Saturday, May 22, 2004

She's baa-aack! When last I left the topic of Caitlin Flanagan, she was writing a very strange piece on on the "Nanny Wars" for the Atlantic Monthly. Now, the Atlantic has published a couple of letters to the editor (please scroll down) on the story -- as well as Flanagan's response.

The primary letter, by a woman named Ellen Willis, lays out a concise and damning indictment of Flanagan's orginal piece. She points out that Flanagan's accusations of class war only come about because Flanagan has decided to give up on men as domestic partners. The letter is well worth reading and far better than Rebel Dad's analysis.

But the part likely to get the blood boiling is Flanagan's response to Willis. Utterly ignoring nearly all of Willis' points, she instead lets loose with an set of ad hominem attacks. I disagree with almost every word of Flanagan's brief reply, and it is so clearly wrongheaded that no dissection is needed. Just read it. Flanagan hangs herself quite neatly.

(I'd would love to simply ignore Flanagan. If she were a common blogger -- like me -- I'd write her well-written but unhinged rantings off as the work of a conflicted working woman. But she's not a common blogger: she's a well-known magazine journalist about to start work at the New Yorker. She is, in short, one of the nation's highest-profile pundits on the subject of family life. And that means that I'll have to work to pop her neo-traditionalist bubble every time her byline appears, no matter how bizarre the arguments get.)

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