Hegemony Dies Hard | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Hegemony Dies Hard

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To the editor:

Far be it from me to insist on a politically correct interpretation for everything, but it seems at least plausible to argue that the recent rash of allegations of satanic child abuse in day-care facilities is more a function of fear and loathing among our society's dominant classes and culture than the result of any pervasive parental guilt ["The Mouths of Babes," March 15].

Think about it--what's been scaring the bejesus out of right-wing defenders of "traditional American values," and their ideologically cowed sycophants, in recent years? The answer: challenges to the male-dominated American nuclear family and to white, Christian, Euro-American culture. So who are the demons arising from the netherworlds of the Christo-patriarchal unconscious, manifesting themselves in these lurid tales of violation of the holy innocents? (Alleged) non-Christians who work closely with children in non-nuclear-family settings--settings derived from models of community-based child care designed to empower women and widen their array of life choices. Hegemony dies hard.

As for the Hill family episode: the initial stories in the Tribune seemed nearly as dedicated to emphasizing the Hills' "underclass" status (public aid, south side address, various relatives and live-in boyfriends hanging around, allegations of drug abuse and welfare fraud) as they were to providing juicy details of the alleged rats-and-roaches menu (I loved the piece that dutifully informed us how the roaches were "served with hot sauce"--don't those benighted ghetto-dwellers have any sense of haute cuisine?). A lot of readers, I fear, swallowed that story at face value largely because it confirmed their own worst stereotypes of nonwhite south siders on welfare.

Every age--and every decaying empire--gets the devils it deserves.

David Whiteis

Fort Wayne

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