Would you ask the homeless person down the street how to conduct your sex life?
Would you approach the guy mumbling incoherent stuff and peeing on himself whether you should have a boyfriend or three? Have casual sex? Would you ask him if he has done that, and if it made him happy?
Okay, let’s go with a slightly less outrageous example – instead of the homeless guy down the street, you knock on your neighbor’s door and ask. He doesn’t speak English very well, but he looks like a happy enough guy, and his kids always smile at you. So, would you ask him how early your kids should have sex and with whom? And whether you should experiment with group sex? And take his answer when he tells you what he’s done and how happy it’s made him? And change your entire life around to be JUST like his – or at least just like he tells you it is?
No? Why not? Western civilization did that. Western civilization still is doing that.
Yesterday for some reason I got suckered into reading about Margaret Meade and the whole Samoan “Was it an hoax or not?”
Of course in anthropological circles, it is considered heretical to say she was hoaxed, or to say that Derek Freeman proved she was hoaxed. In fact, most of the anthropologists seem to ostracize anyone who suggests she was hoaxed.
For those following this at home, without a score card, who have no idea who Margaret Meade is or why they should give a hang: Margaret Meade went to Samoa in the twenties, to study whether in a more sexually free society (note the assumption) adolescence was easier and less neurotic. The book she published, upon return, was the seminal work of cultural anthropology. It also – because she claimed that Samoans lived in a free-love paradise, where neither incest nor adultery, nor ANYTHING was considered taboo and that they were far less neurotic than us – launched most of the totally insane theories about sex of the sixties and seventies. Including the strange idea that if humans just slept with everyone who asked, they’d be happier, less aggressive and less neurotic.
Years later, Derek Freeman went to Samoa hoping to corroborate Margaret Mead’s study. Instead, he found one of the most sexually regulated (repressed, if you will, but that word smacks of Freudianism) societies on Earth and convincing evidence that Margaret Mead was hoaxed.
When he presented that evidence, he found himself outcast, because Margaret Mead was a grand damme of the left, the mother of feminist sexual liberation and of the free love movement. (No, really. There’s no other reason for the way people reacted to him.)
To be fair I don’t think it what happened with mead was an hoax, as such. Oh, sure, I’m fairly sure those girls, her informants, lied to her. At least a bit. And exaggerated. And probably tried to figure out how to gross her out. The reason I assume this is that my friends and I – far more sophisticated (at least in theory) than the Samoan girls, and far more aware than they of what our studies would be used for – told the most outrageous lies to anthropologists who interviewed us in middle and high school. In middle school, in particular, when sex was both icky and funny. And in high school, at one point a study from my class in a strict all-girls’ school revealed that 90% of the girls were not virgins and had lost their virginity to a bottle. Guys, this was an academic magnet school. These were my friends. I was one of them. We were, I’d guess 90% virginal with maybe 5% involved in various kinds of lesbianism (Some of it, at least, deprivation lesbianism– periodically they busted a couple. The most inventive ones had a love nest under some bushes in the garden. One of them was the first of us to get married – yes, to a guy – because she was knocked up. She had twins. Never mind.) The others fell into various situations, including the ones who actually had boyfriends/were engaged and might be physically involved with these guys.
So, I’m sure these girls – who were, after all, adolescent girls told this strange woman asking about embarrassing subjects the most outrageous lies, part to see how far she’d swallow them and part to see if she’d go away.
But there is no way – none – they could have hoaxed her so far as for her to believe she’d found the perfect free love (where even incest wasn’t taboo!) society, if she didn’t want to believe it. In fact the “I wanna believe” was the main component of it.
I know, I know, people get very weird and the anthropologists assure us that in the years between her study and Derek Freeman’s, which debunked her study, the island had changed that much, and become “that much more repressive.”
I’m sorry, that dog won’t hunt.
Some of the things Derek Freeman found out were that the rape statistics from that time were not what Margaret Meade claimed. That’s not a matter of “the culture changed.”
The article I found that tries to balance it all, claims that what changed was not the observed – Samoan culture – but the observers. When Margaret Meade went out, supposedly (I’d roll my eyes, but I think they rolled under the desk) America was repressed and puritanical, while when Derek Freeman studied them western culture had been changed by free love to such an extent that he thought them repressed compared to us.
I’m sorry. That dog really won’t hunt. I think he’s dead.
What THAT article claims is that, despite the supposed worshiping of “virginity” girls used sex to lure men to marriage; despite the ideal of a big church wedding, most marriages happened by elopement, after sleeping together. What he’s saying, in fact, is that these rules were honored more in the breach than in fact.
In other words, they were, in fact, exactly like every other human society in the world, where real humans always fall short of the ideal morals and precepts.
None of which explains the “they don’t have any rules and do everything that moves and that’s why no one is neurotic” that Margaret Mead came home with.
I don’t think it was so much of an hoax as the eye of the beholder.
Which would have been okay, if not for the fact that for whatever reason (WWI, WWII, loss of cultural confidence, cultural betrayal, and the ever pervasive myth of the noble savage) the western world decided to take this truly shaky study and make it into a model for how to run the western world’s sex life. (Would someone find my eyes? I think they rolled under the desk.)
This myth of the happy go lucky Samoans who sleep with everything tied in with the ideas of the noble savage, the Marxist idea that wanting to own things was somehow wrong and a sign of neurosis, the confusion between marriage and ownership, the Freudian idea that not being repressed at all – no frustrations! – would make everyone an angel and the American can do idea (“We can change everything. We can make it better.”)
The end result was the free love movement of the sixties, the “if it feels good do it” still being pushed at us, and the idea that to abstain somehow makes you “sick.”
Yes, before you ask, a lot of this ethos permeated Heinlein’s work, because – here we go again – Heinlein was a man of his time, and read the scientific papers, and this was science with a capital S.
So… women were empowered/encouraged to have sex with no commitment. So were men. Women are still being pushed into this. Now, with men everything is aggression and the can’t look wrong at a woman without being accused of assault.
How did it work out? Are we in a wonderful, liberated future with no repression and no neurosis?
Brother. It worked out exactly as it would have worked out for the Samoans if they’d really lived that way.
Human beings crave connection and structure. Yes, if the structure is too demanding/unattainable, they will betray it in fact, but serve it in word.
As for neurosis… We now have feminists so exquisitely “liberated” they think it’s unnatural to have sex with men, period. And women on college campuses are threatened by a realistic statue of a man in his underwear.
No neurosis at all, right?
The really funny thing is that Heinlein based the sexual aspects of his later novels on that research and based his societies on those ideas, but the same feminists who will defend Mead to the death will scream that he has “too much sex” in his novels and that he was “a dirty old man.”
(Ah, there are my eyes. Does anyone have a cup I can use to conveniently roll them?) You’d think it’s almost like all they have against Heinlein is that he never catered to their other political delusions, still believed in women having kids, and, oh, yeah, that he had a penis. Particularly that.
The other funny thing is that they’re still defending Mead, even though we’ve seen through the last… seventy? Years of experimentation with an approximation to Meade’s “no inibitions” ideal that it just doesn’t work as advertised – what it produces is women who feel used, (Credit Heinlein with that insight “When women insist on absolute equality, they end up with the dirty end of the stick.”) men who never engage in the “father/husband” mode, and kids who are left to grow up alone and abandoned, or as wards of the state. What we’ve found is that more and more women are asking the state to hurt men for them and treating the state as a sugar daddy. What we’ve found is that there ain’t no pot of gold at the end of that there rainbow.
And yet, they still defend her “conclusions.” You see, the reason paradise failed to happen is capitalism. Oh, yeah, and patriarchy. And patriarchal capitalism. And capitalist patriarchy. Never mind the fact that we’re fairly well informed of our history some 3000 years, with decent extrapolation for the rest; that capitalism has existed in any form for maybe 400 years, and that the world has not gotten worse or less tolerant, and certainly not poorer in that time.
Worse – and this is mind boggling – we’re still going to primitive tribes/isolated populations, in out of the way places, in search of our “natural” way of being.
Guys, the natural way for our ancestors to be was starved, disease infested and short-lived. Also, if they like other simians lived in bands, oppressed by unbelievable tyranny of those in charge of the band. No, seriously. Your ancestors have spent the last however many millennia getting away from the “natural way to be” – why would you want to go back?
The studies aren’t always pushing a leftist point of view. This doesn’t make them ANY MORE SANE or safe to take at face value.
I looked for and couldn’t find the article on this study that went to some primitive tribe and came back claiming they had no homosexuals. None at all. They didn’t even know they existed. And every married couple in the tribe had sex like ten times a night, and yep, there is no neurosis and no one—
Guys! Seriously. There are also no homosexuals in Iran, according to Themadjihad. And if you didn’t have evidence otherwise, through the people who manage to sneak out articles and pictures, some anthropologist would probably believe him.
There is homosexuality in every higher mammal, most of it dominance behavior, but a lot of it… uh… not.
Throughout history, homosexuals have been condemned to various forms of unpleasant death, when discovered, and yet, there were still homosexuals, as there are still homosexuals in Russia and Islamic countries, where it is very dangerous to be gay.
Whether you think it should/could be eliminated or not, it’s fairly clear that simply “we have sex with our wives multiple times a night” is NOT a cure for it. (It is also obvious that in any civilized nation there isn’t enough energy to have sex multiple times a night EVERY night. Hey, look, I’d love to. I’m sure you’d love to also but there are jobs to go to in the morning, and kids who won’t go to sleep till midnight, and…)
There are two levels of craziness here.
A) Assuming that someone in another culture, particularly a tribal culture, suspicious of outsiders, is going to tell you the truth about a function that in every human society – particularly tribal and isolated ones – is edged around with taboos and prohibitions.
B) Taking whatever you manage to find out and viewing it as a manual to improve life in the most successful society that humans have ever formed on this planet.
This is exactly like the successful CEO going out and asking the guy on the corner how to be happy. There have been several stories and movies on this theme, and most of them induce eye rolling to the extreme. Because in real life we all know how this would go.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t practice cultural anthropology. Of course, there is something to be said for knowing how other humans live. But clearly not only must we make the thing more like a science – making sure we remove as much as possible the wishful thinking of the researcher – we also must not go about “applying” this knowledge before it has been confirmed several times, by several studies.
To me these announcements of the complete breakthrough difference of the sexual mores of “isolated” or “tribal” human populations strike me as incredibly racist. To believe there is a human population on Earth that practices PERFECT free love, with no jealousy and no consequences, you have to believe they’re a different species, free of all normal human impulses. The same thing btw is necessary to believe there is a human population on Earth completely free of homosexuality. (Homosexual behavior rises with the decrease of a species dimorphic difference. I.e. the more the sexes look like each other, the more homosexual sex. And in animal term, we humans are almost as alike as penguins. Maybe more.)
Yes, humans have tried various forms of mating, with more or less success: from patriarchies to matriarchies, from one-on-one pairing to harems. (To celibacy, but those didn’t last.) I understand there are successful group and line marriages among science fiction fans (an odd group to begin with.) Some of these even work pretty well for that population, at that time.
Would they work for the rest of the world, all the time? What? Have humans stopped being humans? Will conditions and ways of living never change? Will the best strategy today be the best strategy forever?
There is no recorded case – ever – of a human group exactly following the rules no matter how strict or how lax.
There is no recorded case — ever — in human history where humans didn’t lie about how much/little sex they’re having, or what kind, for that matter.
And there is no recorded society in history that was perfectly happy and free of neurosis.
To pursue this sort of state by imitating small, tribal societies – or worse, by imitating what we believe they are – is not just insane. It’s completely insane.
How about we accept we’re humans? Sex is a great thing, but it is both more and less than what we have tried to make it in the last sixty/seventy years. It is far more than the appetites we share with dogs – sex in most cases (at least the best sex) comes with emotional attachment and – for permanence – with mutual obligations. It is also no universal panacea, no cure-all and CERTAINLY no bridge to an earthly paradise.
Freud is dead. So is Margaret Mead. The Samoans were never completely happy. Neither are we.
Perhaps we can accept that we’re humans and that one solution fits all only works in the cemetery, and event here only with adjustments.
Perhaps we are now grown up enough to put our pants back on, or at least to not ask the homeless guy if we should put them on or pull them off?
Or we could send another emissary to modern-day primitives and ask THEM the secret of happiness.
Unfortunately, I know what we’re likely to do.
342 thoughts on “Sex in Paradise”
” To believe there is a human population on Earth that practices PERFECT free love, with no jealousy and no consequences, you have to believe they’re a different species, free of all normal human impulses. ”
This is one thing that throws me completely out of so many of Heinlein’s later stories. It boggles my mind that any thinking man could possibly believe that humans as a whole could get over jealousy.
The only way someone could love everyone equally is if he or she didn’t give a shit about anyone.
Otherwise, we’re humans, we have preferences. Samoan girl A might like the fit guy and not the fat guy. Oops, no equal love there, but Samoan girl B might think the fit guy is an ass and the fat guy is kind. So again, no free and equal love.
I’m thinking of Evan Sayet’s analysis of the liberal mind, where having opinions and standards is “Bad” because it’s discrimination. But because of this lack of judgement, the result is invariably supporting evil. (He states it far more eloquently, and in more sensible detail.)
And when the guy prefers the other woman, there will be a great big fight and a feud for life…
This is what I meant. We’re HUMANS.
What kills me is that, when you try to point this out to some people, they start talking about wanting to do away with humanity, because we’re evil.
To give them their due, humans are evil, and the only species yet discovered that is evil. Because only humans have demonstrated the capacity for moral thinking. That capacity includes the capacity for evil, for without the capacity for evil there can be no choice to be good.
I admit I get a chuckle out of people who deny the existence of G-D because He gave us Free Will. Yet that is the only conclusion to be drawn from complaints that He always “bad things to happen to good people.”
folks whose complaint about ancient Biblical theology is that it’s not 21st century Christian level theology, such as the idea that Abraham COULD sacrifice his son, and it would be a ‘cost’ to him, rather than only his son…..
Y’know… I hear what you’re saying, and I agree to a certain amount. But…
I’m not one-hundred percent certain that this is necessarily an iron law of human relations. Not at all. There are examples throughout the range of human culture, the Mosuo of China being one of the more well-documented.
I honestly think that jealousy and a lot of the viciousness demonstrated by males in the standard cultures has a lot more to do with the fear of losing access to sexual contact with women in general than it does with losing it to a particular woman. When it’s difficult to establish relations, you grab onto what you can get, and guard it jealously. When you know that another willing lady is just down the road, well… When the first loses interest, you shrug your shoulders and move on.
I don’t know what the original “natural” state of things was back in the days when we were primitive hunter-gatherers moving out of Africa, but I doubt that those bands were made up of the strictly monogamous. If they were, there would be a lot more evidence in our genes, and I suspect that there wouldn’t be as much philandering going on in real life around us. My best guess is that the sexual values back then tended a lot more towards a rolling pattern of serial monogamous relations within the band, and probably with any other band that you might have come in contact with. Monogamy really only took hold about the time we started agriculture, and settled into a sedentary, property-bound pattern of life.
If we had been strictly, “naturally” monogamous back then, I think there would be a lot less “fooling around” outside of those strictures in human societies today. Monogamy would be built-in, biologically, and we’d find it a lot harder to stray from our partners.
Judging from the evidence, I think it a lot more likely that we were serially monogamous in general, and perhaps with a few long-term relationships that lasted for life as the exception. It was probably accepted that women would go where they willed, with who they willed, and that the kids were probably a collective responsibility for the band. Any other pattern would have been too rigid to cope with the high casualty rates of hunting large game and the disease/accident environment.
Well, given the behavior of apes and polygamists, what would be more likely is a strong man with a group of women, and weaker men with no women at all. And then the women working to keep the others with the group, enforcing norms, and punishing those who strayed to other men.
But… sure, go with your “All the men get all the women, in turn,” fantasy if you want…..
You’ve never hunted, have you?
The “strong man” theory you’re following would mean that every time they went up against dangerous game, the guy who took the lead would be at risk of getting killed when the other males of the band, who he’d cut off from sexual access, let him get killed by trampling and/or getting clawed to death.
The dynamics of the teamwork required for humans to successfully hunt are what rule out your theory, especially in an environment that had megafauna in it. In a herd of herbivores, or in a species where the female does all the work of hunting, like lions, you’d be right. For humans? It’s all too damn easy to let that big bastard who thinks he’s in charge to get killed when he goes out on a limb after a mammoth or other large game animal. And, to maintain that position, he has to keep right on doing that.
There were no doubt alpha males, and alpha females. But, the idea that there were alpha males who monopolized the females? Nope. That strategy would have failed, big-time. Not to mention, the women would have never stood for it.
Yep, the Alpha Males might have gotten the best “pieces of meat” and had move women wanting them, but there were likely Beta Males who would be willing (and able) to “take his place” if he went too far. Of course, there would be “lesser” males willing (and able) to take the place of the Beta Males.
The Alpha Males were likely “leading the tribe where the tribe wants to go” more than “leading the tribe where *he* wants to go”. [Very Big Grin]
The teamwork thing is what makes me think that things were pretty damn egalitarian. My guess is that the “big man” spent more time worrying about getting all of his hunters laid by the women, in order to keep them happily taking part in the hunts than he did in keeping the women all to himself.
Enlightened self-interest, ya know?
And, I suspect that destructive jealousy over who was boinking who got checked by the fact that it doesn’t take much to get someone killed going after the mammoth. “Ooops… Missed with the spear, Oog got trampled… Oh, well…”.
Now, if we’re talking about everybody hunting plentiful small game like rabbits? Hmmm… Probably a very different dynamic. Megafauna? The teamwork would matter more than who was getting laid by who.
Well, as I recall in most species there is a considerable amount of purging of the children of other fathers.
I also seem to recall that statistically, child abuse is much more common when the primary male is not the kids’ biological father, so I doubt this is restricted to less sentient animals.
You don’t need an egalitarian model for teamwork. A hierarchy with a big man on top, his few trusted lieutenants, a few more enforcers, and a larger group of schmoes, with rewards commensurate, with rank is capable of complex and dangerous operations. Each rank has a vested interest in keeping the rank below them from seizing power, since they’d probably lose their position – nobles don’t fare well in a peasant’s revolt. At the same time there would be a rain of patronage and favors on the ranks below to buy loyalty. Since there’s no guarantee that those favors would increase or even continue if the patron lost power, the subordinates would effectively crab-bucket their peers.
This basic model describes the organizational structure of pretty much every known government prior to fairly recent times, as well as most criminal organizations today. It’s reasonably stable over human life-spans.
Add to that the fact that our ancestors didn’t really hunt megafauna, I think it would be better described as arraigned scavenging. They would find some place where they could drop something heavy on the quarry or run it over a cliff. Or they’d just keep following it until it dropped dead.
The strong-man leader requires something to keep the shmoes around. For minor abuses, minor human not wanting to change will manage it– you get too bad, and folks will say “to heck with having known you guys since forever, I’m heading out with the lowest level women and the other low level guys.”
Agriculture raises the average (I don’t give a crud what the New Hot Theory says about it being worse, obviously they found it better) but also means you’ve got more to lose, and gives a strong man more power.
It obviously depends on the group. Maybe the strong-man is the only one who knows how to make the neat spear points, or he’s really good at organizing the hunt. And there’s always the reliable stand-by “take off and we’ll hunt you down.”
Actual hunting-and-gathering society have strong social customs to beat down the social status stuff from the primates. Only agriculture can really cope.
The thing about apes is that you will never see two chimpazees carrying a log together — or even putting their strength together to shift a log too big for either so as to get at the grubs. Talking made a big difference, one I have heard described as man being 90% ape, 10% bee.
I would say that your example proves the fallacy of your ‘free love’/share the women around theory. Trading the women about would in my mind create more jealousy than one man having several women, which in turn would be more likely to cause hunting “accidents.” More probably there would be extra women because of the mortality of males in hunting, warfare, etc. So the strong man would have several women, but most of the men that were useful and decent providers would have one. The jealousy aspect would tend to curtail the strong man openly taking others women, because again you take my woman I’m liable to stand there just a second to long before I spear that bison coming at you.
In a low tech/high risk environment like that strong man rule occurs almost naturally, but if the strong man is TOO oppressive he tends to have a short rule. Start taking others women by force and risk getting trampled. Sure he could probably slap his women around a little, in fact they likely expected it when they didn’t please him, but treat them to badly and he is liable to end up with a stone knife between his ribs one night.
History of societies that allow polygamy support (more or less, with some modifications) Ms. Mundy’s statements.
Women tends towards hypergamy, they want to breed/marry up. This means that older men with more wealth are more desirable. This means that younger men have to have something more than just being young and good looking. It increases to risk taking and decreases marrying age.
Oh, and once the ratio of available men to women gets out of whack violence goes up.
Sorry, typo’d my email address. I’ll fix it from here.
Actually, rather than saying that “All the men get all the women, in turn”, I’d say that the situation more resembled a state of free-flowing chaos, as hunters got injured and lost their positions in whatever hierarchy, and the younger males moved up/around within it. Not to mention the females dying in childbirth, and from predation/disease. Don’t forget that we were most assuredly not at the top of the food chain, in those days.
I just don’t see strict monogamy working in a situation where things were so damn chaotic and transitory. Sexual relationships would come and go, but the band itself had to go on… Anything else less flexible, and we’d be extinct. Strict monogamy with single partners? Too damaging to teamwork.
Actually, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to discover, were we able to go back and look at it, that the cultural variants that weren’t inherently flexible in terms of who was boinking who didn’t survive. It could be that that is what did in the Neanderthals, or the other identified sub-species like the Denisovians.
The evidence around us shows that humans are inherently creative and completely chaotic with regards to their actual mating behaviors, and I think that was just as true back then as it is now. That strict monogamy works better in agricultural/industrial economies? Doesn’t mean a damn thing–Look how much trouble we all have staying compliant with those rules. If that were really the natural state, I suspect we’d have a much easier time of remaining faithful to our vows.
You do realize that there are still hunting cultures, and they are often in bad parts of the world so life is uncommonly hard? And yet there are not a state of free-flowing chaos, and do in fact practice marriage.
And those cultures that practice formal marriage have just as much trouble following the rules as we do, don’t they?
I’ll continue to go on the evidence I see around me: Humans are not inherently strict, life-long monogamists like geese or several other species. Take any human population and try to track who is actually boinking who, and who the actual parents of the kids are, and you’re going to see a set of records that shows the actual situation is one of absolute chaos.
Women fool around as much as the men do, and I think that’s pretty much the natural state of things for our species: Series of relatively spontaneous sexual partnerships, with one partner growing bored or disgusted with the other, and then moving on to someone else. Despite all the idealism, that’s what we see going on around us in society today, isn’t it? And, the reality is, that’s what was going on before, too: I’ve seen research done in hospitals in some fairly well-off areas of the US where the blood type groupings indicate that there’s now way that up to about 30% of the kids born there were fathered by the man who was married to the woman who bore the child. What does that tell you?
We are not an inherently monogamous species. Period. Serial monogamists? Certainly.
I think the big source of problems with infidelity has more to do with property, and the nature of our society than our “natural” sexual mores and drives. When we were all going out to hunt for our meals every day, who the hell really cared whose kid was whose? You fed them all, because they were going to be feeding you later on. Start agriculture, and have settled property, and all of a sudden, that stuff really mattered.
AFAWCT from primitives and simian groups, you’re dead wrong. The desire to make sure the kid you’re feeding is your own, created most of the societal taboos and restrictions on women.
