Teenagers who tumble from the bed to a sudden pregnancy often face this reaction from the people surrounding them: These poor kids made a mistake, yes. But they don’t have the maturity to bring a life into the world. It would ruin their lives, and they would probably be irresponsible and resentful parents. Admitting their immaturity and having an abortion is the truly mature choice.
That might sound like a formulaic TV movie of the week. But then comes “Juno,” the quirky, arty film with a completely different take – and it’s taking the movie world by storm.
Ten years after the Lewinsky scandal broke, Barbara Walters is still acting as a spokeswoman for Bill Clinton’s former mistress. On the January 21 episode, Walters scolded fellow "View" panelist Joy Behar for incorporating Monica Lewinsky jokes into her comic routine, opining "I don’t think one should joke about it."
The veteran journalist, who landed the first interview with Lewinsky, hyped her recent master’s degree and claimed she is having difficulties finding a job. Elisabeth Hasselbeck felt "that’s what happens when you make decisions like that, that affect your future." Whoopi Goldberg ended the segment adding that women should support Lewinsky because she’s a woman. After the commercial break, Hasselbeck replied that she thinks " about supporting the person, you know, and taking gender out of it."
See update at bottom: Scarborough nails Shuster on Huck/Obama double-standard.
If a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, does Mike Huckabee's sweet way with a word make tolerable views that would be rejected as extreme in the mouths of others less verbally gifted?
That's Willie Geist's view of the matter. The genius of the Morning Joe panelist normally resides in his ability to avoid the controversial while remaining interesting. But the anodyne-if-endearing Geist went out of character in today's opening segment on the subject of Mike Huckabee. And he did so in a manner the former Baptist preacher might not find so fetching.
The subject was a speech Huckabee gave yesterday in which he advocated changing the Constitution to adapt to the word of God.
David Crary of the Associated Press, in an article asking if sexism or racism is more "taboo" in the context of the recent war of words between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, concluded that "both are alive and well." It appears, though, judging by the use of quotes from feminists including Gloria Steinem and Kim Gandy, it seems that Crary is taking the apparent sexism against Hillary Clinton more seriously.
The first half of Crary’s article focused on the sexism component of the discussion. Crary quoted Steinem’s claim in a recent New York Times article that "gender is 'probably the most restricting force in American life' — more so than race." He then quotes Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, who "suggested there was little point in ranking them," and NOW president Kim Gandy, who is of the view that while racism may be "somewhat coded," there’s still "an awful lot of explicit sexist stuff."
Crary then spent six paragraphs on criticism of Hillary Clinton that has apparent sexist overtones.
Time magazine’s package of campaign news this week comes with a commentary from liberal writer Dahlia Lithwick (usually read at the Slate website). The headline was “The Tracks of Her Tears: When Hillary (nearly) wept, women voters saw not just be femininity but also her humanity.” Dahlia saw Hillary mist over in New Hampshire, and what soon followed was resentment at anyone who saw calculation or manipulation when “she finally lowered her cast-iron shield” and grew emotional:
But the gender card resonated, mostly because it turned the men around Clinton into brutes. Whether it was Obama's sounding a rare sour note by assuring the candidate she was "likable enough" or John Edwards' implying that her Portsmouth tears rendered Clinton somehow unfit for the "tough business" of governance, every woman who's ever been asked whether it's that time of the month must have felt some kinship. (Italics hers.)
Did Hillary’s misty talk of how much she loved America and wanted to reverse the Bush administration help her win in New Hampshire? NPR’s All Things Considered on Wednesday night went looking for women voters who were moved. Co-anchor Melissa Block interviewed three Hillary voters in Manchester: "Do you think that the polls underestimated women here?" One said: "I think they really, really did.
According to CosmoGirl magazine, it means perpetuating the myths that women cannot think for themselves, that they are simply victims, and that women who stay home to raise their children are "playing Russian roulette with their future."
Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake, believes "feminism is suffering from a major image crisis." Her column in the current issue of CosmoGirl tries to rally young women back to the feminist movement.
CosmoGirl, the little sister of the raunchy Cosmopolitan magazine, reportedly reaches 1.35 million readers. Its target audience is 16- to 20-year-old young women.
Bennetts is appalled that many of today's young women prefer the mommy track to the corporate ladder: "Instead of continuing to fight for equality and their own careers, many want to stay home and raise kids. In fact, a 2005 survey of female students at Yale University found that the majority planned to give up their careers and stay home after they had kids."
Nobody would expect a balanced piece from someone who refers to a woman's choice to stay home and focus on her family as a "mistake," but the article should have been better argued. It's full of tired, easily debunked claims.
For example, Bennetts cites Jacquelyn White, a gender psychology professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, who says, "Many girls today don't know there are still barriers for women; for instance, we only make 75 cents to the man's dollar."
