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ALARMS AND DIVERSIONS FOR THE THINKING PERSON

Forum File

Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 12:01 am

The reading list

“Today's women have achieved a goal that social commentators have inveighed against for centuries: economic independence. Railed The Times of London in 1868, in opposing property rights for married women: 'The proposed change would totally destroy the existing relation between husband and wife.' An American letter-writer declared in 1903:

“'The wife who has her own income is thereby rendered a poorer wife [and,] feeling independent of her natural protector, she becomes more critical, less lenient to his faults and failings.'

“And — as Dr. Phil would ask — how's all that freedom working … for us? Not very well, says Mary Eberstadt, author of 'Adam and Eve After the Pill.' The sexual revolution's legacy, she maintains, is 'the paradox of declining female happiness.'

“… Into this gloomy landscape, however, strides Liza Mundy, her bold new vision encapsulated in 'The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love, and Family.' Instead of being a castrating, unmarriageable harpy, today's reproductively and economically free female, Mundy asserts, is the trigger for a challenging but exciting new social order.”

— From “The Weaker Sex” at theatlantic.com

A quiz

What causes nearly 75 percent of cocaine-related fatalities?

Wisdom of the ages

“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” — Thomas Jefferson

Current wisdom

“The big difference is that 100 million people can see football on TV, so the mistakes are glaring. The mistakes that the scabs are making in the factories are behind closed doors.” — Mark Froemeke, who's been locked out of his job as a loader-operator at an American Crystal Sugar Co. plant in East Grand Forks, Minn., for 14 months.

Quiz answer

Mixing it with alcohol.

Snob words

privity (PRIV-uh-tee), n. – participation in the knowledge of something private or secret, especially as implying concurrence or consent; private or secret knowledge, as in: “The editorial writer told the politician he could not have his privity or consent for a tax increase.”

Today in history

On this date in 1963, the Rolling Stones went on their first tour; yep, they're really that old.

Now you know

The deadliest flu outbreak in history was the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19. The Spanish flu killed more people in 24 weeks than AIDS did in 24 years. It also killed more people in one year than smallpox or the Black Plague did in 50 years.