Wednesday, March 18, 2015

THE HACKMAID'S TALE.

The latest surge of Poors-Must-Learn-Morals-from-Their-Betters gush, inspired by the new Robert Putnam book but rooted in traditional Marriage Makes You Rich boilerplate, is best known by its David Brooks effusion, covered here. Since then we've had Ross Douthat and all manner of idiots shaking the scold-stick on this subject. But leave it to Megan McArdle to accelerate the stupid like a Hadron Collider:
There is one place this change might come from: Hollywood. Entertainment is a surprisingly powerful venue for articulating social norms, and if Hollywood decided that it had a social responsibility to promote stable families and changed its story lines accordingly, that might actually do some good. 
Yes, the Artist Formerly Known as Jane Galt wants private enterprise to pitch in with some free propaganda.
I'm not talking about sticking a few propaganda story lines into Very Special Episodes of some sitcom, which wouldn't do a darn thing. Rather, I'm saying that if Hollywood actually believed that married two-parent families were overwhelmingly optimal, that would naturally shape what they wrote, in a way that would in turn probably shape what Americans believe, and do.
Hang on -- this suggests that Hollywood product currently militates against marriage. Is that so? I must have missed the successful sitcoms "How I Met Your Baby-Momma" and "My Three Sons (from Separate Mothers)." And looking at last year's top-grossing films, I'm having a hard time figuring how they could have shoehorned marriage into movies about wizards and superheroes; maybe they could have had Katniss from the Hunger Games movies falter until a priest rushes in to marry her to some guy, like Popeye deriving strength from spinach.

Of course, McArdle's offer isn't serious --
But this is an inherently socially conservative message, and Hollywood is about the furthest thing you can name from socially conservative -- our entertainment industry tends to send socially conservative messages only accidentally, as it did with "16 and Pregnant." And there is nearly as much social distance between David Brooks and your average Hollywood show runner as there is between David Brooks and the kids whose lives he wants to change.
-- it's just more ressentiment for the regular crowd, who sometimes need help believing that social-net-shredding policies have less to do with the parlous state of the poor than evil Hollyweird cokewhores.

UPDATE. Hang on, asks Meanie-meanie, tickle a person in comments: "Hollywood who? Or is that a surname? Joe Hollywood from Detroit? Or maybe Frank Hollywood from Miami?" Tsk, Meanie -- it's a metonym for the cultural apparat -- you know, what such people used to call "Jews." Or maybe McArdle doesn't know this, and imagines herself handing out Operation Hitching Post slide decks to a bunch of guys who look like Robert Loggia, wear their shirts unbuttoned to the plexus, chomp fancy cigars, and produce all the movies.

276 comments:

  1. If only the drive for profit didn't relegate every other consideration to an afterthought! Although I thought Objectivists found that to be a feature instead of a bug.

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  2. NonyNony12:36 PM

    Hollywood (as short-hand for the mainstream movie industry) is the most cynically capitalist enterprise on the freaking planet. Things only get made because they make money. If there's insufficient demand for a product, it doesn't get made. Even the more artistic films that Hollywood puts out are put out for cynical money-making reasons - they make them as cheaply as they can and try to win Oscars so that they can advertise "Academy Award Winning Director X" or whatever in their ad copy because that kind of ad copy gets butts in seats. If it didn't, they would have sent the Oscars sailing decades ago.

    If McArdle actually understood both capitalism and Hollywood she would either fall madly in love with Hollywood's business model or she'd repudiate capitalism. Sadly McArdle is barely capable of contemplating her own navel, and so Jane Galt will remain blissfully unaware that her capitalist Utopia is the very thing that she hates so much.

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  3. Bitter Scribe12:39 PM

    "Show runner"? Is that one of those esoteric jargony Hollywood jobs, like key grip?

    There is nearly as much social distance between David Brooks and your average Hollywood show runner as there is between David Brooks and the kids whose lives he wants to change.



    Since "social distance" apparently is this year's right-wing euphemism for "money," no, Megan, there really isn't.

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  4. I hear ya, sister! Juno should have ended in a shotgun wedding, or at least a tragic death in childbirth.

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  5. Well, I'm betting that "show runners" are really the hollywood equivalent of ink stained wretches. They may make a lot of money, if they are successful, but they don't have all that much agency. Not nearly as much freedom as David Brooks does, for his dollar.

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  6. hellslittlestangel12:42 PM

    So here's my pitch: Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Then everything is great until ... eventually they die of old age.
    Whaddaya think? Green light?

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  7. NonyNony12:46 PM

    "Show runner" (or "showrunner") is the title given to the guy in charge of a show. He's the guy that runs the show, you see, so he's the show runner. It's very esoteric.

    They used to be known as "Executive Producers" back in the olden days, but then studios started giving out Executive Producer credits like candy to people for a variety of reasons and there needed to be a way to distinguish the Executive Producer that you should listen to when it came to writing scripts from the Executive Producer you should ignore because he was the studio head's brother-in-law and the head owed him a favor. So the title "show runner" was created.

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  8. Chairman Pao12:46 PM

    This past weeks Box Office Top 10 included "Cinderella" ("Happily ever after"), "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (Happily ever eventually") and "Fifty Shades of Grey" ("Happily ever bound").


    Is that not enough variety for McMegan? Yeesh. It's always "more more more".

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  9. And there is nearly as much social distance between David Brooks and
    your average Hollywood show runner as there is between David Brooks and
    the kids whose lives he wants to change.Pssst, Megan! Your calculator is broken again.

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  10. NonyNony12:48 PM

    Hm. Needs more conflict. How about boy meets girl, boy marries girl, General Zod shows up and slaughters them all, Superman breaks Zod's neck.

    Or wait - that would probably send the "wrong" message. How about boy meets girl, boy moves in with girl, General Zod destroys their apartment killing them all, Superman breaks Zod's neck. The moral of the story being that they should have gotten married and moved to the suburbs because living in the city with all of its rampant Kryptonian on Kryptonian crime is just too dangerous. That sounds more conservative.

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  11. Jay B.12:50 PM

    Rather, I'm saying that if Hollywood actually believed that married two-parent families were overwhelmingly optimal, that would naturally shape what they wrote, in a way that would in turn probably shape what Americans believe, and do.


    What in the hell is she talking about? Married, two-parent families are literally the set up of about half the shows currently on the air. The fucking SOPRANOS was about a married, two-parent family. David Brooks and McArdle are just vapid idiots like the rest of their cohort. My God, these are just stupid, witless people.

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  12. Downpup E12:50 PM

    Even for McArdle, it must have been hard to maintain the level of ignorance needed to write that entire thing without mentioning the Hays Code.

