Editor’s Note: The meaning of the word “feminist” changes each generation. A term that once applied to women fighting for the right to vote and for stronger laws against rape has now been commandeered by progressive activists who want to force religious taxpayers to pay for abortions and contraception under a single-payer government healthcare plan. Where once feminists fought for the right to legally use birth control pills, now today’s so-called feminists demand that they’re being oppressed if the government does not subsidize their sex life. This has led a number of people to make the mistake that feminism itself is the problem, rather than the toxic blend of Marxism and Postmodernism that has hijacked it.
Susan L.M. Goldberg rebels against this — having to do battle with both feminists and the conservatives who misdiagnose the nature of their enemies. For almost a year now Susan has been writing incredible culture critiques taking the rhetorical ferocity of her hero Ann Coulter into the realm of Hannah Horvath, Miley Cyrus, and the angry bloggers of Jezebel. With her Jewish understanding of culture and history Susan interprets modern day feminism in the context of ancient goddess worship:
“As the western world embraced and assimilated what is essentially Biblical Hebraism, adopting a biblical faith in a Messiah and melding pagan practices with adherence to the cultural norms of ancient Israel known as ‘commandments,’ we grew as a society. We overcame disease, poverty, and ignorance in many areas of life. Not ironically, the same forces that demand we turn away from our biblical foundation have also managed to plunge us into a neo-Dark Age. Modern medicine now faces new plagues, radical governments threaten new poverty, and ignorance is more rampant than ever. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the popular branding of Girls as a show that empowers women.”
The Bible is a feminist document — but one can only comprehend that by understanding what women really experienced in the world that existed before it. Susan is doing a fantastic job showing how the ancient world has reemerged in our postmodern age. Stay tuned for more collections of her writings soon. In the meantime, please also check out the previous best-of collections published: 10 of Chris Queen’s Greatest Hits, 10 of Walter Hudson’s Greatest Hits, 10 of Hannah Sternberg’s Greatest Hits, and 10 of Kathy Shaidle’s Greatest Hits. For more great articles, also check out the list of PJ Lifestyle’s Top 50 List Articles of 2013. – Dave Swindle
March 13, 2013
June 6, 2013:
June 16, 2013:
August 13, 2013:
August 25, 2013:
7. Five Uncomfortable Truths About Girls: How Modern Feminism Returned Us to the Chains of Ancient Paganism
November 20, 2013:
August 28, 2013:
November 11, 2013:
March 13, 2013:
1. Admiring Ann: Five Coulterisms for Counterculture Conservatives
I used to hate politics. Then I met Ann Coulter.
In case you haven’t seen PCU, allow me to explain: I am only one of many in my generation who grew into adulthood harboring a strong desire to avoid all forms of political discussion. For many of us growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, the deafening liberal attacks coming across cable news, talk radio, and then the internet defined politics as a source of talking-head tsuris and therefore best avoided at all costs.
The unavoidable reality hit when I enrolled in grad school and promptly learned the phrase: “Everything is political.” And that was before I got the chance to interview the prospective film studies professor who declared himself a communist without blinking an eye.
Critical theory, my chosen area of study, comes in many forms. The most memorable (and popular) being a series of schools based on race/ethnicity/gender/sexual demarcations that could easily be classified under the heading “White Men Are Coming To Get You Studies.” All theories are taught under the general pseudo-philosophical guideline of postmodernism. I could spend entire articles trying to explain that one. Instead, I’ll just let this handy little comic do it for me.
Nothing I learned made sense yet all of it was accepted as holy. Any time I would question these ideas I would receive furrowed brows, gobsmacked expressions, or simply be told in so many words that I just “didn’t get it.” These reactions probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much except for the fact that they were coming from the professor who would sign off on my thesis, providing me with the paperwork I needed to graduate and get the hell out of Dodge.
Hell. I was in hell. Instead of being taught how to think, I was paying to be told what to think. Waiting in the airport for my flight back to campus after winter break, I contemplated throwing in the towel. And then, I heard an angel’s voice and a bright light beckoned me to the bookstore in the terminal…
Okay, not totally. But I do know for a fact that finding Ann Coulter’s Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right on my way to the plane was a divine appointment. Three hours later I landed on solid ground and felt my feet beneath me for the first time in 18 months. Finally, someone was making sense.
Perhaps if conservatives had had total control over every major means of news dissemination for a quarter century, they would have forgotten how to debate, too, and would just call liberals stupid and mean.
Ann waited until page 2 to verbalize the crux of the problem I’d been facing: This liberal professor had total control and, therefore, could demean and dismiss me whenever he liked.
Or so he thought and so did I, until I met Ann Coulter.
Coulterism #5: LAUGH AT YOUR ENEMIES
My love affair with Ann Coulter was sparked by her quick-witted sense of humor. Oddly enough, her sarcastic jabs often get her into more trouble than her actual argumentation. This is most likely due to the reality that well-researched and documented facts are fairly difficult to dismiss. Coulter’s deft one-liners delivered in rapid response are her true claim to fame and the main reason liberals love to hate her. This is ironically funny considering that many liberals feel free to sling around non-PC stereotypes and trash-talk for laughs, political points, and, most importantly, ratings.
Ann’s counterculture spirit drew me into her work. Despite what pseudo-yippies stereotype as “counterculture,” Ann’s love of the Grateful Dead, her quiet yet powerful faith that transcends the typical church-state cultural divide (“I don’t really care what people say about me, I’m a Christian so there’s nothing anyone can ever do to me…”), and her role as the honorary chair of the GOProud advisory council make Coulter more of a stereotype-breaker than Gen X & Y’s typical hippie-wannabes. Unlike most “rule-breaking,” self-loathing comedians whose mockery is a thinly veiled plea for acceptance, Coulter’s comedy stems from her embrace of the fact that the “reality” liberals claim to be the truth is a big, fat lie. There is no better way to respond to a liar who swears they’re telling the truth than by simply laughing in their face.
Coulterism #4: DO YOUR RESEARCH
Like any good lawyer, Ann Coulter reeks of confidence hard-earned by many long hours of copious research. Instead of taking someone’s word for it, Coulter trudges out primary-source material from the depths of LexisNexis archives at the click of a button. Ironically, it seems that liberal professors aren’t as good at teaching research techniques as they are at spoon-feeding their political agenda through their syllabi. As recent research indicates, going to college not only makes you liberal — it makes you dumb.
Have you met Whittaker Chambers? Through Slander Ann introduced me to the communist-turned-government-informant — the dirty little secret disproving liberals’ long-held belief that the Red Scare was Eisenhower’s trumped-up tactic for winning a second term. The reality of the communist infiltration of the American government is only one of the many truths liberals have re-written (or totally ignored) in academia and the mainstream media. In fact, thanks to an exponential growth in left-leaning staff in both academia and the MSM over the last half of the 20th century, the ideology that justified this willful ignorance has promulgated a bias toward lying (commonly referred to as “political correctness”) in nearly every sphere of daily life. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, that college students today have lifted phrases like “Well, you know…” or “I don’t know, you know?” to a conversational art form. Blend a constant stream of lies with a postmodern “anything goes and nothing matters” philosophy and you have a stoner’s dream… or a logical thinker’s nightmare.
Coulterism #3: TAKE CONTROL
And if you don’t go along with the trend of political correctness, you get slapped — with a dirty look, a warning, or even in some cases a lawsuit. Because, as Ann so keenly explained, liberals think they’re in control — I would argue — not just of the media, but of life in general. Whether it’s birth control, climate control, or gun control they’re campaigning for, liberals are in a constant battle for control over every aspect of your life. Education? Food? Medical care? Liberals demand increased government supervision over everything. The only reason they get away with it? Because you’ve been mentally and socially conditioned to believe that if you disagree with liberal opinion you’re either mean or just plain stupid. In the words of Soviet strategists, you’ve been completely demoralized.
