Earlier this year America faced the tedious prospect of a new decade without a new oppressed group to liberate. But in one swell fell swoop our Yankee ingenuity conjured into existence a gaggle of downtrodden persons to uplift. We discovered that women need liberating and this discovery has liberated us from creeping ennui.
This oppressed majority will gain Uhuru come Hell or low hemlines. Just ask Barney Rosset, pornographer. Rosset runs Grove Press, an establishment guided by his philosophy: “What’s wrong with exciting people? Our whole society — television, movies, fashion is built on exciting people.” The Women’s Liberation Front recently added a new dimension to the exciting business of pandering to prurient interests.
The WLF sat in at Grove Press to protest commercial “sexism.” The men at Grove Press are fierce opponents of repression, but they take a businesslike approach to mixing business and pleasure. They had the WFL protestors arrested. This was good for the Grove Press’ property rights but bad for its revolutionary reputation. The WLF promptly announced that Grove Press has “the same mentality as Judge Hoffman” and demanded an end to “one dirty-old-man-rule” at the Press. This reference to Rosset was less than fair. He is only forty-seven.
Most men know that struggling women need dramatic tactics, like bra burning, for it manifests the liberated woman’s escape from the roles and stereotypes of a male-dominated society. Hence most men would suffer death, or at least a mild blister, in defense of every American’s right — regardless of race, color, creed, national origin or sex — to burn bras.
Yet regrettably this form of bodily witness, so helpful in eliminating false consciousness, causes air pollution. Recent studies reveal that if every woman in America were to burn three slightly padded bras there would develop an enormous increase in air pollution and an enormous glut in Manhattan’s garment district.
This is acceptable. As Lenin said, you shouldn’t break eggs without making ‘an omelette. Besides, the First Amendment is precise and unambiguous: congress shall make no law abridging the right of even the most flamingly symbolic speech. If men have the right to burn draft cards, then the principle of sexual reciprocity stipulates that women have the right to burn bras.
Some male Neanderthals thought female suffrage would suffice to end female servitude. This was rank sociological naivete. Advanced thinkers understand that we must use compensatory programs to correct the terrible legacy of centuries of unbridled male tyranny.
We need an ambitious program to salvage those young women who suffer the cultural deprivation of attending predominantly female colleges. Such a program could be called Upward Curtsey, and could use Federal funds to send (say) Bryn Mawr graduates to Atlanta, Georgia, for a two year hitch in the robust and rehabilitating atmosphere of Georgia Tech. Upward Curtsey would affirm the basic principles of the American Dream by guaranteeing any American girl the chance to grow up to be a Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech.
It would be even better to directly attack what the “Mrs. Kerner Commission” calls “institutional male chauvinism.” Let us begin by distinguishing between De Jure and De Facto discrimination.
De Jure discrimination is that which is established by law, or by the deliberate acts of public officials; such is the ban which bars women from the New York Mets’ locker room. De facto discrimination results from community customs or mores, such as the practice of giving a lady your seat on the subway. The Constitution is not only color blind but sex blind, and it is immoral to tolerate laws or customs that take notice of another human being’s sex.
Fortunately women have not fallen victim to the wretched condition denoted by the wretched noun “ghettoization.” As a result of dumb luck (that is, without HEW guidelines), women are spread evenly across the nation. Balanced residential patterns reduce the need for forced busing to achieve sexual balance in schools. Nevertheless, some busing is needed to eliminate pockets of impacted sexual imbalance.
For example, there was a time when Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, actually boasted about being the nation’s largest all-female college. Although this “peculiar institution” is becoming co-educational, the pace of Smith’s progress is unacceptable. Under the guise of “deliberate speed,” Smith is substituting tokenism for meaningful change.
The government must mount a determined attack on all such “private” institutions. Their so-called “privateness” is an illusion, which must not insulate them from public control. After all, every autumn the students get to these colleges by driving over public highways. Therefore the students are engaging in interstate commerce and the colleges are permeated with public aspects.
Such colleges must be compelled to conform with the law of the land, which is that every school must have a sexual composition identical with that of the surrounding community. The Justice Department should seek a court order requiring Smith to bus males from (say) Amherst until the Smith student body has the same sexual composition as the town of Northampton. Forced busing is awkward, but no one can take seriously the disingenuous argument that Smith women and Amherst men will get together without Federal compulsion.
Advanced sociological thinking supports the justice of such busing. Federal officials will soon release the “Mrs. Coleman Report.” This is the fruit of a multi-million dollar research project, which proved what it set out to prove, namely, that when young men and women study together they learn some things they might not otherwise learn in school. Therefore, it is monumental hypocrisy to attack de jure sexism while leaving the de facto form untouched. It is time to opt for minimum standards saying “Never!” to deliberate speed, letting the chips fall where they may, and pausing only to pluck the blossom equality from the nasty nettle sexism.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?