Archive for April 27th, 2009

April 27, 2009

D’Antuono: Really?

by Smitty

Mark Hemingway at The Corner updates us on the micro-flap surrounding ‘The Truth’

I will now play a watered-down version of “Really?” from SNL’s Weekend Update with the response.

D’Antuono: Apparently, I’ve upset a lot of people. And I’ve decided that’s not what I wanted to do and I’m not going to display it in the park on Wednesday

Really? Given the previous blowback over religious symbology alongside the POTUS, you’re surprised? Really? Did you think the way perhaps somehow paved, sir?

D’Antuono: …art is meant to be somewhat provocative but the religious element went way farther than I had anticipated.

It would be really, really, helpful if you explained. Maybe you mean in the sense of Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” I shall cheerfully wish you mean that.

Mark Hemingway:
When I pressed him about the religious iconography at play, he did seem to indicate that he’d been genuinely naive. [D’Antuono] “I know, I know — I did put ‘im in a crown of thorns, right?,”
Really, D’Antuono? And people that know anything about Christianity are to overlook the arms spread not unlike those of one crucified, and the head bowed just so, eyes closed? Are you really as clueless as the Secretary of the Treasury on taxes? Is this a play to be put in charge of the National Endowment for the Arts, or something? Really.

Mark Hemingway:
…knowing full well that his ignorance seems hard to explain. As for the rest of the explained his own artistic vision for the painting, it certainly seems like he was sincere in trying to make a non-partisan statement:

D’Antuono: There were a lot of elements and they just all came together. The black veil that he’s opening – or is he closing? Is he creating transparency in the presidency or is he closing the veil and shutting out the Right, governing his own way?

Are we really to believe that you think the Presidency of the United States boils down to some dude, a disk on the wall, and a curtain? Given your non-command of religious symbols held very closely by a huge chunk of the population, I daresay you’ve hit the nail on the thumb here, buddy.
The importance of any individual to the office of the Presidency was well characterized in 1787. Note the way they all but dragged the man who’d be first President out of retirement to preside at the convention wherein the office was created.
All of you wretched ones who’d deify BHO to offer hope to an otherwise meaningless existence should look to the genuine article. The only good that may come of this crap is to galvanize the Christians about what a cheap mockery this and other perversions of Christian symbolism are. The country would be well served if BHO spent half as much time going after conservative pundits defending the Constitution, and devoted the attention to these fawning sycophants.

April 27, 2009

Young marriage goes mainstream?

My pro-marriage colloquy with Laura of Pursuing Holiness, advocating a return to a more traditional idea of nuptials in the youthful prime has been echoed by Mark Regnerus in The Washington Post:

The average age of American men marrying for the first time is now 28. That’s up five full years since 1970 and the oldest average since the Census Bureau started keeping track. . . . The age gap between spouses is narrowing: Marrying men and women were separated by an average of more than four years in 1890 and about 2.5 years in 1960. Now that figure stands at less than two years. I used to think that only young men — and a minority at that — lamented marriage as the death of youth, freedom and their ability to do as they pleased. Now this idea is attracting women, too.

You should go read the whole thing. Regnerus is insightful to note the declining gap between the average age of bride and groom. My beautiful wife is four-and-a-half years my junior; I make up for it by my abysmal immaturity, and we’ve been married 20 years.

The pushback from a liberal like Matthew Yglesias is expected. Exactly what he intends to prove by citing the history of marriage in Japan, I’m not sure.

More intriguing is Peter Suderman’s evident horror of young marriage. Given that he’s currently involved with Megan McArdle, might I suspect that Peter is eager to forestall any effort to drag him into the matrimonial snare? But alas, he trips over the facts:

[C]ouples want kids when they want kids, and increasingly that’s going to be in the late 20s and early 30s.

Good luck with that plan. As Orwell said, “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

The mean age of U.S. women at first birth, which had risen steadily to 25.2 in 2005, declined to 25.0 in 2006. This was due in part to the influx of Hispanic immigrants, but also due to the stark biological reality that demographers express by the maxim, “Fertility delayed is fertility denied.”

The slow rise in mean age at first birth, from about 22 in 1964 to 25 now, was entirely a result of the decline of childbearing by women under 25, rather than an increase in childbearing by older women. The oft-heard assertion that women today are having more babies in their 30s is counterfactual. The 2006 birth rate for women ages 30-34 (97.7 births per 1,000 women) was actually lower than the rate in 1964 (the last year of the Baby Boom) when the 30-34 cohort produced 103.4 births per 1,000.