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  13. Downpup E12:53 PM

    I'm not sure why, but I've been going "Beep beep" since reading your post;

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  14. coozledad12:55 PM

    our entertainment industry tends to send socially conservative messages only accidentally, as it did with "16 and Pregnant'.


    I missed that show. Must have been on the Palin Channel.

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  15. If we're going by McArdle's definition of traditional family structures ("two people raising their own biological or jointly adopted children"), then Modern Family counts, and that's been one of the most popular shows on television since it premiered. Hell, this is a really dumb time for Megs to make this argument - on the strength of Modern Family, the networks are now flooded with family sitcoms.

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  16. So, basically Dan Quayle was right about Murphy Brown.


    This is currently the top-rated comment to McCradle's little foot stomp.


    Just think about that for a moment...and when you stop laughing note the precious little feelings of the put-upon wingnut are never healed. Never.

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  17. Bitter Scribe1:13 PM

    But Hollywood has a moral duty to educate the unwashed masses the way conservatives want, no matter how capitalist they are.


    Of course, the capitalists at, say, McDonald's or Walmart are under no such moral duty to the unwashed masses they employ. Their only duty is to pay as little as they can get away with to "maximize shareholder value."

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  18. It's hard to tell from that horrible column if McArdle really understands how the entertainment biz works. I know that some conservative culture critics have finally started to tepidly acknowledge that no, Dread Hollywood is not a liberal plot against America. I have to assume that McArdle - dumb, lazy and incurious as she is - probably understands that. The problem is that when the culture critics start discussing their plans to use pop culture as a form of social engineering, even the smarter ones still assume that the entertainment industry is a monolithic entity that could be mastered and controlled by a few people, that all we have to do is call up the Emperor of Hollywood and tell him to make more family shows.

    Trying to explain market forces and shifting trends to these people is pointless because none of them care. McArdle needed to write something that would sound good to her intended audience. It never has to reflect reality, it just needs to be intuitive.

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  19. Even as McArdle ostensibly rejects David Brooks' thesis, she still agrees with the fundamental point - that economic forces have nothing to do with the family troubles of the poor. It's like a boxing match between two idiots throwing shadow punches at each other from seven feet away.

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  20. trizzlor1:21 PM

    Somehow, Americans used to manage to get and stay married despite much more limited financial resources; how did they perform this seemingly impossible feat? Virtually any answer you give is going to come back to some version of "norms."

    Right, there's no way it could have been affordable housing, healthcare, and education.

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  21. True ignorance doesn't just happen, you know.


    Like Megs, one has to really want it and work hard, even pull your bootstraps up by yourself to achieve high-level ignorance.


    Fortunately for her and her ilk this is something they're willing to do. Because with true ignorance comes self-righteousness, and then - nirvana! - you no longer have to think about anything, ever again.

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  22. Yes! How is it that this woman can't acknowledge that the economy has changed in the past 50 years? This woman has been paid an absurd amount of money to write about socioeconomics, but behind all the pseudo-intellectual jargon, she doesn't understand it as well as an eighteen year-old who just finished his first 100-level PolySci class.

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  23. Jay B.1:27 PM

    It's not only that, it's like she's unaware that The Simpsons has been on the air for 30 years or so. But even beyond that, the idea that if ONLY TV AND MOVIES SHOWED MARRIED PEOPLE POOR PEOPLE WOULD HAVE ROLE MODELS it's just...stupid. It doesn't reach the standard of opinion because it's frankly bizarre and convoluted. People would do better and be happier if they had more money and better jobs -- THAT brings stability -- not this tortured stupidity about whatever it is morons like Brooks and McArdle think about the moral fibre of our underclass. Their eternal quest for justification of awful economic policies on the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable among us is really and truly hateful. They should be fucking embarrassed to pound out these pop-culture essays about the REAL problem, but they have no pride. Their money is green. And they have no conscience to trouble. They are both simply disgraceful and utterly emblematic of the depths of the conservative enterprise at this rotten, corrupt stage.

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  24. coozledad1:28 PM

    Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. The marriage is a sham, but they make money by adopting lots of kids and propping up their Christian day-care center with four millions of Federal dollars. They decide one of the children is possessed and lock her in a room surveyed by a video monitor. That's not good enough. They "rehome" her with a rapist.
    A blog breaks the story, so the boy cries. The Republicans circle the wagons around him hoping the story will go away.


    It'll be a triumph of the human spirit.

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  25. What I like best about McArgleBargle's lament is that as a libertarian she should worship the marketplace. Apparently there's not any money in Kirk Cameron-style vomit, but as a wingnut she needs to decry this lack, so she's kinda' torn here.


    So we get this tripe. Or as people in the biz call it, a Megsteamer.

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  26. Tiny Tim1:28 PM

    I'm trying and failing to come up with movie in which if it's in any way relevant to the story that stable marriage isn't portrayed as an ideal.

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  27. trizzlor1:31 PM

    The disconnect is the weirdest part. If you read through her commentary it's basically a bunch of criticism that big liberal government has destroyed health-care, housing, and education ... and then a bunch of chin-stroking about how the middle class had it better in the past because of amorphous things like "culture" and "mores". I'm not asking for her to embrace Obamacare, but just connect the two topics she focuses all her thinking on .

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  28. Gromet1:32 PM

    Kids loved Murphy Brown. They longed to emulate her. And so America was destroyed. When some future Gibbon writes The Decline and Fall of the American Empire, Dan Quayle will be its central Cassandra figure, or maybe a Diocletian if Diocletian did nothing and was absurd.

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  29. coozledad1:32 PM

    a Megsteamer

    I hear you can get those at Food Service Warehouse for about eight grand.

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  30. I know, right? Both McArdle and Brooks start by having you assume that the economy has no effect on the state of the family. Never mind that we have 150 years of statistics showing a direct, one-to-one correlation between the two - no, we have to pretend that we don't know that so that we can cast poor people as moral infants in need of a spanking.

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  31. coozledad1:36 PM

    And much, much more money in adjusted dollars than we'll ever see again among laborers.

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  32. The wacky adventures of a politician's family living at home while he's in DC threatening the President and getting diapered by prostitutes. How will the family cope with Dad's zany antics?

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  33. coozledad1:42 PM

    I think I've got the title for that one. How bout "A Whiter Shade of Feces".

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  34. There's a reason the MOTUs employ Argelbargle and Goldberg and Brooks: these pundits are so stupid there is no fear any one of them will accidentally say something obvious and factual. Just keep blatting out the lies.

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  35. "Executive producer" is historically the honorific given to folks who invest money - and nothing else - to a movie or other production.


    "Invest 10 mil with us and we'll give you a credit...how does "executive producer" sound?"


