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Social Issues
05/13/2010
IconI have watched film adaptations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in all its incarnations many, many times, and I recently watched the 2005 film version again. I love the film...no matter what criticisms may be about a portrayal or a performance. I clearly have a profound attraction to this work.First and foremost, I love the utter regard the men had for women, which is evident from how they addressed them: "Miss..." (and their first names if they were single) or "Mrs...." (and their last names if they were married). Men bowed upon entering and leaving a woman's presence, and women curtsied, even under unpleasant conditions. Flirting was ever-so-subtle: a look, a light "accidental" touch of a hand. A man romantically yearned for and tried to earn the affections of a woman. The sweetness of the regard for women in this era (particularly in upper and middle classes) was something to be admired, and something we now miss. There was a clear distinction between a "good" woman and an easy, loose woman or whore.That distinction is gone today. Now, women put down good money for music that represents them as whores without pay. So many young men are casual about women and sex in general, and sex is a casual expectation almost always fulfilled.Young women scoff at dignity and modesty as just stupid, prudish, sexist notions. They "shack up" with some dude without a marital commitment, yet expect the love and respect, fidelity and loyalty to exist without the spoken vows, only to be disappointed, hurt, and generally confused.There was a recent film comedy, called "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," in which Matthew McConaughey (in a twist on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" ) got to go back into his life to see all his old girlfriends. There was one scene in the television ad for the movie which showed a seemingly endless dining table filled with hundreds of girls. Obviously, this was meant to show how shallow and manipulative he had been. To me, it just showed how many stupid girls there were (and are), "putting out" in a situation where there was clearly no respect, regard, or intent.Men used to have to ask a woman's dad for permission to "court" her, even when the woman was an adult! Now, all he has to do is show her a bedroom, back seat of a car, or a motel room, and the date is sealed. When men had to explain and express their intentions, they had to take the whole activity of dating much more seriously, as there were personal and social consequences to misleading a young lady. That reputation would annihilate any chances he might have had of marrying a good woman. He'd have to move states or provinces away. Now? That kind of rakish reputation makes girls/women want to line up to get some from an infamous entity.The women's revolution did not raise any consciousness worth elevating. It mostly diminished a woman's sense of herself as special, minimized her value in the minds of men, put sex on the level of animals, created a nanny/baby-sitter/institutionalized day care financial boom (as women gave up the blessing of nurturing their own children), increased the use of abortion as a birth-control technique when an accidental pregnancy occurred with a guy who did not want fatherhood, created perpetually unhappy, angry, nasty wives, and made it very difficult for "nice girls" to be respected and cherished.The last scene in Pride and Prejudice between the two now-married lovers has them discussing what she wants to be called by him when he is not using her given name. He suggests one name, and she rejects it sweetly, because it is what her father calls her. She then asks him what he will call her when he is angry. He, not being able to envision that situation, talks to her about always letting her know how lovingly important his happiness in wrapped up in her...forever...and he kisses her gently about her face as he says "Mrs. Darcy" over and over again. He gave her his heart, his life, his vows, and his name. And, in that era, giving a woman your name was the ultimate public and private statement of his total commitment to her, which makes that scene so moving to most of us, and infuriating to feminists who see that scene only as ripping away the woman's identity.I always cry at the end of the movie.I cry also for what women have given up in exchange for wanting to have it all and not be subordinate to a man. I don't know...I kinda think being on a pedestal is not subordinate. But what do I know? I'm only a recovered feminist. More >>

