sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

April 20, 2011

Gaia Is a Baby-Eating Goddess

Filed under: environmentalism, society — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:23 pm

Bay Area moms of Caucasian extraction are usually at least to some degree invested in “green” parenting.  For instance, the other day I overheard some random mom chiding her toddler for not turning off the light: “It hurts the Earth!”  For the record, I’m for turning off the lights because I’m thrifty.  But I’m not going to make an issue out of it because we can afford this particular expense, and there are more urgent toddler behavioral matters.

I wrote before that environmentalist Bay Area mothers will probably find it difficult to give up their beliefs.  What about their kids?  This generation is brought up in the Church of  Global Warming (I’m borrowing somebody else’s phrase here), and so I’m curious to see what is going to happen when most of the predictions will fail to materialize by the time they start high school.  Today’s toddlers might end up feeling that they were lied to, and that their parents are chumps.  Will the current green chic become one day a subject of aughts/naughts/tens revival, or are we going to trash our national parks because it was, like, all b.s. and stuff?  Young people may come to the conclusion that all science is bogus and plunge into the New Age, which, of course, is alive and kicking in Northern California.  You never know how those things will work out.

Oh, the sweet little memories of growing up the only child!

I bought a few children’s books off the overstock rack that mention global warming.  In a few years I will read these books with my kids and discuss how science can be politicized.  I will teach them to be skeptical and to seek information from a variety of sources.  I will explain that power-hungry greedy people will try to take advantage of them, and it’s up to them to use their brains to shield themselves from users.  While it’s important to love nature and care for the environment, this doesn’t entail buying into all the trendy enviro hype.

Many conservative observers pointed out, that at its core environmentalism is worship of Gaia, a pagan religious phenomenon.  Environmentalists would take it as a compliment.  We are certainly trying really hard to be neo-pagan here: think Burning Man.

Wiccan interviewed on TV. Its in South California, but you get the idea.

If Gaia is a fertility goddess, why is each one of us is told to castrate oneself on her altar?  Our Gaia can’t possibly look like a fertility goddess.  This is your traditional fertility goddess:

Venus of Willendorf

And this are contemporary celebrities:

I have no idea who most of these women are, but, I trust, they are celebrities.

While farmers worship the fertile earth and want helping hands, city dwellers, including environmentalists, view children as an inconvenience, particularly when the welfare state is in place, and we see people drawing on Social Security in their old age.

Here in the Bay Area we are sheltered from nature.  The weather is mostly mild, and when it rains we stay indoors.  I can’t tell you how many times I took my children to the playground when it was barely sprinkling, and no one was there.  Wimps!  There are earthquakes, of course, but we build to code, like a developed country.  If a hurricane strikes New Orleans, we blame the Bush Administration.  We don’t fear mother nature, Republicans are the enemy.  We don’t hunt, and we sensor folk tales we read to our children, the only source they have that gives them a glimpse into pagan antiquity.

We, overprotected city-dwellers, worship a very different Gaia.  Somehow between neurosis and politicking we stumbled upon a death goddess.  Instead of having many children and teaching them what we know, in the name of carbon footprint reduction we have very few. It  is doubtful Western civilization can survive.

Neil Gaimans Death

And what will the children say when they find out that they couldn’t have siblings because of global warming?


April 18, 2011

When Peaceful Coexistence Is in Vogue

Filed under: politics, society — Tags: , , , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:02 am

Anna Wintour is so five minutes ago.  You think she has her hands full pouring over pictures of mentally ill young women, but the Vogue editor still finds time to promote “first ladies” of tyrannies.  The Manolo comments on Vogue’s February snow job of Syrian dictatoress Asma (does her name sound like a disease or what?) Al-Assad (via Instapundit):

Here is the small, bitterly ironic taste:

Asma al-Assad is glamorous, young, and very chic — the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies. Her style is not the couture-and-bling dazzle of Middle Eastern power but a deliberate lack of adornment. She’s a rare combination: a thin, long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind who dresses with cunning understatement. Paris Match calls her “the element of light in a country full of shadow zones.” She is the first lady of Syria.