    "Wow! You've got a deal!"

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  36. sharculese1:44 PM

    But McMegan isn't even doing that, based on the quoted passages. She's using Hollywood as a short-hand for the television industry, which makes even less sense.

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  37. "A showrunner's duties often combine those traditionally assigned to the writer, executive producer and script editor. Unlike films, where directors are in creative control of a production, in episodic television, the showrunner outranks the director.[2]"

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  38. Gromet1:49 PM

    Yes. The showrunner is the one who is allowed to throw coffee mugs and phones at the assistants with impunity. Anyone else tries that, and they're expected to apologize later.

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  39. Gromet1:53 PM

    You know, hang the fuck on. The more I think about this -- ugh -- even if we accept that Murphy Brown was a "bad role model" because she had a baby out of wedlock... wasn't she also a GREAT role model because she only did it after working hard to establish a stable and high-paying career that would enable her to take care of from cradle to college graduation no problem? Even if you accept Quayle's premise, his premise makes no sense.

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  40. sharculese1:54 PM

    Is Modern Family not still on the air, teaching America that all adversities can be overcome through the twin virtues of wealth and whiteness? How much more socially conservative do you want?


    Now that I've got that joke out of my system I'm gonna rant for a minute, because this particular hobby-horse so thoroughly grinds my gears.


    If wingnuts are going to offer prescriptions about what tv needs to do differently, you need to watch more tv. The Seinfeld/Friends model of singles in the city shows they're confident are ruining America not only haven't been the dominant paradigm for a decade, they're barely on the air anymore.



    In the interim, family sitcoms have boomed in popularity, waned, and it looks like they're maybe on the rise again, not that anyone would know from these tantrums.


    Somehow I suspect that if pressed on what she really wanted, McMegan would demand something like the Miller-Boyett schmaltzfests of her formative years, because a.) that's when she stopped maturing, and b.) they fit in with the the faux-hipster forced nostalgia that Megan affects instead of being anything at all. But those shows aren't coming back, because they were teeeeerrrible and because they airwaves just can't support a glut of shitty sitcoms anymore.

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  41. Gromet1:56 PM

    You know what? Hang the fuck on. The more I think about this -- ugh -- even if we accept that Murphy Brown was a "bad role model" because she was a single mom... wasn't she also a GREAT role model because she only did it after working hard to establish a stable and high-paying career that would enable her to take care of her baby from cradle to college graduation no problem?



    Jebus, even if you accept Quayle's premise, his premise makes no sense.

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  42. sharculese1:56 PM

    I want to buy this comment and leave it unread on my shelf so people think I'm smart.

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  43. sharculese1:59 PM

    Wait I thought JASBers proudly claimed Juno for team abstinence? Has it become insufficiently doctrinaire in the interim?

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  44. Helmut Monotreme2:04 PM

    That's not true at all. Adversity builds character, and Wal Mart and every other minimum wage employer dicking their employees with starvation wages and schedules less predictable than the sleeping habits of a newborn are doing their duty to impart as much character as they can.

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  45. ohsopolite2:06 PM

    I'm against stable marriage due to my long-standing opposition to bestiality.

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  46. sharculese2:06 PM

    MTV reality series that, well, the name says it all. There is some (very weak) evidence that it may have contributed to a drop in teen pregnancy rates, but it's almost certainly not as significant a factor as the crowd that wants teens to think sex is life-threatening would have you believe.

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  47. ohsopolite2:08 PM

    "she doesn't understand it as well as an eighteen year-old who just finished reading the syllabus for his first 100-level PolySci class."

    FTFY

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  48. Helmut Monotreme2:09 PM

    Or about 50 bucks in the seamier parts of Cleveland.

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  49. RogerAiles2:13 PM

    "How Hollywood Can Save Our Families"
    Our families?


    I must have missed the announcement that Meeeegan and Sudafed delivered a bouncing baby Randroid.


    Having accomplished nothing in her life beyond parroting her parents and her paymasters, why would anyone sane take Meeeegan's advice on anything?

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  50. Modulo_Myself2:14 PM

    Actually, now that we're talking about poor white people, the culture scolds aren't talking what poor white people can learn from their betters. It's what the liberals who have been showing Pasolino's Salo every day for the past twenty years (I don't have a television, but I gather this is what the case is) can learn from conservatives. The patriarchal/anti-intellectual/racist/fundamentalist culture is awesome; not like black culture, which is dysfunctional.


    Anyway it's obvious that the television show you watch if you're white is exponentially more powerful a cause of poverty than your income.

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  51. if Hollywood actually believed that married two-parent families were overwhelmingly optimal, that would naturally shape what they wrote
    Undoubtedly. I think they don't believe in overwhelming optimality at all, or they'd get rid of all that conflict in the screenplays. Fucking relativists is what they are.

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  52. paper2:20 PM

    "Hollyweird"
    RIP Gil Scott-Heron

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  53. You say Potatum and I say Poteetum.

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  54. Gromet2:22 PM

    Yes, all these movies about giant robot invasions, serial killers, terrorist attacks -- none of that is optimal. They can't even write a good old American Western without throwing in some villain doing non-optimal things! They really tip their hand every time they write a line, these Commiewood elites.

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  55. Downpup E2:23 PM

    You'd think that, but the backing lights aren't on.

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  56. sharculese2:26 PM

    For fun I tried counting up all the new network sitcoms for this season that aren't family shows. Here's what I got:


    -Selfie. A to Z. Manhattan Love Story. But those were all romcoms, so you know the end result was monogamy, and anyway they're all cancelled.


    -Marry Me. Which, even though it's a hangout sitcom, is about two people realizing it's time to SETTLE DOWN AND GET FUCKING MARRIED.


    -Mulaney. Is probably exactly the sort of show Megan is het up about. It was also DOA.


    -The Odd Couple. Is an Odd Couple remake, because Matthew Perry really wanted to do that for some reason.


    Which leaves Bad Judge, and okay, you got us, McMegan. America is falling apart because of one low-rated show about a lady who drinks and sexes all the time but still manages to have a respectable white collar job. Guilty as charged.

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  57. sharculese2:28 PM

    " all these movies about giant robot invasions, serial killers, terrorist attacks -- none of that is optimal."

    Sure, but some of it is Optimus.

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  58. To think conservative you have to compartmentalize. Juno is about abortion, so it can't have anything to do with economics.

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  59. Gromet2:31 PM

    I can think of only one, offhand, and I have to go back to 1955 for it -- Rebel Without a Cause.

    Unless... was Micheal Corleone's marriage to Annie Hall stable, relevant, and bad news? In the first movie, maybe yeah! Not so stable in the sequel. And the sequel is part of the story.

