Commentary Magazine


People Who Took the Foster Friess Joke Way Too Literally

Yesterday, Rick Santorum fundraiser Foster Friess went on MSNBC and told an old, corny joke about how “gals” used to put aspirin between their knees as birth control. The implication was that if you keep your knees together all the time, you’re not going to be getting pregnant anytime soon. Get it? (Yes, it’s dumb).

But the joke was apparently lost on liberals, some of whom thought Friess was literally proposing women use this as a form of birth control. Even though it isn’t medically effective! And they were accordingly outraged.

Mediate cites a couple of good examples of people taking the joke way too seriously. Here’s one from Crooks and Liars that blames Friess for spreading “myths” that lead to teen pregnancy:

It was pretty horrifying to hear. Diane Sweet, who runs our Occupy America Blog found this Dear Abby article from July 18, 2007, which puts a chilling story to this anti-choice neanderthal’s words and chuckles.


Here’s one for the books on parental stupidity. When my daughter, “Marissa” began to reach her teen years, her father — in an attempt to be funny — advised her that she could keep from becoming pregnant by putting an aspirin between her knees and keeping it there.

My stupidity was assuming that sex education and pregnancy prevention were taught in her school. I never broached the subject with her.

Larissa became pregnant at 15. …

What a joke it must have been to Foster and his pals after he left the set. He probably thought he set Andrea Mitchell straight on the idea of how silly birth control is when all you have to do is grab an aspirin and squeeze.

And another flagged by Red State’s Caleb Howe:

I couldn’t tell whether Mitchell was baffled or taken aback, but the reporter who wrote that article was clearly baffled. The above is followed with:

It is totally unclear what Friess is talking about and a quick Google search on links between Bayer aspirin and contraception was unhelpful, although Bayer does manufacture birth control pills.

And here’s Think Progress fuming that Friess only put the aspirin burden on women — a clear sign of sexism:

Given that aspirin is not a contraceptive, Friess seems to be suggesting that women keep the pill between their knees in order to ensure their legs stay closed to prevent having sex. Conspicuously, Friess doesn’t put the same burden on men.

It’s hard to tell if the outrage is genuine, or if some of these writers are simply pretending to take this literally in order to attack Santorum. Either way, the responses are still entertaining.

From a political standpoint, Friess’ comment was stupid. It was a distraction for Santorum, and highlighted his outside-of-mainstream views on contraceptives. On the other hand, the firestorm of indignation about the joke is even sillier, and blaming Santorum for it is just nonsense.

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