Saturday, March 17

Meghan McCain in Playboy and Why It Matters

Meghan McCain is in Playboy (google it yourself) quoted as saying "I like sex and I like men." Which leads me to re-run this post I wrote in 2009. You might also be interested in using the search box above to search my blog for "abortion." Lots of writing there. -- BG

I attended a Community Organizing type meeting sponsored by the school district where as of next year, all three of my children will attend. The meeting was run by the President of the School Board, a man who clearly came from a long line of AME preachers, because "parental involvement in education" was not just the theme of the meeting, it was the God bless-ed gospel, and don't you forget it.

We parents who attended a 90 minute mid-day meeting to discuss parental involvement over cold Subway platters? Yeah. He was preaching to the converted.

The purpose of the meeting was to gather feedback and help to form a plan of action to help more parents in our community involve themselves in their children's education. We brainstormed on reasons why parents in my community might not become involved. Some of the reasons, and I am not making these up, on the paper flipchart (thank you Jesus there was no Powerpoint presentation):

Lack of transportation
Holding down multiple jobs
Substance abuse
Power is turned off at home
One or both parents are incarcerated

I mean, we got to "incarceration" within four minutes.

I live in a poor city. Every elementary school in the district is designated Title I, which means extra Federal funds because, duh, the majority of parents in the district are low income. It's called "Improving The Academic Achievement Of The Disadvantaged" but in the world of No Child Left Behind the focus is, of course, far more about standardized test scores than about making sure the child's home has a paid electric bill and at least one parent not in jail.

image from drunkstepmother's collection. Irony is dead.

A few days after this meeting, I met, literally on the schoolyard, an acquaintance, the mother of one of my 6yo's friends. She's under 30, dayglo red hair, tattoos, and a hand-cut cleavage wild child t-shirt.

She's pregnant. Again.

"We found out late. I'm due August 4. I just found out this week."

Dear readers: I do not do math in my head very quickly, but I knew right away for a fact that this woman had gone four cycles pregnant and had just "found out." Granted, as someone who has gone through infertility treatment, I STILL know two years after my tubes were done my exact day of would-be ovulation every single month.

But look, it's one thing to not know anything about what is going on in the world or even your kid's school and not give a shit. It's another to not know what the hell is going on in your own body.

Mr. Gingrich, while I have you on the phone, allow me to say that I am far more worried about the threat to this nation of ignorant parents and their neglected children, as well as a government policy that thinks they can fix these problems with standardized testing, than I am about some invented terrorist boogie man you want to prop up on the Sunday shows. And don't you EVER mention family values while I'm within castrating distance of you.


Unlike this whole torture-the-terrorists BS brought on by Cheney and Gingrich, there is an actual debate going on in the Republican party over sex: exemplified by Bristol Palin on the 'anti-sex' side and Meghan McCain on the 'pro-sex' side. It recalls a New Yorker article I've linked many times before and will again, Red Sex, Blue Sex:

Social liberals in the country’s “blue states” tend to support sex education and are not particularly troubled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter’s pregnancy as devastating news. And the social conservatives in “red states” generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but are relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn’t choose to have an abortion.
So Bristol Palin gets pregnant and doesn't get an abortion, and her choices are understood and even accepted in Red State world. And Meghan McCain is clearly sexually active but doesn't get pregnant, and describes herself as a "progressive Republican."

It's become very clear to me this week after offering, sincerely, to help the "just found out" mom find some hand-me-down baby clothes, that the debate between Bristol and Meghan is not about political party or feminism or even sex itself. It is about economic class. (Yes, my preschooler can tell you that Mommy is a Marxist in the intellectual sense.)

Remember the wonderful old movie Pygmalion, from the Shaw play, with Wendy Hiller and Leslie Howard? Done far better than the My Fair Lady version, mind you. Professor Higgins announces that he will make Eliza Doolittle into a fine lady by teaching her to speak properly:

HIGGINS [carried away] Yes: in six months -- in three if she has a good ear and a quick tongue -- I'll take her anywhere and pass her off as anything. We'll start today: now! this moment! Take her away and clean her, Mrs. Pearce. Is there a good fire in the kitchen?

MRS. PEARCE [protesting]. Yes; but—

HIGGINS [storming on] Take all her clothes off and burn them. Ring up Whitely or somebody for new ones. Wrap her up in brown paper til they come.

LIZA. You're no gentleman, you're not, to talk of such things. I'm a good girl, I am; and I know what the like of you are, I do.

HIGGINS. We want none of your slum prudery here, young woman. You've got to learn to behave like a duchess.
Behaving like a duchess means having no concern over whether society thinks you are a 'good girl' sexually. George Bernard Shaw understood that the cultural battle over sexual morals is not about sex. It's about whether you need to position yourself as morally superior about sex, because that is your economic class's only claim to gentility. (Notice Eliza's slum prudery extends so far as to getting naked for a bath.)

Oh. Did somebody say duchess?

There she is, the daughter of military royalty and brewmaster aristocracy. The word "privileged" comes to mind.

Something Bristol Palin is not.

Bristol Palin recently said "If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex. Trust me. Nobody." Clearly, 'nobody' does not include Meghan McCain, because Meghan has the financial, emotional, and educational resources to protect herself from the unwanted consequences of sexual activity. In a word, she can afford to be pro-sex. Hell, if she gets pregnant, she can afford a crib that costs as much as educating three kids in Catholic school for a year.

