Battle of the Time Machines

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006 · 6 Comments »

David Brooks eagerly awaits a bong hit in this 1968 file photo.
Surely everybody’s heard by now of the David Brooks op-ed piece last Sunday, in which he took Linda Hirshman to task for engaging in a “full-bore, unapologetic blast of 1975 time-warp feminism.” Apparently Bobo felt that the best way to counter this time-warpism would be to climb into a time machine of his own and set the dial back to 1968.

ancient artifact See, there just happens to be preserved online (courtesy of Duke University) a little booklet called Notes from the First Year: The New York Radical Women, 1968. This ancient artifact preserves the voices of the Women’s Lib movement as it was gaining ground. The funniest – or saddest – part is the objections heard to “women’s liberation.” I’ve pulled out a choice sample of these comments from 1968 and placed them side by side with the statements made 3 days ago by our nationally esteemed New York Times columnist and television pundit, Bobo Himself.
See if you can tell the difference:

1968 Anti-Feminist 2006 David Brooks
“Women don’t have it so bad. There are women doctors, lawyers, architects. Women are in almost all the fields open to men.” “After a generation of feminist advance, women have more choices. They are freer to pursue a career, stay home or figure out some combination of both.”
“Don’t you know that women control most of the wealth in this country? They also control individual men, not overtly but indirectly. Women have the real power, baby.” “[Hirshman]’s wrong to assume that work is the realm of power and home is the realm of powerlessness. The domestic sphere may not offer the sort of brutalizing, dominating power Hirshman admires, but it is the realm of unmatched influence. Power is in the kitchen.”
“But men are exploited, too. They do mostly unrewarding work. They are not allowed to be full human beings either.” “[Hirshman]’s wrong with her astonishing assertion that high-paying jobs lead to more human flourishing than parenthood. If Hirshman thinks high-paying careers lead to more human flourishing, I invite her to spend a day as an associate at a big law firm.”
“Are you also advocating an end to families-putting all kids in nurseries? Kids need mother love or they’ll grow up neurotic.” “Children, at least, understand parental power. In ‘Eminem Is Right,’ a Sidney Award-winning essay in Policy Review, Mary Eberstadt notes a striking change in pop music. ‘If yesterday’s rock was the music of abandon, today’s is the music of abandonment.’ An astonishing number of hits, from artists ranging from Pearl Jam to Everclear to Snoop Dogg, are about kids who feel neglected by their parents. This is a need Hirshman passes over.”
“Most women want things the way they are. They may demand equal pay or less drudgery but they still want to have the same kinds of personal relationships with men that people have had for centuries. It’s in nature.” “[Hirshman’s] third mistake is to not even grapple with the fact that men and women are wired differently. The Larry Summers flap produced an outpouring of work on the neurological differences between men and women. One of the findings of this research is that men are more interested in things and abstract rules while women are more interested in people. (You can come up with your own Darwinian explanation as to why.)”

Funny, no? Well, not really. Actually it’s pretty goddamned sad. Read that little booklet and you’ll feel like you’re living your whole goddamn life in a time machine. This shit hasn’t changed. Here are a few more comments from 1968:

“Your ideas may be all right for you personally, but why must you impose a particular life style on other women? Some women really want to serve a man in the traditional way, they just naturally want to be housewives.”

“But other people are more oppressed than you.”

“It sounds like you hate men.”

“Are you trying to be like men, then?”

“Well, all I can say is you must be a bunch of lesbians.”

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6 Responses to “Battle of the Time Machines”

  1. Feministe » Yet Another Round-Up says:

    [...] Battle of the Time Machines: Have anti-feminist arguments changed in forty years? Negative. [...]

  2. Dr. K says:

    In nearly 40 years they couldn’t come up with any new material? Even network sitcom writers can do better than that.

  3. Donna says:


    I love the transposing of 1968 rhetoric v. the tired arguments of hacks like Brooks.

    And BTW, eat shit Bobo. Maybe your wife buys into your essentialist bullshit and tries to convince herself that picking your underwear up is the ultimate locus of feminine influence. But she’s deluding herself because you are a hateful, Bush-blowing, misogynistic shitheel. I only hope she wakes up, realizes it, and divorces your idiotic ass.

  4. belledame222 says:

    Bobo really needs to STFU and make me a chocolate chicken pot PAH, stat.

  5. Violet Socks says:

    I don’t think Bobo has a wife. I think he has an inflatable doll. And two inflatable doll children.

    A chocolate chicken pot pie?

  6. e p o n y m o u s » The Ghosts Of Sexists Past says:

    [...] Give up? The first one in each is from a 1968 pamphlett called “Notes from the First Year: The New York Radical Women, 1968.” Telling, really. [...]