I don't click over to Salon as often as I should—that whole "spend a minute with an ad to access our content for free" thing is just a tremendous bother for a busy woman like me. (Hah!) Anyway, here are three articles I recommend.
First, for sociological and cosmetological amusement, we have Melena Z. Ryzik's "Divine secrets of the combover brotherhood," a long-overdue investigation into the age-old question, "How could he possibly think that looks anything other than ridiculous?"
A meatier piece is Debra Dickerson's thoughtful article on race relations and black women's constrained place in our society, "I want you to want me." It's funny and tremendously sad at the same time. Go read it.
There's also an Ayelet Waldman column on sanctimonious parents, often adherents of attachment parenting, slinging the mud of their enlightenment at parents who don't follow the same precepts. If you're a mother and you haven't experienced this (as either a slinger or slingee), you probably stayed in the house or off the internet too much. "Breast is best!" the slingers may squawk, regardless of whether another woman's breast function is any of their business.
Waldman talked to Julie, whose blog (A Little Pregnant) is on my daily reading list. When Julie wrote about trying to regain some semblance of balance in her life by letting her baby boy learn to put himself to sleep, she was derided by strangers who were certain she was scarring her child's psyche for life or dangerously leaving him to wallow in his own vomit for hours. (The "discussion" really got ugly.)
Waldman also interviewed Ginger Ogle, director of a large online parenting community. Ogle's perspective is that people who strongly identify with the attachment-parenting ethic have a set of beliefs that nearly constitute a religion. Ogle says, "Some of these parents sincerely believe in attachment parenting, homeopathy, cloth diapers, breast-feeding, baby wearing, not vaccinating, etc., in exactly the same way that Southern Baptists sincerely believe in the death penalty, a strong military, the right to life, heterosexuality, and the Bible as the Word of God." Either kind of strict worldview brooks no dissent. The same degree of fervor you might see in, say, Operation Rescue adherents can also be found in the organic-food-eating, baby-sling-wearing contingent. I don't know how thoroughly I agree with Ogle's theory, but clearly there is heat and fury in many discussions of parents' choices.