Wrong Battle, Insane Tactics

quixote

So I was reading Margaret Atwood’s article.  Yes, I know. What can I say.  It’s a very specialized form of masochism.

I wrote a post about it for PJMedia, which hopefully will go live today.  It’s about one of the things that truly annoyed me about the article.  Just one.  Mostly the fact that she doesn’t see the link between her actions and present insanity.  It’s like Robespierre stopping at the top of the steps to the guillotine and going “how did things get like this?”

But that’s only a portion of it.  There is more.  I realized reading her article, as she brings up the obligatory reference to Salem and in general the plight of witches (why are feminists obsessed with witches?  I want to take each of these new age twits who think that witches were some kind of feminist heroes, and make them read about Athenais de Montespan and the affair of the poisons.  Of course they might approve.  Most of the sacrifices were babies) and other things that are as ritualistic to feminists as the rosary to Catholics, it occurred to me (not for the first time.  There is an article about it here somewhere) that the problem with current feminism is that these women have gone to battle against the wrong enemy and therefore their tactics and their justifications keep spinning out more and more insane each time: because there is no way to win the battle they set themselves, since it was won before they started off and by means they don’t understand; and because they don’t understand how the battle was won, they keep fearing to lose again.

You see, Margaret brings up again the whine about how women couldn’t own property/weren’t considered fully adults, etc.  She also, of course, says that American courts discount accusations of sexual abuse/rape, and that American corporations ignore female complaints of misbehavior by males.

I’m not sure where she’s getting the thing about how courts and corporations behave, but then a person who could think of New England in current day as a theocratic state needs her head examined, because most of her ideas are coming from a highly improbable parallel world, and she doesn’t even realize it.

Sure, of course, Hollywood and publishing might ignore female complaints (and male too, look you) but that’s because they’re oligopolies, with those in power being able to do pretty much anything to their subordinates.  They resemble nothing so much as Ancient Rome.  Most sane businesses who do you know, real stuff, and aren’t bottlenecks dealing with artists and other obsessives aren’t like that.

But yeah, sure, there was a time (a very long time) when women were treated as something not quite as human as males.  I know why too, because unlike the feminists I know more of history than the cant about “couldn’t own property.  Were property.  Ahhhh, so scary.”

It’s a good idea when looking at historical oppressed groups, particularly those like women, to realize that a) well, the oppression might not have been oppression in the opinion of anyone living at that time b) there must have been a reason for such treatment that was deeper than “all men are villains and want to enslave all women” since patently most men aren’t villains, and most women are their mothers/sisters/daughters, and only a very few men hate all of those.

The reason… is survival.

Life for most men and women, even upper class ones, up to about a hundred years ago sucked rotten goat tit.

Everyone died young.  Okay, fine, if you were very wealthy and had damn good genes, you might live to your sixties or seventies, or, improbably, eighties.  (I saw my first eighty year old at 14, and he was what we’d now associate with 100.  And he was wealthy and from a long lived family.  My parents are now older than he was, but they look more like seventies then.)  Let’s not forget, ladies and germs that Shakespeare was “very old” at fifty eight which is staring me in the face, and which I have hopes (perhaps foolish) of exceeding and working past for twenty years at least.

But the child mortality was the most shockingly different thing from our own society.  It wasn’t even unusual to birth ten children and rear one or or two.  High class women in the regency (think the character in Pride and Prejudice) made two infant shrouds as part of their trousseau, because that was the minimum of children they could expect to bury early on, before they had the time to make more. Children or shrouds, now I think about it.

The risks were different for women and men, of course.  For men most of the risk was working outside or in dangerous jobs (then as now, statistically, most females did indoor, safe, boring work (though often backbreaking) and most men did outside, strength intensive, dangerous work.  For the upper classes this often involved going to war.)  For women it was pregnancy and child birth.  Even in our days there are so many ways either of those can go seriously wrong and hurt a woman.  And in those days, they couldn’t cope with or even diagnose “seriously wrong.”

So…. Think through the implications of this, okay?  Most women spent most of their lives pregnant and died young.

The myth of women not working or not being able to work outside the home is just that.  I have no idea why the feminists concentrate on a small sliver of the population during a narrow band of time (the Victorian age) except that they’re starting to imitate so many of the Victorian women (fictional) quirks (I need a safe room.  That man leered at me.  I am scared for life.  Give me my smelling salts!) that I think like women reading regency romances, they always imagine themselves as upper class ladies. (Go figure.)

Most women, even middle class women, worked.  For the middle class managing a house was at least as important as going out and earning money for such house.  Men looked for skilled housekeepers, because otherwise their wealth would be squandered.  And often — in my own family’s case — women helped with the business and the business management.

Lower class women often took work they could do in the house, and piecemeal.  You know, low paid, repetitive, but safe.

This was not because men didn’t want competition from women stevedores or stone masons.  (There were always some, though often they pretended to be men to avoid trouble.  Also they were the very extreme of body types for females, obviously.)  It was because they were PROTECTING and LOOKING AFTER women, trying to keep them SAFE.  Not because they looked down on women, or thought women were “lesser” but because women could do a very important thing that men STILL can’t do (and won’t be able to barring some truly strange science advances): give birth.

Because giving birth was such a high-risk enterprise, and because so many of the products of that enterprise died before pay back of the ah labor involved in bringing them to the world, it was THE most important work of society.  Those members able to do it had to be kept in such a situation that it allowed them to maximize that one thing they could do.

As for “the property of their husbands, etc, etc, blah blah blah” work was so brutal and hard, and providing for a family so difficult, that yes, a man wanted to make sure the children he supported were his own.

Also, because of very early (many women married before even 18) death in childbirth, etc, most women skewed younger than men as a population, which would encourage a certain degree of paternalism.  On top of that, hate to tell you, but women while hormonal are often not fully rational.  We can sort of compensate for it, but one of the pregnancy hormones is SUPPOSED to make you fat, dumb and happy.

I don’t know if most women need a minder while pregnant, but from both personal experience and watching friends go through it, I imagine many women do.

It is therefore only natural that in a society where most women are pregnant most of the time, men would view it was their duty to look after the puir confused things.

When feminists assume that back in a time with no contraceptive, high child mortality and an horrendous death toll of pregnancy, women should have been recognized as the equals of men, and that men were being evil villains for not doing that, they are demonstrating an astonishingly blind and ideological view of history.

In fact, even back in the middle ages and before SOME women were considered the intellectual equals of men.  (And sometimes the military equals.)  There are very few of them, again, not because The Man was keeping them down, but because the women attracted to intellectual or military pursuits are (like men) a minority and on top of that they tended to be either unmarried, childless, or the percentage of women not much affected by pregnancy.  I.e. a minority of minorities.

Women started making advances in what was considered, traditionally, male realms, like science or scholarship, (the others…. well…. there is a problem with upper body strength.  Sure.  Some women.  Again a minority of a minority) or being able to vote when two twin advances occurred: the first was the curbing of infant mortality.  When it became obvious (after a generation or so) that most of your babies would survive, it was possible for women to spend only a tiny minority of their lives pregnant.

The second was contraception that was cheap, easily available, and safe.  Yeah, okay, I have certain issues with the pill, because the medical issues of using it long term are only now showing up in the population at large.  That’s fine.

It remains that even the early “horse-dose” pill was safer than anything else anyone else had ever come up with for women to avoid getting pregnant all the time.

I allow and am amused by the handwavium of “some herbs” in fantasy novels, but most herbs were not contraceptives, but abortificients with the associated risks.  There was a berry that worked much like the pill, but it went extinct in Roman times.  (eh.)

Not having to spend the majority of their lives pregnant and not dying in disproportionate numbers in child birth gave women “equality” to the extent it can be had in this fallen world.

Because many reflexes remain from the aeons when women were so important they must be protected, in many ways it gave women the upper hand, particularly in social situations.

Which brings us to where we are now.

The “feminists” blind certainty that men oppressed women historically for no reason and “just evil I guess” is partly derived from idiot Marx who thought various parts of society were at odds for “no reason, except evil.”  But part of it is caused by both pig blindness and pride.  The pig blindness comes from ignoring historical fact.  The pride is in imagining themselves as virtuous victims, because their ancestresses were oppressed, and also in being sure that their present equality (to the extent they recognize they have it) comes from their virtuous “struggle” and shoulder to shoulder clamoring.

Because virtue feels so good, they refuse to admit the battle is largely won.  And because they think men oppressed women because “evil I guess” they are ever vigilant against a vast conspiracy of men turning around and dragging them back to the bad old times.  (Stupid I gu– No, wait, willfully stupid, for sure.)  Which leads them into misandry and revenge games.

That this more than anything might bring about a reversal (not likely since physical conditions have changed) as women are judged too petty and infantile to trust with serious business, never occurs to them.

They continue attacking the windmill, unaware of how it looks to sane people, or how society at large might need those windmills to survive.

And, as with most crazy of the left, those of us who are rational and female, are being dragged down along with them.

All because of blindness and pride.  If it weren’t likely to involve me and my female descendants, it would be funny.  As is, it’s more of a tragedy.

 

 

405 responses to “Wrong Battle, Insane Tactics

  1. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Blindness and pride, or pride and prejudice? 🙂

    I’m a bit more optimistic than that, but my background prejudices me to assume that to those whom it is most obvious that the feminists are completely wrong it is also obvious that women who do not partake of feminism are quite a bit saner.

    • Current cultural focus means that such behaviour will be positive responses and encouragement, while the vast majority of women who do not share such views will be denounced as gender-traitors. Thus does the media spotlight and normalize such minority views.

      Any scholar challenging this view of History can be confident of denunciation as great as any 19th Century professor proclaiming that there is no God. What will be revealed is that there is not grant monies, is no tenure, is no room for such discordant beliefs.

  2. It never seems to occur to the ‘women weren’t allowed to work outside the home’ brigade that. with no safe contraception and hence small children in most homes most of the time, womenmight choose to stay at home and watch their offspring wile doing things that could be done in the home to either earn money or produce things that would otherwise have to be bought. There’s a reason why unmarried women were known as ‘spinsters’ which I’m quite sure I don’t need to tell you – and you can describe it to the ‘radical feminists’ far better than could I.

    • Yep. That too. Fact is most women would still work from home for that reason, if they could. I did in great part for that reason. I wanted to bring up my children myself.
      I expect this contingent will grow as more tech work is doable from home.

      • Even in “this enlightened age” in the USA… Pa worked days, Ma worked nights, until $SISTAUR & myself were old enough that they figured we didn’t need constant home supervision. Granted, there was also the trust that our being with/around the neighbors wasn’t a Dire Emergency, but a chance to relax a bit.

      • Paraphrasing Ebenezeer Scrooge: Were there no day care, no pre-schools, no creches?

        That rat thar is yore proof of patriarchal society!

    • And also, since there were small (nursing!) children around all the time, women usually had the jobs that were kinda safe and also easily interruptible, that you could do in spurts. Like gardening/picking crops, or weaving, or spinning. Dairy, eggs, and honey. Cooking wasn’t as safe, obviously, but it was pretty interruptible, and compared to working at a forge or with large animals or sharp tools…you couldn’t have toddlers running around a forge.

      Besides, in most cultures until fairly recently, cloth production took as much or even more time than food production (read Elizabeth Wayland Barber). Women *were* working, a lot.

      • Cooking wasn’t as safe, obviously, but it was pretty interruptible, and compared to working at a forge or with large animals or sharp tools…you couldn’t have toddlers running around a forge.

        Well … following my father around took me around large animals (when you’re a preschooler, all four-legged livestock are large), mechanics shops with welding, cane grinding, large machinery, saw mills, and yes, once, a forge. Okay, so I almost cut off part of a finger, and was almost killed another time. But I also got a nasty burn when I decided to help and put fish into the frying pan. And we had a relative who’s dressed caught on fire at the wash pot and she died from injuries (there was some NBC miniseries that had a similar scene, so it may have been common).

        A bigger factor may have been at what age a child was able to help with a task. I’m told I carried concrete blocks one at a time when our pump house was going up, and would have been maybe three, if that. Nobody thought much of it, because even then such amounted to both job training and family work. On one episode of The Woodwright’s Shop Roy Underhill pointed out an old brick with a child’s handprint. When you were old enough, you were working, and old enough was very young, indeed.

        • we had a relative who’s dressed caught on fire at the wash pot and she died from injuries (there was some NBC miniseries that had a similar scene, so it may have been common).

          I cannot cite the source, but recall reading that this was the most common cause of death for women in the 18th and/or 19th Century. Open flame cooking combined with layers of petticoats and bustles and bows were torches waiting to happen.

        • I’ve read that one reason Franklin invented his stove was to reduce the number of women being injured/crippled/killed by their dress catching on fire.

    • I also wonder where these people think the chambermaids and similar serving girls (who get trotted out as examples of poor abused serfs in some circles) came from if women couldn’t work.

    • Or that in the pre-industrial era, MEN didn’t often work outside the home either. Perhaps not in the house itself, but certainly on a homestead (their own or their lord’s.) Women often participated in trade in the cities, towns, and markets; they just weren’t often itinerant peddlers, or part of a merchant caravan, etc. And even then, traveling families were likely more common than certain people would have you believe.

      • Ah, and “coarse as a fishwife” or “loud as a fishwife” somehow sprang from…nowhere at all, as a once-common metaphor? And “the old women running the market-stalls” must not have been human, then, because they were most definitely working, and not kept down by anyone – and would best you in a bargain if you don’t haggle fiercely!