Also, btw serial monogamy is “first world problems” — we’re doing very well indeed, and women can afford to play around and still eat. And we’re living so long and are so well off we have time and mental space to get bored.
You’re reading way too much into ‘no one lives up to all their morals absolutely’ — NO ONE DOES. If you had the “perfect” no property (ew) and serial monogamy society, they wouldn’t live up to that either. People would still secretly be monogamous forever, and just pretend to go through more than one person.
The reason we don’t live up to it is that we’re humans, we’re each different, and you’re not going to get everyone to fit the same mold.
Sarah, if it were “natural”, it’d be the default state of human behavior, and we’d all pair off for life, two by two, and nobody would even pay the slightest attention to who was boinking who. Staying monogamous wouldn’t be a “thing”.
The fact that we’ve got to invest so much cultural energy into formalized marriage structures and the surrounding cultural features indicates that this is a not an inborn biological characteristic of our species. If it were “wired in”, then there would be no need to write the bloody rules down. Nobody is reminding you to breathe, are they? There’s no massive cultural edifice intended to keep reminding you, is there?
This is why I don’t judge anyone on their marital or sexual choices, other than from the standpoint of “Did they keep their word?”. And, when I condemn someone for infidelity, it’s not for the act of infidelity, it’s for the oath-breaking.
The human heart is a often a fickle beast, and trying to lock it down into a cage just isn’t going to work. I do envy those who find life-long love and compatibility, and who also manage life-long fidelity, but I note and will insist on pointing out to you, those couples are not at all the majority. Indeed, they’re a very small minority of the species.
That being the case, I’ll continue to infer that the chaotic arrangements of my peers are actually the default “natural” state of things.
Some of us DO pair off for life. Arguably most of us. Studies have been done on rate of adultery, as far as possible, and it’s not a majority — there doesn’t seem to be a “default behavior” for humans. Part of what I object to in these “primitive studies” is that they assume there is one.
“People would still secretly be monogamous forever, and just pretend to go through more than one person.” I want to read THAT story!
I’d never argue that some don’t pair off for life, or that doing so is unnatural.
However, my concept of natural in this arena is “what people do without outside compulsion”. If society consisted solely of people who paired off and then remained steadfast, I’d agree with you: People are inherently monogamous for life.
Were that the case for more than a subset, however, we would not be having this conversation. We wouldn’t even be able to conceive of a need to discuss this in this manner, other than in the most abstract of theoretical terms, and using examples from observation of other species. There would not be this vast edifice of custom and social order meant to enforce these rules for most people, either.
The fact that we need all this crap, ceremonial, legal, and otherwise, argues to me that this is an artificial, cultural thing we’ve overlaid on top of essentially incompatible biology. If it weren’t, there would be no drama at all associated with selecting and maintaining our mating pairs. It would “just happen”, as naturally as anything else does that’s inherent to our biology, and we’d think no more of it than we think of breathing.
Competition and angst comes built in, I’m afraid. As does infidelity, for all too many.
Kirk, I think there may be an unstable equilibrium here. Suppose mutual fidelity scores +10, cheating on your spouse scores +5, mutual infidelity scores 0, and being faithful to an unfaithful spouse scores -5.
Throw in imperfect information, and you’ve created some interesting perverse incentives. (Heh.)
Or it could be as simple as poor information, where folks cheat because they don’t realize the score.
On the point of fidelity, I’m going to have to beg to disagree. The studies I’ve seen indicate that there are a hell of a lot of kids being raised in families headed by men who are not the fathers, but who think they are.
Do a survey, and people are going to lie to you about their actions, even when they’re assured nobody will ever know. Hell, they may not even admit it to themselves, after the fact.
Blood types and genetic testing can’t lie, however. There are multiple studies out there that compare the blood types of kids in families across the world, and even in relatively wealthy, well-to-do areas, those studies have shown up to 30% of the kids not being children of the father that they think they are. Gene screens show a lot of interesting things, as well. Friend of mine got into this same discussion with me a few years back, and she blew my mind: In her practice, they had to carefully indoctrinate everyone that mentioning the results and implications about this issue to parents, especially the fathers, was verboten. Her experience was that something like 20-30% of the screenings she saw that included parents and the kid, the father on paper could not possibly match the father on the gene test. They had enough occasions where the doctors had to go to the woman involved and discretely discuss who the real father was, that there was a set protocol laid down to do so.
I’ve known a bunch of couples where the wife had better be grateful that Mendelian genetics isn’t generally taught very well, because there’s a kid in family whose eye and hair colors are pretty indicative of someone not cleaving to her marital vows. And, the husband is blissfully unaware.
Factor in the additional number of divorces that take place, and the sheer rarity of long-lasting marriages? If it weren’t rare, why the hell are so many couples that manage to hit the fifty or sixty year anniversary are in the papers? If that weren’t a rare phenomenon, it wouldn’t be newsworthy.
Marital fidelity as a majority norm? Maybe, but it’s only by the slimmest of margins, like around 51%. If that.
Except hair and eye color aren’t actually that simple, we’re discovering a lot about epigenetics, and there have been a few high profile cases in the news recently where genetic testing showed that the mother who gestated and birthed the baby was unrelated.
So….maybe genetic testing is harder than we think, and we can’t look at a man and his family and immediately assume we can know who was cuckolded?
Also, sometimes the blood type you’re told is actually a laboratory error. For instance, My mom was an O, my Dad was an A. When I was born, they told my mom I was AB. She freaked out all over them (She was a blood bank lady) and told them to redo the test, because an A dad and an O mom can’t have an AB baby. The doctor asked her if she was sure my dad was the father… She freaked out and threw the bed pan at him. Not because he’d insulted her virtue, but because his stupidity was making her cranky, since an O mom CANNOT have an AB child.
So they retested, said I was A, and everyone was happy….
Until I was pregnant with my daughter, and the OB/GYN insisted on testing my blood type even though I knew I was A…… turns out… the hospital screwed up twice, and I’m actually an O.
It makes me doubt a lot of these ‘kids’ type doesn’t match dads” studies… I mean, mix up a few samples, and it drastically changes the infidelity rate!
World Without Stars Poul Anderson. The fanatical monogamy of a leading character saves all; see also the ballad of Mary O’Meara therein.
Like I’m trying to express: It’s a case of free-form chaos, and likely always has been. We attempt to impose rules on it to enforce stability in our society, but the natural state militates very strongly against that.
Frankly, I’ve been observing people closely all my life, mostly because I don’t instinctively “get” other people or what motivates them. I can usually understand why I do what I do, but the rest of y’all are a bunch of damn black boxes. Folks say one thing, evangelize for it, condemn those who don’t do it, and then you find out that they’ve been doing it all along themselves. Which then leads you to try to figure out how the hell such convoluted thinking can even exist, in the first place.
Some people are naturally monogamous, mating to one partner for life. Some others would make the Bonobos blush with shame. We’re wildly variable, in this regard, and denial of that fact is just senseless. Even with a few thousand years of civilization’s strictures, we’re still like this.
Which is why I look at the conditions of today, extrapolate backwards, and reach the conclusions I’ve laid out.
” those studies have shown up to 30% of the kids not being children of the father that they think they are”
Which studies? Done when and where? Where were they published?
’cause the figures I’ve heard is that in paternity cases, about three-quarters report that the putative father is the DNA source, and that’s in cases where the man suspected something.
Yeah. Plus as has been pointed out it’s considerably more complex than we thought. Plus there’s “informal donation.” An infertile couple might not want to reveal they got a donation outside the system.
Second stab at answering Deirdre’s post:
Now, that’s interesting. You’ve connected two fact sets that I already knew, and hadn’t ever managed to put together for myself.
I think I need to consider this, and integrate it into my thoughts on this issue. Were I actually doing a thesis, I’d certainly have to include your points, and design a study to determine exactly what the ratios of such things are.
I do wonder, now that I think of it, whether or not a couple of cases where the husband “found out” the kid wasn’t his were entirely accurate. It’s possible, via the phenomenon of the chimera, that some cells in his testes might not be “his”, for whatever value we can assign when “he” is really a non-contiguous colony of cells from two different cell lines that become entwined in the womb. The irony is palpable, and it may well be that we would have to test and compare a fairly broad range of sperm in order to determine if the male in question was producing sperm with a consistent genetic pattern.
Which throws a whole bunch of other considerations and possibilities into the mix, when I consider the ramifications.
One of those studies was repressed that I reference was done, and then severely repressed by either Kaiser Permanente or one of the other big medical insurance/hospital corporations in California. The hospital was in one of the suburbs around San Francisco, and took place from the late 1950s through the 1970s. The doctor doing it got in a huge amount of trouble over privacy once the implications started to come out. If I remember right, there was a lawsuit that should still be on the record down there from the early 1970s over the issue. This came to me from one of the guys who was a medical resident that helped work on collating the data.
The other data point I have for this was a woman who worked in genetic counseling, and came from her personal experience dealing with the issues. The whole thing came up as a conversation we had eating lunch together, and they both agreed with each other as to the rate they thought might be accurate. They both also said that there was no way in hell they’d ever be stupid enough to try to verify it due to the “hot potato” issue it represented.
Just like with chimeras, I don’t think we’re going to know the true rate of incidence with this until we start doing mass genetic screenings automatically as part of medical care. And, even then, I bet money nobody will really want to know the answers to the question.
I do think that the rate of infidelity is a hell of a lot higher than some assume, and probably not as high as others think it is. I’ve been astonished at the number of “solid marriages” that I’ve observed where one or both of the parties turned out to be guilty of infidelity. If I had to take a stab at guessing, and that’s all I’m doing here, I think that the rate of incidence is probably around 30% or so. Maybe even as high as half. And, I’ll admit that my impression and numbers may well be skewed heavily by my experiences in the military. Out here in civilian life, marital relations seem to be a lot less volatile, or at least, less visible to me. In the Army, when this stuff happens, it’s all over the unit in really short order because of the fact that SGT Jones had to move back into the barracks. Civilian life? Hell, I just found out by accident that one of the guys we’ve been working around for a couple of years had his wive leave him last summer. He’s never mentioned a word about it.
I’m not really sure that anyone has really good data on these issues. And, with the issues Deirdre raised, who the hell even knows if it’s truly possible to get that data in the first place?
And, I’ll admit that my impression and numbers may well be skewed heavily by my experiences in the military.
I’ve read (no cites I’m afraid) that infidelity *is* much more of a problem in military families due to long periods of separation and ready availability (to the wives at home) of attractive partners. Being away from home and somewhat unsupervised might well lead the husbands to stray at a higher rate than less mobile husbands too.
“I’ve read (no cites I’m afraid) that infidelity *is* much more of a problem in military families due to long periods of separation and ready availability (to the wives at home) of attractive partners”
Yep, I’ve been propositioned by a woman whose husband was serving in Iraq at the time. I’m afraid she wouldn’t have thrown water on me if I was on fire after I informed her of my opinion of her. 😉 (which actually wasn’t bad, before that moment)
Both your examples hit the same problem: they’re about as verifiable as any other urban legend.
Given its wide spread, you need a verifiable, published study where we can look at the methodology.
They don’t really give you enough information to assess the validity of this, but here’s a link I just found on the issue:
I’d want to review the methodology, and see how they worded the questions, but I think this kinda leans towards my side of the argument.
“Hard wired” monogamy looks very different than what we’ve got.
What we’ve got (up until welfare) is natural selection for behavior that maximizes successful reproduction. Evolution, in our case, is acting on more subtle effects than is the norm in species that literally do mate for life.
A man who sticks around to see that the mother of his children, and the children as the arrive and grow, is well fed, protected contributes more to the gene pool than the guy who runs around screwing everything in sight, without sharing his bounty or worrying about her safety.
A woman who sticks to a single man has a better chance of successfully raising her children. If she screws other men, her “special” fellow is likely to be disgusted and walk off, leaving her to try to get Good-Time-Ogg to give her some meat.
But if Good Time Ogg can’t attract a more permanent mate (because he’s a bad hunter, or mean) running around is his only chance to leave any offspring at all.
Not hard wired, nor totally cultural. A (Oh, dear!) binary solution, highly malleable.
Destroying the culture of mostly monogamous relationships is physically possible, right now, because of contraceptives, abortion and Uncle Sam stepping in. The children being raised in this fashion have a lot more problems than the two parent families. The birth rate is dropping precipitously. I don’t think this is going to be a long term evolutionary trend.
I totally agree with you that the institution of monogamous marriage is a cultural thing, and that it’s an overall “good thing” for us at this juncture in our civilization.
I also completely agree about the negative trends stemming from our wanton destruction of this set of cultural institutions surrounding family and monogamy. I really don’t know where it’s going to take us, either.
One thing is for certain, though: Technology is going to continue to affect this area of our lives. I can only vaguely guess at the effect things like artificial wombs or suspended animation of infants will have on society. If I remember right, Heinlein has couples having their kids young in Podkayne of Mars, and then sticking them into suspended animation until later in their lives when their careers are more established and raising the kids is more economically viable. The set of issues something like that would raise for society is probably a lot bigger than even Heinlein envisioned. I don’t remember what he said happened if mom and dad were killed while all the kids were “in the tube”, so to speak.
Come to think of it, what the hell happens to fertilized embryos if a couple undergoing fertility treatment both get killed before those embryos are implanted? That’s got to be one for the lawyers, and I wonder if there’s ever been a case of that happening? Seems like there would have been a case like that, by now…
Sometimes the embryos are adopted. Other times they are killed.
I think there is sufficient genetic basis for something close to monogamy, or at a minimum, faithfulness and preferences that we will slide back into this as the default. Polygamy is another common family organization found both historically and currently. The extreme expense of raising children in a modern society will work against it, IMO. (Assuming Welfare reform, as the Gov finally realizes it’s out of money and nearing its credit limit on all cards.)
As the Information Age advances, I think we’ll see some massive changes, with many people staying at home to work. How this will impact marriage and birth rates in the long run is an interesting question.
The theory that if all women were sluts, men would be pacified is an interesting bit of fantasy, probably put out by a male leftist who couldn’t get laid. Certainly no Feminist wuld promote it, even with the idea that they are free to fuck whoever they want, the “They want” part is important (and why certain pacifist lefty males can’t get laid).
After all, there are plenty of lefty men who HAVE been effectively emasculated along the lines of what Feminists claim they want (Ever get into a debate with a man who went through the Women’s Studies courses out of guilt and liberalism? It’s like the fabled vegetarian lion who was kept caged and never fed meat. A very sad creature indeed). And guess what, a man tailored to every feminist’s requirement holds absolutely no interest for them.
(That’s not to say there isn’t SOME truth in that paragraph, but it’s there in support of a ridiculous premise.)
I’d been bouncing around a few sites where to the surprise of househusbands, there is a trend of wives ditching them. hmm. Quick google turns up:
And, to the surprise of many househusbands, they often find themselves ostracized by stay at home moms. It’s apparently prevalent enough to be mentioned on wikipedia:
It feeds into the frequent conclusion that the equality espoused by lots of feminists are, in truth, hypocrisy, unfortunately. It seems to me as something that goes hand in hand with the ‘nice guy’ syndrome; where there are men now who, supposedly enlightened by ‘what women want,’ follow that list and are surprised to find themselves ‘friend-holed’ while their female friends and acquaintances reel from one bad relationship with alpha males or traditional men, or have said relationships fall apart because the women can’t change the men in question to be more like the ‘nice guy’ who is their friend (or more like obedient pets.)
(Personally, I’m for a partnership of supportive strengths and weaknesses depending on the personalities involved in the relationship.)
It’s stuff like this that convinces many men that a goodly number of women are fundamentally insane. And, what screws things up for the others who aren’t is that we (as a gender) can’t tell the difference beforehand, or during the early stages of a relationship.
If you pay attention to what they’re saying they want, and try to do what they’re asking for, then their actual actions in response to that often becomes what these articles describe. I’ve seen it time and time again. she’ll say she wants one thing, and then when you do it for her, it doesn’t make her happy. So, she does something to make that whole situation not work, and then she starts all over again with someone else, who also doesn’t make her happy, and the cycle starts over again. And, what’s worse is, you’ll try to communicate with her to find out what the real issue is, and she won’t even be able to define it, let alone tell you what it is.
What’s really delightful for the male is that the rules of the game for many of these relationships are that you’re supposed to “just know” what it is she wants. She won’t tell you, and oftentimes it feels like some kind of sick game that the woman is playing, because she says one thing about what she thinks she wants, and then the demonstrated actions you get in return to fulfilling those desires indicates that no, she really didn’t want that.
There’s a good reason a lot of men are just throwing the towel in when it comes to the whole idea of building a long-term relationship. From the male perspective, it seems as though there are a lot of women out there who just enjoy playing sick games with their heads–And, you can’t tell the difference from the ones who aren’t, going in. It’s a crap shoot.
Friend of mine just went through this, with his wife. They met awhile back, in the city, and they shared a mutual discomfort with their urban lifestyle. They developed a relationship, all the while discussing how to “get back to basics” and develop a simpler lifestyle in a rural area. They did that. Over the last six months or so, she’s grown unhappy with it, and not too long ago, she just packed up and moved back to the city, leaving him going “WTF just happened to me? Where’d all that emotional investment go?”.
This wasn’t a case where Harrison Ford took his wife and kids to the Mosquito Coast, either. She was talking the talk every time I met her, up until this last summer, and it gradually seemed that she was just angrier and angrier every time I met her. What was going on in between them in private, I have no idea, but my friend was just totally blindsided by all this coming down in the last few weeks. He’s done everything they planned together, and he’s loving it. She apparently did too, at least at first. Now, he’s sitting high and dry, because what she really wanted was something other than a simpler lifestyle in the country.
I really don’t think my friend is going to get into another committed relationship, and I’ll wager that the women he has casual contact with are going to be wondering why the hell he won’t commit to them. The answer is that one of their peers pretty much destroyed the chances of that ever happening.
I hate to tell you ladies this, but many men are a lot more emotionally fragile about these things than you may think. Jerk us around enough with things like this, as a gender, and the result is going to be that many men will look at the idea of building a relationship with a woman, and just go “Meh. Not going to play that game, again…”. It’s easier and far less painful to go without than to go through the whole emotional wringer. And, most of the problem is that the majority of men take things at face value. You tell us that you’re comfortable with taking the role of breadwinner for the family, and that you love the idea of a stay-at-home husband, then you’ll probably get that from your mate. And, when you find that you don’t like it, he’s just going to look at you baffled and say “But… This is what you asked for… What the hell…?”.
And, what’s really great, from the male perspective? She’ll never come out and tell you the real reason she’s divesting herself of your mutual investment in the relationship. There will almost always be another reason or another justification communicated, instead of what the real issue is–Or, at least that is what it will look like, from the male point of view.
Years ago, another friend of mine showed up at our unit with a young, pretty wife. They were college sweethearts, from a rural state university. We’re talking Skipper and whoever Ken’s buddy was, here–Super cute couple. You’d see them doing all the cute couple things, public displays of affection, all that. At first, everything looked really nice–She was playing housewife, and loving it.
All of us were jealous of him, because it seemed as though they were in a perfect relationship. Everything was not well in paradise, however, and looking back, you could track her disillusion with the whole thing by his lunches. Early on, he was eating like a king, elaborately prepared gourmet submarine sandwiches, homemade soups and side dishes, all lovingly packed for him in a small cooler. As time went on, however, lunch got a lot less elaborate. Brown bags, PBJ sandwiches, a bag of potato chips, and that was it. Eventually, he was eating lunch in the mess hall with us, or out of a vending machine. This took about six-eight months. The rest of us were looking at each other, observing this, and wondered what the hell was going on. About the time she quit making lunches for him, she decided that she really didn’t want to start a family, just yet, and wanted to “Use her degree…”. So, she interviewed for a job at Boeing as an industrial production engineer, got it, and from there everything really went to hell in a handbasket for him.
She’d been telling him she wanted a family and kids before starting a career all through college. She said she wanted the traditional thing, husband, two kids, be a housewife for a couple of years, maybe until the kids hit school. This is what she told him. Hell, this is what she told me in casual conversation, a couple of times.
Turned out, not so much. They were divorced about a year after she quit packing his lunches. Before the divorce happened, she’d started an affair with one of the older male supervisors she was working for. The whole thing was weird as hell to watch, and highly disturbing. She’d gone from being a jeans and t-shirt kind of country girl, to a pants-suit wearing executive who wore designer clothes at work, and “urban street gear” after hours. The guy she was having an affair with was definitely an Alpha, African-American, and very, very urban. She just ended the whole thing with my friend by getting up one Saturday morning, announcing what she’d been doing, and telling him she was moving out that same day, and that the divorce papers would be ready on Monday. When he told me about his weekend Monday afternoon, my jaw just hit the floor. The whole thing came completely out of left field, for all the guys who knew them. The women? Mmmm… First comment I heard about it from one of the wives was “Well, you could tell at the beginning that it wasn’t going to work…”. To which I responded “How the hell did you know? Tell me… Please!”. All she could do for me was to shrug her shoulders, and say “You could just tell… She was never happy…”.
She sure as hell looked happy to us guys. I’m still puzzled over that one, years later.
She won’t tell you, and oftentimes it feels like some kind of sick game that the woman is playing…
The sad thing about this is, I believe, that most of them aren’t playing mind games. They are having intellectual discord between the things they have “learned” from media, other women, and the education establishment, and what they really feel on the inside. What they feel on the inside violently conflicts with what they were taught, and they can’t express it, because they don’t know how to reconcile it, and they haven’t been able to realize that they’ve been sold a pig in a poke. Then, when they say they want what they have been told to say, it doesn’t satisfy them, so they try again, and again, and never get to the root of the problem.
She’d been telling him she wanted a family and kids before starting a career all through college. She said she wanted the traditional thing, husband, two kids, be a housewife for a couple of years, maybe until the kids hit school. This is what she told him. Hell, this is what she told me in casual conversation, a couple of times.
This one is… odd. The majority of stories I have heard have the switch going in the opposite direction, from wanting the career path to wanting to raise a family. I suspect she was getting an earful from other women, and made to think that she was a oppressed little chump, which caused her to be dissatisfied. And the women who said that she’d never been happy probably TOLD her that she wasn’t happy.
I don’t know. It sticks out in my memory precisely because of the oddity it represents, and I really felt for the guy involved. To say he was emotionally devastated by the whole thing would have been an understatement of truly epic proportions.
From an outside perspective, too, I think she chose who she fooled around with precisely because that was the most transgressive, hurtful thing she could think of to do–And, it wasn’t my friend she was striking back at, it was her dad. My friend had not the slightest amount of racial animosity in him, and worked wonderfully with everyone, black, white, purple with polka dots, you name it.
The only thing that ever made sense to me was that she was acting out her rage at her dad, who had apparently been caught fooling around on her mom when they were first married. She’d been “Daddy’s little girl” all her life, and finding out he’d been cheating on her mom for years was apparently pretty devastating. When I knew them, she never spoke of her father except in terms of extreme venom, though they were still on speaking terms. I met him when he came out to visit them, and he seemed like a nice enough guy, maybe a little old-school.
Could be that doing what she did was the way she chose to strike back at him–My friend and her dad had been pretty good with each other during their courtship, going hunting and so forth together. My friend had had no idea about the affairs, though.
