Message to Peggy Noonan: Girls just wanna have fun


Today we completed one pledge and we began another,” says Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee: “Many months ago House Republicans committed and pledged to listen to Americans all across this country… We kept that pledge, and it allows us to make another. The Pledge to America starts with the preamble that reminds us that every American citizen is endowed with certain rights from their creator. When our government charts a course that endangers those rights, the people have the right to demand a new agenda from their government.”

By Sissy Willis of sisu

“This election is more and more shaping up into a contest between the Exhausted and the Enraged,” writes Northeast Corridor Conservative Peggy Noonan, once again almost grasping the spirit that animates this Army of Davids. As we wrote last summer, “Tea Party to Peggy Noonan: It’s not rage, but disgust!” This time, the former Reagan speechwriter and author of the transcendent “thousand points of light” decided to listen instead of pontificate. Her telephone conversation with Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee is a revelation:

But Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee suggests I have the wrong word for the Republican base. The word, she says, is not enraged but “livid” …

There are two major developments, she says, that are new this year and insufficiently noted, but they’re going to shape election outcomes in 2010 and beyond.

The question is which is to be master,” as we blogged the other day, and Blackburn is taking no prisoners:

First, Washington is being revealed in a new way.

The American people now know, “with real sophistication,” everything that happens in the capital. “I find a much more knowledgeable electorate, and it is a real-time response,” Ms. Blackburn says. “We hear about it even as the vote is taking place” …

The Internet isn’t just a tool for organiztion and fund-raising. It has given citizens access to information they never had before. “The more they know,” Ms. Blackburn observes, “the less they like Washington.”

It’s that effervescent disintermediation of the powers that be via the internet that we are forever flogging here. Blackburn closes in for the kill:

Second is the rise of women as a force. They “are the drivers in this election cycle,” Ms. Blackburn says. “Something is going on.” At tea party events the past 18 months, she started to notice “60% of the crowd is women.”

She tells of a political rally that drew thousands in Nashville, at the State Capitol plaza. She had brought her year-old grandson. When the mic was handed to her, she was holding him. “I said, ‘How many of you are grandmothers?’ The hands! That was the moment I realized that the majority of the people at the political events now are women. I saw this in town halls in ’09 — it was women showing up at my listening events, it was women talking about health care.”

Blackburn casts the “rise of women as a force” in terms of “the Rage of the Bill-Paying Moms,” and she’s right as far as what Noonan calls “a change in national thinking regarding the role of the individual and the government.” But don’t discount what may be an even more fundamental dynamic at play: “Girls just wanna have fun.”

Update: Instalanche! Thanks for the spelling correction, Professor. 😀

Message To Peggy Noonan: Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

Want to, want to

Update II: Michelle Malkin “Buzzworthy” link! They just want to, that’s all!

Crossposted at sisu, Riehl World View and Liberty Pundits.

Published in: on September 25, 2010 at 2:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Girls Rule, But the Cost is Cruel.

The figure of the teenage girl unleashes the most creative and destructive forces at work in the world today, writes Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail:

What you see in the streets and workshops and houses of the fast-growing parts of the world are young women, generally under 21, working hard. What you see aboard the trains and minivan-buses and horse-carts of the world are teenage girls, moving to the city.

As in Europe in the 19th century, young women often make up the largest group of people leaving villages for the city, sent to work alone, often in domestic service or garment piecework, and save their families. Half the world’s urban population is under 25, and considerably more than half of these are young women, because the men so often stay behind.

The girls tend to have more job opportunities in the informal, hustle-based economies of modern cities; they also tend to be treated far, far worse than anyone else, abused sexually, mutilated, impregnated, forced into prostitution, married to strangers. They are both the main agents of change and its predominant victim.

The opportunity and the danger tend to amplify each other. Fear of such fates, and other mythic images of debased innocence stoked by the terrifying shock of sudden change, leads the fathers and brothers of newly urbanized daughters into the hysterical comfort of extreme religious and political beliefs.  The cruel ascetic offshoots of Islam in much of the Arab world, the violent political perversions of Hinduism in India and the waves of fundamentalist Christianity across the Southern Hemisphere, are in large part responses to, or manipulations of, anxieties over the idealized images of one’s daughter.