    Okay, so, still just one movie.
    "That's more than enough. I rest my case"--Meegan

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  60. sharculese2:32 PM

    Yeah, but then she doesn't get the abortion because the people at the clinic talk about abortion like it's a medical procedure, ipso facto abortion is murder.

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  61. Hay! It behooves you to rethink that.

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  62. Ted the slacker2:39 PM

    A Boyhood sequel? YES PLEASE!!!

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  63. It's like a boxing match between two idiots throwing shadow punches at each other from seven feet away.Oh, if only. Given their incompetence, we could count on injuries.

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  64. LookWhosInTheFreezer2:41 PM

    Hell, even Breaking Bad fit their mold.

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  65. Professor Fate2:46 PM

    as this is near St. Patrick's day I was thinking about the history of Ireland then I read this and the previous post - and I realized that had McArdle and Brooks been around in 1847 they would have been blaming the famine on the Irish's known moral laxity and over reliance on a single crop.
    Oh yes during the famine there was conscious effort by the British Government to make getting food relief difficult because the Irish were naturally lazy and would simply stay on relief. The trope never ever ever changes does it? They stand on the neck of the poor and yell at them for sticking their neck under their book.

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  66. Ted the slacker2:50 PM

    Because he's not allowed to attack fellow columnists directly (NYT policy), Paul Krugman had to go passive-aggro on Brooks and his values clap-trap. But when he did, it was a thing of rare beauty.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/11/when-values-disappear/#commentsContainer

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  67. What's with all the car crashes and reckless driving? Why can't Hollywood do more to promote save driving.

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  68. satch2:53 PM

    "It's not only that, it's like she's unaware that The Simpsons has been on the air for 30 years or so."


    Oh no... The Simpsons can't POSSIBLY count, since Homer is portrayed as a doofus, instead of the strong, manly moral center of the family, Marge is the level-headed one, and not barefoot and continuously pregnant, and Bart is a bratty, disrespectful example of a flagrant violation of the Fifth Commandment. In fact, The Simpsons is frequently cited as a prime cause of Amurrka's decline.

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  69. Ted the slacker2:53 PM

    I'm pretty sure Upton Sinclair has the universal answer to this question... "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."

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  70. ohsopolite2:59 PM

    I am cloven in twain by this comment.

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  71. I have an idea for a film about a competent defense attorney who pleads out his guilty client.

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  72. Atrios3:04 PM

    less than perfect marriages and divorce are portrayed, but even if those characters aren't publicly flogged by Pastor Rod, something as lukewarm as, "yeah, well, sometimes people probably should get divorced" is rarely presented.

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  73. satch3:08 PM

    "But this is an inherently socially conservative message..."


    There she goes again, taking the goal of a stable, happy marriage (which I'm sure none of us would have a problem with), branding it as a "conservative" ideal, and conscripting it into her little culture war. Some months ago, Stephanie Miller had Ted Olsen on her show talking about the work he and David Boise were doing to promote marriage equality. Now, mind you, this is a good thing he's doing, but at one point, he came out with the main reason why conservatives should be in favor of same sex marriage: it was that "marriage is inherently conservative." Christ... even when cons like Olsen mean well, they just can't help themselves.

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  74. Of course, the underlying assumption that society takes its cues from Hollywood and not vice-versa tells us instantly that McMegan (and Brooks and Douthat and all the other moral scolds) don't have even a vague idea of how American society works.

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  75. I was thinking "The Pampered Politician."

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  76. chuckling3:16 PM

    It takes a rich fantasy life to believe that David Brooks has more in common with a kid from the projects or brought up in poverty in some rural hellhole than he does with people who make a living writing and producing television shows.

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  77. I had no idea. Thanks guys.

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  78. satch3:17 PM

    Megan really started on the Marriage Cures All Social Ills theme about the time SHE got married. Imagine how insufferable she'll become if she ever gets pregnant...

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  79. A rich fantasy life on the part of whom? Brooks, I assume, since in his fevered imagination, everyone making less than $25,000/year spends all their off time at home fucking on the couch.

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  80. Sure, Juno is for team abstinence but even so it demonstrates that a girl can get pregnant and have the baby and have no lifelong consequences. Plus, also, too the baby, in the end, is adopted by a single woman since the "couple" get divorced. As I look back on the movie I just shake my head at how easily fooled we all were into thinking that the movie was anything more than another HOllyweird anything goes type slut fest.

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  81. carolannie3:19 PM

    If you ask THE KIDS about Murphy Brown they would say "Who?" an that goes for DQ too

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  82. Can I stop by and admire this comment on your shelf? Can you put it on the coffee table so we can gaze at it while we sip cognac?

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  83. Hell--The Good Wife? I guess it was too brutally honest for Megan.

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  84. You give the MOTUs far more credit than they deserve. Most are idiot-savants: They're incredibly knowledgeable about some bit of business or finance, but complete freaking dolts about everything else.

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  85. This "marriage is inherently conservative" crap just really pisses me off--marriage is an ancient practice so its old. But modern marriage isn't conservative--that is following any of those traditional practices like "being arranged," "being permanent," "including the threat of honor killing," "eliminating the social identity or property rights of the woman," "creating a pater familias with the right of life or death," etc...etc...etc...And of course many marriages, even in ancient times, did not include one or more of these features. But modern American marriage really doesn't include any of these features so its inherenlty PROGRESSIVE. Indeed, the entire notion of love marriages arranged by the parties is progressive.

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  86. sharculese3:25 PM

    Bravo.

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  87. Real traditional Biblical marriage was polygamy, and the women involved with chattel. But I don't hear many outside the Mormons calling for THAT to come back.

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  88. Since his wife is leaving him and he's been pretty public about drunk dialing and tweeting her and his son I think "at home fucking on the couch" is looking pretty good to him right about now.

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  89. All of them self-inflicted.

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  90. I need to ruminate on this for a while. Maybe bring it back up and chew it over.

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  91. With his vast spaces for entertaining, he must be indulging in some of the most pathetic masturbation ever known in this universe.

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  92. Its kind of the revolution of lowering expectations. They are becoming more frantic to identify stuff as "on their side" but also becoming increasingly gloomy that anything is sufficiently forceful to change public perception. Maybe they should try some draconian new family laws, arrests, and beheadings?

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  93. Why the fuck was she a "bad role model" because she had a baby out of wedlock?


    Unless you're some sanctimonious fucktard moralist who's never bothered to observe the world around you, or a fucking idiot, or a conservative (but I repeat myself) why would anyone think this?


    As a child born out of wedlock I fucking bristle when I hear/see these sentiments. It makes me one very mad bastard.

