Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By From the December 2012 - January 2013 issue

Fox News captures Chris Matthews explicating the conservative mind in a rare moment of diabolical infestation:

I think they hate Obama. They want him out of the White House more than they want to destroy Al Qaeda. Their No. 1 enemy in the world right now, on the right, is their hatred, hatred for Obama. And we can go into that about the white working class in the South and looking at these numbers we’re getting the last couple days about racial hatred in many cases…this isn’t about being a better president, they want to get rid of this president….

(October 31, 2012)

New York Times Book Review

Columbia University’s professor Mark Lilla, midst a tendentious review of Charles Kesler’s perfectly sensible I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism, spies a mouse, hoists up his skirts, and lets out a horrible shriek:

They [conservatives] love casting their eyes back to the past to avoid seeing what lies right under their noses. The story always involves some expulsion from Eden, whether by hippies in the 1960s, or the suffragists, or the wretched refuse of the shtetls, or the French Revolution, or the Enlightenment, or Luther, or Machiavelli or the sack of Rome. Next thing you know they’ll be repeating Mallarmé’s judgment that “all poetry has gone wrong since the great Homeric deviation”….The point is, the conservative apocalypse has always been a movable one.

(September 30, 2012)

New York Times

An amorous editorialist at the Times bravely shouts “stop” to two thugs engaged in a tireless conspiracy to halt the free flow of prophylactics, intrauterine devices, and other contraceptive marvels that are the hallmark of the modern Progressive asylum:

If Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, were to win next month’s election, the harm to women’s reproductive rights would be extended far beyond the borders of the United States.

In this country, they would support the recriminalization of abortion with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and they would limit access to contraception and other services. But they have also promised to promote policies abroad that would affect millions of women in the world’s poorest countries…

(October 20, 2012)

The Progressive

Alas, horrified by the bleak legacy of Citizens United, the once hopeful Progressive magazine turns to “the Framers” for succor, the very same patriarchal, closed circle of plutocrats and slave owners who got us into this mess in the first place. Is there no hope?

The Framers gave us a “Republic.” But by a Republic, they meant a “representative democracy.” And by a “representative democracy,” they meant a government with a branch that would be “dependent upon the People alone.” The simplest and most important objective of any constitutional amendment must be to restore that critical principle by removing a dependence on anything save “the People alone.”

(October 2012)

The Nation

In the sedate pages of the Nation a storm trooper commandeers space, and in the background we hear the old “Host Wessel Song” sounding. Indeed, even the Nation is turning to the right:

The Republicans have built on a white revanchism located among the racists and the fearful within white America. These voters not only despise the idea of an African-American serving as president of what they believe to be a white republic; they are terrified that the demographics of the country are changing in favor of people of color. For this reason, calls to boycott the election or turn toward third-party candidates miss what is going on. The right wishes to perpetrate a massive disenfranchisement in its desperate effort to preserve the rule of a reactionary white elite.

(October 2, 2012)

New York Times Magazine

Writing to the Times Magazine’s saintly ethicist, Kasey of New York confesses to a new form of Democratic voter fraud only to meet with stern disapproval:

My parents live in the South and are staunch Republicans. I usually don’t care about politics but lean Democratic and liberal. I live in New York City and know that Obama will win the state handily with or without my vote. So is it O.K. for me to vote for Romney as a birthday present for my mother in lieu of buying her a gift?

Kasey Taylor, New York

This is a weird gift (and, frankly, kind of a dumb idea). But whom you vote for, or if you vote at all, is always your democratic prerogative. You can use whatever reasoning you want, including bad reasoning. Welcome to America.

(November 4, 2012)

New York Times Book Review

Miss Harriet Lerner, late of the Plumbing & Drainage Institute, makes some esoteric points about her peculiar understanding of her craft in the New York Times Book Review immediately before being committed to a public institution:

To the Editor:

Add my name to the thousands of women who thank the goddess for Toni Bentley’s brilliant review of Naomi Wolf’s latest book (Sept. 16). I especially appreciate her noting Wolf’s misuse of the word vagina to refer to everything “down there.” For several decades I’ve written on the subject of female genital mislabeling, illustrating how the ubiquitous avoidance of the word vulva harms girls and women. This work has been met by a dignified fraternal and feminist silence. Indeed, many educated adults still think that this other V-word refers to a Swedish automobile or is otherwise unspeakable. In our vulva-phobic culture (thank you, Eve Ensler and Naomi Wolfe), we give our daughters no name for the whatchamacallit that is the center of erotic pleasure and (short of X-ray vision) all that’s available for visual inspection.

Harriet Lerner
Lawrence, Kan.

The writer, for three decades a senior staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic, is the author of “Women in Therapy” and “The Dance of Anger.”

(October 5, 2012)

And thus begins another affecting tale of compassion and human kindness from a young man destined to someday become a seething sexual maniac:

The CARE (Condom Access for Responsible Encounters) group, associated with the on-campus Curry Health Center, sent out the “Protection Pumpkin”; a costumed staff member to offer condoms to students.

It’s an event the health enhancement group offers for several holidays (the Latex Leprechaun and the Condom Cupid are other characters) to encourage safe sex and offer information to students.

Coordinators say it can make what can be an awkward situation for students, a little easier.

“It can be kind of uncomfortable just because it’s not something that we talk about a lot in our society, sometimes in our families. Some people do talk about it, but for some people it can be uncomfortable,” said Curry’s Health Promotions Specialist, Brent Hildebrand. “So just making it kind of relaxed, a little bit fun, makes it easier for students to not have to worry about any associated stigma.”

The “Protection Pumpkin” can’t solicit students or force products on them. CARE just offers condoms and educational information for students who want them.

(October 31, 2012)

Celeb Stoner

Mr. Killer Mike, an Atlanta-based rapper and apparent vegetarian, defends his dietary needs prior to stepping into the voting booth:

“I like smoking marijuana,” he tells Spin. “I believe that it’s ridiculous that a plant can be outlawed. I’m actively involved in the political process because I want to support candidates who are progressive. As you go to the polls, ask yourself which candidate is going to give you something for your vote. Whatever your thing is, find your thing. Marijuana just happens to be my thing. And I use that in a very passionate way. It keeps me wanting to stay involved in the political process.”

(October 24, 2012)

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