- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 4, 2000

Boomer backlash

"[I]t seems that lots of women like Hillary don't like Hillary. What gives? …

"For baby-boomer women i.e., professional, liberal women who wear the battle decorations of having invaded the gentlemen's clubs that were the law firms and P.R. firms and doctors' offices of the '70s Hillary was the avatar of their expectations… . She was supposed to represent them well. These women watched her in a way they never watched Nancy Reagan or Barbara Bush… . Hillary did matter, and everything she did mattered. Not just politically. Viscerally… .

" 'She forces us to understand the contradictions of our own generation,' says the novelist Mary Gordon, an HRC supporter. 'We're transitional. When we were 13, we were singing "My Boyfriend's Back." Five years later, we were marching for abortion rights. And after that, we've all had to make choices about career and family, and they haven't always been good choices. Maybe looking at Hillary is looking at the reality of ourselves rather than the fantasy of ourselves.' "

Michael Tomasky, writing on "Who Do Women Want?" in the Jan. 3 issue of New York.

What's in a name?

"Fathers who will not own up to their paternity, who will not 'legitimize' their offspring, and who will not name themselves responsible for child-rearing by giving their children their name are, paradoxically, not real fathers at all, and their wives and especially their children suffer. The former stigmatization of bastardy was, in fact, meant to protect women and children from such irresponsible behavior of self-indulgent men … who would take their sexual pleasures and walk away from their consequences. The removal of the stigma, prompted by a humane concern not to penalize innocent children by calling them 'illegitimate,' has, paradoxically but absolutely predictably, contributed mightily to an increase in such fatherless children.

"The advantage a woman and her children gain from the commitment of the man to take responsibility and to stay the course the commitment implied in his embracing the woman and her prospective children with his family name, now newly understood is by itself sufficient reason why it is in a woman's interest as a married woman and mother-to-be to readily take the bridegroom's name."

Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass, from their new book, "Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying".

Selling fun

"What the Backsteet Boys are selling and selling in massive quantities is what Motown once called the Sound of Young America… .

"Backstreet Boys have changed the pop turf dramatically, creating a territory where music has become a theme park of the heart an irony-free zone that offers young musical entertainers a place to join the machine rather than rage against it. Three years after they first broke in the U.S., the Backstreet Boys now find themselves bigger than ever a remarkable achievement, considering that the life spans of youth-oriented acts are traditionally measured not in years, decades or centuries, but in lunchbox seasons. Once dismissed as a marketing creation, the Boys have thrown off the team that gave them their start and that tried to tell them how to dress and act. They've begun calling their own shots, and calling them correctly. These days they're even getting some respect for their trouble. It was not always thus, particularly when the group first emerged, in the late days of grunge… .

"[Backstreet Boy Kevin] Richardson is proud of the unpretentious nature of the music: 'Everybody's trying to preach. All we're trying to accomplish is to make pretty love songs for guys and girls to slow dance to, up-tempos to make you dance and midtempos for your car, to make you forget about the traffic. It's entertainment. It's fun.' "

David Wild, writing on "Winners Take All," in the Jan. 20 issue of Rolling Stone

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