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  94. bekabot3:45 PM

    "I'm saying that if Hollywood actually believed that married two-parent families were overwhelmingly optimal, that would naturally shape what they wrote, in a way that would in turn probably shape what Americans believe, and do."

    Well dear, if 5 seasons of Big Love weren't enough to satisfy you, I don't know what would turn the trick. There's no pleasing some people.

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  95. Chris Anderson3:46 PM

    "Maybe they could have had Katniss from the Hunger Games movies falter until a priest rushes in to marry her to some guy, like Popeye deriving strength from spinach."



    Katniss should draw strength of character from canned spinach. The futuristic dystopia she inhabits could plausibly feature cans of the stuff, whether ubiquitous or just plentiful enough to save the occasional day.


    Going forward, Popeye should draw strength from traditional marriage. If the Popeye franchise gets a reboot -- and I think it should, to capitalize on Robin Williams' tragic suicide -- he could appear in any setting or era. Free him from the spinach. Rewrite the theme song (my initial efforts are faltering) and adopt the more important cause. Declare a win. I myself eat spinach (fresh, never canned) with great frequency and I'm not the odd-man-out in doing so, I'd say.

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  96. Gromet3:57 PM

    It IS sad the kids of today can't even name this certifiably important national leader from America's recent past. But at least they've forgotten Quayle too.

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  97. It's worse than that. I remember the story line. She met an old flame who asked her to marry him, she said yes, they have sex, later she tells him she's pregnant and he's the father, he panics and leaves her a note saying he's not ready to be a father and took a foreign correspondence job half way around the world. Murphy has to decide whether to have an abortion or have the baby. She decides to have the baby because liberal Hollywood can never allow a woman character to choose to actually have an abortion.

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  98. I'll get right on it.

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  99. J Neo Marvin4:16 PM

    Stable marriage will not be televised!

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  100. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person4:23 PM

    Yaknow, Meg, thinking outside the box can be useful, even admirable. Thinking outside reality, maybe not so much...

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  101. I think the conservative freak-out over children being born out of wedlock is due entirely to the fact that we DON'T call such children bastards any more, nor do we send the mother off into isolation until after the child is born and adopted out. We've taken the shame and social stigma out of single parenthood, and that greatly pains the conservatives.

    Unable to get the rest of society to freak out, they have turned to making the economic life of single mothers as hideous as possible.

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  102. Hey! I don't much it like when the cat thinks outside the box. And I think Megan produces the same product as the cat, so let's keep here in the litter as much as possible.

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  103. Professor Fate4:31 PM

    Again the moral scolds and their horror with the poor doing the sex all the times - well when you don't have a lot isn't it only natural to turn to the home entertainment system that has been provided human beings by nature for a little comfort yes? Or is our Mr. Brooks proposing to shower the poors with x-boxes ?
    And this gibberish dates from at least the Victorian era.

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  104. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person4:33 PM

    I'm saying that if Hollywood actually believed...

    Hollywood who? Or is that a surname? Joe Hollywood from Detroit? Or maybe Frank Hollywood from Miami? When did this sillyness start? When as it decided that a city entire nationwide industry was a single hive mind (or ass), and marched in lockstep? And don't they realize that synchronized lockstepping by that may feet would knock the Earth out of its orbit?! Did that bridge in Manchester teach them nothing?

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  105. Gromet4:37 PM

    You are 100% right. But sometimes I wonder if all their shouting and flailing is prompted by something they feel but don't talk about, because they're not good at talking: single life can be weird and frightening and at points brings out the vain, desperate, and selfish in even decent people. It can feel a lot like you are swimming in Original Sin, unredeemed. And it's hard to know even what combination of your own worst juices you are stewing in -- if I just broke up with a girl, did I do it because I was stupidly arrogant, thinking I could "do better"? Or was I right because we didn't quite connect on some level important to me? Wait -- is that level a pretentious boatload of BS I should have abandoned years ago but I like my ruts and I'm emotionally stunted? Or was walking away from this relationship a sign of emotional maturity? Was it really a reaction to the previous relationship? Was it fear? Was it apathy? Am I just unrealistic about my own feelings?

    On some level, even arranged marriage would be welcome. "Just get me out of this, into something stable where I can get a fixed sense of who I am."

    Years ago, a girlfriend of mine (TMI alert) quickly pulled off the condom and then got right back on it, let's say with deft timing. Freaked out, the next night I went to my fancy big-city happy hour (as seen on TV) and told a friend, "My gf kidnapped my sperm. That was not a sane move. That is the kind of thing that makes her the last person I should have kids with." My friend, who was female and single and a lot more lefty socially conscious than me, said, "Oh, she is definitely insane, that's well established. But... was part of you relieved? Like, whew, my life is decided now?"

    Yes, I laughed. And the way she asked, I knew she'd had a moment or two like that in her life, too.

    So maybe that is what they are talking about. Marriage pulls you out of a set of concerns that are particularly anathema to conservatives, who like their reality very fixed.

    (My story has a happy ending. No one was pregnant and half a year later came the breakup.)

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  106. "i too laughed and laughed at mr. swift's witty pamphlet, but if you really think about it, his 'satire,' as they are calling it, makes a very conservative point."

    --1847 jonah goldberg

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  107. ColBatGuano4:43 PM

    I imagine a more cynical reasoning here. They know that Hollywood could never really produce enough "morally acceptable" content to satisfy them. There will always be some show they object to, thus always giving them the chance to say that economic forces aren't to blame, it's 's fault. There always has to be a way to avoid having their taxes go up.

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  108. ColBatGuano4:53 PM

    This is the thought I always have when I read these moral scolding articles. The cheapest entertainment available is a 12 pack of Busch Light and a quick screw in the back of the Ford.

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  109. You (I'm pretty sure it was) turned me on to Leverage, but evidently you saw it over the air; for if you had (as we did) rented the disks from Netflix, and listened to the commentaries (which you absolutely must do), you would have learned the word "showrunner" where I did, at John Rogers's knee and other low joints.

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  110. Well, this is complicated stuff. But the answers that our ancestors had only seem like they would be answers for us. Like it or not choice and freedom are very important to us even though too much choice can be as scary as too little. Our ancestors had to make a quick decision: this person or that person? from a very limited social network and within a very limited span of time (for men the period when they had enough money/assets/income to afford a wife and for women the period when they had either enough money or enough family prestige or fertility to merit a husband. And then people were stuck with that relationship although men were, as usual, free to have "add on" relationships or to define the marriage as they chose.


