Finding God in the Park


Abe was fiercely independent, even at age 85, but after a mild stroke his son insisted he move in with him. Abe missed going to the park near his old apartment, and one Saturday he set out to find it.

When he became disoriented, he asked a young boy named Timmy where the park was. Timmy said he’d like to take him there, but he didn’t have time because he was looking for God. He said he needed to talk to Him about why his parents were getting a divorce.

“Maybe God’s in the park,” the old man said. “I’d like to talk to Him, too, about why He’s made me useless.” And so they set off together to find God.

At the park, Timmy began to cry about the divorce, and Abe lovingly held his face in both hands and looked him straight in the eyes. “Timmy, I don’t know why bad things happen, but I know it wasn’t because of you. I know you’re a good boy and your parents love you and they will always love you. I know you will be okay.”

Timmy gave Abe a big hug and said, “I’m so glad I met you. Thanks. I think I can go now.”

From across the street, Timmy’s mother saw them hug and approached her son in a worried voice. “Who was that old man?”

“I think he’s God,” Timmy said.

“Did he say that?” she demanded.

“No, but when he touched me and told me I’m going to be okay, I felt really better. Only God can do that.”

When Abe got home, his son asked in a scolding voice, “Where were you?”

“I was in the park with God.”

“Really? What makes you think you were with God?”

“Because He sent me a boy who needed me, and when the boy hugged me, I felt God telling me I wasn’t useless anymore.”



What Makes Us Happy ?


There is an ever-growing body of knowledge about the nature and causes of happiness.

For one thing, it’s clear that happiness is a feeling, not a circumstance. Happiness is more than just fun or pleasure. It’s a more durable sense of well-being.

Our happiness depends not on what happens to us, but what happens in us. In other words, it’s the way we choose to think about our lives. Abe Lincoln said, “People are generally about as happy as they’re willing to be.” A Buddhist proverb tells us that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.

So, what are the most common attributes of happy people? Well, it’s not money, fame, or good looks. It’s not even intelligence or talent. No, the two most important factors are gratitude and rewarding personal relationships.

The formula is simple: count your blessings and enjoy your family and friends.

Sadly, simple is not always easy.

People whose natural instincts produce a gloomy outlook and pessimism need to re-train their minds. It’s one thing to say happiness is not getting what you want but wanting what you get; it’s quite another to really be satisfied with what we have.

For many people, it takes discipline and practice to think positively.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing one’s perspective, choosing to see and appreciate the silver lining, the half full glass. In other cases, what’s required is refusing to dwell on pain, disappointment, or envy, and instead force one’s mind toward good thoughts, including all the things we should be grateful for.

Interestingly, the ability to maintain a positive attitude is also important in forming and sustaining meaningful relationships – seeing and bringing out the best.

Michael Josephson

Mumbai Traffic

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 8.47.16 AM.png


It is Surprising that I am writing after a long time & that too I have to write about Traffic.

Traffic in our city is increasing day by day , every day.

I am Sharing an Article Below from the Times of India dated 27th of February which will highlight how bad is the condition of our city Mumbai.

Mumbai: With the city’s vehicular population surging by up to 50% in five years, transport officials have identified “hotspots” in the island city, eastern and western suburbs which have maximum registrations of cars and two-wheelers. While there is no way one can stop registration of new vehicles here, these areas have been the biggest contributors to the vehicular burden on roads, whose total length has stagnated at 2,000km for many years.

Officials said the “hotspots”, defined in terms of burgeoning motor vehiclepopulation, crossed the one lakh mark due to a surge in car sales or demand for more two-wheelers. In Andheri and Goregaon, in the western suburbs, it will touch the two lakh mark in few months, sources said.

Topping the charts were Dadar (island city), Andheri (western suburbs) and Chembur (eastern suburbs), officials said.

Deputy RTO Sanjay Sasane (eastern suburbs) said, “In upmarket localities like Powai, car registrations have gone up drastically in the past few years. We receive several applications for high-end cars and SUVs. Chembur has the most registrations, with almost every middle class household having a car or a bike/scooter. In many state housing board colonies in Ghatkopar and Mulund, residents want two-wheelers to commute to the railway station daily, which has led to a surge in the number of bikes and scooters.”

He said most bike/scooter buyers in Mumbai were aged 18-35. “This is a young population which is dependent on private transport to reach a station or office,” he said.

Transport experts said a lack of “good and affordable” public transport system had led to people opting for two-wheelers. When BEST hiked bus fares more than a year ago, coupled with poor frequency, many purchased two-wheelers in the suburbs to travel from home to the railway station during peak hours. Most railway stations in the suburbs also came up with bigger parking lots to cater to the needs.

In the island city, Dadar has some of the most congested roads, including the one near Dadar TT. Deputy RTO Subhash Pedamkar (island city) said, “Dadar has seen a huge growth in car and two-wheeler registrations in the past few years. The area has seen a spurt in redevelopment too. Another area where vehicle population has seen a huge jump is the Worli-Mahalaxmi belt, with scores of highrise apartments having two to three cars registered per family.”
Mill areas of Lower Parel have also given way to highrises, and this belt, popularly referred to as Upper Worli, is where car registrations will peak. Colaba-Cuffe Parade has a huge vehicular population, including many commercial vehicles, compared to tony areas of Malabar Hill or Nepean Sea Road-Pedder Road.

