Dear Rick Santorum

21 February 2012

Do you know what the real problem is with women in this country? Shoes. Give a woman shoes, and she’ll think that God intended her to leave the house and/or get a job. Next thing ya know, she’ll be putting her children into government (aka “public”) schools rather than educatering them at home.

That’s right! It’s ladies’ shoes that lead to birth control and abortion, doing nasty things in the sexual realm that are counter to how things are supposed to be, and public education. Have you seen an episode of Sex and the City (aka “Demonesses Living in the Hellfire of Their Own Making”)? All those evil ladies do is expound their phony ideologies and buy shoes! And let various and motley men-folk explore their hoo-hah regions!

It might take a while for ladies to get used to being barefoot and pregnant all the time, but it’s God’s plan! I beg you to take my advice and hold forth on the evils of shoes for women. And I look forward to your being President Santorum!

yours in the everloving sanctity of patriarchal control over the vajay-jay,

Didion/ Feminéma

Does anyone know whether Santorum has paused in his misogynistic, anti-feminist diatribe against abortion, birth control, and public education to comment on vasectomies and the use of Viagra?

Because I’d be very interested in knowing that all this The Handmaid’s Tale-quality stuff out of his mouth ever deals with men. Please let me know.

I don’t do this often enough: recommend things I’m reading, especially considering how much these three pieces have provoked my imagination during the past week. Don’t want to overwhelm you, so I’ve narrowed it down to three:

First: the wonderful playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in AmericaThe Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures) recently received the Puffin Prize, The Nation Institute’s prize for Creative Citizenship — a highly lucrative award. Watch his funny, self-deprecating, and thoughtful 20-minute speech here — he’s not the most natural orator, but what he says is lovely; or read his full speech at The Nation’s site. (Actually, do both, because you miss some things in the video version.) He talks jokingly at first about winning prizes and then eloquently about what it means to be a citizen, even a bad one. Also: how he intends to spend all that money:

Second, read this smart piece about Rick Santorum’s particular appeal to Christian women, written by Kathy Ferguson of the University of Hawaii. Whereas I’ve been inclined to make fun of him, full stop, she does a magnificent job of thinking about how he performs the role of a parent who has suffered grief (of a dead baby, a severely disabled child) and hence touches some women in deep ways. In “Making Sense of Rick Santorum,” Ferguson showed me that I need to come to grips with — well, if not Santorum, at least the women whose self-identification as mothers trumps everything, and even leads them to vote for such a man.

And third, finally, Terri Gross’s interview of Meryl Streep on Fresh Air was such a riveting and good-humored account of acting — acting as a form of singing (with special reference to Barbra Streisand); the similarities and differences between the voices of Julia Child and Margaret Thatcher; the way that coming of age as a girl eager to attract boys is a form of acting. I loved every minute and have added Streep to my list of Dream Dinner Party guests. (You can listen to it online or download it to your iTunes. I seem to listen to podcasts all the time now — at the gym, the grocery store, walking to work….)

Which reminds me: why don’t we have more female interviewers getting serious with other women artist/creator/politician interviewees on subjects that don’t devolve back to boys alone? Or weight loss? Can it be that women themselves don’t pass the Bechdel Test often enough?

Anyway. I do love seeing smart people being smart on the page/in person. Enjoy the pleasure of texts that sit above the usual.

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