Internet Unleashes Unguided Punditry

Jenny Dombrowski writes: "If indeed the women's movement is over, then why are women still treated as objects in our society? We are inundated with images of perfection at every turn: from the checkout line of the grocery store to the movie theater to the billboards along the highway."

Were I her editor, I would have modified her piece thusly: "If indeed the women's movement has succeeded and American women have achieved gender parity, then why are the media inundated with images of female hypersexuality? Why are female consumers subjected to half-naked, cleavage-bearing models of perfection from the grocery story checkout line to the movie theater to highway billboards? Media images of men are glamorized and sexualized, too, but not nearly to the same extent."

Still, her column ends up making us think about the fact that many gen-Y women fail to experience the need for a women's movement the way their gen-X or boomer foremothers did: again, a point worth considering. Would that were true of the work of Bernard Chapin, who responded to Dombrowski's column. Instead, he weaves together a pugilistic response to each of Dombrowski's claims that doesn't teach or move the reader much at all.

He writes, "Although her accusations are quite preposterous, I will live up to my burden of rejoinder by analyzing them because crazed feminists multiply and become more powerful when good men think theyre (sic) above responding to them." His "burden of rejoinder"? Puh-leeze!!!

Am I picking on Mr. Chapin? I'm sure he would see it that way. That is not my intention. I chose his work merely as an example of what passes for punditry, thanks to the Internet. No apparent editing, no correction, no questioning of his claims. Just write it, hit the "send" button, and you're global.

Up next: Internet punditry and accuracy

By Bonnie Erbe