THE PLANK MAY 15, 2008
If the university doesn't accede to the great many protests that have sprung up in response to the news (and it doesn't look as if they will), Phyllis Schlafly will earn an honorary doctorate from Washington University in Saint Louis tomorrow. Schlafly, of course, has been an immeasurable force for bad over her long life, her torpedoing of the Equal Rights Amendment being just her most famous act in a series of acts that have done great damage to the cause of gender equality. So, while Schlafly is being feted tomorrow, it's important to read (or re-read) Alan Wolfe's excellent 2006 piece on her, entitled "Mrs. America." Just one of many key passages:
The ugliness of American politics today can be directly traced back to Schlafly's vituperative, apocalyptic, character-assassinating campaign against the ERA. In Slander, her 2002 contribution to American letters, Ann Coulter described Schlafly as "one of the most accomplished and influential people in America" and "a senior statesman in the Republican Party." Coulter was right. Karl Rove only perfected what Phyllis Schlafly invented. And the wild, filthy rhetoric of Coulter and some of her screaming reactionary colleagues owes a great deal to Schlafly. We are lucky, come to think of it, that Schlafly flourished in the days before cable.
Again, here's the link.