“The element of light in the country full of shadow zones.” the Manolo is sure that this must bring great comfort to the thousands of political prisoners languishing in Syrian jails.

But Asma al-Assad likes to help where she can:

The 35-year-old first lady’s central mission is to change the mind-set of six million Syrians under eighteen, encourage them to engage in what she calls “active citizenship.” “It’s about everyone taking shared responsibility in moving this country forward, about empowerment in a civil society. We all have a stake in this country; it will be what we make it.”

And now the Manolo includes this recent news video of ordinary Syrians participating in “active citizenship”:

You will notice that all across Syria the security forces of the first lady’s husband are engaging these young, active citizens in the spirited debate about the proper role of empowerment in Syria. As of this writing, perhaps as many as 300 active citizens have had their mindset permanently changed by violent death.

I went and checked out the whole feature to find this tidbit:

In the Saint Paul orphanage, maintained by the Melkite–Greek Catholic patriarchate and run by the Basilian sisters of Aleppo, Asma sits at a long table with the children. […]

Back in the car, I ask what religion the orphans are. “It’s not relevant,” says Asma al-Assad. “Let me try to explain it to you. That church is a part of my heritage because it’s a Syrian church. The Umayyad Mosque is the third-most-important holy Muslim site, but within the mosque is the tomb of Saint John the Baptist. We all kneel in the mosque in front of the tomb of Saint John the Baptist. That’s how religions live together in Syria—a way that I have never seen anywhere else in the world. We live side by side, and have historically. All the religions and cultures that have passed through these lands—the Armenians, Islam, Christianity, the Umayyads, the Ottomans—make up who I am.”

“Does that include the Jews?” I ask.

“And the Jews,” she answers. “There is a very big Jewish quarter in old Damascus.”

That quarter must be little Tel-Aviv, beaming with life and all.  Right?  Don’t worry Asma, Vogue will cover for you.

The Jewish quarter of Damascus spans a few abandoned blocks in the old city that emptied out in 1992, when most of the Syrian Jews left. Their houses are sealed up and have not been touched, because, as people like to tell you, Syrians don’t touch the property of others. The broken glass and sagging upper floors tell a story you don’t understand—are the owners coming back to claim them one day?

First, what’s up with the Umayyad Mosque?  It was built right on top of the John the Baptist church after the Muslim conquest of 634, so I’m not sure this qualifies as peaceful coexistence from a Christian perspective.  If Vogue were to sit down with the nuns in that orphanage, the fashion rag might have a different Syrian story.  But are they glamorous enough for Vogue?

This is the first time I’ve  seem anything other than the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem listed as the #3 Muslim holiest.  Asma can be a great Zionist source!  Speaking of Zionism, contrary to Vogue’s airbrushing of history, most Syrian Jews did not leave in 1992.  According to Jimena, in 1948, at the time of creation of the state of Israel, 30,000 Jews lived in Syria, 4,500 remained in 1976, and only 100 in 2001.

Jewish wedding in ALeppo, Syria, 1914.

Jewish wedding in Aleppo, Syria, 1914.

Following the Islamic conquest, Jews and Christians became subject to Dhimmi laws that allowed them to stay, but made them into second class citizens, subject to special taxation and humiliating regulations.  Nonetheless, the Jewish community was once wealthy and thriving.  By 1948, it was already decimated by declining economic opportunity (after the opening of Suez canal, traditional land routs through Syria declined in significance).  In addition, anti-Semitic pogroms already drove many out of the country.  This is the story of Syrian Jewry post-WW2:

In 1944, after Syria gained independence from France, the new government prohibited Jewish immigration to Palestine, and severely restricted the teaching of Hebrew in Jewish schools. Attacks against Jews escalated, and boycotts were called against their businesses.