To me, that kind of thing is just… Completely inexplicable and inexcusable. You have an issue with someone? You don’t strike back at them through an innocent third party. Especially not one you care enough about to marry.
Supposedly, there was a phone call back to her dad, where she told him something like “See, Daddy? Now, I’m just like you…”. She also made a point of passing on the racial thing, as well.
But do you really think she went that far into the traditional role at first just to set him up for a giant fall? She may have rationalized the reason, and she may very well have been very hurt by finding out about her dad, but I still suspect that she was heavily influenced by other women, who probably convinced her that all men were like that, so she shouldn’t feel guilty about hurting him in the process of getting revenge on daddy.
Look, I don’t have first-hand experience with occurrences like that, because where I live, that woman would be ostracized by everyone who knew her, including other women, but from the stories I’ve read, from women (women who are NOT radical feminists) living in highly Progressive (spit) areas, what I said sounds more likely than that she was merely trying to get even with her father on her own. I’ve certainly known women who did nasty things to their husbands, but everyone who knew them knew ahead of time, not just the other women.
Wayne, I’ve really got no idea what was really going on. I wish I did–That incident was one thing that really knocked me for a loop, even as a bystander.
See, the thing was, the pair of them were like this golden vision of what a couple should be, and initially at least, what they could be. Looking back on it, I think I was subconsciously really jealous of him, because it looked to me as though he’d found someone who easily could have been described as my “dream girl”. Hell, if I’d been a chick, he’d have been my dream guy…
You could say that watching the two of them from the outside woke me up to the possibilities of what something like that could be like, and made me want it, at the same time. Even though I was still utterly committed to the Army at that point, the two of them still gave my subconscious mind twinges of “HEY! DUMBASS! There’s more to life than service…”.
That’s how it looked, at least at first. Watching the whole thing fall apart was really disconcerting. No, that’s not really a good enough word for it–It was more like disillusioning cubed a couple of times.
I honestly don’t think she was setting out to hurt him. It just kinda happened on the way to her figuring out what the hell she really wanted out of life. She didn’t seem like that much of a bitch, and she did maintain a level of politeness with her husband. That devastating “See, Daddy?” conversation didn’t happen in front of him, it was passed on by her rather horrified mother, who was still with her husband. I guess she was more forgiving than her daughter was. What was sorta against expectation was that mom was more disturbed by her dating a black guy than her dad was, which wasn’t what you would have stereotypically thought.
I haven’t really thought about this situation for years, but looking back on it now, I think the daughter/wife had kinda been going along with her family’s traditional expectations, and her dad’s philandering started the process of her waking up to what real desires were. Her husband was just collateral damage, I guess. That’s the most charitable interpretation I can put on the whole thing.
It hit him pretty hard. We had him on an informal suicide watch for about six months after, doing our best to make sure he was never at home alone and without someone checking up on him. I don’t think he ever really got over the whole thing, either–He wound up ending his very promising career in the Army, and went into civilian life. He did stay in the Reserves, and I ran into him about six years later. He still hadn’t remarried.
I swear to God, if I hadn’t seen this happen at close quarters in person, I would have never believed something like that would actually occur outside of a poorly-plotted soap opera. In my blinkered reality up to that point, people just didn’t treat each other like that in real life.
Tangentially: This sort of breakdown in communication, the undefined roles and expectations — these things are what’s tanking relationship dynamics, as you note. It’s why I shake my head when I hear how porn or prostitution or — whatever secondary outlet are destroying relationships between men and women. Nope.
There’s actually some information that indicates these outlets may (notice the stress, it’s social science, not engineering) improve several crime metrics in societies. No, the reason relationships are suffering lies with the 60’s, the sexual revolution, feminism and the rest of that cultural tear-down. Not because the old model was torn down, some of that was likely beneficial, but because after they tore down the old model nobody stuck around to build the new one.
Many folks don’t think of marriage as contractual, they don’t think of relationships as agreements, it’s all romance. So nobody sits down and defines terms, agrees on roles and expectations, anticipates problems and solutions. Nobody plans.
Pornography and prostitution are secondary outlets. Largely untouched outlets in healthy relationships. Whether their consumption is increasing in recent times, or the apparent increase is a note on cultural permissiveness, these things don’t undermine society. The inability to form lasting relationships, and the (missing) trust underlying society reflected in those relationships does.
Leaving aside what obstacles women face in modern relationships (not my purview), men are faced with skewed incentive structures, massive uncertainty, significant financial risk and a view of consequences such as you related that’s becoming the dominant narrative.
When my unit deployed to Iraq, within a short time (couple of months, average) fidelity in marriage was remarkable for its rarity. Something like 80-90% of the marriages in the junior ranks (officer and enlisted) were fracturing secondary to marital infidelity by the wives back home. Because they were lonely and it was difficult and it wasn’t their fault and… Please, take careful note of my complete and utter lack of sympathy for said wives. This was the kickoff, we took the first steps into Iraq at the start of hostilities. These men were getting up each day looking at the real and intimate possibility of death and doing their damn jobs. And then they get to listen to their wives talking about how it’s just too much for them to take?
I’m wandering off track, apologies. (think the caffeine is betraying me today, the fog remains thick) Trust. That’s the foundation, and it’s missing. And men are only going to get burned on trust so many times — then they’re done.
I’ve heard of that sort of thing to a lower degree– Terry Pratchett even mentions the old joke about elaborate lunches that a newly wed will have with “a slice of the wedding cake” still in it. Usually it normalizes with some special lunches, but more “leftovers and a sandwich neatly packed, sometimes with a treat” type things.
When things go down hill like that, you can usually find a change in behavior– you know that kind of stupid campaign of “take your wife out on a date”? While I found it lame, the point is important. Women need what I’ll call “emotional fulfillment” as much as guys need, ah, physical. Both want to be wanted. When the woman feels that they’re not secure in their husband’s affections, they’ll look for it elsewhere. This can be healthy, in good friendships that make her a stronger partner for when the tide comes back in, or it can be people who assure her that her life is over now that she’s married.
Moving to a new job can be especially stressful.
Without reassurance that he values her, especially when there are other stresses, she’s likely to do things to try to get his attention. A guy who is similarly stressed tends to withdraw, which starts a nasty feedback cycle as she tries to get attention and he tries to avoid confrontation. Especially if they haven’t seen others deal with similar stresses, this can be a really big problem.
Usually it normalizes with some special lunches, but more “leftovers and a sandwich neatly packed, sometimes with a treat” type things.
I originally wanted to make him delicious bento lunches, but he convinced me to make a bit of extra dinner instead, enough that would be good for him to take to lunch. This doesn’t always work because sometimes, he’ll go for seconds. Or thirds. Or the kids do. And the housemate as well. And then he’ll laugh and tease me about cooking so deliciously that he couldn’t resist eating it all, and tuna sandwich for lunch because he has to work a little harder to burn off the calories.
So these days I just make sure that I make very yummy dinners.
The date night idea is a good one for the point behind it, but I think some people took it too literally. Some nights for us, it’s movie in the lounge. Sometimes, it’s lying in bed and just chatting. I think it’s the planning to set time aside for each other to pay attention to each other and enjoy the other’s company that makes the thought of a ‘date’ special, but I think on a lot of cases, it’s the appreciating the other through the day to day ordinariness of life that isn’t being taught as much.
I figure though I’m probably not the best person to ask. I’m the lunatic who told her man that he can prioritize buying a awesome scope for his rifle far far far in advance over an engagement ring. Coz, in my head: good rifle = ++ hunting = food++ > symbol of love that is a formality of what we already have.
The scope thing makes sense to me, but my mind classes you two as married for most of the time I’ve known you, so it would….
Well, we are, only just not ‘officially.’ Asked why, it’s expensive, and Rhys is the one who wants the big ceremony and reception to celebrate making it official – it’s important to him. I’d be content with a quiet civil union and a small party for impeccably practical reasons, but I understand that it’s important to him to celebrate because I’m important to him.
Even so, neither of us can imagine being with anyone else. Rhys is my hubby and I’m his missus. Even Housemate says that he can’t imagine the other remarrying if something happened to one of us. He says is constantly reminded of the old-couple feel that if one were to pass away, the other would soon follow, or at best, live a half-life till the kids are grown and then die.
On an adorable note, my youngest brother proudly announced to my mother and I that he’d quietly saved up for, and bought, couple promise rings with little diamonds for himself and his girlfriend-practically-fiancee. They’ve been through a lot and as a sister, I see the the otherwise traditional and quiet-natured young woman as a good match for my brother. Whenever I start to think that she’s too demure for her own good, I remind myself that she was the one to pursue my (hilariously dense “Are you sure she likes me? How do you KNOW that?!” ) brother, and she has the strength, backbone and heart to put her siblings through school while she herself was on a scholarship and still plan for a future.
Seeing her gives me faith that there are women out there in the world who aren’t flamingly self-centered, emotionally maimed, shallow, manipulative and/or greedy entitlement whores, or all of the above.
I think my brother recognizes that and cherishes her as much as she does him. (They’re not married yet because they both agreed that a certain-value-nest egg has to be in the bank for their future; and then it’ll be later that they have the house with four kids.)
Honestly? Even though I’m female myself, the mindgames that a lot of women play never made sense to me. I refused outright to play them. In fact, a lot of my female peers described me as a person who had a man’s mind and a woman’s body.
I had a friend who would start playing them when the relationship had progressed. They were always a form of social experiment with the end goal of proving that the man was only pretending to be wonderful, and would not be so later, proving a theory she’s ‘always had’ (that the people she leaned on would fall over) and yet, hoping that there would be a man who would resist her games and then they’d live happily ever after.
Yep, she wanted a man who could stand up to her bullshit, call her out on it, and refuse to play, while still remaining in love with her, while she made no effort to try fix her broken up life. She often wondered why there weren’t more men like Rhys – supportive, traditionally manly but sensitive and romantic, and geeky, unafraid of strong intelligent and assertive women ‘like you.’ Trying to explain to her that even though I was just coming out of a very emotionally abusive marriage I had no interest in punishing Rhys for the sins of my former husband nor did I have any interest in playing the mind games just didn’t work, because inevitably, I would get asked “How do you know he loves you then?!” Well nine hells, how is the guy supposed to know you love him?
Most of the women I’ve met were never able to appreciate the little everyday gestures of love and care and friendship in a couple. They’d been taught that chivalry is chauvinistic, but want to be treated like a lady, a princess, be worshipped like a queen, have a gorgeous boyfriend/trophy husband they could wave around as proof of their sexual awesomeness and that it was perfectly okay to be neurotic, self-centered bitches. Always feeling like ‘what if I missed out on something better?’ They don’t believe that relationships require effort and care to maintain, they feel that relationships are static and will always be, or are easily discardable things that don’t last, despite there being examples of marriages that last a lifetime. They don’t understand that a lot of what they consider incredibly important is mere petty bullshit that changes like yearly fashion trends, and what they consider old fashioned and outdated is often exactly what they should be cherishing.
They don’t realize – a lot of men and women don’t – that ultimately, they want partnerships, equal partnerships that have nothing to do with ‘I can do what you do’ but have to do with mutual support, love and care. That ‘perfection’ is actually ‘this is a man/woman whose faults and flaws I can live with, or outright ignore, because they don’t interfere with the important parts of his or her personality.’ They’re swept away by the grand gestures of romance, but it’s not always candlelit baths and a dozen roses with chocolates, but the smile of welcome when the breadwinner comes home, the random little kisses and touches and rituals that say ‘I love you’, the ability to be apart for a few hours while inside the same house, indulging in individual hobbies and not being jealous of the hobby, and the days where the two of you can’t bear to not be in the same room, if not in physical contact. It’s the knowledge you can buy your wife’s favorite perfume on the cheap/on sale and be able to tell her you got it cheap because you know she’ll be extra tickled that the treat didn’t cost a painful amount in your wallet, yet knowing that if you did buy her an expensive gift, she’ll value it as well. It’s knowing that some nights, hubby is more in the mood for cuddles and having hair petted than sex, and it’s not a slight on your body or your getting older or any of the nonsense that the media bombards us with every day.
And all that’s seen is that the couple is happy, but nobody really knows how it’s done.
For women who have been hurt in some way, and well, for men, it’s hard to treat the person you’ve let into your life differently from the one who’s hurt you. It’s hard not to brace oneself for ‘inevitable betrayal’ – and it takes effort to deprogram oneself of that notion, that belief, that the person you are with is no different from the one who hurt you. It takes effort to unlearn the things that we’re said we’re supposed to want, expect and enjoy in our lives, and actually be able to figure out what we do want and enjoy, what can be compromised on, and what shouldn’t be.
And the important part? We talked. A lot. We had a lot of discussion, a lot of understanding, and well, a lot of honesty and trust in each other. Rhys and I have been a couple for ten years. We’ve been physically together, in the same house? For two and a half – it’s been a long distance relationship for the majority of our couplehood. He’s military and was deployed. I just migrated to Australia with no social network or friends. We missed each other, we were lonely. And NOBODY ELSE would have suited to ease that loneliness – nobody elses’ voice, smile or touch would have made us happy. Bad enough that I was scared that something might happen to him, and then the most terrifying prospect of all: a life without my other half. It wasn’t worth it for either of us to try chancing ‘hey, maybe that guy/girl will make me happier in this little way somehow. maybe’ – throwing away a certainty and a good thing, for ‘what if’.
And I think that last part is the thing that always has me wanting to slap a good chunk of my gender, and has him wanting to strangle a number of his. Couples separate these days as SOON as the going gets a LITTLE BIT TOUGH and then they wonder where it all went wrong. Or one of the pair is too demanding and doesn’t give enough of him or herself. Herself usually, and I get angry at how that turns out to be a waste of a good man. Especially when the bitch has the temerity to blame the guy for her insanity.
They don’t realize – a lot of men and women don’t – that ultimately, they want partnerships, equal partnerships that have nothing to do with ‘I can do what you do’ but have to do with mutual support, love and care. That ‘perfection’ is actually ‘this is a man/woman whose faults and flaws I can live with, or outright ignore, because they don’t interfere with the important parts of his or her personality.’
Love. The agape sort.
And folks have been so maimed they can’t tell it from eros.
I’ve got a heck of a temper, but I can’t stay angry at folks who have been so maimed they can’t tell the difference between fornication/getting what they want and this person is as much me as my arm type love, the chosen closest of family love. It’s just sad.
And then you watch them go do the same thing over and over again, and if you do try to tell them they just get angry….
Women taught they “should” be motivated like men, and men told they “should” be emotionally like women, and when it doesn’t work….ugh.
And folks have been so maimed they can’t tell it from eros.
Ooooh, good way of putting it. Actually, wouldn’t it be closer to “They are taught that it is no different from eros, and eros and agape are the same thing.”
That’s why I think there are people who don’t understand the concept of deep emotional love and emotional ties that doesn’t include sexual, or necessarily romantic.
Dad would give roses to all his female staff during Valentines. He would give me roses. And his friends, both male and female, would get a rose. Mom got the 24 -rose bouquet. His reasoning for the ‘roses for everyone who wasn’t my mom’ was ‘there’s more than one type of love, and not all of it is romantic, or sexual. Why shouldn’t we celebrate those kinds of love too? They’re just as important and as valuable as romantic love.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it. He cared for his staff and his friends, and to a lot of them he was an honorary uncle, brother, confidant, or father figure.
I wish there were more women like you. Can we clone you? Maybe start a ranch? *very big grin*
(And sorry to say, but when you said man’s mind in a woman’s body, a very classic joke came to mind, based on what a man would do if he DID find himself in a woman’s body… he might never leave the house again.)
*laughs* Thank you for the compliment. I have to say, it’s not the first time I’ve heard “Can we clone you?”
I think it’d be more the personality than the body that would be desirable in copying/spreading. I believe they called it ‘ghost-dubbing’ in Ghost In The Shell. (Although, I think I’d like it a lot better if there was a better way of doing that, well, without the original dying…)
There’s no sense in playing those mind games, because they only set up self-fulfilling prophecies. “You’re cheating on me!” “No I’m not!” “Yes you are!” and since you can’t prove a negative, you eventually have the person accused of cheating either driven away, the relationship broken, or cheating because there’s simply no pleasing the partner; and someone else is at that point more emotionally attractive by then. Seen it happen too many times, with either gender as a victim or cause. And then you have another person who’s buying into the gender-sided masochism hate game all over again.
The thing I’ve found twistedly pervasive these days? Is that there are men who are starting to use the same mind-games that these women use. Passive aggressive abuse is not pretty, but somehow it’s uglier when a man’s doing it. More… repulsive and dishonest. But somehow, unsurprising, with the feminization of men…
In the long run, I can see why the concept of having one’s ideal in a walking, talking, emotional computer (Re: Chobits) is so attractive. Housemate was talking about how the people who are building humanoid robot/computers (with the intent of having them out for commercial, home use) exist (in Japan, of course.) AIST’s HRP-6C seems to have the greatest potential in that field (and, unsurprisingly, they also dressed up one as Hatsune Miku, and had her sing a few of the classic Vocaloid songs.) They’re planning to use a Linux-based OS too.
Oddly enough, if they did make this available, and you could customize it? I’d want mine to look like an anime girl. A Lineage II Elf girl perhaps, or Dwarf girl. Though, having a Dwarf girl probably would defeat the purpose of having something taller than me that could help me with housework (because, contact allergies suck.) And maybe I’d add kitsune-mimi and tail. Just to take the fun of unrealism further.
*wicked grin* Oh, I think the man in the woman’s body would have to leave the house at some point. Especially when Dear Old Auntie Flo comes a-visiting… I reckon that the essentials for dealing with that particular feminine thing won’t be available in a single man’s house.
The thing that bugged me in Chobits was the failure to fully implement some of the technology they proposed. I mean, if they made it so that a 200+ lb girl robot could fly, where were the flying cars? Pervasive PC/Network robots, but no little robots, like Roombas or an autokitchen (Which the hero’s squalid little flat could have used, desperately.) And why have a robot who can read the internet aloud to you, but not show you the por.. er, pictures and video?
Men using the same mind games, well, the goal of the schools for the past two generations is to make boys more like girls, and it is succeeding disastrously.
Lineage dark elf, eh? From the concept art I recall, perhaps a bit more, streamlined, than WoW dark elves…. For the record, I play neither.
Men in women’s bodies… sickeningly, I just recalled Rimmer temporarily having a leftover breast when his hologram was edited….
The fascination with humanoid robots was what always struck me as strange. I’d want a fire lizard/mini-dragon for mine. Plenty of processing power without the emotional conflicts associated with the human form.
I played L2 from closed beta till last year. Then I stopped using Windows entirely because I like my hard-earned hardware and I don’t like losing that or data. Lineage II requires extensive hacks to work on Linux-based OSes (I use Debian, because I love the data security I now enjoy) I miss the game and I really enjoyed it, to the point I had a PC just for gaming at one time, but the version of GameGuard that it uses is just ridiculously invasive. A game does NOT need a rootkit. Now? I play Minecraft. (Rhys delighted in telling me that Minecraft will be one of the games for the Occulus Rift, and I said I didn’t want to play it on there, because they hear me shriek enough already when a Creeper
I enjoyed the art and designs to the point that I decided to buy the figurines. I missed the early release ones, but Rhys bought me the Dwarf female for Christmas (I got him a gorgeous Master Chief pose-able figurine) and the Dwarf girl’s got companions.
Group of figurines
Dark Elf Girl
Dwarf Girl in Formal Attire
Looking forward to the release of the Kamael figurine. Shame they don’t have a figurine of the male Human mage. Then I’d have a statuette of Rhys’ player character!
* Creeper goes sssssBOOM in my face as it is.
(got distracted when Housemate asked me if I’d like something to eat. Sorry.)
See, that’s the sucky part for us guys: The demonstrably sane ones are all taken, and the rest are an exercise in dicing for your soul with Satan…
And the flip side, those women who are somehow invisible keep running into the “I am ‘nice’ (won’t stand up for anything) so you should sleep with me” or the Physically Abusive Starter Kit guys.
Oh, plus the “you are female and behaving politely, you must be coming on to me” guys who get pissed when you won’t head for their house ten minutes after meeting them. (I’ve observed this when my sister is just being polite. Good grief, I know she’s pretty, but wow!)
Note: the female mind games that were mentioned, and that many “game” sites suggest? Classic physically abusive male precursor behavior.
Since even I don’t think humanity sucks that much, I figure the really bad examples are just high frequency– one guy pisses off a dozen women, and other way around. Heaven knows the users seem to apply the “kleenex” theory.
Seriously Kirk (and others) you think any woman is sane? After all that estrogen and hormones swirling around our bodies? etc. etc. I have a niece who was a great at writing when she was ten. By sixteen she was a totally different girl… any brain power she used to have was erased by the ticking time bomb of estrogen. I mourn her– So all of us relatively “sane” women are dealing with these changing levels all the time (every minute). So no– even the sane ones are insane in a special way.
Now there’s a translation thing someone should work on… what stage of “wow she’s hot” is equivalent to, oh, six months pregnant? (I developed panic attacks and arachniphobia; the former went away after birth.)
Blessed to be one of those whose cycle is pretty much invisible. No, it’s not exactly genetic– my sister and aunt have horrible painful cycles, mom and I don’t.
I had the painful ones– made me cranky. Still cranky after menopause too 😉
You’re not the only person to think that.
Me, I’ve never understood people in general, let alone women, well enough to judge unless and until my nose gets rubbed in the madness. That’s what happens when your primary social interaction during your formative years is television and SF/F. Entertaining they may be, but a realistic portrait of the human condition…no.
Geez… I am a woman and don’t understand other women… My hubby had to explain about that dangerous poison called estrogen. 😉
@ Kirk – Ya know, I wish we could pair up more of you good men with the good women. There needs to be more of our brand of nuts, y’know?
@Dr. Mauser- The thing that bugged me in Chobits was the failure to fully implement some of the technology they proposed. I mean, if they made it so that a 200+ lb girl robot could fly, where were the flying cars? Pervasive PC/Network robots, but no little robots, like Roombas or an autokitchen (Which the hero’s squalid little flat could have used, desperately.) And why have a robot who can read the internet aloud to you, but not show you the por.. er, pictures and video?
I think it was just Chii/Freya/Elda that could float, being special models made by the original creator of the Persocoms to be ‘children’ he built for his wife, who was sterile. The two government models were capable of leaping from rooftop to rooftop, but they couldn’t fly. Persocoms had retractable data cables they could attach to monitors and TVs for the pictures and video aspect; plus apparently they had learning programs that had them learn to do things like clean, do chores and carry stuff. Some ‘coms were said / implied to be capable of going places without their owners and do things for them (like say, go to the nearby konbini (convenience store) and pick up snacks and cigarettes) They also would pick up mannerisms (the Accounting ‘com at Hideki’s place of work learned to say “Yorokonde!/With pleasure!” complete with go-getter fist pump gesture) and behavior they assessed to make the owner happy – eventually developing a personality of sorts geared to taking care of and making the owner happy. Chii is sadly not the best example of how the Persocoms work because she’s a broken ‘com with no OS and only a learning and personality development program in place. She’s basically a ‘com who has root-level if not outright microcode level access to every single Persocom in existence, however.
I don’t think that the setting of Chobits had kitchens and cooking entirely eliminated, and it’s something like a ’20 minutes to the future’ type setting which doesn’t seem so implausible – I can see the ‘humanoid PC’ becoming a thing within the end of my lifetime, but in much the same way we’ve made so many breath-taking advancements in just the past thirty years alone, we still don’t have anti-gravity cars that are available to the public. (And, IMHO, Tokyo’s very narrow streets is a BAD place for hovercars or flying cars.)