In the western suburbs, Andheri and Goregaon have several residential and commercial hubs where the car/bike population has swelled over the years. Traffic there moves bumper-to-bumper during peak hours and congestion is the biggest issue, especially on arterial roads and near railway stations. The other three western suburbs on the RTO radar are Kandivli, Bandra and Borivli, with many households going in for bigger cars that occupy more road space.
Transport department statistics showed that overall vehicular density in Mumbai (island city and suburbs) has increased to approximately to 1,500 vehicles per km, from 935 between 2011-12 and 2015-16. The vehicle population surged from two million to nearly three million during this period. People are purchasing nearly 100 private cars and 250 two-wheelers daily; the vehicular strength includes 17 lakh two-wheelers and nine lakh private cars and SUVs across the city, RTO sources added.

What our city needs is More Public Transport , & Better Public Transport , which will encourage citizens to stop bringing their vehicle out on the road and instead rely on the government transportation.

Let’s Hope We see some Light soon !


Website to Refer –

Why am I not Surprised ?

I read this article on Washington post , and it really does not surprise me at all..


I’d rather have online friends than real ones

It hurt to have old friends slip away. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it also came with relief

By Crystal Ponti

There she is!” I whisper to my cat who has taken up residence next to my laptop.

I’m about to give an online presentation from my home in Maine to a writing group in St. Louis. My best friend helped arrange the event. I recognize her immediately as she stands to address the women in the crowd.

“We’ve never met in person, but we rarely go a day without talking,” she says in her introduction.

I gush. She’s my closest friend, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen her. I’ve seen pictures, of course, but not a living, breathing, fully animated Angela.

We met in 2011 during a Skype job interview and instantly hit it off. She’s right: In the five years we’ve known each other, hardly a day goes by without us communicating. We share the ups and downs, successes and failures, and even the latest gossip all through email. Even though she lives thousands of miles across the country, she’s the closest friend I have — and she’s only a click away.

Our relationship bridged a gap between the two hemispheres of my social life: pre-family and after-family, as I call them. Before starting a family — I have five kids — I had an abundance of friends. There was never a shortage of something to do or someone to do something with.

Now that I have a family, life has become an endless to-do list. Along the way, I lost the ability to maintain “real-world” friendships — the kind where you meet in person for coffee, catch a movie on a Sunday afternoon, or just call to vent about the latest episode of a popular sitcom. Who can hear over five kids fighting?

Despite my best intentions and endless Post-it notes reminding me to visit or call my friends, I did nothing. I was stretched too thin. Being a wife and mother didn’t allow much room for the upkeep of additional human companionship.

It hurt to have old friends slip away. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it also came with relief. Traditional friendships are a lot of work — requiring availability, constant interaction and, most of the time, pants. So much was already expected of me at home that the real-world friendships I had once cherished started to stress me out. I didn’t want to say no, but I also didn’t want to make plans I knew would be broken. My friends deserved a better friend than I could be.

So for years I was the friendless Annie who celebrated, and cried, in solitude. It wasn’t like I didn’t have someone to fill the void. Kids, husband, FedEx delivery people. Or so I thought.

Then one day, I had a defining moment. I had some big news I wanted to tell someone. But I had no one — except the cat. In many ways, I had been alone.

It wasn’t long after that I met Angela and realized I could have the best of both worlds. I could be a good, evergreen friend without the stress of a traditional friendship. Online friends are always present, but there are no huge expectations or broken promises. You don’t have to return a call at midnight. Or try to fit cocktails in after work when there are kids to pick up from day care. There’s no pressure to get dressed and go somewhere. No one can see if you’re still wearing pajamas at 3 p.m. or if you haven’t had a moment to wash your hair. Online, friendships are easier.

Today, I have no traditional friends. But I’m okay with that, because I have an abundance of online friends. And in my opinion, those are the best kind of friends to have.

This story was originally published on The Washington Post’s Solo-ish blog.

Crystal Ponti is a freelance writer in Maine. Follow @CrystalPonti


We are all Connected

This Guy Just Changed The Way We Think About God And The Universe. Mind Blown.

Author – Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a  wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?”You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god? You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. 

“Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.”

“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You said.

“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone

“There is no one else,” I said.“In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

You thought for a long time.

“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way. 

Taken from –

Why do Jews and Arabs / Muslims hate each other?

Taken from –

Question: “Why do Jews and Arabs / Muslims hate each other?”

Answer: First, it is important to understand that not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. While a majority of Arabs are Muslims, there are many non-Muslim Arabs. Further, there are significantly more non-Arab Muslims in areas such as Indonesia and Malaysia than there are Arab Muslims. Second, it is important to remember that not all Arabs hate Jews, not all Muslims hate Jews, and not all Jews hate Arabs and Muslims. We must be careful to avoid stereotyping people. However, generally speaking, Arabs and Muslims have a dislike of and distrust for Jews, and vice-versa.

