• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The Best Christmas Movie
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The Best Reason
    Niles on The Best Christmas Movie
    Niles on The Best Reason
    Catscatscats on The Best Christmas Movie
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The Best Christmas Movie
    Propertius on The Best Christmas Movie
    atl on The Best Christmas Movie
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The Best Christmas Movie
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Every time I hear Collins…
    William on The Best Christmas Movie
    William on Every time I hear Collins…
    riverdaughter on Every time I hear Collins…
    riverdaughter on Every time I hear Collins…
    girdharikeer on Every time I hear Collins…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    December 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Nov    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Why Labour Lost In Britain
      There’s been a vast amount of foolishness in the discussion of this. Labour lost for two main reasons: Their base was split by Brexit, and in a real way, no “positioning” could avoid this. There was a vast propaganda campaign against Corbyn in particular and Labour in general. What urban liberals don’t seem to understand […]
  • Top Posts

Revisiting the Handmaid’s Tale: Dogmatic feminism

The kid is reading The Handmaid’s Tale for English.  Yeah, wrap your head around that.  When I was a child, the raciest stuff we ever got to read was Tess of the D’Urbervilles where “weeping in the Chase”  and Hester Prynne letting down her glossy black hair in the woods was about as close as we were ever going to get to any insinuation of unchaste behavior.

I thought this would be a good time to revisit The Handmaid’s Tale with an eye to understanding whether feminism has devolved into dogmatic feminism.  I also like to refer to this as “red tent” feminism.  I consider myself a feminist but one who basis her feminism on a very Mary Wollstonecraft sensibility.  Feminism is a philosophy that asserts that all humans are equal and that women are no less endowed by nature to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness than men and that there should be only one criteria for denying women anything they aspire to- individual ability.  Since science is beginning to show that women have equal mental capacity in the sciences and math and other intellectual pursuits, the only limitations on females to achieve what they want is physical.  And the only area where they lack in physical strength is in the upper body.  That pretty much leaves them out of professional football leagues, certain weight classes in boxing, wrestling and weight lifting and not a whole lot else.  If a woman is still interested in firefighting or combat or something else, let her train and develop those physical traits that will let her compete. There may be other subtle physical differences but nothing that can’t be overcome.  We’ve already seen that women are quite capable astronauts and pilots, political leaders and business people.  Let’s just cut the crap with the artificial barriers already, ok?

I don’t believe in a society that treats women as some kind of special physical being is good and I don’t want to live in that world.  In other words, I don’t think men envy us for our baby making ability.  That’s just wishful bullshit.  Are you kidding me?  If men could gestate fetuses in a box, a la Monty Python, they would.  Your ability to bear children is a curiosity and a necessity but not something they would ever wish on themselves.  So, if you are a woman hoping to retreat into some “red tent” community of women where you can all celebrate your menstruation and hope that the rest of the world will recognize and honor your superiority because you are able to give life, dream on.  Ain’t never going to happen.  If anything, The Handmaid’s Tale reinforces the notion that childbearing is not a noble endeavor and separate is not equal. (Note that I said childbearing, not parenthood.  And in the modern world, BOTH sexes can and should be good parents) The women who are conscripted into the Handmaid class may be re-educated to believe that they are in an honorable profession but the rest of the world still sees them as concubines.  So, think it over ladies.  If you want to focus all of the world’s attention on what is between your legs and not your ears, separate yourselves and worship your childbearing above all else.  What can be seen as a gift can be coerced when the need arises.  Then it’s not a gift anymore and you as a person cease to exist.