Tags: AttitudeChildrenDatingFamilyFamily/Relationships - FamilyFeminismHealthInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeRelationshipsRelativesSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconI'm still laughing...I read an article last week in one of the online news reporting sites about a new book on economics, called Superfreakonomics .' In the book, the authors discuss the issue of prostitution in today's economic climate.' As it turns out, prostitution was a profitable enterprise (focusing on mainstream sex acts) until the sexual liberation movement in the 1960s changed "the business of intimacy, and a generation of 'free love' altered the marketplace forever." The "modesty traditionally displayed by women in search of Mr. Right evolved to a bold pursuit of Mr. Right Now." The 1960s genesis of casual sex became prostitution's direct rival.So, prices for sex acts plummeted.' Hookers had competition from the average woman who would have sex for free (without even getting a dinner out of it). Being entrepreneurial, hookers then began to provide more unconventional sex -' the kind of things men can't get from their girlfriends - and the price for those often depraved acts hauled the fees way back up.As one call girl said: "Thank God prostitution is illegal, 'cause if it weren't, I wouldn't be making $500 an hour; I'd probably be back doing what I was doing, which was working as a computer technician for a Fortune 500 company." Of course, if you're the prostitute for a state governor, you'll probably get lots of media offers!The call girl entrepreneur who was interviewed was asked whether or not she would suggest this "career" for her daughter.' She obfuscated like crazy, saying she hoped it would be only one of many, many options, and then the article ended with the revelation that she's now quitting prostitution to go to school to study economics.' I guess morality finally caught up to her.This is why I use the term "unpaid whore" for women who shack up with guys, rather than dignify themselves and sexual intimacy with a marital commitment.' I tell them that at the very least, they ought to be paid for sex, since it ultimately means nothing profoundly important to him past the orgasm.' Now I can mention that they are taking food out of the mouths of prostitutes and their families!!Women cannot run away from their true nature, and our true nature (apart from any psychological problems) is to nurture and nest.' We can act like wild women and say it's our right and freedom, but I take the calls every day from disillusioned, hurt women who did , in fact, expect love and loyalty from the men they had sex with.So, ladies, have pity on the call girls and prostitutes.' Give them back their turf, and re-elevate womanhood so that men again have a mountain to climb and earn, and therefore value . More >>

Tags: BehaviorBudgetFeminismFinancesgratitudeSexSexualitySocial Issues
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Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenHalloweenHolidaysParentingPoliticsSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconI got this email from a listener after she heard a call I took on my radio program.' She titled the email 'To The Mother Whose Son Is Smoking Marijuana.' It speaks for itself: Today you gave advice to a mother who found out her 16 ' year old son is smoking marijuana.' You advised her to get him into a residential treatment program.'' You stated that drug addicts lie, and she responded that she didn't 'see' him as a drug addict.' I am afraid she will not take your advice, and she may be in my situation in the future. Today, I write this with a broken heart.' 11 years ago, when my son was 17, I, too, found out that he was smoking marijuana.' He was on the academic honor roll and participated in sports ' he wasn't a drug addict!' I tried to get him into a residential program, but was told they would not accept him at his age unless he committed himself.' I took him to a counselor that the high school recommended and had him assigned a probation officer until he was 18.' I thought just like her that he was not a drug addict in my mind.' He grew up to be a responsible young man who owned his own business, but he continued to smoke marijuana. Six months ago, I received that phone call that no parent wants to receive.' My son was dead at the age of 28 from an accidental drug overdose (oxycodone), which the coroner told me is the most abused drug today.' I do not know if this was the first time or the hundredth time he used the drug, but I vowed that if I can save one child or one parent from experiencing what I am going through that I would share my story. Dr. Laura, you were correct.' She needs to deal with the issue NOW, while she still has some control.' My son was not a 'drug addict' either.' The coroner called it 'recreational drug use.'' Children need to know that tennis, hockey, and soccer are recreations, not drugs.' I hope that mother heeds your advice so that her son does not end up where mine is today, guilt-ridden and questioning 'should I have done more?' More >>

Tags: AddictionFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthMarijuanaMortalityParentingSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconA short time into her pregnancy, a married woman in Ohio was told by her husband that he had just received a call from the fertility clinic which helped them attain this pregnancy.' The clinic "goofed," and the baby in her belly was the product of the embryo of some other couple, who now expected her to go through childbirth and hand over the baby.This couple is quite religious and they don't believe in abortion, so in spite of their immense personal pain, they planned to hand over the baby after it was born (they did so at the end of September, when the woman delivered a healthy baby boy).Their only request was to see and hold the baby first, as they had already formed