No culture on earth outside of mid-century suburban America has ever deployed one woman per child without simultaneously assigning her such major productive activities as weaving, farming, gathering, temple maintenance, and tent-building. The reason is that full-time, one-on-one child-raising is not good for women or children.
Some of us still get all weepy when we think about the Gaia Hypothesis, the idea that earth is a big furry goddess-creature who resembles everybody’s mom in that she knows what’s best for us. But if you look at the historical record — Krakatoa, Mt. Vesuvius, Hurricane Charley, poison ivy, and so forth down the ages — you have to ask yourself: Whose side is she on, anyway?
If that’s how it all started, then we might as well face the fact that what’s left out there is a great deal of shrapnel and a whole bunch of cinders (one of which is, fortunately, still hot enough and close enough to be good for tanning).
Topics: The Universe
Those Romans who perpetrated the rape of the Sabines, for example, did not work themselves up for the deed by screening Debbie Does Dallas, and the monkish types who burned a million or so witches in the Middle Ages had almost certainly not come across Boobs and Buns or related periodicals.
The media have just buried the last yuppie, a pathetic creature who had not heard the news that the great pendulum of public consciousness has just swung from Greed to Compassion and from Tex-Mex to meatballs
Imagine spending four billion years stocking the oceans with seafood, filling the ground with fossil fuels, and drilling the bees in honey production — only to produce a race of bed-wetters!
In sci-fi convention, life-forms that hadn’t developed space travel were mere prehistory — horse-shoe crabs of the cosmic scene — and something of the humiliation of being stuck on a provincial planet in a galactic backwater has stayed with me ever since.
Topics: Science Fiction
The one regret I have about my own abortions is that they cost money that might otherwise have been spent on something more pleasurable, like taking the kids to movies and theme parks.
That’s free enterprise, friends: freedom to gamble, freedom to lose. And the great thing — the truly democratic thing about it — is that you don’t even have to be a player to lose.
It would be nice if someone would read this sad-eyed crowd the Sermon on the Mount, accompanied by a rousing commentary on income inequality and a need for a hike in the minimum wage. But Jesus makes his appearance here only as a corpse; the living man, the wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist, is never once mentioned, nor anything he ever had to say. Christ crucified rules, and it may be that the true business of modern Christianity is to crucify him again and again so that he can never get a word out of his mouth.
When the Somalians were merely another hungry third world people, we sent them guns. Now that they are falling down dead from starvation, we send them troops. Some may see in this a tidy metaphor for the entire relationship between north and south. But it would make a whole lot more sense nutritionally — as well as providing infinitely more vivid viewing — if the Somalians could be persuaded to eat the troops.
Upscale people are fixated with food simply because they are now able to eat so much of it without getting fat, and the reason they don’t get fat is that they maintain a profligate level of calorie expenditure. The very same people whose evenings begin with melted goats cheese… get up at dawn to run, break for a mid-morning aerobics class, and watch the evening news while racing on a stationary bicycle.
If men were equally at risk from this condition – if they knew their bellies might swell as if they were suffering from end-stage cirrhosis, that they would have to go nearly a year without a stiff drink, a cigarette, or even an aspirin, that they would be subject to fainting spells and unable to fight their way onto commuter trains – then I am sure that pregnancy would be classified as a sexually transmitted disease and abortions would be no more controversial than emergency appendectomies
If men were equally at risk from this condition — if they knew their bellies might swell as if they were suffering from end-stage cirrhosis, that they would have to go nearly a year without a stiff drink, a cigarette, or even an aspirin, that they would be subject to fainting spells and unable to fight their way onto commuter trains — then I am sure that pregnancy would be classified as a sexually transmitted disease and abortions would be no more controversial than emergency appendectomies.
Topics: Birth, Pregnancy
Heads of state are notoriously ill prepared for their mature careers; think of Adolf Hitler (landscape painter), Ho Chi Minh (seaman), and our own Ronald Reagan.
Topics: Politics, Politicians
Crime seems to change character when it crosses a bridge or a tunnel. In the city, crime is taken as emblematic of class and race. In the suburbs, though, it’s intimate and psychological — resistant to generalization, a mystery of the individual soul.
A free-enterprise economy depends only on markets, and according to the most advanced mathematical macroeconomic theory, markets depend only on moods: specifically, the mood of the men in the pinstripes, also known as the Boys on the Street. When the Boys are in a good mood, the market thrives; when they get scared or sullen, it is time for each one of us to look into the retail apple business.
Thus will the fondest dream of Phallic science be realized: a pristine new planet populated entirely by little boy clones of great scientific entrepreneurs free to smash atoms, accelerate particles, or, if they are so moved, build pyramids — without any social relevance or human responsibility at all.
The feminist anti-pornography movement, no less than the feminist movement of a century ago, encourages the assumption that male and female sexuality, and possibly morality, are as unlike as yin and yang.
Topics: Women, Feminism
My Turn is the distilled bathwater of Mrs. Reagan’s life. It is for the most part sweetish, with a tart edge of rebuke, but disappointingly free of dirt or particulate matter of any kind.
Considering the absence of legal coercion, the surprising thing is that men have for so long, and, on the whole, so reliably, adhered to what we might call the “breadwinner ethic.”
Topics: Value, Men
There seems to be no stopping drug frenzy once it takes hold of a nation. What starts with an innocuous HUGS, NOT DRUGS bumper sticker soon leads to wild talk of shooting dealers and making urine tests a condition for employment — anywhere.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Jane Addams American Social Reformer
- Nora Ephron American Filmmaker
- Linus Pauling American Scientist, Peace Activist
- Gore Vidal American Novelist
- Alice Walker American Novelist, Activist
- Gloria Steinem American Feminist
- Noam Chomsky American Linguist, Philosopher, Social Critic
- Daniel C. Dennett American Philosopher, Atheist
- Joan Didion American Essayist, Novelist, Memoirist
- Audre Lorde American Poet, Feminist