In 1957, at the very peak of the post-WWII Baby Boom, when the total fertility rate (average number of lifetime births per woman) was 3.7, the median age at first marriage for women was under 21. In 1957, the typical American mother had two children by the time she was 25, added a third before she was 30, and there was a 70% chance she’d have a fourth child sometime after she turned 30.

What has happened since then is that the typical college-educated American woman has merely subtracted the two children (those born before age 25) from that 3.7 Baby Boom-era average, leaving her with the typical upscale “microfamily” of 1.7 children. This is, of course, merely an average. The part about delayed childbearing that gets little attention is that it is necessarily accompanied by a rise in childlessness, much of it tragically involuntary, as Pundette explains:

In this scenario, after 10-15 years of contracepting, the not-so-young woman tries to turn her fertility back on. When this doesn’t work as well as the couple hopes, they consult Dr. Frankenstein, who may or may not be able to help them obtain the child they’re now so desperate to have.

The Contraceptive Culture quite often leads to a Darwinian dead end. Among other ironies of 21st-century America is that the secularist elites who most emphatically embrace Darwin are the ones being weeded out as “unfit” by their own instruments, Science and Progress. Meanwhile, the supposedly backward fundamentalists flourish.

Nature ultimately triumphs. Despite all the Science and Progress — the widespread availability of contraception and the advances in medical treatment for infertility — the birth rate for U.S. women ages 18-19 in 2006 (73.0) was still 54% higher than for women ages 35-39 (43.7). Is this not a strong argument that it is more natural to marry at 17 than at 34? Or, at least, to split the difference and say that it is better to wed at 25 than at 30?

UPDATE: Dang, almost forgot Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon, at whom I’d merely nodded earlier today. Amanda perfectly exemplifies the sour-grapes aspect of feminist rage against marriage. A grim man-hater who could only expect a proposal from a man with suicidal tendencies, Amanda fulminates:

Sometimes arguing from tradition is merely irritating. Sometimes it’s beyond fucking stupid. But I suppose the good thing is that Regnerus is coming right out and stating a value that social conservatives tend to avoid baldly stating–they desire young marriage (for women), because it’s an effective tool at clipping women’s wings.

Ri-ight. Marriage as a conspiracy against female ambition is the pet paranoia of feminists. They psychologically resemble anti-Semites who see everything as a Zionist plot.

BTW, notice that Amanda illustrates her screed with a 1950s bridal magazine cover. This is the feminist’s favorite revisionist-historical theme of The Bad Old Days, when your mother or grandmother was allegedly oppressed, repressed and suppressed by your evil patriarchal father or grandfather. But wait, there’s much, much more:

I remember the girls who wanted to marry young in college, and everyone felt like they were desperate and weird . . .

“Everyone,” in this case, being the angry, antisocial girls that Amanda hung out with. And yet more:

Being married means handing over a lot of yourself to a man, especially if you’re in your puppy years and haven’t learned to stand up for yourself yet. . . .
The problem with older women (well, not problem—I’d say solution!) is that they are set in their ways, and that means they have more bargaining power in their relationships. If you already have your career, for instance, you know what you stand to lose if you give into the pressure to give it up. But if you don’t have it yet, it makes it much easier to let your husband’s needs and desires dictate the entire relationship.

Well, thank goodness that Amanda Marcotte’s precious career as a 31-year-old feminist blogger is in no danger from a “husband’s needs and desires.” But what tremendous “bargaining power” she’ll have if she ever meets that fellow with suicidal tendencies!

Alas, even some of her fellow feminists have found such men, leaving Amanda always a bridesmaid, never a bride, a sad necessity that she narcissistically imagines as heroic virtue.

UPDATE II: Blame it on Darwin:

Evolution, in short, favors nubile females who still look like they have a great many years of fertility ahead of them.

Hey, I’m a creationist. Don’t blame me.

UPDATE III: Carolyn Tackett:

It seems to me that women these days believe that the path to power, and equality, is the path to masculinity. In other words, the only way for a woman to achieve success is to be more like a man. That belief is a head shaker for my Mom. . . .
My Mom is a real feminist. And after fifty-eight years of marriage, my Dad still looks at her like she’s the hottest woman on Earth.

Wow. Fifty-eight years! And here I was thinking I’d done a big thing to make 20!