Nowhere is this demoralizing criticism more employed or more taken to heart than on college campuses. Only last year, the Daily Princetonian printed an article on “Conservative Comfort” (or the lack thereof) at Princeton University:
During this past September’s discussion, recent alumni dished out pointers to Princeton conservatives on how to conquer the hurdles posed as a minority on campus: how to challenge an unfair, politically influenced grade by a liberal professor, when to step away from a political debate with a roommate and whether to list conservative activities on applications to graduate schools.
If the professors (or your radical roommates) aren’t discouraging enough, administrations that condemn the appearance of conservative speakers like Ann while inviting radical leftists to speak at campus-wide events do their best to drive the message home that when it comes to politics, you’re either in (meaning you have a shot at a degree and a career) or you’re out, so you’d better start flipping burgers.
Or you choose to be like Ann and retake control of your brain, your choices, and your life from the clutches of The Kool-Aid induced Liberal “Reality.” But how do you dare do such a thing?
Because you can. It really is as simple as that. And if you forget, the research is there to back you up.
Coulterism #2: STAND YOUR GROUND
Hardcore lefties like to argue. If they didn’t, Ann Coulter wouldn’t have had to write How To Talk to a Liberal (If You Must). Despite popular research, there are liberals who don’t walk away from conversations. And contrary to popular opinion, there are politically inclined conversationalists who you’ll share common ground with on more than one issue. Remaining true to your principles is essential to maintaining the focus of the conversation. Like Ann amidst the college libertarians, stand your ground on the issues that matter and avoid getting drawn into useless and ineffective word battles (often revolving around issues that are grounded more in morality than politics) that do more to divide the camp than unite it.
Of course, it is wise to keep in mind that some leftists folk stick around for the thrill of an argument, as if Marx and Lenin are keeping score to see who can beat the dead horse the hardest. As for how to handle those conversations, see Coulterism #5 again.
Coulterism #1: GET INTO BED WITH THE TRUTH
Herein lies the ultimate lesson of Ann: Truth is the ultimate weapon and there is no defeating it. You can argue, defame, or walk away, but truth will always be there. And once you’ve met the truth and come to know the truth, you enter into a relationship with the truth: You keep it, it keeps you.
And so the truth kept me sane as I clung to it dearly. After coming to an agreement with my professor (he made me promise I’d never go for a Ph.D; I answered that I had no plans to do so “at this time” which I thought to be a great postmodern response), I stuck to my guns and used my own ideas in my thesis (gasp!), which my committee passed (double-gasp!) despite it not being “worthy of the academy.” When I accepted my master’s degree, I turned to the graduation day audience, eyed my professor sitting in the front row, and took a deep, long bow. The show may have been over, but the joke was on him.
I had already received my standing ovation the week before from 100 seniors I’d guided through an audio-production lab that semester. On the first day of class one of them had meekly asked, “When it comes to our projects, do we have to follow the rules?” I looked at them and answered, “You aren’t getting paid for this. In fact, you’re seniors, so for many of you this will be one of the last opportunities that won’t involving having to answer to someone bigger than you. I don’t want to hear what you think I expect; I want to hear who you are. Just be yourself.”
June 6, 2013:
1. A Biblical Feminist Confronts The Girls Goddesses
In the 1970s, feminists revived goddess worship. Their reasoning: to Jews and Christians, God is male so we’re going to start our own She-ra, Man-Haters Club and have our own goddesses instead. Far be it from me to criticize someone for starting their own clique, but their disturbing lack of logic has rained on the chick parade ever since.
Compare the following Biblical account:
Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”
Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”
“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.”
…with the following historical account:
The foulest Babylonian custom is that which compels every woman of the land to sit in the temple of Aphrodite and have intercourse with some stranger once in her life. …most sit down in the sacred plot of Aphrodite, with crowns of cord on their heads …Once a woman has taken her place there, she does not go away to her home before some stranger has cast money into her lap, and had intercourse with her outside the temple… It does not matter what sum the money is; the woman will never refuse, for that would be a sin, the money being by this act made sacred. So she follows the first man who casts it and rejects no one. After their intercourse, having discharged her sacred duty to the goddess, she goes away to her home… There is a custom like this in some parts of Cyprus.
Prophetess or prostitute — there’s a million-dollar question. Why represent the Living God when you can enslave yourself to unknown men in service of a sculpted woman?
The irony deepens when one continues to read (not stereotype) the Bible to find that Israelite women didn’t need to waste their time fighting to be equal to men; they were busy fulfilling their own unique role in society. Created with an intrinsic spiritual link to God, women were the first teachers of Torah to their children. They managed their homes, families, and finances. While other women served gods and goddesses by sacrificing their bodies and their children on pagan altars, Hebrew women were called by their God to birth, raise, educate, build, and prophesy to their nation. Long before American women decided they needed equality, Israelite women were divinely empowered.
Yet it’s this revived goddess theology, not biblical feminism, that has trickled down from yesterday’s second-wave feminism into today’s pop culture to the point where the term “goddess” has become a compliment slung about among women anxious to buy t-shirts, mugs, and jewelry encrusted with a term of ancient slavery. Nowhere is the pop-goddess trend more evident than on television, where women continue to be defined and glorified through sexual acts. Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and the “Backdoor Teen Mom” have all reached stardom through cut-and-dry video prostitution, while fictional shows like HBO’s Girls provide more high-brow, intellectual goddess-fodder, which the graduate school-educated critics crave.
I struggled with trying to love Girls. If you’re Jewish (check) and from the New York area (check), pop culture dictates that you’re supposed to idolize Lena Dunham. Her success as an ingénue (or perhaps inge-not is more apropos) is impressive, although not totally surprising: Judd Apatow has launched many a young star’s career. Yet to the critics she is the goddess of cutting-edge media. Dunham is a prophetess to the Cult of Hip, calling forth her own good fortune through her Girls character Hannah Horvath’s self-defined “voice of a generation” declaration.
In all fairness, Dunham is riding the wave of praise being thrown at her. While she may be reveling, Hannah Horvath and her compatriots are unraveling. In fact, this reluctant viewer was pleased to find the hidden appeal of Girls lies in the stark contrast between the critical glorification and the truly inglorious nature of the characters for whom they rave. These women (and men) are not heroes. In fact, they are as painfully human as is their creator. Yet, according to the critics, these women have a major responsibility to goddess culture. For the PC-mongers, Dunham has failed in her role of earth mother to the more tan among us:
It’s not enough because there are people who are alienated, who routinely experience erasure of their own experiences for the sake of a joke or to set up a plot. There are those that would say it is her own right to write about whatever she wants, to exhibit characters in whatever way she desires. That’s true. But if we don’t evaluate our own privilege as white females than what are doing? How do we move forward? …What it comes down to for me is this. If feminism isn’t intersectional, it means nothing. Am I implying that all shows must be perfect reflections of diversity? No. But at the very least, they should not promote or play into trite racial or ethnic stereotypes.
While for the “We Have Arrived” Bitch crowd strutting in their slut walks, Dunham’s show is a vehicle for the salvation of our culture:
Despite the ups and downs of the season, Girls remains one of the most interesting and emotionally resonant looks into the inner lives of women and allows for discussion of our personal experiences. Through this season, we’ve had discourse on female friendships, bisexuality, mental illness, rape and consent amongst so many other issues and these are all extremely important conversations that can illuminate what we need more of in our media and culture and what desperately needs to change.