XD I think that ‘sane’ = ‘a kind of crazy we can live with, and actually want’ because dear gods, if what I see is what passes for sane and normal these days, I’ll stick with our kind of nuts!
…pun totally intended. =3
Cursed nesting limits…. I missed seeing the figurine pics. I like the dark elf. Nice boots. I think the images I saw when it first came out were a bit more slender.
Foxifier: I think there’s even been a whole thread here in the past about “Nice” guys who are anything but, who act like they are entitled to a woman’s physical attention simply because they’ve gone through the motions of being polite or even helpful. I swear, they give us actual gentlemen a bad name.
Being as it takes two to tango, one really has to wonder why it is the “Game” types have the success they do. Something about women makes them successful.
Cutelildrow: Flying cars being just an example. If anti-grav technology existed, surely there would be other applications for it. (BttF hoverboards?)
I realize I am coming late to this, but a quick scan indicates nobody has made an essential point in response to Kirk’s opening observation. Not only are “a goodly number of women … fundamentally insane” — a goodly number of men are, too. It’s called humanity.
Several additional points: women see how a woman is when “her man” is not around, and how she talks about him behind his back. Similarly, men notice the differences in a guy’s behaviour when in the presence of “his woman” and when she’s out of sight. It was famously said of Marilyn Monroe that she would “light up” in the presence of a man — which means no man fundamentally knew her.
Observations and studies strongly suggest that people don’t actually know what they want, and tend to idealize what they don’t have. Living the “back to nature” life is generally far more attractive when you aren’t faced with doing it every d–n day for the rest of your life. Many of us don’t appreciate the full extent of the comforts we enjoy daily, and thus underestimate how much we would miss them.
Not only are “a goodly number of women … fundamentally insane” — a goodly number of men are, too. It’s called humanity.
*points at boobs* Figured it wouldn’t do any good to point it out.
*points at boobs* Figured it wouldn’t do any good to point it out.
Proof that men can focus on two things at once.
Someone mentioned biological reasons for bonding. I’d hazard that not all guys and gals talk ill of their mate when the latter is not around. My housemate observes that I’m noticeably quieter and more depressed if my hubby isn’t around; and Rhys seems less cheerful if I’m not around for an extended period of time (e.g. hospitalized).
While there are people who seem fundamentally dysfunctional and demented, the ‘ideal’ has to have been observed at some point in order to be desired and idealized, I think. So, at some point happy couples exist, ditto happy relationships, happy families. I’ve known a few people who seem shocked or surprised by displays of affection, or surprised that we don’t seem rocked by the petty bullshit that seems to consume their lives. Or, seeing Rhys play with his son, or see the children cuddle with us parents, remark that they weren’t hugged or cherished like that.
Marilyn Monroe isn’t really a good example of how a good woman reacts or feels. She struck me as someone starved for love. Yet I remember descriptions of a man or a woman ‘lighting up’ when the person they’re in love with shows up, and old couples being described as inseparable (and if one dies, the other often does not stay long in the world either.)
An odd thing I’ve noticed in the world is that people are trained to think they want something they think will make them happy – things often defined by others (a good example would be the woman Kirk described, who became likely dissatisfied with what she had after extensive conversations with her female friends. Actually, now that I think about it, it was likely that the woman’s friends sabotaged her relationship. I’ve seen that all too much – ‘why should you be so happy when I have to make do?’) – when happiness relies a lot on whether people know what will make them happy. Feminists often scold women that they should not be happy with their lot as housewives, and it’s only a while before someone who isn’t as strong willed to be ground down by scolding of that kind. I’d imagine there’s a male version of that. So it’s no surprise that most people don’t know what would really make them happy, or how to be content. Most people seem to be in a constant state of discontent, and no matter how much they have, they’ll always be ‘hungry’ for more.
I’d hazard that not all guys and gals talk ill of their mate when the latter is not around.
I’d hazard that it’s heavily influenced by culture/environment. Amy Alkon (http://www.advicegoddess.com/goddessblog.html) has written many times on women who talk down their partners in public (she usually doesn’t bother to bring up men who do this, because she’s usually talking about the double standard that women have on the issue).
While I’ve known both men and women to do this, like many other bad behaviors, it doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as prevalent where I am as it is in the regions inhabited by the Vile Progs.
I don’t believe my comment endorsed such “talking down” so much as I noted that when it occurs those witnessing the behaviour are (hopefully) not likely to report it to the target. There are always a few toxic personalities in any group and one bit of advice rings true: if your friends (of the same sex as your enamorata) disapprove of the object of your desire, take that as an ominous warning.
As for the Monroe story, again the point was not that she is in any way a proper model (Lord help us!) but as an example of a circumstance that would be invisible to any man.
This is the same as the pervasive lack of respect for housewives. But because we’re all hardwired for the male to go out hunting and bring back big chunks of meat (a paycheck will do) while the woman brings in the steady supply of less challenging food, a man who stops hunting drops even more status than a woman who ceases to gather.
Huh… I’d never take it that a woman who is doing the housewife thing wasn’t doing the “gathering” thing anymore. What is shopping, if not an analogue for going out and gathering in the berries and mushrooms? I swear, you watch many women (my mother, particularly… 🙂 ) and you’d think they were getting an endorphin high from finding the best fruit or something that’s on sale at the supermarket.
And, I’ll tell you one damn thing: Most of the men who discount the work of the housewife are usually married. We bachelors who have to do for ourselves are the ones looking at them like they’re ‘effing insane every time we hear them talk trash about what their stay-at-home-wives do.
Every time I went to do something housekeeping-related, or had to do a PCS move, I’d hear my bosses or peers (senior ranking enlisted) say something like “Why are you having to do that?”, and I’d point out for them that I did not have a wife to wait for the friggin’ cable guy, or to go clear housing for me. Half of those jackasses had wives who’d wash their uniforms, iron them, and sometimes even polish their boots. And, they’d still be talking s**t about how their wives didn’t do anything all day.
This is why I’m kinda ambivalent about the whole “split the military pension” thing after a career serviceperson divorces. Sure, their stay-at-home partner wasn’t in Iraq with them for a year or two out of their 20, but for the love of God, twenty years of starching uniforms? Taking care of the kids, and every little life-support issue that came up? Y’know… That’s gotta be worth something, if only for the sheer pain in the ass it was.
I swear, you watch many women (my mother, particularly… 🙂 ) and you’d think they were getting an endorphin high from finding the best fruit or something that’s on sale at the supermarket.
Guilty of that description here. It’s awesome to be able to shave a bit of money off the planned food budget and put it towards another meal, make a different meal special, put it towards something the house needs, or set it aside for emergencies, or savings. Or to a treat. It’s …fun. Yes, we’re mad, and it’s a good type.
On shopping – You and me both; you and me both.
As for the little gestures – my husband brings me tea. Every single morning. I have absolutely no need to try any “mind games” to see if he loves me, even if I didn’t consider them disgusting and counterproductive. You see, he brings me tea. Every. Morning. Love is steadfast, faithful, abiding…
Isn’t it wonderful? Mine lets me sleep in a few extra minutes, and wakes me up just as he’s about to go to work, usually with a strong coffee and kisses and enough time so I can feel how smooth his freshly-shaved cheeks are (because by ten am, he has 5’o clock shadow.) Also, physically picking me up and carrying me away from the computer when it’s Stupid O’Clock Late and I’ve forgotten the time (when it’s not important) and letting me be when I’m ‘in the zone’ regarding art or writing.
*grin* Aren’t we lucky? I know I am, because I never ever thought I’d be this happy with someone else, ever!
I think Adam Smith covered this with the whole specialization/comparative advantage thing. There were good reasons why corporations tended to promote men who had the good sense to develop an in-house support system. Unfortunately, they neglected the ethical demands that proper maintenance of such personnel demands.
It is not a net gain for the species when the answer to men who let wifie put them through law/medical school and them drop them is for women to have the same capacity, no matter what Wendy Davis’ supporters tell you. Far better for society to reject a man who would use a person so callously; not the kind of ethics I’m looking for in my lawyer/doctor/accountant/contractor.
Just re-read Dr. Mauser’s post, and caught the gist of what he took from mine. First read-through, I just went “WTF… That’s not what I was saying…”.
Here’s what I was getting at: Look at the situation in the Mosuo culture:
“All on-going sexual relationships in Mosuo culture are called “walking marriages.” These bonds are “based on mutual affection.” When a Mosuo woman or man expresses interest in a potential partner, it is the woman who may give the man permission to visit her. These visits are usually kept secret, with the man visiting the woman’s house after dark, spending the night, and returning to his own home in the morning. Mosuo women and men can engage in sexual relations with as many partners as they wish.
While a pairing may be long-term, the man never lives with the woman’s family, or vice versa. Mosuo men and women continue to live with and be responsible to their respective families. The couple do not share property. The father usually has little responsibility for his offspring. “It is the job of men to care more for their nieces and nephews than for their own children.” A father may indicate an interest in the upbringing of his children by bringing gifts to the mother’s family. This gives him status within the mother’s family, while not actually becoming part of the family. Whether or not the father is involved, children are raised in the mother’s home and assume her family name.”
Right there, you have a completely different model for managing mating. And, it’s not a case of “all women being sluts”. As in our culture, they’re still the gatekeepers, and when she gets tired of the male, or he gets tired of her, then they’re done. The economic incentive for controlling the woman is gone from that system, and it thus appears that most incentive for jealousy goes away with that. One researcher has gone so far as to assert that “notions of exclusivity are not entrenched, and the Na language has no word for ‘jealousy’.”.
Seems bizarre to us, but it is documented. Based on things like this, I think a large part of why we even have a concept of jealousy and that we treat women as property is that we have set up a system where the males have an excessive amount of economic investment in the relationship. If you know going in that the relationship is likely to be transitory, and that you’re not going to lose everything you ever worked for, why be bothered by her losing interest? You’re not threatened by it, so what’s the point? And, if both halves of a relationship want to maintain exclusivity, so be it. If they want to flit from partner to partner like bumblebees, that’s acceptable as well.
We don’t automatically have to arrange our lives the way we do. Our customs are a cultural overlay, not written into our genes.
Okay, I didn’t know you were talking about some obscure Chinese tribal culture. I was looking at in in the context of the 1960’s “free love” movement. The whole “Make Love, Not War” thing lept out at me, so that’s what I ran with. (And that movement really was just a dirty trick to allow smelly hippie men to get into the pants of smelly hippie chicks who were on the pill or IUD with no responsibility or consequences, and a lot of the girls ended up feeling used and abandoned as they got passed around the commune.)
As for the Mosuo, I can see why the academic sociologists are enamored of them, and write about how empowered and liberated Mosuo women are. But from the article, it must suck to be a Mosuo man, but hey, who among the Academy gives a flip about men?
The way I look at it, if the Mosuo are the best example of how a Matriarchal society works, then it’s a disproof of the concept. I can see how it probably formed from small clans looking to avoid inbreeding and inter-clan warfare, but it looks like an evolutionary dead-end, simply from the fact that it is confined to the tiny region where it has existed for so long. I don’t, for example, see any mechanism for the formation of New families, so the social structure is limited in growth that way. The Men have little connection to their offspring unless they basically buy their way in with gifts, and their visitation rights are very limited. It’s kinda like pre-emptive divorce. You get to stay home and help raise your sister’s brats instead.
I’m also skeptical of the “No word for Jealousy” declaration. Come on, they’re human beings, everyone wants something they can’t have, everyone sees someone with something better and wishes it was theirs. I’m thinking the linguists asked the wrong question.
Extended families are great, if you’re agrarian, tied to the land, and aren’t going anywhere. But if you’re going to spread your culture across the land, or the stars, breaking up into mated pairs and leaving to start your own family groups is going to do a lot more to make your culture all pervasive. And other than these few, isolated and obscure examples to the contrary, the rest of the planet’s population is proof.
The point I was making was that “the way we do things” isn’t inevitable, nor is it some sort of genetic imperative. If you look at the implications of how humans behave in real life, the idealism of our society doesn’t match the reality of what People Really Do. I’m sure it’s the same with the Mosuo, as well, but the ideals are different.
One reason I suppose the Mosuo haven’t spread as far as our personal relationship pathways have taken us is that because of the way they run things, there is no fundamental dissatisfaction at the roots of their culture, which I think is what motivates many of us in our cultures to do the crazy things we do to get ahead. If life is satisfying where you’re at, why the hell take off with the girl whose parents don’t want her to have a thing to do with you?
I first heard of the Mosuo a couple of decades ago when I wandered into a Chataqua-kinda lecture that was being put on by some counter-culture types who’d spent time in China. As you might imagine, they were enamored of the whole thing, and probably did a lot of wishful thinking about it. Attending that did spur me to do some reading, going back to some stuff I found in a library going back to when the Mosuo were first encountered by some American Missionaries back around the 1880s. Who were, I might point out, predictably scandalized. The two different perspectives were… Enlightening. Anthropological research/reporting is so seriously skewed by the observer that it’s not even funny.
I honestly think a lot of the issues we have with regards to jealousy and angst over relationships has more to do with property and lineage than we’d like to admit. Romeo and Juliet, for example? One of the accounts about the Mosuo I read had the narrator describing the experience of telling that story as a storyteller to a Mosuo audience, who just didn’t get it. Mom and dad even having a right, or reason to be concerned about who their daughter was boinking? Supposedly, not even a “thing”–The Mosuo were driven to laughter at the stupidity of the whole thing, where most of us shed at least some emotional tears. Their culture lacks the context (per the writer) to interpret that work as anything other than ridiculous humor.
Now, it may well be that the thousands of years of selective breeding our ancestors engaged in have left us with some genetic traits that encourage this sort of possessiveness and angst over sexual relationships, but I don’t think the way we do things is necessarily the best, or even the “normal” state of human affairs. It may be that the way we do things is essential to why we’ve overrun the world with our system, but that’s a different sort of assessment than “it’s natural to humans” to be like this.
And, mistake it not: The Mosuo aren’t some bunch of free-love hippies, either. They’ve had a stable system for a long damn time, and their cultural underpinnings are geared towards their sort of lifestyle. It’s not a matter of slutty women sleeping with every man; competition between males exists. It’s more a case of women being freed right along with the men, to do as they will. Want life-long commitments? Not unheard of, and acceptable within the constraints. One partner doesn’t find the other attractive, any more? It ends, and without the drama and angst we conduct such changes in lifestyle with. And, better yet? The kids never have to deal with mommy and daddy’s f**king idiocy and angst. There are no huge divorce settlements that beggar the husband, no need for all of the crap we’ve piled on due to how we tie property and economic matters into the relationship. Women don’t rely exclusively on their lovers for economic support and success, and men don’t stand the chance of losing out on everything they’ve worked for when she decides she’s had quite enough of his BS. It’s very much a two-way street, and I can certainly see the attractions it might have. Assuming, of course that we who read of the Mosuo aren’t the victims of some massive conspiracy of academic and historical fraud, that is…
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that if the patterns of the Mosuo dominated the rest of human societies, then it’s possible that the rate of development, innovation and change might be hell of a lot lower. Our nuttiness about a lot of these things drives a lot of what we do, in my opinion–Never underestimate the things a male will do to get laid.
The flip side to all that is, however, that a lot of things like Islamic terrorism likely wouldn’t be happening if most of the young men in Islamic societies were able to gain access to women for sex. So, there is that: Vast personal dissatisfaction with life may lead directly to how much we’ve accomplished as a society, and emulating the Mosuo might leave us static and happier.
I will leave this discussion with this: Never look at what people say, or what idealistic views they espouse in public. Look at what they do. Actions speak a hell of a lot louder than words, and frankly, when I regard the conduct of those around me, I see a fundamental incompatibility with our institutions of marriage and property rights. We say we want one thing, as a group, but our actual behavior as individuals within the group? Far more consonant with my views, from my perspective. Lifelong single-partner monogamy is not the norm many of us achieve. It’s generally a string of serially monogamous relationships, some sanctified by custom and society, and some not.
And, I think it’s always been like that, whether or not we want to admit it. Oog may have been boinking Uga on a regular basis when he was back in camp from doing his Alpha-male hunting thing, but I’ll bet that Uga likely had occasional somethings on the side going with Moog, the secondary-status flint-knapping artistic/craftsman type who hung around camp all the time. And, hell.. Oog may have been just fine with that. God only knows what really went on out in those all-male hunting camps as they trailed the bigger game…
As an aside, my guess is that the “latent homosexuality” of many of our all-male institutions may have lengthy antecedents. Very lengthy.
Want life-long commitments? Not unheard of, and acceptable within the constraints. One partner doesn’t find the other attractive, any more? It ends, and without the drama and angst we conduct such changes in lifestyle with.
There’s got to be more to it than that, because that’s what we’ve got right now– and it’s a disaster.
Humans are expensive, difficult and long term commitments to raise.
Incidentally, “life long commitment until someone changes their mind” isn’t much of a commitment.
Consider it a sort of social-structure Darwinism. Some social systems adapt well and propagate widely, while others dead-end or fail to proliferate.
Interesting that you point to superiorities in the Mosou system based basically on viewpoints from the western model. Solutions to “First world problems” that don’t exist in their culture, we think. And that’s probably the point of view of all of the anthropologists who have visited them. Ethnocentrism doesn’t necessarily mean regarding one’s own position as superior, especially after a few rounds of Critical Theory.
“If life is satisfying where you’re at, why the hell take off with the girl whose parents don’t want her to have a thing to do with you?” Because that route leads to stagnation.
The fact that the Mosou culture doesn’t give them the basis to comprehend Romeo and Juliet doesn’t make them more advanced, or better, unless one is making that comparison to try to throw a negative light on western culture (like the whole jealousy point).
There is so little information about how life is for the men of that society. They’re men, of course there’s going to be some kind of competition between them. How do they court, how do they attract the attention of the woman who, as the anthropologists point out, have all the sexual veto power. Do they have sports? Any other forms of competition? Are the men perfectly okay with the woman basically kicking them out after getting pregnant and just shrug and move on? Why is nobody looking into that half of the question?
What I’m saying is that people with an agenda to criticize western society have found one example of a matrilineal society and have seized on it for that purpose, and ignore any part of it that doesn’t suit the narrative.
As for “Islamic terrorism likely wouldn’t be happening if most of the young men in Islamic societies were able to gain access to women for sex.” we’re back to my original criticism of the first part of this discussion. A heck of a lot would have to change in Islamic culture to eliminate their obsession with death and killing others. Getting laid wouldn’t even knock the tip off the iceberg. (After all, they can have “Temporary weddings” to prostitutes and getting away with rape is easy). Islamic girls suddenly getting easy wouldn’t end terrorism, but it sure would result in a surge in “Honor killings.”
Thank you. The whole idea that violence is linked to sexual repression is an unearned Freudian assumption. It has never been proven. In fact, some of our most violent criminals have access to more sex than anyone else their age/place.
But if you’re going to spread your culture across the land, or the stars, breaking up into mated pairs and leaving to start your own family groups is going to do a lot more to make your culture all pervasive.
Need to be established families first, or at least bring some friends– mated couples tend to just melt into the group. A mated family with kids already old enough to be formed, just waiting to be finished, would work the best. (they’ve got the cultural programming, but can adopt an interface that works best with the local culture)
Without reinforcement, the culture isn’t going to be pervasive, it’ll just be rolled over. See also, church social groups.
I’m thinking in terms of your typical western settlers.
Ah, so support groups but more of a once-a-week visiting thing, plus random visitors.
My mom did a summer handling cows where she was the only human voice she heard except for weekly food deliveries.
Somehow, some 7th Day Adventists showed up, she dang near kidnapped them for some conversation.
So I am always careful to be polite and thankful for door to door evangelists…especially if the door is way off. And I tell that story. Every time. 😀
In John C. Wright’s Hermetic Millennia there’s a future society where everybody must love everybody else — in their language, you can describe people according to whether you couple with them a lot or a little but not not at all — but it’s very clear that there’s a lot of drugs involved. Also it still erupts into violence.
Well, Mead forbid having the right to control your sex life should include the right to say no.
Equal. Not free. And when everybody’s special, then nobody is.
got it in one.
The real fun is — he based it on a real life feminist’s utopian fantasy.
Robert Silverberg had something similar in The World Inside, in which 95% of the population lived in giant skyscrapers, where every evening after dinner, there was an hour or two when people were expected to leave their apartment (I don’t remember if it was either/or or just the men), go to someone else’s apartment at random, and go in and have sex with them. It was considered the height of rudeness to say no.
how would you find someone in the apartment if everyone left?
Can’t remember the exact detail. It’s been over 15 years since I read it. It could have been that one of a couple would go walkies, but could be either one of them on a given night, or it could have been that the men did the wandering and the women stayed home. I know the MC was male, and he was the one who went around on the one evening it was talked about (and when he got home, his wife was frustrated by having been visited by one or two young guys who weren’t that good, so she asked him to have sex with her, because she didn’t get to enjoy hers).
That was actually more just the setting of the story, really. The main story was him going outside and seeing how the farm communities lived, when the city people believed them to essentially be barbarians, then coming back to his building and finding out that he was a criminal for leaving.
Yeah, that’s a good point … equal distribution of all goods works badly enough given that it destroys the incentive to excel, but it works even worse when the “goods” are sapient and judging you as “goods” from their own point of view, and each individual has totally different preferences!
I’ve believed for a long time that the distinguishing characteristic of the modern Left is its inability to make fine distinctions.
because that would be [gasp!] discrimination, y’know!
Hard to see how you can be against all forms of discrimination without becoming indiscriminate.
College Libertarian-ism, too.
(Note: just came up with this term to describe that thing commonly practiced by college kids trying to justify whatever they feel like doing. Any serious philosophical folks probably are familiar with those…I disagree with well thought out Libertarians, including on where they don’t recognize distinctions, but they’re not THAT bad.)
They’re libertarian because they want to smoke pot.
And break any other rule that bugs them, but they also are smart enough to want to be paid for their work.
Sharon Shinn’s Archangel works because they’re in the background, but she has the perfect free love, contracepting and having children only when you want people too — also, they don’t have custody disputes.
Did not believe.
I have a group somewhat like that. Fertile at will, two different rules for sex when fertile and sex when not fertile, latter version being rather free love but with pretty tight rules for the first (also the ability to smell the difference between fertile/not fertile).
But then the whole point was trying to imagine a group who have become different enough that they do count as a different species.
I have ideas for a far-future society where reproduction is voluntary.
As a consequence, everyone is baby-crazy. A few millennia of selecting, hard, for people who want to have babies will do that.
You want to make everyone baby-crazy? Forbid them.
One of the titles WAS “Time Enough For Love”, e.g., humans lived long enough to grow wise and less jealous. Me, I ain’t gonna live that long. Neither is anyone else.
yes, but the thing is it’s SF — when you have an extremely long lived group, maybe things happen in the brain/emotions. We don’t KNOW. No one lives that long. Same with the conditions of a colony in space with limited females. whatever. At least it’s SF not “some society here right now.”
Heh – wasn’t Niven’s Protector a rebuttal to that “Time Enough” idea? Even if Niven may have written his first (been so long I don’t recall and ain’t looking up pub dates.)
For the love of God, and your own sanity, don’t start looking into the background of Kinsey, et al, or how his research was so badly skewed by his outlook.