      • Can’t discuss the “working the Lord of Manor’s” land. But western homesteading, lots of stories from both grandmothers, growing up, and their own homesteading in early 1900’s. Egg, Milk, Turkey, money to pay taxes for the homestead; not money hubby brought home because hubby, although “working” typically did not bring home money. Meat was either home raised chicken (turkeys were to sell), lamb/sheep, or wild game/fish, or you didn’t eat meat; FWIW, through my growing up years. Non-meat came out of your garden, period, whether you lived in town or not. About the only thing purchased was flour & grain. Latter (garden) was the one part I didn’t grow up with, although mom tried; bless her heart (also why I WON’T have a garden).

        Dad’s mom’s published memoir relates how she grew up raising turkeys to sell in town to help her family after her mother got sick (the only money the family had), and latter with her own two oldest in tow. How it was a hardship because turkeys are vicious, and her two kids were 3 and barely walking at the time. She explicitly states it was not safe for them to be there, but she had no choice, it was less safe to leave them unattended somewhere else. When I read that, my response was OMG (youngest) is daddy.

        • FWIW.

          Mom’s family homesteaded Montana – not ranchers; migrated to Drain after WWII

          Dad’s family – South of Willamette Valley – Hayden Valley/Yoncolla/Drain (Applegate)

        • That was a normal thing in Merrie Olde England ™ too in small towns – and some large ones. A house would have a 14 or 21-foot frontage (d0’t aks me why) and a long back garden; there are still some in my home town, dating back to the 1400s. The gardens were for growing veggies, raising chickens and suchlike – all for food, no flower gardens. And still in the 1940s where my grandparents lived in Normandy there were many houses whose back gardens were used for vegetables and chickens. It was only when it became more profitable to build houses on the gardens that the close-choked urban areas began to appear.

        • Similarly, my maternal grandmother’s journals were privately published for the family by an uncle, entitled “Got 13 Eggs” because, along with other farm life minutia, each day’s entry ended with the number of eggs collected, most to be sold in town. Lovely history of farm life on the great plains in the early 1900’s.

          • “Annie’s Story” by Anna Lovelace published by her older two daughters after her death in 1987. Study in growing up, early 1900’s in rural western Oregon.

        • Typically the farm wife contributed the cash flow for farm operations — butter, egg, chicken money. The farmer’s contribution was the money crop which went toward mortgage, property taxes, next year’s seed and fertilizer and the fuel bill. His money came in a large amount all at once, hers was a smaller steadier stream. Both were necessary.

  3. c4c…off day mentally. :p

  4. You mention, “I think like women reading regency romances, they always imagine themselves as upper class ladies.” That recalls the old saying, “No one is a spear carrier in his own story.” Yes, they really do believe themselves the heroes (heroines?) in their narratives.

    Years ago, one of my sisters ran a small business making period-accurate clothing for historical reenactors. As military uniforms were available almost everywhere, she specialized in civilian clothing. She had a full line, including camp follower clothing (washer women, manual laborers, etc.). If I recall correctly, she never sold any of those items, as everyone wanted to be in ball gowns or frock coats. That was always my complaint about the reenactments–it appeared that everyone was rich and there were no common folk around at all. 🙂

    • With 14 noble women and their knights lounging around, do YOU want to be the only washing wench or man-servant? That’s far too much work! 😉

      • Nope! That’s also why I could never get into the SCA. If I were to join, I’d want to dress all in green, carry a longbow, and with my band break into one their feasts and rob everyone. 🙂 I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been welcomed…

        • You have some tavern wenches and such in SCA. And I hear they are even somewhat popular in Renaissance Faires and such. But the ones in SCA usually also seemed to have another, noble persona if they took part in other ways besides actually working there (selling food and drinks in the tavern, that is). Which is kind of required anyway, the starting premise is that everybody is of noble birth and will at some point get at least the Lady or Lord handle if nothing else (for those you have to do a bit more than just be there in garb). So yeah… well, it’s said that SCA is not as the history actually was, but the way you would wanted it to be as the point is to have fun and learn some skills, not to recreate history.

          I was Lady Ilmakka. Or Rouva Ilmakka, which title actually means a married woman, but unfortunately there is no real translation for Lady in Finnish. Besides my persona had been married and was, probably, a widow (hubby had kind of gone missing. Those darn Vikings and their coastal raids). She had also been a slave at one point. Common enough fate in Viking age Finland with the constant warring and raids. No surviving children, lived partly from a reputation as a witch, doing all kinds of spell work for mostly female problems. Some of the herbal remedies and such may have even worked for real, but people are always ready to pay for somebody to listen to their complaining. With her her claims of noble birth may not have been completely truthful, but as there was nobody around who could now contradict them… 😀

        • You wouldn’t have been “welcomed” in period, either, of course!
          There are some folks in the SCA, at least hereabouts, who like to do a “peasant” persona. At least sometimes … and MAYBE more realistically than M. Antoinette playing at being a shepherdess.
          But, yeah, the base assumption in the SCA is that everyone’s a noble of some sort.

        • Yes. Everyone wants a fairy-tale wedding until someone comes along and curses their firstborn.

          • WEDDINGS are fine, weddings go smooth, down to getting the wicked stepmother to dance in red-hot iron shoes until she falls down dead.

            But you had better make sure she does, ’cause otherwise, she’s going to come after you after the firstborn’s birth.

            • After all, asking why fairy tales end at the wedding is like asking why all the witches are evil — in both cases, it’s false.

    • Then there’s the old joke above t How do you tell a Markland Mercenary Militia event from an SCA event? Oh, there goes a peasant; this must be a Markland event!

      • The Markland Mercenary Miiitia brought a Viking longship to Constellation in Baltimore one year, and gave rowing tours of the harbor… with fans doing the rowing. Some lessons:

        1. Many fans do not realize what a 14-foot ash oar weighs.
        2. Viking reenactors do not like the Spam Song.
        3. Contrary to some people’s belief okay, mine), a t-shirt covered with collectible pins is NOT a D&D armor class (Fan Mail, +1 protection, -7 Charisma),,,

    • It also seems that those people who “remember” past lives were always either nobles or connected to nobility (I think the lowest one I’ve heard about was a lady’s maid to a queen). Nobody ever seems to have had a past life as a serf or prostitute.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Humans match patterns, and notice things that don’t fit. Suppose one is bouncing from human incarnation to human incarnation. Obviously, you don’t notice all the incarnations that end in infant mortality. Then you extend that to early childhood health issues. This argument can be continued to the point where one is insisting that the noble incarnations were rare and different enough to stand out from the rest.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I remember reading a short story where two men were talking about the “Glorious Elizabethan Era”.

        Well somehow they get thrown back in time into the bodies of two serfs of that time. Unable to influence the serfs, etc.

        Well fortunately, they return to their own bodies and remark that the Elizabethan Era wasn’t that great. 😈

        • One of the great points near the end of “Midnight in Paris” has Owen Wilson’s character realizing that, as much fun as he’s had traveling back to 1920 Paris (and earlier), he really likes modern conveniences including such things as antibiotics and painless dentistry.

        • See Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.”

      • “Nobody ever seems to have had a past life as a serf or prostitute.” I’m a writer in this life… close enough?

      • So, given reincarnation implies the concept of karma, what did they do to become such lowly peons in this life? That question catches a lot of people up short. 🙂

    • As it turns out, I would have been lesser gentry had I lived then (The-Admiral-my-father)

      But the only accoutrement I’d’ve needed ala your wife was a shroud, since I would’ve died from the want of modern medical technology several times over.

      • It’s a game I’ve seen make the rounds: When would you have died? Basically, you assume no modern medical interventions, and you run with that—barring vaccine-preventable illnesses, because you just can’t track that. My husband would have died at birth due to Rh factor mismatch.

        • Not sure about myself, though pregnancy would have been rougher and things might have gone worse if they hadn’t been able to diagnose gestational diabetes. (OTOH I would probably have had less cheap sugar.) I wouldn’t be walking easily, though, after that fall on the stairs a year and a half ago. And I’d probably have lost my front teeth a few years before that. (Again, cheap sugar a factor, but still.)

          Pretty sure we’d have lost my sister-in-law and her baby at the start of the year.

          Probably would have lost my mom about six years back. Desperately hoping we don’t now that the cancer’s back.

        • I probably would have been deaf by 1 given the chronic ear infections (possibly dead given how they later migrated, consistently, into sinus infections.) If I survived all that, the first born would have killed me, and maybe him.

    • Back in the seventies, I was listening to a radio interview with Isaac Asimov. He talked about his then-wife’s romantic idealism, and her dreaming that “wouldn’t it be nice to live back when we all had servants to do the work.”
      He said that wishful thinking ended when he pointed out to her that, “In those days, we would have been the servants.”

      • Yes, Only successful,ruthless, psychopathic, ambitious, A-holes established themselves as nobility.

        • 0ldgriz commented on Wrong Battle, Insane Tactics.
          in response to AesopFan:
          Yes, Only successful,ruthless, psychopathic, ambitious, A-holes established themselves as nobility.

          Theoretically, I must be a member of the French nobility but none of those characteristics apply to me. My earliest known ancestor was named in the Annals of Britanny circa 850 AD, and you didn’t get into the Annals if you weren’t of high rank.

          • Once you make it, you try and civilize the progeny.

            • I have relatives who are extremelyinterested in genealogy, and one of them managed to hook it into the English royal lines. (Not that hard if you have British relatives, honestly.) Once you’ve done that, you can trace it back a LONG way. 50 generations back, there’s a guy called Cerdic the Pirate, who terrorized the Saxon Shore ca. AD 360. Yep, his descendants wound up in the English royal lines.

              • Oh well, if it comes to that my maternal grandfather’s suname was Smith so I can claim descent from the legendary demigod Weyland the Smith. (Grin)

              • British on Dan’s side. French on mine. No wonder the kids are messed up.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Based mainly on family names, English, Welsh and Pennsylvania Dutch.

                  Of course, Dad wondered if the last Howard he could trace really was born a Howard.

                  Dad knew that he moved to Southern Indiana at a certain date but never found a trace of him where he claimed he was from. 😉

              • Both sides of my family tree stop abruptly in the 1830s.

                Lots of Southern bloodlines stop there, courtesy of Andy Jackson and his land-grabbing cronies.

                  • On the paternal side, yes. Supposedly on the maternal as well, but Seminole would be more likely.

                    The law of the times was very clear about “white”, “Negro”, and all the different levels of mixing up to 1/16. There was no such legal definition of white (or black) intermarriage with Indians, the results of which were normally classed by how and where they chose to live, not necessarily skin color.

                    When Jackson’s goons came through rounding up the Indians there were a *lot* of people who had never given any particular thought about who their forebears had boinked, who were suddenly faced with the prospect of looking down the barrels Federal guns, being stripped of their citizenship and property, and marched off to a concentration camp. So any documentation containing any incriminating evidence went into the fire.

                    • Ah. That makes sense. I’m friends with some registered Cherokee who are descendants of a guy who was confident in his assimilation, built a lovely house, and his kids or grandkids got marched out by those guns. It’s a state landmark now, and just looking at the painting of the guy, my friends are visually his descendants, though since it’s the paternal line, they have the name, too.

                      They’re very mainstream suburban Americans, but they’ll still narrow their eyes about Andrew Jackson. Very long shadow that man has.

              • My grandfather was into genealogy. Amazing how many red dots there were next to noble ancestors. Red dots designate reputed fathers of bastards.

                • I remember watching Becket with my Aunt Mary. After the line “Will no one rid me of the vexing priest?” she pulled out the genealogy and showed me that we were descended from one of the four notorious knights.
                  Look into history and you never know what you will find.

                • Much more certain to do a salic descent tree.

            • Once you make it, you try and civilize the progeny.
              While keeping them just ruthless enough to hang onto their position. (And not quite ruthless enough to rush along the moment of their inheritance.)

      • Part of what I like about the 1632 series is the transported Americans’ take full advantage of the noble lack of understanding that servants are people and have ears, are very willing to gossip to others who treat them as equals, about their “betters”. As explicitly stated, the Americans’ regardless of various social status, had had that respect beaten into them for over 400 years. Just saying “Please” and “Thank you”, and direct acknowledgment of, the needed servants employed by the Americans, is enough for all typical servant classes in immediate and surrounding areas. Word gets around.

        • I’ve been there and done that in Africa. The company driver who’d always driven me around on my previous visits was noticeably surprised when I introduced him to my wife by his name on the one time when she went with me, and always fell over hiself to look after me on later visits. Because the ‘colonial’ outlook of snapping fingers at servants had persisted with the neo-colonials who came on management contracts! If you ever go on safari in Africa try to learn the staffs’ names, use them and talk to them – jokes are good,too. It makes a world of difference to your stay, especially if you can manage to learn a few words of hteir own languages. Just ‘jambo, rafiki yangu’ got me great service everywhere, and it got better as my vocabulary grew..

        • Except this is an American’s understanding of how noblemen treated servants.
          Having known European noblemen and read primary sources from others, only BAD PEOPLE treated their servants as if they weren’t people.
          In fact, one of the marks of “true nobility” was the noblesse oblige of treating those under you with the same courtesy you’d treat your equals.

          • Maybe. I got the impression it was more the 400 year difference, and the time/place they got dumped into. But, enough reality behind it, whether universal or not, to make it plausible in the story line(s).

          • But you have to remember, not too familiar. The lower classes expect the upper to act in certain ways. If you don’t then they get confused and bad things can happen. It was a fine line.

  5. I agree… most pregnant women do need minders. Plus some women did own property then … I don’t remember how they did it. (My great-grandmother had her own property with the help of her brothers). But, as you said many men felt a responsibility to their women… which I am seeing a lack of today.

    Another interesting thing– I come from a long-lived line (90-100 years old). However the line is losing its longevity… I am now seeing folks in my line dying at 80-85 years old. 🙂

    • I’ll be happy to survive to 65 with the health problems I’ve had.

