1:05 PM, Jul 18, 2014 • By CHARLOTTE ALLEN
Amy Alkon, Los Angeles-based syndicated advice columnist (“Advice Goddess”) and author of Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck (St. Martin’s Griffin), is a friend of mine, so this is a plug, not a review. But even if this were a review because I didn’t know Amy, it would read like a plug anyway. Her previous manners book, I See Rude People (2009), got rave blurbs from Elmore Leonard and Harold Bloom. I’m not in the same league as either of those, but I can say without reservation that Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck is hilarious, consistently entertaining, and, above all, wise. It’s Emily Post as a beach read.
Unlike Post, though, Amy doesn’t pretend to know, much less dispense advice about, the finer points of formal etiquette. In her opening chapter, titled “I Don’t Care Where You Put the Fork (as long as you don’t stab anybody in the eye with it),” she confesses: “I do have a grasp on certain table manner basics, like that you shouldn’t lick your plate clean unless there’s a power outage or you’re dining with the blind, but I’m basically as domestic as a golden retriever.” But as she points out: “What really matters isn’t how you set the table or serve the turkey but whether you’re nice to people while you’re doing it.” Her book, she writes, is “for people like me, who are well-meaning but imperfect…who sometimes swear (and maybe even enjoy it) but take care not to do it around anybody’s great-aunt or four-year-old.”
Some of Amy’s directives are aimed at one’s own well-meaning but imperfect self: How not to shoot your mouth off (or use it as a repository for your foot), how to deal politely with prying questions from others, how to resist the temptation to criticize—because “criticizing people doesn’t make people want to change; it makes them want to clobber you.” Other parts of the book target the human vermin that infest today’s life: litterers, “cellphone rudewads,” violators of the “one car, one parking space” rule (“if a scratch is that big a deal, you aren’t rich enough to drive it”), seat-kickers on airplanes, sidewalk hogs, dog-walkers who regard your front lawn as a canine lavatory, and parents who refuse to hush or discipline their screaming children in public places for fear of traumatizing the little darlings. Amy tells you not to be one of the above—and also how to deal with these pests effectively without either being a pushover or getting arrested for assault and battery.
There is a much-needed chapter on Internet etiquette (don’t hit up your friends to crowdfund your vanity projects, don’t put people into your Facebook group without their consent, don’t ask your friends to read and comment on your attached poem/short story/draft of your newspaper op-ed piece unless you’re paying them for the chore. When e-mailing people for business purposes, stick to 9-5 business hours (this is a rule that I myself constantly violate, I’ve got to say.)
A chapter on dating and relationships—and how to end one of those relationships politely but firmly (don’t explain—just say it’s not working for you) is not only sage but refreshingly politically incorrect. Amy draws on evolutionary psychology to argue that dating is a mating ritual that is ultimately linked to procreation and the raising of children. This means that “male sexuality is about the visuals,” as Amy writes, because women’s youth and good looks signal their fertility, whereas “women evolved to feel compelled to seek men who are ‘providers’” for them and their offspring.
Awareness of this crucial difference between the sexes should govern everything from who asks whom for the first date (the man, says Amy, because men value women who exercise their evolutionarily programmed choosiness); who pays for the first few dates (the man, because he symbolically demonstrates that he’s a provider—but only symbolically—first dates should be short and cheap); and, contra to reams of feminist propaganda, who gets to indulge in casual sex without feeling “like stepped-on crap afterwards” (the man again). Amy writes: “There are hookups that lead to happily ever after, but because men tend to devalue women they don’t have to chase, there’s a good chance a hookup will be the fast track to ‘He’s just not that into you…(but he’ll use you for sex while he’s looking for a woman he is into).’”
12:25 PM, Jul 15, 2014 • By CLAUDIA ANDERSON
This week, Christina Sommers answers questions from her mailbag about workplace discrimination and discrimination in the sciences and responds to a critic of her employer, the American Enterprise Institute. See for yourselves:
And check out the entire playlist here.
8:46 AM, Jul 5, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The vice president of the United States is counseling teenage girls -- at least, one teenager he saw yesterday -- that they can't date until they're 30. "Chestnut St. Nearing 9th, VPOTUS hugs a girl who is wearing a rain poncho and appears to be in her early teens. Tells her, 'No dates ‘til you’re 30,'" reports the pool reporter.
5:14 PM, Jul 1, 2014 • By DENNIS P. HALPIN
In 2007, during his first term as Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe penned a work titled Toward a Beautiful Country, My Vision for Japan. The recent re-examination of the 1993 Kono Statement on the Imperial Japanese military’s use of “comfort women” during World War II (a euphemism for sex slaves), which was presented to the Japanese Diet on June 20, is the antithesis of the actions of “a beautiful country.” It represents a backward step, reopening a dark chapter in 20th-century history, which most of the world woul
7:21 AM, Jun 10, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, is celebrating fathers who empower daughters.
“Richard Branson, Chelsea Clinton and Ziauddin Yousafzai (Malala’a father) join G(irls)20 to celebrate fathers who empower their daughters,” Mike Allen quotes a press release from the group G(irls)20 as saying.
12:31 PM, May 19, 2014 • By CLAUDIA ANDERSON
This week the Factual Feminist takes on the “rape culture” panic that is riling college campuses with help from the media, radical feminists, and too many politicians. Just as in the shameful panic over alleged child abuse at day care centers that sent innocent people to prison in the 1980s, false statistics, mob tactics at public meetings, and disregard for the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” hold sway among today’s accusers.
11:55 AM, May 5, 2014 • By CLAUDIA ANDERSON
This week the Factual Feminist takes on the new program in feminist biology at the University of Wisconsin, striking another blow for sanity and against agenda-driven, politicized science!
Watch her here:
And watch the entire series here.
Not as deft as Carney’s skillet flipping abilities.
7:18 AM, Apr 22, 2014 • By WHITNEY BLAKE
A few months ago when Obamacare was in free fall, many were left scratching their heads when the Democrats were touting stay-at-home motherhood as one of the perks of Obamacare.
3:02 PM, Apr 15, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott of Texas is more popular among female voters than his Democratic opponent, state senator Wendy Davis, according to a new poll from PPP. The Democratic polling firm found 51 percent of Texas voters support Abbott while 37 percent support Davis. That's not surprising, since Texas is a solidly Republican state.
8:23 AM, Apr 8, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
CBS says the White House is getting "roughed up by its own pay equity rhetoric."
"The White House is getting, as you indicated Norah, roughed up by its own pay equity rhetoric," reported Major Garrett. "In an analysis of White House salaries, which nobody here disputes, shows that the median income of female staffers is 88 percent of that of male staffers."
11:01 AM, Mar 12, 2014 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
On Saturday, March 8, members of the Gonabadi-Nimatullahi Sufi order, the most powerful Muslim contemplative body in Iran, assembled with supporters of other political prisoners in Tehran, for a peaceful protest against repression by the country’s clerical regime. Participants in the demonstration, held at the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office, totaled some 2,000 people. The Sufis called for solidarity with 10 inmates in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, the Rajai-Shahr prison in the city of Karaj west of Tehran, Nezam jail in the southern metropolis of Shiraz, and the jail at Bandar Abbas, a major port on the southern coast.
8:35 AM, Dec 3, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Vice President Joe Biden asked a group of women in Japan whether their husbands like them working full-time. "Do your husbands like you working fulltime?" Biden asked, according to the pool report.