“By Their Fruits” and the Public Political Debate

A female Quaker preaches at a meeting...

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Hereby begins a long rambling post by someone with too much time on her hands. Having no standing in the political or religious arena, I feel free to think aloud about what’s running through my head lately.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve settled down to married life without a spouse in the household, which makes it more difficult than I anticipated. My husband of two weeks had to return to the UK and get to work and before we could spend Christmas together. But the future bodes well with my moving there early next spring and transporting most of my worldly goods as well. In the meantime, I need to keep busy at work and keep my mind off missing him.

As I said before, the wedding ceremony was beautiful. We chose a scripture text because a) we were married in a church and b) it seemed a very practical passage. We used Matthew’s passage about salt and light. Salt should keep its flavor and light should not be hid. It probably seems a strange pick for a wedding scripture but it fit with both of our convictions that actions speak louder than words. For both of us, action is more important than all the talk in the world. Action proves one’s intent more than a thousand declarations. My husband is a newly minted Quaker and The Religious Society of Friends values action more than speech. Even the quiet waiting of the Lord in meeting is an action of surrender, far more powerful than a liturgy or mumbling of words in a ritual. Willingness, reception, humility… far more important than stubbornly proclaiming and correcting. I, on the other hand, take the bible with a huge grain of salt (pun intended). 😀

I was reading many blog posts on the internet this morning. It’s Christmas after all and I was looking for inspiration of some kind. Any kind really. I always tell myself I will go to church or do this or that. And I never do it. I think my IDEA of Christianity is a fond nostalgic moment in my mind, but one which never lives up to that nostalgia in practice. My idea of Christianity is just that; ideal. From my readings I sensed a theme though. Some Christians like to use particular passages to prove  what they consider to be wrong in God’s eyes. This provides the basis for most evangelical sermons heard round the world on most Sundays.  I kept coming to articles quoting another section from Matthew; one that some use as a moral compass:

15″Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves.  16 You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  18 A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit.  19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  20 So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. (Mt. 7:15-20)

It’s a great passage because it describes the predicament of men very well.  It’s a wonderful metaphor for a principle that probably precedes any biblical inclusion. Let’s assume for a moment that the bible contains an absolute set of ethics which is prescriptive of our behavior.  How is this passage prescriptive? Well in the churches in which I was a member, I heard from the pulpit that you could pretty easily recognize the wrongness of a thing by what it produced. Romans 1:24-32 was often used as a companion text to illustrate this point. Never mind the fact that sometimes “fruit” is not instant. Sometimes we cannot see the good or evil of an action until many years down the road.

But some Christians would like us to believe that this can be a test of some kind, right now.  They tell us that certain acts will automatically produce a certain consequence.  It is true that one can generally tell the worth of a thing by the fruits produced. The problem comes when Christians use this passage as a prescription to tell others what is “good” or “bad” in particular, according to their interpretation of the scriptures. They also get to decide which consequences are good or evil.  For them sexuality is the chief illustration of a tree and its fruits. AIDS is a consequence of homosexuality therefore it is bad. Abortion is a consequence of  preventable choices therefore it is bad. Depression is a consequence of abortions therefore it is preventable and bad. Failed third marriages are the consequence of divorce therefore divorce is bad. Laziness and freeloading is a consequence of welfare therefore welfare is bad.  Communism is a consequence of basic health care for all therefore not only is communism bad, basic health care for free is bad. For these kinds of folk, B is always a result of A, no matter what.

But, let’s continue the metaphor and take it further. But what if a tree produces good fruit one year and bad fruit the next? What if part of it’s fruit is bad but the rest is good? What happens if the fruit looks really good and healthy but tastes bitter? What if the fruit that ripens and “rots” the most is the juiciest and the best? Isn’t this parable more a generalization rather than a sure fire way of telling what’s good and bad? You’ll know an action is generally unworthy if it generally and consistently produces bad things. Conversely, and more importantly, you’ll know an action is generally worthy if it generally and consistently produces good things.  Generally then, we can look at the bible as another set of ethics that needs to be scrutinized alongside all systems of ethics, using the same criteria: Does it work? Unfortunately some Christians do not ask that question often enough mainly because they don’t care if it works. God said it, that settles it.