Social science is a lot like quantum mechanics, in a way: Observation and reporting on the subject changes it, most particularly when the observed pays attention to the observer. Margaret Mead and what she had to say about Samoa were not things that were only paid attention to here in the US–Word got back to Samoa about what she was saying very quickly, and penetrated pretty deeply back into the Samoan culture by the 1950s and 1960s. A lot of Samoans were not entirely happy with what she wrote, or with the girls who’d likely hoaxed her.
I admit to knowing very little about the Samoan culture, other than they produce really big dudes that tend to snore really loud. But from what I know it is a backaswards country in the middle of BFE, and going nowhere. Is that really who we want to emulate, as a country?
I make no judgments. I’ve liked every Samoan I’ve gotten to know well, and avoided the hell out of some of the rest–They do tend to breed some rather difficult people to live around.
Samoans are great people to have as friends. Enemies, not so much. I had a friend in the service named Tuisosopo, who was related to that football playing dynasty. Great guy sober, horrible one drunk.
Tui, as he was known to the rest of us, was an epic character. Everybody had a story about him. My favorite one stemmed from an evaluation exercise we went on.
Tui was a machine-gunner, as I was. He was in the next platoon over, and our squads happened to be adjacent to each other. We had to dig the guns in as part of the evaluation, and it wasn’t easy. I had three other lazy bastards who mostly got in the way, who were theoretically supposed to be helping me. Tui had himself and a shovel. While we were working, I’d look over and see this Tasmanian Devil-looking blur of flying dirt, and observed that Tui was done well before we were.
After he finished, he set up his gun on the tripod, and left it to go forward into the woods to empty his bladder. As he was heading out (he was a modest kind of guy…) I noticed a set of evaluators walking around. Unable to warn Tui, they caught him coming back. Of course, his weapon was where it was supposed to be, in the fighting position.
First evaluator buttonholes him: “Soldier, where is your weapon?”
This evinced a grunt, and a shrug pointing back to the position, as Tui finished zipping up his trousers.
Second evaluator: “Son, you’re outside the perimeter and unarmed, you’re going to have to come with us… You’re captured…”.
Now, you have to understand, all these evaluators are mostly field grade officers from another unit, and they’re standing around Tui in a cluster. Not a really good idea, as it proved.
Tui gives them one of his patented and highly eloquent shrugs, puts his gloves back on, takes a grenade simulator out of one of his ammo pouches, and then pulls the igniter on it, holding it out at arms length, dropping it just as it goes off, right in the middle of them all. While their ears are still ringing, he says “Booolsheet. We all dead.”, and walks back to his position, the glove of his right hand still smoking from being so close to the grenade simulator when it went off. Every one of us within sight of this situation stood there with our jaws on the ground. Those simulators were about the same power as an M80–He should have lost fingers, but he timed it perfectly.
The evaluators didn’t stop him. The three of them staggered about for a bit, and then wandered off in a state of high confusion to do whatever it is that evaluators did. We never heard another word about the incident.
If I ever have to make a choice between going into combat with either my own machine gun, or with a pistol and a Samoan, I’ll pick the pistol and a Samoan every time. The only concern I’m going to have is my potential for being involved in a war crime prosecution at some later date.
As an aside… You know the idea that humans are naturally good, and inherently in a state of child-like innocence as a default state, and that if only we lived in a world of plenty, we’d be like lambs and angels? You know how I know that that is utter bullshit?
Review a bit of Polynesian culture and history, if you will: I can’t imagine a more vicious and homicidal bunch to take on in war than the majority of the Polynesian cultures. The only real pacifists they ever bred got wiped out by their fellow Maori back in the Nineteenth Century, and all of them take to war like a duck takes to water. I’ve known Samoans, I’ve known Fijians, and I’ve known Hawaiians. Homey ain’t volunteering to go to war against any of them, and sure as hell not on their home turf. All those big bastards are too damn hard core for me to want to even think about tackling. And, the women are even worse.
You’d be better off invading Finland than starting some casual BS with any of the Polynesians. Finns fight because they have to; the Polynesians do it because they love to fight, and they’re damn good at it.
They sure are. During the latter half of my career, I often found myself missing the Samoans I knew and worked with during the first half. For some reason, which I suspect was tied to the tightened standards for the ASVAB, we quit getting in the purebred Samoans we’d always had some of around back in the old days.
As a group, Samoans are pretty damn smart. Unfortunately, there’s no tradition of respect for education, so they apparently don’t do well on the tests. A lot of the more senior NCOs who were Samoan were always bitching about their nephews who couldn’t get in the Army because their test scores were too low.
Of course, that’s my opinion only, and based on entirely anecdotal evidence. I do still have my fantasies about having an all-Samoan unit working for me–Provided I could keep them sober and on-task, I think I’d have a serious edge in any sort of encounter. I know one damn thing: If I were the other side, I’d take one look at what I had to deal with, and then go find something else to do that didn’t involve taking on multiple Samoans in hand-to-hand combat. Samoans at close quarterst? Buddy, you’d likely be better off taking on some Gurkhas in a hand-to-knife fight.
During the 1970s in Europe, there was an infamous situation involving a bunch of Turks who were gathering in gangs and beating up GIs in a particular to-remain-nameless German city. Several wound up hospitalized, and a couple were hurt badly enough to die and wind up discharged for medical reasons. The Polizei weren’t really interested in getting involved, but they were willing to look the other way. The US Army solution was for the local commander to approach one of his Samoan senior NCOs and tell him “Hey, get a bunch of your guys together and put a stop to this shit…”.
This resulted in the senior NCO putting a call out for all of his “bruddahs”, who he gathered up from across US Army Europe, and they started going downtown in small groups. The Turks took the bait, and started getting the living crap beaten out of them in job lots. Things escalated, and the whole thing ended in a mass brawl involving about ten-fifteen Samoans and a truly ungodly number of Turks. Said brawl wrecked most of a nightclub district in a good-sized German city, and resulted in huge damages. Damages large enough that the local commander who’d instigated the whole thing had to pull a fast one and call it “maneuver damage”, and spend several hundred thousand dollars to get the repairs made. Oddly, right after that, the Polizei got interested in the situation, and they read the riot act to the Turks, and told the US Army that any more “informal dealings” like that weren’t going to be ignored. We’re talking about something that came very close to being escalated up to the ambassadorial level, here.
Ten years later, the Turks around there still remembered that incident, and would refuse to get involved in a fight with any GI, no matter what provocation might have been offered. Some of the Samoans involved had scrapbooks with the news stories and pictures of the aftermath of all these fights, which is how I knew this wasn’t some BS war story.
Having seen what Samoans can and will do when fighting for the fun of it all, I really, really do not want to ever be involved in something that they’re doing because they’re pissed off. The only way I ever want to get into a fight with a Samoan is if it’s with a sniper rifle, and I’ve got at least a Barrett .50 to shoot at him multiple times. Those bastards can soak up some serious damage when they’re angry…
Damn… The above was supposed to be a reply to Tom, down below… Ah, well…
I don’t know about war (though damn, I believe it), but I’ve seen Samoan fire dancers. All I can say is, any culture that thinks it’s funny to put out fires with your bare butt is not a culture I plan on messing with.
I know one damn thing: If I were the other side, I’d take one look at what I had to deal with, and then go find something else to do that didn’t involve taking on multiple Samoans in hand-to-hand combat.
Our new junior priest is a very, very small Samoan.
He can’t be more than six foot, and is at most normal body builder wide….
My friend Tui was the runt of his family at 6’1″, and that’s why he wasn’t playing football with his cousins at a college.
He weighed in at around 290, on a light day. Body fat? Around 15%. He had an 18.5″ neck. Put him in uniform, have him flex his arms, and he’d literally burst the seams on the sleeves of the then-new BDUs. He couldn’t even get his top on, if sleeves were supposed to be rolled up that day. He eventually had to go down and have a tailor sew a Lycra panel into the inside seam of his sleeves. His flippin’ arms were as big around as some guy’s thighs.
I think there may be something different about the muscle fiber in a lot of Samoans, too. Tui was crazy-strong, and did things by himself that would take two or three of the rest of us. Hell, he’d do things that three of us couldn’t do, working together.
I heard a “Crazy Tui” story a few years after I left the unit we were in. Seems they’d been on an exercise, and having trouble with their M113 rear ramp. They’d gone forward for some kind of recon, dropped the hatch for the guys to get out, and then the hydraulics blew in the ramp mechanism. While the driver was trying to fix that, the enemy showed up, Tui (by now an NCO, and running things) ordered his guys to go back and load up on the track while he watched what the enemy was doing. As it turns out, they were making an attack through the area they’d been doing the recon on, and Tui decided the better part of valor was to report and withdraw. So, he comes running back, sees the ramp still down, and yells to the guys to get in, he’d close the ramp by himself and get in the commander’s hatch. The guys, who’d been trying to get the hatch up manually, followed the order, likely going “This will neeeeveeer work…”, and when Tui hit the track, he grabs the ramp with one hand, weapon in the other, picks up the ramp and slams it shut hard enough to rock the track forward like they had been hit by a truck from behind.
Samoan+adrenaline=epic feats of strength that will likely kill you if you try to emulate them.
The last time I had to raise an M113 ramp manually, it took five of us and a 12-foot 4X4 to get that thing up off the ground and shut. Four guys couldn’t do it by themselves, and I had to go down to the motor pool and help them get it done.
I’ve worked with several Pacific islanders, including Samoans. Great soldiers.
My last comment wouldn’t post – *sigh
I said that I met a few Samoans who considered us uncivilized ( they were socialized and good people). However we do have Samoan gangs in the US– when they go bad, they go bad in a BIG way.
Cyn, that’s a horrible, horrible pun. You ought to be ashamed… 🙂
There’s an acquaintance of mine who was a cop in Honolulu. Emphasis on the word “was”–He left police work after getting beaten to the point of lifelong disability while answering a domestic disturbance call. Along with seven other cops, several of which were injured just as badly. By one woman. Whom they’d handcuffed before the fight really got going. And, to make things even weirder, she was the one who called the cops on her husband, for domestic violence. Actual point of fact was, he had finally hit her back after months of getting his ass beaten. He’d gotten one punch in before she flattened him and called the cops. When they showed up, she was literally putting the boots to him. They had to cuff her to get him into the ambulance, which was when the dance started.
And, yes: Samoan. Both of them.
A Samoan-born officer on the department later commented to him: “Stupid haoles, man… You shoulda just shot her a couple of times, and then she’d have gone to the hospital quiet-like…”.
Some Samoan families are… Mmmm… Interesting? Is that the word I want? Or, is it “Pants-filling scary”?
LOL – oh yea– I may go up against a much larger white man (have a few times– but another story). But I leave the Samoans alone– slink away even 😉
And, thus, you demonstrate great wisdom.
Me, I had to learn the hard way. I’m really lucky that the Samoan in question was my friend, and that he wasn’t drunk enough to not recognize me…
LOL – I can see the shape of that story.
Cyn, that’s a horrible, horrible pun.
Hard to avoid.
My parish, I believe I’ve mentioned, has a high percentage of Samoans.
It’s really, really hard to avoid (look, there’s another!) making statements that could be taken as big (ouch!) jokes about the size (sigh) of the community.
It doesn’t help that one of my little buddies is maybe eight… and an inch or two smaller than me, and about as wide as my fat *bleeping* self. (He likes me because I recognized him at the store, and he knew my little kids; I like him because if I give him the Grandma Look, he stops doing what he knows he shouldn’t. Great kid, there.)
I wasn’t trying to be insulting, the couple of Samoans I have known were great guys, as long as you didn’t have to sleep in the same building with them. (also you are spot on on the drinking aspect, you didn’t want to be in the same county if they went on a bender) But I don’t think the country should emulate their culture, or I suspect our country will head in the same direction theirs is, nowhere.
The Samoans I knew and I assume most if not all of the ones you knew were Americans, so while they had Samoan cultural traits, they were blended with American cultural traits.
My parish has a lot of Samoans.
Every time there’s a Samoan baptism, somehow the following sermon ends up being about how being Catholic isn’t just showing up for Baptism and Weddings….
Thing is, they are very crazy strong on family.
You know that Man-tie-whatzit guy who everyone was mocking because of his “fake girlfriend”?
Totally believable, in the Samoan community.
The girl was introduced by a cousin, only missed meeting him for family things, was vouched by another cousin…
I’m not buying that such a group would be OK with any sort of messing with the Family Ties. It just… doesn’t compute. Adopt someone that isn’t theirs at a hat drop, sure, but that’s different.
My take on that whole Man Te’o thing was that he was the victim of that Samoan humor we’re talking about, and that the perpetrator probably got in too deep with it. I heard that story, and all I could do was think “Poor guy…”. It’s totally within keeping with the stuff I’ve learned about Samoan culture, over the years.
I’d also guess that the humorist either got an epic ass-beating from the rest of his family, or he’s living in fear of whatever practical joke they’re getting ready to pay him back with. In all likelihood, if they’re gonna go with another joke as retribution, it’s gonna come within inches of maybe killing him…
You mean the way he went trolling for subjects in homosexual areas and then presented his results as statistically valid?
or that he presented the statements of child molesters about their victims as valid data about the children’s responses?
Any and all of it. You really start looking into the background of the whole Kinsey milieu, and you start wondering where the hell the cops were, and how it is that whole crew didn’t wind up in either prison or a mental institution.
Aside from the norming of perversions, that whole volume of work is just horrible science–Poor conclusions drawn out of thin air with no real background data to back them up, and case after case of seeking data to support foregone conclusions. I’m amazed he got as far as he did with it, and that he was able to get grant support. We’re talking Lysenko-level bad science, here.
And, what’s amazing? He managed to shift the sexual mores of an entire society, and to a fairly large degree. I put him right up there with Margaret Mead as a bad influence on the public social commons.
Lysenko, or Lobachevsky?
Wherever that charatan bastard Kinsey is today, I hope the temperature is set to “BROIL”.
You kind of beat me to it on the quantum mechanics thing. I’ll add this elaboration: The really revealing things about a culture are the very things the culture most carefully hides from outsiders. What’s deeply meaningful to us is the last thing we’re going to talk about to some hifalutin doctoral candidate from the Northeastern U.S.
Add to this that the hifalutin doctoral candidate probably greatly overestimates his own cleverness relative to the natives, and you have a recipe for the junkiest of science.
Kinsey, yes: Definitely looking for a warm place in the hereafter. He’s actually pretty uninteresting in and of himself. Far more interesting is why so many in the cultural elite were willing to believe him.
Y’know, I think I’ll disagree with you here: The secret things are indeed most revealing about a culture, but the absolute most revealing and interesting things are those that nobody in that culture really thinks about or even considers as being worth discussing–The unwritten base assumptions that they make.
Case in point, and one without any real-world counter-examples I can think of: Why is it that nearly everyone thinks that a weapons safety ought to be marked in red, as a danger sign, when the weapon is in a ready-to-fire state? That’s how almost every human being frames the issue; ready to fire is dangerous because the weapon will fire when you pull the trigger, and a white marking will symbolize “safe”.
This is almost universal, to my knowledge. Why is that? Is it a natural thing, or just the way we’re wired to frame such issues?
On the other hand, I can posit a culture/species that took the opposite tack: The red warning color ought to go on the safe marking, because that means that the weapon is not immediately ready to use for defending oneself…
Sometimes, it’s the unexamined assumptions that are most revelatory. If I ever run into a weapon that’s marked with red on the safe marking, I’m going to infer from that that I don’t want to get involved in a fight with the people who made it, because they’re likely a lot more warlike and paranoid than we are.
Hell, re-reading that, I realize it goes deeper than I thought: We all consider the weapon to be “safe” when it won’t fire. Why? Why wouldn’t we define “safe” as being the condition when it is ready to be fired in our defense?
It’s a fine semantic distinction, isn’t it? But, it is one of those unexamined, unexpressed base assumptions about the nature of our world and our place in it that is highly revelatory of our worldview, is it not?
Without a real example to look at, I’m going to hazard a guess that the culture/species that considers their weapons “safe” when in a ready-to-fire condition would probably consider themselves to live in a much higher threat environment than we do, and would likely be a hell of a lot more paranoid.
I’ve experienced this with my old guy vitamins. They’re pale blue. Well, I’m old enough that “pale blue tablet” equals “mercuric chloride.”
Fortunately, the cognitive dissonance has been solved by the recent research that antioxidant supplements are actually dangerous. The pale blue color of my old guy vitamins is thus simply truth in advertising.
I’ve got a loaded HK P7 within arms reach.
I’ve got a loaded Beretta 92 on the headboard.
And a loaded Glock in the backpack.
All three are safe as houses, and so is everyone in my family.
None of my rifles are currently loaded, but there’s loaded magazines for the Sig and the AK right above the safe.
What I’m getting at is how we frame the concept. If you’re talking about the concept with someone else, why is it that we all say the weapon is “safed” if it’s not in a ready-to-fire mode? This seems to be a universal human way of looking at it, no?
However, I can think of that from another standpoint: What if we framed the weapon as being most dangerous when it was not ready-to-fire? In other words, my mindset frames it as “not ready to fire=unsafe condition”.
It’s an unexamined basic assumption of our species. I’m not sure that it’s automatically going to hold true when we encounter others, though, and it’s something that ought to be looked at carefully, because of the attitudes that such a framing would convey.
I’d wager that there are a bunch of similar things that we’re completely oblivious to that are going to trip us up the first time we encounter a really alien species.
As an aside, from a self-defense standpoint? You’ve got three weapons that you’re planning on using in a high-stress scenario. Those three weapons all have massively different manual of arms, the worst being the P7. Having done some IPSC shooting, and having taught defensive pistol shooting in the service, I’ll point out that this is not a good thing. I’d set things up so that all your weapons that you’re planning on using in a defensive context are set up precisely the same. I’ve gone so far as to put the exact same trigger face and springs into all of my Glocks, from the G26 up to the G29. That way, no matter what, it’s the same manual of arms, and the same trigger pull, every time.
When I was shooting competitively, I was initially doing it with three weapons: A pair of Berettas, one full size 92F, a compact 92FC, and an Action Arms AT-84 (which was a CZ-75 clone, and the single biggest firearm POS I ever owned). What I found was that even the minimal differences between those guns was screwing me up, and slowing me down considerably. When you use different guns, it takes a lot more time to index yourself as to which one you’re shooting, and that’s critical in a defensive shooting context. Even if you’re only shooting them on a recreational basis, if you do enough of it, you just “confuse the muscles”. Or, at least, that’s what I do. My times went down on my shot strings by quite a bit when I went to shooting just the one style of pistol, the Glock. Which I’ve sorta settled on these days because of the fact I can go from deep concealment all the way up to something I can take small game with, remaining with the same consistent grip angle, trigger pull, and mag release.
Just something to consider.
So for that look to the history.
Historically speaking revolvers did not have safeties, except to keep the hammer down on an empty chamber. This was to “drop safe” it.
Safeties were on the first automatic pistols–for example the early designs of JM Browning (PBH) like the 1911. You could carry the 1911 “hammer down” on an empty chamber, but that was goofy. You carried it with one up the pipe and the hammer back on a fairly light weight. The “safety” was not a device to keep the trigger from being accidentally pulled, but to keep the hammer from accidentally dropping when jarred, jostled or mishandled.
This is very different from today, especially on the firearms like the Glock which *cannot* go off until you pull the trigger, or the 92FS/M9 which as original designed did not have a safety it had a “decocker” (at least according to legend, who knows for sure). It was intended (on the 92FS) that you loaded it, racked the slid, *decocked* the weapon threw the lever the other way and holstered it. Your 92FS is *perfectly* safe to carry around with the decocker/trigger block in the off position if you just put a little dab of black paint on that red dot.
And I don’t have an issue with the different manual of arms. I routinely train with all three and they work fine for me. The gross motor movements once out of the holster are similar enough that my hands just adjust, with the exception that I never need to hit the slide release on the P7, and occasionally on the 92FS I’ll hit the de-cocker, but I did that when it was the only gun I shot.
My wife’s gun is a CZ75. It’s awesome.
That’s what’s so fun about reading between the lines in primary sources. . . .
And I shall direct you to this rather than overwhelm the comments with length.
See now I always thought the Fire position was red because fire (flames) are red.
The red dot isn’t a warning to the person *holding* the gun. It’s a warning to anyone NOT holding the gun. Although usually if you can see that dot it’s
If you’re holding the gun and you don’t know it’s condition you’ve screwed up a long time ago.
See the post I put up at 10:22. I try to clarify what I’m getting at with this, and it’s more along the lines of how we frame the issue, and the language/concept we use to communicate when we talk about it.
Oh, yeah, that’s one of two reasons:
1) Tradition and shorthand. It was called a “safety” because it was mechanical device to keep the firearm from going bang when you did not want it to–originally when carrying hammer back on a live round. Those of us who’ve either been shooting a long time, or carry because the world is a dangerous place call the weeping “being made safe” for those reasons. Note that this is the same meaning as in the rifle world where safeties are very different mechanically (many contemporary military weapons are not drop safe even with the safety on).
2) Most of the world, including large numbers of shooters, are fscking pussies and wet themselves over the notion of a loaded firearm without 87 bazillion things between you and the intent to kill some SOB before he kills you.
I believe Mr. Du Toit has a rather lengthy and somewhat controversial essay about the latter sort of “man”.
William, you’re just not getting what I’m trying to say. Let me make it as binary as possible:
We generally regard a weapon that is not in a ready-to-fire state as being “safe”. That’s a value judgment we’ve made, and for which we’ve applied the term and concept for “safety” which we’ve brought over from other contexts.
This is not necessarily the only way to look at things: One might very well regard the situation of being “not-ready-to-fire” as being the unsafe one, because that would mean that the weapon would not be immediately ready to use in self-defense or offense. Just because we’ve framed it the other way around doesn’t require others to do so. And, the fact that they didn’t choose to frame it that way would be one of those unexamined cultural assumptions we were talking about. I’d also suggest that this choice would likely be something highly revelatory about the culture that made it., as well. Or, maybe not–Could very well be that it might just be an artifact of how the first people to encounter this sort of situation with one of their tools looked at things, and the precedent got established.
The point I’m trying to make is that the unwritten rules and base cultural assumptions that nobody even thinks about are oftentimes more interesting than the ones they try to keep secret and won’t discuss with outsiders. Those are interesting, as well, but it’s been my experience that it’s the unspoken ones that will screw you up more than the secrets.
First time I was in Germany, I had the interesting experience of trying to find hot chocolate mix in a German grocery store. Typically, in most American stores, we put that sort of thing in the same general area as the tea and coffee, organizing it as “hot beverages” in our heads. This is pretty much true in most stores I’ve gone shopping in, here in the US. In the stores I went into in Germany, back in the 1980s, the hot chocolate wasn’t near the coffee and tea. I had to ask for directions to find it, and when I did, they had it with the spices and baking stuff. From that, I have to wonder why the German who organized that store made a different association than the American who organized our stores. That’s an example of what I’m talking about–The German shopgirl I found who spoke English just shook her head at me, and said something like “I don’t know why all you Americans go looking for the hot chocolate over with the coffee… That just doesn’t make sense to me…”.
Now, I’ve had some Germans look at me like I was crazy when I tell that story, and they’ve said “That’s not the way things are…”, but that’s what I experienced firsthand when I was there. Some other Germans I’ve met over here have agreed with me: “Your American stores are arranged like crazy people did it…”. YMMV.