At a glance, these are dichotomous critiques, yet both share a core belief feeding the goddess mindset: the demand for self-sacrifice on the altar of the culturally defined greater good. Whether Dunham is using her white privilege to lift up minorities, or exposing the painful realities of her OCD to focus attention on mental health issues, the expectation is the same: Dunham is the promised lamb to be sacrificed on the altar of Girls.
Ironically, this sacrificial pressure is most keenly expressed through Dunham’s character Hannah, who is determined to “experience everything for everyone.” In an episode titled “One Man’s Trash,” she confesses to a near-complete stranger with whom she’s had a 2 day love affair:
Please don’t tell anyone this, but I want to be happy… I didn’t think I did. I made a promise such a long time ago that I was going to take in experiences, all of them, so I could tell other people about them and maybe save them. But it gets so tiring trying to take in all the experiences for everybody, letting anyone say anything to me… I’m not different… I want what everyone wants, I want all the things. I just want to be happy.
Not one mention of this monologue was included in the critiques of this episode, all of which are particularly painful. The majority don’t believe in the reality of the episode; detractors find the pairing of dashing doctor and frumpy Hannah “unrealistic” while advocates analyze cinematic style to determine if it’s just a dream sequence. If the idea that Hannah couldn’t ever bag a doctor isn’t insulting enough, the biting edge comes in the remarks about Hannah’s “narcissistic self”:
Fantasy over. She throws his trash out, and we are right back to the mess that is Hannah’s life. The trash, get it? Its not really a subtle metaphor.
If Dunham (or any woman, for that matter) weren’t shielded by a television screen, would such a miserable cry for help still be ignored by this troop of culture vultures? David Haglund at Slate was at least bold enough to admit his distaste for Hannah’s happiness — real or imagined — because it didn’t match up to his own:
I do think they were a fantasy of happiness for Hannah, one that, for a variety of reasons, I find a bit repellent… it made the episode very hard for me to enjoy. And that, I realize, is at least partly on me.
One look at the critical response to Girls and it’s easy to see that today’s television personalities are akin to ancient temple slaves. Viewers anxiously rally behind Lena Dunham’s band of misfits, but why? To befriend the grossly “self-involved” Hannah Horvath or to find in her both a sacrificial lamb for their cause as well as a scapegoat for their sins?
I stopped idolizing celebrities and looking for pure truth in television about 10 years ago. Back then the newly proclaimed god of Hip was Jon Stewart. Attending a taping of The Daily Show with friends was the secular equivalent of going up to Jerusalem for the High Holidays. Before the show, we were encouraged to ask questions of the comic pundit. Wanting to impress my idol, I thought quickly, raised my hand, and was called on to ask what I considered to be a well-versed question about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The man who had morphed The Daily Show into a vehicle for smart yet funny news looked at me bug-eyed and feebly offered, “I make the jokes?”
The difference between Stewart and Dunham is that Stewart was “hip” enough to know to stay on message. Chalk it up to intelligence, naivete, or both, but I have my suspicions that Dunham hasn’t passed initiation yet. Hannah Horvath’s second season line, “I believe, like everyone else, that I have at least 3 or 4 good folk albums in me,” gives me reason to hope. Coming after the endless “voice of a generation” comparisons to Bob Dylan, it is one of those lines that makes me wonder if she isn’t wise to the critics’ game (and just as reluctant as Dylan to play along). But is she wise enough not to become a sacrificial goddess?
That is one of the questions I’ll explore in the coming weeks. Dunham is bright enough to fill Girls with searingly honest commentary of the effects of the goddess cult on millennial women in terms of sexuality, boyfriends, politics, work, and friendship. But is she brilliant enough to empower her characters, or willing enough to enslave them for the sake of critical acclaim?
Some of the questions and controversies invoked by the Girls goddesses that I plan to confront Deborah-style this summer at PJ Lifestyle (and reader suggestions are appreciated):
1. Virginity and Value: When did it suddenly become cool to be a slut? How did feminism come to embrace promiscuity as a form of empowerment? Is the “adventurous” woman treating her HPV really happier than the biblical feminist who resisted the culture and waited until marriage to have sex?
2. From Working Moms to Non-Moms: Have we entered a new era of child sacrifice? Has career-worship become an idol inspiring generations of women to sacrifice parenthood?
3. Girls or boys, who really “wears the pants” in Millennial and Gen-X relationships today? How have decades of free internet porn transformed the sexual dynamics of modern dating? How do secular goddess values differ from biblical values in balancing masculine and feminine in monogamy and marriage?
4. How deeply does the cult of goddess feminism impact our understanding of the individual woman? How does the idea of goddesses, reinvented in our popular culture today, undermine rather than enhance women’s happiness in their practical, day-to-day lives? How do women’s lives fall apart when they choose to idolize aspects of their feminine identity and parts of their body? And what do race and skin color have to do with idolatry?
5. Postmodern Porn: Is Girls pornography or art? And how does a biblical feminist discern the difference between the two? Today is there really a meaningful difference between HBO and the Playboy Channel? When does art about sex become porn?
6. Conclusion: Pop Culture, Polytheism, and Postmodernism. How does the America of today compare with the ancient Canaan of the Bible? Is respecting everyone’s feelings as equally legitimate the same as having to respecting everyone’s gods and laws? What lessons can we learn from ancient times about how to overcome the urge to enslave ourselves to idols?
June 16, 2013:
2. Sex Mitzvah’d: Virginity Isn’t Easy for Girls
I love The 40 Year-Old Virgin for the same reason Shoshanna Shapiro quickly became my favorite character on Girls: not because of her personal virginphobia, but because in a world threatened with terrorism, hunger, and the pending threat of Obamacare, virginity remains one of the greatest crises of our time.
Thanks to the goddess feminist revolt of the sexy sixties, bedroom activities have risen to the top of the pops when it comes to ratings-driven conversation. As a result, virgins have become stigmatized as uncool goods. It’s no wonder, then, that pop culture-obsessed Shoshanna is neurotic enough to spend an entire season trying her best to lose her virginity so she can catch up to her “adventurous” female counterparts like Jessa (who came to the states for an abortion) and Hannah (who has recently been diagnosed with HPV).
How did feminism come to embrace promiscuity as a form of empowerment? Is the “adventurous” woman treating her HPV really happier than the biblical feminist who resisted the culture and waited until marriage to have sex?
To the goddess feminist, sex is power; just ask Dr. Linda Savage, author of Reclaiming Goddess Sexuality and purveyor of Goddess Therapy. To sex therapists like Savage, female sexuality and spirituality are intrinsically intertwined, their power expressed through pagan rituals that mystify and idolize reproductive ability. Contrary to modern concepts of contraception, most pagan cultures emulated by the goddess movement have as many fertility goddesses as they do virgin goddesses. The two concepts often go hand-in-hand, as in Greek culture, where the virgin goddess Artemis was also worshipped in terms of reproduction, despite being the head of a virgin cult:
When young girls reached puberty they were initiated into her cult, but when they decided to marry, which Artemis was not against, they were asked to lay in front of the altar all the paraphernalia of their virginity, toys, dolls and locks of their hair, they then left the domain of the virgin goddess.
