Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

Inventor of the Pill Laments Demographic ‘Catastrophe’

The chemist who made a key discovery leading to the invention of the birth control pill has written a commentary calling demographic decline in Europe a “horror scenario” and a “catastrophe” brought on in part by the pill’s invention.

Mr. Carl Djerassi, now 85 years old, was one of three researchers whose formulation of the synthetic progestagen Norethisterone marked a key step in the creation of the first oral contraceptive pill, the Guardian reports.

In a personal commentary in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard, Djerassi said his invention is partly to blame for demographic imbalance in Europe. On the continent, he argued, there is now “no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction.”

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January 13, 2009 Posted by | Children, Family | 2 Comments

No Virginia, There is No Santa Claus

Now that the turkey is digested and the Christmas season has begun in earnest, I would like to make a request of whoever reads this that I hope will not seem naive, or sentimental, or overly moralistic. The request is this:

Please don’t lie to your children about Santa Claus.

Lying is repeatedly condemned in Scripture (Cf. Psalms 5:7; Proverbs 6:17; Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9). And section 2485 of the Catechism says that “[b]y its very nature, lying is to be condemned.” Yet every year millions of Christian parents choose the occasion of our Lord’s birth to lie to their children about the existence of a jolly old fat man who lives in the North Pole. Continue reading

November 28, 2008 Posted by | Catholicism, Children, Family, Morality | 1 Comment

The Camera Lies

According to a widely followed dictum enunciated by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, “[i]f in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired.” As a principle of drama this is, of course, quite sensible. But it leads to the odd effect that, unless you have had personal experience with firearms, chances are you have never seen a gun without soon seeing it used to shoot someone. And even taking into account the fictional nature of most of these “shootings,” it is not surprising that a person who knew about guns only through film and television might have an exaggerated sense of the dangerousness of firearms, or of their association with murder and violence.

Many people are rightly wary of negative depictions of members of various minority groups, on the grounds that they may serve to re-enforce stereotypes about those groups, particularly among those whose main experience of those groups is from film and television. In each case the basic principle is the same. When you lack much personal experience of a group, object, or environment, and encounter fictional depictions of it, you are liable to accept those depictions as accurate, even if they are not a true reflection of reality. Continue reading

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Capitalism, Culture, Family, Film, Guns, Literature, Media | Leave a comment

Palin with Child

Morning’s Minion asks, apropos of Governor Palin’s son Trig, who has Down Syndrome, which of the candidates “has the better policies to facilitate a family raising a child with special needs?” He says the answer is clearly Senator Obama. I confess that I have not read Senator Obama’s proposals specifically regarding children with Down Syndrome. Presumably he favors more than being left for dead in a soiled utility closet, which was the practice for children with Down Syndrome that he defended while in the Illinois State Senate. The sad fact, though, is that more than 90% of women who learn that their unborn child may have Down Syndrome have that child aborted. Whether having a smart, successful woman who choose not to abort her child just because he had Down Syndrome in the public eye for the next several years would have an impact on the rate women opt for abortion in such circumstances is an open question. But it is possible that a Vice President Palin would save more lives just through her personal witness, even if she is not able to advance her pro-life agenda legislatively, than would Senator Obama’s proposals. Continue reading

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Abortion, Children, Election, Family, Health Care, Media, Politics | 1 Comment

Court Overrules Father’s Grounding of Daughter

It may sound like something out of the Onion, but in fact it’s only Canada:

A Canadian court has lifted a 12-year-old girl’s grounding, overturning her father’s punishment for disobeying his orders to stay off the Internet, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The girl had taken her father to Quebec Superior Court after he refused to allow her to go on a school trip for chatting on websites he tried to block, and then posting “inappropriate” pictures of herself online using a friend’s computer.

The father’s lawyer Kim Beaudoin said the disciplinary measures were for the girl’s “own protection” and is appealing the ruling.

“She’s a child,” Beaudoin told AFP. “At her age, children test their limits and it’s up to their parents to set boundaries.” Continue reading

June 20, 2008 Posted by | Family, Law | Leave a comment

Obama on Fatherhood

Barack Obama celebrated Father’s Day by calling on black fathers, who he said are “missing from too many lives and too many homes,” to become active in raising their children.

“They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it,” the Democratic presidential candidate said Sunday at a largely black church in his hometown.

“Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father,” he said. “It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.” Continue reading

June 16, 2008 Posted by | Election, Family, Politics | 1 Comment

Video Games: The Cause of, And Solution to, All Life’s Problems

A while back I came across the following news item about how video games were leading couples to divorce:

Although best-selling online role-playing game World of Warcraft boasts over ten million subscribers, it’s also leaving in its wake an increasing list of casualties.

Even though she’s never played the game, 28 year-old Jocelyn is one of the fallen. A well-spoken California resident, she divorced her husband of six years after he developed a crippling addiction to the smash online RPG.

“He would get home from work at 6:00, start playing at 6:30, and he’d play until three a.m. Weekends were worse — it was from morning straight through until the middle of the night,” she told Yahoo! Games in an interview. “It took away all of our time that we spent together. I ceased to exist in his life.”

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May 27, 2008 Posted by | Family, Marriage, Quotidian Matters | 2 Comments

Stay-At-Home Moms in NYC: If you can make it there….

If you’re a married woman living in the New York City area, there’s a better than 50 percent chance that you don’t work, according to a recent analysis of Census data by economists affiliated with the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank.

More specifically, only 49 percent of white high school-educated married women in their prime working ages were holding down jobs in the New York area as of the 2000 Census. To put that in perspective, there are roughly 2 million woman over 15-years-old who are married in the New York area.

The national average for this particular demographic is 67 percent. At the other end of the spectrum is Minneapolis where almost 80 percent of these married women are employed — that’s larger than the percentage of working men aged 25 and older in the U.S.

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May 11, 2008 Posted by | Family, Marriage, Traffic, Work | Leave a comment