I do understand what you are saying. Understood it from the beginning. You are insisting that we perceive a firearm to be ‘safe’ when the little lever covers the red dot, and that in a more violent society that red dot would be exposed when the weapon could NOT fire.
Yeah, got it. Disagree for two big reasons:
One is that I am trying to say that contemporary people *misunderstand* what “safe” means in this context–that the firearm is “safe” from discharge due to mishandling or dropping. In a sense that the unwritten rule or underlying principle is *different* than what it is perceived as being.
The second is that a firearm with an external safety like the 92fs, or the 1911 does NOT take appreciably longer to get to the point where the trigger starts to travel. At least not for those who train regularly with what they carry. In other words, the firearm is NOT less dangerous to use *deliberately*.
SOP for many units with the M16/AR style rifles is to put the safety on while moving–even if in contact–then when moving to a firing position take it off, fire, and put it back on. SOP for the AK is to flip the lever to off when contact is possible and put it back on when you’re sure you don’t need it anymore. This is partially because of ergonomics, and partially because of bedwetters.
A feller I know used to be British SAS. Their SOP was to move with their finger INSIDE the trigger guard pressed forwards. Then on contact they just had to move the finger back. Try making that case today.
I will agree that
I’m just disagreeing that this is one of those.
And when a researcher really does build up trust and understanding with a community to the point they are willing to talk about and even transgress taboos, It is even more impressive. I read an article about the man who proved the cause and transmission of kuru, the brain prion disease. He had to get the local people to talk about the custom of ritual cannibalism, and then persuade them to allow him to take brain tissue samples at the time of death (another cultural taboo). But these people loved their children, and kuru was killing them–and as soon as the researcher proved their custom was the cause of the deaths…they stopped.
Lived in Hawaii for three years. Every Samoan I met had one thing in common: a great sense of humor. They were the funnest people, as a group, I think I’ve ever met.
That probably has bearing on how Ms. Mead was treated.
Samoan humor… Oh, yes indeed. They love jokes, and laugh readily. The only downside is that they’re great practical jokers, and often times forget that they’re a hell of a lot stronger and far more durable than the rest of us.
That friend of mine? Tui? He once left a bunch of us trapped in a storage building because he put a big rock in front of the only door to the place. All the guys we could get into position to push it out of the way of the door couldn’t budge the damn thing. He came back to check on us when we didn’t make it to lunch, and was really puzzled that we were so angry at him because we couldn’t get out of the building. We put him in the same position, and it took like three of us to slide that damn rock over to block the door again, and he just casually pushed the door open, sliding the rock with it. Then, he came out, picked it up again, and took it to where it belonged over by the curb. Which was a good 100 feet or so away.
Which led to the rest of us just dropping the whole issue and leaving it at that. Even the young and dumb who make up the junior levels of the armed forces can achieve wisdom in their youth…
For the love of God, and your own sanity, don’t start looking into the background of Kinsey, et al, or how his research was so badly skewed by his outlook.
Call me contrary, but this admonition just makes me want to learn more. I’ve heard often enough that Kinsey was full of it, but I’ve never researched the issue in depth. The only biography we have on him in my library appears to be a hagiography based on interviews with the people most invested in making him out to be a good guy (friends, family, lovers, etc). Adding something to the collection that counter-balanced that would be worthwhile, I think.
I notice that I forgot to actually ask for recommendations:-P. Anyone know of any good titles?
Hmm. Degenerate Moderns by E. Michael Jones has a section on him.
I can’t remember any good titles, but the short form of the problem is:
He interviewed violent rapists and presented them as non-violent normals.
I believe the lady who was one of the abused child victims of some of his interview subjects made a big splash about ten years ago.
Non-individual based, he was quite open about his sample being largely prison inmates, and counting being raped by the same sex as being homosexual.
We really do need to take up a collection and get you fitted with a neck chain for those rolling eye balls. You know, like the ones a maiden aunt librarian type would wear with her glasses. I understand soldering on the attach points is a bit uncomfortable, but once done you’re good to go. Cats may have a hissy fit though from missing two of their favorite play toys.
As for Meade, I suspect her interviews were mostly with the class of ladies who worked the docks and she got fed the same story as their customers. Makes a certain sense after all. What red blooded male horn dog wouldn’t want to hear that his idea of paradise wasn’t a “good” thing. A mature father worried about protecting his wife and daughters OTOH wouldn’t give you the time of day.
A pair of lab glasses should do the job. Even if her eyeballs make a break for freedom, they won’t get very far.
I was going to suggest something like that. Similar goggles as Riddick uses might look cool on her.
No, they were girls of all sorts of classes, including some very high ranking ones.
“A mature father worried about protecting his wife and daughters OTOH wouldn’t give you the time of day.”
Why is that, though? Why should a father particularly care who his daughter takes as a lover? Why do we see it as something he even gets to have a say in? Mostly, because we see the women involved as being his property.
Referencing the discussion we’re having higher up in the thread, I’ll continue to assert that a lot of our base assumptions about who has the right and who would be concerned about such things are based mostly on how we handle property rights with regard to our sexual and reproductive liaisons.
In a culture like that of the Mosuo, the fathers aren’t that concerned with who their daughters are boinking, because they’ve got no financial or economic investment stake in the outcome of her love life. He’s probably more concerned about how her lover(s) treat her than he is about the chance that some usurper will rob him of his economic efforts. We tie a lot of our property rights to marriage and lineage through the paternal line. Thus, the way we see it, the father has the right to have a say in what his daughter does with her love life, and indeed, we’ve often turned her into a sort of quasi-property of his. Many of our baseline cultural assumptions stem from this.
Organize it differently, and it’s not necessarily going to wind up that way. One of the reasons the Western sailors who encountered the Tahitians found the women so congenial is that they simply didn’t view the liaisons their women made as being that big a deal, and it was even advantageous for them to have those liaisons with the Westerners in order to get metal objects in trade. We framed it as “pimping their women out for trade goods”, and they likely framed it as “those idiots are giving us valuables in return for some boinking…”.
Change the economic rules of the game, change the values, mores, and the amount of emotional investment we have in the issues.
No — in many cases father’s don’t think of their daughters as property (except for the really cold ones)— Think protector. I knew a guy who taught karate when I was in my mid to late twenties. He was barely twenty-one and is girlfriend had just had his daughter (80s). He was gobsmacked. Before having a daughter, he was into free love and all the rot that went with it. After he had the daughter (he couldn’t quit talking about her perfect fingers and toes) he wanted to marry his baby’s mother to provide a stable home and protect his daughter from men like him.
My dad certainly didn’t think of me as property. Still doesn’t, I think 😉
Idk in my case. I was his daughter until I hit puberty and then our relationship went downhill from there. 😉
Cyn, note that construct you just made: “…he wanted to marry his baby’s mother to provide a stable home and protect his daughter from men like him.”
He wouldn’t need to protect her if he didn’t frame the relationship as one of ownership/control, which he obviously did from his prior context before. When he was the “wild and free man”, he viewed his actions as predation and transgression against a generalized “other”. Then, when he found his own stake in the matter, his prior conduct came back to him because he now understood what was on the other side of the looking glass.
Now take a guy from a culture like the Mosuo. He won’t view what he’s done in the past, flitting from girl to girl like a bumblebee as being at all transgressive or negative–The surrounding cultural matrix he has doesn’t view it like that, at all. When he has his daughter, he’s not going to feel all that retroactive “Oh my God, I have to protect her from men like me…” going on in his subconscious, because he’s wired to think of women in a sexual relationship as being independent operators who make their own choices. He has never thought of sex in terms of predation–To him, it’s a mutually pleasurable activity that you take part in with a willing woman.
View it as analogous to how you’d feel about a neighborhood semi-feral cat with whom you occasionally had interactions–The cat is friendly, you pet it, you both enjoy the contact, but there’s no investment other than that you both find the contact mutually pleasurable and beneficial. Now, compare that to the housecat you picked out as a kitten, paid for, and then raised at great expense in veterinary bills and food. How different is the emotional investment you have, there?
In a world like that of the Mosuo, the women are more like that feral cat than they are like the housecat you raised from a kitten. The emotional investment isn’t going to be the same–You’d be sad if something happened to your friend the feral cat, and you’re concerned about the well-being of any kittens it might have, but… It just isn’t the same thing as the one you own.
And, yes, that probably seems wrong to all of our sensibilities who post here. But, I’d hold out that it is a possibility in the grand scheme of things, when the cultural matrix under which you operate is not the one we’re used to.
Seriously KIRK you have got it wrong– totally– love may look like ownership to some people. In this case it was love for the emotional and physical well being of that child. I think I could say that he would die for that child and you would come up with some patriarchal bs that would make me upset.
It is NOT that I haven’t dealt with patriarchal bs and the ownership of women– I have seen it in action (felt it, lived under it) so I KNOW the difference from experience. Can you say the same?
Cyn, I think you’re idealizing things in our culture a lot more than I am.
SOME men feel love for their children. We expect that as a social construct; t’aint necessarily so, in the general population. I can’t even come up with a solid number of people I know who haven’t spoken or interacted with their father in decades, and whose fathers haven’t felt the need to involve themselves with them, either. Do you know why that is? It is because of how bloody many of them there are out there.
Some men love their kids and stay involved with them because they’re inherently decent people. Some men view their kids as property, or even extensions of themselves, with which they intend to colonize the future, propagating their line as a way of achieving immortality. Others could care less, abandoning the children they help create with utter indifference. It is a wildly variable aspect of human nature, and we can’t make a general rule about what motivates them because there is no general rule or pattern. Hell, I’ve seen two totally different behaviors in men raised within the same family and who share genetic lineage.
The variability of this is one thing that militates towards my belief that this aspect of behavior is predominantly cultural, and a product of the individual attitude towards the situation.
And, I’ll tell you this, from my past experience with men I’ve known? The most paranoid and protective fathers were all rutting horn-dogs in their youth, and the vast majority of them will tell you that they’d never let their daughters date or marry their younger selves. What does that tell you about them?
Frame sex as predation, and you get to see women viewed as property. Frame women as independent self-actuated beings, and suddenly sex doesn’t look like predation, any more.
None of the guys who I knew as young men that viewed women as partners, worthy of respect and fully equal as sexual beings turned out to be super-protective, paranoid dads. Take that for what it’s worth.
I’ve seen enough of the super-protective types in their youth to be aware that most of them viewed women like a wolf looks at sheep in a pen. I suspect that the reason they turn all protective is that once they have their own women to worry about, they still see them as their sheep. The only difference is what side of the bloody fence they’re on.
I think you are much harder on your sex than you should be– sometimes the children are abandoned because of the woman– I tell you women are more vicious than men–
I’d call it clarity of vision. Just like with men not knowing what is said “in the women’s house”, you ladies have no entry into the male realm that exists when there are only men around. I’ve been there, lived within it, and know the bastards that dwell there fairly well. And, just like with women, there are some seriously sociopathic creatures among my fellows.
Just like we men need our illusions about you ladies, there are necessary illusions which exist for the womenfolk, as well. The nature of the father/child relationship from the standpoint of many men is one of those, I’m afraid.
I really hate to say it, but a lot of the “good” that exists between people is purely a social construct we’ve managed to cobble together between ourselves. Left to a fundamental state of nature, I’m not exactly sanguine about what things would look like, from either gender’s aspect. The good thing is, we’d find it necessary to reinvent the whole sorry edifice from scratch, once it was torn down to the ground.
Frankly, the rest of the species just puzzles the hell out of me, and always has. I’ve been on what amounts to a life-long anthropological adventure, studying the strange natives I find myself trapped amongst for most of my time on this planet, and I still don’t have really good answers for a lot of the human behavior I see around me.
Which is why I go armed every where I can. The rest of you apes just scare the hell out of me with your unpredictability, to be quite honest.
This has been what you might term an enabler of clarity, because I’m looking at a lot of things from a purely mechanistic “Why do we do things that way, and why does it work…” sort of place that a lot of us aren’t able to achieve. I’m an outsider, a stranger here, you see…
Which isn’t to say I don’t have my own biases that I’m not accounting for because they’re invisible to me.
Civilization is a means to keep those sociopathic tendencies in check imho. Children need parents and those little illusions (you call them) are not always bad– I spent many years trying to rip off the masks on people… I was tired of being a person who was expected to be a square peg in a round hole. I learned pretty quick that masks are essential — because if we could see everything in a person’s heart, it would be war and bloodshed. That is why I believe actions matter more than thought (although I do believe we have the responsibility to curb our own thoughts if necessary.)
Plus men and women do need different outlets to get out the aggression– which is why I am horrified at this new idea of curtailing boys’ play. Or even some of the things done so that it is fairer for girls. — So yea, you were a boy and now you are a man– So I was a girl, and now I am a woman– so– procreation is a biological imperative– so– We all have our dirty little secrets. 😉
I can’t even come up with a solid number of people I know who haven’t spoken or interacted with their father in decades, and whose fathers haven’t felt the need to involve themselves with them, either.
I don’t know where you live, but that is one seriously fucked up bunch of people you know. I could count on ONE hand the number of people I know who could be described by that sentence.
Yes, they are incredibly screwed up.
I know an outsized number who don’t communicate with their parents, too– I think I’ve mentioned that you could count the intact, marriage predated pregnancy, all siblings either same parents or adopted traditional families on your fingers for my class and my siblings’. Not a poor place, just lots of trust fund babies. (usually, grandparents had money; support for the third generation theory)
Now, on the other hand, I know several broken marriages, as well as several who had children either before marriage or without marrying at all, but that particular description of long-term estrangement just doesn’t happen very often.
Thank God, the numbers back you up. Or we’d already be in chaos.
25 years on active duty in the Army, you run into a lot more people over time than the average person does, and you get to know them fairly well. Plus, for some damn reason, people want to tell me things. I don’t know why, but they do, even when I do my best to shut them up at 0300 in the morning on a night when I’m pulling Staff Duty NCO with them. The crap I’ve had to listen to, mediate, or just flat try to un-f**k? You would not believe. Some of it still leaves me going “Did I really just hear that?”.
If you don’t know many people like what I’m describing, you’re lucky. I’d also discount the idea that I ran into a higher proportion of the dysfunctional in the Army. Anyone who manages to pass the screening to get into any of the branches is already probably in the upper third of the population in regards to all this stuff, believe me. As a recruiter, I saw what we didn’t take, and the numbers/characteristics are far, far worse. You think that the guys on active duty are bad? Try the ones who get rejected for service, and remember we probably reject two or three for every one that gets through the enlistment/commissioning process. The general population is flippin’ scary, with regards to a lot of issues. A fact my mom verifies for me from her position in the primary education system–Which is even scarier because we’re in a much better area than many of the urban no-go zones are.
I may be a cynic, but I have the distinct impression that we’re growing our own barbarians, these days. You’d be astonished at the number of kids running around with “significant issues”. Maybe I need to start hanging around a higher class of people, but I think I’ve actually got a reasonably good handle on an actual cross-section. It’d be nice to think I didn’t, though…
Yea – I’ll give you that we are growing our own barbarians. My hubby is split service Army/Navy. I did six years Navy. I saw some interesting nutcases there, but the highest amount of nutcases I have seen is in my apartment complex when we had to move back to the States when I became ill. I tell stories about the 20 year olds here that even 30 year olds can’t believe. They are definitely at the low end of the totem pole compared to the military members I have known.
Whatever insanity my guys got up to, it always brought me up short to remember that they really represented the cream of the crop when it comes to the current generation.
Of course, if you read the histories with a careful eye, you’ll find signs that it was ever thus… At least some of our fears in this arena are due to the selective nature of our memories and experiences. I could tell you stories about what my grandmother on my father’s side got up to back in the 1930s and 1940s, which could rival damn near anything you’d expect from some of our inner cities, minus the drug use. And, she came from a fairly stable set of farm families that were reasonably well-off by the standards of the day.
I have to remind myself of this every time I start to despair of things.
Yea – my great-grandpa mother’s side was a cut-up although the last time I saw him he was very ill and on his last few days. One story about him was that he was a prankster– serious prankster– nowadays we would call it vandalism… so every generation has done things–
Judging from the stories that Rhys takes back to me, or asks me for advice on, he’s taken that role that you describe: the ‘reliable one’.
There was one where the woman didn’t want kids ever and hated the guy’s family, and the man was an oldfashioned type who loved his family and wanted one of his own. I said that with such a fundamental difference in life’s desires, such a relationship would always have been temporary and never a permanent one. Plus the woman got it into her head that every time they were away out field, the man was sleeping around. With what, snakes and centipedes perhaps. The sheer amount of crazy circular arguments she’d make to try make him at fault for the breakdown of relationship had me furious.
Someone once noted to him, he said, that Rhys was probably one of the few people in the workshop who doesn’t ever complain about his missus or family. He looked puzzled and said “What would I have to complain about?” Apparently that’s unusual.
I’ve also heard the lament of ‘lack of good men’ from women who simply never met a man they liked. Now, unfortunately, the split comes with regards to age and preference- the men I know who never met a woman who wasn’t out of her mind are older. The women I know are also older. Inevitably, if a discussion about this comes up, the guys want someone younger, who can still have kids, and ‘fairly attractive’ on top of the list along with the ‘traditional values.’ I’ve seen enough older-white-guy with twenty-something girl with a cloud of her relatives following her around back in the malls in the Philippines to understand that ultimately, a relationship like that is a contract, with some friendliness (you hope) and perhaps some affection. And you HOPE that the young wife doesn’t do more than have straying eyes (and yes, I noticed, because I got the murderous “I hope you die in a fire,” glares whenever Rhys and I were out on errands or grocery shopping. The men courting the women glaring at me happily(?) would not notice, but it got so bad after a while that even Rhys did. So I had to explain the dynamic. And then he understood that he’d have to withstand jokes and comments about my being a mail-order bride even though I am not one, and unless they became awfully crude he would have to refrain from punching the person in the face. Fortunately? We haven’t had to deal with too many of those, indeed the reverse, and that’s probably a different comment topic entirely.)
The few times I’ve seen older/middle-aged white guy with a woman of his age, they either met while young, been married ‘forever’ and have grandchildren already, or the man specifically went looking for a woman of his age range. Children tend not to be a factor (the woman is either a spinster or a widow with grown children) The latter group seem to look outside their own country for a Filipina bride because they feel that it’s highly unlikely they’ll meet a woman their age with the same values or desire for mutual companionship who isn’t a shrilly shrieking feminist harpy. (Funny how being the young mixed race couple ends up with the older couples tending to walk up to you for talks, often ending with admonishments from the elder couple to take care of each other…)
And then he understood that he’d have to withstand jokes and comments about my being a mail-order bride…
See, if I were in his position, I would probably play along with you being the mail order bride. Then, at some point, I would start talking about things like how big the crate was that you were shipped in, describe the return policy if you weren’t completely satisfactory, things like that.
Are you really just one of Dan’s pen names? Because he does ALL of this.
No comment. 🙂
*chuckle* yeah, though it really depends on how the person talking to him goes about it. There are enough same-age Aussie-Filipino couples here in the army-town we live in that it’s usually a kind of in-joke. He says I have lots of room in an alis-bayan box to be comfy…
The variability of this is one thing that militates towards my belief that this aspect of behavior is predominantly cultural, and a product of the individual attitude towards the situation.
Take a data point from an emotionally handicapped person. No, I was never abused. FAR, far from it. But I have never even understood the concept of Love as it is described in popular culture, and I’m convinced I’m unable to feel that way. Yet, I would protect my children from the type of person Cyn described, if I had girl children. My boys are well able to take care of themselves, but still I would protect them if it came to it, and I had the chance to.
Cultural influences will only break that, not create it.
Cyn, I think you’re idealizing things in our culture a lot more than I am.
Actually, you’re doing the idealization– it’s just that your ideal is an almost mechanical level of logic.
Humans are complicated; you are trying to apply a very simple model.
Think more like… measuring flour with cups of similar but not the same size, rather than counting apples…..
Besides if you like the Mosuo women so much then go live with them– You’ll find that they have their own problems that you wouldn’t see if you didn’t live IN the culture. Seriously– I think you have a love relationship with that culture as an outsider looking in–
Cyn, it has nothing to do with infatuation with the culture, on my part–I see some things that are admirable, but the idea of living under those conditions leaves me completely uninterested. However I got them, my attractions and motivations in that regard are not compatible with that lifestyle.
I do have an admiration for the intellectual concept, but that’s about as far as it goes. I don’t like the way the whole realm of gender-related customs and realities have developed in our culture over the last few generations, but that’s about as far as it goes. I still am a product of the milieu in which I arose, and I know that quite well.
ummm… still believe infatuation; however, since I don’t know you i.e. or met you I could be wrong. Plus having seen several cultures through my travels jealousy is part of the human condition… I doubt that it has been eradicated by the Mousu– my opinion from personal observations–
Oh and back to cats– they are predators whether they are big cats (lions, tigers, panthers) or domesticated cats. If you live with one, she thinks of you as a BIG cat and not as a human. You must relate to the cat as a cat– There is no difference in behavior between big and little cats except how they eat– (go look at the research). So you have a cat in your house, then you have a little bit of wild. You learn to live with the cat. So yea, the emotional investment is when you take the time to invest– you don’t own a cat. The only reason we can “tame” house cats is because they are much smaller. Still if you act like prey, they will treat you like prey. To compare a domesticate/wild cat with people– you got your metaphors crossed. Now if you want to talk about the sexual habits of cats– go ahead… I study cats– and have been fascinated with them for a long time.
Cyn, it was a metaphor, nothing more. And, like most such things, an imperfect one.
And, it actually stemmed from what one observer of the Mosuo wrote about the roles of the sexes in that culture. But, perhaps I’ve misremembered how they put it.
Hey – well… okay then. 😉
re: the Mosuo
Please contemplate the risks inherent on generalizing from small data samples. See also Mead, Margaret, and Coming of Age in Samoa.
He wouldn’t need to protect her if he didn’t frame the relationship as one of ownership/control, which he obviously did from his prior context before.
No, he was into impulse satisfaction without consideration of the consequences.
When reality smacked him with possible consequences, suddenly it mattered more.
Why is that, though? Why should a father particularly care who his daughter takes as a lover?
Because he loves his daughter, and wishes to protect her.
Because he will love his grandchildren, and wishes to protect them.
Because he knows what selfish bastards men can be, to create children, take part of a woman’s heart, and then abandon her to try to survive and provide for them.
Because he would have to, as a decent man, help provide for them. That’s what family does.
Wow, what an in depth and great post! It was a great read but I have to say that this line, ‘Including the strange idea that if humans just slept with everyone who asked, they’d be happier, less aggressive and less neurotic.’ made me giggle. Apparently, my maturity hasn’t caught up with my age yet. Really good post though 🙂
Even if humanity did that, there’d still be some people who got asked more.
Who wants to be on the Board of Sexual Equalization? Everyone will be Harrison Bergeroned into equal undesirability.
Hey, it works for the Bonobos…
But, I have this sneaking suspicion that the reason they’re being outcompeted by their cousin Chimpanzees throughout most of their range is that they’re just too friendly and nice.
The sexual tension and competitiveness we’ve got bred into us is essential to our success. Human beings are bastards, by and large, and that’s the only way to succeed in a realm of tooth and claw. Civilized society, not so much…
The reason the human species is in the position it is in is because we are really, really, really, really good at killing things. The reason that Western Europe’s culture is the global baseline is because we’re better than average at killing things.