Today’s goddesses won’t admit this, of course, but their argument that women have the “right” to their own bodies presumes the idea that, somehow, the physical act of sex was implicitly paired with the psychological act of stealing a woman’s identity: an idea less rooted in the concept of modern manhood than it is in the ancient Greek concept of womanhood. Ironically, for the Greeks, a girl didn’t just give up childhood when she chose to marry; she physically and intellectually gave up her own female identity:
This relationship between Apollo and His priestess echoes a widely held belief about ancient Greek women and their husbands: Not only did a woman belong to her husband, but his essence permeated her. His influence entered her during sex, and so every word she spoke was his word channeled through her. This basic concept also applies to the ancient Greek understanding of men and women in general. Men were considered purely projective (as their penis spews forth their essence, so must their mouths when we apply vertical symmetry) and women were considered purely receptive. Furthermore, a woman’s individuality is somehow contaminated by a man’s spirit during intercourse. Once he spills his essence into her, everything she says and does has his essence in it.
Goddess feminism thought they trumped patriarchy when they declared power over the bedroom. Instead, by embracing the pagan patriarchal notion that women lose all sense of identity when they have sex, goddess feminists rendered themselves powerless to do much beyond become an “essence buffet” in the quest of fulfilling a woman’s spiritual responsibility to reproduce.
Biblical feminists never embraced the idea that a man’s “essence” took over a woman’s intellect. However, we also don’t deny scientific fact: condoms or not, sexual partners leave their mark behind. While Shoshanna anxiously ponders her virginity, Hannah’s latent fear of AIDS resurfaces. Googling “the stuff that comes up the sides of condoms,” Hannah decides it’s time for a visit to the doctor, where her PAP test reveals a woman’s worst nightmare: HPV.
According to the CDC, “approximately 79 million Americans are currently infected with Human Papilloma Virus. About 14 million people become newly infected each year. HPV is so common that nearly all sexually-active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.” Not only can HPV lead to cervical cancer, it can be transmitted from pregnant mother to child; as a result, that child may develop warts in her throat one or multiple times her life. Despite what Michael Douglas’s press agents wish you to believe, men are at risk for developing cancer from HPV as well. In case you were wondering, “HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom – so condoms may not fully protect against HPV.”
In a sickeningly ironic twist, Shoshanna anxiously awaits the ridding of her virginity burden, while Hannah lays on the altar of goddess feminism, sacrificing her own health and the health of potential children and partners in the name of “adventure.” How empowered can you possibly be when you are bound by an illness with uncontrollable potential ramifications?
Biblically speaking, God is straightforward enough about the joy of sex to have made pleasuring your wife one of the wife’s three basic marital rights as well as a commandment for husbands. In fact, he is supposed to both watch for the head’s up that she’s ready and offer sex without her even having to ask. Sex between a husband and wife should never be about power or performed in anger because, quite frankly, it is a sacred act.
Virginity is a standard in the Torah, not a stigma; it is a sign of loyalty to the covenant of marriage. Just as every physical commandment has a spiritual implication, so the marriage covenant is the physical embodiment of God’s covenant with Israel. This principle is exemplified in the book of Hosea, wherein God commands the prophet, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” The prophet follows through, marrying Gomer and having children with her despite the fact that she continues to prostitute herself. Turning Hosea’s life into a metaphor of warning for Israel, God explains:
My people perish for lack of knowledge …for the spirit of whoring makes them err, they go off whoring, deserting their God. …Yes, a people without understanding will come to ruin.
Ruin, for the whoring Israelites, involves the consequences of their acts falling back on their own heads. We aren’t talking fire and brimstone, here; we’re talking common sense. For the Israelites, that translated into being conquered by foreign powers they considered to be allies; for girls seeking empowerment through promiscuity, that means contracting any number of life-threatening diseases.
Yet, according to goddess culture, when it comes to sex, the healthy chick is the loser in the scenario. At least she is according to the critics of Girls, who can’t understand Shoshanna’s virginal nature. Or, as one writer at HuffPo put it, “Encountering a 20-something of that persuasion in New York City is akin to seeing a unicorn prance up Fifth Avenue (with President Obama on its back, shooting rainbows from his hands).” Wisely, Girls elects to withhold judgement, viewing virginity as another passing fact of female life. In trying to reassure Shoshanna that she is not a loser, Hannah observes that one day Shoshanna won’t have to worry about her virginity any more, while Hannah will have her HPV forever.
Her sad line reminded me of a similar observation of Israel in Hosea: “They became as loathsome as the thing they loved.” Of course, true to biblical precedent, redemption comes for Israel at the end of the book, and it sounds and feels a lot better than the goddess write-off of, “Oh, well.”
March 27, 2013
4.Boob Alert: Top 5 Side Effects of Watching Family Guy
When Seth MacFarlane sang about boobs at the Oscars, I’m pretty sure he was referring to his own fans.
Most of the time it is taken for granted that we recognize the latent moronic nature of most television programming today.
Then again, do we?
If we agreed as a culture that television programming like Family Guy is so moronic, why would a collective cheer rise up at the sight of another Emmy win? Would we be told by media commentary royalty to worship Seth MacFarlane, the show’s creator, as fascinating? Not only does the guy have mega street cred in the pop culture universe, the primetime structure he’s so wholeheartedly mocked is singing his praises. In fact, it could be said that Family Guy’s seemingly counterculture humor has been legalized by the mainstream.
What’s more, like a bad addiction, Family Guy is the drug that has turned a generation of Boob-Tube addicts into junkies. So, what are the signs, Doctor? How do you know when a co-worker, a friend, even a loved one has become a total Boob? Let’s play MediaMD as we examine the 5 most common side effects of watching Family Guy.
I have friends who admit to growing impatient when an internet video lasts longer than 2 minutes. Professional surfers would tag YouTube or social media as prime culprits, but long before high speed (when most of us were still mesmerized by 56k), Family Guy presented 23 one-minute gag reels slapped together. Compared to Warner Brothers shorts, these episodes are the hot pants of the cartoon industry. Between 30 second pop-culture references and 72 second gags, the cutaway nature of Family Guy trained our brains to multitask long before anyone developed the speed to download.
4. Stunted Personal Growth
Never in the history of television have five characters remained so completely static over the course of 11 seasons. In fact, some (including the Cracked crew) would even argue that the Griffins have devolved over the course of the series.
Yes, television is formulaic, but even Lisa Simpson transitioned from being a “female Bart” in her Tracey Ullman days to a vegan, a Buddhist, and a feminist and managed to hold onto those changes as the series progressed. The Griffins may cover a dearth of pop-culture territory in the course of an episode, but as for personal growth, the clock gets reset at the beginning of the next episode. According to the A.V. Club, Brian the dog is the “best and most developed character” in the show. Perhaps because he was able to kick his cocaine habit? Don’t worry – the dog still likes to “hit the sauce.”
3. Apathetic Acceptance of Political Correctness
Whether you’re on the left or the right, you hate Family Guy. If you’re on the left, you hate its endless mockery of political correctness: racism, sexism, homophobia, it’s all there. If you’re on the right, you hate Family Guy because of the crude way in which those politically incorrect jokes are made. In any case, you’re missing the bigger and even more depressing picture.
By making political correctness the object of its humor, Family Guy asserts that political correctness is the structure sustaining our culture. To most of us this is no surprise. Yet our problem with political correctness in our daily life is purely a source of mockery for Family Guy. By doing nothing but cracking lewd jokes in response to PC attitudes, Family Guy argues that the only solution to the PC crisis is to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.” Theirs is a useless deconstruction that mocks the problem without providing a sustainable solution.
And for the “Well, who cares, they offend everyone so they must be okay” crowd, consider this fact: Family Guy does mock political correctness, but they do so within the confines of FCC regulations.
