- - Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marrying rich

“[Italian Prime Minister] Silvio Berlusconi has done it again. During an event on Sunday, he advised that young women should look for a rich man to marry. Of course, as is so often the case with Berlusconi, the offensiveness didn’t stop there: He added in some homophobia and a joke about Hitler, just for good measure.

“After instructing Italy’s bella signoras to go the sugar daddy route, he diplomatically added that, while it’s harder for them, men can aspire to be gold diggers too. He was quick to clarify what he meant, though: ‘In that case, I am talking of finding a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend,’ he laughs. ‘Let’s be precise about this, because otherwise the headline in La Repubblica will be: “Berlusconi has become gay.”.’”

Tracy Clark-Flory, writing on “Berlusconi tells women: Marry for money,” on Salon.com Sept. 13

On homeownership

“For the better part of a century, politics, industry and culture aligned to create a fetish of the idea of buying a house. Homeownership has done plenty of good over the decades; it has provided stability to tens of millions of families and anchored a labor-intensive sector of the economy.

“Yet by idealizing the act of buying a home, we have ignored the downsides. In the bubble years, lending standards slipped dramatically, allowing many Americans to put far too much of their income into paying for their housing. And we ignored longer-term phenomena too.

“Homeownership contributed to the hollowing out of cities and kept renters out of the best neighborhoods. It fed America’s overuse of energy and oil. It made it more difficult for those who had lost a job to find another.

“Perhaps worst of all, it helped us become casually self-deceiving: by telling ourselves that homeownership was a pathway to wealth and stable communities and better test scores, we avoided dealing with these formidable issues head-on.”

Barbara Kiviat, writing on “The Case Against Homeownership,” on Time.com Sept. 11

Blaming Steinem

“Women didn’t get the right to vote until 1920. Since then, nothing has changed for women; 35 years ago the Equal Rights Amendment (preventing discrimination based on sex) was defeated when it was ratified by only 35 of the 38 states needed for passage. Any chance of equal pay for equal work was lost. To this day women are paid roughly 20% to 25% less than their male counterparts for doing the same job.

“I have long believed the reason the ERA didn’t pass back then is that Gloria Steinem co-opted the debate about women’s rights, approaching it from a New York point of view rather than a national one. Saying things like “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle” and “A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after,” … didn’t go over well with women in the Midwest who considered themselves feminists but still wanted to be mothers. If there is one person to blame for the failure of the ERA to pass, it’s Ms. Steinem.

“A country that discriminates against half its population cannot be held up as a great democracy. That’s why I’m calling for a new push for equal rights for women. Surely without the ill-advised, self-serving rhetoric of Ms. Steinem, reason can prevail.”

Larry Flynt, writing on “What Ever Happened to Equal Rights for Women?” on the Huffingtonpost.com Sept. 8

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