If there is an explicit biblical explanation for this animosity, it goes all the way back to Abraham. The Jews are descendants of Abraham’s son Isaac. The Arabs are descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael. With Ishmael being the son of a slave woman (Genesis 16:1–16) and Isaac being the promised son who would inherit the blessings of Abraham (Genesis 21:1–3), obviously there would be some animosity between the two sons. As a result of Ishmael’s mocking Isaac (Genesis 21:9), Sarah talked Abraham into sending Hagar and Ishmael away (Genesis 21:11–21). Likely, this caused even more contempt in Ishmael’s heart toward Isaac. An angel told Hagar that Ishmael would be the father of a great nation (Genesis 21:18) and, interestingly, that Ishmael would be “a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12).

However, the ancient root of bitterness between Isaac and Ishmael does not explain all of the hostility between Jews and Arabs today. The religion of Islam, which a majority of Arabs follow, has made the hostility predicted of Ishmael more profound. The Qur’an contains somewhat contradictory instructions for Muslims regarding Jews. At one point it instructs Muslims to treat Jews as brothers and at another point commands Muslims to attack Jews who refuse to convert to Islam. The Qur’an also introduces a conflict as to which son of Abraham was truly the son of promise. The Hebrew Scriptures say it was Isaac. The Qur’an says it was Ishmael. The Qur’an teaches that it was Ishmael whom Abraham almost sacrificed to the Lord, not Isaac (in contradiction to Genesis 22). This debate over who was the son of promise further contributes to today’s hostility.

Another root of the conflict between Jews and Arabs is political. After World War II, when the United Nations gave a portion of the land of Israel to the Jewish people, the land was ruled by the British and primarily inhabited by Arabs (although one third of the population was Jewish). Most Arabs protested vehemently against the new Israeli state, even as they refused an Arab Palestinian state offered as part of the UN plan. Arab nations including Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria attacked Israel in an attempt to drive them into the sea, but they were defeated. The defeat of the Arab forces soon became a human tragedy when the surrounding Arab nations refused to absorb the Arab refugees from Palestine.

Ever since 1948, there has been great hostility between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The tensions have been stoked by political rhetoric and the existence of groups such as Hamas with their continuing obsession with wiping out “the Zionist entity” and “reversing the results of 1948.”

Israel exists on one tiny piece of land surrounded by much larger Arab nations such as Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Egypt. It is our viewpoint that, biblically speaking, Israel has a right to exist as a nation in its own land that God gave to the descendants of Jacob, grandson of Abraham (Genesis 12:7). While there is no easy solution to the conflict in the Middle East, Psalm 122:6 declares, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure.”

Recommended Resource: Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict: What the Headlines Haven’t Told You, Revised and Updated, by Michael Rydelnik


Is It too Much ?

Script Taken from

Has Feminism Gone Too Far?

Think Tank Transcripts:

Has Feminism Gone Too Far?

ANNOUNCER: ‘Think Tank’ has been made possible by Amgen, arecipient of the Presidential National Medal of Technology. Amgen,bringing better, healthier lives to people worldwide throughbiotechnology.

Additional funding is provided by the John M. Olin Foundation, theWilliam H. Donner Foundation, the Randolph Foundation, and the JMFoundation.

MR. WATTENBERG: Hello, I’m Ben Wattenberg. There are manyfeminists and scholars who contend that America is still apatriarchal place where women are victims and adversaries of men. Wewill hear that point of view in a future program. But for the nexthalf-hour we will hear a different idea from two prominent andcontroversial feminists: Camille Paglia and Christina Sommers.

The topic before this house: Has feminism gone too far? This weekon Think Tank.

Joining us on this special edition of Think Tank are two authorswho have made themselves unpopular with much of the modern feministmovement. Camille Paglia is professor of humanities at the Universityof the Arts in Philadelphia and best-selling author most recently of’Vamps and Tramps.’ Her criticisms of modern feminism caused oneauthor to refer to her as the spokeswoman for the anti-feministbacklash.

Our other guest, Christina Sommers, is an associate professor ofphilosophy at Clark University. In her recent book, ‘Who StoleFeminism,’ she accuses activist women of betraying the women’smovement. She wrote the book, she says, because she is a feminist whodoes not like what feminism has become.

Christina Sommers, what has feminism become?

MS. SOMMERS: The orthodox feminists are so carried away withvictimology, with a rhetoric of male-bashing that it’s full of femalechauvinists, if you will. Also, women are quite eager to censor, tosilence. And what concerns me most as a philosopher is it’s becomevery anti-intellectual, and I think it poses a serious risk to youngwomen in the universities. Women’s studies classes are increasingly akind of initiation into the most radical wing, the most intolerantwing, of the feminist movement. And I consider myself awhistle-blower. I’m from inside the campus. I teach philosophy. I’veseen what’s been going on.

MR. WATTENBERG: Camille, what has feminism become?