Margaret Atwood has said that her idea of The Handmaid’s Tale was in part generated by the feminist anti-pornography movement that sprang up in the wake of the initial waves of feminism.  In this scenario, it is the anti-pornography feminists who collaborate with the religious right. The feminists have become dogmatic, fail to discriminate degrees of infraction, and react to pornography with public burnings of the material.  Like the Aghanis who gave control of their country to the Taliban, these dogmatic feminists may have sanctioned the religious backlash in order to restore order and control over violent behavior.  As one of the “Aunts” says in the movie, “There is more than one kind of freedom.  In the days of anarchy, it was ‘freedom to’.  Now, you’re being given ‘freedom from’. Don’t underrate it”.  In the Aunts, we see the merging of the dogmatic feminist with the religious right and an inability to think outside a rigid box in a way that respects individual agency and personal maturity. It’s easier and safer if everyone just follows the rules and stays within the rigid box society constructs for them. What is particularly disturbing is that we can see some real world examples of this kind of mindset recently that should scare the living sh&* out of us.

For example, remember the Anthony Weiner affair?  Do you remember the commenters here (you might even have been one yourself) who indignantly insisted that the recipient of the pictures was a victim whose eyes were violated and who was the target of an online rape?  Let’s just put aside the idea that you can be raped online, is this even reasonable?  But what does it say about the power of our American culture when a whole blogosphere of women can be prompted to turn on themselves, to assert that the recipient of the text “didn’t ask for it” that she was a victim of a sexual pervert, as if looking at an erect penis was something our innocent eyes shouldn’t see?  WE have “self-control”.  Men have lustful desires.  It’s very Handmaid.  We reinforce the idea of slut shaming when we circle the wagons around the alleged victim of an online rape, protecting her from accusations of participation instead of laughing it off.  It was a digital picture for god’s sakes.  It can not hurt you.  And besides, what if what she had written to him *had* seemed like an invitation?  What’s wrong with that?  Are women not allowed to be provocative?  Do you see where I’m going with this?

Ok, how about Julian Assange.  The stories the alleged rape victims reported in Sweden have come into question.  I’ve always considered the charges to be a very, very broad definition of the word “rape”.  If that was rape, just about everyone has experienced it.  And then I start to wonder, what about the women who claim to be on the pill who deliberately get pregnant against the wishes of their male counterparts.  Please, do not tell me it doesn’t happen.  We all know that it does.  Isn’t that also a form of rape?  It’s not violent but it sure isn’t consensual, is it?  But whatever.  I was very surprised to see the number of women who immediately and without question took the side of the accusers.  I have no idea what the Swedish court system would do, it’s really in their bailiwick.  But I was disturbed at how women once again assumed that the accusers were victims, as if they were completely without any sexual agency whatsoever.  The did not *own* their sexuality.   It is part of a pattern that looks at women as asexual passive beings upon which men impose their aggressive sexual lusts.  Is that the way women want themselves to be seen?  Or is it merely convenient because lust is not a desirable female trait in our culture?

Feminists on the left need to be careful that they aren’t used as political tools through accusations of rape and other sexual taboos.  If you are conditioned to have a knee jerk response to any accusation of sexual misconduct by men towards women no matter how innocuous or tangential it is to their official duties, you can be used as a tool of mob justice to take out your potential allies.  Condemnation is one of the only political powers women have and to do this against men based on unproven or trivial accusations is the equivalent of a digital particicution.

I was relieved to see the feminist community rally briefly around Sandra Fluke.  But even more enraged that anyone could stick a slut label on any woman these days.  I really thought we had banished that word forever but here it was again, raising its ugly head.  And then I saw a youtube lecture on Tolkien from a speaker from Baylor University who in the middle of his lecture made a comment about a co-ed in a tight sweater with a caption that said “goats they do nibble”.  “Did she know she was going to be a slut when she put on that shirt?”, he said to an auditorium of college students.  So, the word is back in business.

And that’s the way the women in The Handmaid’s Tale saw the Handmaids.  They were sluts whose sole purpose in life was sex.  It didn’t matter if they didn’t enjoy it.  Young, fertile women are tramps, whores and sluts. The were literally the scarlet women. That seems to be the way we are going as well.