When partition was declared in 1947, Arab mobs in Aleppo devastated the 2,500-year-old Jewish community. Scores of Jews were killed and more than 200 homes, shops and synagogues were destroyed. Thousands of Jews illegally fled Syria to go to Israel.1

Shortly after, the Syrian government intensified its persecution of the Jewish population. Freedom of movement was severely restricted. Jews who attempted to flee faced either the death penalty or imprisonment at hard labor. Jews were not allowed to work for the government or banks, could not acquire telephones or driver’s licenses, and were barred from buying property. Jewish bank accounts were frozen. An airport road was paved over the Jewish cemetery in Damascus; Jewish schools were closed and handed over to Muslims.

Syria’s attitude toward Jews was reflected in its sheltering of Alois Brunner, one of the most notorious Nazi war criminals. Brunner, a chief aide to Adolf Eichmann, served as an adviser to the Assad regime [the regime whose “first lady” Anna Wintour is promoting, –ed.].2

In 1987-88, the Syrian secret police seized 10 Jews on suspicion of violating travel and emigration laws, planning to escape and having taken unauthorized trips abroad. Several who were released reported being tortured while in custody.3

In November 1989, the Syrian government promised to facilitate the emigration of more than 500 single Jewish women, who greatly outnumbered eligible men in the Jewish community and could not find suitable husbands. Twenty-four were allowed to emigrate in the fall of 1989 and another 20 in 1991.4

For years, the Jews in Syria lived in extreme fear. The Jewish Quarter in Damascus was under the constant surveillance of the secret police, who were present at synagogue services, weddings, bar-mitzvahs and other Jewish gatherings. Contact with foreigners was closely monitored. Travel abroad was permitted in exceptional cases, but only if a bond of $300-$1,000 was left behind, along with family members who served as hostages. U.S. pressure applied during peace negotiations helped convince President Hafez Assad to lift these restrictions, and those prohibiting Jews from buying and selling property, in the early 1990’s.

In an undercover operation in late 1994, 1,262 Syrian Jews were brought to Israel. The spiritual leader of the Syrian Jewish community for 25 years, Rabbi Avraham Hamra, was among those who left Syria and went to New York (he now lives in Israel). Syria had granted exit visas on condition that the Jews not go to Israel.5 The decision to finally free the Jews came about largely as a result of pressure from the United States following the 1991 Madrid peace conference.

By the end of 1994, the Joab Ben Zeruiah Synagogue in Aleppo, in continuous use for more than 1,600 years, was deserted. A year later, approximately 250 Jews remained in Damascus, all apparently staying by choice.6 By the middle of 2001, Rabbi Huder Shahada Kabariti estimated that 150 Jews were living in Damascus, 30 in Haleb and 20 in Kamashili. Every two or three months, a rabbi visits from Istanbul, Turkey, to oversee preparation of kosher meat, which residents freeze and use until his next visit. Two synagogues remain open in Damascus.7

Although Jews are occasionally subjected to violence by Palestinian protesters in Syria, the government has taken strict protective measures, including arresting assailants and guarding the remaining synagogues.8

The last Syrian exodus makes fascinating Passover reading.  Come to think of it, Point of no Return is a good Passover blog.

Moses and Burning Bush icon, Sinai, c.12th century.

Anyhow, Asma’s little story about “the Armenians, Islam, Christianity, the Umayyads, the Ottomans—make up who I am” is ridiculous.  She’s a British-born and raised daughter of a (Syrian?) diplomat who’d vacation in Syria once a year until she married the dictator.  I want to know if this was an arranged marriage, and how many wives her husband has.  She sounds like an upper-crust London Arab in charge of putting a smiley on a fascist regime.

UPDATE 3/21/2012: Vogue has “disappeared” its profile of Asma Al Assad after this entry was posted.  The feature can be found here.  (Via Maggie’s Notebook.)