MS. PAGLIA: Well, I have been an ardent feminist since the rebirthof the current feminist movement. I’m on the record as being — asrebelling against my gender-role, as being an open lesbian and so on.In the early 1960s I was researching Amelia Earhart, who for mesymbolized the great period of feminism of the ’20s and ’30s justafter women won the right to vote. When this phase of feminism kickedback in the late ’60s, it was very positive at first. Women drew theline against men and demanded equal rights. I am an equal opportunityfeminist. But very soon it degenerated into a kind of totalitarian’group think’ that we are only now rectifying 20 years later.

MR. WATTENBERG: Is this the distinction between equity feminismand gender feminism? Is that what we’re talking about?

MS. SOMMERS: That’s right. Yes.

MR. WATTENBERG: Could you sort of explain that so that we get ourterms right?

MS. SOMMERS: An equity feminist — and Camille and I both areequity feminists –is you want for women what you want for everyone:fair treatment, no discrimination. A gender feminist, on the otherhand, is someone like the current leaders in the feminist movement:Patricia Ireland and Gloria Steinem and Susan Faludi and EleanorSmeal. They believe that women are trapped in what they call asex-gender system, a patriarchal hegemony; that contemporary Americanwomen are in the thrall to men, to male culture. And it’s so silly.It has no basis in American reality. No women have ever had moreopportunities, more freedom, and more equality than contemporaryAmerican women. And at that moment the movement becomes more bitterand more angry. Why are they so angry?

MS. PAGLIA: Mmm-hmm. (In agreement.) This is correct. In otherwords, I think that the current feminist movement has taken creditfor a lot of the enormous changes in women’s lives that my generationof the ’60s wrought. There were women in the mid ’60s when I was incollege who did not go onto become feminists. They were baudy andfeisty and robust. Barbra Streisand is a kind of example of a kind ofpre-feminist woman that changed the modern world and so on.

Now, I think that again what we need to do now is to get rid ofthe totalitarians, get rid of the Kremlin mentality —

MR. WATTENBERG: Now, hang on, when you say —

MS. PAGLIA: Wait — and here are the aims of my program. We’ve gotto get back to a pro-art, all right, pro-beauty, pro-men kind offeminism. And —

MS. SOMMERS: I think she’s right to call it a kind oftotalitarianism. Many young women on campuses combine two verydangerous things: moral fervor and misinformation. On the campusesthey’re fed a kind of catechism of oppression. They’re taught ‘one infour of you have been victims of rape or attempted rape; you’reearning 59 cents on the dollar; you’re suffering a massive loss ofself-esteem; that you’re battered especially on Super Bowl Sunday.’All of these things are myths, grotesque exaggerations.

MR. WATTENBERG: Well, why don’t you go through some of those mythswith some specificity?

MS. SOMMERS: Well, for example, a few years ago feminist activistsheld a news conference and announced that on Super Bowl Sundaybattery against women increases 40 percent. And, in fact, NBC wasmoved to use a public service announcement to, you know, encouragemen ‘remain calm during the game.’ Well —

MR. WATTENBERG: How can you remain calm during the Super Bowl!(Laughter.)

MS. SOMMERS: Well, they might explode like mad linemen and attacktheir wives and so forth. The New York Times began to refer to it asthe ‘day of dread.’ One reporter, Ken Ringle at the Washington Post,did something very unusual in this roiling sea of media credulity. Hechecked the facts — and within a few hours discovered that it was ahoax. No such research, no — there’s no data about a 40-percentincrease. And this is just one of so many myths. You’ll hear —

MR. WATTENBERG: Give me some others.

MS. SOMMERS: According to the March of Dimes, battery is thenumber — the leading cause of birth defects. Patricia Irelandrepeats this. It was in Time magazine. It was in newspapers acrossthe country. I called the March of Dimes and they said, ‘We’ve neverseen this research before.’ This is preposterous. There’s no suchresearch. And yet this is being taught to young women in thecolleges. They’re basically learning that they live in a kind ofviolent — almost a Bosnian rape camp.

Now, naturally, the more sensitive young women —

MR. WATTENBERG: What about rape? Is that exaggerated by the modernfeminists?

MS. SOMMERS: Completely. This idea of one in four girls victims ofrape or attempted rape? That’s preposterous! And there’s also a kindof gentrification of rape. You’re much more likely to be a victim ofrape or attempted rape if you’re in a high crime neighborhood. Thechances of being raped at Princeton are remote. Katie Roiphe talkedabout being at Princeton. She said she was more afraid — she wouldwalk across a dark golf course and was more afraid of being attackedby wild geese than by a rapist. And yet the young women at Princetonhave more programs and whistles are given out and blue lights.There’s more services to protect these young women from rape than forwomen in, you know, downtown Newark.

MR. WATTENBERG: Where do you come out on this?