    • I had a great-gran who had several husbands (widowed and divorced) and lots of property, rentals etc.

      • Montezuma’s widow, having outlived two Aztec husbands, then outlived four Spanish ones. Her will shows she was very rich indeed.

    • If I remember right, it was much more common during the middle ages– the famous example that comes to mind is the lady whose husband threw a fit and told her that he wouldn’t be paying for any of her “fripperies,” she’d have to earn the money herself…so she became a huge brewery owner.

      On a practical level, why wouldn’t you have everything in the name of the guy who can reasonably be expected to go on long trips by himself, since the wife would probably be home and it’s kinda obvious what business you’re at? Unless, of course, there was a disagreement about how to use the shared resources.

    • There were a lot of women who had control of their property in 19th century US; by inheritance and sometimes by earning it themselves. The widow of Samuel Colt was left the Colt Firearms Manufacturing Company, the most profitable corporation at that time (just pre-Civil War.) Elizabeth Colt was a formidable lady, and ran the place (with the assistance of her brother) for the remainder of the century. And then there was the much-married Sally Skull – who owned and ran a ranch with the help of a succession of husbands: http://www.celiahayes.com/archives/1057
      And then there was Lizzie Johnson Williams; schoolteacher, bookkeeper, magazine writer — and ranch owner, who married at the age of forty or so, with a pre-nup agreement that specified she would control any property she owned before the marriage, or acquired on her own after it. http://www.celiahayes.com/archives/325
      And then there was “Madam” CJ Walker, a former slave, who evolved a line of woman’s hair-care products, ran her own business and became a millionaire out of it. And then there was Mary Ellen Pleasant, who owned a lot of real estate in California, and mined the miners in the gold fields very profitably. Single women were also permitted to file homestead claims, in the post-Civil War far west. And all but a very small and well-off portion of women worked outside their homes, or in them – many times in a family-owned business, alongside their husbands.
      Women like Margaret Atwood annoy me, insisting that women had no control over their lives, and couldn’t own property until getting the vote in the 1920s.

      • Agree 100%. People forget that the amendment granting women the vote was merely a standardization of what most states had already done.

      • Homesteading. There are stories of girls, very young girls, being married so extended families could claim more acreage out west (made very clear not “true” marriage until child was of age, provided hubby survived, if hubby was still around) point was anyone of a certain age could get the homestead. But married women got the same acreage regardless of their age, even if way younger than law allowed. This was a way for extended families to claim more acreage than they would have been otherwise entitled to. As long as the claims were proved up and paid for; who cared.

      • Walker’s parents and older siblings were slaves. She was the first one born free.

    • My father’s family has been pretty damn long lived, and only one of his siblings died young, older sister in her early teens in the late 1920’s – early 1930’s, I’m not quite sure of the time as nobody talked about her much. But yes, a great grandfather who had been born a bit before mid-19th century lived well into his 90’s, my father died when he was 90, my two aunts who were both chain smokers lived well into their 80’s and so on.

      And one reason why I think I might have had a pretty good chance getting pregnant and delivering healthy babies is that my mother got pregnant with me when she was 38 years old (never tried as I didn’t find a man who would have been a good fit with nerd me), and that was back in 1959 (I was born the next year). And even got pregnant again a couple of years later, although then her doctor after some months and, that time, some health problems (she had none with me) decided that she shouldn’t try to carry to term and she had an abortion due to medical reasons.

      But she and her sibling and her father’s line all died of heart disease pretty young, mother was 64, her brother in his fifties, their father just a bit over 30.

      So I have no bloody idea what I might expect, although my health seems to incline more towards mother’s line than father’s. I’d guess that with modern medicine I may perhaps count on maybe a couple of decades more from my current age (which is getting pretty close to 60 now, although not quite there yet).

      • And yes, my paternal grandmother died when my father was 9 years old. I think it may have been some sort of communicable disease, flu or similar, but I’m not quite sure, as with father’s sister it was not talked much about. And I do not know if that older sister died of the same at the same time or not.

        • I have many female ancestors that lived into their 90s. Both grandfathers and father died at 56. Sooooo much morbid brooding until my 57th birthday.

      • Men may have gone out on the boats to CATCH the fish. But, women, with kids in tow, salted it (okay this middle part may have been a multi-person (mom/dad/kids old enough to help) activity, and went to the market to sell it; while men folk took the boat back out.

      • Yep. Don’t know what to expect. Dad’s side survived 60 – 80, mom’s 80 – 99+). Mom is 82, going strong, and tell her I expect another 20 years, at least. Planning on 30 or more years. But who knows. I’m just now 61.

  6. I made this remark over at the PJM post:
    Was reading a bit about monkeys today; and one of the things mentioned was that they wage tribal warfare against other monkey groups, and that they seem to have a ritualistic eating of baby monkeys stolen from the arms of a female monkey.

    And all I could think while reading that was: “That’s rather familiar sounding behaviour. I wonder if they learned it from the vileprogs, or vice versa?’

    I wonder which ‘group’ will be the next ‘sacred cow group’ that cannot be offended? Eventually, we’ll get to them protecting pedophiles, and sacrificing their children… oh wait. /snark.

    I like the observation of the brain-disconnect these twits have about how they imagine themselves all to be the highborn -taken care of ladies, whining about how no women before (current year) were ever allowed to work… if that was true, who would be the ladies’ maids, the washerwomen, the cooks, the cleaning wench? Oh they don’t count somehow. Or worse, are merely part of the furniture.

    The part about there having been a berry that worked like the pill and it went extinct in Roman times – Speculating without research, I wonder if it was systematically eradicated during the eras when the Romans were having issues with failing population, similar to ours. As in, declining birth rates, and a high incidence of abortion, or rather, infanticide. This was reputedly one of the reasons why Catholicism became the Roman state religion, because infanticide was considered a sin, taboo, and thus, automatically, forbidden.

    Idle curiousity on my part, and I would love to be able to read a bit more about it.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Apparently went extinct from overharvesting.

      Roman practice of infanticide was widespread, and predated and postdated the herb. A man with three acknowledged children was a paterfamilias, and had the legal right to kill any of his children. Which included adults, but I think not daughters married to a man. Aside from that right to strangle, infants were routinely exposed if they weren’t acknowledged. (The rights of the father could be negated in some cases, like when they had sold their son into slavery three times.)

      Christanity’s opposition to exposing infants well postdated the herb, IIRC.

      • From some stuff I’ve read, the herb (silphium?) wasn’t just used as a contraceptive. It was also used as a “cure for what ails you” and as a culinary herb. Worse, it couldn’t be cultivated and had to be gathered from the wild, and there was a problem with excessive/unauthorized harvesting and with it being eaten by wild animals in the relatively small area where it grew.

        Some botanists think that it may have been a hybrid of two related plants, and the seeds may have been sterile, or unable to breed true (rather like planting the seeds of hybrid corn will not reliably produce the same yields). In that case, it wouldn’t have been simple overharvesting, but the destruction of the associated environment that reduced the chance the two necessary plants would cross-pollinate and produce the hybrid.

          • I didn’t google with “silphium” but used “contraceptive plant Roman era north Africa” as I remembered also that is used to grow on Mediterranean shores on the African side. That was the one which came up. 🙂

            • There is also the claim that the heart symbol originally comes from the shape of the Silphium seed, which probably was that shape as the shape is first encountered in the currency of Cyrene at a time when that city pretty much existed due to their trade with the plant: ❤

        • It ought be kept in mind that simply because an herb was widely believed to be a contraceptive did not mean it was effectively so. Miscarriages likely were sufficiently common that people prone to post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacies would falsely associate taking f such herbs with inducing abortion whether or not there was any actual connection, and this would be doubly so if that herb occasioned any gastric distress at all.

          I remember childhood hours spent sneering at ancestors convinced that tomatoes — “love apples” — were poisonous when everybody knew it was potatoes that were the real threat!

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Most plants are poisonous to some degree, and babies and children are delicate. Women needing to bring babies to term probably need to avoid a lot of things.

          • 1. Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, which also includes tobacco and potatoes.
            2. They’re red. Red is traditionally danger.

            Love tomatoes. But they did have decent reasons for being dubious as to their safety.

    • They’d also pick up infants left exposed. The majority of the healthy ones were females, and you know how kids tend to take up the religion of their mom…?

      • A friend who worked supply for planes flying the Burma Hump had quite a collection of photos. One was of a Roman Catholic orphanage where most were girls. The area practiced infanticide, and the Roman Catholics started giving one rupee for each child left with them. That was enough incentive to leave the babies with them instead of out in the open.

        • Burma?
          I wonder if they’re still allowed to operate….

          There’s a place I’d want to send cash, rather than just supplies, for sure.

          • He was likely based in India. He liked to show pictures and talk a little of the people, but didn’t tell war stories and I didn’t press. The only clues are the currency (the rupee), and a check seems to show Burma had the Kyat then. The clothes seemed to look like India, but that’s thin to go on. There was a river where he was stationed and he had photos of crocodiles in the water, but that could hold for Burma. Didn’t the Japanese hold a good chunk of Burma until late in the war?

            Because of the number of girls, it was considered a girl’s orphanage, but that was likely a misnomer. He had a photo of one of the sisters who worked there and one of the orphan girls. He said they raised the girls and gave them an education. A search for WWII Roman Catholic orphanages that coincide with the location of Burma Hump airfields might be a good starting point.

            He was highly impressed by the solution to the problem of infanticide in the area. That one rupee for abandoned children saved a lot of lives.

      • I found myself wondering once what would happen if I ever found an infant that’s been discarded, and still alive and screaming.

        I’d probably end up incredibly attached and unable to give the kiddy up.

        • If it wasn’t very close to a hospital or something similar, so I spent more than like ten minutes with the kid? Yep, probably.

        • When we were still trying to have Robert, we were on vacation in Portugal and decided not to go downtown because it was raining. That day at the time we’d be going up a particular street, a woman put a baby on the ground and kept walking. Newborn. The person who picked him up turned him to the authorities, hence the news.
          And I thought if we’d been there, we’d have picked up the baby and kept on walking. My SIL is an MD and would have given us a birth certificate, and we’d now have a boy 2 or 3 years older than Robert.
          Will it sound silly if I say I wish we had?

          • Not silly at all. That’s another child who would be loved and cherished.

            Some nights I have very, very vivid dreams of finding a foundling. My mom has stories of people finding babies and keeping them and raising them as their own, and getting a birth certificate from a sympathetic MD. Heck, Mom’s saying there’s a higher rate of finding abandoned babies these days – either as corpses, or alive.

            There are times when I read about how hard it is to adopt, and wonder why it is so hard if ‘there are so many who would love these children.’ Then you read about stories like this one and you can’t help but cry ‘why wasn’t she given to the ones who would love her instead?!’

            • It varies from state to state. I met someone at a friend’s place who talked about the horrible time she had trying (unsuccessfully) to adopt her brother’s kids across the country. The state in the question repeatedly gave her incorrect information and placed the children with a “temporary” home while she tried to establish enough residency to get the kids, and she did everything they asked, but they decided it would be better for the kids to be adopted by the temporary family since they’d bonded.

              Two awful things about the whole process: 1. Part of the thing considered necessary was cutting off contact with the brother, because “it wouldn’t be healthy for the kids”, but part of the rationale for them staying in the state was “they can have contact with their dad.” 2. She went deeply into debt while doing all the things the state required for her to be eligible to adopt.

              Needless to say, she’s not fond of social workers right now.

          • Not in the least.

          • Not silly at all.

        • I have seen stories of people in the US finding infants, taking them to the hospital, and asking if they can be the adoptive parents. I honestly don’t know how often that actually happens.

          I do like “free surrender” laws, where you can give up an infant to a safe space (hospital or police station) with no negative consequences. I’d love that to be paired with an adopting list, as in “these folk want a baby.”

          • At some point it was credible enough that John and Martha Kent could be portrayed doing it with their foundling son, Clark.

          • I agree about the free surrender laws – hell, I love those laws for the compassion they show, and yeah, they could be paired with an adopting list. What really gets me is that despite that, people still kill their newborns, or abandon them somewhere unsafe, or drop them in a dumpster.

            South Korea apparently has issues with this. I have heard that their laws require that adopted kids need to know who their birth parents are, so that orphanage with the baby box is likely to be closed down (and killing babies by abandonment will still likely continue.)

  7. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Let’s go get our throats cut, boys.

    ‘insane tactics’ reminded me of that, which also brings to mind certain factors that may prevent the development of an Atwood style of patriarchal tyranny. a) many men want to get laid b) most men don’t want their throats cut.

    Some men are so strongly interested in getting laid that they will tolerate all sorts of stupid or insane behavior and thinking in sexual partners. Ergo, it is perhaps impossible for a group of men to have one hundred percent enforcement of some pact not to tolerate certain behaviors in women.

    After all that has happened with abortion, does any man have illusions that many women wouldn’t just as cheerfully murder their sex partners? Okay, ‘many women’ is not the same as ‘the woman I am with’. Still there are reasons one shouldn’t push too far with the woman one is sleeping with.

    I think it more likely that we will see a reversion to monogamy as the best solution to the problem.

  8. Feminists claim to want equality with men in all things. Yet female coal miners in the U.S. are more scarce than unicorns. Heck, female oil workers (drillers, welders, etc.) are practically non-existent; other than a bunch doing the necessary office work. I think I’ve seen ONE woman tossing garbage cans in the back of a garbage truck in my entire life; and they’re always advertising for more workers.

    Seems to me that Feminists are pretty damn discriminatory when it comes to wanting “equality”.

    • Yes indeedy. Equality of glory and prestige (perceived glory) but not equality of hard work.

    • Little Red Hen… they all will share in the eating, of course.

