Emotion Dolls (www.startribune.com).
by Steve Timmer
Dec 16, 2012, 4:30 PM

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls

It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola

I really had better things to do. But like an old Labrador retriever whose heart quickens at the shotgun’s report, it is hard for me to ignore Katherine Kersten when she lays a perfect egg like the one in her Sunday Strib commentary.

Before we get into it, though, I suggest that you start this YouTube video of the Kinks performing their hit song, Lola. You can listen while you read along.

For those of you unfamiliar with her oeuvre, one of Katherine Kersten’s leitmotifs is a nasal whining about the socialist and decadent den of inequity, Europe. And in her current offering, she offers a short buffet of Europe’s ills, mentioning Greece, France, Italy, and Spain before moving on to the gravaman of her complaint: Sweden.

Because, you see, Sweden is like the Kinks: strict gender role confused:

But as we pant eagerly after the holy grail of European social democracy, we’d do well to pay attention to other, less-discussed coming attractions. One of our great national projects is eliminating the vestiges of sex differences in our families, workplaces and elsewhere. There’s no better place than Sweden to get a preview of what the brave new world of “gender neutrality” may hold.

Swedish social planners are busy constructing a society “that entirely erases traditional gender roles and stereotypes at even the most mundane levels,” according to the online journal Slate.

This is another Kersten leitmotif, that strict gender roles must be observed and no deviation is allowed, even in the smallest degree. So this one is a two-fer.

One of hideous coming attractions from the Ruthless Swedish Bureaucracy is the development of a gender neutral pronoun:

Sweden has added a new pronoun — “hen” — to its online National Encyclopedia, defining it as a “proposed gender-neutral personal pronoun instead of he [han] or she [hon].”

We already have one, used in a variety of contexts: s/he. It’s awkward, but it’s better than writing he or she every time in situations when you don’t know the gender of the person, or it could be either. It would be nice if we had an equivalent way to do his and her. Many people solve that one by using their, which, of course, is incorrect because it’s plural.

But I digress.

The Swedes believe that if more than one child wants to be the mom or the dad in playing “house,” well fine; go ahead. Kersten is scandalized. She also reports that a local “left wing” party in Sweden has proposed a law requiring that men sit down when using the toilet: clearly a violation of Natural Law going back to the earliest marking of trees. (Her sourcing is a little sketchy, though.)

And to top it all off, Swedes want gender neutrality in dolls. But come on Katherine, none of your dolls had genitalia, either.

But, believe it or not, none of this is the funny part. This is the funny part:

What links Sweden’s and America’s social planners is a shared premise: That human beings are infinitely malleable, and that — with enough browbeating — other folks can be made to conform to their vision of the ideal society.

It’s the funny part, because all of the Swedish and American “social planners” put together don’t hold a candle to this guy:

In a message prepared for World Day of Peace on January 1, 2013, Pope Benedict admits (although he wouldn’t say “admits”) that objection to gay marriage isn’t “confessional.” In other words, it isn’t an article of faith:

These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation.

I mean, crikey, do you believe that? People all over the world are trying to fashion a more fair and tolerant society, using, inter alia, social, psychological, and medical research, and it should mean nothing because Pope Benedict says, What the hell, doesn’t seem right to me?

This fellow sounds like Katherine Kersten.

Which is not a coincidence.

If the pope or the local archbishop want to jerk people in their flock around based on perceived religious principle, and faithful put up with it, fine; it’s a free country. But when you start telling the whole world what to do in matters of social policy that isn’t even based on your religion? Man, that’s cheeky.

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.