Or have Cindy's people call for shipping. The wealthy can afford the crib and the sex and the babies and even the abortions, even if the poor in the red states were to succeed in making that illegal. There's always a trip to Canada, Norway, or a high-priced physician willing to perform an undocumented "procedure." Most importantly, unlike the vast unwashed of Red State Evangelicalism, the rich do not need a pro-life anti-sex political position to be Better Than You.

The rich can also afford to opt out of Title I public education. In doing so, they leave their debt to society completely and utterly unpaid. Not ironically, education leads to a higher 'class' of people, people who don't need slum morals and sexual hypocrisy to prove superior societal status. If we want less influence for the religious right and the Republican Party that takes advantage of their ignorance, we have to start going to public school board meetings and find baby clothes and maybe a clue for the unrefined mother down the street. Paying my debt to society includes her baby, too.

cross-posted at SexGenderBody


  1. Blue Gal, I am grateful to you for posting this, as I missed it the first time around.

    So well-said and full of insight! I did not think of My Fair Lady in these terms (truthfully, it has been ages since I saw the film, longer since I read Shaw), but you are absolutely, dead-center correct: it IS about class, and a political struggle, and it is also tangled up with Seneca's take on religion (that it is regarded as useful by the ruling class).

    I saw bits of Alexandra Pelosi's film from last week's Bill Maher, where she interviewed very religious and poor folks in the south who would rather vote with God (as they put it) than vote for someone who'll "give them a handout", even as they accept handouts (because it's not the same, or something). I saw about fifteen seconds of her followup piece--interviewing poor black people in line at the welfare office--and had to turn it off, it was so disturbing, mainly because I found her needling them to be offensive in the extreme, and because she was providing the Right with a storehouse of ammunition to use when they start cutting social safety nets, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security--something they've been frothing at the mouth in anticipation of doing.

    Yeah, using the poor white folks in the first section (last week) was exploitative. But the point it made was one that threw the Republicans' cynical ploys--using social wedge issues to gain economic power--into a bright pool of TV light. It prodded at the side of the wealthy and powerful. This week, however, the exploiting was doubly awful: callous and condescending in itself, as well as serving to buttress the big Con lie that all those tax dollars we pay are going to support able-bodied people who are scamming the system.

    A number of Caymans' accounts belonging to defense contractors would clearly indicate otherwise.


    Anyway, before I rant myself into a lather, I'll get busy sharing this great post. Thanks, love.


  2. Nice to see you take the Zippo out for a spin.

  3. Megs can be a media whore, or an actual whore, because either way she can afford whatever it is she wants/needs. But the idea of fresh faces in the GOP & on the right is contrary to reality-- he own dad being the prime example of an old coot in office (although it was great he took stage & meant to endorse Romney & said "Obama" instead. He's so old, he does not even remember who he is endorsing. There is nothing fresh about the lockstep party of no. Even though the unwed teen in the presidential election (Brisket Palin) was "embraced", many pointed out if it were a black candidate's teen that was pregnant, all the stereotyped "Welfare Queen" stuff would have been dragged out.

    Megs declared " I’m strictly dickly. I can’t help it. I love sex and I love men."

    So how much did she make for her non nude playboy mag interview?
    Hard to believe the beer baronesses daughter needs spending money.

    I guess the biggest question is who the hell cares what Megs thinks?

    As you said, she can afford to go anywhere they don't require transvaginal probes for abortions. We already know the party of NO says YES to sex, based on the roster of political sex scandals.

    As for parent participation, it always floors me the way tons of parents come out for sports games, but so many empty seats @ PTO meetings. I bet some people don't come because they know it does not end there Once you go, you are asked to be library volunteer, bake sale coordinator, field trip chaperone, & on & on.

    ou have other kids in multiple schools, there is a feeling one must protect ones self from mega burn out.

    You'd best know your limits & be able to say NO when asked to overschedule yourself into oblivion.

    The advantage of being an active parent is often I was the only one attending & my vote on matters went a long way! For instance on the question of if they should allow "free" closed circuit TV's throughout the school as long as they allowed the company to do advertising in the classroom. the advertising included military recruiting & god knows what else. I was the ony one who came to that meeting armed w stats on how much TV kids already watch & the fact you have no control over the advertising. I do not want middle school kids getting recruited, and likely there would be crappy "food & drink" ads.
    all taking away from class time & actual doing of things like reading, band & even recess .

    Other reasons....
    lack of childcare

  4. Worth a rerun, BG.

    I'm also reminded of Meghan McCain's stance on abortion. Here she is back in 2009:

    "I, personally, am pro-life, but I'm not going to judge someone that's pro-choice. It is not my place to judge other people and what they do with their body."

    Similar to her father, the Palins, and many of the folks The Daily Show interviewed at the RNC in 2008, Meghan McCain apparently doesn't understand that she's actually pro-choice. Some of that, in the case of the professional politicians, might be hypocrisy, flip-flopping and election pandering, but there does seem to be genuine confusion as well as a failure to think the issue through. But the wealthy have the privilege of being dumb; someone generally will rescue them from the consequences of their actions (and from the bad public policy they shill).


I really look forward to hearing what you have to say. I do moderate comments, but non-spam comments will take less than 24 hours to appear... Thanks!