So much for being counterculture icons. You can’t damn The Man and follow the rules.
In other words, Family Guy is as effectively counterculture as the ’60s hippies who traded in their tie-dye for power suits. Not only have they resigned to playing the game, they’re laughing about it and encouraging you to do the same.
2. Creative Dysfunction
Like bad costume jewelry at the flea market, there’s Family Guy: shiny and attractive on the outside, cheap and hollow on the inside. The only reason Seth MacFarlane has been deemed a creative genius is because he was smart enough to mash up a standard cartoon formula with an endless stream of pop-culture references.
MacFarlane’s rape of the creative heights of 20th century pop culture is best mocked by CollegeHumor.com. In a sketch titled “Seth MacFarlane’s Nightmare,” an entire episode of Family Guy is boiled down to 30 seconds, at least 10 of which are total silence. That is exactly how much originality you have per episode. In fact, when Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of South Park, mocked Family Guy‘s lack of originality, they received kudos from fellow animators:
…we got flowers from the Simpsons people because we ripped on Family Guy. Then we got calls from the King of the Hill people saying, “You’re doing God’s work ripping on Family Guy.”
1. Craving Moral Relativism
Whether it’s Jesus or Ground Zero, nothing is sacred in Family Guy. Every aspect of human history is a source for mockery. Have a problem with that? Go ahead and sue. The courts will decide if your offense is justified. Hence, Peter Griffin’s wild night out can “one up” Jesus’s death and resurrection and 9/11 is just a card in the campaign deck used to play up to “the biggest idiots on the planet.” Nothing is sacred in the world of Family Guy except for the laugh, and even that lacks intrinsic value.
When Family Guy turns its deconstructive eye towards the sacrosanct in our society, we are being challenged to let go of what we hold dear. We begin to weigh our values in the big scheme of things; like the FCC’s tonnage precept, our values become relative to the scale on which we are being judged. When that scale has been culturally tipped in favor of not taking anything seriously, our own sacred cows are set out to pasture.
I’ll never forget my favorite birthday present, a white, fluffy mechanical dog with an orange and white ball between his paws. I loved that puppy as much as if he were real and wanted to share that love with my newfound kindergarten friends. My mother warned me not to take him to class, but I was sure everyone would think he was the cutest thing and I’d be the coolest kid in school. Sure enough, within five minutes some kid broke my dog and I was tossed off as the loser with the broken puppy. The parents of the child never even bothered to apologize, let alone offer to pay for the toy.
I had unknowingly sacrificed my puppy for five minutes of fame. Now, if we truly treasure our sacred values (which I’d imagine should be a tad more important than a child’s toy), why are we so willing to throw them aside for an empty laugh? When you’re a Family Guy Boob it’s easy to do; you’re trained to react apathetically to the world around you and to give up on your own creative spirit in favor of riffing someone else’s. How much easier is it, then, to laugh in the face of what truly matters? After all, according to Family Guy there’s no point in doing anything else.
On the bright side, I suppose if we’re embracing apathetic nihilism, we might as well enjoy doing it. Family Guy definitely scores some points for originality there. Oh, wait ….nevermind.
August 13, 2013:
5. Five Tips for Novice Winos
By the time you hit your late 20s you’re one of two kinds of drinkers: You’re downing expensive cocktails at bars and clubs, or you’re a young professional looking to cultivate your growing reputation at a hip social gathering. One professor liked to call them wine and cheese parties, to which a fellow classmate at the time responded, “More like beer and Cheez-Wiz!” Nearly 10 years later, my friends and I have hit the era of moving onto the real cheese and the beverages to go along with it. Here are some tips for transitioning into the wine scene, one glass at a time.
1. Discover Labrusca Wines
I just broke a major wine snob rule, but the truth is there is a world of difference between being handed a glass of something you’re told is wonderful and actually finding wine you like to drink. Most new wine drinkers have no idea, for instance, that there is more to drink than the traditional dry, oaked vinifera you’re expected to enjoy. If you’re tired of college cocktails and boring beers, but turned off or downright intimidated by the thought of a dry oaked Cab Sav or buttery Chardonnay, try American wines. DiMatteo Vineyards in Hammonton, New Jersey, offers an award-winning gorgeous blend of Concord and Ives called Pasquale Red that makes for a great red table wine.
2. Go to Smaller Wine Festivals
New Jersey is loaded with great ways to spend a weekend afternoon, regional wine festivals being one of them. Our first wine fest was Six Flags Grape Adventure. About 12 wineries were set up around the amusement park (after the rides closed) giving us a chance to sample some of the best of Jersey. An added bonus with Grape Adventure was the Safari ride. Tasters piled onto a bus that rode out into the animal safari where you could sample even more wine while feeding the giraffes. (You may have held carrots in one hand, but they also took an interest in the wine glass in your other. One giraffe actually took a nose-dive into a woman’s glass while she stood for a picture. Don’t worry; the glass was empty.)
Word of advice: The more intimate the fest, the better. That being said, it is best to approach all wine festivals in one of two ways. Either limit the number of tables you hit, or limit the number of wine varietals you taste. If you jump in the pool you risk burning your taste buds and leaving with some really tainted opinions spurred on by flavor overload.
3. Taste with Friends
Don’t drink alone. It’s boring. Sure, there are a world of critics out there who drink wine alone all the time, but at least they’re being paid for it (and spitting out most of what they taste – because they’re working). Wine, from the making to the drinking, is about people. Whether you’re looking for a fun time with friends or a great way to learn more about your date, wine tasting offers the perfect platform for good conversation.
4. Bring Your Brain
Drinking wine is about tuning in. While it doesn’t have to be a particularly intellectual experience, it isn’t an exercise in getting blitzed. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t an exercise in snobbery, either. Wine is as much about what went into making it as it is about the experience made by drinking it. It is also a great ice-breaker at parties. Everyone will want to know who you are when you hang by the wines and can accurately explain the difference between a Tempranillo and a Pinot Noir.
5. Do Some Reading
You found some wines you like and you want to know more. So, do your research! Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s book Drink This Wine Made Simple is a great primer for beginners and an excellent resource for anyone looking to know the basics of the wine world and vinifera grapes. Described as “refreshingly simple, irreverent, and witty,” this book is also incredibly accessible to the novice wine drinker and has become a go-to resource on my bookshelf.
Above all, drink what you like and have fun doing it! And as far as giving up that beer and cheez-wiz… growing up never tasted so good.
6. Five Ways the GOP Screws Up
Check out the previous installments in Susan L.M. Goldberg’s Ann Coulter series:
October 26: My 5 Favorite Ann Coulter Columns
The thesis of Ann Coulter’s latest book, Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 – Especially a Republican is simple: Republicans do a great disservice to themselves every time they try to play along with liberals. Given the latest infighting between the Tea Party and the French Republicans (as Mark Levin calls them) Coulter’s book couldn’t have been published at a more opportune moment. Thanks to Ann, we now have a study guide for getting it right in 2014.
But, to overcome a problem, you must first acknowledge it. So here are the five major ways Republicans are screwing over the Right. The fix is simple: Stop accepting, rewarding, and emulating this behavior if you want to get liberals out of office.
5. Expecting Politicians to be Gods.
A few critics of Ann’s seem to be blown away by the fact that, at one point, she backed the Chris Christie. How could Ann back a RINO? Poser! Fraud!
And you’ve never made a wrong decision in your life, let alone changed your mind.