A new area for the anti-sex “feminists” is in the area of New Atheism.  Most of us are familiar now with Elevatorgate, the controversy that sprang up when Rebecca Watson took an invitation from an unknown guy in an elevator as a prelude to rape and exploitation.  To say she overreacted is an understatement.  In my college days, we would have assessed the safety of the situation and determined whether we were interested or not.  If not, we would have politely declined, arranged to meet for coffee the next morning and gotten off at our floor.  But not so with Rebecca.  Apparently, all the guy was interested in was her vagina.  It sounds a bit like what our 50’s era parents would have been told. “He’s only interested in getting what he wants and then dumping you”. But maybe he would have been just interested in talking.  Or talking and a little light snogging.  If there was anything else intended, you could always say no and leave.  Most people will let you leave.  There really aren’t that many rapists around.  Truly.  But so what if Rebecca had gone all “paradise by the dashboard light”?  So what??  That’s her right.  It’s not seduction if its mutual.

In the Handmaid’s Tale, pleasurable sex is a crime against the state.  It is an act of willful defiance.  And to be defiant is to be free.  So, is Rebecca Watson a free person?  Or is her relatively recent feminist conditioning taking away her freedom to be a sexual being?

Or, is she using her public chastity as a bludgeon against men because we have focussed so much of our attention on our nether regions that women have lost ground in the intellectual sphere?  Is the only way for women to assert power in this society to use sex as a weapon?  It *is* the only place where women have made some progress.  Sexual harassment is almost universally forbidden in this country.  Men can get hammered with a sexual harassment suit like nobody’s business so they are extraordinarily cautious in the public sphere about avoiding it.  That means that real discrimination has gone underground and takes more subtle and insidious ways to exert itself.  We’re all familiar with the performance evaluation by behavioral criterion that has taken down women great and small.  The cultural stereotypes of passive, compliant, pleasant and obedient women as being the most desirable to work with has also crippled them and made it very difficult for them to break the glass ceiling.

Anyway, that’s my little stream of thought ponderings that have been running through my head this morning.  I won’t even go through how much the Duggar family lives the life of The Handmaid’s Tale.  It’s almost like they used the book as a supplementary bible. They’re into an extreme form of patriarchalism, worship childbearing, are fanatical about forbidding any enticement to lustful thoughts, and they don’t educate their daughters very well.  Just like the handmaids in the movies, the children travel in pairs with each one accountable for the behavior of the other, always ready and willing to betray a trust and intimacy. All that’s missing are the color coordinated clothing.  They may look a happy in front of the camera and maybe some of them have the constitution for it.  But for the ones who don’t, it must be a living hell.  Religious women who worship the Duggars should read Atwood’s book (or reread it).  We do NOT want to live in a world like this because no one would have a minute’s peace.  There would always be rebellions, terrorism, violations, executions.  It would be like the Taliban mixed with the Department of Homeland Security against all of the lefties who have become sudden fans of the 2nd amendment.  Not my cup of tea.

So, comments anyone?  Fire away!

If you haven’t read the book, you can find it here at amazon.

Here’s the movie version on YouTube.  It’s got German subtitles but is in English otherwise.

And here’s an interesting discussion about The Problem with Dogmatic Feminism and supplementary discussions part 1 and part 2 from Ask An Atheist.  I like the way the hosts go through the issue step by step in a thoughtful manner.  I wouldn’t have been so diplomatic.  The bottom line, as I see it, is that the dogmatic feminists are undermining their own cause.  Instead of reinforcing their equality and insisting on things that would really change the dynamics at a New Atheist convention by demanding at least 1/3 female representation of speakers and a progressive stack during discussions, they are alienating even the more sympathetic men in the movement by considering all interactions between males and females as invitations to seduction and abuse.

The New Atheist movement is having to confront this issue early and I hope they take some time to get to the bottom of it and define what feminism in a post religious world should be. (And by post religious, I mean in the present context where state and church are intertwined. The goal should be a secular culture where the religious can do what they want in private.  That is what I mean by post-religious) They also need to be careful because this is an issue that the religious could use against them to split the New Atheist movement.  In other words, they need to find a way to get through to the Rebecca Watsons to carefully examine what they are doing so they don’t cause unnecessary tension at their gatherings and inadvertently reinforce cultural and religiously based cultural stereotypes.  I know that’s not what Rebecca thinks she is doing but by reducing every woman at a meeting as a potential victim and every man as a potential rapist, that’s what she is doing. I wouldn’t want to be a new female convert to New Atheism, go to a convention and have all the men avoid me and instantly think I was a neurotic pain in the ass just because the Rebecca Watsons got there first and took all the spontaneity out of the event.  She’s not doing women any favors.