In fact, you could say that the most potent forces in the world right now – both the most promising opportunities for improvement and the most menacing and destabilizing movements and ideologies – are all centred around the mythic figure of the teenage girl.

These girls gain power by escaping early marriage and motherhood to become economic engines of their families’ survival.  They are far more likely than their rural counterparts to get an education — and women’s education is a powerful driver of poverty reduction and economic growth.  But they arouse anxieties about their safety and their families’ honor; they are both preyed on by strangers and punished by jealous fathers and brothers.

Girls are the pivot on which the world turns.

Published in: on September 18, 2010 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dirty Harry Days

I think it’s The Enforcer — the one where Clint Eastwood’s character is forced by political correctness to accept a female partner (played by a young Tyne Daly), only to grow a grudging respect for her guts before she dies in his arms. Her oh so feminine last words: “Get ’em.”

That crossed my mind when I read about a tribute luncheon in Los Angeles attended by “women wearing pearl earrings and police uniforms, carrying Gucci bags and holstered guns.”  The elderly woman who haltingly made her way up to the podium to cheers and applause was Fanchon Blake, whose 1973 lawsuit broke multiple glass ceilings in the LAPD (including a 5’6″ lowest height limit) and undoubtedly provoked that Dirty Harry movie.

[A] flood of female recruits [was] hired as Blake’s discrimination suit pushed the department into a court-monitored consent decree.

Before Blake sued, women couldn’t be promoted beyond the rank of sergeant, were allowed to supervise only other women and had to be at least 5 feet, 6 inches tall.

[Lt. Cindy] Benes is 5 feet tall, a lieutenant in the tough Northeast Division, supervising 24 gang and narcotics officers, all but one of them men. […]

Until the 1970s, women were trained separately, wore skirts and heels and weren’t allowed in patrol cars.

Oh yes, I remember those days.  Your proper role was announced and enforced by your clothing — try to run and shoot in a skirt and heels, outside of a Hollywood movie.  At Harvard/Radcliffe in the mid-1960s we were educated with the men, but lived in our own separate chaperoned enclave almost a mile away.  Our numbers were far fewer.  If it was cold in winter and we wanted to wear pants to class to keep warm, we had to wear a skirt over the pants.  Really!  When I graduated in 1967 we received Harvard diplomas, but had a separate graduation ceremony, as if quarantined lest we contaminate the university’s traditional grandeur.  All that broke down within two years of my graduation.

These questions were not then and still aren’t simple and straightforward.  Should the force of women’s desire for inclusion and equality overwhelm, say, the strength requirements of a firefighter’s job?  Why do women want to be boxers and get their faces bashed in?  Is equality the same as equivalency?  Is (or I should say “was”) the male-bonding atmosphere of high-risk, protective occupations like police work and war something more than just a desire to shut girls out of the clubhouse?  Undoubtedly there have been both gains and losses as a result of women’s inclusion in even those occupations that seemed intrinsically masculine.

I certainly remember having the sense that exclusion was inseparable from second-rateness, and protection was entwined with condescension.  Men got to do the exciting, important stuff that the culture really honored and esteemed.  (Surprise!  Women have egos, too, and ours were collectively wounded for, oh, millennia.)  Women were the support staff, lumped together with children, churning out and servicing bodies while men cultivated spirits.  Tribute was paid to our humble but vital role, but we knew it was lip service.  Orthodox Jews weren’t the only males who woke up and thanked God every morning for not making them women.

Over time I came to my own resolution and reconciliation of the difference/equality conundrum.  It struck me that the spiritual virtues humanity has held highest — including courage and justice, reason and art and Einstein’s “divine curiosity” — had become melded with maleness by their long restriction to men, and that it was our exclusion from that essentially genderless core of the human legacy that women were righfully indignant about.  We, too, confused them with maleness, so that we thought the way to claim courage was, say, to get in the boxing ring and bust each other’s noses.  But the real differences are unyielding; in our style of karate, for example, women now fight full contact (face punching is a foul for either sex) and it is indeed a valuable cultivation of courage and antidote to fear, but women fight each other, and it’s just not the same as men fighting.  The spiritual component is arguably the same; the physical and psychological pieces are very different.  As a result, almost everyone’s at peace with it.

Maybe it’s like that in police departments and the military, too.  Women have won respect for their courage without either turning into or unmanning men.  Or do you disagree?