"We Don't Shill for Anyone …"
An exchange between Slate and the producers of The Infinite Mind.
Last word goes to Thevail, because this comment—"seriously, you have no idea how perfectly the combination of brave feminists and loving mothers fixed the world"—seems to be so perfectly balanced: We think it was meant as praise, but it could go either way.
—MR ... 1:00 p.m. PST
Friday, April 18, 2008
Who is going to hell? It's a place that gets plenty of mentions in the Fray, and readers this week were ready to send disgraced cleric Bernard Law and Slate writer Christopher Hitchens there (in a post called "Different Paths, Same Destination"). But, perhaps surprisingly, the polygamous men of the FLDS compound, while heavily criticized, were not facing the ultimate in Fray condemnation. After reading the "Explainer" titled "Three Girls for Every Boy," posters were somewhat uneasy—no one approved of underage sex or forced marriage, but as Arlington put it:
If consenting adults want to enter into multiple-this, multiple-that relationships, I'm all for it. I don't think the state has any business determining whether or not those relationships are marriages or not. In fact, I don't think the state has any business proclaiming any arrangement, including the common one man-one woman setup, a marriage. The state(s) need to get out of the marriage business and leave it to the churches, whether those churches be mainstream, fringe, cult or completely bogus … The FLDS situation is a little different because some of the girls are 12 or 13 years old at the time they're forced to marry, and they're held against their will in some cases. There's also the problem of throwing out the minor boys who are not old enough to fend for themselves.
He was answering The True Conservative's question:
Where are our favorite defenders of "alternative lifestyles" now? … Do these people not have the same rights as gays? For the record, I am against polygamy and gay marriage. But at least I am consistent.
Ever helpful Fray poster Kaiso was ready to do the math for a polygamous family:
The replacement rate per family with N wives is N+1+C, where C is the number of children who are eventually kicked out, leave, die, or are infertile. So take [Warren] Jeffs and his 40 wives: they need 41 children + some unknown number (probably higher than .1) to reach replacement. Most men in polygamous couples don't have quite that many wives, but assuming at least one wife has 2 kids, and the others have at least one, that's replacement.
Schroeder Baker's take was straightforward: "Can you say 'quarter million dollar ripoff'? I knew you could." He diagnosed welfare fraud. Herzliebster thought it was "simple Darwinism in action … Maximize reproductive success of dominant males, eliminate unsuccessful males."
Moira Redmond, a former "Fray" editor at Slate, is a freelance writer living in England. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photograph of Michael Chabon on the Slate home page by Mark Mainz/Getty Images.