And here’s some insight on rapid social change brought on by stressful environments, her is Atwood herself speaking to Bill Moyers:

Well, that’s not good

Hmmm, last spring, Congressional Democratic leadership (with Obama chiming in) forced Anthony Weiner to resign because he sent a picture to a woman he regularly twittered.  There she was, perfectly innocent, because no *good* woman tweets provocatively, innocently discussing “cap and trade” and the nuances of fresh-water vs salt-water economists when suddenly, without any invitation at all, he raped her virgin eyes with a digital dick.  {{eyes rolling}}  After she fainted and made an appointment with her therapist, it was discovered that Mr. Weiner had inadvertently twittered the pic to the entire known world, half of which consist of women who cannot distinguish between a picture of some dude’s naughty bits and an actual physical violation.  (Oh, please, don’t get your fricking knickers in a twist over a damn picture like you are the pink of perfection’s maidenly spinster aunt. The faux outrage generated over this picture is counterintuitively anti-feminist and downright nauseating)

So, Mr. Weiner, getting a helpful nudge, no-doubt, from a sprinkling of right wing operatives in the comment threads of lefty blogs who quickly whipped up the pearl clutching outrage, took his leadership’s advice and resigned.  Regardless of Representative Weiner’s political gifts, or lack thereof, the resignation eliminated a seat from the Democrats’ caucus, a liberal seat, no less, and deprived his district of a representative it actually still wanted.  Initially, I thought that Steny Hoyer was just trying to eliminate another liberal voice in his quest to homogenize the House Democrats into cream of student body president soup.  But now I think that the Democrats are so afraid of the media coming down on them with relentless coverage of non-issues that they would rather emasculate themselves than strut around the House floor like nothing happened, you know, the way Republicans do when one of their lot gets caught tap dancing in a bathroom stall or has his diaper changed by a high cost hooker.

But no, not our Democrats.  This crop of Democrats is dickless.  They decided that it was much more reasonable to cave to fabricated public opinion and unnecessarily risk a special election for Weiner’s seat.  And they lost it.

Didn’t see that comin’.

The formerly Democratic seat is now to be held by a Republican. From the post:

With 84 percent of the precincts counted early Wednesday, Mr. Turner was leading Mr. Weprin by 54 percent to 46 percent, according to The Associated Press.

National Republican leaders immediately trumpeted the victory as a sign of trouble for Mr. Obama’s re-election effort. “An unpopular President Obama is now a liability for Democrats nationwide,” Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement.

But Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said the district’s large concentration of Orthodox Jews made it unusual and meant the race had few national ramifications.

“In this district, there is a large number of people who went to the polls tonight who didn’t support the president to begin with and don’t support Democrats — and it’s nothing more than that,” she said in a telephone interview.

Riiiight.  So by getting rid of a well-liked liberal Democrat in this Orthodox Jewish district, the Democrats were helpfully restoring the district to its natural order- conservative and Republican.  (Oh, Debbie, you had such promise once upon a time)

But what’s this?  Multiple comments from staunch Democratic voters in that NYTimes piece are saying that the reason they voted for the Republican was to “send a message” to Obama and the Democrats that they are not happy with the direction the country and economy are taking.  They want the Obama administration and Congress to focus on jobs and not more budget cuts.  This is what the Democrats should be afraid of.  They have decided to make all of the decisions for the voters and haven’t offered voters a choice.  There’s no difference between the parties on policy these days and the Democrats seem determined to ram their selected candidates down the throats of voters who were OK with the guy they had before. Voters are so angry that they exercise the one choice they have left, they vote against the Democrats.  There’s no point in sending a message to the Republicans because they’re fricking nuts.  But Democrats should get the point.  Well, you would hope that after Martha Coakley and Jon Corzine and the Congressional turnover in 2010, the Democrats would have gotten the point but apparently, it’s going to take some additional bloodletting.  And this time, the voters are being vocal and specific about why they voted the way they did:

