- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Holiday cheer
"The commercialization of Christmas is terrible, right?
"I don't buy this. There's nothing wrong with Santa hawking wares. Seeing department stores adorned in Christmas decorations and filled with people taking advantage of the season sales only warms my heart.
"It would be a bleak world if Christmas disappeared. Thankfully, as long as it's profitable it never will.
"And what kind of Christmas, exactly, is profitable? Many Americans crave that quaint Norman Rockwell holiday. Thanks to commercialization, amid the Tonka trucks, plastic toys and battery-powered gadgets with an inordinate number of flashing little lights, we can still get model trains, old-fashioned toy soldiers and Red Ryder BB guns the commercialized gifts of their day.
"It's not the commercialization that is unseemly. It's the gaudy Christmas that makes most of us cringe, and it is the unprofitable one we should deplore."
Brendan Miniter, writing on "I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas," Monday in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

To cheat time
"The desire to control reproduction and conquer biology was a central part of the feminist-driven political and sexual revolutions of the late twentieth century. In her 1970 manifesto, 'The Dialectic of Sex,' radical feminist Shulamith Firestone wrote that the 'first demand' of a feminist social order would be 'the freeing of women from the tyranny of their reproductive biology by every means available.' [F]eminists implicitly endorsed Firestone's goal, securing the contraceptive and abortion rights they saw as crucial for women's advancement in the public realm. Feminism insisted that women try to overcome, or at least willfully ignore, biological realities.
"By the late 20th century, the feminist movement's effort to liberate women from reproduction had produced unexpected results. A majority of women routinely used birth control, accepted abortion as a right, and viewed [in vitro fertilization] and other first-generation reproductive technologies as useful tools of last resort for the infertile. But the women who embraced the feminist message about reproduction the daughters of the sexual revolution eventually felt that message's sting personally. They found themselves entering middle age with ripe careers but declining fertility. Today they form a large portion of the fertility industry's customers, spending tens of thousands of dollars for a single chance to cheat time. The facts are stark: According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a woman's fertility begins to decline in her late 20s and drops precipitously around the age of 35."
Christine Stolba, writing on "Overcoming Motherhood," in the December/January issue of Policy Review

Bikinis vs. burkas
"The war between religious fanaticism and secular modernity is fought over women's bodies. Feminists have been saying this for years, not that anyone important was listening, but the Miss World riots in Kaduna, Nigeria, should make it obvious. Muslims were apparently driven out of their minds by journalist Isioma Daniel's suggestion that Mohammed 'would probably have chosen a wife among them.' By the time the smoke cleared and the bloody knives were put away, the local offices of the paper had been destroyed; more than 200 people, mostly Christian, had been murdered; hundreds more had been injured; and at least 4,500 left homeless.
"Say what you will about beauty pageants, if it's bikinis versus burkas, you've got to be for bathing suits. Yes, it's a sexist cattle call. And yes, the Miss World Pageant, seen each year by more than 2 billion viewers around the globe, helps disseminate white Western ideals of female beauty to yet more distant lands. But that is not the big story now. The big story is the growing power of fundamentalist maniacs."
Katha Pollitt, writing on "As Miss World Turns," Dec. 23 in the Nation

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