This brings me to philosophy as it relates to the public debate about politics and whose politics are “better,” (as most of what I read always does). Setting aside biblical philosophy, I am always interested in John Stuart Mill and his theory of utilitarianism, which seems important right now in the public debate over whose politics are true, especially in this country. Utilitarianism posits that the “moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome.”  This seems to be exactly what Matthew is saying.  You cannot really judge anything as an idea. Ideas have no worth in and of themselves. An idea of a perfect society has no worth if its not enacted in the culture and proven in the public arena. Politics is merely one group arguing for their idea of a society over another group’s idea. Each tries to prevent the other from enacting the principles behind their idea.

Political utilitarianism in general terms is the idea that the most good to the most number of people is helpful to society as a whole. To work for the good of society is a morally worthy goal. The problem is when groups of individuals disagree about what’s good for society.  But that jumps the gun. Mill wrote that

To do the right thing…we do not need to be constantly motivated by concern for the general happiness. The large majority of actions intend the good of individuals (including ourselves) rather than the good of the world. Yet the world’s good is made up of the good of the individuals that constitute it and unless we are in the position of, say, a legislator, we act properly by looking to private rather than to public good. Our attention to the public well-being usually needs to extend only so far as is required to know that we aren’t violating the rights of others.

How this dovetails with scripture depends on how one views scripture. For me, having once taken it so literally, I can say that the bible exists for me now only as a record of other peoples’ experiences of their ideas about God. There is nothing systematic about it. There is no consistent ethic. It provides no absolute foundation for anything. It is literature of the past that contains myth. Like most myth, it it meant to explain after the fact rather than be a presentation of fact. Myth is written by men for other men to try and explain how the world works for them (see my Master’s thesis introduction). The fact that no woman wrote scripture, or if she did, no woman was allowed a presence in its collection, convinces me that the bible is not meant for a woman’s consumption and indeed probably has nothing of any value to say to modern women. There are some worthy statements in the bible, just as there are in another philosphers’ writings, but to stand the test of time a philosophy has to be workable and representative of most people; women included! If it does not stand that test, then it can be discarded as an idea; a pretty idea perhaps, but not workable in any real sense.

All this is a long treatise on the simple idea of mine that we will never get anywhere in political debate until we are allowed to test the theories posited. This is what makes the United States unique in that there are individual states making legislation amid the larger idea of a cohesive Federal government. The states are little microcosms whereby the people can enact what they believe are good ideas and see if they work. If they do work then legislators and the public should try to convince other states and eventually the Federal government to enact them. But progress is extremely slow and we have to realize that. We cannot assume that something doesn’t work even after many years. But we can assume that something works if it’s proven to have worked. Who will say that Brown vs. the Board of Education didn’t accomplish much? Yet it was vociferously protested at the time. We’ve already seen how theocracy works in part by looking at history (the Crusades, Salem Witch trials, etc.) and by looking at how individual churches run themselves. We know that we trample on individual rights when we keep out all the undesirable people these churches cannot stand. No one wants a government that exhibits such exclusivity and punishment espoused by such doctrines. A society based on such exclusivity does not work. We have seen that slavery doesn’t work by watching our Southern states and realizing the devastating path that racism takes. Our western states have shown us in the past that women’s rights were successful long before the Eastern part of the country got wind of it or realized that women were intelligent beings.

I guess all of this is my way of realizing that action and the consequences of it is the only proof of a good idea. People and mere existence comes first, not institutions or foundations. We aren’t born into rules. Rules are born from us and the good of society as a whole is a direct result of the happiness and freedom of individuals IN COOPERATION with the happiness and freedom of our neighbor. There are some “trees” that deserve to be cut down. Al Qaida is a bad tree. Theocracy is a bad tree. Slavery is a bad tree. The subjugation of women is a bad tree. Unregulated capitalism is a bad tree. War that is not just is a bad tree. People dying because they cannot afford health care is a bad tree. Sexual stereotyping is a bad tree. What else is a bad tree? You get the picture.


Feminist Gatekeepers


Writing in the 18th century, Mary Wollstonecra...

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Rebecca Traister, Hanna Rosin, and others on why you can’t own feminism. (1) – By DoubleX Staff – Slate Magazine.