The unexpectedly tight race stirred anxiety among Democrats already worried about elections next year for president, the House and the Senate. The Turner campaign had eagerly courted disenchanted Democrats, and outside polling places around the district on Tuesday, multiple longtime Democrats confessed that despite concern about Mr. Turner’s eagerness to slash federal spending, they chose him hoping that his election would get lawmakers’ attention.

“I am a registered Democrat, I have always been a registered Democrat, I come from a family of Democrats — and I hate to say this, I voted Republican,” said Linda Goldberg, 61, after casting her ballot in Queens. “I need to send a message to the president that he’s not doing a very good job. Our economy is horrible. People are scared.”

That’s where the 2012 election season is headed.  If the Democrats continue to offer voters no choice, they are going to get creamed.  There’s always a choice.

Could we please get the plastic dry cleaning bags and sharp objects out of the Democratic Caucus room before they meet again?

Sunday: Suburban Soccer Mom Values

I’m about to offend a lot of people.  Be forewarned.

I hate living in the suburbs.  No, really, I hate it with a white hot passion.  It’s because of the soccer moms.  Of course, not all moms in the suburbs are soccer moms.  Some of them are into LaCrosse.  They might be working or stay at home.  They run around in plush minivans and Lexus SUVs.  I don’t get the Lexus SUV.  If I were going to get a Lexus, the last thing I’d want is to haul kids around in it.  It’s even more puzzling when the neighbors in my townhouse development get one.  It’s like, “I can’t afford a single family home but gosh darnit, I’m not going to let the PTA know that.  I’m getting a Lexus SUV.”  The Lexus is the sign of “good people”.

Those minivans (but not the Lexus SUVs) are frequently plastered with soccer ball bumperstickers or banners that read, “Proud Parent – Smallville Honor Student” or “My Kid Can Beat Up Your Honor Student” or the epitome of smug, religiosity, “If you think you’re perfect, try walking on water”.  That last one really bugs the shit out of me.  Who are these people who feel the need to make you feel sorry for being able to read a bumpersticker?

The suburban soccer mom loves her children.  She let’s you know this in many ways.  She doesn’t let them play outside on sunny days because they might get snatched.  She sends her daughter to your house to play with your daughter, after you’ve been thoroughly vetted and after she has cross checked your name against neighborhood convicted sex offenders.  (Yes, I know you did this.  You know who you are.  Whoa!  Look at that! Never so much as a speeding ticket. What am I hiding?)  But she can never be too sure.  So, just to be on the safe side, she sends her bratty, noisy younger son to accompany her daughter to your house.  That’s so the two girls can’t play with their carefully selected, safe, non-agressive and educational American Girl Dolls together without his loud and whiny outbursts and thumping around with his too big for his body feet while you’re trying to relax on the weekends.  After all, you may be a predator who hasn’t been caught yet and with the little brother around, there’s at least one kid able to escape your perverted clutches and run home to tell mommy what you’re doing with the girls chained in the basement.  Bwah-ha-ha-hahhhh!

But they show their love in so many other ways.  Like, if their kid waits to the last minute to do their social studies project, not to worry, mom will drive them to the library and do the project for them.  You sit in the corner and read a book while your unloved child races through the stacks and does her own research.  The other mothers are busy at the tables lovingly working with the construction paper and the glue and the sheets of neatly typed text to paste in just the right places on the poster board whispering sotto voce, “Go sit over there with your brother, I’m almost done.”  Well, it’s a major project.  Don’t you care about your daughter’s grades??

