The Corner

Re re re: Bad Jokes

Kathryn, Michael, since we must tread this grim path, my problem with the Aspirin gag and subsequent apology is that it wasn’t so much a joke as a bit of ancient folk wisdom – a bit like the old line that the second child takes nine months but the first takes whatever God wills, as they used to say when picking out the gift for the September baby of March newlyweds. These are lines about societal views of sex, and, while they’re certainly “antiquated” (in Michael’s word), the response to Mr Friess suggests an attempt to criminalize not the gag so much as the attitude underlying it. As the Hyacinth Girl writes:

I’ve been listening to the coverage of Santorum’s big donor’s Aspirin statement. Since when has it been controversial to suggest that women used to value chastity..? It just isn’t a big deal that Foster Friess makes a reference to the days when sexual promiscuity wasn’t celebrated or considered inevitable.

Ah, but it is a big deal to the ideological warriors of “Liberation”. The Pundette comments:

Once upon a time society understood that if a young lady didn’t care to risk conceiving a child, she could choose to refrain from the activity that caused it. In a thousand ways, the culture supported her in that choice. Now the Obama administration hopes to install “free love” as a permanent state-sponsored entitlement.

Her post is worth reading in full, especially the excerpt from a New York Times story that happens to confirm the thesis of Charles Murray’s new book, “For Women Under 30 Most Births Occur Outside Marriage“:’

Amber Strader, 27, was in an on-and-off relationship with a clerk at Sears a few years ago when she found herself pregnant. A former nursing student who now tends bar, Ms. Strader said her boyfriend was so dependent that she had to buy his cigarettes. Marrying him never entered her mind. “It was like living with another kid,” she said.

When a second child, with a new boyfriend, followed three years later — her birth control failed, she said — her boyfriend, a part-time house painter, was reluctant to wed.

If, as I do, you live in the country, you have dozens of neighbors like Miss Strader – nice high-school girls who babysit your kids; you lose touch, they move to the next town, and you bump into them a couple of years later doing the late shift at the diner or the general store; they’re 23 or 24, with three kids by three different guys. And they’re still nice, and still kinda pretty, if aged beyond their years. But life and its opportunities are fled. If you’re Britney Spears and you wake up after an almighty bender next to some guy you’d rather not face the grey morning after with, there are high-priced lawyers and managers and minders to make all the bad stuff go away. If you’re Britney at the KwikkiKrap, it’s not so easy. “Free love” is free in the same sense all those government programs funded by Chinese debt are.

This is a legitimate subject for debate – especially when Obama’s Leviathan has chosen one side in the debate, and is funding it lavishly. It’s very difficult to have a functioning economy with dysfunctional human capital – that’s as true for America as it is for Greece. A country in which Foster Friess’ line rouses more concern than that New York Times headline is not one you’d want to bet on.

Meanwhile, over in London, The Daily Mail has a bleak little interview with Christine Keeler, a player in Britain’s most famous sex scandal. I met Miss Keeler once, and wrote about her here. She puts it this way:

‘All that Swinging Sixties. It didn’t do anyone any good, did it?

‘Easy sex and the Pill. Marriages were ruined. I never did approve. I never really enjoyed the sex.’

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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