Paula Poundstone (born December 29, 1959) is an American stand-up comedian, author, actress, interviewer, and commentator. Beginning in the late 1980s, she performed a series of one-hour HBO comedy specials. She provided backstage commentary during the 1992 presidential election on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She is the host of National Public Radio program Live from the Poundstone Institute, a frequent panelist on NPR's weekly news quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me, and was a recurring guest on the network's A Prairie Home Companion variety program during Garrison Keillor's years as host.
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We are impressed with nature's power, but by projecting upon this power an image of the feminine, the mother, we reassure ourselves — for surely a mother will always be loving toward us, continue to feed us, clothe us, and carry away our wastes, and never kill us, no matter how much toxic waste we put in the soil or how many CFCs in the ozone. The sense of nature as inexhaustible mother encourages us to feel there are no limits to a finite planet, while the sense of nature as benign and ever-loving mother permits us to continue disregarding a crescendo of warnings.
All that remains to the mother in modern consumer society is the role of scapegoat; psychoanalysis uses huge amounts of money and time to persuade analysands to foist their problems onto the absent mother, who has no opportunity to utter a word in her own defense. Hostility to the mother in our societies is an index of mental health.