And their children must stay protected from the elements.  They must all get buses to school.  Some crazy driver might mow them all down if they had to walk on the sidewalks of the neighborhood they chose for its quiet, privacy and safety.  You never know and wouldn’t it be better to be safe than sorry?  You’d kill yourself if something ever happened to them.  Like rain.  Yes, rain happens.  That’s why we must have a bus to take the kids from one school to the adjacent school in the afternoons where there is more space in the annex.  Oh, sure, there is a 500 ft walkway between the schools that is not anywhere near the street and skims the playgrounds between the two schools.  But if it rains, they might get wet while they are walking, in a group, with their teachers.  It isn’t safe and the threat of unpredictable atmospheric conditions is too risky.  We need a bus.  Nevermind that school budgets are finite and we might have to cut the late bus for kids in extracurricular activities who have irresponsible, uncaring mothers who work and can’t pick them up but send them home to a dark, unsafe house after school.  Safety comes first.

Children must be walked to the bus stops.  Even if they are only a few dozen yards down the street to the corner.  Mothers must accompany their children up to the age of 13.  No gender is safe from predators.  Do not let your children roam the neighborhood unattended to look for acorns for her latest art project.  Your neighbor will not approve and will call the police and you will have to answer for why you let a ten year old out of the house to steal windfall acorns from the common area.  Don’t you know how unsafe that is?  And never let a child go to the bathroom by themselves.  Boys over the age of 8 will be accompanied to the ladies room by a responsible, pre-vetted and fingerprinted, designated mother.  Best to take them in groups.  That way, they can inconvenience all the girls and women who have to dance and squeeze the pee in while they wait for the boys to get out of the stalls.  Because, you know, there are just so many open stalls in a woman’s bathroom that we must share them with the boys.  No, no, we *enjoy* waiting in line until our bladders burst.  It’s what we live for.

Soccer moms reserve the right to rescind the invitation to a birthday party that they sent to your daughter.  Yes, the present is bought and wrapped and your kid is bouncing with anticipation, invitation clutched in her sweaty, plump, paint smeared hand.  No, no explanation is given- although, she shouldn’t have said some other little girl was “dumb” two weeks ago.  Sorry, your child will be blacklisted for 2 or 3 years.  At some point in time, the soccer moms will review your case and *may* allow limited reintegration into society.  Meanwhile, your child will live in a suburban black hole.  Children may surreptitiously smile and wave to her when their mothers, who for some reason, can’t look you in the eye, have their backs turned.  Expect no further interaction.

You are a bad mother if you do not schedule your children for 5 different activities during the week, forbid your child from making her own friends, let her play outside at the playground without a security guard or don’t make sure her homework is done (just do it for them, you dunce, it’s how the game is played).

The latest no-no in the suburbs is the game of “assassins”.  This is where high school students run around the neighborhood with super soakers and try to take other students out.  This is forbidden.  Actually, I have to agree with this.  High school students are too old for this game.  12 year olds?  Ok.  But shouldn’t juniors in high school be hanging out at the mall or playing chicken in a pool with their bikini clad girlfriends on their shoulders (wait, that might be dangerous) or making a road trip to the shore with their friends on the weekend after their part time jobs at the bagel shop?  You know, sort of Beach Blanket Bingo meets Jersey Shore without the fake tans, funny hair poofs and tasteless behavior?  These are suburban kids after all, not a bunch of guidos and guidettes.  But, no, expect to get a recorded message from the principal of the high school telling you that “assassins” is a “dangerous game” played with “real looking weapons” of mass water inundation.  Police could mistake their actions as serious threats to other children and take them out.  Do you want your kid to be shot by some hypervigilant cop who can’t tell a super soaker from a Glock?  Well, do you???  Violators will be severely punished and may face expulsion, even if they are not playing this childish and irresponsibly “deadly” game on school property.  Don’t even think about it, kid.

