Happy Mother’s Day From Philip Wylie

“When we and our culture and our religions agreed to hold woman the inferior sex, cursed, unclean and sinful — we made her mom. And when we agreed upon the American Ideal Woman, the Dream Girl of National Adolescence, the Queen of Bedpan Week, the Pin-up, the Glamour Puss — we insulted women and disenfranchised millions from love. We thus made mom. The hen-harpy is but the Cinderella chick come home to roost; the taloned, cackling residue of burnt-out puberty in  a land that has no use for mature men and women…

“Disguised as good old mom, dear old mom, sweet old mom, your loving mom, and so on, she is the bride at every funeral and the corpse at every wedding. Men live for her and die for her, dote upon her and whisper her name as they pass away, and I believe she has now achieved, in the hierarchy of miscellaneous articles, a spot next to the Bible and the Flag, being reckoned part of both in a way. She may therefore soon be granted by the House of Representatives the especial supreme and extraordinary right of sitting on top of both when she chooses, which, God knows, she does. At any rate, if no such bill is under consideration, the presentation of one would cause little debate among the solons. These sages take cracks at their native land and make jokes about holy Writ, but nobody among them — no great man or brave — from the first day of the first congressional meeting to the present ever stood in our halls of state and pronounced the one indubitable most-needed American verity: “Gentlemen, mom is a jerk.”

Generation of Vipers, annotated 1978 edition


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