Saturday, October 11, 2014

And your host writes something almost uplifting?

I don't know how many of you are Family Circle subscribers/readersI suspect that's not an especially strong title among SHAMbloggers, winkbut my essay in tribute to my relationship with my grandson, Jordan, appears in the November issue, on newsstands beginning this weekend.

Kudos to the very talented Executive Editor Darcy Jacobs, whose savvy/gentle guidance helped me improve the piece markedly...in large part by tightening it. (File under, Why We All Need Editors, Chapter 758.)

The story starts on page 82 if you just want to browse it in the supermarket checkout line (though you can bring the entire issue home for $1.99...and there are some killer recipes). By the way, if you do read and enjoy it, think about taking a moment to send a note of appreciative feedback to the magazine. You'll help keep the personal essay/memoir genre alive for those of us who've made a fair percentage of our living from the medium through the years...and for my wide-eyed students who are just starting out. ... For the record, this is 49th such memoir I've sold since the first one (also my very first published piece) ran in Harper's in January 1982. Alas, as many of you who dabble will also know, the (well-paying) markets for such writing have dried up considerably over the past decade or so. Now it's all about service/"news-you-can-use." That original Harper's piece ran at 4500 words; I've written a half-dozen others at that length or longer. But magazine space is at a premium nowadays. This one was really pushing it at around 1100.

Monday, September 29, 2014

And the beat(ing) goes on.

Another writer bites the dust for the grave sin of musing on Feminist Nation's conflating of drunkenness and empowerment.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

'Together we can end the horror of unwanted kissing!'

"A kiss is still a kiss..."
I'm not backtracking on my vow to be "done with" women's issues; I'm simply going to let syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg* do my dirty work for me. I commend to you his op-ed exposing the bogus stats that underlie today's "sexual-assault crisis" and the White House's frangible "It's On US" initiative. Here's one quick quote about the "rape epidemic" that supposedly victimizes one in five women on college campuses:

The dubious stat, writes Goldberg:
"comes from tendentious Department of Justice surveys that count 'attempted forced kissing' and other potentially caddish acts that even the Justice Department admits 'are not criminal.' ... According to a [DOJ] survey, more than half the respondents said they didn't report the assault because they didn't think 'the incident was serious enough to report.' "
I haven't vetted Goldberg's facts but I tend to think he would not go public with this kind of debunkery if he weren't on sufficiently solid ground.
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* Goldberg, of course, is a conservative stalwart, and not the kind of social theorist with whom I'd normally find much in common nowadays. But I deem it significant that today's social currencies increasingly have put me in league with the forces from "the other side"and I don't think I'm alone in that regard. I'm telling you, people, whether it's women or blacks or illegal immigrants, this "entitlement overreach" is turning off a lot of us who used to be sympathetic. I know that I should vote for Hillary, assuming she runswhich she willbut I gotta tell you, she worries me. I don't think I could stomach four or eight more years of the prevailing sociopolitical ethos. Barack and his attorney general have been grievous disappointments on that score.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why I'm done with Feminists and their causes.

I'll begin with an apology, a sort of journalistic "guilty with an explanation." This is not going to be the insightful, impeccably researched post I promised (to those who cared) a few weeks back; I made that promise at the height of our lively exchange on my initial post about rape, which to date has drawn nearly 100 comments*. Instead I give you what follows, which I hope does not smack too much of an unbecoming rhetorical martyrdom.

Read on before you dismiss this as histrionic.
I looked at this topicalong with related topics in the genders waras a debate. But it's not a debate. A true debate presupposes earnest engagement on both sides, a spirit of sincere intellectual inquiry that admits the possibility of persuasion via evidence and argument. There is no interest in that kind of engagement on the other side. That's why no amount of factual material, no matter how impeccable, would make a difference here. The facts don't matter. Logic doesn't matter. Sometimes, even the plight of actual women doesn't matter, as long as the ideal is upheld. Don't get me wrong, there may be engagement among regular contributors like Ron and Elizabeth and Jenny and even perhaps my persistent Anon from the aforementioned post. But there is no such interest among self-styled Feminists (and their enablers/lackeys), who enjoy a stranglehold on American Thought Leadership in media, academia and, increasingly, government. (And wait till Hillary's sworn in.)

To them this is more of a war, a war in which no prisoners are taken. A holy war, one might say in these ISIS-inflected times.

Oddly, it was the Ray Rice episode that drove this home for me. The very Feminist voices who now wanted Rice held fully accountable for his drunken rage in that elevator were the same ones who, just weeks ago, were screaming at me that women cannot be held responsible for the sex they have when drunk. Even if you want to say that protection of women from predatory men outweighs the need to apply consistent logic, that fallback argument flows from the "weaker sex" image that Feminists also reject out of hand. But when you're waging war, you see, you don't worry about such contradictions. You just try to win. You try to vanquish your enemies.