MS. PAGLIA: Well, one of the things that got me pilloried fromcoast to coast was when I wrote a piece on date rape for Newsday inJanuary of 1991. It got picked up by the wire services, and thetorrent of abuse that poured in. I want women to fend for themselves.That essay that I wrote on rape begins with the line ‘Rape is anoutrage that cannot be tolerated in civilized society.’ I absolutelyabhor this broadening of the idea of rape, which is an atrocity, tothose things that go wrong on a date –acquaintances, you know,little things, miscommunications — on pampered elite collegecampuses. MS. SOMMERS: I interviewed a young women at the Universityof Pennsylvania who came in in a short skirt and she was in theWomen’s Center, and I think she thought I was one of the sisterhood.And she said, ‘Oh, I just suffered a mini-rape.’ And I said, ‘Whathappened?’ And she said, ‘A boy walked by me and said, `Nice legs’.’You know? And that — and this young woman considers this a form ofrape!

MS. PAGLIA: That’s right.

MR. WATTENBERG: What role in the development of this kind ofthought that the idea of sexual harassment and whole Anita Hill thinghave? Was that sort of a —

MS. PAGLIA: That’s fairly recent, actually. It was in the late’80s that started. I mean, that was a late phase. I think probablythe backlash against the excesses of sexual harassment have — youknow, have really finally weakened the hold of PC. I believe, forexample, in moderate sexual harassment guidelines. I lobbied fortheir adoption at my university in 1986. But I put into my proposal astrict penalty for false accusation. All right? I don’t like thesituation where the word of any woman is weighed above the testimonyof any man. And I was the only leading feminist that went out againstAnita Hill. I think that that whole case was pile of crap.


MS. PAGLIA: Well, I think it was absurd. First of all, again,totalitarian regime, okay, is where 10 years after the fact you’renominated now for a top position in your country and you are beingasked to reconstruct lunch conversations that you had with someonewho never uttered a peep. Okay? This is to Anita Hill: ‘All right,when he started to talk again about this pornographic films at lunchin the government cafeteria, what did you do?’ ‘I tried to change thesubject.’ Excuse me! I mean, that is ridiculous. I mean, so many ofthese cases —

MS. SOMMERS: He never touched her.

MS. PAGLIA: He never touched her. Okay? That was such a trumped-upcase by the feminist establishment.

MR. WATTENBERG: Do you sign onto that?

MS. SOMMERS: Well, I’ve changed. I mean, initially I was justcarried away with the media and thought, ‘Oh, Saint Anita.’ And laterI thought about it and actually learned from some experts on sexualharassment that her behavior was completely untypical. She did notact — the career lechers –usually a woman is repulsed and will notfollow him from place to place, and usually there are many women whowill come forward who have had the same experience. These things werenot true in his case. It now seems to me quite likely that he wasinnocent of these charges.

MS. PAGLIA: Completely innocent. And I must say, as a teacher of23 years, if someone offends you by speech, we must train women todefend themselves by speech. You cannot be always running totribunals. Okay? Running to parent figures, authority figures, afterthe fact because you want to preserve your perfect, decorous,middle-class persona.

MR. WATTENBERG: This is Catherine MacKinnon, who says speech isrape?

MS. PAGLIA: Yes, I’m on the opposite wing. Catherine McKinnon isthe anti-porn wing of feminism. I am on the radically pro-porn wing.I’m more radical than Christina. I —

MR. WATTENBERG: Are you pro-pornography?

MS. SOMMERS: For adults. I’m trying to be very careful about itfor — you know, I feel in our society — for children. But I’mhorrified at the puritanism and the sex phobia of feminism. How didthat happen? I mean, feminism — it used to be fun to be a feminist,and it used to have a lot of — it attracted all sorts of livelywomen. Now you ask a group of young women on the college campus, ‘Howmany of you are feminists?’ Very few will raise their hands becauseyoung women don’t want to be associated with it anymore because theyknow it means male-bashing, it means being a victim, and it meansbeing bitter and angry. And young women are not naturally bitter andangry.

MS. PAGLIA: We had a case at Penn State where an Englishinstructor who was assigned to teach in an arts building where therehad been a print of Goya’s ‘Naked Maja,’ a great classic artwork, onthe wall for 40 years. All right? She demanded it be taken downbecause she felt sexually harassed by it, because the students in theclassroom were looking at it instead of her. Okay? Now, this isridiculous. This is part of the puritanism of our culture. I want akind of feminism that is pro-beauty, pro-sensuality. Okay? That isnot embarrassed and upset by a spectacle of the beauty of the humanbody!

MR. WATTENBERG: What about this argument that came up recentlythat girls in elementary and high school are neglected by theirteachers? Is that — have either of you —

MS. PAGLIA: A bunch of crap.

MS. SOMMERS: It’s a hoax.

MS. PAGLIA: A bunch of crap.