During an interview on Wednesday morning with the Democratic victor in the New Hampshire primary, CNN’s Kiran Chetry asked Hillary Clinton if there was a hint of sexism in the response to the senator’s apparent show of emotion in the lead-up to the vote. "Do you think it's a double standard or a little harder because you're a woman to show you're a strong leader, but also be able to show some of your human side?"
In addition to this emotion/gender issue, Chetry, like her co-host John Roberts had done two days earlier, questioned Hillary about the Iraq war, specifically about the success of the troop surge. "You opposed the troop increase when the president proposed it, even introduced legislation to try to reverse it. Since then though, the attacks have fallen by 60% and a lot of the observers say that the surge is working. Do you acknowledge that the surge is working now?"
Clinton acknowledged the recent downturn in violence, but then went on to claim that "that was not the purpose of the surge. The purpose of the surge was to try to convince the Iraqi government to make the tough decisions that, so far, it has not made. So, I don't believe that that is a real justification, and we've had such a terrible year in the loss of American lives."
Writing on Newsweek's Web site, Jonathan Alter offers up three "pop psych theories" as to why Hillary Clinton won in New Hampshire when the media establishment (Alter included) unanimously predicted an Obama victory. To Alter, the mystery is why women voters flocked to Hillary in such large numbers, and his theories range from the patronizing (discounting her First Lady "experience" as irrelevent supposedly "reminded many women of how their own contributions at home have been under-appreciated") to the absurd ("as in any high-school election, the studious girls who show up to vote might harbor a few resentments about the boys").
And Alter makes no effort to square his theories about superficial women voters being moved by esoteric personality issues with the never-ending media mantra about New Hampshire voters being the most sophisticated and probing in the nation (which is why we must take their judgements so seriously). Yet their choice for President supposedly came down to thousands of beleaguered Democratic women who projected their problems in life onto a crying Hillary?
See Bonus Coverage at foot: "Clinton campaign spent 24 hours slicing and dicing each other."
Could the great irony be that the strong woman won because . . . people felt sorry for her? That's not just some right-wing media critic talking. It's a view emerging from left-wing circles. Apparently the libs are angry that the MSM was too biased towards Obama, so much so that it drove people to Hillary out of spite or sympathy.
Take the comments of Air America host Rachel Maddow during last night's MSNBC election coverage, in a remarkable exchange with Pat Buchanan and Chris Matthews. Who has been singled out for blame by the lefty blogosphere? None other than Matthews himself, who regularly waxed euphoric about Obama, going so far as to claim a week ago that an Obama victory in Iowa would bethe greatest story of the century.
As soon as I realized that Maureen Dowd's column of today, "Rush to Judgment" was indeed about Rush Limbaugh's recent observations about Hillary's looks, I braced myself for the backlash.
Surely Dowd would seek to unload on Rush for having said, in commenting on an unflattering photo of Hillary [displayed here] that turned up on Drudge, "will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?” Added Rush “men aging makes them look more authoritative, accomplished, distinguished. Sadly, it’s not that way for women, and they will tell you.” And Hillary “is not going to want to look like she’s getting older, because it will impact poll numbers, it will impact perceptions [so] there will have to be steps taken to avoid the appearance of aging.”
And so I continued to read, and wait, and wait -- for the comeback that never came.
Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show" led with co-host Julie Chen exclaiming: "Sexism hits the campaign trail as Rush Limbaugh asks if voters want to stare at an aging woman as president." This harsh accusation was in reference to comments made by Limbaugh during his radio show on Monday, in which he said: "Will Americans want to watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis? And that woman, by the way, is not going to want to look like she's getting older because it'll impact poll numbers, it'll impact perceptions."
The "Early Show" did not do a full segment on the story, but did feature a news brief at the top of the 8:00am hour by CBS Anchor Meg Oliver:
MEG OLIVER: And now a story that's expected to reverberate throughout the day. The question of sexism in politics. It's of particular interest in Campaign 2008, where a woman has a good chance of becoming a major party nominee. Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh yesterday had some thoughts after seeing this picture of Hillary Clinton posted on the internet. Limbaugh believes Americans are addicted to physical perfection and wonders if this country is ready to watch a woman age in the Oval Office.
What will it take for film critics to be satisfied with movies about young, unmarried pregnant women?
For most, a clever script and outstanding performances will suffice, but not so for Lisa Schwarzbaum, a film critic for Entertainment Weekly. It must also carry a weighty discussion on the "hard-won, precious rights" to choose.
"Juno,"the latest film about an unintended pregnancy carried to term, opens nationwide December 14. The movie reportedly depicts Juno, the pregnant 16-year-old lead character, deciding to place her baby for adoption after a chance encounter with a pro-life protester at an abortion clinic.
