Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ross Douthat's Fit of Virulent Chauvinism: Is It Time for the New York Times to Close?

New York Times is doing all it can to lose the last shreds of credibility with the readers. In his article "Liberated and Unhappy", Ross Douthat relies on the findings of some quasi-scientific chauvinistic study to prove that feminism has made women miserable. It is evident to anybody with half a brain that studies asking people whether they are "happy" are worthless. They have no scientific value whatsoever and can be manipulated to support any kind of prefabricated conclusions. Different generations define happiness in different ways. If Douthat read Friedan (or anything on women in the sixties) he would know why in the 60ies, before feminism gained ground, women overwhelmingly responded that they were "happy." Ignorance, however, is bliss and allows Douthat to promote his chauvinistic beliefs unfettered by even most basic knowledge.

Douthat, however, needs this "study" to prove his point that independence and being able to pursue a career makes women unhappy. His hatred towards women seems inexplicable until we look at his picture. This was definitely the boy who went to the prom alone. Today, it is obvious that he needs women who are financially dependent because no woman would give the time of the day to a man like this for free (an unattractive, uneducated woman-hater). This is why he spews his rage against women from the pages of the battered NY Times.

The article is so full of idiocies that it's impossible to enumerate them all. Women are unhappy, Douthat suggests, because after the divorce they are "stuck raising kids alone." Apparently, he believes that divorced fathers do not participate in raising their children. Also, it is impossible for this raging chauvinist to imagine that women might meet someone else after they get divorced.

Well, what can be said after this quasi-journalist, if he cites Sarah Palin as an example of an overburdened working mother.

This article demonstrates very well why print journalism has outlived its purpose. NY Times gives space on its pages to plagiarists, chauvinists, hacks, and fools. I hope it finds itself forced to close down for good very soon.


Anonymous said...

How about the following hypotheses:
Majority of human beings (regardless of gender) actually dread personal responsibility and resent the fact that with more freedom comes more responsibility. Old-fashioned "kinder-ku"che-kirche" may be very unenlightened, but the structure and freedom FROM choice this model provides are unconsciously valuable to many people, again, regardless of gender.
All "objective measures of progress of women" actually boil down to increasing freedoms. But with increasing freedoms comes what is perceived as increased uncertainty, which in turn is perceived as a "bad thing". That's how one can get reduced "subjective happiness" while the "objective one" is increasing...
Apparently, some men are suffering from the lack of pattern and structure as well - and they see the solution in returning to the past rather than in consciously embracing increased personal responsibility for everybody.
By the way, what is so special about guy's appearance (aside from the fact that it is written "Susan Etheridge" under the picture :) )?

Peter N said...

I take a couple of issues with the points you make in this posting.

First, the article is an Op-Ed, from a wholly outside contributor not representing what the paper said or represented as news in any way. I understand that they are hosting it, but they are just giving space to an individual to show his opinion. Even if you disagree with it, that does not make something worthless. To challenge a belief is to enrich both sides. Additionally, someone is entitled to hold chauvinistic, paternalistic beliefs. You may not like them, and you may believe the exact opposite position, but there is nothing to prove that a position is just incorrect.

Second, you talk about the idea of asking people whether they are happy. What other measure can there be? Women from the 60's are not the same as those today; whether they are judging the same criteria or not, all people can do is judge their own situation. If you want to say that people are just wrong in saying they are happy or not, you are denying them agency by disregarding their statements.

Anyway, this guy Douthat is basically the exact opposite of everything for which the New York Times stands. This Op-Ed should not serve as a call for the death of print journalism or the New York Times; rather, it should be the death knell of the Conservative movement, long overdue.

Clarissa said...

V.: in your comment your summarized with a great precision the main conclusions of my doctoral dissertation. And you haven't even read it. I agree with every single word you write here.

Clarissa said...

Peter N.: happiness is a subjective concept. The way people define it is extremely dependent on the specific historic and cultural circumstances. In 1960ies women were expected to be happy and chirpy. Today, women arre expected to whine about being overburdened and overworked. In these kinds of surveys, people just answer what they are expected to, that's why I say that such studies are worthless.

As to the NY Times, it puzzles me why people say it's a liberal newspaper. Am I missing something? Recently I quoted another article they published on higher education reform. It was painfully conservative as well. Where is the progressive side of the NYTimes?

Clarissa said...

Here is a link to an analysis of the actual graph that formed as basis of Douthat's piece:


It's obvious from this that his statements are based on nothing other than his own wishful thinking.

Anonymous said...

Nobody takes this guy seriously anyway.