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No, I’m not speaking of the chastity belt. Evidence for the widely-held belief that such an appliance was in common use in Medieval times, as knights errant locked up their ladies, hung the (only) key ’round their necks, and rode off to Eastern climes with no idea of when–or even if–they’d ever return home is scant to non-existent, and most reputable scholars have discounted its importance, or even its existence, in the social history and fabric of the age for decades. (Full disclosure: I’ve long contemplated writing a comic novella of the period with the liberated but sane woman, Chastity Belt, as a narrator.)
Decades ago–when our love was young, as they say–the late Mr. She and I spent an inordinate amount of time in old-fashioned diners. He was particularly fond of them, and I should think we visited just about every one in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, and Northern West Virginia over the years. (Years ago, the local PBS affiliate’s excellent program, Pennsylvania Diners and Other Roadside Restaurants, mentioned some of them.)
I loved those diners too. Nothing like a good diner burger, milkshake, and pie. Although I confess that I sometimes tired of the jukebox. And I remember thinking, on many an occasion, that I’d be happy to stick one of my hard-earned quarters in the slot if only it would buy me five minutes of silence.
Frankly, I’ve thought of those moments quite often over the last month, as one after another of the House of Representatives’ deranged, shrieking harridans takes center stage and overwhelms the airwaves with meretricious rhetoric and diversionary lies.
Crimenutely. Rashida Tlaib (I don’t know why anyone is worried about the “dual-loyalty” of Jewish-Americans. I see quite a few demonstrations, purportedly by Jewish-Americans, protesting against current Israeli policy and actions. I have yet to see a corresponding event on the part of any Palestinian-Americans, where they are protesting the actions of Hamas or the Palestinians. It seems that loyalty goes only one way.) Then there is Ilhan Omar. And sundry other members of “The Squad.”
But–first among equals–Cori Bush:
Crimenutely. Where do I put my quarter to shut her up?
Which brings me to the point of my post. (You knew I’d get there sooner-or-later, right?)
I’m not really into the sort of lose-lose equations demonstrated by things like the ducking stool, or the rack, or similar tortures intent on discovering whether the person in question was a witch or not (I think I already know the answer to that one in many of these cases). And other, extreme, over-the-top punishments probably aren’t warranted either.
But perhaps I could put in a good word for an updated version of the Scold’s Bridle? Lightweight (no need to make it of iron these days), and perhaps not-so-spiky-and-painful as before. But just as effective in enforcing a term of silence? (Note–the original devices were pretty ugly. Thanks to social media, even that’s not required these days. These women beclown themselves with ugliness every time they open their mouths with falsehoods, no artificial assistance needed.)
The other purpose of the original–public humiliation–should be easily served, since these women are elected members of the House of Representatives, so they are operating in the public space and on the public dime. And frankly, they should feel humiliation and shame, for the exhibition they make of themselves, if nothing else.
We can have a rational debate (yes, even we women) among those of us with sincere differences. Some of those debates may even get quite heated. I’d be happy to participate in, or sit on the sidelines of, such noisy repartee.
On that last note, kudos to Ben Shapiro. I think he was recently in the UK mainly to attend Jordan Peterson’s ARC conference. He wrote a column for the Telegraph a week or so which seemed to reach–favorably–most of the commenters (the Telegraph commenters aren’t all conservatives, by a long shot), and he followed that up with a gig at Cambridge where he more than held his own against the loons–who seemed–even before the start–to know they’d lost. If someone asked me today who ought to be the next US Ambassador to the Court of St. James, I’d probably suggest Ben Shapiro:
The sort of stuff that the likes of Omar, Bush, Tlaib, and company are espousing is completely different. It emerges from ignorance, and it’s not remotely concerned with good faith. It doesn’t care about facts, it’s beneath contempt, and it’s not worth engaging. When any of those hysterical prima donnas (who allege that their Black aides are regularly pushed off Washington DC elevators in exhibitions of Islamophobic hatred–wut?) is willing to go one-on-one with Ben Shapiro on this matter, I’ll take a look.
Until then, I’ve stuck a quarter in the slot and chosen “silence.”
And it is lovely.Published in