Battlepanda: In which I feel sorry for Ross Douhat


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, June 29, 2009

In which I feel sorry for Ross Douhat

Ross Douthat wrote what I consider the best response to the latest mini-spate of books and articles bemoaning the death of romance as people become too sensible. In case you have been living in a mayonnaise jar, some lady named Cristina Nehring wrote a book called "A Vindication of Love" calling modern love a "poor and shrunken thing," you know, since feminism and stuff. In a somewhat similar vein, Sandra Tsing-loh got a piece for the Atlantic out of her divorce that is dripping with contempt for "the companionate marriage" and "male kitchen bitches."

Douthat points out that the Nehring and Tsing-loh's narratives obnoxiously projected the neurosis particular to their social background and personal situations onto society in general. And to illustrate his point, he mentioned a few spectacular example of romantic abandon in the news.

Maybe this reversal could start with some creative matchmaking across lines of class and politics. The dutiful, somewhat-boring husbands from Sandra Tsing Loh’s Los Angeles, for instance, sound like ideal soulmates for Kate Gosselin, the soon-to-be-single mother of eight.

And as for Cristina Nehring, who can’t live without being “derailed by love, hospitalized by love, flung around five continents, shaken, overjoyed, inspired and unsettled by love” — well, maybe someone should introduce her to Mark Sanford.

Now why am I feeling sorry for Ross Douhat for writing a funny and smart article I agreed with? Because so many of the comments in response his column were full of hostility and attacks that were all but non-sequitors. Ross is a conservative. His column made fun of Tsing-loh and Nehring as members of the liberal elite. The knee-jerk reaction is to fight back, it seems.

39. Ross misses a fundamental truth on the way to his weekly bashing of the Liberal Elite.

40. Conservative contortionism has reached new heights.

46. Those poor 'post-feminist' husbands. Because once again, it's feminism's fault. Are we feminists also to blame for turmoil in Iran, the coup in Honduras and the economic crisis to boot?

Do you know who is really dissing you, you liberal elite readers of the NY Times? Not Douthat, Nehring and Tsing-loh. Perhaps we just fail to perceive how grievous and misquided the insults are because it's coming from someone we perceive to be culturally 'one of us.' Women, listen to what Nehring is essentially saying...feminism killed romance and therefore is bad for women because we live for luuuuurve. Men...not only did Tsing-loh dismiss you as "kitchen bitches" for doing too much to help around the house, she dissed Cooks Illustrated. Which we all know is the bible of any self-respecting kitchen bitch of any gender or marital status.

What they are saying is not just a distortion of reality, but a reactionary's wet dream. People like Nehring and Tsing-loh are slapping us in the face with anti-feminist claptrap and because they call themselves feminists and are published in the Atlantic and the NY Times, we shrug.

Whoever calls them on their bullshit, conservative or liberal, is alright by me.

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