Now I understand. After reading these feminists (and I’m surprised that they “allowed” Christina Hoff Summers to comment) I understand better about the feminist gatekeepers. They are elite women-firsters. They are academic women lording sover the lives of any other creatures; fetuses, men, animals, etc. They have earned this right because they believe others have ruled them long enough. Fair enough. I’m on board with that. Men have always taken what they wanted without weighing consequences. It’s their right. However, feminist gatekeepers look askance at anyone who would claim the right to be first themselves, such as Sarah Palin, who they label “unserious.” Why? Because she’s not educated like you or believe in the same policies as you do? As I recall, men in their patriarchal heyday often called Victoria Woodhull and suffragettes “unserious.” Gatekeepers label Palin and other women who disagree with them as dabblers at politics who do not understand what they are talking about.  Why? Because they don’t understand it the way you do? Which education is enough to make them “serious” about their political beliefs. Ivy league colleges? I smell elitism in the air.

Again, ladies, we UNDERSTAND what you are saying. You are saying women have rights no matter who’s involved. You are saying that your body is yours no matter what. Abortion is your banner no matter who you’ve allowed inside your body first. We get it. Fathers have no rights. Grandparents have no rights. The fetus has the least rights of all. The only right that matters is the female because she carries the baby. No parthenogenesis is involved yet somehow this “tissue” is strictly hers to dispose of at will as if no one was involved in its creation but her. We understand that no one has the right to an opinion about the government, about welfare, about employment, but you. Early feminists such as Mary Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, ladies who were never governors of their states, are considered “minor” feminists, probably because Stanton opposed abortion as another means of enslaving women by getting rid of men’s mistakes for them. Stanton wrote:

“When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our  children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.”  Letter to Julia Ward Howe, October 16, 1873, recorded in Howe’s diary at Harvard University Library

Mary Wollstonecraft wrote:

“Women becoming, consequently, weaker…than they ought to be…have not sufficient strength to discharge the first duty of a mother; and sacrificing to lasciviousness the parental affection…either destroy the embryo in the  womb, or cast if off when born. Nature in every thing demands respect, and those who violate her laws seldom violate them with impunity.” A Vindication of the Rights of Women,”

In other words, there is a price to be paid for such cavalier trashing of nature’s effects isn’t there? I think so. Yet, I am pro-choice myself and think the laws should stay as they are to protect a woman’s health and against crimes committed against her. However, there should be caveats as with any act that has responsibilities attached to it; the rights of fathers who care, and other family members who have a vested interest. No decision should be responsibility free. I don’t believe the religionists that say your body is God’s, but I also don’t go to the other extreme that say your body is yours no matter what.

There was a division in Stanton’s day and it appears there will be in our day. Ideology always creates division. Perhaps it should but people who don’t agree with you have a right to express their beliefs just as much as you do. Agreeing to further the causes of women should not however lie on the stance of a single issue.  Life is never about single issues. Again, modern feminists are making themselves the gatekeepers of an ideology that only a few women will ascribe to and declaring it true and right. They are “mortified” that other women claim their accomplishments as feminist; women who are married, mothers, or in any other category not fitting for complete and total freedom as they see it, a right they only accord to themselves. Is abortion really going to be the test for all political ideologies, left, right, and middle? Really? Feminism will never go anywhere with this mentality.

As for who gets to be feminist? I’ll tell you; only those who agree with the gatekeepers of their generation, that’s who.

Big Bridal Bliss

This is a photograph of Margaret Forrest (1844...

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I admire bloggers who write about weight issues unashamed and unabashedly. They admit they are fat, write about issues that are in the public eye and some even glory in their fatness as completely part of themselves. As always I am leery of those who espouse it as a “lifestyle” and try to increase their sizes to unrealistic proportions, but I am completely sympathetic to those who bring fat discrimination to light and fight it with their blogging skills. I also don’t believe that people are obese merely because they are bigger than arbitrary numbers made up by “scientists” paid off by the diet industry. But that’s another blog.

I’ve never had to struggle with weight all my life as some fat women and men have. My weight was gained primarily when I was pregnant three times in 5 years. Before that, I had no problem, meaning I thought I was of “normal” weight in high school. More pounds were added with each child and stayed with me for good. As I got older, pounds also creeped up on me and stayed. I’ve had my share of ridicule from insensitive people making comments about my weight and like every woman, I’ve suffered the personal disappointment of trying to buy attractive clothes in my size that also fit well instead of looking like I was trying to put on bed sheets in the changing room. I won’t go into the politics of the obesity myth right now. Many fine blogs do this already. What I want to talk about are television shows that focus on weight issues.

