Sunday, April 29, 2007

Girl Stuff

First, the transcript isn't up yet, but Chris Matthews and Co. had another round of "Hillary -- too strident -- or merely too shrill?" this morning. "Strident" and "shrill" are words Matthews often uses to describe Hillary and her voice, which have morphed into a regular Matthews Obsession. This morning's excuse was the Democratic "debate" of last week. I note with interest that not one of the panelists described Mike Gravel, who, while pretty amusing, was pretty much screaming like a banshee, as strident.

Second, don't know who E.J. Graff is, but he/she hits the nail on the head re what drives "The Mommy Wars" machine:
The ballyhooed Mommy Wars exist mainly in the minds -- and the marketing machines -- of the media and publishing industry, which have been churning out mom vs. mom news flashes since, believe it or not, the 1950s. All while the number of working mothers has been rising...

An especially inflammatory article or episode can increase Web site hits, achieve "most e-mailed" status, drag more outraged viewers or listeners to the phone lines and burn a media brand more deeply into consumers' minds.

That's because middle- and upper-middle-class women are a demographic that responds well to anxiety, says Caryl Rivers, author of "Selling Anxiety: How the News Media Scare Women." She sees the Mommy Wars as "the intellectual version of 'Thin Thighs in 30 Days.' " Tell women that working will damage their marriages, harm their health and ruin their children, and they will buy your magazine, click on your Web site, blog about your episode and write endless letters to the editor. They may do so out of fury, anxiety, scorn or an earnest desire to correct your statistical errors -- but if your goal is to increase your hit rate or impress your editor, producer or publisher with something that's widely discussed, where's the downside?
The dollars. Always the dollars.

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