April 16, 2011

Apology not Accepted

Filed under: society — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:26 pm

A belated response to the Dear Woman video first spotted on King Shamus, I suppose.  But hey, if I can get a post out — why not.  So it’s a long video of creepy white men (just one of them happened to be black) apologizing for all men to all women.  Of course, ladies obliged.

The thing is,those creatures can not possibly apologize on behalf of all men because they are themselves not men.  Girls becoming women is a matter of biology, but since men don’t go through comparable dramatic physiological transformations, a coming of age ritual had to be invented in every society.  That’s why boys go to boot camps, subject themselves to hazing or drive a stinky van from San Francisco to New York and back.

Sambia boy in Papua New Guinea has his nose poked until it bleeds hard as a part of Sambia initiation rite.

During these rites initiates bond with each other.  It’s very important for men to be able to run in packs, and men are much better teammates than we women.  When real men show loyalty to their buddies, Dear Woman “men” don’t have a team.  It would be very different if they pledged to not treat their female companions like the mullahs, or even came out and said directly, that they, the Gaia-worshiping masochists, are a higher order of male specimens.  Instead, they cattily suggest their superiority.  We women intuit that they never learned to bond with other men in a rite of passage, and don’t think of them as men.  If they are not men, who are they to apologize for men?

Real men are straight forward and not hard to please.  Dear Woman “men” come across as creepy and manipulative.  As many pointed out, they are angling to get laid, but they won’t.  True, but they will settle to use a woman to fill their crippled emotional needs.  It’s a good idea to stay away from those types.

April 13, 2011

How Many Undies for a Cosmonaut?

Filed under: Russia, society — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:22 am

In the wake of Yuri’s Night celebration Russian paper Kommersant published an article that compared the compensation cosmonauts and astronauts received for their respective efforts in conquest of space.  Renumeration of  Yuri Gagarin’s  goodies makes one wonder how communism could have possibly failed:

The first cosmonaut became a living symbol of superiority of the Soviet system, so it was impossible not to reward him.  Bypassing the rank of captain, Gagarin was promoted to a major, honored as Hero of the Soviet Union and Flier-Cosmonaut, and showered with gifts an ordinary Soviet citizen could only dream about.  In accordance with 18 of April, 1961 order of Sovmin USSR, Gagarin was presented with a Volga, a living abode, a four room apartment [not four bedroom, four room, — ed.] and furniture.

A 1960 Volga.  Gagarin probably had a black one.

Besides that the first cosmonaut was allotted television Rubin, radio Lux, washing machine, refrigerator, carpet rugs, piano, six sets of bedsheets and two blankets.  In addition Gagarin was outfitted with a winter coat, a light summer coat, raincoat, two suits (light and dark), two pairs of shoes, six shirts, two hats, six pairs of soaks, six sets of silk underwear, the same amount of underpants and undershirts, twelve handkerchiefs, six ties, two sets of military uniforms, a pair of glove, an electric razor blade and two suitcases.

Wife, children and parents of the cosmonaut were also equipped in a manner appropriate for public appearances.  Gagarin’s wife was allotted six pairs of stockings, two kerchiefs, two hats, tree dresses, and so on.  Aside from clothing, his parents received a three room house, TV set, radio and furniture, children were supplied with toys.  Gagarin’s sister and two brothers got 1,000 rubles each.  Don’t forget that during three years following the flight, Gagarin’s life turned into an endless banquet with speeches, toasts and libations.  The Soviet system with its system of administrative distribution of everything, did for the first Cosmonaut everything it could from grocery allotments to variety of privileges and goods.

The first crop of astronauts, Kommersant says, became national heroes, and got a chance to make it in a private spheres, and many of them were lavishly rewarded — with book deals, endorsements, job contracts with top companies, etc.  Quite a few became millionaires.  Some, according to Kommersant, were losers.  Among them are James Irwin and Charles Duke who became preachers.  I don’t suppose Russians get it.  Now that space flights no longer command the public’s attention, astronauts don’t get that much of a leg up, comments Kommersant.  True.  But it’s still possible to launch your wife’s political career (which will get her shot).