    • The feminists want the “good jobs”, but it’s like the military: In the combat arms units that have had women integrated, they gravitate towards what were once the “recovery jobs”, where the males who’d been injured could be put to work doing low-stress administration work while they recovered from injuries. Now that most of those slots are filled with females, there are no places to put the males who need to recover, sooo… They’re mostly not. Jobs like “Ammunition NCO”, or “Schools NCO”, which were once places you’d get a few years off the treadmill, shuffling paper and doing something different? Yeah; those aren’t there any more for the guys, ‘cos the chicks are in ’em permanently.

      Which means, of course, drastically lowered quality of life over the long haul for the males, and the chicks wind up garnering all the benefits for “rounding out their careers” for promotions.

      This is what you would term “unexpected third-order effects”, and you can see it in a lot of civilian companies and agencies that have similar dynamics. When the inherently physically incapable females wind up filling all the positions that were once used to allow broken males to recover and go back after recovery in those physically demanding fields, guess what winds up happening…? Higher rates of male health problems, lower morale, and the “fake physical laborer” females garner all the benefits, like going to the schools and getting the extra training.

      • Plus the minor hell aspects like how they put the women who get pregnant to get out of off of cruise into all the admin positions at the schools, making it impossible to do proper cleaning because they’ll declare they can smell the cleaning supplies, and the blankers are unable to actually do the paperwork, and then all your shiny new females get punished for what the worst of the worst have done when they were probably in high school before the users even got going.

        It really, really sucks.

        • No branch of the US military has really comprehensively grasped that boys and girls are different, or adapted to having women integrated into the force. The old-timers have institutionalized a mindset that refuses to hold women accountable for their behavior, and condescendingly grants them special favor after special favor, while deliberately screwing over the males in order to “make things work”.

          Disbelieve? Take the routine personnel policies, flip the sexes, and see if the males would get away with the bullshit females do. Oh, can’t work your MOS or become non-deployable because of things you voluntarily did, making you unfit for duty? If you’re male, you’re fired, subject to military justice, and usually thrown out. If you’re a female, they give you maternity leave and make everyone else pull your slack while you’re unable to perform the job you contracted to perform, sometimes for periods measured in years.

          If I were running things, I’d give the services so much damn equality that they’d burn my ass in effigy at all the social service agencies that have grown up like cancers around the bases. The military has one purpose, and that’s defense. Anything else is gravy, and you’re not owed a career in the service because of anything, let alone the set of chromosomes you happened to be born with. Serve, or get the hell out.

          • *snort* Check out the BS that non-user females get sometime– those “female” billets have to get filled, and every time some idiot does a “favor” for some skirt, another female– one that’s actually playing by the rules and, gasp, realizes she joined the MILITARY– gets shoved in to fill the gaps.

            It’s all about making the officers look good.

            • Back in the dark ages of the ’70s, I was giving a CBR/NBC course to my unit in Germany. Some of the female soldiers didn’t seem to think that they needed to pay attention.

              I asked them why not. Their response (more than one believed this) was that if the balloon went up, they’d get sent back to CONUS with the dependents.

              That ignored two facts, first, they had a job that would still need to be performed in a war, and second, that there weren’t enough aircraft to send the dependents home, much less female soldiers. They got a bit surprised when I explained that.

              • *headdesk* *headdesk*

                That is almost as bad as the gal during check-in who tried to strike up a conversation with me about how joining the Navy was a strike against the patriarchy or some ballony. She didn’t like it when I responded I’d joined the Navy to serve in the Navy.

                (9/11 was halfway through that boot camp, I have NO IDEA what her reaction to it was; for a blessing, I didn’t care enough about a mildly crazy person to recognize her at the other end of boot camp!)

            • Fox, it’s not just the commissioned side of things, either–Some of the worst offenders with regards to the double standards and “making things easy for the girls…” were the senior enlisted.

              My own belief is that the inherent culture of the US military is inimical to any attempt to integrate women, and it’s not all that hot at dealing with the consequences of modern society, either. I’ll be damned if I know how we picked it up, but there is a huge paternalistic seam running through the entire culture that just makes it nearly impossible to even discuss the issues without rancor or with any real candidness.

              They made the mistake of sending me to one of those “Army Family Action Program” seminars, where I made the point that the current system of not having a formal program for managing pregnancies in the force needed to be changed so that people like me wouldn’t wind up losing critical low-density MOS skills so that someone could (very reasonably, I might add…) start their family. Dear God, but I very nearly didn’t make it out of that conference room alive–Who knew that little Suzy Fancybritche’s right to get herself pregnant whenever she wanted was a basic human right, and that my suggestion that military necessity might necessitate some simple management policies to ensure that the taxpayer got their dollar’s worth out of Suzy’s recruitment and training…? The horror, the horror of it all.

              Frankly, they still haven’t gotten it through their heads that when you put boys and girls together in close proximity, they’re gonna boink, and when they boink, there are gonna be kids–The implications of which they refuse to deal with.

              • It has been patently obvious for a number of years that “military necessity” was, at best, a third order priority to the force.

              • To be fair to the Army– there’s a phrase you won’t hear much from me!– a big issue with modern society is that they’re not clear on the connection between boinking and kids.

                • How? I can recall at least four different occasions, in public school, where we talked about how reproduction works. You’d think at least one of those would stick.

                  • The same lessons where they say “use this pill and it will LOWER THE RATE of pregnancy by…” and everyone ACTS like they said “use this pill and you can’t get pregnant”?

                    Sort of like how they demonstrated that when you tell teen boys “steroids will make you have huge muscles with no work, but you have all these side effects” they stop listening after “huge muscles with no work”?

                    The fact that there *are* sexually active women who have unintended pregnancies– and a cottage industry in telling guys they’ve been horribly abused because the birth control failed– shows it didn’t stick.

                    Doesn’t make sense to me, either. I can believe when folks assure me it’s because they don’t want to believe it’s connected, but I don’t get it.

                  • It’s mostly wishful thinking, and a refusal to confront reality.

                    The same people have the same problem talking about the real mission of the military: Killing people, and breaking things. They cannot even discuss the issues clearly, or comprehend the need to do so. You try bringing up the ideas that a.) You’re going to have to kill people, and that b.) mistakes are gonna be made, and the whole thing just comes screeching to a halt. Nobody wants to talk about that shit, or the ramifications thereof, which leads to a huge part of the reason we have such massive problems with PTSD.

                    I dunno what the hell it is, but there’s a wide streak of sheer reality-denial slathered all over a lot of the decision-makers in the military. They’re romantics, in the sense of they’ve allowed their fantasy to suppress their understanding of reality. You see it in the way they won’t address killing in clear terms, and in how they address handling women in the military. Both issues are handled poorly, and that’s a reflection of the romanticism with which these idjits approach life in general.

                    A rational military would be set up such that it would acknowledge the fact that boys and girls are going to boink, when put into close proximity. The follow-on is that girls are going to get pregnant, and that this is a detractor from that girl being able to do the job she contracted for.

                    Rationally, we’d approach these things by telling all and sundry that hey, you’re contracting for four years of service, and the nation is going to get that, no matter what. And, that that service is not going to be calculated by you just showing up for duty, unfit for deployment. The standard ought to be “48 months of deployable service status, with no caveats…”, and if little Suzy Rottencrotch decides to try to get out of deployment by getting pregnant…? Too bad; too sad–The clock stops for her service time the day she renders herself undeployable, and if she misses out on a deployment, well… Suzy owes her remaining contract time, and an additional 12 months overseas in some productive capacity. Either that, or she can pay the taxpayers back everything they spent training her stupid ass, and what her voluntary unfitness for duty cost the nation.

                    And, if she chooses to renege…? Well, gee, howdy, it’s gonna come out of her ass at tax time for the rest of her life, along with the jackass that got her pregnant. Oh, yeah–Uncle Kirk, that asshole they made king for a day? He also instituted mandatory testing of the kid, for paternity and other reasons. Daddy ain’t off the hook, no sirree–He gets the bill for rendering Suzy non-deployable, just like if he broke a truck joy-riding or something. Takes two to tango, two can pay the damn bill.

                    You contract for a term, you serve that term in a fully-deployable status. You become undeployable? You may still earn a paycheck, but unless it was in the line of duty, your time ain’t counting towards either retirement or your contract.

                    Career-status females would have to be handled somewhat differently, with either maternity sabbaticals or some sort of transfer to positions that aren’t deployable in the first place. But, no matter what, pregnancies aren’t just “drop ’em when you want ’em”. Accidents will happen, for even the most careful planners, but the general gist of the matter should be providing manpower to the forces. Can’t deploy, for a voluntary condition…? Houston, we have a problem.

                    I’m really not a nice person, and the military I’d set up would be scrupulously fair, to the point that people would be burning my effigy at most bases. But, we’d be getting every damn dime out of our manpower dollar, whether or not that dollar was spent on a boy or a girl…

                    • What about rape, or various degrees of rape (i.e. coerced consensual), where pregnancy is a result?

                      Military service at the time, I would have signed up, would have destroyed me; being female and given my maiden name (it was bad enough given my chosen non-traditional career choice). I did look into it. At the time of the research, when being pressured to enlist, being underage, my folks would have had to co-sign. They absolutely refused. During my first year of college (when I was still underage) folks told me “they called and asked if I’d flunked out of college, yet” … at the time it just pissed me off, and that ended any considerations of enlisting, plus by then I had a small taste of non-traditional female field + maiden name problems on the horizon (in the form of asked question but then dropped, latter others didn’t drop it). OTOH, to be fair, looking back, it might have just been my folks being sneaky.

                    • > b.) mistakes are gonna be made, and the whole thing just comes screeching to a halt.

                      You’ve seen the military smartgun proposals? To “prevent incidents”, each gun would have a trigger interlock with a radio connection back to a “situation controller” somewhere, who would only enable the trigger if *he* thought the situation deserved it.

                      The micromanagers at the Pentagon probably think it’s a wonderful idea.

                    • Shades of the world building in “Stark’s War”.

                  • We had a rude and crude form of sex education growing up. Even if a girl had access to the pill, that didn’t do anything for STD. We had a slogan: “VD is nothing to clap about.” We knew if we got a girl in trouble, we would do the right thing – our fathers would see to it. The results was teen pregnancy was rare in the area.

                    Now so drug abuse. We knew about it; quite a lot. But we didn’t have the same self-made “public service announcements” as we did about sex, and drug abuse was a problem. When a kid sits in the back of the class with a soft drink cup with a vodka and drink mix, there is a huge problem.

              • If you don’t have a right, by regulation, to get a tattoo in a visible, or in some services, any location on your body; why the heck do they think it’s okay to put your body out of wartime service for 12 months?

      • You missed the laid off, permanent disability, and fired options. Sure, the guys may have long term health insurance, but by the time they’re done healing and going through PT and OT, any job they may have been able to do, or return to, in that company is history.

      • males who’d been injured could be put to work doing low-stress administration work while they recovered from injuries.

        My understanding was that most of those jobs were intended to allow men to finish their enlistments / qualify for pensions (i.e., “complete their twenty”) is somewhat productive roles while retaining institutional memory and ensuring the paper-pushers had some experience of what the pointy-end of the spear experienced.

        Which does not refute your point so much as make the pattern significantly worse.

      • You also end up with a lot more males having to take disability because those jobs aren’t available.

    • There are women on line crews, but are few and far between due to the strength involved. We’re a lot more mechanized now, but there’s still lot of physical labor.

      Around thirty years ago we were shown a film at a safety meeting where either a line crew or ROW cutters got what looked like a 46 KV line into a 7.2 KV or 14.4 KV line, and the damage as it happened to houses connected to that line. We all kept looking at that empty bucket, thinking the worse. When a woman yelled “Get me down!” we all laughed out of relief. But it was definitely a woman hunkered down in that bucket.

    • you also don’t see them clamoring to be required to register for the draft.

  9. “if that was true, who would be the ladies’ maids, the washerwomen, the cooks, the cleaning wench”

    I recall reading some piece of nonsense that argued that the invention of washing machines, vacuum cleaners, etc. has made the lives of women WORSE. Before the appliances were invented, you see, women “had maids” to do that kind of work, while nowadays they’re expected to do that work themselves. Therefore, worse.

    Yep. Not a single thought about the plight of the poor maid.

    • Don’t forget electric lights. Once you had brighter, non-flickering light, it was easier to see dirt, which meant that women had to spend more time and effort on cleaning to get rid of the now-visible dirt. Having white floors and white china meant that you were 1) rich enough to have someone to keep the things hyper-clean or 2) you worked exceedingly hard and were oppressed.

      I read several of those books in grad school, mostly from morbid curiosity. *head shake* The things people read into the past…

    • Yep. Not a single thought about the plight of the poor maid.

      That had puzzled me. And when ‘everyone’ (who mattered?) had cooks… who cooked for the cooks’ families? etc.

      • Read somewhere or other that in past times it was considered rude to clean your plate at a fancy dinner as then what would the help eat.

      • Cooks didn’t have families. “No followers” as they put it.

        In 19th century, “no servants” was considered the dividing line between the poor and the very poor. The poor hired the elderly and children instead of the adults that the better off did, but they hired them.

    • Or that not everyone had a maid. The alternative to the washing machine was the wash pot, a cauldron set on a wood fire stirred with a wooden paddle. There was a reason why women wanted washing machines.

    • “Yep. Not a single thought about the plight of the poor maid.”

      Which you can take as evidence that these people never saw those maids and servants as human beings in the first place. You want to find people who regard other human beings as “things” or household appliances, look at the upper classes or their intellectual heirs. The people who actually did the work tend to take a different view of it all…

    • OTOH, by historical standards pretty much anyone with a job and a,roof over theie head is rich. Maybe they never imagine what it would be like to be poor for much the same reasons that the wealthy have always had trouble imagining that.

