I wouldn’t say I “don’t appreciate” anyone’s personal fondness for Caitlin Flanagan’s theses. I’d say I don’t understand the appeal of Ms. Flanagan’s view of the world, which couldn’t differ more from mine, despite the fact that I’m a faithfully married woman of six years and don’t have a particularly wild past.
The (almost always completely correct) Old Hag explains her adoration for Caitlin Flanagan, author most recently of an Atlantic article heralding Dr. Laura:
She’s comfortable rethinking what dumbass psychotherapists* say
Every June, Dr. Laura fields multiple calls having to do with transporting reluctant children across vast distances so that court-ordered visitation agreements can be honored. Whereas an article in Parents magazine or the relentlessly upbeat family-life columns in Time might list some mild and generally useless tips for dealing with such a situation (have the child bring along a “transitional object,” plan regular phone calls home, and so forth), Laura throws out the whole premise. What in the world are the parents doing living so far away from each other? One of them needs to pick up stakes and move. “I can’t do that,” the caller always says. “Yes, you can,” Laura always replies, and when you think about it, she’s right.
We also agree with the stay-close thing, as our own parenting theories revolve mainly around the basic goodness of lying on a big heap watching TV on the bed.
Her grammar is impeccable
I didn’t always agree with her: she opposes legal abortion, which I support; she’s against premarital sex, of which I dimly recall being distinctly and unapologetically fond.
And she’s a whore!
She is very, very funny
To Laura, men are simple creatures, their psychological complexity hovering somewhere between that of Boo Radley and Mr. Green Jeans.
Mr. Green Jeans. Heh.
She anticipates her critics
To a person, just about, my friends are liberals, and when I try to talk to them about Dr. Laura, they think I’ve gone completely cuckoo. I took her first book on a family vacation a few years back, and my father read it one night and then sat me down for a very serious and disappointed discussion about my declining literary and political tastes.
…but not in an annoyedly Eggersian way
She’s a little over the top….
Emma deconstructs Flanagan’s latest article, saying “when someone as clever and right-thinking as Old Hag is seduced by an argument, I feel obliged to give it fair consideration.” She finds:
Flanagan is ostensibly writing in support of Dr Lauraâ€™s crackpot schtick, yet completely fails to offer any compelling reasons why she â€“ or we – should take seriously the radio agony auntâ€™s retrogressive doctrines….
I’ve received a slew of responses to my call for opinions and will post excerpts from some above if I don’t get lost in a snowdrift on the way to my office. I’ll read the article, I guess, but I already know I’m not going to like it.