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Mom’s the word

When did women become “moms”? And when did “moms” become role models whose opinions and choices are the only ones that matter, whose voice is that of the real people?

Look around you, read your morning newspaper, surf the net, and “moms” put you to shame for your sloppiness, lack of organization and morality both, for not having a life, at least not according to the standards they uphold. They are the keepers of values, the cement that holds our society together. They have the secret(s) of life at their fingertips, they know it all and know it right.

On Yahoo, ad after ad recommends this one mom’s stunning discovery, the one that makes dermatologists hate her (the mom-related vocabulary is one of “best revenge,” of hate, of what this mom has found out that “they” don’t want you to know. Forget lovey-fuzzy, as Sarah Palin would put it.) So why do dermatologists hate her? Because she’s 55 (a bit long in the tooth for a mom, one would think, wouldn’t grandmom be more appropriate?) and looks 25. I sure would love to know how she does it. She also has one mean trick that not only gets rid, forever, of belly fat, but does it in one short week. Which makes a whole other bunch of people, I don’t remember which, also hate her. (Probably the ones that click on the ad and find themselves indentured to the tune of $69,95 a month to a stealth organization that will not cease and desist no matter how often you click on cancel.)

Another example: In a piece on Santorum on The Washington Post, Alexandra Petri making a point I can’t remember writes: “I have no objections to stay at home moms, I have no objection to working moms…” See? There’s no fighting it, the word, with its glow of combined efficiency and sweetness, has definitely replaced “mothers.”

It’s not enough for moms to be role models, they can also take action when civilization is threatened. Last week, a group called One Million Moms organized a Facebook campaign protest in response to JC Penney’s hiring Ellen DeGeneres as its spokeswoman. Who cares that DeGeneres is talented, hugely funny, and deservedly one of our best-known talk-show hosts and comediennes? For crying out loud, she’s a lesbian! Is there no shame? But while we were napping, a Million Moms (by actual count, the association has 40,000 members) rose as one to put a stop to JC Penney’s shenanigans. Wouldn’t you know it, the company CEO, at best a socialist if not a closet communist or even an illegal alien, wouldn’t buckle. Moms, I beg of you, don’t give up, unite! Garner more support. If Joe the Plumber is too busy plumbing, call Michele Bachmann, she’ll soon set those East Coast types straight. Well, maybe not quite straight, but surely she’ll come up with something. If not, “they,” all those mom-haters, win.

And while I’m on the subject of words, I can’t help but be struck by the names of the protagonists in the University of Virginia’s Lacrosse players’ murder story. The murderer’s last name is Hughely, the victim’s first name is Yeardley, the victim’s roommate’s last name is Whiteley. Am I the only one to find this weird, as I did when I wrote about a man called Muth killing a woman called Drath (“What’s in a name?” January 2, 2012)?

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