      On the Gripping Hand, I don’t think the woman claiming the change from servants to machines has ever studied how much work managing servants was, either.

      • My father was heckled as a boy because his family rented an apt and paterfamilias had a steady job. Actually he was heckled at for his nice clothes, full belly and roof over his head. Because of this he supported himself from the time he was 14.

    • “Before the appliances were invented, you see, women “had maids” to do that kind of work, while nowadays they’re expected to do that work themselves.”

      Which neatly explains why Democrats wanted slaves then and illegal immigrants now, doesn’t it.

    • Hey! I’m glad we have washing machines and vacuum cleaners. I don’t have time to wash everything by hand or run a broom everywhere.

      • But if the Greenies get their way we will all be back to scrub boards. The new washing machines don’t clean nearly as well as the older ones do.

  10. Humans survived. They did that by engaging in behaviors that maximized reproductive potential. Competing species for that niche (perhaps: tool-using, intelligent, adapters who can change environment to suit?) that did not, or did not so well… they aren’t around to be asked or studied.

    My kind? We keep our thick-skulled, horned heads down for sound reason. Simple rules for simple creatures:
    1. Do NOT get on humans bad side. {If one closes his/her eyes ‘to make you go away’ — GO AWAY!}
    2. If unicorns avoid a place, keep WELL clear.
    There are more, but you get the idea.

    • Is one of them “Never, EVER, get between a mother and her child.”?

      • That only applies to women who value their children. Women who do not value their children usually are failures in the reproductive competition.

      • That is the simplest version, yes.
        Turns out it’s not quite that simple, but that is the way to go.
        Modified to be “Don’t be a threat around anyone else’s offspring.” might be more correct, but that takes more judgment than all too many have.

        • No kidding on that last part– I had a guy flip out because he was at a school, as an unknown adult with no kids or other obvious reason to be there, and all the parents were watching him with suspicion.

          You see, he was a college Libertarian type, and that was an attack because they’re supposed to read his mind and know he’s not a threat. -.- They were only allowed to decide that people might be a threat if HE thought it was reasonable.

          • His failure to recognize and accommodate the dynamic demonstrates his being a threat.

          • The stranger, quiet watchful introspective guy, is usually regarded with extreme suspicion until you know who and what he is. I have neighbors who thing I’d be creepy until they find out I have a sense of humor.

            • My folks taught us to People Watch, and they also taught us that if someone makes eyecontact– you smile and nod, and if they come over you are open about “oh, just people watching while I wait– there are some really (complementary thing you noticed, like pretty hair styles, nice jackets, well dressed people, kids that make me miss my cousins). How are you, today?” It signals that you’re not looking for anything, and that talking is even more appealing than sitting there watching people…even if it’s really not….

              If you’ve got a reason that isn’t predatory, they stop worrying.

              Although for heaven’s sakes don’t say something like “yeah, I’m watching because foot-traffic is a threat vector and given the time of year, I’m worried about terrorism.” Even if it’s true.

            • It’s always the quiet ones. The neighbors interviewed about the mass murderer/serial killer always say things like “he was so quiet” and “he didn’t say much, but he always helped the widow take in her groceries.”

              • I’ve noticed that’s changed since about Columbine, though– for that, they actually said “oh, holy crud, no, those guys were WEIRD and creepy,” and an awful lot of the other big-news guys have likewise been “freakin’ strange, dude.”

                Even the Las Vegas sniper was notable as being pretty out there.

                I wonder if it’s just that folks are more willing to admit they noticed there was something wrong, but there wasn’t really anything they could do about it…..

  11. “certain factors that may prevent the development of an Atwood style of patriarchal tyranny. a) many men want to get laid b) most men don’t want their throats cut.”

    As one of the wildling characters in Martin’s ASOIAF books put it (more or less): “A man can own a woman, or a man can own a knife. Not both.”

    The most far-fetched part of Atwood’s book is that Canada is somehow still a going concern despite the United States having been taken over by a military dictatorship.

    Sure thing, Maggie.

    It also bothers me that she gets so much credit for originality, when the book is basically just Heinlein’s “Revolt in 2100” with the serial numbers filed off.

    • But Atwood’s a woman, and spend’s more time on the plight of women, so that makes it original and special. (In fact, it is so special it probably rides the short bus.)

    • Which is why my Heinlein post for PJ this week is Revolt in 2100. Which is more plausible, but not markedly.

      • It may have seemed more plausible to Heinlein and people of the time, but by the time I read it it seemed fairly implausible.

        • it was. But there is an underlying truth.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Personally, I doubt the possibility of it happening happening when Heinlein wrote it.

          And IMO it couldn’t have happened in the four years that Heinlein had Scudder as President.

          IE Take over the entire US military in four years and nobody realized it was happening?

          It was an idiot plot which may be the real reason that Heinlein never wrote about Scudder’s take over.

          • Well we now know that after eight years it was only partially successful and even then primarily with senior officers and HR types.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              And probably dependent on the spade work done during the Clinton administration, which depended in part on Soviet work in US circles.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Good Point. 😀

            • THIS precisely. Under a different religion and a different name, this was what Obama aimed to establish.

              • why the f would anyone want to live under communism or socialism? Both awful places. I can see why Obama and HRC would. Get to be a dictator.

                If someone would invent a way to move rain from places of excess to places of lack would make a lot of money. Also a way to fight fires even better than we do today. Is it true that some things that’d reduce fires have been made illegal.

            • Oh and by religion I mean communism. But yeah, he was the first prophet.

              • Effing progressive socialist globalist who was raised from birth, wherever that might have been, to hate everything the United States of America stands for.
                Ask me in private and I’ll tell you what I really think.

          • > And IMO it couldn’t have happened in the four years that Heinlein had Scudder as President.

            With the current United States, no. As noted below, not even eight years of Obama was enough.

            But after, say, four Obama or Clinton-style presidents in a row, with everything collapsing around our ears? And maybe a couple of war defeats in there as well?

            Then it starts to look a lot more plausible. Look at what happened in Russia between, say, 1917 and 1921, or in Germany between, say, 1933 and 1937.

            Heinlein had his Crazy Years starting in the 1960s (which happened more or less on schedule), with Scudder not taking power until the 2016 election (estimate from eyeballing the chart, and recalling that Scudder was legitimately elected).

            Imagine a world where Reagan never got elected, and Carter’s second term was followed by eight years of Ted Kennedy, followed by…

            I don’t think we’d have a United States by now. Not as we know it. The remaining hulk would have been ripe for takeover by someone like Scudder.

            Adam Smith famously noted that there’s a lot of ruin in a country, but “a lot” and “an infinite amount” aren’t the same thing.

      • Looking forward to reading it. Link?

    • She’s a Canuck Proggie. What do you expect?

    • Not to mention that Christianity is the wrong major religion for that scenario to start with, nowadays at least (might have gone thataway in some points of history if things had happened differently, but highly likely it can’t happen anymore anywhere, regardless the existence of some small fringe cults from time to time – they are small, and they are fringe, and they are cults). There is that one glaring existing example of a certain major religion in countries where women actually are oppressed right now, and you could even go and see for yourself if you wanted (or dared, and could get a male relative, and with several cases, a big group of hired bodyguards armed to the teeth, preferably big male ones, to go with you).

      I guess the point is that Christians will not try to kill you when you insult them so it’s always a personally safe bet to use them as the bad guys.

      • This is where the much derided market forces take over: If Maggs had written the more plausible scenario of a Sharia Law takeover of Canada, complete with slave women for reproduction in burkas running around, and (for some reason – insert out-there plot point here) the US Watching With Grave Concern over the now militarized border, that book would have sold even fewer copies than the one she wrote.

        She knew her market would buy the one with the eeevul Christian Fundamentalists that everyone was going on and on about in the 1980s taking over the US and forcing themselves on the puir womenfolk.

        • Also, you have to look at the environment she was in when she wrote it in the first place. She was living in West Berlin and touring all the Soviet Bloc countries while there. So of course it was going to be a bash fest against the USA and their main religion.
          As to Burkas and Sharia law in Canada, that demographic wasn’t that large back in the early 80’s.

          • As to Burkas and Sharia law in Canada, that demographic wasn’t that large back in the early 80’s.

            True. I guess I was thinking more of the modern teevee show rather than her book published back in ancient times when Reagan strode the Earth.

            • Suzette Haden Elgin had space Muslims and a woman rescuing a girl poet from them. As a short story.

              When the book came out, there was a lot of talk about how really, the space Muslims were not that bad.

              And then she went away from doing a funnish Southern sf/f trilogy, and did a Handmaid’s Tale-style Southern sf trilogy, where alien linguists were also Tools of the Patriarchy.

              (Not saying she’s not worth reading, but sometimes you get there by wading thru crap.)

              • I have described the Doctor Demento Show as having a few wonderful gems and a lot of crap (thus it was best to record it and use Fast Forward often). I summed this up as “It’s like pearl diving in a cesspool.”

    • Atwood didn’t have to do much filing as the people to whom she was selling her story would surely never have read any Heinlein. They’re very Literary, do’nchooknow and Heinlein was a filthy genre writer!

  12. Ms. Atwood would roll over and cry if she were to go back in time and interview some of the American factory girls in the early 1800s. Factory work was very, very good – set hours, less dangerous and less physically difficult than farm labor, paid cash, and lower risk of assault. Families sent their daughters to the mills to earn honest money for the family and for dowries. Then the women left, got married, and established homes. Not until later, when you had mass immigration and a depressed national and global economy did you see the nightmares that led to (most infamously) sweatshops like the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. Machines made it possible for women to work outside the home as something besides servants. Pure muscle power wasn’t as important for some jobs.

    • It’s still happening today.

      People have a hard time understanding that, as bad as the conditions in the Chinese sweatshops might be (and they are pretty bad, by our standards), the life of a Chinese factory worker is still better than that worker would have experienced as a peasant in rural China.

    • Over all, I agree with her article’s big point – U of BC should be held accountable for the horrible way it treated the accusation against the professor and then sacked him after he was found innocent. Forcing someone to sign a non-disclosure form before they are allowed to know the charges against them is flat wrong, as is preventing the individual from defending himself in the court of public opinion while allowing, if not encouraging, attacks on his character.

      • The first thing you should do if confronted with a No-Disclose in such a situation is immediately walk away . . . to the nearest microphone and loudly exclaim you are being railroaded.

      • Yes, of course, but she doesn’t get what she did to bring things to this point.

        • No, no, because she’s so in “The Movement” that she can’t see the damage her advocacy has done. Like she can’t see how her books could be considered science-fiction. That “The Movement” has passed her by and is turning around to run her over never crosses her mind. (Like the activists in Florida nixing the pink pussy-cat hats because they discriminate against Women-of-Color [thus showing the anatomical ignorance of the hyper-activists] and male-to-female transsexuals *facepaw*.)

          • “Like she can’t see how her books could be considered science-fiction.”

            Like fun she can’t. If she didn’t read Revolt in 2100 at some point, I’ll eat a pussy hat.

            “That “The Movement” has passed her by and is turning around to run her over never crosses her mind.”

            Contrast with Scalzi’s abject, groveling cowardice any time he wanders slightly off the reservation and his Stalinist buddies let him hear the sound of tumbrels rumbling toward his nice lawn.

            (Hey, do you have any idea what kind of ruts those things leave?)

            “[thus showing the anatomical ignorance of the hyper-activists]”

            Yeah, it takes a rather poor grade of gynocratic cult to not know the difference between vulvas and vaginas.

            In my experience, while the color of the labia can vary quite a bit, all the actual vaginas I’ve seen were pink (there was, in fact, a crude saying to that effect that was common in my youth, used to express one’s willingness to have sex with a woman from any ethnic group).

            I suppose if you’re one of those people who have an imaginary vagina, it could conceivably be of any color. If I had an imaginary vagina, I think I’d go with a nice neutral taupe for everyday wear, maybe electric blue with gold metal flake accents for festive occasions.

          • A surprising number of people seem capable of reading Darkness at Noon without ever realizing how closely they ought identify with the protagonist.

            • Just like the CA Firefly fans that i used to encounter regularly who don’t realize that *they* are the Alliance. Y’all should have seen how the SoCal Brownshirts mailing list reacted when my roommate proposed a range trip…

              • I take it the answer was “not well?”

                Seriously, if you think you’re a Browncoat but freak out when someone has a gun, you’re a Purplebelly.

  13. The part about there having been a berry that worked like the pill and it went extinct in Roman times – Speculating without research, I wonder if it was systematically eradicated during the eras when the Romans were having issues with failing population, similar to ours. As in, declining birth rates, and a high incidence of abortion, or rather, infanticide. This was reputedly one of the reasons why Catholicism became the Roman state religion, because infanticide was considered a sin, taboo, and thus, automatically, forbidden.

    The last known plant dated to the time of Nero, which may predate declining Roman birth rates. It could have been over-harvested or it may have simply gone extinct.

  14. On top of that, hate to tell you, but women while hormonal are often not fully rational. We can sort of compensate for it, but one of the pregnancy hormones is SUPPOSED to make you fat, dumb and happy.

    From personal experience– we’re also a lot stronger on the “fight or flight, wait, I CAN’T RUN” reaction.
    I wonder if a lot of the “social anxiety” and general…well, bitchiness, in modern women, is because of hormonal birth control constantly tripping the “I am pregnant” signal– and they aren’t in a secure situation.

    • ***raises eyebrow***
      That would explain a few women I have known over the years.
      More than a few.

      • I’m actually a little sad to say it just occurred to me after listening to some of the stuff a female officer pulled on a decent, prior-enlisted, new officer.

        Suddenly I realized it sounded like what I have impulses to do while pregnant– “destroy it, NOW, with fire and stealth.”