So it was that Feminist Nation set out to vanquish me.Like the religious zealots they are, critics of my column on rape sought to decapitate me professionally. (And yes, please, know that I am being "writerly." I do not in any way mean to imply that what I've gone through is equivalent to what those poor guys in that desert endured. Jesus.) Understand that these are not garden-variety trolls we're talking about, but highly placed Feminist insiders who write well-read columns or run esteemed law firms. Several of these dear women went straight to the dean of students at Lehigh in an effort to undo my mutually successful three-year relationship with the school. One critic suggested to my dean via Twitter that I was "secretly rooting for the rapists"; in subsequent tweets she speculated what that might suggest about my own treatment of women, and referenced the liability implications of keeping such an obvious degenerate on staff. "I know I would not be comfortable with my daughter in his class," she opined. (Another critic used my LinkedIn profile as a road map to major publications for which I've worked; she wrote blistering emails to top editors explaining why a reprobate like me should not be allowed to soil their pages. She threatened a more organized letter-writing initiative, a boycott and other sanctions.)

I do not know if this campaign succeeded. I do know that I have not been invited back to Lehigh to teach in the springthis, after having fairly specific discussions about my proposed coursework with my most immediate contact, Lehigh's dean of journalism, a few weeks before all this blew up. The dean of journalism is a prince of a fellow but like most folks in academia, he takes his orders from upstairs. Although again, I can't say for sure that any such orders existed. He presented entirely mundane and bureaucratic reasons for withdrawing the offer he'd extended just weeks earlier.

Think of the irony, though: If a liberal-arts education is about anything at all, shouldn't it be about the application of critical thinking to life's "givens" and orthodoxies? Shouldn't it be about subjecting dogmatism to the crucible of classroom analysis? Shouldn't one of the critical thinker's foremost goals be to deconstruct political correctness? That's what I always thought. I guess I can consider myself educated now. 
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* or about 50 comments (exclusive of my own replies) from at least a dozen different contributors.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Volunteering to be raped...or worse? (Changing the context?)

"A local man, who police say coerced his girlfriend into moving in with him..."

That's the opening of a news item from my morning paper that goes on to describe a cascading series of crimes and calamities visited upon said girlfriendand her childrenby some felonious caveman with whom she agreed to cohabit. Oh wait, I forgot, she was coerced.

Folks, an adult woman has an obligation to avoid being coerced into things that may have disastrous consequences for her; surely that obligation is ironclad if she has kids (as women in these untoward circumstances invariably seem to; how come it's the women living stable lives in million-dollar homes who have all that trouble conceiving?) You cannot permit yourself to be coerced into moving in with an abuser. Call the cops, call the cops again, go to a shelter, recruit your brothers or some of your male friends from the gym to "educate" him. Perhaps buy yourself a Glock, learn how to use it, then keep it handy, wait for Mr. Macho's next tantrum, blow his effin head off and claim self-defense. ("Get hollow points," as that comedianLouie Anderson?used to gibe.) You will almost surely be exonerated or receive some token sentence. But do not give in. If you do give in, it's on you. Don't look for someone else to blame (or some nebulous, self-serving psychological syndrome to cite) when you and/or your defenseless kids suffer for it.*

So it is with all this loose talk about men maneuvering women into unwanted sex.**

Are women fully functioning adults? Or are they, in fact, perpetual wards of the nanny state who require constant looking-after and all sorts of special provisions enacted to protect them from their own puissance deficit? Don't talk to me about the natural physical power imbalance between men and women, either, because that's exactly the kind of reasoning that women themselves reject out of hand in pronouncing themselves fit for police work, military duty and other physically demanding occupations that once were the exclusive province of males.

Which way is it gonna be, ladies? Can you take care of yourselves in relationships and life? Are you the equal of men? Or not.
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* I could mention the obvious SHAM tie-in her, reiterating the ways in which early self-help encouraged us all to feel like impotent victims, but why muddy the waters? Read the book if you haven't, wink.
** I'm not talking about flashpoint, life-and-death scenarios where a man has a knife to a woman's throat. I'm referring to cases where women later complain about having been coaxed or shamed or "pushed" into sex. In other words, the pressure was verbal or implied, and a "No" would not have had fatal consequences. This is also why a woman cannot allow herself to be coerced into moving in with a guy. Once you do so, your options are much more limited. And it's why we teach our children to never get in a car with a stranger...run, scream, kick, fight...even if it does seem to be a life-and-death scenario. Because once you're in that car...