Television is the worst culprit of the fat hatred movement. There is a very fine line between acting concerned about someone because of their weight and assuming that all people should be the same size, shape, and weight because they believe any fat, any fat at all, is unhealthy. This isn’t true and a little research will show this. Still there is a Stepford mentality in our society that assumes women and men should be publicly ridiculed and scrutinized as this, they believe, will be an acceptable form of motivational treatment. Some even do it to themselves! I refuse to watch television shows like The Biggest Loser or any show that offers people up for shaming due to their attempts to lose weight. There are other shows that don’t focus on weight loss but try to show the plight of large people attempting to do ordinary things that others of smaller frame take for granted; like buying a wedding dress for those most joyous of events; their marriages.

I was skeptical when I saw Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss. I thought, oh here we go, making fun of the big girls. Let’s watch them make fools of themselves and laugh! I was a little surprised however. First, I was pleased to know that Kleinfeld’s, the store in New York where the show is set, offers wedding dress sizes up to 30! They don’t offer very many and the designs are, again, mostly the same, but they do offer them. I was surprised to see that  Randy, the bridal consultant, really understands the psychology of big women and how hard it is to try to fit into an increasingly shrinking world around them.  He lectures the consultants to be particularly cognizant of their clients’ feelings when trying to fit dresses. Almost all of the clients cry as a result of not being able to look good in a dress that’s really not designed for them, but just made larger. Sometimes they look long and hard and find nothing. We are indeed fragile in our emotional makeup precisely because we’ve dealt with this most if not all of our lives, even when we were kids! There is no commercial on TV that isn’t selling clothes to make you appear smaller, food that has absolutely the least calories and tastes like cardboard to boot, and activities that all end in exercising your butt, legs, thighs, you name it. Even Cosmopolitan once told us how many calories one could lose having sex!!

All clothes items must be utilitarian and useful and every action must shrink us to fit a culture that will not accept those of us who take up more room. Until that changes, I will pick and choose my television shows very carefully. SYTTD: Big Bliss isn’t perfect, but it’s better than humiliation at the hands of a trainer like Jillian!

I Get It Now! I’m a “loose” Woman!

I think I understand why fundamentalist Protestant and Catholics stop by my blog and engage me in conversations about the church. These are usually nit-picky types of things like arguing whose facts are more important or bits and pieces of church history. They, like all believers, think that since I take issue with the church and its institutions, I must have some driving need for forgiveness for sins. This is a fairly common assumption (among many) made by those believers who try to figure out those of us who “rebel,” or “backslide” as they would call it.  We’ve had the audacity to leave church! Shock! Horror! Look at the endless grief they’ve given Anne Rice!  They just can’t understand why we would leave so they look and dig and hitting upon an incident we may write about ourselves on our blogs, they play amateur psychologist and console their own consciences by saying, “Ah, there’s the reason.” In their benighted sort of way, they think they are helping us, offering us a deity’s comfort. That’s sweet. But what they can never understand is that that comfort comes with a price; intellectual and spiritual integrity.

It actually makes them feel better that they’ve hit upon a reason, because the black/white, either/or thinkers are extremely uncomfortable with nuance, subtlety, and things that don’t fit strict categories or follow rigid authority. It’s scary out there after all.  It just occurred to me this morning and it makes complete sense. I think they would pick a better method of pastoral counsel though than the “you’re wrong, I’m right” approach. That’s why we left church in the first place; because of being constantly told not to trust ourselves, to follow rules, follow leadership and especially follow men. You see it’s especially ugly for them when women dare to leave the church. A woman without authority over her just cannot be countenanced. Quite frankly, I’ve always thought that women should leave the church in droves.  We’ll see if men could get any work done if they had to wash and iron their own vestments or church accouterments, polish all their sacramental cups and saucers, type their own sermons or bulletins, or watch their children. Men might have to {gasp} teach Sunday school or something! Oh my LORD! Cant’ have that. Women loose in the world is the downfall of Western civilization!

Afterthought: of course I do come off on these pages as someone with mixed emotions about religion. Like Anne Rice, I am sympathetic to open-minded, progressive spiritual persons who are trying to live a non-condemnatory kind of life. So I can see why I probably invite the criticism sometimes. However, I struggle to make sense of the world like everyone else. I just don’t like others telling me what to believe about ethics, politics, or philosophy without giving me the same courtesy.

