Up Up and Away
“Seeing a woman preach is like watching a dog walk about on its hind legs. Of course it does not do it well, but you are surprised that it can do it at all.” Boswell, James, “Life of Johnson” quoting Dr. Samuel Johnson
“The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon. It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon.” The Fifth Dimension, “Up Up and Away” .
I tried three different news shows this morning and each one featured as its top, almost exclusive story the drama involving some reality show refugees who had sent up a helium balloon, reporting their son was on board and then when it turned out not to be true, having the six year old son give away to Larry King the fact that it may all have been a stunt. I did not pay any attention to the original harrowing chase of the balloon by local authorities, so I had no interest in the story, other than to be disgusted that real news was being hijacked yet again by nonsense.
The real news of the day was over on CNN where they were reporting that before the year is up there will be more females than males in the American work force. Well that did not take long. When I was a kid it was 20% and in my neighborhood of baby boomers it was much less than that, only an occasional nurse or teacher and a rare secretary bucked the trend of stay at home moms. Moms in my Reading books at school always stayed home. Moms on T.V. always stayed home. There was a difference in “men’s work” and “ women’s work “with the women’s work being, if not looked down upon, devalued. Today you would think men and women would do mostly the same things in the work force (although the women somehow do it for less pay) but that is not strictly true. The reason women are becoming the majority this year is because recessions more heavily land on traditional men’s jobs.
Was America a better place when discrimination was the rule and women stayed at home to raise children ? Define better. Anyone who reviews the literature will find that women are less happy today than when they comprised only 20% of the work force. Everyone knows the reason for that. It is because the traditional “women’s work” still fell on most women and, added to that, was a job outside the home. You’ve come a long way baby ,as they used to say in the Virginia Slims commercials (aimed at getting women to smoke 100 millimeter cigarettes so that they could add lung cancer to their burdens) and they have come a long way. Only an idiot or a Middle Eastern male would say that women have not proven themselves the equal of men in every area of work life with the exception of “sperm donor”. Without a doubt that means that they will start dying sooner and paying higher life insurance premiums.
My mother in law’s assisted living facility had a party for their 100 year olds the other day. Guess how many men attended ? I think you know (the number does not have a digit in it). Stress is now theoretically spread over the entire population. I say theoretically because I know from observation that women, at least those with kids, appear to be under a lot more stress than the men. Thus I can say that my prediction in 1971 has turned out to be true. The women’s movement made it easier than ever to be a man. While all my friends were concerned about feminism, I selfishly embraced it as a way to be able to relax and slack off a little more.
The big issue then, as now, is what will this do to the children ? As far as I can tell the only difference is that men stopped going to college and stayed home to play computer games. Women started dominating many of the professional schools and virtually all of the Universities. So I guess that somehow the movement worked as I predicted, it allowed men to be slackers in greater numbers. That’s not so good for the country, but if you know as many men as I do, you can see how it was inevitable. It also coincided with the explosion of sports on cable T.V. which tells us a lot.
So congratulations to the ladies for making it over the 50% mark in yet another category. The meek have inherited the earth so to speak. I really think that they will do a better job with it. They do have the advantage of men setting the bar in that regard awfully low.