Actually, my read on that idea is that it’s not that we Euro-descended trash are “better at killing”, it’s that we’re bigger assholes. Most of the nation-states we took down across the world did their killing in job lots, and in numbers we never came close to emulating. And, they did it up close and personally, with sword, spear, and flint knife on top of a pyramid.
Where we were better at it is in terms of making things a lot less personal, distancing ourselves from the carnage. Which enabled us to use our weapons and machines to do more killing, holding it off at a distance where we could stomach it.
If we really were better at killing, per se, then we’d have done most of it the way the Rwandan Hutus did in the Tutsi, up close and personal, dragging the women and kiddies out of their homes and chopping them up with farming implements. Instead, we either do it at a distance or completely impersonally.
Hell, even the Nazis ran out of enthusiasm with their Einsatzgruppe, and had to move to an industrial process. I wager that if Hitler had recruited his killers from amongst people like the Hutus, he’d have never had to do that.
Kinda odd, too, that you never seem to hear about things like PTSD from among the Hutu and their ilk, isn’t it? At least, when they’re the ones on top.
Hell, Hitler probably could have saved on ammo costs, and just bought them a bunch of machetes…
I’d say there are a number of people who comment here who are physically older than their maturity level.
Well, I can really only speak for myself, but one’s a number, isn’t it? 🙂
Indeed, age is just a number, and luckily maturity isn’t, otherwise mine might be a minus number!
HA! Mine’s an imaginary number!
Are you for real? This could get complex…
You are a prime example of that.
Math humor. You guys…
Well, we are Odd…
Somebody is bound to get even with you, for that comment.
I’ll derail that by offering them some Pi.
Now, now. Let’s not get irrational.
The weird thing is, in the 30’s Huxley already predicted how unhappy ‘everybody belongs to everybody’ would make people. But from about 1960 on, it’s like many of the elites read ‘Brave New World” and, instead of shuddering with horror, thought “Hey, that’s a really awesome way to run a society!”
Well, it is, so long as you’re one of the ones actually doing the running. Control is addictive, and the striving for control is one of humanity’s deepest drives. To be the one (or one of the few) ensuring that A) humanity works, for a given value of works, and B) ensures you and yourn stay on top of it? Sweet gig, if you can get it.
Remember that Brave New World was run by selfless idealists who just wanted everyone to be happy.
Oh, I see. That sex thing. The thing that everyone else has in plenty and you (in a non-specific sense, you understand) don’t get much. Eventually it turns out they didn’t get much either, but they talked the talk and they talked it well.
It was ever thus, and I expect it will be for all time because it’s the one thing that engages humans all the time, whether they are doing it or not or more relevantly think someone else is doing it more than them.
There’s an episode (an OVA, actually) of a Japanese animated series from the ’80s that sort of touches on this. One of the characters in the episode is a young woman whose two friends are talking about all of the things they do with their boyfriends. When they turn to her, she starts making stuff up. And then when her friends ask to meet her boyfrined (who doesn’t exist), she ends up recruiting her cousin (who’s the main character of the series) to fill in. Things reach the point where toward the end of the episode, the young woman has to prove that she and her “boyfriend” are sleeping together, so the two of them head off to her bedroom and shut the door while her friends are in the front room.
They get found out shortly afterwards… at which point we discover that her two friends were both making everything up as well.
Thought I posted this earlier, but it apparently didn’t go through. Apologies if this ends up double-posting.
Sounds hilarious; I think I’d like to watch that scene myself. Which anime was it from? I don’t recognize it off-hand from your description.
Probably Kimagure Orange Road.
Yup. That’s the one. I can’t remember which OVA it is off the top of my head, though. Also, the series was licensed by Animeigo, and they’ve since let the license lapse. So I don’t think it’s currently available in the US, and hasn’t been for quite some time.
It is available to watch online, and you canfind copies on ebay. They cost about $300 a set though, so I’m hoping someone picks up the license and rereleases it, instead.
My theme song:
I was JUST about to post that same song!
On a slight tangent, but I think Uncle Lars is right. Because every time Sarah’s eyes roll out of her head and start scaring the cats, I keep seeing a scene from _Pan’s Labyrinth_ and it’s not a fun one, either. (As if there is anything fun about that movie.)
Margaret Mead wrote fiction. So did Robert Heinlein. Aside from the content, the meaningful difference is in the amount of entertainment afforded to the reader.
I’d disagree Heinlein felt this way because “he was a man of his time” and “read the studies”. I believe he read the studies because he wanted them to be true, and they provided a convenient justification for what he was going to do anyway.
I’m pretty sure he said once that man isn’t rational, but is rationalizing (He also claimed women didn’t do this…hilariously untrue). The Meade studies and their like, are a textbook example of rationalizing.
Quite possibly. He was embedded in the bohemian scene of the twenties…
I think we would be mistaken to go by what Heinlein wrote or said about sex.
Never judge by words. Judge by actions. How did he conduct himself in his own sex life?
To my knowledge, he did not set himself up in a harem situation like Mike from Strangers in a Strange Land. He was, unless I’m sadly mistaken, faithful to his wife within a series of marriages. Contrasting that with the notorious Elronius Hubbardski, I have to assume that Heinlein was not the sort of man he wrote a lot of his characters as.
I could be wrong, though, and he had a circle of groupies that he kept on the side, and nobody talked about. I’m pretty sure I’ve read most of the biographical information available for him, and I do not recall any signs of that. Maybe he was a secret swinger, and nobody talked about it in the stuff I read. I dunno–It doesn’t seem to be consonant with the things he wrote about himself in the first person, like Expanded Universe.
Do you know otherwise, Sarah?
It is a curious attribute of human nature that “having permission” to do something often diminishes the desire to. Sorta the obverse of fraternity/sorority initiation rituals whose purpose is to make the new member think belonging must be really really valuable (else the crap I went through to get in was just stupid.)
Same principle applies to a woman “playing hard to get” — ensuring that any man who “gets” her will have invested so heavily in it that he will take good care of his “prize.” That which is easily acquired is often easily discarded.
The statue is kinda creepy. But, as one of the Daily Caller comments points out, the girls “can’t call it creepy and weird and distasteful; those are ‘value judgments’ and they’ve nullified that entire concept over the years.” So the girls are using the jargon they’ve been indoctrinated to, and the whole Internet gets to snigger.
Saw the statue this morning– my first thought was to kick him in his unmentionables– the statue looked so real. 😉
My first thought was to wonder how long he’s going to last before his unmentionables, fingers, and toes get serious frostbite. Typing as one who did not realize that the green cap on Ye Bird Feeder and Cat Entertainment Device was metal before she touched it with a bare hand this AM (air temp 1 F).
AWW and ouch
-9 F here this morning, and -25 at the town ten miles away. Yeah, I blew a tire on my trailer about halfway in between, at 5:00 AM, and that lug wrench was danged cold.
Well it isn’t Michelangelo’s Statue of David. I wonder what the girls would say about that?
Or if it was an idealized representation of whoever the hunk-of-the-day is. That went through my mind too as I was reading what little of the article I could bother with.
I particularly enjoy the hypocrisy of Western mores when transplanted into the Third World.
Immediately after I was ordained, I was assigned as pastor to a small church in a Black township in South Africa (then segregated under apartheid). My people were largely from the Xhosa tribe, and like most tribespeople, saw nothing particularly erotic about breasts. They were feeding devices for kids – God made ’em that way, right? So they had no compunction about whipping out a boob anytime their infants started bawling, and shutting them up by shoving a nipple into their mouths. In public.
This led to interesting times at the church on Sundays. I used to invite visiting pastors and missionaries to the services, knowing full well what was about to happen to them (and the congregation did too – everyone was eager to attend on those days). I’d invite the visitor to read the Gospel for the day, in his own language, and an interpreter would translate it into Xhosa (or I’d translate it into English and an interpreter would translate me). The visitor would get about halfway through the reading before glancing up . . . and suddenly discovering that half of the (usually spectacularly well-endowed) ladies in the front rows were suckling their kids in front of him.
It usually sounded something like, “And the Lord said – eek! – erp – um – ah – I – ah . . . ”
(By which time most of the congregation were in hysterics. So was I – discreetly, of course – behind the visitor’s back . . . )
I was in South Africa in the early 80s. As a young woman from the Utah, it was quite an education at the time. 😉
And I immediately flashed on that great and famous work by Rodney Carrington, Show Them To Me. There is or at least was an uncensored version of his live performance in concert on YouTube that is quite uplifting.
Well, we are called to a certain humility. Which usually arrives at the hands of our brethren. Or arrives best that way, at least.
Peter, just out of curiosity… What did the Xhosa consider an erogenous zone, worthy of keeping private? Did a concept like that even exist in their culture?
@Kirk: The fiddly bits in the middle. They were (in rural tribal society) covered by a leather apron, beneath which a boy (or man) was forbidden to fiddle, in the old days on pain of death. Despite that, it’s odd how many pregnancies preceded the wedding . . . perhaps taboos were honored more in the breach than in the observance?
If it was honored in the breach there wouldn’t be a pregnancy. Or there would be an overabundance of lawyers.
Heck, in Portugal breasts are considered erogenous but not while nursing, so you’ll see the same exact thing.
Is there a sign? Maybe a special hat?
Naw, he means something really obvious.
If Meade was the Grand Damme, was Freeman the Van Damme?
** Calls airline for refund on air ticket to Samoa ***
Yes, I know, disappointing, isn’t it?
I dunno. Have you seen that image of averaged faces of women by nationality?
This one? http://myscienceacademy.org/2013/09/22/the-average-women-faces-in-different-countries/
I’ve seen another version that superimposed them on a map, and had male faces too. Certain middle-eastern countries didn’t have female faces.
That’s the one. Which one is the least attractive of the bunch? From a purely male chauvinist pig perspective, I have to say the Samoan (not that she’s hideous, but on a purely aesthetic level I’d put her at the bottom of the list).
I don’t know I would say it is probably a tossup between Samoa and Italy.
It’s an age thing, kind of like a lot of pure blood Indian (feather, not dot) ladies– they are stop-your-heart gorgeous into their mid or late twenties. Hit thirty, they get solid.
If you’re familiar with the Japanese or Chinese stereotype, similar but with the whole “no age” thing ending about 30.
Very true, and sometimes you get the exact opposite for the men, many of the feather Indians and Mexicans the women are just like you describe and the men don’t seem to age at all once they hit their mid-twenties. You can’t tell the difference between a man age 25 and one age 55.
Heh, one of the things my housemate introduced me to was this little comic strip. He recounted showing the strip to a Asian girl of Japanese and Korean descent and he described as having rather violent tendencies. Instead of beating him to a pulp, she sighed and said ‘yeah, that’s my future.’
To my own eyes, I’m aging (and some of the signs are met with glee – yay, silvering hair) and my mother thinks I’ve become ‘motherly’ in appearance. Most people still don’t believe my age when I tell them (34 this year.) The running joke is by the time I hit the ‘little old lady’ stage, I can be put into someone’s pocket.
To be fair, there are people who don’t seem to age much, if at all, then suddenly they’re old.
Not sure if it’ll have any emotional effect, but I’m finally at the age folks have been considering me now that I hit 30-something. I’ve been the older store hand that folks ask for information since I was 14…..
Incidentally, THANK YOU for sharing the comic I had in mind!
I was treated as older than I was in my teens, I got called ‘rouva’ (madam) since I was about 13 or 14 (D-cups, around that time. Alas, age and fluctuating weight, and now they are down to large C and look very sad when not supported by a good bra). Then, from 20 on suddenly people seemed to think I was younger than I was. The last time I got asked for papers when buying beer I was 29. May reflect the way I dressed, who knows, I was not all that interested as a teen and often let my mother select everything. Or do it, she worked as a seamstress until the early 70’s. Her clients were all older women, mostly ones she had acquired when working in a small Helsinki salon before she married my father.
For the last decade or so people have mostly guessed about right. I’m about Sarah’s age, still have no noticeable wrinkles but I do have jowls, and my hair has finally started to go grey. I actually like that last part, it’s mostly still brown but I have a widening grey streak on the right temple. Can look kind of cartoonish. 🙂
You’re welcome. (I did NOT know btw that the “Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me” music video still existed. *gleeee*)
Frequently heard in this household: We don’t have a choice about growing older, but being mature is something else entirely.
Heck, nobody believes I’m 36!
I’ve never been carded, ever. And, I was picking up hard liquor for my alcoholic stepdad when I was 17.
Aside from the increasing velocity of hair loss, I’ve looked the way I do now at nearly 50 as I did when I was in my twenties. Well, there is a bit more of a paunch, but facially? The same.
Modern feminists are so strong, so liberated, that the mere sight of a fake male is enough to terrify them?
You couldn’t make this up. If you made this up, they’d call you misogynist.
“…and this was science with a capital S…” – well, they wanted to think it was. Even in the 1920’s, it was understood that science requires repeatable observations and extreme care to avoid the observer influencing the observed data (see Curie, et al). Meade’s work appears to have been defective in both. Western society is remarkably accepting of tainted results of poor science in the “soft sciences”, considering how much we invest in following the conclusions.
I have to wonder if this is an example of “Seek and ye shall find.” It occurs to me that just possibly Ms. Meade was looking for evidence of a wide open culture and that maybe just maybe Mr Freeman WANTED to find evidence that she was wrong. I mean, academic reputations are very rarely made by agreeing with the experts that cam before you and this type of an attitude is both roundly discouraged and incredibly common in academics.
I know that doesn’t make sense, but you have to view things from the belly of the beast. Everyone knows that you should use the best evidence available (and in the humanities and soft sciences that can vary in availability and quantity) and draw the conclusions that come from that evidence. The problem here is that everyone has their own preconceptions about what they should find. This is how a lot of Marxist drivel gets written.
Seriously. When a scholar begins research on a project, they almost invariably have a notion about the answer is going to be. The best scholars (not that I did _NOT_ say the most read) can put their personal BS to the side and do exactly what they are supposed to. The majority go into a project expecting to find certain things and then find them.
An example is in order. My proposed proposed Masters Thesis (no, that’s not a typo. I never got to the point of submitting a formal proposal. Therefore I was proposing to propose it) focused on a group of Americans, actually Michiganders and Wisconsinites fighting in Russia at the end of World War One and intervening in the Russian Revolution. Yep, true story. As a result, I had to learn a lot about the United States and its involvement in WWI. There are competing theories about why the US entered the war, but they basically boil down to three things:
1.) The Merchants of Death thesis: The United States went to war so that its manufacturers could continue selling materiel to the Allies.
2.) Submarine Thesis: The sinking of shipping by Germany in particular, including the sinking of the Lusitania, and the result of the loss of American lives. This angered the US, leading to its entry in the war.
3.) The Zimmerman Telegram: This is the least popular among actual scholars, and the most popular among armchair historians. Supposedly a telegram was intercepted by the British. It was a communication from the German government to their embassy in Mexico. The Ambassador was instructed to encourage the Mexican government to invade the US. This would have led to the US staying out of the European war to protect itself at home. There is also a debate over whether the telegram was real or faked.
My interpretation is that the US went to war for some blend of reasons two and three. I could be wrong, but that’s how it feels to me. I know for sure that Wilson was double plus unhappy about both and he is the one who asked Congress to declare war. Then again, I’m a rightist and I approve of the use of military defense and pre-emptive strikes. I’m wired to believe that.
OTOH, the Merchant of Death thesis is very popular among leftists. That’s the way they’re wired. Why? Because American companies were >GASP< making money selling war materiel to Britain and France. The only thing that can logically be extrapolated is that the government acted to protect its capitalist cronies by entering a war that had nothing to do with the United States to protect the sale of arms. Never mind the fact that the stalemate that the US went over there to break was PROMOTING future sales. Never mind the fact that Britain and France were both allies. Never mind the threat to the US ala submarine warfare or an invasion of the south. Those men all died for money.
Ok, so now I'm showing my prejudices. So be it. I never claimed to be one of the greats. But by now, hopefully you see my point. This is, to me at least, a case of fiding what was looked for and not necessarily what was there. That's how you resolve the two arguments. They're both wrong.
I realize this is peripheral to your main point, with which I agree, but:
Once war was declared, a lot of manufacturers were prodded into expanding their factories to produce war materiel despite their misgivings over what would become of their investment when the war ended. Many of these manufacturers were proven right when they lost their shirts over the whole deal.
This, and the social opprobrium put on arms manufacturers and perceived arms manufacturers due to Theory #1, mean that there was initially an awful lot of reluctance to reinvest in factories for producing the goods for Lend-Lease. Much of this was overcome by Japanese diplomats-by-other-means in early December 1941, but some was overcome by having the federal government pay for the new industrial plant this time.
Meaning, you can draw useful lessons from the past — but only if you study the history as carefully and as objectively as your own prejudices will permit.
The whole objectivity thing is key to what’s going on with all of this. What’s your starting point, and what are you setting out to prove? It’s a rare researcher who can merely gather evidence and then reason from there–Generally, before you start to gather the evidence, you first develop the desire to do so, and that usually leads to developing some preconceived notions. Confirmation bias is a very real thing. I can’t think of the number of times when I’ve been reading up on a particular subject when I’ve come across writers or researchers who’ve completely ignored entire aspects of their subject area simply because it never occurred to them to look into it.
As an aside to the aside… My take on why the US got into WWI is that it stemmed from a two-pronged effort made by the British and by Wilson. The Brits wanted us in so we’d be taken down the same number of notches they were, and because they knew they needed our manpower to end things favorably. Wilson wanted us in because he wanted more power to be aggregated to him, and because he was a meddling statist jackass. Without the propaganda efforts (and, they were massive) by the British, and Wilson’s desire for aggrandizement, we’d have never gotten involved. Sold the Europeans all the weapons trade would bear? Oh, hell yes. Pick up the pieces, afterwards? Most assuredly.
If I could go back in time and eliminate one specific president, I’d have a hard choice between Teddy Roosevelt or Wilson. Those two started trends that we’re still paying for today.
You forgot FDR.
I see FDR as a consequence of the other two. Without the precedents they established, FDR wouldn’t have been able to do what he did. And, the pernicious effects of the things Teddy and Woodrow got done while in office wouldn’t have left the tools laying around to be picked up by FDR, either. Not to mention–No Wilson, no WWI (probably…) no follow-on economic dislocation, and then (maybe) no Great Depression. Also, Hoover would likely have been left digging mines somewhere, never achieving fame and fortune in public life by feeding Belgium. Or, maybe not. Who knows? I’d still like to find out.
Honestly, I’d just like to gently remove the entire Progressive meme from history. Better that it remain some wild academic theory, I think.
Yup. That was my point. Thank you for expressing it better than I did.
Dump Wilson. At least Teddy built up the Navy.
That naval buildup is a major reason I want to get rid of him. If I could, I’d also go back and take out William Randolph Hearst, who more-or-less dragged us into the Spanish-American War via his media empire. My respects to our Filipino posters, but that whole travesty was something we should have avoided like the plague. The Navy should have been limited to coastal defense, and maybe just enough blue-water capability to enable us to ensure freedom of navigation. Past that, a navy-in-being is just too damn tempting to the adventurous politician.
Read some Mahan. A navy capable of coastal defense is necessarily a blue water fleet-in-being. Anything else can be defeated in detail by your opponent’s fleet, so you might as well not have anything and rely on coastal batteries. (Not that that’s terribly good advice in light of today’s sub-launched OTH cruise missiles. Heck, it wasn’t great advice back in the Civil War. There’s always a patch of undefended beach you can land troops on, and coastal batteries aren’t exactly known for their travel.)
Given 19th century technologies (really up until the mid-20th century, and still somewhat applicable) a blue water navy requires overseas coaling stations. That’s what we were after in the PI. And Midway, Guam, Hawaii, and Guantanamo Bay. It’s why the British had bases in the Bahamas to trade us in Lend-Lease.
Up until the post-WWII era, I’d have been more comfortable with a military that wasn’t instantly available to the politicians. When you have to build a fleet first, it tends to prevent them from getting involved in casual little military adventures.
The Great White Fleet enabled so much political stupidity and bullying by our jackass elites that it’s not even funny. We had no business doing what we did all around the Gulf of Mexico and the other regions, and I’d just as soon keep that from happening. Thus, Teddy boy has got to go.
Of course, with my luck, getting rid of him and Wilson would lead to some other idiot who was even worse getting into office.
If you have to build a fleet first it prevents you from getting involved with casual military adventures like defending the nation. Absent a fleet you might as well not have an army. Look at the War of 1812. We didn’t have a fleet, the British did. They were able to land troops at will on our coast and march to any major city of their choice. If they hadn’t been distracted by Napoleon they would have been able to take them as well.
Latin America has always been a basket case. If we hadn’t done what we did there Britain, France, and Germany would have done far worse. Best case port cities like Veracruz would become foreign enclaves, worst case Latin America would have been colonized. Imagine how World War I would have gone if Mexico had access to German colonial troops.
Still not worth the price to the Republic. The Germans would never have been able to support an invasion, even with Mexico as a colony. And, if the Germans had managed to do that, we’d have justifiably started our build-up in response to them doing so early enough that we’d have had the military power to do something about it.
What was pernicious was building that military up, and then just having it sit around, doing nothing. Too tempting to the folks at United Fruit, who want to see value for their tax dollar.
My view, as a former professional soldier, is that the vast majority of politicians cannot be trusted to wield military power without there being some kind of outside aggression to worry about. Give them the tools, and they’ll use them, and generally very badly. Take a look at how her Imperial Majesty Madam Pelosi used the Air Force as her personal airline when she was speaker of the house. Now extrapolate that to a world where she could acceptably use the navy to bully some independent country where her husband has “interests”–Which is precisely what the Great White Fleet enabled, and what they did with it. Back in the days when information came in driblets, reported and “interpreted” by nice, honorable men like William Randolph Hearst, the so-called “elites” could literally get away with mass murder. And, did–Look at the bullshit the bankers pulled with Haiti back in the first half of the 20th.
Somewhere in my collection I have a book with “Merchants Of Death” as the title from the thirties I think. It might be earlier.
And apropos of nothing but it being dinnertime, cold out, and that this was the second thing that crossed my mind after reading the title this AM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJi4bln-hHQ
MMmmm, I’m hungry now.
I scanned the statue article, that’s all I can take. I’m having epistaxis from the dry air and I don’t need my blood pressure going up.
Is it insensitive of me to say I’m tired of hearing about triggers? Of hearing everything described as potential assault? Of hearing people talking about feeling apprehensive as if it was anyone’s problem but their own? The twits in Illinois who are shocked that the “no guns allowed” signs required to be posted in schools (For the concealed carriers. In Illinois. Because we’re losing. And it’s hopeless.) feature a picture of a *gasp* gun! It makes them uncomfortable, scares some folks. Blech. Somedude looked at me and I feel assaulted. Blech.
Sometime, before you get out of the single digits while growing up, somebody is supposed to tell you to quit being afraid of the whole world. Somewhere along there, you’re supposed to learn that the world isn’t outfitted to suit you, and some stuff is going to be stuff you don’t like. Somewhere in there, you learn to get over it!
Thus ends my blather.
Oh, yeah, I second the librarian chain for those errant eyeballs. They’re going to get rolled up in cat hair, said cat’s going to find a hairy ball lying about, and then where will you be?