    We have the freedom to choose and that can feel like a terrible burden, and scary if the right person isn't coming along fast enough. Myself I didn't date at all until I was 30. Too shy. I put an ad in the paper, received 88 responses, dated 12 of those guys over a 2 week period, picked one to date seriously, had a five year relationship with him and married him. We are now celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary.


    As a friend said to me years ago: you marry the person you meet five minutes after you decide to get married, if its five minutes after they have decided to get married. I think modern people have lots of starter relationships but when you meet the person who is really right for you, if you are both looking for a serious relationship, it just becomes obvious what to do next. So I guess I think people just need to relax. Stay away from crazy people and just try to swim on the surface of the relationship until you find one that feels solid and permanent--that you can't do without.

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  111. Actually I did learn the term showrunner from Leverage (!) but I still think that such a person, though powerful in hollywood and real world terms, has to be respectful of reality (the actors, the plots, the costs, the market) in a way that David Brooks doesn't. I didn't mean that the showrunner was in a socially low status position. I just meant that they really work for their living and they experience constraints that David Brooks clearly doesn't experience--he's a well paid fantasist.

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  112. The real problem here is the invention of business machines (office jobs for women) the telephone (operator jobs for women) & the automobile (back seats).


    And people living in cities where they can meet (many) more interesting people than the clod-hoppers on the next farm over. Also, people living past 40 & not wanting to put up w/ that asshole another 20-30 yrs.


    I think we know what needs to eliminated from the culture. Back to the farm!11!!

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  113. Jaime Oria5:07 PM

    If we' re talking PP Pasolini and family values, then Teorema is yer go-to bit of cinema.

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  114. Be patient. It's only what those who can afford several wives deserve.

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  115. Jaime Oria5:14 PM

    OT but I'd be happy if a Popeye movie or TV show simply went back to the original material. For reasons I cannot rationally express, these 3 panel of his his very first appearance in Thimble Theatre cracks me the hell up -

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  116. Chris Anderson5:23 PM

    I can dig it ... at first, tho, I honestly misread panel one as "... dicking our crew" and panel three as "I think I'm a cowboy?"


    Popeye usually reminds me of my Swedish grandpa, but here he hardly looks human. It's a one-eyed shaved ape or some such.

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  117. Gromet5:28 PM

    Oh, to be clear, I'm not saying The Old Ways Are Best. Freedom is good. I just find the conservative conviction that marriage is best because of these external, good-of-society reasons doesn't ring true in my ear. No one feels a loving relationship the way McArdle et al advocate for it to be felt, e.g., "I didn't think marriage was better than being single, but by golly I crunched the numbers and it is!" I feel like their demand that we agree modern love is great because it's conservative must be satisfying something more felt, or suffered. And then I tried to guess what. I still haven't read your Authoritarians book.

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  118. Sweet Blood of Jesus, listen to this crap from Mrs. Suderman Monday, around (9:30): http://on.msnbc.com/1GNcrmh

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  119. Suttree5:41 PM

    I have a dream. And it is that Evander Holyfield doesn't pull his punches.

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  120. AlanInSF6:07 PM

    If only Hollywood would make a movie where a young man and a woman meet in some unusual way, are not initially attracted to each other yet over time find themselves enjoying their time together, and then they think they're in love but something happens that seems to throw them off track, but it all turns out okay and they get heterosexually monogamously married and are happy.

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  121. montag26:13 PM

    "50 Shades of White"

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  122. Plus it's generally mud people who birth these babies. When Mopsy gets knocked up she goes to "summer camp" and comes home with her hymen intact.


    Did I mention the hypocrisy of these assholes makes me upset as well?

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  123. Smurch6:18 PM

    Maude had an abortion.

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  124. As someone who can tell you, Keystone, Miluakee's Best and Icehouse are all cheaper than Busch Light. Natural Light is, too.

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  125. Suttree6:32 PM

    Maybe it's meep meep and the roadrunner is laughing at McArdle as she falls down the canyon of stupid.

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  126. montag26:33 PM

    I'm fast coming to the conclusion that culture war opinion pieces are the default fallback when any right-wing idiot can't think of anything else to write about, in part because they're just sooo easy to do. Attack "Hollywood" and the shoddy morals of the poor (no examples necessary--everyone knows what you mean), elide the real facts of the matter, say or imply that the answer is to convince "Hollywood" to crank out some wholesome propaganda for the cause, and, voila!, a column.

    I imagine emails circulating beforehand: "I'm bored, the ennui in Washington is suffocating, my Cuisinart is broken. Do something, Brooksie. Write one of your patented plaintive whines about the "culture," and maybe it will generate enough interest so that we can all carpetbag off of it for a couple of weeks. Maybe by then my digital mole' maker from Yucatan will have arrived, and I'll have something to write about."

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  127. ColBatGuano6:43 PM

    It's been awhile since I've perused the cheap beer section, obviously.

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  128. montag26:46 PM

    Umm, if one makes the small equation of "stability" with "endurance," I nominate "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf."

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  129. Suttree6:48 PM

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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  130. Suttree6:54 PM

    And healthy eating and drinking more water instead of soda. Ahh forget it, a black woman would be the protagonist.

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  131. Craziest low price I've seen here in New Boston is at Pap's drive-thru -- 24oz. cans of Icehouse for $0.99.

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  132. They gave her the job because she is so stupid and impervious to facts.

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  133. If they really thought marriage was delightful they would be wondering why people don't voluntarily enter into it. Nobody has to argue that people should enjoy something that is enjoyable. They actually believe most people are either unsuited for it, would hate it, did hate it, or don't deserve it. They act like marriage, like religion, isn't the opiate of the masses but rather an unpleasant medicine that should be forced down the masses's throats for the good of society.


    And all their "for the sake of the children" crap is double plus absurd. Because look at their rage that unmarried and poor people have children at all? [White/healthy] children are a luxury good to Megan McCardle's type--poor people shouldn't have them and definitely shouldn't be happy to have them when Megan can't or, if she did,when it would cost her so much money to raise her child in the class position it deserves.

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  134. That also is true. It's quite possible they really think ArgleBargle is smart. Nah.

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  135. I'd like to cut out and frame some of the prints this comment has and place them negligently on my bookcase shelves.

    ReplyDelete
  136. A mind is a terrible thing to lose.

    ReplyDelete
  137. if we accept that Murphy Brown was a "bad role model" because she had a baby out of wedlock then we should be equally disdainful of Bristol Palin, right?

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  138. A character in a BBC police series had an abortion, but then she had to investigate a nasty child-murder. I guess they showed her!

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  139. Howabout "You Lie!" or "They Lie!"

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  140. Mr. Wonderful7:23 PM

    American society? They don't have a vague idea of how watching TV works. And the idea that "Hollywood" can get together and agree on anything other than the First (And Only) Commandment--"Thou shalt make money"--is dumbfounding in its being rilly, rilly stoopid.

