When gaining weight was cool

Just one in a series of amazing (to these modern eyes) ads decrying skinniness and the virtues of weight gain for being an attractive woman.   Pretty incredible that we’ve got from that to this:

Anorexic model

It’s quite a tale of how society can structure our ideas of what is attractive (within a range, of course).  And I still don’t get how fashion models are invariably just absurdly skinny when very few men I know actually seem to find such women attractive.  Not to mention, if one buys evolutionary theories of sexual attraction (which I do), the woman in the bottom picture is going to have a lot of trouble bearing children.  Anyway, do check out all the ads just to think about how far our society’s messages about women’s bodies have changed.

Photo(s) of the day

Well, obviously the Atlantic In Focus site is now one of my favorite sources for amazing images.   Here’s my favorite from a project described thusly:

In November 1971, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a massive photo documentary project, called DOCUMERICA, to record these changes. More than 100 photographers were hired not only to document specific environmental issues, but to capture images of everyday life, showing how we interacted with the environment and capturing the way parts of America looked at that moment in history.

[Click on the image below to go the Atlantic site where the images are much larger– this blog really shrinks photos]

Alright, had to add this one, too:

How in the world does anybody ever get a car out of there?!

The real problem with moderates

As I wrote recently, this silly “moderate” and/or “radical centrist” third party beloved by ignorant pundits is not going anywhere.  That said, it’s still nice to see EJ Dionne lay out so clearly why it is such a horrible idea:

Some of my middle-of-the-road columnist friends keep ascribing our difficulties tostructuralproblems in our politics. A few call for a centrist third party. But the problem we face isn’t about structures or the party system. It’s about ideology — specifically a right-wing ideology that has temporarily taken over the Republican Party and needs to be defeated before we can have a reasonable debate between moderate conservatives and moderate progressives about our country’s future.  [emphasis mine]

A centrist third party would divide the opposition to the right wing and ease its triumph. That’s the last thing authentic moderates should want.

Yep, a lot of these knee-jerk centrists keep insisting– despite voluminousness evidence to the contrary– that the “right” or “moderate” approach must simply be half-way between the two parties.  Yet, this fails to account for the fact that the Republicans have moved the goal posts so far that they are out in the parking lot.  So long as the Republican party is in thrall to people who see lower taxes for rich people as the sine qua non of politics and are willing to destroy the full faith and credit of the US and cause all sorts of unnecessary hardship to ordinary Americans in pursuit of that goal, there really cannot be any compromise.  The sad truth is that so many journalists and even ordinary people are so constitutionally inclined to take a “split the difference” approach that they fail to appreciate how truly radical the current Republican party is.  To simply call for a moderate third way is to deny that essential reality of contemporary American politics.

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