Tag Archives: Jessica Valenti

Alas, This Blog Did Not Win A Pulitzer

Heather Horn at The Atlantic with a round-up

Michael Roston:

The madness is at an end. No longer will the American commentariat need to contemplate the possibility that the National Enquirer would win a Pulitzer Prize for revealing an extra-marital affair carried out by John Edwards. Edwards, a one-term senator who inertiaed his way into a vice presidential nomination in 2004 and then worked in 2007-08 as one of the numerous men standing on stage between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, was hardly a newsworthy character, yet the Enquirer saw fit to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars stalking him and his mistress. Of course, this is the same tabloid that ignored the Jonestown story when they had it, so it goes to show how good their news judgment ever was.

So, lest we get lost on what the Pulitzer Committee didn’t pick, it’s important to look at what they did select: a whole lot of local news.

If the Academy is making a statement about the film business when it votes for the Oscars every year, the Pulitzer Committee must be doing the same thing when it hands out the medals every year. And while previous years have shown a focus on the big picture issues affecting our republic writ large, many of the reporters honored for the 2010 prizes wrote stories that placed a big emphasis on the local impact.

Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner:

Congratulations to my friend Kathleen Parker on her Pulitzer.

I know many readers here frequently disagree with her. I do too! I know she has been unfair to conservatives at times. But she has also been open to us. She has a perch at the Washington Post that she has undeniably used to highlight issues and views that wouldn’t otherwise get attention there. Her book, Save the Males, was an example of her talent — a talent that frequently comes through in her Washington Post column. I don’t have to agree with her all (or even most) of the time to appreciate a good bit of her work.

Jessica Valenti at Feministing:

Kathleen Parker, who thinks young women hooking up on college campuses are creating a “mental health crisis” and that women in the military should expect to be raped (because “men resent women because they’ve been forced to pretend that women are equals”) has won a Pulitzer prize for commentary. I think I need a drink.

Matt Welch at Reason:

Conservative-ish columnist-turned conservative-basher Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post is now King of the World, at least for the next year. Which once again proves the axioms that A) noisily changing teams is almost always good short-term career advice in the commentariat, especially if B) you change from Team Red to Team Blue (or at least from Team Red to criticizing Team Red), and if C) that change just so happens to coincide with a shift in the overall political zietgeist. As or more imporantly, however, there’s D): turncoats are often at their most interesting and energetic early on during the Change. Think Arianna Huffington when she was a Shadow Conventioneer, Christopher Hitchens when he was throwing dog poop on the shoes of The Nation, Gary Wills when he turned decisively against Nixon and the National Review.

David Weigel:

For a sample of why she earned it, check out her take on the RNC spending scandal, her analysis of Marco Rubiomana, or her prescient column on the shock retirement of Sarah Palin.

Marc Ambinder:

I’ve got no stake in the matter, but four cheers to the Washington Post for winning four Pulitzer Prizes. It’s a needed shot in the arm for a publication that has lost considerable respect inside the Beltway over the past several years, as top correspondents have fled to other papers and as the editorial brain-trust allowed the paper’s influential status as Washington’s pace-setter to attenuate. For Washington to function properly, we need a functioning, competitive top-flight newspaper. The Washington Times is not that newspaper, and POLITICO plays an entirely different role — it sets metabolic speed and gives us the carbs.  The Post ought to provide us with nourishment — the protein.  Sad to say it, but the New York Times has been the legacy source for authoritative Washington coverage in recent years. (That’s not sad for the Times, of course.)   Here’s hoping that the Pulitzer wins catalyze the paper’s talented staff. Signs that the Post has gotten the message abound: they’re hiring intellectually honest blogger-reporters like Ezra Klein and David Weigel to occupy the increasingly ambiguous space between news and opinion journalism.

Rod Dreher:

I was so delighted to read that three of my former editorial board member colleagues at the Dallas Morning News — Colleen McCain Nelson, Bill McKenzie and Tod Robberson — today won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. The project they won for was an ongoing series of editorials about the persistence of poverty in southern Dallas. It was and is a real labor of love, especially for Sharon Grigsby, the deputy editorial page editor and the heart and soul of the project. Colleen, Bill and Tod will get the prize, deservedly, but both Sharon and editorial page editor Keven Willey deserve honor too. I’m only sorry I can’t be there to buy them all Champagne. Three cheers to you, gang!

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Burka Brouhaha, En Francais


Sarkozy and the Burka (or Burqa).

Jill Lawrence in Politics Daily:

From the Associated Press:

“In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity,” Sarkozy said to extended applause at the Chateau of Versailles, southwest of Paris. “The burqa is not a religious sign, it’s a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement — I want to say it solemnly,” he said. “It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic.”

From the New York Times:
“The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue, it is a question of freedom and of women’s dignity,” Mr. Sarkozy said. “The burqa is not a religious sign, it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women.”

Charles Johnson at LGF

Saira Khan in The Mail

And yet, as a British Muslim woman, I abhor the practice and am calling on the Government to follow the lead of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and ban the burkha in our country.