        • oi
          Also makes me wonder about women who suffer panic attacks. I can think of one who, after other issues had her troublesome lady bits removed, and stopped using the Pill. She now has less of a problem with her anxiety, and I now wonder if stopping the Pill is helping that along.
          hmmm

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Maybe that’s where the insistence that the right is going to take away the pill comes from. If the pill really is the proximate cause of the irritating mental disorders we see among a certain set of women, and healthcare is being nationalized anyway…

          • I figured it was largely from the normalizing of…well, Mean Girl junk. Not knowing which of the white tiles was forbidden.
            But if you add in hormone manipulation, it’s like a subtle version of roid rage.

            • I’ve had to deal with roid rage before. Big burly Steve Stonebreaker jr. (yes, son of the pro football player) threatened me with “I’m bigger than you, I’ll hurt you.” But I took a Ross Mt. Hood mountain bike fork, stuck the drop-out ends in his throat and told him “I’m way smarter than you are, you’ll hurt far longer.” He got a bit pale and decided to leave the repair area real fast.

              • Good grief. Obviously, he was enough in control of himself to be able to avoid a threat– how much freaking indulgence was he use to getting? Or was this a time/place he might reasonably expect that threatening assault would get ignored, mostly?

                • We were both working for the Bikesmith in N.O. at the time, this would be around late 80’s (egad!) and it was fairly odd times. I always had a temper (When I was rehired after quitting 3 years before one guy asked “He’s not gonna choke me again, is he?” and the manager said “Well, don’t piss him off like that, and he won’t want to”) and he was pretty much a bully anyhow, but when he started up on the steroids he got worse. He eventually got fired (he also hit on about every female who came in the shop) , worked for a shoe store that catered to running and trying to capitalize on the Triathlon craze (it stopping dealing the bikes is a long story but short is they got burglarized) and after leaving the area he managed to blow out his back from over-training weights, and I last had heard he admitted it was roids that did him in.
                  on a lark, I Binged him,
                  here’s a pic of him: http://www.neworleansbicycleclub.org/archives/images/1984_Race_across_LA.jpg

            • This. One of the reasons why I can’t take birth control is because it seriously affects my emotional and mental state, as well as my physical. All the negatives? I got them. And I tried several. I just can’t. And frankly, it wasn’t worth it.

              • Whereas some women settle down much better with the hormonal supplements. Though some don’t believe it.

                • I really wish they’d try actually figuring out the female system, instead of hitting it with various hammers until it does what they want.

              • Ditto. Plus the migraines that were like the seven dwarf’s mining in my head that were “just my imagination”.

    • Would’ve thought chronic bitchiness would serve as natural birth control.

  15. I watched a video recently about a Russian guy who “Lived like medieval times” alone for an extended time. Now, we are talking a later time here then his 10th-11th century time frame, but what brought this to mind was during it, he managed to cut himself with his ax. Minor though it was, he was pondering how, back in the day, that was a rather common way to die. Then he mentioned that even into the 19th century seamstresses were dying from blood poisoning because they pricked their finger.

    • Heh. Probably explains how the idea for the tale of “Sleeping Beauty” first came up.

    • Trying to think of who it was in the family who died that way. The story went she stuck her hand with a needle “with black thread” and died of blood poisoning.

      • used to hear the older folks chatting when I was a kid and heard a good bit of “Got Blood Poisoning and…” either died or came close and was never the same again, or lost a limb etc.

        • A few years back Beloved Spouse was pulling dead shoots from one of our lemon grass plants, cut a finger almost imperceptibly in the nail-bed and nearly lost the arm before we got to the ER after a few weeks of it not healing. My kid brother had a similar experience with a splinter, IIRC, back when he was in his teens.

          So very very much that we take for granted.

          • grew up almost coated with Merthiolate or Mercurochrome.
            The applications thereof were often worse feeling than the scrapes they were covering

            • (Looks at a scar on a hand)

              Once ripped a hand open (well twice) on a piece of glass. Was fifteen at the time. We washed the wound and my mother disinfected it before we headed to the ER for stitches. She poured rubbing alcohol directly into the wound.

              Rubbing alcohol, tincture of iodine, Merthiolate and Mercurochrome. Those were our go-tos. They have a clear Merthiolate now. There was also something called Ergethine , a drawing salve that would literally pull small splinters out of minor wounds. They took it off the market for some reason.

              BTW, does anyone know if kerosene is a disinfectant? in construction we kept a bottle for the saws when cutting pine lumber, and the boss believed it also served as a disinfectant for cuts. Was never sure about that.

              • I have heard it being used as such way back when, but not whether it actually worked or not

              • Is kerosene a disinfectant? I suppose if you light it …

              • Oh, real merthiolate and mercurachrome were pulled because they had mercury, even though it was tied as a salt and absorption was less than you can get from florescent bulbs.

              • I saw in the store Clear Iodine and stupidly bought some before looking at the ingredients. Looked at them when I got home. That Clear Iodine really had NO Iodine in it. Almost all Alcohol and water.

              • our family seemed split in half. You either had Merthiolate (our house had it and both grandmas) or you had Mercurochrome. So what we got depended on who’s house you were at when you cur/scraped/stabbed etc yourself.
                Well, at uncle Jim and aunt Flo’s they might be out so you got the really strong spray-on blue stuff they had for pigs. That stuff really stung.
                Funny thing is we always had iodine but rarely did it get used on that.

            • I cut my thigh on a piece of wire as a kid (must have been ~8). I was so frightened of the merthiolate that I went into the bathroom and tried to wash it up myself with soap and water.

              What twigged mom to it was that I had *never* come in to wash up for supper before being called, and she could hear the water running all the way out in the kitchen.

              When she saw the gash I was trying to clean, she went across the street and got the neighbor lady, who sat on me as mom poured the whole bottle of merthiolate into the wound. I was not happy.

              Then she drove me to the hospital, where my pediatrician sewed me up with a dozen stitches or so.

              • sorry.
                I laughed at you.
                But, I once fell on a “pungy spike” playing kick the can, and it went in pretty far, but I gloried in the fact we had none one hand so it was cleaned only with hydrogen peroxide, which hurt too, but not as bad, and then all my folks did was a butterfly stitch of tape, gauze and I had to stop playing and keep it elevated or it leaked. Yeah, probably shoulda had stitches, but I got a cool scar outa it.

              • I’m sorry. I laughed too. But with loads of sympathy in there, I promise! The description you gave was hilarious though – but I still apologize.

                • Oh yeah, it’s funny now.

                  Even better was the wailing I did about the shot to numb me for the stitches, followed by the wailing about the stitches. (I really, really, REALLY did not like shots as a kid; unreasonably so.) When I was done wailing about how much the stitches were going to hurt, the doc informed me and my mother that she was all done. 🙂

                  • I had a story told to me about my brother fleeing the doctor and having to be chased around the clinic because he hated shots – the one he was getting was anesthetize him for the circumcision…

                    Oh, and I remember, looooooong ago, getting shots with the glass syringes with the large needles that you could see the hole of…

                    OOOOOOOOOOOOW~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    I remember Brandon getting his first immunization shot. He was quiet and calm – and I had Rhys hold him, because I’ve been the one to have to hold the babies all by myself before and I’m over it, his turn now! – and he was curiously looking at something and then the enraged wailing, with the tone of “WHY DID YOU DO THAT WHAT DID I DO TO YOU I WAS BEING QUIET WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY”

          • On a discussion of ads, some people scorning an ad about Johnson & Johnson sterile bandages — showing a woman on crutches looking longing at a dance about to begin, with the title “Never to Dance Again” — as fear mongering.

            Someone else pointed out that she knew someone who had lost a limb like that, though, since it was modern, there was a fair amount of idiocy mixed in.

          • The only serious infection I’ve ever had was a small scrape, roughly 1 mm square, that I picked up on the outside of my right hand when I was working outside. I honestly don’t remember how. Perhaps I scraped it on some brick or something as I went through the gate into the back yard while mowing the lawn. Who knows?

            A few days later, I was explaining to the nice ER doctor that I knew the difference between blood and lymph, while he was prescribing some powerful antibiotics.

      • The family story was that my great-grand-mother Alice trained as a nurse (sometime in the 1880s-1890s) and contracted blood poisoning through changing an infected dressing. It was while she was recovering from that, and staying with the family of a dear and presumably-well-off friend, that she met my great-grandfather, who was the society caterer, and hired to do an event at her friend’s family estate. GG-Alice was also a volunteer nurse for an emergency flu hospital in Reading, in 1918.
        Contracting blood-poisoning through cleaning a wound …

  16. Maybe it’s because self-employment is getting harder, but moderns tend to forget the division of labor was employment, and that division was based mostly on upper body strength. Granted one of my grandmothers did farm work, but that was after her husband died.

    All sorts of things. I know that when Georgia had the Land Lotteries, widows got a double portion with the expectation of selling off one lot to help make ends meet. This goes back to before 1810. So much for women not being able to own property in the US.

    On lifespan: Sure, wealth has an impact, in that you can eat better, but maybe genes and luck. Need to check, but my father has outlived his siblings and may have lived longer than an ancestor who outlived several wives. OTOH, no other male ancestor came close. That particular ancestor.

    Note that ancestor who outlived several wives. That says a great deal.

  17. The Left seems to repeatedly opt for going to war against the people they hate rather than the ones who actually threaten them. We see this in the current Trump Derangement Syndrome activities, such as Atwood’s screed and the recent Hawaiian nuclear drill, we saw it after 9-11 when they blamed and attacked Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld rather than the jihadis who actually perpetrated those attacks and promised more, and we saw it back in the Cold War when they were more focused on attacking those of our polity who said the Soviet Union was a threat than they were on the threat posed by the Soviets.

    The behaviour exists on the Right, as well, to a lesser degree, primarily among the alt-Right and those elements who are so tired of the Left’s attacks on them that they reflexively assume any new attack is coming from their ancient enemies on the Left.

    It is as if a certain personality trait incites people to attack those in their tribe who are different rather than face the external realities. Twenty-four years ago in Rwanda the Hutus perpetrated a genocidal cleansing of the Tutsis for no apparently greater reason than because they were handy to blame. It is a form of madness, but it is a common and very human form.

    • It’s Your Fault! Like cats when something startles them, but one attacks the other cat which was just sitting next to it instead of trying to for the vacuum or something else scary. There is the need to DO SOMETHING, and release anger, maybe, but the actual problem is seen as too big to handle.

      • … the actual problem is seen as too big to handle.

        Yes, attack the foe you aren’t paralyzed with fear of.

  18. Christopher Chantrill

    I think the idea that “women could not own property” in the bad old days misses the point. First of all, property meant land, and land wants to be concentrated.

    Widows from the upper classes had “dowers,” or income from the dead husband’s estate. Because men typically married young girls, a widow might marry three times and get three dowers if she survived all the husbands. The interesting thing to me is that there is no indication that the evil patriarchal legal system was used to deprive these widows of their dowers, even though they could be a serious drain on the heirs.

    In Trollope’s The Claverings there is a young widow that had married an old rich goat. The heirs hated it, but still honored the widow’s rights.

    • Women could own property, of course. In some places, at some times that was more difficult, is all. The idiocy, it hurts.

    • Even the Code of Hamurabi had women owning property and explicitly stated that there was no ‘givers regret’ It was, at a minimum, given for her entire life (though might pass back to the family after she died). If she had the deed, it was hers in full to do with as she saw fit including it going to her kids. I think Hamurabi’s code is a little older than most of these people want to think about women owning property.

  19. When I started to dig into medieval history, one thing that hit me the hardest was the mid-life death rate. Today, dying is something that old people do. We understand that 200 years ago, dying was something that babies and old people did. Back in medieval times, EVERYBODY was dropping like flies. Henry V, for example…who died at 38 from dysentery. It’s worth remembering that Catherine of Aragon gave (IIRC) Henry VIII five children…and they buried four.

    Another point – the medieval restrictions on women owning land were tied to the feudal system. Feudalism was a system of PERSONAL military service. A vassal swore to come personally to fight at his lord’s need…and his liege swore to come personally and protect his vassal. Women were, by definition, noncombatants, and hence were barred from inheriting any lands on which feudal duties were owed. At least lands covered by the Salic Law (much of France and northern Germany). Kindly note that elsewhere, women like Elanor of Aquataine could be Duchess of Aquataine in her own right. And the French were far more willing to accept the mother of an underage King as regent than the English were.

  20. It’s easy to sympathize with witches when you don’t actually believe in them. I doubt those particular feminists would be nearly so tolerant if they thought their weird neighbor really was making their cow sick or whatever.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Their weird neighbor the patriarch is making their periods rough because he hates women.

      My lack of interest in hunting down and killing, in more or less self defense, all of the weirdo magical practitioners /is/ more than a little bit because I firmly believe that their practices have no power.

      • I have read about the affair of the poisons. It came up one day, and I’m interested in true crime, so I thought, “Look! Here’s all this interesting stuff about it! It’s not even in very difficult French! I can Google any of the hard words!”

        Um. Yeah. There are serial killers and pedophiles who would think those poison-providers were weird, creepy, and sick. I just kept waiting for it to get a little less horrible and a little more understandable… and it didn’t. It was on the really sick side of both crime and the religion-flavored occult… and a lot of the people who were involved got away with it! Totally terrifying!

        The thing that killed me was the girl who was working for the poisoner, and who had to testify about all these terrible things that had happened.

        • I’ve heard that the word “witch” in the King James translation “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” might more closely be translated to “poisoner.” (King James had a noted obsession with witches, and if the word is close, why not?)

          If you read it as “Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live” the sentence becomes a lot more understandable from a modern standpoint. Poisoners are dangerous and usually vicious, besides.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            It is my understanding that the Hebrew word translated as “witch” means “caster of harmful magic” not “poisoner”.

