It's the 40th anniversary of Erica Jong's "Fear of Flying," which some have described as a breakthrough book for women and for modern feminism.
Reduced to its common (and I do mean common) denominator, the book, which was written in the appropriately named "Me" Decade of the '70s, encourages women to behave like promiscuous men, having meaningless sex without fear of consequences. "Fear of Flying" gleefully encourages women to engage in the so-called "ZF." Don't know what that means? Look it up.
Henry Higgins' question, "Why can't a woman be more like a man?" has been asked and answered. She can. She is. And it's not a good thing. Some ask, "If the Playboy philosophy was good enough for some men, freeing them from a marital commitment in order to have sex, why not the same for some women?" No reason, says "Fear of Flying." What's good for the goose, right? Everybody into the pool!
Except that it wasn't "good" for men or for women. The fallout from the culture bombs dropped on America, beginning in the freewheeling '60s, continues to infect the younger generation today. Their role models are not parents, or even sports figures, but rather young twits like Miley Cyrus. Even she is nothing new. Cyrus is just the latest desperate exhibitionist in a long list of desperate exhibitionists who'll do anything and everything, usually while nearly naked, to get noticed and talked about.
What was once considered deviant behavior is now accepted and appears to go unchallenged for fear of a lawsuit or public condemnation. Out-of-wedlock births, the glorification of thug life, the cloying, sycophantic fascination with pseudo celebrity, the tacit acceptance of recreational drug use, it's all there on the downward slope to depravity. Cole Porter wrote, "In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking. Now, heaven knows, anything goes!" He was ahead of his time.
The main character in "Fear of Flying" is 29-year-old Isadora Wing, who says, "The (ZF) is absolutely pure. It is free of ulterior motives. There is no power game. The man is not 'taking' and the woman is not 'giving.' ... The (ZF) is the purest thing there is."
She's talking about "quickies," a fast sexual encounter for pleasure with no expectation of a call in the morning. No commitment. No conversation. The ZF.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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