a bond.Shame on the clinic for making that phone call!' You may be shocked at that response, but since strangers meet, fall in love, marry and spend their lives together, it's obvious that genetics is not the prime criterion for love, or no one would be able to adopt a child.Having been pregnant, I'll tell you that at the absolute instant of fertilization, an intense relationship starts (and continues, in spite of morning sickness, and inevitable heartburn and constipation).' This actual "birth mother" is traumatized, as is her whole family.' And for what?' Ownership of an embryo?I remember a Law and Order episode where the "punch line" was that the father who raised the now-teenage boy was revealed NOT to be the biological father, and he lost custody.' Shameful and cruel, I thought.Some people think that because something is "the truth," that it should be revealed.' Not necessarily, and especially not when terrible human suffering ensues.The "embryo" family simply could have kept trying, and there is no proof that this particular embryo would have thrived until birth in the genetic mother.'I think everyone was better off with this truth not being spoken. More >>

Tags: ChildrenMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPregnancySocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconI think it's outrageous that a married couple is suing WalMart for calling the cops over what they called "bath time photos."A year ago in Peoria, Arizona, mommy and daddy sent 144 family photos to be developed to WalMart.' The developer spotted eight photos of children in provocative positions, with their genitals exposed.' Apparently, the parents say that they "have told our girls that they have freedom to be in their home and feel okay about their bodies and their nudity, but that there is a time and a place for it." I couldn't agree more....and a store photo development establishment is probably NOT the place for it.' You know how cheap it is to download your own photos?' Sheesh!Obviously, these folks are big into nudity and the carefree expression of such, so their getting angry that the police and child protective services were brought in to investigate should have been an expected consequence of their beliefs. It is the intent of a civilized society to protect the old, infirm, and the young from exploitation and abuse.' The police and child protective services and the WalMart photo developer did the right thing.After psychiatric exams and a full investigation, it was determined by a judge that these parents didn't intend any abuse, nor were they revving up for child porn.' Fine.' Happy ending.But they should have been sensitive and non-defensive enough to understand the idea of protecting children always comes first . More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParentingSexSexualitySocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconY'know, I really don't know why I am so upset about Roman Polanski.' I mean, he's the director of such notable films as Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown , and The Pianist .' When one is a "respected" artist, shouldn't we allow for certain...shall we say..."proclivities" that maybe aren't what the average schmo should get away with?' After all...he's a movie director!What's the big deal about telling a very pretty little 13 year old girl that he could make her a star - i.e., a model for the French Edition of Vogue magazine?' How narrow-minded can you be to imagine that taking pictures of the naked 13 year old girl in a hot tub, plying her with glass after glass of champagne and popping her a few Quaaludes (ostensibly, he said, to cure her asthma), and then showing her what a real man can do without Viagra is a problem?' And what's wrong with the fact that he cautioned her to never tell her mother about their "little secret?"' It just makes the whole scenario more...intimate.Go figure...the Los Angeles District Attorney's office filed charges against Roman Polanski for this "innocuous" behavior - gee, it must have been a slow legal day.' After pleading guilty to having sex with a 13 year old child, working out a plea bargain, and then paying off the girl's family, Roman Polanski fled the United States in 1977.' The American authorities (just stubborn, I guess) issued an international search request in 2005.' Swiss authorities arrested him Saturday at the Zurich airport.How terribly inconvenient for the film world.' Polanski had traveled to Switzerland to collect a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Zurich Film Festival, and by going to Switzerland, he finally got arrested for his "lifetime guilt."' Actress Debra Winger, President of the film festival's jury, was terribly upset, poor thing: "The festival has been unfairly exploited to secure Polanski's arrest over a case that is all but dead.' Despite the philistine nature of the collusion that has now occurred, we came to honor Roman Polanski as a great artist.' We hope today this latest order will be dropped; it is based on a three decade old case that is all but dead except for a minor technicality." There are so many people around the world who were equally as astonished as I was that such an important film director should be treated so disrespectfully.' Jack Lang, a former