Saturday, March 25, 2023

Midge Dector, leading neo-conservative, dead at 94

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — Midge Dektor, a prominent neoconservative writer and commentator who helped lead the right-wing’s onslaught in the culture wars while opposing the rise of feminism, affirmative action, and the gay rights movement in a blunt and assertive style, wrote died in age. 94.

Dektor, retired commentary editor and wife of fellow neo-conservative Norman Podhoretz, died Monday at their home in Manhattan. Daughter Naomi Dector said her health was deteriorating, but did not give any specific cause of death.

Like her husband, Midge Dector was a lifelong Democrat in the ’60s and what followed called “unnecessary and mindless left-wing politics and intellectual and artistic nihilism”. The confrontation energized her: she was a popular speaker, a prolific writer and, as she described it, “the expected bad guy on the discussion panel” about cultural issues of the time. Her books include “Liberal Parents, Radical Children,” “The New Chastity” and the memoir “An Old Wife’s Tale.”

In 2003, he received a National Humanities Medal, cited as “never shy of controversy”.

Calling herself a “spirited thinker,” she faulted affirmative action for causing “massive tours of self-doubt” among black people. He attacked homosexuals as reckless and irresponsible, alleging that they had removed themselves from the “tides of ordinary mortal existence”.

Feminism was her main goal. “The Libers,” as she called them, “created a generation of self-centered and dissatisfied women moving from marriage to marriage,” pressuring their children to limit their personal freedoms and pursue careers for themselves. Was annoyed to put what they didn’t want.

The real agenda of feminism was to leave a woman “as illiterate, able to act without real consequence, as the little girl she imagines she once was and continues to be,” said Dektor. wrote.

His opinion was not left unanswered.

Poet and activist Adrienne Rich once wrote that Dektor suffered from “a strange lack of information about unfulfilled needs, the enormous devastation of the social order which she so admires.” Responding to a 1980 article by Dektor about gay people, Gore Vidal remarked that “she has managed to come to terms with not only every known prejudice and superstition about same-sexers, but some new ones.” Also managed to make it.”

Dector, Vidal said, “writes with the authority and easy confidence of someone who knows that he is in fact very well known to those who know him.”

In his early years, Dector did not uphold the tradition; He challenged it. Born Midge Rosenthal in 1927 in St. Paul, Minnesota, she was the youngest of three girls and apparently the tallest. “Annoyingly talkative” was her family’s consensus, she recalled, underscored by “a definite note of unrest”.

As a teenager, he acted in the style of the 1940s—cutting school to smoke, swear, drink “gallons” of Pepsi, and talk about boys and sex. He had a lofty dream. Visiting relatives in Brooklyn left her craving the “hust and smell and variety” of a big city. She dropped out of the University of Minnesota and transferred to the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

In 1948, she married Jewish activist Moshe Dector and lived for a while in Greenwich Village, a left-wing paradise. Her decision to divorce her first husband had a similar ring to the words of a fictitious suburban housewife (“Is it all there?”), whom the Doctor would strongly dislike Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystic.”

“Divorce starts in that moment when someone looks in the mirror and says, ‘Is this all going to take forever? Dector wrote in his memoir published in 2001.

He doubted the modern desire to “get everything”, but Dector managed a full life of family, work and material comfort. She had been married to Podhoretz for over 50 years and had four children, two with each husband. (All four worked in journalism, and son John Podhoretz eventually became editor of commentary). He wrote for several publications, from The Weekly Standard to The New Republic. She was editor of Basic Books and executive editor at Harper’s Magazine, where she helped work on Norman Mailer’s award-winning book “The Armies of the Night.” She founded the anti-communist “Committee for a Free World” and was a member of the conservative surveillance accuracy in the media.

Like her husband, her turn to the right was personal and political. He and Podhoretz were longtime Manhattan residents who had socialized with Mailer, Lillian Hellman, and others from whom they had bitterly separated. In his memoir, Dector accused his left-wing opponents of not only disagreeing with his country, but wishing it to collapse—an attitude he feared would spread to his own family.

“As I was, and living where I was, I was putting my children in danger: a spiritual means to reduce the danger and chill, or to have a spiritual means before they would be in danger and become a real adulthood. The spread of.” he wrote.

“Put all those feelings and thoughts together, and they will one day amount to what will be called neoconservatism.”

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