Maureen Dowd: A Degraded State of Intelligent Discourse

I don’t write about Maureen Dowd simply because she rarely offers anything worthy of serious, intellectual discussion. I don’t claim any sort of high intellect for myself, of course, and don’t necessarily claim to be able to thoroughly judge the work of the deepest of thinkers but Dowd’s work is like the old saying about pornography in as much as when it comes to stupid prattle I know it when I see it.

Breaking my own no-Mo-Dowd rule, though, her April 10 column must be singled out as a prime example of just how silly, inconsequential, and, well, stupid Mo Dowd really is. In it she equated Radical, oppressive, dangerous Islam to today’s Catholic Church as if they were entirely equivalent in their treatment of women. It is astonishing that she thinks that radical Islam and the modern Catholic Church is indistinguishable in the way they treat women, but there you have it, she apparently really does.

Dowd started her April 10 column relating a recent encounter she had in Saudi Arabia with a “group of educated and sophisticated young professional women.” Dowd asked her hosts how they could stand living in that oppressive Saudi culture and she wondered how such “spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination?”

But as she asked that provocative question, it struck Dowd that she, too, lived in such a culture.

I was puzzling over that one when it hit me: As a Catholic woman, I was doing the same thing.

I, too, belonged to an inbred and wealthy men’s club cloistered behind walls and disdaining modernity.

I, too, remained part of an autocratic society that repressed women and ignored their progress in the secular world.

I, too, rationalized as men in dresses allowed our religious kingdom to decay and to cling to outdated misogynistic rituals, blind to the benefits of welcoming women’s brains, talents and hearts into their ancient fraternity.

This ludicrous “reasoning” is outrageous for its complete emptiness of logic, reflection, and truth. But, let’s take a moment and see if Dowd has a point at all with her equating of oppressive Islam to western Catholicism, shall we?

Here is a list of just a few restrictions that Saudi women face on a daily basis:

  • They cannot drive cars
  • They cannot get too many jobs
  • They cannot wear their own selection of fashions (forced to war body covering abayas)
  • They aren’t allowed to speak in public
  • They have no right to vote
  • They are not welcome in government
  • They have no freedom of movement
  • They have their genitals mutilated as young girls
  • They are beaten by husbands routinely and have no legal recourse to stop it
  • They are beaten on the streets by “religion police” if they seem to be violating Sharia “laws”
  • They have little recourse to prosecute attackers for raping them
  • They cannot travel abroad without permission
  • They cannot join the clergy

Now, to be fair to Mo Dowd, let us look over a list of similar restrictions that western Catholics place on their women:

  • They cannot join the clergy

Yep, that’s about it.

Interesting, no? Those lists are oh, so similar, aren’t they? You’d be right to find Dowd’s equating the two religious traditions as ludicrous, to be sure. Yet in Mo Dowd’s tiny mind there is no difference between radical Islam and modern western Catholicism! It isn’t mere hyperbole but outright idiocy she evinces.

From this one can easily understand what an intellectual lightweight this woman truly is and why she simply isn’t worth the effort to talk about. But the saddest thing of all is that she has such a prominent position in the Old Media. Her work doesn’t measure up to the most hackneyed blogger’s work, yet she has become rich and famous for her blather. It really is a shame and a sham all at the same time.

Maureen Dowd is the best evidence we have of how far journalism has fallen.

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