Monday, February 16, 2009

Manufactured Scandals...

The thing I like most about the National Review's "The Corner" blog is that when you're scratching your head, searching in vain for a good story to write up, all you've got to do is pop on over to "The Corner" and you're bound to find a convenient treasure trove of lies and other such misleading bullshit just waiting to be debunked.

So it was in perusing "The Corner" that I stumbled across the following post by Kathleen Jean Parker who's basically insane, but no more so than your average Cornerite.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Momma Mia!: The Case of Candace Parker [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

A married 22-year-old is subject to scorn for embracing motherhood.

Oh my, a married 22 year old scorned for embracing motherhood?!?!?! What's the world coming to when a married, adult woman isn't allowed to have children any more? Is this Gattaca or something? Have we as a society suddenly awakened into Logan's Run? So I hurriedly clicked the link to the article that Lopez had so helpfully brought to my attention, and devoured the following article by a little known conservative pundit named Colleeen Carrol Cambpbell. It was all about Candace Parker, a WNBA star at the top of her game who is taking some time off to become a mother, and encountering fierce resistance as a result:

...Parker's pregnancy was not greeted with the same approval and tolerance that many of today's child-bearing sexagenarians and single mothers by choice enjoy when they form their families. Instead, Parker was blasted by fans and pundits for becoming a mother at age 22. Critics bemoaned her selfishness in putting maternal ambitions ahead of her team's 2009 season prospects. Others lamented her foolishness for starting a family when she should be living a strings-free existence oriented around her glamorous career.

Not long ago, a 22-year-old woman was considered plenty old enough to marry and bear children. But in today's era of prolonged adolescence and commitment phobia, high-achieving women like Parker often face ridicule and scorn for defying the feminist conventional wisdom that marriage and motherhood are second-rate pursuits best delayed until middle age. Young mothers frequently are accused of forfeiting a hard-won feminist privilege: the right to spend their 20s single-mindedly pursuing sexual license, success and self-fulfillment without the hassles of a husband and children.
Now, I knew pretty much immediately that what I was reading was bullshit. How did I know? Well, years of listening to right-wing crusaders on radio and TV has trained me to spot the subtle signs. Let me give you an example. When a right-wing blowhard screams at the top of his lungs that there's this young woman who's BEING PERSECUTED BY FEMINIST MONSTERS FOR REFUSING TO ABORT HER 8 1/2 MONTH OLD BABY, and yet this same blowhard conveniently omits any information that might allow us to identify the feminist monsters in question... well, that's a pretty good indication that what you're hearing is bullshit.

And this article followed the same pattern. You'll notice that Campbell never identifies the fans and pundits who savaged Parker for wanting a baby at 22, not once. She just wants us to take her on her word that this happened... that the RADICAL FEMINISTS want Parker's head on a platter alongside that of her baby.

So I ran a Google search, to see if I could dig up some of those nasty articles Campbell alludes to. Now, it's really, really, really difficult to prove a negative. You've basically got to hunt down every word ever written about Parker and ensure that it's not a criticism of the type Campbell is claiming. I didn't do that. And of course, ensuring that no such article exists is far easier than polling every Parker fan to ensure that none of them despises her for setting aside her career to have a child. So I didn't do that either. What I did do instead was read a few articles that were written about Parker and see what the tone was like. And would you know it... even those articles that appeared in the scandalously liberal New York Times and outright communistic Los Angeles Times were unapologetically supportive of Parker's decision. Here's The New York Times:

W.N.B.A. Commissioner Donna Orender said her initial reaction to Parker’s pregnancy was a quiet sigh of resignation. Then she thought of all the women in the more traditional workplace struggling with the issue of when or if to start a family, and she realized that Parker’s pregnancy provided a perfect modeling moment.

“Here she is, front and center, and people are discussing the timing of her reproductive life,” Orender said Friday in a telephone interview. “That’s a very public discussion that hasn’t happened before. I do think that’s a good thing for women who go through these issues often in silence or alone.”

She added, “Candace can be a very usable symbol of how you can have a family and a career.”

Women who cannot imagine dunking a basketball can relate to being tugged by the seemingly competing dreams of pursuing a family and a career.
Oh, the nerve of those New York Times people, exploring the issue of career and motherhood in all its manifold dimensions, while ending their piece on a decidedly supportive note! And here's the L.A. Times:
For someone who's just 22, Candace Parker of the L.A. Sparks pro basketball team has been collecting accolades at a furious pace. College national championship? Check. Olympic gold medal? Check. League MVP and rookie of the year in the same WNBA season? Double-check.

What worlds are left to conquer? Perhaps Madison Avenue. On Sunday, Adidas is rolling out a massive ad campaign and contest with the 6-foot-4 Parker as point person. It's called "Me, Myself," and unless you live in a cave, you'll soon be hearing all the details on how to take part.

There's one more project worth mentioning: Parker and husband Shelden Williams (of the NBA's Sacramento Kings) will soon welcome their first child into the world, or more specifically, Marina del Rey. That kid's going to be some ballplayer.
Oooh, the censure is driving me mad! And the Chicago Daily Herlad opines:

Fortunately for Parker, she's in a business in which it is possible for her to dictate her own success and advancement, whether she's a mother or not.

That's the way it should be for all of us.

But until society stops penalizing women for a part of biology we can't control, or for making choices about parenthood that a man can make without thinking twice, this country isn't nearly as progressive as we think it is.

And so it goes, on and on from baby-hating Feminisocialist pundit to pundit. The simple truth is that Parker's decision was reviled mostly in the fervid imagination of right-wing pundits. I can't say that no editorial was ever published chiding Parker for her decision or that no fan ever grew upset as a result. But the tone of most major media coverage is one of supportive understanding for the special challenges that a working mother faces in balancing family and career.

So the right-wing pundits are manufacturing a scandal out of whole cloth? Well isn't that a suprise... again.

1 comment:

zencycle said...

Simply the politics of distraction...yet again.