April 27, 2009

What she said

Bill Maher is a small minded, childish boor whose ability to reason is as stunted as his growth. He is disdainful of facts, ignorant of grace and devoid of curiosity. He surrounds himself with parrots and hides from competing thoughts. He revels in confronting others but recoils from being confronted.”

April 27, 2009


(BUMPED; UPDATES BELOW.) Cassy Fiano has this video of Feministing’s Jessica Valenti promoting her new book, The Purity Myth, on the “Today” show last week:

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Why does Jessica Valenti derogate virginity? An excerpt from her book explains it all:

I was once that teenage girl struggling with the meaning behind my sexuality . . . I was the cruelly labeled slut . . .

Which is to say, It’s about her. Remember my rant about Bill Maher, who seems stuck in a phase of eighth-grade rebellion? Jessica Valenti is his distaff analog.

Valenti’s mislabeled “pro-sex feminism,” like Maher’s childish atheism, is merely an unresolved adolescent emotional issue carried forward into adulthood by immature personalities. Unable to accept and adjust to their own failures to live up to traditional ideals, they manufacture their own counter-ideals, which naturally compel them to scoff and sneer at tradition.

Yet, as Cassy Fiano points out, the consequences of anti-traditionalism are disastrous: Despite all the prophylactic propaganda, diseases like herpes, chlamydia and HPV are pandemic, and despite the easy availability of contraception, we have more than a million abortions a year in the United States, in addition to a record level of bastardy.

Given the self-evident wrongness of Valenti’s whorism — we cannot call it “feminism,” since it has nothing to do with equality of political or economic rights — why would anyone endorse it? Why would the producers of NBC’s “Today” show give publicity to an author advocating moral nihilism and (at least tacitly) endorsing teen promsicuity?

Valenti’s book carries the absurdly misguided subtitle, “How America’s Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women.” Is it not rather the case that an obsession with sex is the source of the problem? Were it not for the sexualization of popular culture, virginity — the default condition of youth, whose abandonment requires willful action — would be taken for granted. It is only because fornication has become a high-school ritual (the median age of first intercourse is 16 or 17, according to various studies) that it is now “conservative” to think that teenagers can or should be chaste.

So we see that NBC has a political excuse to promote Valenti’s whorism. By making adolescent fornication a political issue, liberals can now demand that “both sides of the issue” get a hearing. And yet this is not enough for them. Cassy Fiano points out that Valenti’s readers are complaining that abstinence advocate Lakita Garth got equal time on the “Today” show. Just as with the same-sex marriage controversy — where opposition to the gay-radical agenda has become stigmatized as “hate” — soon it will be considered a species of bigotry merely to disagree with Valenti.

Valenti’s perverse ideology makes sense only if you ignore everything we know about human nature. Liberals erupted in outrage at my assertion that selling Plan B over the counter to 17-year-olds would serve only to make teenage girls more vulnerable to male predation. But who has more insight into the habits and attitudes of the typical 17-year-old boy? Me or Andrew Sullivan? (Who, by his own admission, was never typical.)

Common-sense observations about human nature are now politicized as “conservative,” so that every knocked-up 15-year-old can be said to be engaged in liberal activism and her baby-daddy is a “community organizer” of sorts. One imagines that nowadays the high-school Lothario, encountering resistance as he tries to get to second base with his would-be conquest, chides his prey: “What are you? Some kind of Republican?”

UPDATE: With cross-posting privleges hither and yon, some of my observations are nowadays promiscuously scattered abroad. At Hot Air’s Green Room:

Let’s face it, if Valenti’s ideology is embraced by liberals, this will certainly make matters simple for horny teenage boys looking for an easy score. How can you tell which girls put out? They’re the ones whose moms have Obama stickers on their minivan bumpers.

Ba-da-boom! And at Taki’s Magazine:

Back in the late Sixties, some distaff radical declared, “Feminism is the theory. Lesbianism is the practice,” which is at least teleologically coherent. . . . Valenti can be said to postulate a corollary to the original syllogism: “Feminism is the theory. Whorism is the practice.”

Dishonest writers like Valenti seek mainstream acceptance of their ideology by expressing it in mild language that won’t offend the soccer moms. The critic who distills their argument to its radical essence — as is my wont — will naturally be denounced as an extremist. Which I suppose is true in the sense that it takes one to know one. But one cannot be moderate in the discussion of virtue, which allows no compromise.