When Voicing An Opinion Makes You Anti-Feminist

The abortion issue is rife with ill will, angry feelings, and ideological bullshit from left and right sources. For all the harping on how it’s a personal decision between a woman and her doctor, there are still those who believe that to be against abortion as a solution to the “problem” of pregnancy makes one anti-feminist and someone who “endangers” women’s lives. To be for choice also signals to the radical right that one is “anti-life” and not a proper Christian. Nowhere is there the freedom to make this decision on an individual case by case basis and not write a blanket free check as if we can vote for or against by rote.

I promised myself I would never write on this issue, but Marcy Bloom’s belittling of Melinda Gates’ decision to steer clear of the ideological issues surrounding abortion in On the Issues magazine made me so angry. Bloom writes:

So why is the Gates Foundation ignoring the abortion care needs of women? When asked on NPR by reporter Michele Norris, Melinda Gates said, “We don’t want to be part of the controversy.” In response to a request for comment to the Gates Foundation, a response was emailed from “Deborah Lacy (Independent Contractor)” who said: “While the foundation is making new investments in maternal and child health, our position on funding abortion services has not changed. Specifically, the foundation does not fund abortion and does not take a stance on the issue. We focus on improving access to the tools women need to prevent unintended pregnancy, by supporting organizations that provide voluntary family planning information and services for women in developing countries. Family planning services are critical to prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce abortions.”

Does she fear that the image of the foundation will be affected? Fear anti-choice boycotts of Microsoft products? Does she have security concerns? Fret about the moral complexity of women’s decision-making? Or does she view women’s lives as controversial?

Gates seems unable to understand that the true moral issue is allowing women and girls to die because of lack of access to a safe medical procedure. By trying to avoid the “controversy” surrounding abortion, Gates has created another: it is impossible to work on maternal mortality issues and ignore abortion.

In other words Melinda, by refusing to get involved you are dooming “women and girls to die.” Now don’t you feel ashamed, Melinda Gates? Never mind that some people wrestle long and hard with issues surrounding abortion and come to different conclusions that Marcy Bloom. Never mind that the Gates Foundation is doing a world of good in other areas surrounding women’s health. The fact that abortion on demand isn’t one of them dooms the Gates to censure from those who disagree with their politics and moral decisions.

Abortion is by no means the only solution to saving women’s lives. It’s the equivalent of allowing the death penalty to clean out prisons and stop crime. It is NOT the solution just as abortion is NOT the solution to unwanted pregnancies. Let’s address birth control. Let’s address educating boys and men that they hold equal responsibility for unprotected sex. Let’s teach women that abortion is not a birth control method. Sure there are rapes. Sure there are horrific gender crimes in other countries. Rape is a political tool for oppressing women especially in militaristic and dictatorial societies. But abortion does not solve this problem. Refusing to fund abortions does not mean that the Gates Foundation condones rape or ill-health or anything of the sort. Taking the opposite ideology to Bloom’s does not mean the Gates Foundation is advocating anything other than exercising their own decision to fund what they want.

Personally a woman is in as much danger having a legal abortion as she is when having an illegal one. For me, abortion cheapens life just as much as the death penalty does. It means that there are lives that are expendable for the sake of others’ lives. I did not come to this decision lightly. My great-grandmother died from a botched abortion in her 20s because my great-grandfather told her they could not afford another child. At his urging she got the abortion and my grandmother and her sisters lost their mother. At 18 I found myself faced with a similar decision. I chose abortion and have regretted it and simultaneously not regretted it. It was in a legal clinic and was a horrific experience all around.  Sure, I gained my “freedom” from a situation I didn’t want to be in, but I have always regretted not giving the father of that child a voice in the situation. I’ve regretted not knowing I had other choices  and not knowing the gestational completeness of an infant in the womb (the word fetus cheapens it to some blob of tissue, which it assuredly is not at a certain stage). Late term abortions I find completely repugnant and would oppose no matter what the circumstances.

