Another bit of "media bias" I've noticed lately is the Strib's tendency to print fawning reviews of right-skewing books and less flattering reviews of left-skewing ones. A particularly noxious example of this trend is evidenced in today's Op-Ed section by this bit of offal by Mona Charen. It's a review of the book "Women Who Make the World Worse" by Kate O'Beirne, and I can only hope that the book isn't quite as vapid and pointless as the review makes it out to be.
I'll skip lightly over the irony of Kate O'Beirne using the freedom gained for her by the feminists to attack the feminists. That's just too easy. I won't even go into depth on the irony of O'Beirne using as "proof" of her thesis an incredibly subjective "happiness study". Exactly the kind of study that conservatives the world over reject when they consistently show that people living under brutish third world conditions consistently self-report being more happy than those of us with a higher standard of living in the West. I guess when you're trying to prove such an outre thesis as O'Beirne's you have to grab onto any scrap of data that you think supports your notion.
Instead, I would like to focus on the ridiculous tactic that seems to be all the rage of the modern conservative movement to discredit anything they don't like...the tactic of picking obscure quotes from people on the edges of a movement and using them as a broad brush to smear the entire movement. Anybody remember Ward Churchill? Exactly. Every social movement has a penumbra of radicals who push past the "mainstream" of the movement. Does the existence of those radicals invalidate the point of the movement? Not at all. For example, there were many many people on the fringes of the civil rights movement who advocated all-out "race war"; they said that blacks would never be free until all white people were dead. Does this mean the civil rights movement was fundamentally flawed and we should go back to Jim Crow laws? Obviously not. This is a cheap and intellectually dishonest method of attacking the message by trying to discredit the messengers.
As for the "all-macho army" bit at the end, ouch. I can't believe that stuff would fly thirty years ago. It's flat out insulting today. The same "women are good for babies not [fill in the blank job]" argument was the exact same one used when women were first trying to enter the work force. And by that quote from S.L.A. Marshall at the end, is O'Bierne suggesting that man act less "manly" around women? Clearly she needs to get out more. If anything, when women are present men act more "manly" as anyone who has ever been in a bar before could tell you.
As far as I can tell from this review, this book is nothing but reheated arguments that were rejected long ago held together with rhetorical tricks to try to make them seem new. It makes me sad to think the Strib can't find anything better to say about this tripe. Now, I leave this thread open to REW who probably has some more, uh, colorful things to say this...
Update: Fixed the gobbledygook in the second paragraph back into "outre". Does anyone know how to make accent marks in Blogger? 'cause I sure don't.