Thursday, July 11, 2013

All Around the Web - July 11, 2013

Ross Douthat - Religious Liberty and the Gay Marriage Endgame |

Since Anthony Kennedy tends to have the final say when our republic’s culture war debates reach the Supreme Court, and since it seems safe to assume where the author of Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas stands on the question of gay marriage, you can make a strong case that same-sex marriage opponents should actually be breathing a sigh of relief at today’s rulings on the issue. For now, the right to define marriage is still reserved to the states, which means that the political battle can continue — albeit amid a flood of new lawsuits inspired by some of Kennedy’s arguments — in jurisdictions where the national trend toward support for gay wedlock hasn’t yet overwhelmed the traditional view. This obviously matters to the hardy band of activists who still hold out hope of reversing that trend. But it also matters to the many social conservatives who assume that gay marriage’s continued advance is more or less inevitable, but who hope to build in as many protections for religious liberty as possible along the way.

From this point of view, continuing on the current gradualist, federalist path to same-sex marriage gives conservatives time and space to pivot, ”psychologically as well as legally,” from the fight against gay marriage itself to “the struggle to preserve religious liberty and ensure that this revolution already made doesn’t enter a more radical phase,” The American Conservative’s Dan McCarthy suggests today. Ben Domenech, editor of The Transom, who’s written eloquently on the stakes for religious liberty in these debates, offered a similar take in April

Trevin Wax - Abortion as the Ultimate Exploitation of Women: A Conversation with Brian Fisher |

I recently read a new book by Brian Fisher – Abortion: The Ultimate Exploitation of Women. Fisher shows how abortion benefits and enables sexually promiscuous men by alleviating them of any sense of personal responsibility for pregnancy. I asked Brian to answer a few questions about his book.

Trevin Wax: Most conversations about abortion frame this issue as a woman’s concern. But you say that rather than empowering women, abortion exploits women and that men are complicit in this exploitation. How does abortion harm women?

Brian Fisher: Men are not only complicit in this exploitation; they lead the charge. For several hundred years in American history, the one thing that kept men’s sexual habits in check was the fear of an unplanned pregnancy. Roe v. Wade removed that last fear in 1973.  Thanks to the Sexual Revolution and Roe, men how have complete freedom to sleep with whomever they want without any responsibility whatsoever.

If a man sleeps with a woman and she gets pregnant, the man now has a “get out of jail free card.” Not only does the culture assume men have no say over the unborn child, the law also bars us from having any responsibility for him or her. So the woman is left alone with the heart-wrenching decision to take the life of her own child. And the man goes merrily on his way, continuing his sexual escapades. She has a surgical procedure that ends a baby’s life and often destroys hers, and he just keeps on having sex.

Exploitation is one class of people using another for its own selfish purposes. Abortion in America is an example. And, ironically, women in America often celebrate their own exploitation and call it a right.

Buzzfeed - Polygamists Celebrate Supreme Court’s Marriage Rulings |

The Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of same-sex marriage Wednesday were greeted with excitement by polygamists across the country, who viewed the gay rights victory as a crucial step toward the country’s inevitable acceptance of plural marriage.

Anne Wilde, a vocal advocate for polygamist rights who practiced the lifestyle herself until her husband died in 2003, praised the court’s decision as a sign that society’s stringent attachment to traditional “family values” is evolving.

“I was very glad… The nuclear family, with a dad and a mom and two or three kids, is not the majority anymore,” said Wilde. “Now it’s grandparents taking care of kids, single parents, gay parents. I think people are more and more understanding that as consenting adults, we should be able to raise a family however we choose.”

“We’re very happy with it,” said Joe Darger, a Utah-based polygamist who has three wives. “I think [the court] has taken a step in correcting some inequality, and that’s certainly something that’s going to trickle down and impact us.”

WORLD Magazine - Family flicks beat R-rated reels at box office |

What do The Avengers, Wreck-It Ralph, and Les Misérables have in common? All three made the list of top 25 movies last year, and all feature redemptive overtones and family-friendly messages. Together, they brought in no small chunk of change: $961 million. 

Most moviemakers produce films they hope will turn a profit, which is the reason some wonder why Hollywood continues to make so many R-rated films. Most R-rated flicks earn less money than G- or PG-rated ones, and much less than the most popular category: PG-13.
Among last year’s top-grossing films, six were R-rated, including Ted and Django Unchained. Six—including Brave and The Lorax—carried a PG rating. But the half-dozen R-rated films only grossed $914 million, while the six PG movies made $1.1 billion. According to the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), the average R-rated film makes just $16.8 million, while PG movies make three times that amount.

The Atlantic - Chick Lit Is Dead, Long Live Farm Lit |

Chick lit—hot pink covers featuring martini glasses and Manolos, stylish city girl heroines navigating the urban jungle in search of love and career—seems to have gone the way of Friends and the dotcom bubble. "A visit to any chain bookstore will testify that its heyday has definitely passed," says Salon, quoting an editor who says, "We've pretty much stopped publishing chick lit." 

"[T]he bloom is off the "chick lit" rose," agrees The Economist

Well I have news. Yes, chick lit is dead (or dying, at least). But in its place, we now have a new genre. Call it "farm lit." 

In farm lit books, our heroines ditch the big cities beloved in chick lit—New York, Chicago, LA—in favor of slower, more rural existences, scrappily learning to raise goats on idyllic Vermont farms or healing their broken hearts by opening cupcake bakeries in their sweet Southern hometowns. Instead of sipping $16 appletinis with the girls, they're mucking out barns and learning to knit. Instead of pining after Mr. Big, they're falling for the hunky farmer next door.

Duck Dynasty season 4 is coming!

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