French culture minister said, "While Mr. Polanski had committed a 'grave crime,' he is a great creator and artist, and there's a sentiment here that pursuing someone for a crime committed 30 years ago...is unreasonable...a kind of judicial lynching." I'm not sure what Mr. Lang's notion of what consequences a "great creator and artist" should have had, had he not eluded sentencing three decades ago.' And it certainly isn't the fault of the American judicial system that a country such as France would give him sanctuary.Apparently, 100 or so entertainment industry professionals created a petition for Mr. Polanski's release, saying "Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision." It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.After all, with all the stress of hiding in France to avoid criminal punishment for what is ultimately the drugging and raping of a little girl, he still managed to get the Best Director Oscar in 2003 for "The Pianist." In spite of the clarity of his "wrongdoings," the Zurich festival director is experiencing " great consternation and shock," adding, "We are unable to judge the legal background surrounding the arrest." Let's go through this again:' the man drugged and raped a child. The man drugged and raped a child, and then fled the United States to avoid jail time.' The man drugged and raped a child, and the fled the United States to avoid jail time, and has been for 30 years treated like the patron saint for the arts by a world that is growing more and more morally corrupt by the moment. There is hardly a more sympathetic creature on the face of the earth than Roman Polanski.' He was born in Paris, moved to Poland with his Jewish family when still a toddler (shortly before World War II).' His mother died in a Nazi concentration camp, but Polanski avoided capture and spent his youth in Poland before moving to the United States.' His wife, Sharon Tate, was 8 months' pregnant with their child when she was brutally murdered by the Manson family.' When you look at his ability to make movies, after these grossly horrendous experiences, it seems logical that you should forgive a little drugging and a little raping of a young girl.' NOT.In my opinion, all those who have participated in any way in the making or distributing of Polanski's movies for the last 30 years should be considered accessories after the fact, and part of a conspiracy to protect a child rapist.' Polanski's movies should be boycotted by every decent American, as well as the movies of those who acted in or contributed to any of Polanski's movies in the last 30 years.The man is an animal and a coward.' He's an animal because of what he did to a child; he's a coward because he didn't take his punishment like a man with character.I am thoroughly disgusted by the world's film community for supporting him just because he makes good movies.' I understand that Hitler was a good painter...Maybe we shouldn't have closed in on and bombed his bunker because good painters are a treasure.There's word that both the Polish and French governments are going to try to get Obama to "pardon" him.' I can't believe Obama would agree to such a request while looking into the eyes of his two little girls.' Can you?Amoral is the word of the day - it means no moral compass whatsoever.' And that's what we are seeing around the world in those who have come out to sympathize with and support Roman Polanski, child rapist.' His heinous act and three decades of freedom avoiding an appropriate sentence don't mean anything to amoral people.' It's all about the game of movies.' God bless the Swiss arrest and the intent of the Los Angeles District Attorney's office to bring him back to face justice.'Someone in Hollywood is already, I am sure, scripting up for the movie of Polanski's life, and to be sure, he will be presented to the Vatican for consideration of sainthood, because he is big box office. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconI watched the most horrendous (but telling) video on Fox News last week.The video was taken from one of America's finest military airplanes, which was getting ready to send a missile to kill terrorists while they were working on planting a roadside bomb.' You can hear the pilots talking about the target and informing the base as to what they were about to do.All of a sudden, one of them aborts the shoot because a young boy has come on the scene, delivering something, it appears, to the bombers.' Our guys halt their attack, and then watch as the boy moves away.' You hear one of the pilots kind of "cheering" the kid to leave the site, so they can then destroy the terrorists and their bomb.'Suddenly, there's a huge explosion.' It appears that the bombers have accidentally blown themselves up, saving us some ordnance.' I don't know if the casualties included the boy.' I do know that the terrorists' religious and political commitments to murder include killing their own women and children as part of their world vision.I was proud for the whole world to see (assuming other news outlets played it) that our commitment was to protect the innocent whenever possible.'It made me proud to be an American. More >>

Tags: KidsMilitaryParentingSocial IssuesValues
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