MS. SOMMERS: I mean, it’s all — it’s really an incredible case ofjust junk science. The American Association of University Womenhastily threw together a survey of 3,000 children and asked themabout their sense of well-being and their self-esteem, and they neverpublished it. It’a not — it hasn’t been replicated by scholars.Adolescents don’t see significant differences — the majority don’tsee significant differences — between levels of self-esteem betweenyoung men and young women. Yet the AAUW said it was true. It’s anadvocacy group. Their membership was drying up. They were losing, youknow, several thousand members a year. They needed an issue. Theybrought in a new group and they got on the gender-bias bandwagon andbasically struck gold. They now — you can call an 800 number. Theyhave short-changing girls mugs and t-shirts. (Laughter.) And theywere so positively reviewed in the media that they can use —

MS. PAGLIA: Oh, the media was utterly credulous. I couldn’tbelieve it when MacNeil/Lehrer totally — they fell for it likesuckers that night.

MS. SOMMERS: Well, they would ask young men, ‘What do you want tobe when you grow up?’ And boys would say things like rock star orsports star. And girls would say lawyer and doctor. So they declareda glamor gap and said that there’s a glamor gap, that girls don’tdream their dreams. Well, most children don’t have the talent to berock stars. The sensible ones know this. So the way I would interpretthose findings is that girls mature earlier and boys suffer a realitygap.

MS. PAGLIA: Right, right.

MS. SOMMERS: But this was the kind of question that was asked. Yetnot one journalist that I’m aware of, except the Sacramento Bee,because they wrote to me and said, ‘We question this’ — they didn’tdo what Ken Ringle did at the Washington Post. They didn’t send awayfor the data. They relied on the glossy brochures.


MS. PAGLIA: And the question of attention in the classroom, too.As experienced teachers, okay, this idea that you measure, okay, howmuch attention the teacher is paying to the boys and girls todetermine how much that the student is valued, and it was discoveredthat the teacher was making more remarks to the boys. You’re keepingthem in line! Okay? The boys you have to say, ‘Shut up, be quiet! Dothis thing. Are you doing your homework?’ Like this. The girls, allright, they do their homework. They’re very mature. And girls at thatage are rather sensitive, and I as a teacher am very aware — as ateacher of freshmen, all right — that the girls are sitting therepleading with you with their eyes, ‘Don’t embarrass me in front ofthe entire class.’ Okay? I’m very aware that I seem to be talkingoften to the boys. Tut that is just because they’re so — their egosare completely — I mean, they’re so unconflicted. Okay? They loveattention. They’re like yapping puppies. You know what I mean? Theydon’t care about making fools of themselves once they start.


MS. PAGLIA: The boys make fools of themselves, blah, blah, blah,blah! Okay? The most intelligent students hang back. All right? I wasvery silent in class, myself. Okay? And so I — and I like to justtake notes. All right?

MR. WATTENBERG: That sounds like you’re anti-male now. You’resaying, ‘Now I’m offended.’

MS. PAGLIA: No, no!

MS. SOMMERS: But they can be immature.

MS. PAGLIA: The boys are immature.

MS. SOMMERS: The AAUW would ask children: ‘I’m good at a lot ofthings.’ And you could say, all the time, some of the time, usually,but you know — and a lot of little boys, the 11 to — would say,’All the time, I’m good at everything all the time.’ And girls, beinga little more reflective, will give a more nuanced answer. The AAUWcounted everything except ‘always true’ meaning that they weresuffering from a dangerous lack of self-esteem. They declared anAmerican tragedy. American girls don’t believe in themselves.

MS. PAGLIA: Right, and the girls’ are doing better in school.

MS. SOMMERS: Girls are getting better grades.

MS. PAGLIA: Right.

MS. SOMMERS: More go to college.

MS. PAGLIA: Right.

MS. SOMMERS: More boys drop out. More boys are getting into drugsand alcohol.

MR. WATTENBERG: And most of the teachers are women in any event —

MS. SOMMERS: Yes. And to add to that, it’s supposed to beunconscious —

(Cross talk.)

MR. WATTENBERG: — a point you made, I guess, in that.


MR. WATTENBERG: The — what about the argument — you hear lessabout it now, and perhaps the data has changed, but that women onlymake 59 cents for every dollar that —

MS. PAGLIA: First of all, what was omitted from that is what kindof jobs are women gravitating toward? I mean, Warren Farrell, in hisbook, ‘The Myth of Male Power,’ has a lot of statistics that show menare taking the dangerous, dirty jobs like roofing, okay, the kind ofgritty things that pay more — commissioned sales that are veryunstable. Okay?

It appears that a lot of women — where the real biases occur,okay, those barriers must be removed. But this is an inadequate kindof a figure. It doesn’t allow for the fact that most women, in fact,in my experience, too, like nice clean, safe offices, nicepredictable hours and so on, and they don’t want to, like, knockthemselves out in that kind of way. I mean, every time I pass –after reading Warren Farrell’s book, every time I pass men doing thatroofing tar, okay, breathing those toxic fumes and so on, okay, Ihave a renewed respect for the kind of sacrifices that men have made.

MR. WATTENBERG: That 59-cent number —

MS. SOMMERS: It hasn’t been for —

MR. WATTENBERG: — is now 71, but even that was —

MR. SOMMERS: It’s now 71 cents, and that is not correct becauseyou have to control for age, length of time in the work place. And ifyou look at younger women now, the age — the wage gap is closed.It’s now — when they have children, it’s 90 cents. But if they don’thave children, it’s now closer to what —

MS. PAGLIA: It would be outrageous if people were doing exactlythe same thing and being paid a different wage. Okay? But that is notat all the basis for this figure.

