Friday, September 22, 2023


Dig these crazy beats!

Those of us in the Northeast are feeling autumn if not autumnal. Maybe because of my somewhat recent change of address the weather shift is not exciting thoughts of death and diminution so much as curiosity – like, how will cooler weather change the pace of life in the neighborhood, and will the boiler still work? 

But whatever the season, Roy Edroso Breaks It Down goes on, five days a week, and Friday means freebies for the joy-poppers. (Get a subscription, ya cheap bastids, it lasts longer.) 

First up is one about the recent revival of the conservative “Marriage Makes You Rich” routine – you know, the idea that you don’t have to give impoverished Americans any money or job programs, you just run them through the chapel and presto, their earnings jump!   

The MacGuffin in this case is some think-tanker’s book, but I believe the wingnuts have jumped on it hard for a couple of reasons, which you’ll learn if you read the thing. Sadly I wrote it before Megan McArdle offered her contribution, which is predictably hilair:

Yet it feels nearly impossible to say “[single parenthood] is a very bad thing” as frankly — and as often — as we’ll need to if we’re going to address this critical issue, both because the first step to fix any problem is admitting we have one, and because saying “that’s bad, actually” is one of the ways that we remove risky behaviors from our cultural script.

Of course McArdle and her fellow scolds have been nagging single parents for decades, and even running marriage promotion scams based on their nagging, without moving the needle. In fact, McArdle seems to think if anything she’s been too inhibited by her fellow-feeling for single moms to nag effectively:

Yet even those of us on the center-right who privately tell pollsters that marriage is important might be reluctant to say so forthrightly in public... I cannot get through even half a sentence without an overwhelming urge to load it down with caveats, for example, that no one should ever stay with an abusive partner for the sake of the children.

So the temptation is to talk about something else, to play down the facts or, at least, sugarcoat them.

Oh, be brave, Megan! Go through the poor neighborhoods with a sound truck crying MARRIAGE MAKES YOU RICH, YOU STUPID PAUPERS!  Remember, it’s for their own good.

Even funnier in its tweetstorm version, in which McArdle answers critics who say we should help working people get jobs that can support a family first (she’s “skeptical of the power of policy change on its own,” lol) so now it’s all up to nagging and she’s tired of doing it all alone, dammit, and wants “public intellectuals” and Hollywood to help:

I’m trying to remember what the last real “marriage sux” show on TV was… “Married… With Children,” maybe? Well, now that Murdoch has left Fox, maybe at last we can get some real conservative pro-marriage programming in there! 

The other freebie, inspired by the news that Marjorie Taylor Greene is working on a book about Marjorie Taylor Greene, is an exclusive look at the book’s preface. It’s a shoo-in for a Puke-lister Prize! 

UPDATE: Rebecca Traister:

It’s not just the think-tank-economist-columnist class prescribing the marriage cure. It’s also hard-right commentators and politicians pushing policies aimed to re-center (hetero) marriage as the organizing- principle of American family life by reversing the progress — from legal abortion to affirmative action to no-fault divorce — that has enabled women to have economic and social stability independent of marriage.


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