Because America won the space race and grew indifferent to further conquests of the final frontier.  Russians, on the other hand, are nostalgic for the fleeting former glory.

April 12, 2011

Soviet Space Nostalgia

Filed under: Russia — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 6:22 pm

In late 70s and 80s Space Explorers Day, celebrated on April 12 in the Soviet Union, was a minor affair.  Our school teachers talked about it, TV stations, all three of them, aired some sort of documentary about Yuri Gagarin, our first man in space.  These documentaries typically explained how there is no point of going to the moon — other then for the show.  I don’t recall what they said about space shuttles, which Soviets didn’t know how to make, but I’m pretty sure these were only for the show too.  My parents, of course, remember the feeling of astonishment and exuberance when in 1961 out of nowhere came the news of Gagarin’s flight.  In years to come Gagarin, who died in 1968 in a test plane crash, was still remembered fondly, but there were no parades, no flags or flowers, no special rituals to commemorate the first human space flight.  Neither a lavish state celebration nor an authentic grass roots movement baring Gagarin’s name existed at the time.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russians retained some of the communist holidays.  Soviet Army Day, for instance, became the Day of Defender of Fatherland, International Women’s Day is still International Women’s Day, and a few decades down the road Space Explorers’ Day is transformed into Yuri’s Night, a celebration of conquest of the final frontier and, more generally, human achievement.  This year, on the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s flight, the holiday is celebrated worldwide — with bad music and designer drugs that make one want to do great, daring things, like cuddle all night.  OK, enough about raves, what are we celebrating and why?

Gagarin is important to Russians today because he embodies something positive that came out of the Soviet era. To be sure, Soviet subjects achieved quite a bit in the period between 1917 and 1991 in areas such as literature.  There were Solzhenitsin, Akhmatova, Trifonov and Bulgakov, to name a few.  Lately in our house we’ve been playing lots and lots of Russian popular songs from the early to mid-20th century.  We especially like Utesov and Shainsky.

I like to describe Utesov as Soviet Klezmer. His “Mishka from Odessa” (1941) is a song about a sailor who first leaves Odessa when she is surrendered to the Nazis in WW2, and later battles to liberate her.  Incidentally, Odessa was liberated from the Nazis two days and 67 years ago Something to celebrate.

Shainsky’s “Blue Wagon” (c. 1972) is a masterpiece of Soviet children’s song.

The best of Russian literature of the Soviet era was created in opposition to the regime, and writers payed dearly.  Jazzy musicians like Utesov were merely tolerated, even though they often performed patriotic shanties.  And Shainsky was apolitical at the time when being apolitical was a statement in and of itself, a statement of refusing to engage with the political culture created by the regime. The launch of the first cosmonaut, by contrast, is not simply “something good” that came out of communist era, not something created in opposition to the regime or in parallel, but a grand achievement of the ruling class.

Russians today often overestimate the significance the first space flight in the minds of the Soviet people during the Brezhnev period.  Recent Russian film called The Vanished Empire set in the early 70s Moscow is a case in point.  (Thanks to Vicki Boykis for the recommendation.)  The film conjugates a fairly authentic picture of the Soviet life, with a keen eye for detail.  Except that Sergei, the protagonist of this drama, adorns his room with a picture of Gagarin.  That’s contemporary Russians projecting their own nostalgia into the early 70s.  It seems dubious that with American moonwalk fresh on everyone’s minds, a Moscow hipster who buys smuggled rock albums, would make Gagarin his hero.  I don’t recall anyone decorating their house with space memorabilia before the Soviet Union dissolved.  A college professor of mine once quipped that in the post-Soviet days Russians hang Soviet nostalgia trinkets in their rooms, but in the Soviet days we had world maps.  It’s true, we were so into geography!  Here we were, sitting behind the iron curtain and staring at the exotic names of faraway towns.  That’s what Sergei was suppose to have on his wall: the world map.  And yet…