    Then again, as Susan of Texas never tires of reminding us (or at least never seems to tire of it), remember that our Megan was the one who suggested that grade-school kids be taught to rush their gun-brandishing murders. True, sensible Megan sighed that the idea was arguably impractical. But still...

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  141. Arglebargle doesn't know how to make stew, or a cake, or spaghetti. How could she possibly understand entertainment industry economics?

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  142. Downpup E7:46 PM

    The roadrunner DOES NOT SAY MEEP!!!!!!!!

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  143. "Mom goes to Washington". A simple farm-mom takes a vacation from baking pies and castrating pigs to become a legislator.

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  144. But I don't hear many outside the Mormons calling for THAT to come back.I'd have you Google "quiverfull" and "purity ball," but (1) you're probably already familiar with them, and (2) Googling would probably run afoul of whatever the opposite of Rule 34 is. But there's definitely been an uptick in the "man as head of the household, owner of the wimminfolk as Gawd intended" psychopathy. Hell, aren't those deranged self-righteous theocratic dumbshits with the clown-car vagina mama on television right now? "38 Ain't Enough" or whatever? Maybe that's the sort of wholesome example McMegan is referring to. In which case, she and Petey had better get crackin'.

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  145. Suttree8:04 PM

    Hmeep, hmeep. Let's meet in the middle.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beep,_beep_(sound)

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  146. M. Krebs8:29 PM

    Hey, that gives me a great idea for a TV show! But, goddammit, Alvy Moore, Frank Cady, and Pat Buttram are dead.

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  147. billcinsd8:35 PM

    the two topics she focuses all her thinking on

    she married Suderman and eats the food she buys/makes, what more do you want.

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  148. M. Krebs8:38 PM

    https://youtu.be/92kDUiN1zLQ

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  149. billcinsd8:38 PM

    so are Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor

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  150. M. Krebs8:47 PM

    God damn. I've always wondered what was on cable channels 673–847.

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  151. M. Krebs8:57 PM

    Wait what really?

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  152. M. Krebs9:08 PM

    That movie should never have been directed by Altman. Looking back at the hot directors of 1980, I'm thinking either Harold Ramis or David Lynch. (How's that for variety?) Sure, they were otherwise busy, but Popeye could have waited a year or two, or three, or ten.

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  153. M. Krebs9:11 PM

    Yeah, but they're not essential.

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  154. M. Krebs9:13 PM

    Wouldn't it be nice if Meghan were forced to choose between living in Hollywood CA and Hollywood FL?

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  155. mortimer20009:22 PM

    It's not only money and better policy that are missing in these circles; it's norms. The health of society is primarily determined by the habits and virtues of its citizens. Says David Brooks, divorced father of 3.

    The advantages that two people raising their own biological or jointly adopted children have over "nontraditional" family arrangements are too obvious to need enumeration... Says Megan McArdle, recently married 42 year-old mother of none.

    Megan also says: ...even in a social democratic paradise such as Sweden, kids raised in single-parent households do worse than kids raised with both their parents in the home.

    Fun fact: 53% of single mothers in the United States live below the poverty line, compared with only 8% in the Netherlands and 6% in Sweden.

    Not to mention: Here, affluent women are more likely to be able to stay at home to care for children, and even single mothers who are affluent have greater access to paid maternity leave. Etc. Etc. Etc.

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  156. M. Krebs9:26 PM

    A year or two ago something caused me to read something about the great bassist Ron Carter, and I learned that he played on GS-H's Pieces of a Man record and that it was the only record on which Carter ever played electric bass. So I had to remedy that gapping hole in my music collection. Everyone should do the same.

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  157. Smarter than Your Average Bear9:47 PM

    By all means the Hollywood TV and Film industry should do this if Hollywood actually believed that married two-parent families were overwhelmingly optimal, that would naturally shape what they wrote, in a way that would in turn probably shape what Americans believe, and do. showing 50%+ marriage breakups, spousal abuse and murder, child abuse - these will truly shape what Americans believe. That getting married is one of the riskiest things you can do these days except be black and walk/drive in public.

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  158. Katniss/Popeye mashup, DO NOT WANT

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  159. Downpup E9:49 PM

    Awesome! That is oldest plot in movies. Here is too much money!

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  160. Jaime Oria10:00 PM

    The "short guy" is Castor Oyl, Olive's brother, around whom, believe it or not, much of the pre-Popeye Thimble Theatre storylines revolved around. His pet is Bernice the Whiffle Bird - "a mysterious bird given to Castor by his uncle Lubry Kent, Bernice dodged Castor's every attempt to rid himself of her, having grown attached to her master. He then found out about her true powers: she would grant luck to anyone who rubbed her feathers. So Castor set sail to Dice Island, where a legendary casino stood, meeting and hiring Popeye to man the ship he bought."

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  161. beejeez10:01 PM

    That was the '70s, a more enlightened time period.

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  162. Yes. I could not have made that up.

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  163. billcinsd10:06 PM

    everybody knows green acres is the place to be

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  164. AGoodQuestion10:07 PM

    And there is nearly as much social distance between David Brooks and your average Hollywood show runner as there is between David Brooks and the kids whose lives he wants to change.


    I don't think we can fairly judge the social distance between Brooks and whoever this average showrunner is until we've gotten input from their respective ex-wives and the lawyers of same.

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  165. AGoodQuestion10:11 PM

    As for Lisa, half the conservatives in America want to take a contract out on her.

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  166. I'm beginning to feel buffaloed by this discussion.....

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  167. At least "Eb" is still w/ us:
    Tom Lester is 75 years old and co-stars with Ray Stevens and me in the movie, “Campin’ Buddies” that we’re shooting this month in Louisiana. Tom’s gentle, loving spirit touches everyone on the set. He shares funny Hollywood stories about playing “Eb” on the Number One Show in America in the 60’s and 70’s, and he also shares his faith in Jesus Christ. He prays with people on the set. He is always positive and is a joy to be around. I had never seen Green Acres, since I grew up in a Baptist home where my Dad didn’t allow a TV. Dad thought “Love American Style” and “The Love Boat” promoted fornication and adultery. Dad wanted to protect my innocence. So, I just now looked up Green Acres on Youtube! Good show!
    Read more at http://victoriajackson.com/11162/tom-lesters-green-acres-testimony

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  168. beejeez10:19 PM

    ... but then Harry Nilsson woulda been gone.

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  169. AGoodQuestion10:23 PM

    I think we know what needs to eliminated from the culture. Back to the farm!11!!
    I look forward to the scads of conservative columnists grudgingly admitting that Pol Pot fellow wasn't wrong about everything.

