We’ve been running a forum in the Mailbag on male-bashing: specifically, whether it’s male-bashing to use the words “male animal” to describe the opposite sex in our species or to say that women have a civilizing effect on men. Our board member at the IWF, the best-selling author Christina Hoff Sommers, said both in a recent lecture at American University. I myself added that the attack on U.S. civilians in Fallujah looked like an all-male operation, so there might be something to what Christina said. I also commented that many men’s rights advocates seemed to be disgruntled divorced fathers complaining about having to pay child support–and since I believe that fathers should support their children, I couldn’t feel much sympathy with the plight of these men.
Them’s fightin’ words to a lot of guys, and the ‘Bag hasn’t heard the end of it from male readers, plus a female or two. (See our Mailbags for April 1, April 5, April 6, and April 8.) But here’s a guy who likes us, who really, really likes us! It’s reader G.A., who e-mails:
“I’m a single dad myself. Luckily, I have a good working relationship with my ex (She and I and our daughters went together to Sea World yesterday and amicably split the cost 50-50). I have always paid the agreed child support, on time, no argument. Any father who fails to support his children will get no sympathy from me. However, there are a number of cases where the mother has alleged paternity of the children, and the court has ordered the alleged father to make payment even after DNA testing has proved otherwise. In such cases, I support any and all efforts by the alleged father to avoid payment.”
Fair enough: if you’re not the father, you’re not the father. I do wonder, however, about men who’ve been playing the good dad until the divorce–when they suddenly claim that Junior is someone else’s Junior. In the old days–and I think it’s still the rule in many states–all children born during the course of a lawful marriage were conclusively presumed to be the children of the husband. No, ifs, ands, buts, or DNA tests. This was good for the children, who were assured that the No. 1 man in their lives wouldn’t suddenly back off from them. The converse was that a child born out of wedlock was deemed filius nullius, nobody’s child, unless its father stepped forward voluntarily to claim paternity. That law sometimes worked harshly, but it stemmed from cultural expectations that family stability was paramount, and that out-of-wedlock births should be firmly discouraged. Not such bad expectations.
At any rate, any more thoughts on male-bashing? E-mail us, guys and gals.
Next, the Great White North.
Yesterday a reader e-mailed to congratulate The Other Charlotte for denouncing over-the-hill cartoonist Garry Trudeau for his racist, sexist April 7 “Doonesbury” strip that had President George W. Bush addressing National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice as “Brown Sugar” (See Condi Week, April 8). A delighted TOC promptly posted the e-mail (See “Spin Brother” Garry Trudeau’s Insult: An InkWell Reader Responds, April 8).
Problem was, the writer had mistakenly referred to Garry Trudeau as a “Canadian,” evidently confusing him with Pierre Trudeau. We’ve since been flooded with e-mails of protest, and TOC has already posted one of them that set the record straight with a bio of Trudeau, who was born in New York City (See O Canada!, April 8). We agree with the e-mailers: We owe Canada an apology. We often get irritated ourselves with the PC menace lurking on our northern border, but accusing Canada of spawning the chronically unfunny Garry Trudeau? That’s going too far. Anyway: Readers, back off! We know we made a mistake, and we’re sorry.
Meanwhile, here are some more e-mails congratulating TOC for her well-deserved rebuke of Trudeau.
“I was horrified when I saw the Doonesbury cartoon. I thought it was very racial, and I thought I would hear outrage especially from the Black Caucus. What gives? Anyone who is a Democrat can say and do anything without impunity? Forget the woman thing, as an American I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Shame on everyone’s silence.”
“If that is the only thing you find offensive in Doonesberry, then you are truly lost. The Dems tried to lynch Dr. Rice yesterday… and where was the outrage???….That ‘cartoon’ is pure hate speech most days. So much for lib compassion.”
We agree. For some reason it is quite acceptable for our liberal elite, especially in the cartoon world, to speculate openly about the sex life of Condoleezza Rice in a way that they would deem intolerable if she were another liberal. Over the past year, the crudest sort of gutter insults have been leveled at Rice by the likes of Trudeau, Ted Rall, and “Boondocks” creator Aaron McGruder. (McGruder also called Rice a “murderer” on several occasions on national television.) Liberals find this sort of thing screamingly funny, although they got into quite the huff when some conservatives tried it on Hillary Clinton.
For the record, I think Condi Rice is magnificent: beautiful, elegant, brilliant (she’s a former Stanford professor), and tough as nails. Even Tom Shales, the WaPo’s sarcastic television critic, agrees that she pulled it off marvelously at yesterday’s 9/ll hearing. Shales writes today:
“Indeed, the national security adviser did so well and seemed so firmly in command of the situation yesterday, when she testified under oath before the 9/11 commission, that one had to wonder why the White House spent so much time and energy trying to keep her from having to appear.”
The answer to that, of course, is: Why should she have had to appear? She’s got better things to do. I vote for Condi as our first woman president. And our first African-American president.