            • From the old Jewish Encyclopedia:

              ‘An obscure class of soothsayers was called “mekashshefim” (comp. the “nomen abstractum” “kesha”; see Deut. xviii. 11; II Kings ix. 22; Mic. v. 12; Nah. iii. 4). W. R. Smith (l.c. p. 125) argues that the root “kashaf” means “to use magical appliances or drugs”; and many interpreters follow him. Those who doubt the correctness of this explanation are unable to suggest an alternative. This interpretation receives some support from the facts that the Septuagint in Nah. iii. 4 gives φάρμακα [“pharmaka”], and that the belief in the use of drugs or herbs is very old, as is shown by the mention of mandrakes in Gen. xxx. 14-19. In the oldest code capital punishment is ordained for this class of sorcerers (comp. Ex. xxii. 18).’

            • To be fair, witchcraft was often used to create poisons. As in “the affair of poisons” I enjoin you to google that if you have a strong stomach.

          • Actually, the worked kashaph is translated “witche” in the Geneva Bible (1587); Bishop’s Bible (1583); “witch” in the Coverdale Bible (1535); and “witches” in the Wycliffe Bible (1382 – 1395). The King James Bible, with the word “witch,” appeared in 1611. So, the idea that this is due to some obsession on King James’ part is just an urban legend.

          • What’s the big difference? You go to this creepy old woman. You tell her you want your uncle’s property. She gives you a powder. You put it in his soup, and you inherit.

            Is she a witch or a poisoner?

            Especially given that “magia” is something that works by unknown means, so willow bark tea and arsenic are both “magia” short of modern science.

            (As opposed to “goetia” trafficking with demons or chthonic spirits, and “theurgia”, trafficking with gods.)

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        IIRC C. S. Lewis commented that moderns are not “better” than people in the past who hunted witches.

        Moderns don’t hunt witches because they don’t really believe in witches.

        IE Witches are people casting harmful spells.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      They don’t understand that “witch” in most cultures (including where Christianity hadn’t reached) meant a person who cast harmful spells for no apparent reason.

      IE the job of the African Witch Doctor was to cure sickness caused by witches.

      • Was?

        There are two albino girls from Africa who succeeded in getting refuge status on the grounds that they would be murdered for body parts to use in witchcraft in the last year or so.

    • What people today fail to understand is that back then people BELIEVED in Witches. And what were Witches? They were Satan’s Saints! Empowered by him to do EVIL just as God’s Saints were empowered to do good. THAT is what they believed.

      If you believed that and thought that someone was a Witch would YOU let them live???

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Belief in malignant witches well predates Christianity. Such beliefs seem endemic to humanity.

        If anything, Christianity and maybe Judaism made it possible to believe that there is no malignant witches.

  21. the women attracted to intellectual or military pursuits are (like men) a minority

    N.B., such attainments did nothing to enhance their suitability as marriage partners, unlike the men who achieved such status. Because there is very little male hypergamousness.

  22. they are demonstrating an astonishingly blind and ideological view of history.>/I>”

    IOW, similar to their view of the present.

  23. hate to tell you, but women while hormonal are often not fully rational.

    No! How can you look at the incisive critiques of society by such geniuses as Atwood and Pussy-hatted protestors and reach such a conclusion?

    The Perils of Postmodern Progressivism
    By Sarah Hoyt
    There is a danger in embracing the “progressive” movement that is devoted to the 100-year-old ideas of a long-dead German intellectual and which aims to send the rest of us careening back to 1930s collectivism.

    A danger, that is, besides the filling of graves and that you, yourself, as a “revolutionary thought leader” will end up against the wall as the revolution eats its own children.

    This danger, far more eminent and horrible, and something that must be avoided at all costs is that your “revolutionary” and “resistance” activities, your brave speaking of truth to power will offend any number of your coalition.

    This has become much more likely – and terrifying – as the left has incorporated the most unlikely groups into their shoulder-to-shoulder march against civilization capitalism.

    Imagine my shock when I found out that the pussy-hat brigade was planning yet another “woman’s march” to protest the anniversary of the inauguration of our lawfully elected president. No, seriously, you could have knocked me down with a feather [sarcasm], I was that surprised.

    I mean, after all, a movement that started off protesting the removal of vague, unspecified rights from women who couldn’t actually even name a single right endangered by the election of Trump wouldn’t leave enough alone when after a year no rights have been removed from any woman anywhere in US territory. In fact, it could be argued that the #metoo movement has not only righted some long-festering Hollywood injustices and misbehavior but has encouraged women everywhere to go on the hunt for male scalps, deserved or not. …

  24. I think it should be noted that a significant part of the oppression of women came from other women. Fairy tales don’t have wicked stepmothers for no reason; there were real conflicts of interest there. And mothers-in-law can be monsters to their sons’ wives; my understanding is that this is still the case in present-day India, for example. Customs such as female circumcision and footbinding seem to have been largely imposed by older women on younger ones, too.

    • Many of the “wicked stepmothers” were originally mothers, too, but the Grimm brothers didn’t think that was a good model to display.

      There is a good psychological reason why older women will do horrifying things to younger women, and it’s related to “sunk cost”. If you don’t bind your daughter’s feet or do the genital mutilation, you might have to face the fact that such things might not be necessary, and what does that say about what’s been done to you? Note how horrified some older women in this country are when young women don’t want to wear makeup or spend all of their time dieting; if they’ve spent their whole lives pursuing a particular goal, and other people reject that goal, it feels like an attack on all the time they’ve spent on pursuing it. (It can also apply to other attitudes, if you like.)

      Foot binding continued for a thousand years. That’s a lot of time.

    • It’s just like another thing worth noting in modern society: Most gay-bashing comes from other gays. Straights don’t care enough. Closeted gays are usually the first up for beating the crap out of the un-closeted for two reasons: One, they think they need to because that’s what straights do, in their imaginations, and they’re getting the un-closeted gay back for having the balls to do what they’re afraid of admitting, even to themselves.

      Without exception, all the idiots I knew back in the 1980s who were part of that “let’s-go-up-to-Seattle-and-beat-up-gays” milieu came out of the closet themselves sometime in the late 1990s. As well, they mostly talked about doing it, and one has to wonder if the whole “We’re gonna go bash some fags…” thing wasn’t at least protective coloration for their trips up to the clubs where the gays hung out…

      Every time someone tells you how bad something is, or starts talking about the evils of a particular group or behavior class…? Start looking, ‘cos nine times out of ten, they are really talking about themselves, and their own self-hatred. Alternatively, they’re projecting what they want to do onto their victims. Face value ain’t ever accurate, with these people.

      • As with many modern attitudes, pTerry covered this one, too. “Why does she get to do it? I work so hard…” (I figure that isn’t a spoiler, because if you’ve read the book, you’ll know which character I’m referring to.)

      • So, all of the “people who dislike homosexuals are really closet homosexuals” had some basis in reality, but was largely projection?
        Why is that not surprising?

        • I think “dislike” is a bit too mild. I knew plenty of straight people who “disliked” gay (or at least used slurs without thinking about it, to be fair). It’s the “hate them/let’s go beat them up” people who are more suspicious.

          The opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy.

          • I used to honestly not care, until they banded together, got official recognition, and started screeching “thoughtcrime!” at anyone who didn’t enthusiastically support them.

            You want to become a persecuted minority, that’s how you become a persecuted minority.

  25. She asks: “Am I a bad feminist?”

    Umm…speaking as a *certified Paleolithic Neanderthal, I would say, Yes. But that’s only partly because I’m not sure there is such a thing as a good feminist. They are all badly educated and misinformed. Some are less civil and rational about it than others.
    By an entirely different standard, it’s because she objects to the prevailing “#YesAllMen” mentality which presumes that to be male and accused by a woman is to be considered guilty.

    It’s a badge of honor, Ms. Atwood. Wear it with pride.

    *By the supreme moral authority of at least one feminist.

  26. Re: having kids all the time —

    The SCA is a wonderful organization for appreciating the Middle Ages. It’s also big on nasty hit-pieces against, say, Catholicism, while insisting that the reenactors with Muslim personas should be able to do the call to prayer. Loudly.

    One of the nasty bits was a history presentation that turned out to be about “The Catholic Church is horrible and oppressive about sex”, and wasn’t very historical. But it did introduce me to a discipline that still goes on in the Eastern churches, but has been relaxed in the West since the 1600’s or so. (I haven’t been able to find the exact wheres and whens.)

    See, there were Jewish regulations about when people shouldn’t be having sex, or when it would make them ritually unclean. There was also a custom of not having sex if you were a priest who was about to go to Temple to do priest stuff, or if you were just Jewish, at certain times of year associated with fasting and seriousness.

    So in logical succession, Christians did similar things. Where there were married priests, they weren’t supposed to have nookie with their wives the night before saying Mass, just like you were supposed to be fasting from food and drink if you were going to say Mass or receive Communion. Nobody was supposed to be having sex during Lent or Advent, or on fasting days. (The Colplatschki novels sort of mention this in passing, which makes sense because it is definitely still a thing with the Russian Orthodox.)

    Obviously, this sort of thing was not done for population control reasons; it was more a part of worshipping the Lord and living a balanced life. Also, there were of course people who didn’t follow these rules, or who cheated. But as a societal norm, it did lessen the probability of married women becoming absolutely exhausted from continuous childbearing.

    And that’s why I’m very interested in finding out why the custom was changed, and what people thought they were gaining. (Well, more nookie more often, obviously. But besides that.)

    • I vaguely remember that some of the more philosophical religious started getting out of hand, in one of those go higher and faster things– and soon there were only a few weeks in the year that someone hadn’t declared folks should be abstaining.

    • The idea of a “sexually repressive” church in the Middle Ages is ironic given the accounts of the obligations of a husband in that place and time.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Sexually repressive perhaps could mean simply that it didn’t canonize serial rapists and murderers of children. 🙂

        • Nah, it doesn’t go quite that far.
          It just means the medieval Church put restrictions on sex besides “have both parties agreed to the boot-knocking?”

  27. Most practicing pagans and Witches (myself included) while introduced to Atwood, tend to leave her behind as we put years into our practices and older in life in general. Most feminist ‘witches’ are actually just fluff brained Wiccans who can’t be bothered to even build a decent mythology library. (Harrump!)

    Given the schism in many of the communities both on and offline when it comes the “elders” of the modern Neo-Pagan world, I’m surprised your comments were as polite as they were.

    Here recently it’s come to light that Bonewits was actually a bonehead. Atwood has quite a few… skeletons in her closet and not all of them baby sized.

    • It kind of sounded good when I was about 18, but with more years and reading a lot the holes became rather glaring. Since I am something of a contrarian by nature of course I couldn’t just take what I was told and not research it any more than I could take Christianity because I was told by a priest or similar. So I started reading about things like NDE research and some reincarnation studies which actually seem to hint that that may be happening at least sometimes, Stevenson being best known and most believable as a researcher – which is the main reason why I can’t go back to Christianity, there are things I find plausible and believe in, to the extent I can believe, which just don’t fit there. But Wicca and most of modern paganism is not a very good substitute, not the way they are mostly presented. The one redeeming feature, to me anyway, is the wide umbrella some of it claims, the “Many roads to Deity” idea. Although in practice too many seem to be a bit more judgemental than they claim to be.

      So I stay a pagan and a practicing Witch, using that word because while it may originally have meant a practitioner of black magic the meaning has shifted enough since that it fits, sort of, what I do. I do believe in the hereafter, just not that anybody truly knows what it is like and what the rules are, but I trust that the Deity, or Source, or whatever you want to call it if not God, is merciful and does not require you to stick to the exact rules of some specific religion in order to be saved (or whatever the right route forward might be called) because then everybody who had the bad luck to be born to people practicing the wrong one, or born too early, or maybe too late and so on would be screwed and that just can’t be right. As it is most humans do seem to pretty much agree what is good and what is bad, in the basics anyway, the disagreements start to come when it comes to specific situations (like murder bad, but then different cultures have all kinds of exceptions to that, like there are circumstances when killing somebody is not actually murder, like if it is a cheating wife or somebody not of your tribe and so on). So maybe there is a basic framework for doing the right thing, and you can follow it if you just listen to your conscience. One hopes.

      • Part of the reason I came to appreciate Penczak’s books. He did his best, to me it seemed, to provide a “Here’s a framework and things you need to think about with your beliefs” tool set unlike so many authors.

        In regards to that hope you mention, I’ve found taking care of those around me who’ve been brave enough to claim me as a friend seems to help. 🙂

      • The old-fashioned idea of “natural law” is a pretty good philosophical framework for action.

        But usually a religion and a life needs more than just philosophy; a good start isn’t the whole schmole.

        But it’s definitely a better start than nihilism or feel-like-it-ism.

      • I figure that a lot of the rules are not “follow this or I will send you to Hell!” but “follow these rules, because if you don’t, you’ll end up in Hell.” It seems like a subtle distinction, but it really isn’t. Like explaining physics to a toddler; the toddler doesn’t understand that it wasn’t you who took away his ice cream, it was the inevitable result of carrying it sideways.

        So you go to the Ten Commandments (depending on how you count), and you have the Don’t Kill (Murder) law. What’s interesting from studying people is that murder really does affect your personality/soul, and I figure it’s like magnetism. You get the poles aligned incorrectly and they push away from one another. So the “rules” are designed to get you aligned correctly, not to be arbitrary punishment.

    • What I meant is that they think of historical witches as all being these martyrs of feminism.
      Sure a lot of what got subsumed under “witch” were healers, etc, but note those aren’t normally the ones persecuted. (And usually they had other names.)
      In the historic sense, witches were usually dark. Making them martyrs of feminism is insane.