So, I am not at all surprised that the Democratic party Congressional leadership is calling for Weiner’s resignation.  The guy is an exhibitionist.  He’s got problems.  His REAL problem, I suspect, is that he has been insufficiently conditioned to prevent acting out his mastabatory fantasies.  ({{snort}} I see the male readers squirming)  I don’t know what will come out next and I really don’t care.  To each his own.  I still think David Vitter’s indiscretions were more serious.  If Weiner was into talking about sex with what he thought (mistakenly or not) were receptive women, well, that makes him not a whole lot different than many other people, male and female.  The nice thing about the internet is that if someone makes advances to you of this kind, you can choose not to accept them.  You can dump their junk in a spam filter, you can block their tweets, you can stop frequenting where they hang out.  That’s the power and the glory of the internet.  You are not a passive victim.  I’ve been on the internet for years, decades now and I rarely encounter porn of any kind.  Maybe that’s because I’m on a Mac but it seems to me that if I want to get into bulging underwear, I have to actively search for it.

And 17 year old girls have been conditioned by their suburban upbringing to avoid like the plague places where porn might be found on the internet.  Thou shalt not go into chat rooms unattended.  If someone makes an online pass at you, report them immediately.  Yeah, right.  Even the most thoroughly indoctrinated teen has urges.  Yes, girls too.  I was a girl once.  I remember.  You guys have no idea.

Is it wrong for an adult male to talk to a girl of 17 on the internet?  A suburban soccer mom will tell you yes.  Unequivocally.  It is wrong for anyone who the parent does not personally know to talk to their children.  About anything.  Even the weather is off limits.  “It’s really hot today” is just a prelude to the cheezy porn movie music played just before the gardener trims a lovely young bush.  You can’t even be in a park eating a donut unaccompanied by a child without being ticketed for suspicious behavior.  Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of suburban public opinion.  You can not win this one.

Yes, it’s paranoid, alarmist, indiscriminate, narrow minded, conformist, intolerant, nonsensical, frequently stupid and sometimes cruel.  The only reason why suburbanites put up with each other is to avoid being ostracized.  Where else are you going to go?  And, yes, the media tends to blow things up to the nth degree and feed the overprotective parental frenzy.  Cable news is chock full of stories about abducted and murdered children and their non-conformist sociopathic parents.  After Weiner’s sexting escapades, prepared for the Good Morning America piece that will discuss what you should tell your 17 year old daughter about texting and tweeting strangers on the internet with some child psychologist or criminal behavioral specialist.  The world is fraught with dangers for your innocent young teen who will never emerge from her Freudian sexual latency period unless provoked by some sleazy adult figure.  And you don’t know who that person could be.  It could be your neighbor or the postman or you congressman.

Women, no matter what age, will always be the victims of men and their base desires.  This thought is *not* incompatible with feminism.  Why are you saying that??  Men are always predators.  Girls do not have sex drives.  Women of all ages are helpless sheep before wolves, they are babies, BABIES, I tell you, even when they are not.  They are powerless to defend themselves against the onslaught of disgusting and depraved attempts to converse with them even when they are full grown adults and are no longer virgins.  Women are always seduced and powerless to the male sex drive.  They are always Tess of the D’Urberville, never Moll Flanders.  (How conveeeenient)  They have no ability to tell the pervert to back the fuck off or block their tweets or threaten to expose them.  They are tabula rasas who must be guarded like Spanish senoritas behind high wrought iron internet gates with the constant vigilance of their duenas.  I would like to thank my sister feminists for their efforts to protect me and my daughters but I do not care for their mass infantilization of women on my behalf and must decline.

Oh, please, Nancy.  Lay off already.  Haven’t you done enough damage to women by tolerating the disgusting and over the top misogynism of the 2008 presidential campaign?  Please, don’t do us any more favors.  The suburban security frenzy is way out of control and ruining our children’s childhoods.  Don’t add more fuel to the fire with these ridiculous calls for Weiner to resign.  He’s an immature guy who needs some behavioral modification.  He’s not a fricking predator.

Get a fricking grip already and ignore those damn Lexus SUVs.

For more outrages from the trenches, check out Lenore Skenazy’s documentation of the atrocities at Freerangekids.com.