Wednesday, January 07, 2009


There was a mini-hissyfit on the right this week about alleged politically correct language use -- or, rather, the sudden, allegedly hypocritical lack thereof -- by MSNBC's David Shuster. Here was the harrumph from Mark Finkelstein of NewsBusters:

Suddenly Puritanical Shuster: Bristol & Levi 'Unwed Parents'

He stopped short of demanding they be branded with a scarlet 'U.' But the suddenly puritanical David Shuster insists that the proper term for Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston is "unwed parents."

... Now, it is of course true that Bristol and Levi are parents and unwed. But when's the last time you heard an MSM type refer to an "unwed mother" or "unwed parents"? As we all know, the approved PC terms are "single mother" and simply "parents" or "partners."

So what's caused Shuster suddenly to become strait-laced? You don't suppose it could possibly stem from a desire to embarrass Bristol's mother, do you?

When was the last time the MSM referred to "unwed parents" or an "unwed mother"? Oh, I don't know -- maybe it was this?

Hollywood's unwed parents club (L.A. Times, 6/27/08)

Or this?

Typical unwed mother is not a teen, study says (Boston Globe, 4/15/08)

Or this?

Stories of Unwed Mothers Take to the Big Screen (NPR, 2/21/08)

Or this?

Marry Your Baby Daddy Day: Activist marries unwed parents (Christian Science Monitor, 2/14/08)

Or this?

"Although one in every three American babies has unwed parents, birth fathers' rights remain an unsettled area..." ("Unwed Fathers Fight for Babies Placed for Adoption by Mothers," New York Times, 3/19/06)

Or this?

"Last year, 59 percent of all first-born French children were born to unwed parents..." ("More Longtime Couples in France Prefer L'Amour Without Marriage," Washington Post, 11/21/06)

Right-wing fist-shakers are so desperate for material that when "PC" doesn't exist, they make it up. Late last year they were whining about media references to the Mumbai terrorists as "militants" and "gunmen" (because those terms don't sound eeeevil enough), and now Shuster is being castigated for selectively crossing a PC line in the sand that, prior to this, didn't even exist.


This segues rather nicely into what I understand is the really, really outrageous bit in the new Ann Coulter book -- a denunciation of single mothers, and the alleged media glorification of them. I'm not going to be a conduit for Coulter's rant -- Mr. Finkelstein of NewsBusters provides the details if you want them -- but I will note one Coulter statement made on the Today show this morning:

The National Organization for Women has a bumper sticker: 'A Nuclear Family Can Destroy Your Whole Life.'

It does? I don't find anything whatsoever at the NOW online store when I search for "nuclear," nor do I find any bumper sticker with that message. Searches at the online store for "family" and "families" don't turn this item up. The only Google results turned up by the phrase "A Nuclear Family Can Destroy Your Whole Life" reference Finkelstein's NewsBusters article about the Coulter appearance.

I tried taking out the word "Whole" in a Google search: nothing. I tried "Nuclear Families Can Destroy" and "Nuclear Families Destroy": nothing and nothing. I tried "nuclear families" and "nuclear family" at CafePress: no such item and no such item.

Does this item exist? Is it some 1970s relic, perhaps? Or is Coulter just making stuff up again?

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