Three years before the first man flew to the stars and came back in one piece Vasili Aksenov (click on this link, it’s a fascinating story!) wrote A Ticket to the Stars, which quickly became a bestseller in the Soviet Union.  The book, which describes adventures of young Moscow stilyagi (hipsters), brilliantly captures the hopeful spirit of Khrushchev’s Thaw, when exciting arty subculture emerged in USSR following the death of Stalin.  Stilyagi were especially fond of avant-garde art, jazz and the West, especially the United States.  This is not to say that Khrushchev approved of any of it. Aksenov, for instance, was criticized for the use of slang in his book.  A Ticket to the Stars ends with the death of the main character’s brother in what is presumed to be a spacecraft accident.  His brother was supposed to be the first man in space!  The country knew it was in the space race, and for the men in charge launching the first human into the orbit was more important then the lives of those involved in the program. Aksenov, who grew up in an orphanage because his parents were sent to the Gulag certainly knew that.

Vasili Aksenov

In 1981, during his visit to the United States, Vasili Aksenov was stripped of  Soviet citizenship.  He taught at George Mason University until 2004, and returned to Russia a few years before his death in 2009.  So what are we celebrating on April 12: the spirit of achievement and discovery symbolized by the reach to the stars, very much in line with American ragged individualism, or clumsy Behemoth that crashes the individual and sends its subjects in mal-designed spacecraft on secret missions intended to intimidate the world?

April 1, 2011

Dithering Motherhood

Filed under: relationships, society — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:20 am

I’m one of those women who always knew that I wanted to have kids, which, I suppose, is fairly common of somebody born in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Through my twenties I met American women my age who said that they either didn’t want kids or plan to have them in their early forties.  That didn’t seem like much of a plan, so I assumed that they don’t want to give their game away.

Then there is the unnerving phenomena of dithering would-be-mothers.  Am I ready?  Am I not ready?  And I’m probably not ready yet, but I’ll know when I’m ready.  Elle columnist Corrie Pikul doesn’t know if she’s ready.  At 35, she’s not sure if she wants to:

Until recently, babies weren’t my priority: I had to find a career, a partner, myself. I’d deal with the motherhood question later. Now I’m 35 and married. “Later” has arrived — and I’m still solidly, intractably ambivalent. My husband, also undecided, looks to me for guidance and motivation. I figured the issue would somehow resolve itself: Like Alyson Hannigan’s character on How I Met Your Mother, I’d grab my husband one day and half sexily, half scarily demand that he “put a baby in me!” Or, after many heartfelt, wine-soaked conversations, we’d decide we were too selfish/broke/inept to have children of our own, and toast to a future of aunt- and unclehood. Instead, now that I’ve entered the five-year period when fertility experts strongly urge women to get busy, the indecision is agonizing.

Ms. Pikul is agonizing over wrong things.  I can assure her that she’s not going to be a perfect mother, but imperfection doesn’t stop us breeders.  If she and her husband put their mind to it, they can swing it financially, I can assure her of that too.  If she’s afraid that parenting will change her life forever, again, no need to worry because it will.  She can’t figure out what motherhood will be like from observing other mothers, because her body and her mind will change through pregnancies and post-partum.  It’s biology.  It’s also an experience she has to live through to understand.

Trying to figure out how many more years of fertility she might or might not have is an exercise in futility because she can’t know for sure until it’s too late.  Likewise trying to figure out whether or not it’s her biological clock that she hears ticking is a waste of precious time.  She might sort out her emotions — eventually.  When it’s adoption time.  Perhaps the fact of her dithering in and of itself should tell her something. Then again, Ms. Pikul’s occupation requires her to dwell on things, and so she dwells on her indecisiveness for our entertainment.