MR. WATTENBERG: Legalized abortion has come to be viewed as thecentral issue of the feminist movement. Is that an appropriate spotfor it to be? That —

MS. SOMMERS: It’s an important issue. I believe, in choice, but Ithink there’s an obsession with feminists with that issue, which is– and it’s also very — it leaves a lot of women out of themovement. There should be a place in women’s studies, there should bea place in women’s scholarship for traditionally religious women.There are Christian — conservative Christian women who are scholars,Orthodox Jewish women who are scholars, Islamic women who arescholars. Why don’t — why isn’t there any place for them in women’sstudies? Because there’s a litmus test —


MS. SOMMERS: — and you have to be pro-choice or you need notapply.

MS. PAGLIA: I’m radically pro-choice, unrestricted right toabortion. However, I have respect for the pro-life side, and I amdisgusted by the kind of rhetoric that I get. I support the abortionrights groups with money and so on, but I cannot stand the kind ofstuff that comes in my mailbox, right, which stereotypes all pro-lifepeople as being fanatics, misogynists, and so on, radical and far,you know, right and so on. I mean, it is

MS. SOMMERS: It is so condescending and so elitist.

MS. PAGLIA: It’s condescending. It’s insulting. It’s elitist. It’santi-intellectual. It’s a deformed —

MS. SOMMERS: It’s very anti-intellectual. The arguments onabortion philosophically — and I teach applied ethics — if youreally understand the issues, you have to have some questions,especially about second trimester abortions where you are quitelikely dealing with an individual.

MR. WATTENBERG: What is your view today? How would the averageAmerican woman, if we could ever distill such a body, how does sheview this new feminism?

MS. SOMMERS: Well, the average American women, first of all, israther fond of men. Okay? She has a husband or a father or a brotheror — you know? So the male-bashing is out of control right now. Imean — and if you look at a lot of the statistics that I deconstructin my book. You know, that men are responsible for birth defects,that men — Naomi Wolff has a factoid she has since corrected, butshe says 150,000 girls die every year starving themselves to deathfrom anorexia. This was in Gloria Steinem’s book. It got into AnnLander’s column. It’s in women’s studies textbooks. The correctfigure, according to the Center for Disease Control, is closer to 100deaths a year, not 150,000.

MS. PAGLIA: Three-thousand times exaggerated or something.

MS. SOMMERS: It’s, you know — so Naomi Wolff put is this way. Shesaid young — it’s a holocaust against women’s bodies. We’re beingstarved not by nature, but by men. And —

MS. PAGLIA: They want to blame the media for anorexia, when inpoint of fact anorexia plays white middle-class households. It is aresponse to something incestuous going on within these nuclearfamilies.

MS. SOMMERS: Mainly upper-middle-class —

MS. PAGLIA: Yes, right.

MS. SOMMERS: — overachieving white girls.


MS. SOMMERS: And by the way, if 150,000 of these girls wheredying, you would need — it would be — you would need to haveambulances on hand at places where they gather like Wellesley Collegegraduation and like you do at major sporting events. (Laughter.) Butwhy didn’t anyone — it’s funny, but no one caught the error.

MS. PAGLIA: No one caught it. The media was totally servile! Everyword that came out of Gloria Steinem’s mouth or Patricia Ireland’smouth is treated as gospel truth. For 20 years the major media, whenthey want ‘what is the women’s view?’ they turn to NOW. Okay? NOWdoes not speak for American women. It does not speak even for allfeminists.

MR. WATTENBERG: NOW is the National Organization —

MS. PAGLIA: National Organization for Women, which —

MR. WATTENBERG: National Organization for Women.

MS. PAGLIA: — for Women, which Betty Friedan founded, but whichsoon expelled even her. Okay? They’ve been taken over by a certainkind of ideology. All right? I’m in constant war with them as adissident feminist and so on, and — you know, and it’s taken me along time, you know, to fight my way into the public eye.

MR. WATTENBERG: All right, let me ask this question: What are thepolicy implications of this idea of feminine dictumhood?

MS. SOMMERS: It’s a disaster. These women are — I will give themone thing. They’re brilliant work-shoppers, networkers, organizers,moving in, taking over infrastructure. They’re busybodies. There hasnever been a more effective, you know, army of busybodies. And theyknow how to work the system. So they will hastily throw together astudy designed to show women are medically neglected or women have amassive loss of self-esteem — one in four. And then they move to keysenators. Senator Biden seems to be especially vulnerable.

MS. PAGLIA: Oh! What a weak link. What a weak link.

MS. SOMMERS: Patricia Schroeder, Senator Kennedy. But it’sRepublicans, too. They’re quite carried away. Congressman Ramstadfrom Minneapolis.

MR. WATTENBERG: Yeah, they’re afraid of the TV commercials runningagainst them, which is —

MS. SOMMERS: That’s right.