As Ann wrote, “No elected Republican will do everything you want.” Neither politicians nor pundits are gods; if we thought they were, we’d be lefty socialists. So, let’s give up the notion that every politician on our side needs to back our individual political philosophy with every vote they make and start approaching politics for what it is: a team sport where a serious level of rationality is required to cultivate and follow a winning strategy. Instead of devolving into implosion mode at the instigation of the bloodthirsty MSM, reconvene with the goal of winning. It really is that simple.
4. Going Theological on Any Issue — For Example, Gay Marriage
Contrary to popular stereotype, us folks on the right have a variety of personal views on gay marriage. What we do agree on is the fact that we are a nation of laws empowered by citizens, not courts. That belief is what distinguishes us from the leftists who seek to create a socialist state through activists judges. Why, then, do we insist on theologically bashing our way through the gay marriage conversation when the Constitution is on our side?
Mark Levin succinctly explains why the Supreme Court, along with federal and state courts, should stay the hell out of decision-making when it comes to popular votes: it isn’t within their Constitutional purview to overturn the will of the people. Instead of rebutting those who argue that the Constitution is an amorphous idea that will bend to their will with the simple truth that they are empowering a court to render their individual vote effectively useless, we get caught up in arguments over whether or not God approves of homosexuality. We then get stereotyped as a bunch of Bible-thumpers who have no clue how government works – by a bunch of ideological terrorists intent on destroying the very government they claim to uphold.
It’s time for us to recognize the Soviet-style infighting we’re being duped into pursuing and go to law school, preferably one populated with professors like Coulter and Levin. Faith is wonderful and necessary, but we cannot get lost in theological battles when the legal answers are right at our fingertips.
3. Turning Our Back on Our Own
Republican politicians are lame. Seriously, our most interesting folks are our pundits, because they don’t have campaign pollsters repeatedly barking but they’ll hate you in their ears. In a column on the much maligned Lewis Libby, Ann Coulter observed, “If you won’t defend your own champions, conservatives, then don’t sit back and wonder why so few people want to be your champions.” Liberals malign Ted Cruz’s Mr. Smith-esque attempt to defund the already defunct Obamacare and Republicans jump on board, looking for an easy target to blame. There’s those pollsters again: But they hate you.
Who is “they” anyway? The reality is that the average voter has no clue why the shutdown happened; they’re relying on the MSM to give them the summary, and when the Republicans use their 15 minutes of fame to defame each other they sound like whiny schoolyard babies arguing over who hit who first. What was that about Obamacare being un-Constitutional, fraudulent legislation again? Oh, forget it, Peter King is raking on Ted Cruz again; they’re so Kardashian!
Take the latest example, Congressman Sean Duffy from Wisconsin. The right-wing blogosphere praised the Republican for “standing up to the liberal media” while being interviewed by Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC. The right wing blogosphere’s definition of “standing up” consists of admitting failure in the form of a slow, drawn out compromise and hanging your fellow Republicans out to dry while you’re at it. I’m not sure what’s worse: The Congressman who thinks he’s big man on campus, or the doofus bloggers who are snorting chuckles behind their computer screens.
Facts, facts, facts. Republicans should be out there announcing their facts through a PR agent that makes them sound like the most brilliant thing since sliced bread. Take Ann Coulter’s response to the ending of the shutdown:
This is why the duly elected Republican majority in the House keeps funding the entire federal government — except Obamacare. Or except Congress’ exemption from Obamacare. Or except the individual mandate that Obama has already waived for his big-business friends.
“Settled law” has nothing to do with it. When Republicans won’t give up on an issue, it is because they are defending the will of the people, not pushing some harebrained scheme cooked up by a small group of zealots and imposed on the nation by an activist judge or freak Congress.
The Republicans are defending your individual rights. Boom! Who wouldn’t go for a slice of that?
2. Maligning Republican Women
You’d think being stereotyped as the party that wages a War on Women would inspire Republicans to raise up any and every female leader in their ranks with complete and utter support. Instead, they place their establishment burden square on the shoulders of the most important self-made woman in the Republican spotlight since Phyllis Schlafly: Sarah Palin.
The McCain campaign was doomed to failure from the start, but not because of Palin. McCain, an elite Republican known for endless concessions to liberal ideology including global warming and amnesty, was following the second term of George W. “turn my back on the Gaza Strip and watch my administration crumble” Bush. Insert the beauteous Sarah to shoulder the burden of the GOP Elite, let the liberal media have at her just for the heck of it, and throw in one insane stalker for good measure. Then, when she decides to resign from her role as Governor of Alaska because she couldn’t work and meet the demands of all those FOIA requests, declare her old news. Or, as Republican media consultant Todd Harris quipped, “I think Sarah Palin is on the verge of becoming the Miami Vice of American politics: Something a lot of people once thought was cool and then 20 years later look back, shake their heads and just kind of laugh.”
Michele Bachmann hasn’t been treated any better. “I see many in the Right side blogosphere who are against Bachmann, and when asked why, they give a tepid response about her being ‘extremist,’ and some pap about her not being bright, not ready, yada yada yada, the same attacks they make against Palin, yet, they cannot say what positions, what policies, of Bachmann’s they are against,” observed William Teach.
Liberals relentlessly attack conservative females in vulgar, sexist terms. Republicans respond by echoing the attacks or, even worse, not responding at all, proving that if you can’t say anything nice, you’re either a liberal or a wuss.
1. Playing Along With Liberal Lunatic Logic
The Right’s greatest mistake: Caving in to the “Two Legs Good, Four Legs Better” twisted reality of the Left.
Ann Coulter is right: Republicans reward themselves for acting like gentlemen, thinking they’ve won the day by taking the moral high ground, when in reality they’ve come off about as pathetic as Kevin Bacon begging for another paddling in Animal House.
Stop rewarding liberals by allowing them to think they’re right all the time. Politics may be a popularity contest, but pundits like Glenn Beck shouldn’t have to tell the American public about Cloward and Piven, nor would they have to if you’d stop giving into lunatic liberal logic in favor of a seat at the cool table in the Capitol cafeteria.
August 25, 2013:
7. Five Uncomfortable Truths About Girls: How Modern Feminism Returned Us to the Chains of Ancient Paganism
Sometimes what the media doesn’t want you to notice can hurt you. I grew up with Silent Generation parents who held some fairly strong Victorian values, so I heard plenty about the shameful evils of modern media before I entered college to study communications. There I learned the perspective of many critics and behind-the-scenes media makers: “The masses are asses.” While “shameful” has become a subjective quality in our postmodern era, the fact is that the folks bringing you your media think you’re downright dumb, no matter what.
They’re also motivated to do more than entertain you; today’s artists who garner attention are those that encourage you to “think” …just like them and their promoters. This, in essence, is the dark side of Girls. At 26, Lena Dunham stands the chance of becoming the next Orson Welles — a young individual with talent, ability and the right connections to make waves in the media. That is, if she weren’t so damned educated. And before you jump on the “evil liberal universities” bandwagon, be warned: the uncomfortable truth is that you, too, have been brainwashed.
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1. We may speak English, but we think in Ancient Greek.
Like most of my fellow classmates, I paid enough attention to the Greco-Roman pantheon to pass the test and move on with my life. The problem is that, as a culture, we have yet to move on from the humanistic influence of the ancient era. We are so incredibly oblivious to the fact that we continue to embrace Greco-Roman perceptions of the body, mind, and spirit to such an extent that these perspectives fuel culture wars. Feminism has always been a paradox to me and now I know why: Real freedom requires thinking outside the box. If you’re so ingrained in a way of thinking that you’re blind to it, you’ve effectively become a prisoner of your own mind. This leads me to point #2.