The veil is simply a tool of oppression which is being used to alienate and control women under the guise of religious freedom.

My parents moved here from Kashmir in the 1960s. They brought with them their faith and their traditions – but they also understood that they were starting a new life in a country where Islam was not the main religion.

My mother has always worn traditional Kashmiri clothes – the salwar kameez, a long tunic worn over trousers, and the chador, which is like a pashmina worn around the neck or over the hair.

When she found work in England, she adapted her dress without making a fuss. She is still very much a traditional Muslim woman, but she swims in a normal swimming costume and jogs in a tracksuit.

Jessica Valenti at Feministing:

Banning the burqa doesn’t further women’s rights – it limits them. Now, obviously there’s a difference in Islamic women’s dress from the hijab to the burqa – but legally banning any of them erases all agency from Muslim women. (I’m especially wary of Sarkozy’s comments and this potential ban given that France banned headscarves from public schools in 2004.)

If you’re interested in hearing Muslim women talking about the hijab, here are a couple of interesting vids.

Amad at Muslim Matters:

This French President, described in a recent book (failed to be blocked from publication — so much for free speech!) as an uncaring father and a womanizer wants to now tell Muslim women how to dress. I’d like to ask Sarkozy that if he can tell us how we should dress, then under equal rights of the “republic”, why can’t Muslims tell French women how not to dress?  We are even willing to donate some extra clothing material to help the near-nudity on display everyday in this model nation!

For a President to devote significant time to the hijab in an important speech to the Parliament, the first one since the 19th century, is a clear indication that Sarkozy is running out of ideas to save the country from its economic and social ills. By letting the public focus on a clearly divisive issue, but one whose inherent prejudice bonds French citizens across the political spectrum, Sarkozy wants to use this “coalition of bigots” to distract the public from real problems.

At The Corner, Veronique de Rugy:

I have mixed feelings about this one. I am generally against all prohibition, and I am against encroachments of the freedom or religion. However, I also have read enough (here for instance) about the treatment and condition of Muslim women to find the Burqa troublesome (as the visible sign of their oppression).

Andrew Stuttaford

That said, although almost all societies do enact dress codes that reflect their notions of decency, banning the burqa from the street seems to me to be both a step too far and, quite possibly, counter-productive. What Sarkozy should do, however, is ensure that his fellow-citizens are as free to criticize the burqa as he is. In a country that stamps on free speech in the name of combatting the bogeyman of “Islamophobia,” it’s by no means clear that this indeed the case.
And more Stuttaford
Ambrose Burnside at Daily Kos:

The question remains, though.  Would a ban of the burqa be a women’s rights victory?  Or a regressive act that would stifle the free will of women who wish to wear the burqa?  Personally, I’m not in favor of banning any sort of clothing, religiously based or not, with a few exceptions such as making people remove face-coverings for ID photos, court appearances, for the police, and similar situations.

If a woman wants to wear a burqa out in public, and she’s doing it completely by her own free will, there is no reason why she shouldn’t be able to and a law banning the burqa would be a slap in the face for women’s rights.

However, if it turns out that women generally only wear the burqa to avoid being abused by jealous males, banning the burqa would be an important step toward women advancing in society.

UPDATE: Freddy Gray in TAC:

In 2003, when France decided to ban the Islamic veil from schools, there was at least an arguable case that state schools represented a public – and therefore necessarily secular — space. But to propose that hijab and niqab be expelled from French society is a more radical idea, one that carries a strong whiff of secular absolutism.

Sarkozy says that the Islamic veil is “not the French republic’s idea of women’s dignity.” Of course it isn’t. It would be a great shame if all French women began covering their faces. (Imagine if we could not behold the elegant features of Sarkozy’s wife, Carla Bruni.) But is it not an equal, or even greater, affront to women’s independence to demand that they show their faces? What if a woman chooses to hide her face from the world? Is that not a legitimate expression of her freedom, religious or otherwise?

UPDATE #2: Michelle Goldberg in American Prospect:

A ban on burqas would, of course, be unthinkable in the American context, because our understanding of church state separation, and of free speech, is quite different than the one prevailing in France. “Here in America, the separation of church and state is about the protection of religion from the state,” Scott says. “In France, the idea is to protect individuals from the claims of religion. The state can intervene on behalf of individuals when they are thought to be oppressed by some communal group.”

Yet such state interventions can end up working against individual women. Last year, for example, a Moroccan woman married to a French man was denied French citizenship because she wore a burqa at her husband’s request. The ruling declared her “radical practice of her religion (and) behavior in society incompatible with the essential values of the French community, notably the principle of equality between the sexes.” According to the scholar Cécile Laborde, political parties, intellectuals and journalists praised the decision almost unanimously.