MS. PAGLIA: Yeah, that’s right.

MS. SOMMERS: And then we’re getting — we now have a gender-biasbill that went through Congress that’s going to provide millions ofdollars for gender-bias workshops. What the politicians don’t realizeis that feminism is a multi-million dollar industry. The gender-biasindustry is thriving. They’re the work-shoppers and the networkersout there.

MS. PAGLIA: The bureaucrats are really profitting —

MS. SOMMERS: Consultants and bureaucrats.

MS. PAGLIA: It’s a tremendous waste of money.

MS. SOMMERS: And it’s not based on truth.

MS. PAGLIA: It should go into education. That money should godirectly into education to improve the system.

MS. SOMMERS: I spoke to a teacher yesterday who taught inBrooklyn, and there were no books to teach English.

MS. PAGLIA: Oh, pathetic!~

MS. SOMMERS: And yet there are going to be — there’s going to be$5 million now, plus a lot more from the education bill, forworkshops on gender-bias in the classroom, which is a non-problemcompared to far more serious problems. So I consider many feministsto be opportunists. They move in on real problems. There is a problemof violence in our schools. They’ll turn it into a problem of sexualharassment —


MS. SOMMERS: — which is nothing compared to the problem ofviolence and instability. They’ll move into under-performance of ourkids.

MS. PAGLIA: All this money should be going into keeping publiclibraries open so that the poor can go in and take out a book the waymy immigrants, you know, parents were able to and the way I was ableto. It’s outrageous that we have the closing-down of publiclibraries, and the conditions of inner-city schools is disgraceful.And all this money wasted going to bureaucrats?

MR. WATTENBERG: Camille, let me ask you this: Does the case youmake undermine traditional family values? Would a conservativelistening to what you are talking about in terms of sensuality andsexuality and pornography and so on, would they say you areundermining and corroding family values in America?

MS. PAGLIA: Probably they would, but my argument in all my booksis rather large. I say that Western culture was formed as two greattraditions — the Judeo-Christian and the Greco-Roman — and theyhave contributed to each other and they’re in conflict with eachother. And I — what I — my libertarian theory is of a publicsphere/private sphere. Government must remain out of the privatesphere for abortion and drug use and sodomy and so on. The publicsphere is shared by both traditions. I have respect for theJudeo-Christian side. I’m calling in ‘The Activism in Feminism’ for arenewed respect for religion, even though I’m an atheist. So I thinkthat there is much in my thinking that I think would reassure peopleof traditional family values.

MR. WATTENBERG: Let me ask you this question to close of both ofyou: What should the 1990s equity feminist believe in and believeremains to be done for women?

MS. SOMMERS: The first thing, I think we have to save young womenfrom the feminists. That’s at the top of my agenda. And I say that asa very committed feminist philosopher. I went into philosophy. It wasa field traditionally dominated by males. I got my job as a professorto encourage more young women to enter this field, to be analyticthinkers, to be logicians and metaphyscians. And, instead, infeminist philosophy classes you’ll often have young women sittingaround honoring emotions and denigrating the great thinkers insteadof, you know, studying them, mastering them and benefitting fromthem.


MS. SOMMERS: That’s one thing. The other thing, more traditionalfeminist issue, is probably the double-shift. As women, we’re doing alot of things men traditionally did; they’re not doing what wetraditionally did. And so women do bear more responsibility at home.But if we’re going to solve that problem, I think we have to approachmen as friends —

MS. PAGLIA: We have to — yes —

MS. SOMMERS: — in a spirit of respect instead of calling themproto-rapists and harassers and —

MS. PAGLIA: The time for hostility to men is past. There was thatmoment. I was part of it. I have punched men, kicked men, hit themover the head with umbrellas. Okay? I am openly confrontational withmen. As an open lesbian, I have been — you know, I express my angerto men directly. I don’t get in a group and whine about men. So,oddly, I give men a break and admit the greatness of male, you know,achievements and so on. What we have to do now is get over that angertoward men, all right, and we have to bring the sexes back together.Reconciliation between the sexes is the first order of business.

MR. WATTENBERG: Okay. Thank you, Christina Sommers and CamillePaglia for your critique of modern feminism. We will be hearing anopposing view on a future program.

And thank you. We enjoy hearing from our audience. Please sendcomments and questions to: New River Media, 1150 17th Street, NW,Washington, DC, 20036. Or we can be reached via e-mail

For Think Tank, I’m Ben Wattenberg.

ANNOUNCER: This has been a production of BJW, Incorporated, inassociation with New River Media, which are solely for its content.

Think Tank has been made possible by Amgen, unlocking the secretsof life through cellular and molecular biology. At Amgen, we producemedicines that improve people’s lives today and bring hope fortomorrow.

Additional funding is provided by the John M. Olin Foundation, theWilliam H. Donner Foundation, the Randolph Foundation, and the JMFoundation.


Return toThinkTank Online Home Page

Think Tank ® is a Registered Trademark of BJW, Inc. All Content © Copyright 1995 New River Media, Inc.