2. Your body is the only best and worst thing about yourself.
Women are things. No, really; in the feminist mindset women are bodies, physical channels of sexual pleasure and fertility, nothing more. As long as feminism embraces the Greek mindset regarding women, our bodies will be the only definition of ourselves. Speaking of which, case in point: For my 13th birthday I received a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves and a subscription to Seventeen magazine from an avowed feminist.
That’s the mixed message of feminism: You are your body and here’s how to have fun while being judged for the way you look for the rest of your life. Feminism doesn’t say you are an eternal soul inside a temporal body; feminism demands that what you see is what you get and, like a petulant tween, tells anyone that if they don’t like it, they can just go screw. Speaking of which…
3. Random fornication is more important than critical thinking.
There’s nothing brave about it. It’s just gross and grossly impersonal. Brave is Joanne Woodward at the age of 27, with no previous lead credits to her name, taking on the role of a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder. A 26 year old getting fake-screwed on a hipster cable network, on the other hand — wow, look how far feminism hasn’t gotten us in 56 years.
Then again, if anyone’s looking to do a Game of Thrones–esque show about the goings on among Aphrodite’s temple prostitutes, I can think of a promising young writer with experience in writing coitus for the small screen.
4. Media’s gatekeepers will enthusiastically cheer on incredibly ignorant behavior.
The Lost Generation. The Baby Boomers. The Me Generation. All these folks gained national attention and cliched titles after they’d accomplished something that caught the public’s eye. Millennials, however, are barely old enough to begin making a cultural dent, yet it seems as if every twentysomething out there is being dubbed “the voice of their generation.” For doing what? Using social media on a smartphone?
All this puffing up is a pretty clever Pavlovian scheme rewarding young hipsters who adhere to leftist cultural norms; nowhere is this more evident than in the critics’ relationship with Lena Dunham. Fun, fat, and fabulous, Ms. Dunham has been rewarded with critical acclaim for sacrificing herself on the altar of hip. Those critics know they have her right where they want her because television is a word-of-mouth gig that is strictly buzz dependent.
5. Time is cyclical: Welcome to the New Dark Ages.
No, I didn’t learn this one from Girls, but I see it playing out through the show’s popularity rather clearly.
The western world tends to see time in a linear sense as if we are always progressing towards perfection as we distance ourselves from our primordial past. The God of the Bible has a completely different perspective, beginning with his name: YHVH (the Tetragrammaton) has a literal meaning “I Am, I Was, I Will Be.” In other words, there is no beginning nor end point for God. Likewise, the Israelites were given a yearly schedule that flowed in cycles known as seasons. We may have moved away from our agrarian roots, but the Ecclesiastical lyrics put to song by The Byrds still apply: “To every thing there is a season, a time and purpose under heaven.”
As the western world embraced and assimilated what is essentially Biblical Hebraism, adopting a biblical faith in a Messiah and melding pagan practices with adherence to the cultural norms of ancient Israel known as “commandments,” we grew as a society. We overcame disease, poverty, and ignorance in many areas of life. Not ironically, the same forces that demand we turn away from our biblical foundation have also managed to plunge us into a neo-Dark Age. Modern medicine now faces new plagues, radical governments threaten new poverty, and ignorance is more rampant than ever. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the popular branding of Girls as a show that empowers women.
Modern feminism has returned us to the chains of ancient pagan culture. These goddess feminists think they can get away with it because they’re sure we see the world as they do: in lines. We are marching, they think, farther and farther away from the evidence of our ancient past when, all the while, we are being led back into the same ideologies that bound us as temple prostitutes and mothers of the state thousands of years ago.
Will Girls be a liberating force for women? Only if Lena Dunham, her fans, and the critics who egg her on stop marching and start reading between the lines.
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Check out the previous installments of Susan L.M. Goldberg’s series dissecting HBO’s Girls:
July 28: Girls: Best Friends Forever-ish
August 18: Girls: As Famous as their Daddies
November 20, 2013:
8. Feminism Doesn’t Need Re-Branding, It Needs a Revolution
This past week, Leslie Loftis provided a keenly written summation of the aftermath of Second Wave Feminism when she asked the question, “Can We Rebrand Feminism?” Her conclusion, that”…many women will continue to disavow ‘feminism’ as the label for a life of work. As women plan for more in their lives, the term will diminish and fade, an ignominious end to a once-powerful historical label,” is far more nuanced and thought-provoking than most conservatives would permit in their black-and-white world of Left versus Right. Which is exactly why feminism must remain a part of the conversation.
Loftis is fully correct in her observation that feminism has become the property of “wealthy, elite-educated,white women, who are closest to perfect [boardroom] parity”. But, to turn our collective back on the real oppression of women that exists in this world because of the ideological failures of Barbie-esque dilettantes is as effective as throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In a post-denominational era where religion has been replaced by cause and community has gone from neighborhood to global, better to rally effectively than disperse into isolationism. What feminism needs isn’t dissolution, but evolution out of the boardroom and into the real world.
While American feminists engage in Dunham-esque debates over their penny-ante problems, over 500 girls in Britain are “estimated to have undergone the procedure of female genital cutting” common in African culture. According to a recent BBC report, “It is estimated about 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.”
In her book They Must Be Stopped, Brigitte Gabriel explains:
“One of the most devastating practices to young girls in the Islamic world is female genital mutilation. Young girls have their clitoris removed without anesthesia to eliminate their sexual drive and preserve them for a life of sinless purity. As so much rides on a woman’s honor, including the livelihood and community standing of every member of her extended family, the practice is a kind of insurance policy. Female genital mutilation ensures that honor will be preserved because the girl will not have any sexual attraction to boys. It will also ensure that the girl, who is considered a financial burden to the family, will be prime property on the marriage market as a virgin.”
WARNING: Graphic Content
Searches for articles on “female genital mutilation” yielded no results at Feministing.org. An advanced search for “features” and “columns” on “female genital mutilation” at Bitchmagazine.org yielded a 2011 review of AMC’s The Killing due to a throwaway line about “extra problematic layers” (including FGM) within the show. A featured piece on FGM at Jezebel yielded the following user recommended comment:
“…the rhetoric of this piece is a little out of hand. As an American, I find genital cutting to be wrong (I have an issue with circumcision, too) but this outsider, Western “mutilation” rhetoric needs to stop. I do believe that women should be given a choice and not have to do this if they don’t want to, but this kind of language pushes these people into objectified Other territory. Some girls actually want this—but, of course, it should be an option not a requirement. Therein lies the rub about many global feminist issues.
All in all, do some research about cultural relativism and language use before you begin writing about issues like this.
ETA: The word “mutilation” also suggests that a girl who has been cut is permanently marred for life and less worthwhile than someone who isn’t. Think about how that would feel.”
Littered with the abuse of language that has come to define today’s politically correct feminism, this anonymous comment illustrates exactly why the feminist movement is in desperate need of evolution. Whether the cause be FGM, honor killings, or any other threat to women, if feminism doesn’t exit the territory of privileged navel-gazing moral relativists, it will become a powerful weapon for the justification of female abuse across the globe.
Forget marketing a movement to privileged adherents. Throw the outdated Left versus Right battle into the nursing home with Gloria Steinem. Young women need to pour their passion into a cause greater than themselves. It is time for feminists to parody the famous phrase and demand: Ask not what feminism can do for you, but what your feminism can do for women around the globe.