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  170. AGoodQuestion10:25 PM

    No way am I hitting that link but, wow.

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  171. AGoodQuestion10:34 PM

    I can vouch for the accuracy of your recap. So I guess we can assume that if Murphy'd had the abortion, Dan Quayle and his fellow culture warriors would be praising her for being responsible.


    What?

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  172. Chris Anderson10:48 PM

    Yeah and what if Robin Williams had become unavailable? Maybe he drove it, somehow, and while I'm still not sure why he was the Popeye, I couldn't tell you who woulda done better at the time.


    Nilsson sounds like a downer but I do love his art.

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  173. Chris Anderson10:54 PM

    Oh sure, but how the fuck else (I ask you) are we gonna get these post-millennial kids to eat their spinach. Again, I eat spinach now, due to Popeye, and I wasn't even a big fan like Jaime Oria, who hasn't even gone on the record re: spinach.

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  174. Didn't go past the first paragraph myself.

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  175. Chris Anderson10:57 PM

    I'd give you more than one up-vote, if possible, for teaching me. I seem to recall learning all this at an art exhibition that also featured The Rarebit Fiend and some other really mind-bending comics of the era. Was it in Los Angeles, I think? The Hammer?

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  176. AGoodQuestion11:05 PM

    Oh, I'm sure Beaker is laughing at her too.

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  177. So, how are the poor supposed to afford movie tickets and televisions, when we all know that the sign of really being poor is not having a refrigerator?

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  178. There was a huge comics thing at MOCA (in L.A.) not long after it opened sometime in the '80s. That it?

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  179. AGoodQuestion11:16 PM

    I dunno. Altman was pretty damn faithful to the source. Which is probably why it wasn't a hit.

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  180. Tehanu11:29 PM

    She's already insufferable. It's the kid(s) I feel sorry for.

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  181. Tehanu11:31 PM

    Not enough upvotes available for this, mortimer. If I could I'd add a bunch more.

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  182. PersonaAuGratin11:54 PM

    Does she mention how the thugs at CBS carried out Gil Scott-Heron's (RIP'd above) fatwa against Green Acres?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_purge#Instigation

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  183. YNWA4051512:08 AM

    But Bristol wasn't on TV . . er, wait. Well, she wasn't on TV for long, anyway.

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  184. Magatha12:28 AM

    Since there is some TMI-ing in the vicinity...I've never been married. I've never even imagined being married. I remember when I was about nine or ten, a married couple moved into a house on our street, which was teeming with all of us baby boomers, but this couple didn't have children.

    We kids thought that was odd, but just in a "Hey, where's the kids?" kind of way. But I remember some parental chat about maybe it was a sad thing, this poor husband and wife who Couldn't Have Children.

    You know the other thing I thought? And I remember this so clearly - I can recall their house at the end of our dead-end street, then the meadow, then the train tracks - I thought, whoa, there are no kids there, and there are going to be no kids from me either, because this stops here.

    There was no grotesque mayhem or physical abuse in my family; there's no depraved television show to be made of it. But I've never married and I don't have kids, and I think it's just because I'm one of those people who does expect the Spanish Inquisition.

    I do like people, though, some of them quite a lot. And I adore children, dogs, and cats. I mean, I'm not evil.

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  185. Magatha12:33 AM

    I call sheepnanigans.

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  186. Magatha12:47 AM

    Hee. I remember Murphy's mom asking her "Do you know who the father is?" and Murphy snaps back, "Of course not, mother, I never look at their faces".

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  187. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person1:17 AM

    Both McArdle and Brooks start by having you assume that the economy has no effect on the state of the family.


    The Life of Riley would have been a very different show if Chester had gotten downsizedat Cunningham Aircraft, and hired back as a janitor, and had to take a 2nd job flipping burgers, while Babs took in washing...

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  188. Made me wonder when that episode aired, as far as Roe v. Wade, & later abortion being used to get evangelicals & fundamentalists to participate in reactionary politics.

    Pre-Roe v. Wade by a couple of monthsit turns out. Maude`s Abortion Fades Into History

    The Tv Networks Can Ill Afford To Make Such A Choice Today


    [...]

    The first showing of ``Maude`s Dilemma`` was carried by all but two of CBS` nearly 200 affiliates, and attracted nearly 7,000 letters of protest. By the time the shows were repeated, in August 1973, a campaign against them had been organized by the United States Catholic Conference.

    The reruns were broadcast, but nearly 40 affiliates chose not to air them, not one corporate sponsor bought commercial time, and CBS received more than 17,000 letters of protest.P.S.: Story is 22+ yrs. old. Keep right on bitchin', righties.

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  189. Jon Hendry3:17 AM

    "in episodic television, the showrunner outranks the director."


    Likely because different episodes may have different directors. (Agents of Shield has 44 episodes so far, and 17 people who have directed episodes.) Thus the show runner sits above it all, maintaining a cohesive whole. Or trying to, anyway.

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  190. Jon Hendry3:18 AM

    For example, the show runner of 'Community', Dan Harmon, was booted temporarily.

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  191. MichaelNewsham3:43 AM

    And rarely succeeding, if you're a fan of The Walking Dead

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  192. MichaelNewsham3:47 AM

    I like the guy in McCardle's comments who, after complaining about welfare-dependency and parasites, goes off on how Hollywood would be too dumb to read Putnam's book, apparently being too dumb to read Putnam's book.

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  193. BadExampleMan3:55 AM

    Not to mention that scene where Allison Janney tells off the ultrasound tech, which for my money is the emotional core of the movie. I suppose McArgle wants the payoff to be another scene where Janney is diagnosed with terminal ladyparts cancer by the same ultrasound tech!!! Irony!

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  194. Jon Hendry4:05 AM

    So what morals-destroying Hollywood filth did Brooks' spouse watch that caused his divorce?

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  195. Lancelot Link6:34 AM

    It just so happens that my cousin is a Hollywood TV executive; he's been married for about 15 years to a scriptwriter, and they have several children.
    Meagain can kiss my hairy tuchus.

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  196. Apologies for TMI'ing all over the thread. I know you are not evil because your comments are always fantastic. Despite the sentimental tone of my comments in re modern pair bonding I really don't think everyone should pair off, get married, or have children. Not because they are weird and evil but because, mercifully, these days people get to choose to live the way they want and with whom they want to do it.

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  197. The first day or two of a game of Monopoly is usually filled with interest, potential and maybe even excitement for all the players, but it always ends in boredom, disappointment, and maybe resentment--except for the one player who owns everything and starts making "deals" to keep the game going longer.

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