August 4, 2013

Am I to conclude from Kathleen Parker’s list of currently acceptable public behavior [“Defining deviancy down,” op-ed, July 31] that she considers divorce and single parenthood “deviant,” on par with pornography and sexting? Does she mean to imply that my divorced brother and my single mother-friend are “deviants”? 

I’m not familiar with Ms. Parker’s fashion sense, but I believe there was a time when women in slacks were considered deviant, as were women who worked for newspapers. What she is decrying as defining deviancy down seems to me to be the standard public discourse on what we consider acceptable behavior, a debate in which every generation engages. The more conservative members of the public invariably bemoan any changes in the norm. But coming from Ms. Parker, who has written passionately about her own evolution of thought regarding gay marriage — to some, the ultimate example of deviancy — it seems particularly curious. Perhaps hypocritical. Perhaps even “deviant.” 

Jonathan Eig, Potomac