By the way (because apparently my blather wasn’t ended) the statue is silly and unappealing, and that anybody thinks it’s ‘art’ and that it’s going to ‘provoke a dialogue’ is just…irritating.
Time for food.
Yeah. Its only merit is that it upsets people whose philosophy I dislike.
Well, on that merit I might be brought around to praising it. 😛
It’s even worse the way some feminists seem to view all men as potential rapists. Even the image of a man might hurt them!
Makes me want to start pasting up casual snaps of males of all ages and shapes (thousands of ’em) around all the likely gathering points.
How many men do you figure would complain about a statue of a woman in her underwear?
Depends, are we talking Selma Hayek or Roseanne Barr (sorry)?
If the former, none. Because anyone who would complain is, by definition, not a man.
If the latter, none. Because everyone who saw it would be struck dead and unable to complain about anything.
Please make sure you have provided ample brain bleach before making such comments.
If you come here without three or four bolus doses of brain bleach on ready standby, you’re doing it wrong.
I’m just doing my part to improve the commenting culture here via Darwinian winnowing.
Jeff, the problem is that the range of possible responses is not just binary, even within a binary-segregated audience…. which any installation in a public space won’t have in the first place. [VeryBygEvylGryn]
More seriously, there are many-many different sets of possible attractors (and sexy for my preferences may not always be sexy according to yours – we won’t even mention the yobbo over in the corner with the tricky camera mounted on his shoe in this context, now will we?). Yes, I happen to know people whose preferences might be for the abundant and (presumably) more-experienced. (Please, refrain for the moment from any of the more stereotypical phrases as come-backs.)
Complain isn’t the right word here. No man would “feel” threatened by a woman dressed only in her underwear. [Evil Grin]
You’re not hanging around the right women, then.
Of course, you might be thinking of a different sort of intimidation than I am.
Wonder how they’d take this then?
When I was linked the thing, I was rather impressed with the sheer effort it took to carry out the prank. Second thing I thought was “Someone needs to do this to Wheaton.” (Yes, I’m aware of the sinister implications, but considering all the other things that COULD have been done instead… and the fact that whoever put the thing there was careful not to damage the car… I’d say as messages go, that was a benign one.)
Those interested in this should also read the discussion of Mead (and the assault on the family generally) in Haven in a Heartless World by Christopher Lasch.
Check out “Tales from the Margaret Mead Taproom,” by Nicholas Von Hoffman and Garry Trudeau. The “Doonesbury” cartoonist and the far-left writer Von Hoffman took a group tour of Samaoa in the mid-Seventies, and the result was this surprisingly charming book. And it was the first word a lot of their fans heard to suggest that Margaret Mead was full of it. They tracked down and talked to some of the girls Mead interviewed, and they confirmed that Dr. Mead would believe ANYTHING as long as it fit the picture she already had. “The Palangi woman was looking for dirt, and we girls told her the dirtiest stories we could think up. Palangi woman would believe anything!”
Actually I think that word for “foreigner” is spelled Palagi. There is such a preponderance of “n’s” in Samoan the Nineteenth-century typesetter who printed the first official Samoan glossary ran out of “n’s” halfway through the alphabet, and the spellings stuck. “Pago Pago” is Pahn-go Pahn-go, etc.
Ohhh. Must track that down.
I couldn’t take Mead seriously because it smacked of ‘noble savage’ bullshit. Remembering as well the way that girls liked to exaggerate in order to make themselves seem cool in school… yeah. This was rather enlightening.
“I’m sorry. That dog really won’t hunt. I think he’s dead.”
But if Margaret Mead is the high priestess of cultural anthropology, she merely casts “Raise Dead” on the dog…
Raise ’em up, raise raise ’em up, Zombies all around me
I be hackin’ them all up
I be hacken them all
When the zombies all around me I be hackin’ them all up up up….
One of my biggest problems with the Cult of the Consenting Adult are 1) how often their schemes require a complete reworking of human nature and 2) how quickly the definitions of “consent” and “adult” become flexible.
Sex is a very basic part of being human. Every society comes up with rules regarding sex in order to survive. Which is why
revolutionaries often target sexual mores for change/destruction; undermine those rules and people are left adrift and will cling to any structure that they can find, which the revolutionaries are happy to provide. One of my concerns about the gay marriage movement is the way that a large portion of the left intelligensia gleefully proclaim it the “end of monogamy”. The left has spent decades attempting to sexualize children, which I believe is a way to seperate them from the influence of their parents and family. In every case the result seems to be to take a concrete structure that exists outside of the state and replace it with something amorphous and unstable. Influence their views on sex and you have significant control of a population’s behavior.
I do think that there are general rules that we as humans have identified over the centuries that work. Monogamy is superior to polygamy. Prostitution is bad for society. Incest is bad for society. Delaying sex until marriage is better than sleeping around. Sex at younger ages is more harmful than good. Groups that deviate from these ideals often have some element that balances out the downsides, or they develop public behaviors that everyone follows. For example, polygamy is usually found where one sex is scarce or there is a vast imbalance of power. People may marry at younger ages and have extended families play a greater role throughout their lives. A woman has several “sugar daddies” that she “dates”. Public appearance vs. private behavior is especially important for large or advanced societies, where you don’t necessarily know everyone else.
If you never have any permanent families or permanent loves, you are unlikely to have permanent friends or permanent allies, either.
Or, you sublimate it to the organization/fraternity/sorority you find to substitute. For examples, see any monastery or nunnery.
Some manage to assign their need for family to things like causes, or other completely abstract things. It’s not common, but it’s doable.
Actually, one of the secrets of monastery/convent life is that family is still very strong, even in very cloistered groups where you don’t see your families.from outside. There’s a lot of support from outside by way of letters, gifts, etc., as well as the support or lack thereof from your new brothers or sisters in the monastery. People without family usually have visitors sicced on them all the same.
I think a lot of it depends on the individual. If you have strong family ties, you probably don’t identify so strongly with the substitute organization. If you lack those, then your organization becomes your family.
Case in point: The French Foreign Legion. Some men join, and they’re done in one enlistment, having gained their fill. Others are still hanging around the Legion rest home in their eighties and nineties, having abandoned whatever outside family tie they might have had. I’ve actually met a couple of people in religious orders who were like that, as well.
A little research into human biochemistry should put paid to any thesis that humans are not naturally prone to pair bonding. Look into the causes and effects of Oxytocin, for example, or research some of the science on the chemical components of seminal fluid. Apparently it not only stimulates female bonding to a particular male but alters her reproductive biochemistry to make her system reject semen from other men. (Sorry – been a few years and I am too lazy to look up links.)
But Sarah, there actually ARE no homosexuals in Iran. The Ayatollah explained it most carefully. Occasionally, someone is born with a birth defect to make them appear to be of the incorrect gender. Sex change surgery is not only theologically valid, but paid for by the government. Anyone claiming to be a homosexual is misguided and avoiding the righteous and loving care of the theocracy who are more than willing to assist them with correcting their birth defect.
Thus, Iran has a higher percentage of sex change surgeries (in both directions) than any other country…
oooooo — I just remembered:
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”
Obligatory Gods of the Cooybook Headings reference!
Geez, how long has it been since we’ve had one of those? A week?
Almost a month, you slackers!
A month or more!
“… but after taxes all you’re left with is a sort of tired feeling” — Paula Poundstone
I need to remember that one.
Kinda makes you wonder… If the wages are death, and enough of that accrues to the IRS that you only feel slightly nauseous and worn down, are you killing an IRS agent every time you sin? Is it kinda like an angel getting their wings?
If this is true, I may need to re-think my policy on sinning. I’m certainly going to avoid taking any jobs with the IRS, that’s for sure.
I’ll just throw this out there –
The LDS Church built a temple in Samoa in 1983. Now if you know anything about the LDS Church, you probably know that it’s fairly conservative where sexual mores are concerned. And you might also know that temples only get built when in locations where there’s a reasonably large population of practicing Mormons who will be using that temple.
If we’re to believe Mead, then apparently a free-love society had an awful lot of people in an awfully small area suddenly go sexually conservative in the space of just 40 years.
I’m not saying that’s impossible. But…
For those that don’t want a bit more on Mead from the perspective of someone trained in anthropology (admittedly years ago), skip this.
Margaret Mead was an embarrassment to cultural anthropology, analogous to Piltdown Man for the physical anthropologists. She was a student of Frank Boas, father of modern anthropology, the guy who not only debunked but slam dunked and punked the idea that race was a biological (read: scientifically measurable) concept. Coincidentally, average citizens and law enforcement officers *still* get this wrong. You have no idea how I cringe whenever a tv show or book has the forensic anthropologist deriving bloody skin color from a collection of defleshed bones. *headdesk!* Her other main influence was Ruth Benedict. This last is important.
Benedict was a big proponent of Cultural Relativism. That sound of dice rattling in a cup is all of us who are unfortunately familiar with the term rolling our eyes at the same time- in a cup, so we don;t lose them. Her major work, Patterns of Culture, proposes that morality is relative to the culture it is found in. Cultural Anthropologists to this day take to the idea like mother’s milk, you literally cannot be taken seriously and it’s damned hard to get published if you oppose it. Benedict and Mead may or may not have had a physical relationship (the innuendo was definitely there) early in their careers. Both were definitely proto-feminists, making their way in a world where women “Stayed Home And Did Not Work.” *ahem* The historically inclined here will recall a certain little tiff with the Axis powers not too far from this time period, I believe, if some years off.
In 1925, off goes the protege of Anthropology’s greatest hero and leading lady to Western Samoa to do Anthropology Things. Sciency-stuff will be done, studies and notes will be made, fortunes will be reaped, et cetera. Believe you me, my class and I were trained that what Mead did fell under the heading of Things You Do Not Do In Fieldwork. Granted, I was trained in physical anthropology first, and cultural as “well, here’s what the other guys do.”
The thing is, bias is inescapable in studying a culture, even your own. The key thing is to be aware of it, and limit it where possible. Those of you who speak another language fluently will probably get me when I say translating culture is about the toughest part. One has to be rigorous in his research. It takes many, many hours with multiple sources from varying viewpoints to get a clear picture of what one is observing. Understanding is tough. And believe you me, anthropology is not the discipline for fortune seekers.
Unless you’re Margaret Mead.
Her book had push. It was written explicitly for a broader audience, not a professional journal. Money was a factor. It catapulted Margaret Mead, the hopeful student, into Margaret Mead, famous anthropologist extraordinaire. It didn’t hurt that she made both her teachers happy with her conclusions, not one bit. Cultural Relativism was bolstered as she showed off her People, with their breezy indifference to repressive Western sexual mores. To point out the flaws in her study would discredit the theory- at least, this is my read on it. Otherwise why would Boas, himself no fool when it comes to scientific rigor, have allowed it to pass unremarked?
After years, decades of her work taught as required course material in universities the world over, the thought that it could be wrong shook the Cultural Anthropology Community to its foundation. The aftershocks were still being felt the year Freeman died, the same year I was tutoring my then students on this very thing. To be sure, Cultural Relativism isn’t going to slink off into a dank hole somewhere and die. But it took a heavy blow when the facts of the case came out.
Even those who admit the deficiencies are slow to change their hearts. There are many out there like, oh, Dr. Martin Orans (Univ. of Cal., Riverside) that want to believe even though the evidence of their lying eyes is stark staring them in the face.
There are a couple of unwritten rules to this sort of thing. Reporters, anthropologists, historians all know them, more or less. Don’t go native. And report accurately. Samoans of the time were quite upset with Mead. If they were really as laid back as she suggested, why might that be so? My take on it, from the perspective of thirteen-odd years since I was involved with it in college, is that Mead was insulated from broader (adult) Samoan society and heard more or less what she wanted to hear.
I’m not a professional anthropologist (for one, I’m better paid), but I kept up with professional journals and news once upon a time. That Mead is still talked about in serious discussion anywhere is embarrassing. The general consensus from the pros who taught me was that she was, at best unprofessional and at worst a con. Even thirty-five years after her death, it still stings.
Though her work kickstarted the trend towards sexual irresponsibility and irrationality, I believe the worse damage she did was legitimizing Cultural Relativism. When you remove value judgments from analysis and dismiss things that are obvious on the face of it dead wrong, if not evil, the moral foundation of social trust weakens.
Edit to add: Since I bloody left the last part off my original post,
Top marks, Miss Sarah. You got the essence of the nonsense it took me far too long to learn as a younger man, and far too long to drill into the thickened skulls of my students when I was trying to teach them all this. *grin*
On a related note, look at the Tasaday hoax. You remember that, a “Stone Age” tribe of flower children in the Philipines, conveniently discovered at the height of the Vietnam War? It will shock you to learn that since the Tasaday confirmed the biases of the academics of the time, the holes in the story were overlooked until the 1980s.
I remember reading the National Geographic article about that (Dad was a fervent collector of the magazine) and I remember one of the photos was of what this tribe supposedly ate. I was a kid and thought “That… doesn’t look like enough.” It made no sense to me that these people, supposedly living in the rich jungles of the Philippines, never tried to hunt larger game, like the monkeys my father recalled hunting in his own youth. Pythons are bony, but they’re large and have more meat than itty bitty snails and frogs.
But then the belief of a peaceful tribal existence is considered idyllic so while embarrassing I see why that hoax worked for a while.
It is interesting to consider that Jane Goodall almost wrapped up her research before the death of the (unusually long-lived) matriarch who had reigned over the chimps she was observing. Had she done so and missed the internecine warfare that followed the Queen Victoria of Chimpdom we would have another false data point in favour of pastoral pacifism and noble savagery.
Strange that I should be pointing this out, since I am a conservative Christian, of sorts, from a proselyting denomination, but:
I am amazed anyone finds this story credible. But I can find no debunking of it even at Wikipedia or on the Internet.
Well, it hits my “look out” button because it mimics dozens of examples in history, but mostly further back history.
“Religious fanatic finds group isolated linguistically and introduces gospel via massive work of translation” isn’t really that odd, historically.
That’s not what’s odd. Nor, for the record, do I object to civilizing cannibals.
It’s the claim that this was a culture that positively relished treachery, but regarded violating the “peace child” treaties as an absolute taboo, that I find a bit … convenient.
I didn’t get that far into it; given how hard it is to interact with known different basis cultures, really weird stuff is usually different perspectives.
Maxed out comment up above, re genetics and paternity and stuff:
Beyond the selection problem that people aren’t going to get a paternity test unless there’s some kind of trouble, we’re finding out that a lot of our assumptions are…incomplete.
A former neighbor’s daughter started warning every couple they had come in that if both parents had any cause to test for sickle cell, there was a chance that the baby would be born “black.” Had it happen to one of the first babies the girl delivered. (There was additional genetic things proving the kid is his.)
Less dramatically, all three of my kids would be tagged as “not mine” because of eye color, due to the folk-version of eye genetics being well known to be more complicated.
Ever hear about the lady who was in a nasty divorce, and the dad demanded a DNA test– it proved he was the father, but also “proved” she wasn’t the mother. Search “Human Chimera” and use the disambiguation that isn’t cloning related– we don’t know how common it is to have different DNA in your cheek than your reproductive cells.
The Army is really, really hard on families; any deploying job will result in both lonely people and users who see an opportunity; even testing every case of X through a hospital is going to be tainted by the population they draw. For a dramatic example, if your hospital has a lot of illegals there’s a huge rate of bastardry where the mother has no clue who the father is… even when she has rings that match the guy who’s in the room with her, and the kid looks exactly like him.
Just had another thought, if I were divorcing someone and really wanted to make sure he didn’t have the kids, I’d claim they weren’t his…..
PS- sorry if it looks odd, visiting my folks and using mom’s computer. One of the minions has my laptop….
RE: The chimera thing. I really have to wonder how many “wrongly convicted” we’ve exonerated because the semen sample he left in the victim had a different gene pattern than the one they took from his cheek to compare, or how many criminals haven’t been caught because they weren’t the right match when they did the genetic testing?
I suppose that you’d see roughly the same genes from a chimera that sprung from two eggs that were fertilized by sperm from the same father, but what happens if we find out you can get a chimera just as easily from two eggs fertilized by two different fathers?
There’s a hell of a lot we don’t know, as of yet, and I strongly suspect that we’re going to look back on the certainty that we’ve invested in the current technology and knowledge base as being incredibly naive.
Speaking as the nasty, suspicious type that I am, I’d feel a lot more comfortable if they were to be comparing samples from like places on the body–If the suspected criminal left semen, then we get a semen sample from him, and check it multiple times to make sure he’s not leaving two different genetic signatures behind. It would really screw testing up if he had some different sets of spermatagonia in his testes.
You don’t want to get me started on the “innocence” project.
To paraphrase what I said elsewhere, they honestly should’ve called themselves the “off on a technicality” project.
I suppose that you’d see roughly the same genes from a chimera that sprung from two eggs that were fertilized by sperm from the same father, but what happens if we find out you can get a chimera just as easily from two eggs fertilized by two different fathers?
In theory, that already is known to work— thinking of cats, here, where their cycle makes it work, look into male calicos– but it would require the woman being intimate with both guys rather close together. Matter of hours, IIRC. Unless she’s got a train running, not probable.
So, we already figure it works just as easy, just the other situation is vanishing small.
Speaking as the nasty, suspicious type that I am, I’d feel a lot more comfortable if they were to be comparing samples from like places on the body–If the suspected criminal left semen, then we get a semen sample from him, and check it multiple times to make sure he’s not leaving two different genetic signatures behind.
That seems like basic sense to me, a recognition of human biology.
Of course, from memory, the usual DNA test is…. groping for a metaphor… more akin to a shoe print than a photograph. Because of how diverse DNA is, a basic test can be pretty accurate, but there’s a decent sized false positive rate in even the best. (Don’t get me started on Down’s. We slaughter a disgusting number on suspicion of being disabled.)
Well, if you believed abortion was morally OK (I don’t), I suppose you could make the argument that since they’ve proven themselves to be the type of parents who kill the kid as soon as he doesn’t turn out the way they expected him to, it’s better for them to do it sooner, rather than later?
I mean, no kid’s going to meet all your expectations, and even a genetically ‘perfect’ kid might get into a car wreck or catch meningitis or something. Or shoplift. Or fail to make the honor roll. Or decide not to go to the college you’d picked out for him.
So, really, what’s the difference between slaughtering imperfect now, or abusing imperfect later? I mean, the kid’s not going to be exactly what you wanted all the time. That’s just life. So maybe only the offspring of people who can accept that should be permitted to live?
Isn’t that one of the justifications they already use, just phrased not so nicely? (“Every child a wanted child.”) It doesn’t work, from memory– turns out that the people who are OK with killing their own child for convenience are OK with hurting the kid later. (As you maybe guessed, I’m not OK with it, either.)
Threatened, creeped out, or just think it’s bad? Cause I’d go with creepy and ugly.
Capitalism is, and always been how the world works. Those with capital choose where and how to invest or use it. It’s just that it’s only been in the last 400 or so years (depending on where one lived) that the non-rulers were allowed to keep enough capital that they could choose where to put it.
Every Samoan I’ve ever interacted with were very happy. This includes the ones guarding “The Palace” in Iraq. Then again they had free clothes, free food (those guys can eat!) and a not particularly onerous job that had a slim chance of them getting to beat the cr*p out of someone or shoot them.
Cutting my way out of the nesting, and in reply to the good Dr. Mauser: Insty posted a link to some research a while back (a year or so ago? Not sure) that showed that the “Game” techniques worked perfectly… on women who fit the stereotypes that PUAs believe apply to all women. So they are successful, all right – primarily with insecure, self-absorbed women.* Since I want more out of life than the appetites we share with dogs (as Our Beloved Hostess puts it), they’re welcome to keep the floozies occupied while I enjoy life with a lady.
* NB: I have never frequented any of the PUA blogs or communities, and cannot abide those who buy their garbage or use their jargon. My characterizations are based on vague impressions I’ve gotten over the years from occasional brushes with their nonsense.
I’m not a “good” Dr. Mauser! I’m an Evil Mad Scientist! I have a heat ray and I’m not afraid to use it!
At least, that’s what it says on my Twitter profile. *grin*
I’ve looked at a few “Game” sites. IIRC, Vox Day moderates one under a different name? I only really use one term that comes out of those sites, MGTOW (Men going their own way), but that’s basically because it sounds better than “Loser who can’t get laid.” *another grin*
I suppose a valuable statistic would be one on what proportion of women are “Insecure, Self-absorbed” and if our culture is encouraging women to be that way. There do seem to be a lot of indicators that the general dating culture of this country has been on a decline, be it divorce rates, marriage rates, out of wedlock births, and the severe penalties heaped upon men by the legal system when dating or marriage goes bad.
I console myself that being single and not looking any more (at my age?) insulates me from false rape accusations or demands for half-plus confiscation of my property and earnings.
It works very well with high school girls, too. of course, they’re teens.
The thing is, whenever I read their stuff and their classification of males, I keep thinking “this doesn’t apply to my community at all” — perhaps that’s the nature of being outliers/odds. We don’t fit the band. We stand outside.
I never wanted to date the quarterback (really? I had trouble enough explaining words to engineering students. Words like osmosis.) Being brainsexual, I homed in like a laser on math majors. (Oh, if they were redheaded it helped. No, Dan will NOT dye his hair. I’ve asked. Sigh.) After that came anyone who could impress me with what they knew. My field was the hardest, because I’d absorb what they knew and then I wasn’t interested.
Now I think about it, maybe I should write “A Geek Girl’s Guide To Dating” with explanatory cartoons?
Oh please do! I hope to have a daughter eventually, and boy will she need it! In the mean time, I would happily buy copies for my friends’ daughters. (I don’t really know many single people anymore…)
Your friends let you near their daughters? Mine won’t.
Probably from that “Daddy, buy me an AR15….” incident. Completely not my fault.
The thing is, whenever I read their stuff and their classification of males, I keep thinking “this doesn’t apply to my community at all” — perhaps that’s the nature of being outliers/odds.
Nah, they’d make everyone fit. Theory>reality. Greatly disappointed me, I’m most always interested in classification theories. 🙂
*Escaping nesting limit*
Foxifier: I think there’s even been a whole thread here in the past about “Nice” guys who are anything but, who act like they are entitled to a woman’s physical attention simply because they’ve gone through the motions of being polite or even helpful. I swear, they give us actual gentlemen a bad name.
Amen. They also give the “I will cut my arm off to have some company” guys a bad name. Being a geek, I marred the former and pray for the latter– they’re my friends, even when they drive me up a wall.
Being as it takes two to tango, one really has to wonder why it is the “Game” types have the success they do. Something about women makes them successful.
Same thing that makes a “cock tease” successful.
Promise someone a thing they desire, and if you’re persuasive enough they’ll believe you.
It’s useful to remember that women are generally willing to believe the worst of themselves, so if someone gives them reason to think that the commenter is responding genuinely, and it’s followed by a criticism, they’ll then trust the person.
Sarah would probably guess it’s related to the whole “well, I think we’re OK… do you see any problem with the stored food?” impulse.
Have you read the Heinlein bio (Vol 1), “In Dialogue With His Century”? He was an “open-marriage” kind of guy.
Of course I read it, and yes, more so before Virginia. But here’s the thing — he was a GOOD Writer, so he only wrote that stuff if he thought it was true.
I rather doubt there has ever been a time when there was not a market for philosophies promising more sex and happiness. Probably even more than the market for “eat all you want and still lose weight” diets.
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