Schwarzbaum said in her review of the film, "The old-school feminist in me wishes ‘Juno'spent more time, even a tart sentence or two, acknowledging that the options taken for granted by this one attractive, articulate teen are in fact hard-won, precious rights, and need to be guarded by a new-generation army of Junos and Bleekers, spreading the word by text message as well as by hamburger phone."
All the co-hosts of "The View," a show intended to advance women’s voices, do not get offended by women’s persecution in the Islamic world. On the November 30 edition, in discussing the British woman charged for naming a class teddy bear Muhammad, the co-hosts did not direct any anger at the Sudanese government, but rather blamed the woman for not adapting to their culture.
Co-host Sherri Shepherd opined "you would think that with her being in Sudan, she would know the rules and customs." Whoopi Goldberg said Europeans and Americans are "not as anxious to learn the customs before we go places." And of course that’s why we’re called "ugly Americans."
The show was recorded before news of the woman’s 15 day sentence. The entire transcript is below.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Now in the Sudan, there’s a British teacher who is possibly going to be stoned or lashed.
Here’s a headline that suggests an objective article will not follow: "Hillary Hatred Finds Its Misogynistic Voice." Newhouse News Service reporter Jonathan Tilove, whose beat is usually race relations, indicted John McCain, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, former RNC spokesman Cliff May, "South Park," and Facebook groups as historic forces of hatred and vitriol, putting poor Hillary through a punishing gauntlet never run by men: "Thanks to several years of phallocentric history, there is no comparably vocabulary of degradation for men, no equivalently rich trove of synonyms for a sexually sullied male." The story began:
In the coming months, America will decide whether to elect its first female president. And amid a techno-media landscape where the wall between private vitriol and public debate has been reduced to rubble, Sen. Hillary Clinton is facing an onslaught of open misogynistic expression.
Nearing the end of 2007 can only mean one thing: it’s time for lists. The Most Inspirational, The Sexiest, and The Most Fascinating. Lists of Fill-In-The-Blank People of the Year are starting to hit airwaves and newsstands.
Glamour magazine is out of the gate with its “Women of the Year” profiles featured in the December issue. It’s not a surprise that not one strong conservative woman is featured. Thankfully however, neither are Senator Hillary Clinton or Rosie O’Donnell. And though both were left off the list the liberal tilt is clearly evident.
Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, is lauded as “The Role Model” for her boldness in continuing to live her life in the face of cancer and for her devotion to her family.
But Edwards is not the only wife of a presidential candidate who is facing health issues. Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 and is also extremely devoted to her family in addition to helping better the lives of at-risk youth. Yet Romney wasn’t chosen as a “Role Model.” Is it because her husband is a Republican candidate?
Who'd you bet on in a Mixed Martial Arts match between Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd? You might get the chance. Earlier this week, Krugman called Barack Obama a "sucker" and a "fool," while praising Hillary. Maureen Dowd has now gone after Paul's girl, calling Clinton every name in the headline and a few more.
The theory of Dowd's column today is that while Hillary knows how to shake Barack Obama with her ice-cold demeanor, Rudy will revel in the combat with Clinton. Excerpts from "Shake, Rattle and Roll" [emphasis added]:
On Monday, NewsBusters reported the ironic occurrence of a Missouri newspaper firing a former journalism professor for plagiarism.
At the time, I wrote, "I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry."
Well, new information suggests the latter, as the piece which started the brouhaha, a November 3 column by professor emeritus John Merrill, was critical of a new department for women's and gender studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia (emphasis added):
Q. Who could possibly be "surprised" that in choosing women to date, college-aged men tend to prefer beauty over brains?
A. An Ivy League professor.
What is truly surprising is that Maureen Dowd thinks this commonplace about men's preferences has implications for Hillary's campaign strategy. Dowd propounds her odd theory in her column of this morning, "Should Hillary Pretend to Be a Flight Attendant?"
Fox TV's The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet ran a segment this morning that promoted the Rutgers University Sex, ETC. site for teens. Unfortunately I was not able to watch the program so I can not comment on the specifics of the segment but I can provide some background on the site that should have every parent concerned about the effort to circumvent parental involvement in teaching their teens, and yes, pre-teen children about sex within the context of a parent's perspective.
The first item you may not be surprised to learn is that while the site runs under the subtext of "a website by teens for teens" that it is heavily influenced by adults with a particular agenda. Adults such as Nora Gelperin who is the training coordinator for the Network for Family Life Education based out of Rutgers University. The organization has been renamed to the more child friendly name of Answer and has been the recipient of government sponsored earmarks for the New Jersey Teen to Teen education project.
Filing a report on how crucial single female voters are for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), CNN reporter Carol Costello left out the central, defining aspect of a liberal political action committee hoping to elect Clinton.