One is virtuous or one is not, and while I have never claimed to be a paragon of virtue, I can at least distinguish between virtue and vice. And must, lest I incur the ancient curse:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil . . .
Isaiah 5:20 KJV

A perverse non-judgmentalism, that refuses to praise virtue or condemn vice, is moral nihilism. Valenti goes beyond this, to celebrate whoredom and condemn chastity.

UPDATE II: Over at Right Wing News, I illustrate a quote with this neoclassical artwork:

Of course, Phryne was the 4th-century Greek prostitute whose acquittal by the Aeropagus might be construed as evidence of the decadence of paganism in the Hellenistic age. In our own decadent age, we have seen the divine grace of Jesus toward the woman caught in adultery perverted into an imbecile non-judgmentalism, forgetting entirely Christ’s parting commandment to the woman who owed him her life:

“Go, and sin no more.”
John 8:11 KJV

Christ offered mercy to sinners, but never pretended that sin was not sin, as do today’s acolytes in the temple of non-judgmentalism.

UPDATE III: Over at my friend Russ Smith’s Splice Today, Zach Kaufmann numbers me among the “fascist womanizing prigs.” This is rather an oxymoronic appellation. Can a womanizer also be a prig? Does my long marriage not at least exempt me from the accusation of womanizing? Since I am self-evidently not priggish — frank discussion of sexuality does not shock me in the least — what exactly does Kauffman intend to denote? And how does fascism figure into this, except as a simple-minded slur?

Really, Russ: We’re in a buyer’s market for content providers. Can you not afford better help than these impudent young liberal idiots? And as for Kaufmann’s title — “Hey, Robert, Is Your Daughter Single?” — the answer is: Single, lovely, redheaded, 19, and so far out of your league it ain’t even the same game, punk.

UPDATE IV: Note how Pandagon accuses Mark Regnerus of attempting to relegate women to “chattel” status, merely for advocating marriage. (Via Memeorandum.) The Left well knows that its perverse “Progress” requires the annihilation of all traditions, even the tradition of young love. I’ll have more to say about Regnerus later, but now must attempt some actual paying work.

UPDATE V: Linked at Conservative Grapevine. Thanks. Please also see “Amanda Marcotte: Feminism as Paranoia.”

April 27, 2009

Ultimo dictum?

“Whatever variety of insect it might be that crawled up his ass and took up residence, I hope he gets it exterminated soon, because this has gone beyond amusing and into the realm of the purely bizarre.

April 27, 2009

Another Great HoE Post

by Smitty

House of Eratosthenes delivers again. Freeberg links a New Scientist article about surveys, and then links it back to the current political climate. From TFA*

For example, in an early study we showed our volunteers pairs of pictures of faces and asked them to choose the most attractive. In some trials, immediately after they made their choice, we asked people to explain the reasons behind their choices.
Unknown to them, we sometimes used a double-card magic trick to covertly exchange one face for the other so they ended up with the face they did not choose. Common sense dictates that all of us would notice such a big change in the outcome of a choice. But the result showed that in 75 per cent of the trials our participants were blind to the mismatch, even offering “reasons” for their “choice”.

As anyone who has ever been in a verbal disagreement can attest, people tend to give elaborate justifications for their decisions, which we have every reason to believe are nothing more than rationalisations after the event. To prove such people wrong, though, or even provide enough evidence to change their mind, is an entirely different matter: who are you to say what my reasons are?

The upshot is that people–surprise!–are full of crap. No, not just Stacy and me. Freeberg concludes:

With some of these issues in which President 44’s policies are identical to, or insufficiently distinguished from, the policies of President 43…they’ve been thrown into exactly that kind of tailspin.

  • “Oh, uh, well we need to scale down from Iraq in a responsible, intelligent way…”
  • “We need to get past the issue with aggressive interrogations, and prosecution of the Bush administration officials would be a distraction…”

As we’ve mentioned in these pages before: They live in a universe in which the worthiness of an idea is determined not by its content, but by who authored it. And so they get taken in by this double-sided card trick, over and over again.

I’d take it a bit further in the direction of Evan Sayet, though. The legerdemain of Hope and Change is centered around the precept that every idea espoused previously has failed, so that something else must be tried. The determined nitwit will shoot the flawed messengers of common sense, eschew common sense itself, and embrace nihilism, the demonic amphibian face on the other, ultimate card. If all other gods have failed, gotta go Cthulhu, you know?

*The Fine Article. Slashdot-ism.