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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Wednesday, November 13, 2002
1:31 PM

Good link at Ranting Screeds via InstaGlenn; Hootie Johnson's Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. Ranting Screeds also notes Martha Burk's 1997 Ms. Magazine piece on male sterilization: (first flogged, far as I can tell, by NRO's Kathryn Lopez as noted yesterday). Ranting:

Maybe she was aware of the swiftian connotations of making a modest proposal, but it sure doesn't seem like it.

On reflection, I can't imagine reading this piece--or the excerpts of it I've seen-any other way. Jonathan Swift's
A Modest Proposal, a standard assignment in high school and college English lit classes where they still teach dead white males, was written in 1729 and proposes to end poverty and starvation in Ireland by eating infants. (”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled ...” Some rather prominent people thought he was serious and great hilarity and bitterness ensued.

I don't know how to read Burk's 1997 column any other way:

"So," Burk wrote, "how do we control men's fertility? Mandatory contraception beginning at puberty, with the rule relaxed only for procreation under the right circumstances (he can afford it and has a willing partner) and for the right reasons (determined by a panel of experts, and with the permission of his designated female partner)."

But I still think it shows genuine anger, which helps explain why the clearly out-of-line word "bigot" keeps flying out of Burks' mouth whenever the tape is rolling.

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