Archive for March 21st, 2006

Mixed Nuts

March 21, 2006

This week, I promised myself that I would not post any articles related to birth control, abortion, or motherhood. And it’s even more challenging than I thought because there were a ton of them this past week, one more fascinating than the last. Maybe I will post them at the end just for kicks.

But first, I thought I would post a few other articles on other topics. William Saletan writes on Slate that the changing length and nature of old age call for a change in Social Security — namely, an end to basing payments on age rather than disability and a higher retirement age to reflect the fact that life expectancy and, more importantly, quality of life expectancy, has increased tremendously since the program was begun in 1935. My father recently retired — at the ripe young age of 58. My mother, now 55, plans to retire soon. And they feel entitled to do so. This always struck me as a spoiled and whiny approach to life. I anticipate having to work into my seventies just to finish paying off my student loan debt and to have a roof over my head. The insane sense of entitlement Baby Boomers feel about having twenty or thirty years of leisure after working for as long is just out of step with reality as far as I am concerned.

Now for the weekly New York Times roundup. They really outdid themselves this week. Yesterday there was an insightful article about the plight of young African American men in this country. I can’t say that I have any concrete suggestions about how to improve the situation, so it was mainly depressing to me.

In Sunday’s book review, there was a review of Kevin Phillips’ new book, American Theocracy. Phillips wrote a prescient 1969 book entitled The Emerging Republican Majority, which turned out to be right on the money. At the time, he was excited about the impending changes. Now, not so much. American Theocracy chronicles three ways in which the GOP is leading the U.S. down the primrose path to disaster: an overreliance on and obsession with oil (that alliteration was not on purpose, I swear); the rise of the Religious Right; and our out-of-control love affair with all kinds of debt, governmental, corporate, and personal. I normally don’t buy books until they are out in paperback, but if I made an exception for Marley & Me I think I can make an exception here too.

Okay, now briefly back to my pet issues — great articles this week, so I just couldn’t resist. First, the New York Times Magazine had a fascinating article about single mothers by choice. It was called “Looking for Mr. Good Sperm,” which certainly caught the eye. I inadvertently mentioned to my boss that I had read it, only realizing a second later that you probably shouldn’t say the word “sperm” in professional mixed company. Oh, well.

But the scariest article of the week by far was this one on Salon about the movement to ban contraception. (You have to get a day pass to read the full article, but I promise it’s worth it). Here’s one choice quote that really made the hair on the back of my neck stand up:

For those who are pro-choice, the idea of fighting to ban both abortion and contraception seems contradictory: Contraception, after all, lessens the number of abortions. But once one understands what the true social and moral agenda of activists like Worthington is, and their attitude toward sexuality, the contradictions vanish. For them, sex should always be about procreation; since contraception prevents conception, it is immoral. At a deeper level, they believe that women’s biological destiny is to be mothers. Feldt says, “When you peel back the layers of the anti-choice motivation, it always comes back to two things: What is the nature and purpose of human sexuality? And second, what is the role of women in the world?” Sex and the role of women are inextricably linked, because “if you can separate sex from procreation, you have given women the ability to participate in society on an equal basis with men.”And on that note, I hope everyone is having a good week!