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Hanna Rosin has written the hottest story of this hot summer — how much of it is hot air?
Whenever some writer starts talking about “the end” of something, you can figure it’s probably the beginning.
Remember “The End of History,” Francis Fukuyama post-Cold-War thesis which said that now that everything was settled between the Soviets and the West, nothing of historical importance would ever happen again? That was like saying “The End of Yugoslavia” would mean nothing interesting would ever happen again in the Balkans.
David Brooks nailed all this in Bobos in Paradise, when he charted the rise of a typical public intellectual:
The title of her first book [his choice of pronoun] will begin with the phrase, “The End of…” The benefit of endism is its dramatic finality; few people will remember a book called Ideology is Aging. But decades after its publication, the title The End of Ideology will still be referred to (even if its contents are utterly forgotten). The difficulty in writing an endist book is in finding things that haven’t already ended. History, equality, racism, tragedy, and politics have all been taken, and The Death of…takes in just about everything else. The End of Gardening just doesn’t have the ring of a bestseller.
So it isn’t too surprising to find emblazoned on the cover of this month’s Atlantic Monthly “The End of Men — How Women are Taking Control of Everything.” The author, Hanna Rosin, is another striving public intellectual who has taken a few random statistics and projected them out to infinity, coming up with one of those “end-of-the-world” scenarios reminiscent of environmentalism in the 1970s.
Rosin starts with some very interesting observations. Apparently reversing a trend as old as humanity, Americans who practice sex selection now seem to prefer girl babies to boys. At the fertility clinics, 75 percent of couples now want females. The same is true in the adoption agencies (although Rosin doesn’t mention this), where girls are very much in demand while boys go begging. This reverses the age-old custom of preferring male heirs. The most recent example of this has been in China, where the “one-child” policy has produced the largest oversupply of adult males in the world. Perhaps one day this army of wifeless “little emperors” — the “bare branches,” as they are called in China — will invade the U.S. to reclaim those thousands of Chinese girls who have been raised by American families and single mothers.
The main reason Americans seem to prefer girls, however, is that people don’t want to deal with boys anymore. Girls are serious, compliant, well behaved and not afflicted with Attention Deficit Disorder or any of the names we have attached to boys’ rough-and-tumble ways. Boys have just about been written out of schools, where the curriculum has been totally revised to fit girls’ tastes. When my sons started in grade school, I was amazed at how the teachers (mostly female) continually used the word “feel” for “think.” (“What do you FEEL about the story Lisa has just read?”) Math no longer involves manipulating numbers but interpreting long word problems that are supposed to be “more representative of real life.” The main scientific discipline is “environmental science,” which mostly means lamenting human activity (most of it dreamed up by men, of course) while trying to feel closer to nature. In progressive Berkeley they are talking about eliminating advanced science labs altogether because women and minorities don’t find them interesting.
When boys arrive at elite colleges they are likely to be subjected to “orientation programs” in which they learn they have spent all their lives oppressing women and that all their natural impulses are now illegal. They will soon find the swim team, the wrestling squad or some other favorite sport no longer exists because, under Title IX, not enough girls would go out for equivalent sports.
The latest development has been the elimination of walk-ons — non-scholarship athletes who have not been recruited in high school but try out anyway hoping to make the team. The evil prototype here is Rudy, the 1993 movie about Rudy Ruettiger, a Notre Dame football walk-on who sat on the bench for four years before being allowed in for one play — and sacked the quarterback. Almost all walk-ons are men. This upsets the one-to-one gender balance required by Title IX. In response, team rosters have been trimmed, junior varsity eliminated altogether and thousands and thousands of young men told they can’t try out for sports because an equal number of girls won’t do the same.
“What they are doing with walk-ons is deplorable,” said John McDonnell, holder of 36 national titles as a track and field coach at the University of Arkansas, in a 2002 The New York Times article. “A student should never be told, ‘You can’t try.’ We are supposed to build leaders and instead we’re saying, ‘Don’t reach for something.’ We have an obesity problem and we’re telling college kids to go back to the dorm, sit on the couch and watch sports on television.”
But Marilyn McNeil, chairwoman of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s committee on women’s athletics, holds the prevailing opinion “I hate the movie Rudy,” she told the Times. “It’s time to tell these students: ‘You’ve got other talents. Go write about sports at the school newspaper, join the debate team, or maybe you’ve got a nice voice and belong on the stage.”
Is it any wonder young men don’t find college a very friendly environment anymore?
Rosin is not unaware of all this, of course. “In their desperation to reach out to boys,” she writes, “some colleges have formed football teams and started engineering programs. Most of these special accommodations sound very much like the kind of affirmative action proposed for women over the years — which in itself is an alarming flip.” (Just who is alarmed by this she doesn’t specify.)
Imagine, though — engineering! What a useless male preoccupation. Just because we haven’t built anything worthwhile in this country for thirty years, or because our manufacturing plants have become obsolete, or because we are falling far behind the rest of the world in all kinds of key technologies, is of little concern. The important thing is to keep any vestiges of male chauvinism out of the curriculum.
As a result of all this, women now make up 60 percent of college undergraduates. The pattern is extending into the professional schools as well. As Rosin informs us, women now get 60 percent of master’s degrees, half of law and medicine degrees, and 42 percent of MBAs.
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?
H/T to National Review Online