Two of the best pieces of writing I’ve seen this this week are snarky, sneering specimens of High Mockery from writers I much admire, Sara Robinson and Amanda Marcotte.
First, Robinson’s piece for Alternet, Ayn Rand Worshippers Should Face Facts: Blue States Are the Providers, Red States Are the Parasites, is an absolute must read. In it, she puts on the hat of an Ayn-Rand-spouting-libertarian-economic conservative, and ingeniously proceeds to eviscerate them with their own cudgels. A few snippets:
After all: it’s now a stone fact that the blue states and cities are the country’s real wealth creators. That’s why we pay more taxes, and are able to send that money to the red states in the first place.
If you’re a conservative who thinks Ayn Rand called it true with this producers/parasites thing, then by all means: let’s go there. All the way there — and then some. But fair warning is in order: you may not like where we end up.
By way of a modest proposal, I hereby declare the birth of a new Progressive Objectivism — a frankly producerist personal-responsibility crusade aimed at getting these whiny red leeches off our collective blue hide. If they think they can get by without us, let’s not stand in their way. What these people need from us, at minimum, is some tough talk — the kind of stern, grown-up verbal whoop-ass the conservatives wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to unload on us if the roles were reversed.
The time has come for blue America to go Galt. Our farewell rant — long and epic, as Rand’s turgid writing style would have required — might sound a bit like this:
First off, dear Red Staters: If your town’s economy depends on a nearby dam, canal, harbor, airport, military base, interstate highway, national park or monument, or prison, just STFU. Because you are, in every way possible, a parasite, living off something the rest of us paid to build.
Second: If you are a homeowner who takes a mortgage interest deduction — which is how the rest of us subsidize your house, and with it your status in the middle-class — we don’t want to hear another word from you about how you made it all on your own…
Third: Don’t come crawling to us to support those kids you couldn’t afford to have, but refused to allow contraception or abortions or actual fact-based sex education to prevent. It’s just that simple. Our blue-state babies are better off in every way that matters because we plan our families. A failure to plan on your part does not create an obligation on ours. Your policies force women to have kids, even when they’re patently not ready to have them. Now (as you’re so fond of telling women who find themselves unhappily pregnant), you get to live with the consequences of those choices.
And she’s just getting started. Go read the whole thing: it’s every bit as biting as it is brilliant.
Finally, Amanda Marcotte just did a piece for Reuters entitled A Sex Ed 101 curriculum for conservatives. The premise itself is absurd of course, because social conservatives know everything about everything especially about sex and especially that YOU shouldn’t be having it unless you’re married and even then only to make babies and it’s still disgusting and wrong anyway. But if we suspend our disbelief for a minute, pretend that they could actually learn something and just play along, Marcotte’s suggested curriculum would be spot on:
Intercourse 101: It Takes Two to Tango.
…In this first section of the remedial sex education course, we will discuss this sexual double standard: When having sex, men are behaving well and women behaving badly. The midterm will be an essay on the following prompt: “If women are supposed to say no to sex, whom do you propose straight men sleep with?”
Premarital Sex 101: A Quantitative Look.
…Contrary to students’ expectations, there is no high-level math prerequisite for this course. The statistics involved are relatively straightforward. Students will learn that 95 percent of Americans have premarital sex and have done so for decades without bringing ruin to the nation.
The Pill 101: A Scientific Look.
… Students in our remedial sex ed course will take their time learning about hormonal contraception. They will learn that women on the pill must take one every day for it to work, no matter how much sex they’re having. Students will discover that monogamy isn’t enough to prevent unintended pregnancy, and thus married and monogamous women use the pill just as single women do. To drive home what not using contraception would mean for women, married and otherwise, students will be asked to watch the TLC show about the Duggar family, with its 19 children, and then offer a five-minute presentation in class.
Most of her piece is focused on the recent “controversies” over birth control (birth control! In 2012!), but so many other remedial courses come to mind, like “How Gay Families Cannot Ruin Your Het Marriage.” However, since social conservatives have a pathological aversion to learning anything whatsoever about reality, this whole remedial sex ed for adults idea is, sadly, a non-starter. It makes a good read, though.
BONUS READ: Rebecca Watson’s Idiots Review The Woman’s Bible. One of my all time idols is Elizabeth Cady Stanton: she cemented the connection between feminism and atheism for me, around the time I had become aware that not only was the Bible complete and utter bullshit, but that the religions based on it are vectors for misogyny and many other ills that plague humanity like … well, like the plague. From 1895-1898, Stanton and a committee of 26 women wrote The Woman’s Bible in order to challenge the traditional position of religious orthodoxy that woman should be subservient to man. As you might imagine, certain people went absolutely apeshit, including many of her fellow travelers in the women’s suffrage movement who shunned and marginalized her after it was published. (You can get the free Kindle eBook version here, or read it at Project Gutenberg.) Watson was about halfway through the book — as she notes “it’s a quick, easy, and interesting read” — when a thought occurred to her:
The fact that it’s so good, and also free, made me wonder why on Earth it would be rated at just 2.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. I went back and had a look at the reviews, and there I discovered an absolute treasure trove of religiously inspired ignorance.
Apparently, women who really want to be subservient to men ‘cuz Jeezus and men who really want women to be subservient to men ‘cuz they’re controlling @$$sholes downloaded The Woman’s Bible, completely unawares. Well, let’s just say they were as disappointed as the people who found themselves looking at my blog this week after searching the web for “gay pakistani porn”. Watson generously collected some of the more entertaining Amazon reviews for our reading and mocking pleasure. Enjoy.