Likewise, Sarkozy’s prospective burqa ban has significant feminist support, including the backing of the feminist group Ni Putes Ni Soumises, or Neither Whores Nor Doormats, which has its roots in France’s Muslim ghettos. It’s worth taking the position of Ni Putes Ni Soumises seriously, since the struggle against Islamic fundamentalism has been, for them, a matter of life and death. Like the Somali-Dutch feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, their activism serves as a crucial corrective to multicultural pieties.

Ultimately, though, there’s no evidence that most burqa-clad French women regard themselves as oppressed. “There are women who wear burqas who are not being forced by anyone, who think that form of modesty is appropriate for who they want to be in the world,” says Scott. “It’s hard to distinguish between them and those who are being forced.” And so in the end, a ban putatively passed to further women’s rights could instead impinge on their freedom, and take from them something they value. Even worse, it could lead to those in the most fundamentalist of households being trapped inside their homes altogether. It would be cruel to limit these women’s options in the name of liberation, even if their clothes are a rebuke to the secularism that the French rightly hold sacred.

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias:

A woman whose husband and/or other male relations have enough power over her to force her into a burqa against her will is only going to be forced by those same men further underground by this sort of rule. The only kind of person who would be genuinely unveiled by this kind of legal measure would be someone with enough autonomy to be in a position to choose compliance with the law over compliance with tradition. The French have a strong tradition not just of secularism, but of a kind of illiberal egalitarianism that holds that everyone should really be the same, and I think it tends to push them toward measures like this that don’t ultimately help anyone.

UPDATE: Julian Sanchez

UPDATE: James Kirchick at Commentary

UPDATE: Now the burquini has been banned. New York Times.

UPDATE: Christopher Hitchens in Slate

Shikha Dalmia at Forbes

UPDATE: Ryan Brown at Salon

Jim Newell at Gawker

Rod Dreher


Filed under Fashion, Feminism, Foreign Affairs, Religion

The First Hook-Up Was Adam And Eve. The First Hook-Up Story Hyped By The MSM Was 10 Minutes Later.

NPR, this morning, did the hook-up story for 2009.

Andrew Sullivan links to Dan Savage:

It’s a classic sex panic piece—young people having casual secks!—and the culture of hooking up is described as a dire emotional and social crisis. But based on the results of the poll at the bottom of Brenda Wilson’s piece, it doesn’t look like NPR’s listeners are quite buying it.

Mari McGrath:

NPR is weighing in on dating this week. Studies show that we as twenty-somethings are not dating, but rather are hooking up. The availability of casual encounters are much higher for our generation with co-ed dorm rooms, the pervasiveness of Craigslist, and a focus on career and socialization rather than settling down.

My response was…”And?”

Actually, NPR tried to withhold judgment….kind of. They tried to take the high road of “sociological observer” rather than critic. The piece still comes across as “sex bad, marriage good” in the end and that the casual sexual encounter is devoid of emotion, feeling, or care for your partner.

Conor Friedersdorf asks us to lengthen the time frame. And since it’s Friedersdorf Movie Day at ATS:

UPDATE: Jessica Valenti at Feministing


Filed under Culture War, Families, Media

It Was A Teenage Wedding and The Old Folks Wished Them Well


This would obviously cause some discussion. Mark Regnerus, in WaPo, arguing for marrying young (early twenties, not teenagers):


Rod Dreher exerpts the op-ed:


Peter Suderman dissents, ending with this:

“In the end, Regnerus has only really made that case that getting married young is perhaps not as bad as some have said. But he doesn’t manage to make a positive case for doing so, and in fact, stumbles onto a nearly contrary truth, which is that, at the individual level, the decision to marry isn’t really about age all; it’s about commitment.”


Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, also writing in the American Scene, argues against Suderman, making the argument about peer pressure not to get married:


Dayo Olopade, writing in Slate, finds the op-ed lacking;

“If he had made the point that marrying early and then continuing the 20s and 30s trajectory of college, bars, apartments, mistakes, MBAs, JDs, MDs, and PhDs, that would suggest his flacking for marriage were based on some theory of economics and companionship. But his nagging is targeted at the women who have collectively embraced third wave feminist cake-eating because then they won’t procreate. Men who wait and wait for the ring “get there,” he says—whereas women must “beg, pray, borrow and pay” to reclaim fertility later in life. In other words, Regnerus conflates enthusiasm for child-rearing with enthusiasm for marriage—a mythology one would think modern reality continually explodes.”


Jessica Valenti, of course, takes on the op-ed:


And Big Media Ezra Klein won’t argue with the op-ed. “I prefer easy topics, like the financial crisis.” But he notes the great success of the environmental movement, as smaller “carbon emissions” is one of the arguments the op-ed makes in favor of getting married early:


Any other posts you see, put ’em in the comments.

UPDATE #1: Atrios:


UPDATE #2: James Joyner:


UPDATE #3: Matt Y goes in the wayback machine and gives us some pretty charts, comparing us today to other times and other countries:


UPDATE #4: Ezra posts again, this time with a piece about policy implications:


UPDATE #5: Andrew Cherlin has a response up at the Post, countering the original op-ed.


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Filed under Families, Feminism