Costello's report aired on the November 1 "The Situation Room" about a quarter before 6 p.m. Eastern. Here's how she blandly described EMILY's List over B-roll showing the group's Web site (pictured at right):
Two thousand eight could well be the year of the woman, or rather the single, anxious female. According to new research by EMILY's List, a political network for Democratic women, they might just put Hillary Clinton in the White House.
Yet the very same Web site declares the group to be "the nation's largest grassroots political network" that is "dedicated to building a progressive America by electing pro-choice Democratic women to federal, state, and local offic." Hammering home the point that the abortion issue is THE litmus test for candidate funding, the Web site answers the question "Who is EMILY" by among other things asserting that she's "every woman who’s ever had to defend her right to be pro-choice. She’s every woman who’s ever had to explain her choice not to have a child."
In a political act loaded with cultural symbolism, Senator Hillary Clinton endorsed an effort to earmark a million taxpayer dollars for a museum in Bethel, New York celebrating the circus of 1969, the Woodstock music festival. Other senators smelled the pork and successfully voted to remove it.
The tie-dyed, drug-soaked post-war babies that populated that muddy plain are now approaching Social Security age, and the aging hippies that made their way into the establishment want to imbue the notorious excesses of their youth with respectability. The New York Times said the Bethel complex would be "what Cooperstown is to baseball" – a hippie Hall of Fame.
I liked that music. I still do. Then as now, I simply ignored the cultural and political messages. Many others didn’t.
The bohemian worldview of Woodstock Nation is in some ways dominant, and in some ways passe in our popular culture. Hallucinogenic drugs are no longer the rage, but the "free love" spirit of "if it feels good, do it" still runs strong, especially in our entertainment world. And yet, burbling beneath a noisy culture of sexual excess and self-love, there’s a quiet undercurrent in our movies carrying subtle, and even obvious pro-life themes.
As much as liberals decry major corporations that act as if they’re above the law, there’s always quiet when the subject is Planned Parenthood, America’s number one corporate provider of abortions. During its 2005-2006 fiscal year, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed a record 264,943 abortions, reported a tidy profit of $55.8 million – and received a record high in taxpayer funding of $305.3 million.
This is one corporation the media hold in the highest regard. They’re not "merchants of death." That would be the tobacco companies, or gun manufacturers, or hamburger joints. These are the heroic "providers" of "a woman’s right to choose."
They’re also sleazy in their business practices. In Aurora, Illinois, Planned Parenthood planned to build the biggest abortion clinic in the country, but they lied by omission to the city. Throughout the construction process, the McDonald’s of the abortion industry applied for permits by listing the owner as "Gemini Office Development," not as Planned Parenthood.
Hillary Clinton doesn't just want to give us all free healthcare and fix things in Iraq. No, she's set her sights much, much higher -- nothing short of "repairing the world." At least, so says her avid supporter, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY).
In the wake of Hillary's "National Women's Finance Council Summit," a campaign event in which she explicitly appealed to women to vote for her because of her sex [raising $1.5 million along the way], Lowey was a guest on this evening's "Tucker." Host Carlson was prodding the congresswoman to explain just what it is about a woman president that would be different from a man.
Sure, Michael Vick has admitted involvement in dogfighting. But did you see how sharp he looked in that suit on the way to the courthouse? And yes, Mark McGwire bombed at those congressional hearings with his "I don't want to talk about the past" skate on steroids, but he's the epitome of what a XXXL Abercrombie & Fitch guy can be.
Inane as those comments are, they at least have the merit of being made by me in jest. But what is Robin Givhan's excuse for her similarly silly glorification of the fashion sense of another disgraced athlete, Marion Jones? For that's exactly what the Washington Post's style maven does in her column of this morning, "Marion Jones, a Success On the Glamour Track, Too".
You know The Washington Post is a liberal newspaper when it hails Democratic grande dames -- in the Home section. The lead story in the Thursday section was "Secretary Albright's Sugar Shakers: And Other Significant Parts of Great Women's Houses." Post reporter Annie Groer touted the effects of "great women" like Madeleine Albright. When Albright ran through her official flower budget as U.N. Ambassador, "she pressed her antique sugar shakers into centerpiece duty in New York and later in Foggy Bottom." A large picture of Albright and her shakers dominated the top of the page.
Is "The View’s" Joy Behar comparing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to O.J. Simpson? With a comment on the October 2 edition of the women’s chat show, it sounded like it. The "Hot Topic" discussion involved Justice Thomas’ new book "My Grandfather’s Son" and Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations. In that context, Joy Behar offered the following snarky remark.
"Why is he writing this book? He won basically the round. He’s the Supreme Court Justice for life. He should write a book, ‘If I Harassed Her.’"
Presumably she was alluding to O.J. Simpson’s book, "If I Did It." Joy’s comments amused even the show’s "conservative" Elisabeth Hasselbeck.