9. The Tale of Miley Cyrus in the Words of Allan Bloom…
Once there lived a professor by the name of Allan Bloom (1930-1992). He wrote a book called The Closing of the American Mind. In this book published in 1987 he studied various aspects of youth culture, including rock music, through the lens of the great philosophers. Gather round, dear readers, as I present to you the words of Allan Bloom as illustrated by the musical artist and former Disney child star Miley Cyrus.
“This is the age of music and the states of soul that accompany it. …Out of the music emerge the gods that suit it, and they educate men by their example and their commandments.”
“Today, a very large proportion of young people between the ages of ten and twenty live for music. It is their passion; nothing else excites them as it does; they cannot take seriously anything alien to music.”
“In alliance with some real art and a lot of pseudo-art, an enormous industry cultivates the taste for the orgiastic state of feeling connected with sex, providing a constant flood of fresh material for voracious appetites. Never was there an art form directed so exclusively to children.”
“But rock music has one appeal only, a barbaric appeal, to sexual desire — not love, not eros, but sexual desire undeveloped and untutored.”
“Young people know that rock has the beat of sexual intercourse. …Rock gives children, on a silver platter, with all the public authority of the entertainment industry, everything their parents always used to tell them they had to wait for until they grew up and would understand later.”
“The words implicitly and explicitly describe bodily acts that satisfy sexual desire and treat them as its only natural and routine culmination for children who do not yet have the slightest imagination of love, marriage or family. This has a much more powerful effect than does pornography on youngsters, who have no need to watch others do grossly what they can so easily do themselves. Voyeurism is for old perverts; active sexual relations are for the young. All they need is encouragement.”
“In short, life is made into a nonstop, commercially prepackaged masturbational fantasy.”
“The inevitable corollary of such sexual interest is rebellion against the parental authority that represses it. Selfishness thus becomes indignation and then transforms itself into morality. …Indignation is the soul’s defense against the wound of doubt about its own; it reorders the cosmos to support the justice of its cause.”
“The result is nothing less than parents’ loss of control over their children’s moral education at a time when no one else is seriously concerned with it. …Yet if a student can — and this is most difficult and unusual — draw back, get a critical distance on what he clings to, come to doubt the ultimate value of what he loves, he has taken the first and most difficult step toward the philosophic conversion.”
“The issue here is [rock’s] effect on education, and I believe it ruins the imagination of young people and makes it very difficult for them to have a passionate relationship to the art and thought that are the substance of a [classically] liberal education.”
November 11, 2013:
10. The Assassination of Patriotism: Intellectuals, Disinformation and JFK
It should come as no surprise to anyone with even the vaguest sense of mid-20th century American history that Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union at the time, wanted President John F. Kennedy dead. After learning of the naval blockade Kennedy ordered during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Khrushchev located the highest ranking American businessman in Moscow, Westinghouse Electric President William Knox, and “summoned him to the Kremlin ‘for three hours of threats, complaints, and peasant jokes'” – threats Khrushchev hoped would reach the ears of Kennedy himself.
In his new book Disinformation, PJ columnist Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa details Lee Harvey Oswald’s Soviet connections and the litany of evidence indicating that he was, in fact, a defector and Soviet agent. Pacepa also addresses Jack Ruby’s Cuban connections and the evidence that Castro himself was informed of the plot to assassinate Kennedy. He then unravels the disinformation scheme known as the Dragon Operation created by the KGB to throw the American government off the Soviet trail, a plan that socialist intellectuals, some of whom were paid KGB agents, pounced on. I.F. Stone, his sister Judy Stone, Joachim Joesten, and Mark Lane cultivated Soviet disinformation into the conspiracy theories. Thanks to modern leftist propagandists like Oliver Stone these lies continue to assault the American psyche to this day.
Having been assigned to the Dragon Operation, Pacepa writes:
“Now, in late November 1963, a special KGB courier notified the management of the DIE [the Romanian intelligence counterpart to the KGB] that within the Dragon Operation we should include mention of a jealous President Johnson as the instigator of the CIA plot, which he, allegedly, had personally arranged to take place in Texas on his home turf. By December, as part of the plot, the KGB added the ‘sharks’ of the ‘American military industrial complex’, who were allegedly furious at Kennedy for wanting to cut back on the American military presence abroad and therefore on arms spending (and the sharks’ profits).
The Dragon Operation has become one of the most successful disinformation operations in contemporary history. According to JFK, a 1991 movie made by Oliver Stone, the assassination of President Kennedy was the result of a conspiracy at the US government’s highest level, implicating members of the military-industrial complex, the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service, the Mafia and Lyndon Johnson. The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards and it won two. According to a later Gallup poll, between two-thirds and three-quarters of Americans believed there had indeed been a CIA conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy.”
American culture’s intellectual connection between John F. Kennedy’s assassination and the Soviets came to a screeching halt, both due to the Soviet disinformation campaign and because, as both Pacepa and Rich Lowry observed:
“In a crucial and counter-intuitive interpretive act, the nation’s opinion elite made JFK a martyr to civil rights instead of the Cold War. Kennedy had been killed by a communist, Lee Harvey Oswald, who a few years before had tried to defect to the Soviet Union. Liberals nonetheless blamed the assassination on, in the characteristic words of Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, ‘the hatred and bitterness that has been injected into the life of our nation by bigots.'”
This “crucial and counter-intuitive interpretive act” is the focus of an entire section of Pacepa’s book. He asserts that, fearful of starting a nuclear war, Lyndon Johnson “created ‘a very high caliber, top-flight, blue-ribbon group’ whose purpose was not to investigate the assassination, but primarily to invoke the collective integrity of its distinguished members and to issue a public report that would dispel all rumors of ‘foreign complications’ stemming from Oswald’s known connections with Soviet intelligence and with communist Cuba. This group came to be called the Warren Commission after its chairman, Chief Justice Earl Warren.”
Pacepa provides well documented details of the Commission’s haphazard methodology; of Warren’s unwillingness to put Oswald’s Soviet wife under a lie-detector test despite possessing evidence that she lied to the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Commission itself; of the rush to complete and publish the report before the 1964 Presidential election. While the 26-volume report contains voluminous raw data on the subject, no official conclusions were ever drawn pointing the finger of blame toward the Soviet Union.
The generations born after Kennedy’s murder cannot adequately comprehend the significance of the assassination and ensuing disinformation campaign on the American psyche. Within the 7 weeks following the President’s death, 800,000 condolence letters were sent to his widow. By 1965, the number of condolence letters from the American public would exceed 1.5 million. Jim Piereson, author of Camelot and the Cultural Revolution argues that President Kennedy’s assassination “… represented more than the tragic death of a young president, but the descent of liberalism from an optimistic creed focused on pragmatic improvements in the American condition to a darker philosophy obsessed with America’s sins. Echoes of the assassination — and the meaning attributed to it by JFK’s admirers — can still be heard in the querulous tones of contemporary liberalism.”
For Piereson, the argumentative nature and victim mentality associated with contemporary liberal attitudes and policy making is attributable, at least in part, to the fact that “Kennedy was mourned in a spirit of frustrated possibility and dashed hopes.” It is that sense of loss that has come to define liberalism today. As Rich Lowry noted in his review of Piereson’s book, “American history no longer appeared to be a benign process, but a twisted story of rapine and oppression.”
According to Piereson “With such a bill of indictment, the new liberals now held that Americans had no good reason to feel pride in their country’s past or optimism about its future.”
Stalin declared that to destroy America, the Soviets had to undermine America’s patriotism. Khrushchev learned well from his master. Patriotism down; spirituality and morality to go.
See the other installments of Susan’s series on Ion Mihai Pacepa and Ronald Rychlak’s Disinformation: