What I’m Reading, July 14, 2014

Why So Down, Maureen Dowd? BooMan, Booman Tribune, July 6, 2014

We’re not a superpower brought low. That’s why the kids don’t want to have that discussion. It’s because we’ve been low ever since we found out that that John Wayne b.s. was a myth, which, for most people, happened decades ago now. In many ways, this country has never been stronger or fairer than it is today, and if we could just get back our majorities we could begin making progress on the problems we’re still facing. The kids don’t want to debate the death of a superpower foolishness any more than they want to debate Jim Crow, gay rights, or the reality of climate change.

At the end of her insufferable column, Ms. Dowd quotes, but does not seem to understand, Nathaniel Philbrick. Mr. Philbrick points out that past is not what it appears to be. The Founding Fathers’ flaws were airbrushed out of history. Even George Washington was a flawed man. “What George Washington did right was to realize how much of what he thought was right was wrong.”

This is what Ms. Dowd has not done. She has not learned that America was never John Wayne-undeafeatable. She mourns not the loss of a better America, but an America that was as phony as the idea of John Wayne being a courageous war hero. The truth is, he opted not to serve. The truth is, America is a much better place today than it was in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Todd Starnes’ Convenient Concerns About Violence, Ed Brayton, Dispatches from the Culture Wars, July 11, 2014

Todd Starnes is very concerned. He thinks that calling someone like, say, Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, hateful “is going to justify violence against those kinds of people.” Funny, though, he has no concern at all about he and his fellow bigots spewing the most demonizing rhetoric about gay people.

Jada, Steubenville, and How America Is Failing Our Teen Girls, Charlotte Lytton, The Daily Beast, July 10, 2014

Everything about this case is disturbing in the extreme. How many kids need to be raped on film before people sit up and pay attention to what’s going on here? We have a duty to offer protection to those who need it, but society’s seemingly laissez-faire attitude to this dark strand of sexual assault is becoming a grave problem.

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The world knows Jada’s name now, and while it’s not customary for minors in such cases to be identified, she didn’t want to hold her identity back. “Everybody has already seen my face and my body, but that’s not what I am and who I am,” she said. In spite of the unbelievable bravery she has shown in coming forward and speaking out for victims of sexual assault, she now wants to be homeschooled—away from the reminders, and the chatter, and the lack of action taken to bring her attackers to justice. “I’m just angry,” she concluded.

There are the teensiest, tiniest glimmers of light in the aftermath of this horror. The hashtag #jadacounterpose has picked up as the total antithesis to the rape culture-enabling ethos of its forebear, with pictures of support being posted for the 16-year-old who has become the new face of sex abuse activism. ‘Teach boys that they are not entitled to women’s bodies,’ reads one. ‘Self control is your job, not hers,’ reads another. This is what we need: this, more of it, and fast.

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