There are some, like Bloom, who feel they are doing women a service by providing these procedures. Some provide them without ever knowing anything about the circumstances in which the women come to them. It makes a complete difference why women come to abortion clinics. Are they being coerced into it by their boyfriends? Would they then get counseled NOT to do it? Are they told they have the right not to do it? Are they informed about what the procedure is like? I wasn’t. I got the impression no one much cared why you were there as long as you had the money for the procedure. Sobbing from pain and nauseous, all I got was a nurse telling me not to be such a baby about it. And still, no one pays attention to the women who regret this decision and are NOT brainwashed by a religion to think so. As a Christian, I was completely pro-choice without reservation. But as with everything, age and experience has taught me different things and I’ve since changed my mind and have some very serious reservations.  It is a completely personal decision not to whole-heartedly endorse all abortions at all times. I don’t. There are objections of all sorts. And I admire the Gates Foundation for not succumbing to another person’s politics and making their own decision about where their money is going. I admire them for not using women as pawns to further fund their personal ideology. There will always be those who furiously defend their opinions and ideologies as the only “right” ones to be had. However, if that one opinion puts me on the “wrong” side of the whole political spectrum feminists are supposed to espouse, then count me in the anti-feminist category.

Retreat! Retreat!

I’m not one to find a feminist argument in every little thing, but this just gripes me.  Back in the day, men needed a place to get away from their responsibilities, their jobs, their women, and their children; hence the “bachelor pad.” Or single men needed a place where they could enjoy themselves without all the messiness of female things being around. Women of course had no such places to go because, being women, they always had to be available to their men and their children and their husband’s houses. Hey, where do you think the term “housewife” comes from? This little “cabin” would be the perfect thing for that modern women (who makes an income in the 6 figures) to get away from everything.

Mad Men’s Premier

I finally watched the TiVo’d episode of Sunday’s premier of Mad Men on AMC. It is probably one of the most well written shows on television right now and I had absolutely no expectations going into it. I’m not one of those who likes to endlessly pick apart a program like Lost fans do or even The X-Files and I was a fan of The X-Files. I am not a fan of too many convoluted plot lines, not because I don’t want to think but because no show has ever pulled off a satisfying resolution that made sense from all that went before (exception Battlestar Galactica) No, sometimes I just like to watch a little slice of life and remember the good ol days of the Sixties. NOT. I like to watch for a good story, good acting, and a compelling plot.

Don Draper is one of the most compelling characters I’ve seen on television, but the one who really fascinates me is his wife, Betty. June Cleaver she is not although she would fit right into that kaffeeklatch on surface.  What fascinated me this time around at the beginning of Season 4  is that one doesn’t really know Betty Draper. We have no way of knowing what she thinks, what she wants, or if she even thinks about anything at all when she sits and smokes her cigarettes. We cannot get inside her head. She is a character on which all of us housewives can project our feelings. The way Betty Draper treats her children is interesting. Betty comes from privilege, which is telling, and every time one of her children needs something she is dismissive and is often what parents now would call abusive. This is the “be seen and not heard” parent. Betty would be happy if her kids sat in front of the TV all day and left her alone. In a way, she’s almost like a piece of furniture in the Draper household; good to look at and admire and to demonstrate functionality.

On Sunday’s episode, Betty is at a Thanksgiving dinner in her new husband’s home. Her son and daughter are with her and everyone is trying to be nice but the atmosphere is extremely awkward and tense because of the new arrangements. Betty’s daughter Sally has the audacity, when asked, how she likes her food and Sally says that she doesn’t like it at all. Of course Betty is appalled that Sally said anything out loud and forces her to eat her food, which Sally promptly throws up on her plate.  Betty is even more appalled and drags her daughter out of the room by the arm. Obviously she’s not embarrassed to be doing that in public.

Ah, the memories! Betty is certainly not a good parent, but who was in the pre-historic Sixties? Like Sally, there were many awful dinners at our house growing up. Our step-monster (e.g. step-father) would force us to eat the grossest things (we thought) and one time, after being forced to eat all of my portion of disgusting cow’s liver, I threw up all over him. That was a very satisfying experience. Did I get in trouble for that? You bet your ass I did, even though it was his fault. To this day I have never ever touched organ meats again nor have I ever forced my kids to eat anything. I mean what message does that send?

Mad Men is a great show because it doesn’t whitewash the Sixties and it presents people in all their good moments and bad, just like life. Of course, if it were exactly like real life we would have many varieties of women and men in all sizes and shapes, but we don’t and have to start somewhere. For that, we need to watch re-runs of The Sopranos. But Michael Weiner does try. I’ll give him that.  As long as Mad Men makes me think about real life and all its gritty reality, I will continue to watch it.