Topic: Media Research Center
The bluenoses at the Media Research Center really hate Dear Abby.
Last year, the MRC's Culture and Media Institute issued a report claiming that Dear Abby's "columns on sex reflect an unwillingness to support traditional, common-sense moral values that steer people away from destructive behavior and protect them from harmful situations. Dear Abby’s advice on sexual matters cannot be trusted." Among the pieces of evidence cted for this conclusion: "Abby never says homosexual behavior is morally wrong," and "adopts a permissive attitude toward a variety of odd sexual behaviors."
CMI repeats the criticism in a July 31 article by Matt Philbin, which concerned a letter writer who learned that the money the writer's sister has been donatingto the college funds of the writer's children came from the sister's work in adult films -- or, as Philbin put it, "the ill-gotten gains of immoral exploitation" -- and wanted to know what to do, since she didn't "want my sister's sexual exploits paying for our kids' education" but also didn't want to cause a family rift. Abby responded:
If you refuse her generosity, it will appear that you are rejecting her. Nor do I think your children should be penalized because you don't approve of Cilla's lifestyle. Your husband is being pragmatic; you are being emotional. That money has already been earned. You're not going to change your sister. You may not approve, but love her for the generous and caring aunt she is trying to be and let the money be used for something positive.
That's practical advice. But Philbin isn't interested in practical advice -- he's interested in moral superiority. Here's Abby's answer as filtered through Philbin's prudery:
If “Sister” was hoping for the easy way out, she turned to the right advice columnist. Jeanne Phillips (the “Dear Abby” writer) replied that “Sister” was being “emotional;” her husband, “pragmatic.”
“If you refuse her generosity, it will appear that you are rejecting her. Nor do I think your children should be penalized because you don't approve of Cilla's lifestyle.”
[Sigh] Don’t be such an up-tight prude. The important thing is that the money makes your life easier and your porn star sister doesn’t feel rejected.
Phillips went on: “You're not going to change your sister. You may not approve, but love her for the generous and caring aunt she is trying to be and let the money be used for something positive.”
If you really must be [shudder] judgmental, then rationalize taking the money by telling yourself it’s for a “positive” goal. Just so long as you don’t do anything to harm you sister’s self esteem.
In other words, Philbin wants the woman to blow up her family in order to feel morally superior to her sister. Philbin doesn't mention whether he wants the sister to wear a large red "P" around her neck.
Philbin's article was headlined, "Dear Abby, Is There Any 'Lifestyle' You Won't Embrace?" We have to ask Philbin: Is there any instance in which family harmony trumps moral superiority?
(Given that Philbin's fellow CMI writers have effectively condoned the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, any moral superiority he's asserting is severely undermined as it is.)