time, where your American one will do the trick). But a permanently sexy voice is a gift.
Rather than focus on the things you can’t change, why not consider those you can?
My fear about the race for everyone to self-identify as a slut is that the real sluts—the women who sleep around, who have one-night stands, who engage in arbitrarily ill-favored sexual practices—are being shunted back into the corner where they’ve always been. If our goal is to stand up for women’s control of their own bodies, let’s not stigmatize those who merely choose to use them differently than others do. The vast majority of Americans “use or support birth control”; that moral battle has been won. But plenty of those Americans still aren’t comfortable with the idea of a woman who wants to sleep around. Let’s fight that battle instead.
Slate is at it again, trying to legitimize the idiotic notion that women should, for some reason, be proud to be sluts. Screwing a different guy every night makes you a “sex-positive feminist” these days, and the feminazis think that women should be able to be a slut while still being considered respectable in society. Get it? This is progress: debasing women in the name of “empowerment”.
Let’s get real here: there’s no one stopping anyone, man or women, from skanking it up every night. There never has been. Everyone is perfectly free to screw around as much as their little heart desires. Unfortunately for the pro-slut crowd, you don’t get to be a proud slut and escape the consequences that comes with it. Grown-ups have to deal with the fallback from their actions, like it or not. If you’re over 21, you’re free to spend every night getting hammered — but then you also have to accept that you’ll probably get a reputation as a drunken idiot. It’s the same with sleeping around: you can do it, but don’t cry when suddenly, you don’t come across as very respectable anymore.
Try as they might with their mental gymnastics, women don’t get to avoid the consequences of their actions just by virtue of their gender. Hey, if you want to go out every night and sleep with a different guy, then by all means do it. Live it up. Have fun. But don’t expect the entire world to pat you on the back and call you empowered for it in a country where one in five women have herpes.
Rule 34 is bunk.
You know that rule of the internet: “If it exists, there is porn of it”?
One, because if there were “cellulite porn,” I might very well be typing this beside my infinity pool in a double gated community somewhere south of the 49th parallel.
(Who am I kidding? I wouldn’t be typing this at all…)
Two: last year I asked my blog readers if they’d ever heard tell of “Mountie porn,” and got one measly link to a low-rent “sexy Halloween costume” vendor.
Which seems bizarre, and not just because all those chicks dug Due South.
After all, uniforms have been a porn staple forever. As P.J. O’Rourke famously said:
I have often been called a Nazi, and, although it is unfair, I don’t let it bother me. I don’t let it bother me for one simple reason. No one has ever had a fantasy about being tied to a bed and sexually ravished by someone dressed as a liberal.
Yep, that Hugo Boss guy has a LOT to answer for:
It was one of Israel’s dirty little secrets. In the early 1960s, as Israelis were being exposed for the first time to the shocking testimonies of Holocaust survivors at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a series of pornographic pocket books called Stalags, based on Nazi themes, became best sellers throughout the land.
Now while I wouldn’t call them fascists, our RCMP has burned a few barns in their day.
(And tasered a guy to death for having a nicotine fit at the airport. Then there was the time they stole all that dynamite…)
So: pretty badass. But still (almost) no Mountie porn. Hmmm.
All this to say:
My attitude about pornography is as subjectively personal as anyone else’s.
In my case, it reflects my experiences as a Canadian female of a certain age, steeped in the anti- and pro-porn “wars” that preoccupied feminists in the 1980s.
GQ: Your new movie is called Friends with Benefits. Ever been in one of those relationships?
Mila Kunis: Oy. I haven’t, but I can give you my stance on it: It’s like communism—good in theory, in execution it fails. Friends of mine have done it, and it never ends well. Why do people put themselves through that torture?
And this is Kunis’s SECOND thing she’s done this week to get on conservatives’ good side. Earlier she accepted an invitation to the Marines Ball.
Now she comes out both against promiscuity AND communism in one sentence.
What’s she going to do next? Come out as a Tea Partier?
Note to self: it’s probably time to finally get around to picking up Black Swan on Blu-Ray.
This whole subject actually relates to a popular post yesterday at PJ Lifestlye: Dr. Helen’s highlighting of Erica Jong’s observations of a shift in sexual morality among young women today:
I was fascinated to see, among younger women, a nostalgia for ’50s-era attitudes toward sexuality. The older writers in my anthology are raunchier than the younger writers. The younger writers are obsessed with motherhood and monogamy.
Just as the watchword of my generation was freedom, that of my daughter’s generation seems to be control. Is this just the predictable swing of the pendulum or a new passion for order in an ever more chaotic world? A little of both. We idealized open marriage; our daughters are back to idealizing monogamy. We were unable to extinguish the lust for propriety.
Don’t expect the trend of a rebellious youth culture to continue indefinitely. (This is part of what I talked about in the last segment of my Hollywood Revolt series at Big Hollywood.) My peers and I (Generation Y comprises those born 1982-2000 or so) are in some ways more socially conservative. This fits with a lot of the empirical data that Howe and Strauss collected in their book Millennials Rising. (See this Ben Shapiro piece at The Weekly Standard for more.) We’re not prudish or anti-sex at all. But casual sex with partners you barely know is disgusting and dangerous. Honestly, even with a condom one might as well be sticking their privates in a blender — the damage done would be comparable. How is it a pro-sex or cool or sexy position to want to engage in behavior that can destroy one’s ability to enjoy sex?