Sunday, July 02, 2006

THERE'S NOWT WRONG WI' GALA LUNCHEONS! I'VE HAD MORE GALA LUNCHEONS THAN YOU'VE HAD HOT DINNERS! Someone named Linda Hirshman apparently wants more women to work rather than raise children. I'll probably never read her book, as there is a whole lot of Henry James I haven't gotten to yet, but I am amused by the responses she has engendered among the male advocates of women as babymakers.

First prize goes to Reihan Salam at The American Scene, who takes the position that work, even the highly-paid sort, is overrated, in sociomological terms:
When we talk about "flexible work arrangements," you have to wonder if we're forcing corporations to accommodate the demands of family life, or really of human life, or if we're in fact forcing families to accommodate the demands of the corporations, by privileging a very specific, culturally-bound definition of what a working life ought to be.
Promising start, but alas, Salam fails to follow through by advocating as well a four-day workweek, unlimited beer subsidies, and my God-given right to make my living doing this stupid blog and macking on the ladies pursuant to a sociomological paper of great importance on gender relations.

He might have got me on board then. As it is, he seems to think that the ladies should avail the ratrace-exit strategy of breeding and raising young'uns, leaving us menfolk on our own. A rum deal, if you ask me.

Salam takes the issue very personally, too:
My parents would have much preferred that I pursue an academic career, not because it would be particularly lucrative but because they value the life of the mind. Are my parents buffoons? Or traitors to some broader cause? They felt the same way, I should point out, about my sisters, both of whom are completing post-graduate degrees.
There is something hilarious, at least to working stiffs like me, about a New Republic editor using Professor Mom's and Professor Dad's fond hopes that their boy would one day inhabit an ivory tower -- a dream, alas, deferred -- as a stick to beat working women. He is joined in this maudlin tack by his co-lunatic, Ross Douthat:
So, for instance, when I think about my career, I think about it in terms of competition and self-definition - I want to be publicly defined as a success, and ideally as a greater success than others in my peer group - and also in terms of service to my future wife and children, whom I want to provide for to the best of my ability. I think about my duty to society from time to time, too, but it's not something that drives me the way my ego and my desire to support a family do.
That's nice. When I think about my career, I think about food, rent, clothing, etc, and the possibility that I may end up in a cardboard box if I do not propitiate my creditors. I guess liberals really do occupy another universe from conservatives.

P.S. Salam says that "The top earners in America are overwhelmingly Ozzie-and-Harriets, two-earner couples living in the suburbs." I was just a little boy then, but I don't remember Harriet having a job.

UPDATE. Salam also quotes David Gelertner, who suggests that liberals are hypocrites because they looked down their snooty noses at corporations in the days of Vance Packard and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (!), but now champion wymmyn in the workforce.

Gelertner's essay is called "Things the 60s Got Right," but he only mentions this one Thing, perhaps because his editors disallowed blowjobs-for-activism as portrayed in the film of The Strawberry Statement.

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