What Pikul needs to consider is where she wants to be five years from now when she’s forty.  Or fifteen years from now when she’s celebrating her 50th Birthday.  What about her old age? She might want to interview childless post-menopausal women and see what they have to say.  One of my former co-workers once opened up and said that she regrets her childlessness.  I hear it’s a pretty common sentiment.

Not that childlessness is always wrong.  If you are Condolizza Rice, it’s probably worth it, but most childless women will not end up Secretaries of State.  In any event, absence of a progeny is not a prerequisite for the job.  If a dithering 35-year-old still wants to party — well, that’s an entirely different matter, but as many mothers, I’m sure, will testify, care-free life is much less satisfying than a normal human life cycle.  Considering that youth will slip away regardless, is our indecisive would-be mother looking forward to middle age?

My mother-in-law had six kids.  Each Christmas her house fills with laughter of her many grandchildren.  I envy her because I know that unless my children will turn Orthodox (unlikely), I’m not going to have old age like hers.  As a matter of fact, the way people breed now I’d be lucky to have any grandchildren at all.

Le Nain Brothers, A Vist to Grandmother, 1640s.

I don’t like the culture of not breeding, and I find graying societies are joyless.  I also don’t understand why any woman needs to take 35 years to find herself, as Ms. Pikul claims to have done.  If she thinks that she had to figure out who she is, well, maybe she did, and maybe she didn’t, but once she has a baby, all her self-discovery might just go out of the window.  Also, what’s the value of her self-discovery, if it doesn’t deal with most important question in life: Do I want to have children?  I find it peculiar that the question didn’t come up when Pikul was getting married.  And what is self-discovery if not a search for purpose in life, a void traditionally filled by children.  All that money she gave to her shrink and costly hobbies could have gone to a college fund.

S.E. Cupp hit some of the similar notes in her latest column:

I recently had the pleasure of sitting on a Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute panel with two remarkable women, Phyllis Schlafly and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), as we discussed the role that women have played in conservative activism. Listening to them wax poetic about marriage and motherhood, I felt pangs of guilt and disappointment that I hadn’t yet experienced either. And not because I hadn’t found the right guy, couldn’t afford kids or couldn’t conceive, but because I didn’t really want to.

Despite the efforts of a few courageous women like Schlafly and Bachmann to celebrate the family, one of the consequences of second- and third-wave feminism has been that motherhood has become an afterthought, the thing you do you after you’ve done everything else, if at all.

My mother was no feminist. She just wanted to raise a happy kid who had the opportunities she didn’t. But thanks to the persistent march of liberalism, feminism and secularism, the society that once raised girls to become women who get married and have a family is now the same society that raises girls to remain perennially youthful, become pop singers or reality stars and have children out of wedlock so their baby bumps make the cover of People magazine.

Cupp is not very generous to her generation.  I’m saddened that  feminism inspires the  shallow live-in-the-moment lifestyles of many contemporary American women.

Although recent medical advances enable us to extend fertility, at least to some degree, parenting is easier on the young.  A forty year-old might not have the energy for 2 am feedings and toddler-chasing excursions.  Younger mothers are probably less likely to overthink their duties and overprotect their progeny.  Younger mothers are going to be younger, more energetic grandmothers — a huge benefit for the entire clan.

In any event, I hope my children’s generation will do better breeding-wise.  I hope they will learn from the mistakes of women my age.  I don’t want my daughter agonizing over her fertility, and I don’t want my son to marry a woman with whom he’ll be unable to have children.  I am going to teach them that family is very important. That there is no greater joy in life then to hold a beautiful toddler (from one to two is my favorite age, turns out) and to teach your children what you know.  I think it’s a mistake on parents’ part to assume that either parenthood will come naturally or it’s optional, and therefore it’s unnecessary to bring up future parents.

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