      • And a lot of the time, it was guys being prosecuted… sometimes because they were guilty. (Yeah, I didn’t get into that nauseating feature. All the guys were particularly nasty pieces of work.)

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          It’s “interesting” how few cases of “witchcraft” happened in Spain after the Spanish Inquisition decided that “witchcraft” was nonsense. 😈

          • The Inquisition even before that was well known for smacking down claims of witchcraft, because they popularized and spread a cutting-edge law enforcement technology– requiring evidence. They just applied it to “witchcraft,” too.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Nod.

              I remember hearing that some Catholic Orders (outside of Spain) while believing in “witchcraft” were also good at “requiring evidence of witchcraft” before convicting somebody of being a witch.

              • ‘s why the Inquisition was founded– to formally investigate stuff.

                It’s just so… strange to think of “evidence” as a development that needed to be made, even though it makes sense when you think about a time and place where you WERE likely to know everybody that was around.

          • You know what else cut down on the witchcraft accusations? Living in a jurisdiction where witchfinders got paid by being able to confiscate the property of accused witches. Like say Germany, where one of the accounts that I noticed mentioned the detail that the witchfinder rode a better blooded horse than the local baron.

            English common law didn’t allow for civil asset forfeiture, and the result was that England had a LOT fewer witch trials. I sure wish we hadn’t decided to bring it back for the Drug War.

      • “feminism is insane”.

        No need to be redundant now. 😉

  28. Do not be afraid of being an “old maid.” The disgrace attached to that term has long since passed away. Unmarried ladies of mature years are proverbially among the most intelligent, accomplished, and independent to be found in society. The sphere of woman’s action and work is so widening that she can to-day, if she desires, handsomely and independently support herself. She need not, therefore, marry for a home.

    Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms & Correct Writing, published 1887.

  29. I was curious so I went and read it. It was much calmer and less screechy than I expected. Yea yea… war on women… reproductive rights… and she even (or so it seemed to me) tried to intimate that there is a huge political group arrayed to take women’s rights away any day now (gasp!). As if, even if such a group existed, they would have a chance in hell of succeeding.

    Well, I suppose there are groups that disagree with abortion that would gladly take that “right” away, and I suppose they might actually succeed some day. The thing is, as far as I’ve ever seen, none of those people are anti-women, or want to stop abortion in order to “keep women down”(1). Most of them really do believe that abortion is immoral because it involves taking a life. So they are more pro-baby than anti-women.

    All in all, not the man-hating, screeching, incoherent feminist rant that I was expecting to read. Perhaps she IS a “bad feminist” after all.

    (1) Well, there was this one dude I met years ago. He was basically against any rights for anyone but him. Total a-hole.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I can either be against abortion, or I can be for murder equality. If I think Gary Ridgway should be in jail (or executed) for strangling women, why should I excuse behavior that seems similar to me, simply because the victims are conveniently omitted from a legally protected category?

      Okay, I am a consistency obsessed nutter.

      There do seem to really have been legal codes which gave men a much freer hand to kill women. If sexual jollies justifies abortion because of current legal theory, what would sexual jollies justified under these other legal codes?

      There is more constituency in the United States for a ban on abortion than there is for murder equality. Though maybe Islam will change that.

    • No, what struck me was that she sees there are problems, but still holds on to all the old thoughts that created them.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Nod, she has many of the same positions of the people she is criticizing.

        IE The problems that she is seeing are a logical off-shoot of her own mind-set.

      • We frequently observe this in people fleeing the collapse of Blue State politics and seeking refuge in Red states … then immediately starting to demand enactment of the policies to which they had grown accustomed in their Blue states.

      • I see your point. Still, it seems rather enlightened by comparison to the “real feminists”. Perhaps, if she continues along this path of being a “bad feminist”, one day all these problems she sees will add up for her and she’ll discover the world really is a lot different than what she believes. I’ve seen it happen. Unfortunately, people like Atwood can’t be taught. They need to discover the truth for themselves or they will never accept it.

        This is why the “Left” fights so hard to keep anyone from reading/seeing anything from the “right” point of view. It might give them ideas, and ideas lead to thought, which leads to understanding.

    • Most of what was objectionable in what she said struck me as ritualistic bowing that had pretty much nothing to do with the substance of the article. She was saying, “Look, I really am One Of You, I believe that woman are heroically oppressed victims who face a constant battle with the Evil Right Wing Patriarchy just to be able to leave the house every morning, but I just have to dissent from ‘All men are guilty’ line in this one case. I’ll flagellate myself for my heresy, so please don’t cast me out forever.”

    • … more pro-baby than anti-women

      Surveys repeatedly demonstrate that the pro-baby women are a greater majority than pro-baby men: “a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 71 percent of women favored at least a 20-week ban on abortion, while only 63 percent of men did.

      Never trust the MSM’s presentation of a debate in which the MSM has already taken a side. Watch (if you can) their coverage of the March For Life in DC this come Friday, January 27. Contrast that with the coverage of the Pussy Hat March.

      • If you can get the wording for the surveys they use to show that women are “pro-choice,” you generally find that by the definition they use, the Catholic Church is not “anti-choice.”

        In Catholic moral teaching, removing the tube in the case of a Fallopian located implantation is licit, even though the child’s death results– in the surveys, it’s not.

        Which is part of why it’s so hard to find the surveys.

        See also, surveys that show the vast majority of “religious” use contraception; they either define periodic abstinence as contraception or openness to life as not to be counted, as well as removing everybody who isn’t “sexually active.”
        (Although I haven’t found one that defined “sexually active” the way my Seattle doctor did, where it involved more than one partner in a year…..)

  30. Because we are talking about Margaret Atwood today, there is an aspect to the story that an American would not know about or consider. That is the size of the literary community in Canada. It is -really- fricking small. And insular. And the backbiting and clawing for the top is horrendous.

    Leading to a very incestuous type of situation. Also an opportunity for old men to get a crack at young girls using their power of position as a carrot and a stick, both at the same time.

    https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/01/10/analysis/award-winning-author-slams-twisted-perk-university-jobs-after-scandal-rocks

    Of particular note in the article is the datum that one cannot be published in CanLit circles without a government grant. They will not even look at your work unless you have completed the grant filing.

    That is the environment Margaret Atwood lives in and works in. I mean to imply -nothing- regarding Ms. Atwood herself by that observation, only that she has been very successful in negotiating that terrain. She is now a Grande Dame of Canadian Literature, a woman with few equals in that world. I have never heard a bad word about her. As far as I am aware she is as pure as the wind-driven Canadian snow.

    But.

    In case anybody was wondering why Handmaid’s Tail* is the way it is, that’s why. Hating Americans is a major sport in Canadian Ivory Towers. The virtue signaling runs deep, spreads wide and is profoundly unsubtle. Otherwise you don’t get a grant.

    *Yes, I did that on purpose. ~:D Hee!

    • I’ve never quite understood the desperate need here in Canada for gov’t approval/support. It’s like a magic stamp or something.

      • Do the literary folks in Canada like to think of themselves as “speaking the truth to power” as much as their US counterparts? If so, one would think it would be counterproductive to only allow authors to speak if “power” loves them so much that they’ll shower them with money in order to do so.

        For that matter, you might think it would hurt their reputations in places like the US if anything literary has to be approved by the government. (Then again, I suppose the “serious artists” in the US have always approved of propaganda as long as it comes from the right source.)

    • All you really need to know about Canadian “literature” is encapsulated in one work, the national award that it won. That work? Marian Engel’s Bear, which won the Governor General’s Award for English-language Fiction in 1976.

      I heard of this thing, thought someone was screwing with me, and sought confirmation that it existed. It does, and it did win the award listed. It’s basically erotica describing the sexual relationship that developed between a young woman… And, a captive bear.

      You read that right. Sample passage: “She cradled his big, furry, assymetrical balls in her hands, she played with them, slipping them gently inside their cases as he licked…”.

      Governor. General’s. Award. English-language Fiction.

      I don’t know if it’s the climate, the lack of light during winter, or what, but Canada has disturbing depths of strange, when you get right down to it.

  31. Come for the hilarious fisking gifs, stay for the incisive essays.

  32. I took some classes in medical botany at the local arboretum. One of “those herbs” used for birth control was foxglove berries. Take enough of the berry, and it will abort the fetus. The trick is not taking enough to abort the mother along with it.

  33. I believe the correct term for anyone who punches somebody who cannot punch back is bully.

    #MeToo Empowers Women to Mistreat Powerless Men While Donning Victim Masks
    By Sarah Hoyt
    What I love about the modern feminists – or the patsy females who go along with them out of a vague sense of solidarity – is that they are putting paid to all the theories of women being kinder, gentler, and more trustworthy than men.

    This is in a way a good thing, because that myth, like the myth of the noble savage, is one of condescension. Denying us the full range of human agency and ability for evil as well as good amounts to considering us less than human, sort of victim/pets that always have to be cared for.

    It is also a good thing because between chivalrous romanticizing of women and the left’s fetishizing of women as victims, we’re giving “feminists” way too much leeway for their horrible acts.

    Take the #MeToo movement. [Please!] …

  34. Captain Comic

    One of the classic “second class” elements was women walking six paces behind the men.
    In modern times? Yeah, kinda misogynistic. But in modern times it’s mostly in the (Not All!) Muslim cultures.
    Traditionally? It meant that they were at the back of a family/community group.
    Which a vet would call rearguard or six. A very dangerous spot with very important duties.

    • Watch a large-ish family group at an amusement park sometime.

      Dad, or a BIG male cousin, will be at the front.

      Smaller, faster adults at the back– usually mom or aunts.

      The tipping point seems to be three kids, although if you’ve got a big enough group you’ll see adults doing it, too. Biggest person on point, most agile non-plow at the back.

      • In larger crowds, where side by side just won’t work. Hubby, being 10″ taller, I let go in front. I don’t loose him in the crowd. I go first, at 5’4″, he looses me almost every time, unless he is right on my heels, holding my hand.

        Yes. I can visualize tribe movement, where men in front protecting against unknown. Kids, and women with infants and toddlers in the middle, keeping order in the tribe, needing the protection. Women and younger post kids/adolescents, at the back protecting from the unknown behind.

    • Totally inappropriate, but I always wonder how often men in places where all women have to wear identical burkas get the wrong person when they speak or do something. I know, the women try not to let that happen, but the mental picture is amusing. Or would be, if the Saudi and other religious police believed in humor.

      • It could be a hilarious skit premise for any of a number of British comedians, although I suspect men in such countries become surprisingly adept at recognizing characteristics of movement, gesture and other components of body language, not to mention various nuances of eye shape, color and movement.

    • There’s also the element of women walking to a certain side of the man. Which was a product of city streets and things being pitched from upper windows – so the man walked on the outside (where it was more likely to hit).

      One of the problems with progs is that ol’ “the perfect is the enemy of the good”. So, when something that actually had a point became corrupted in some way, the whole thing must be evidence of all the evil they see, and must be abolished entirely.

      • My mom still growls every time she sees an obvious couple walking down the sidewalk with the lady closest to traffic.
        Gentleman closest to traffic, then lady, then any kids. If there are too many kids, both mom and dad nearest traffic, kids between them, dad at the front.

        • In modern times, when vehicles are less likely to splash muck onto pedestrians it has become customary in some cities for the man to walk on the inside, thus being more likely to intercept muggers and similar assailants.

        • Depends on which hand he shoots with.

        • Yeah. We’ve taught our kids to walk on the side away from traffic when walking with us. Vincent was very unhappy with ‘so if a car gets stupid, we’re the ones most likely to get hit and die, not you.’ We had to explain that protecting our kids was what we parents do… cue tears.

          • On a practical level, it’s also a lot easier for me to pick them up as I run past, rather than lunge forward, grab them, and then throw myself backwards.

            …but yeah, I’d rather I get hit.

            • Vincent would get bellowed at if he walked on the wrong side of Uncle Aff. He could walk slightly ahead or beside, but not behind. Aff had to be able to keep an eye on him – for much the same reason – if necessary he could pick Vincent up and fling him out of harm’s way.

              Aff walking on that side saved another kid’s life – As the two were walking to school, a car parked, a kid a bit older than Vincent got out, the father got out on the street side; and the kid, for some reason, went to the street side via the back, probably to meet with his dad and cross the street – and the father had walked to the sidewalk from the front, with the intention of crossing at the pedestrian crossing. Aff leaned sideways, snagged the kid by the back of his shirt and bodily lifted him back to the sidewalk – narrowly missing the car that almost hit him. Kid stood there, confused, while the father went pale, glanced at the street, then Aff, then the street and then kid, and then gasped “Are you an angel?” *almost in tears* “You saved his life!”

              “No, sorry.” *to kid* “Be more careful next time.” *kept walking to catch up to Vincent, who was waiting at the end of the sidewalk, as he’d been told to do and not cross without Uncle Aff.*

              Aff told me the story when he got home, more amused about the fact that he was called an angel, and got very, very confused when I hugged him and thanked him.

              • *laughs* Oh, I can almost see that. The instinctive “I am here to snag boy out of traffic– is boy, that’s traffic, SNAG!”

                • Yep, pretty much what happened. Aff said he paused only long enough to check and see if he’d 1) scared the kid 2) kid was unhurt and 3) expected to get punched by father because HOW DARE YOU LAY A HAND ON MY KID – but the father saw it all and didn’t react that way. As he walked off though he saw that the dad was hugging his kid really, really tight.

      • when something that actually had a point became corrupted in some way, the whole thing must be evidence of all the evil they see, and must be abolished entirely.

        N.B.: this does not apply to socialism, socialists nor SJWs.

  35. While a lot of people died early- there were a lot of old people around a few centuries back.At least in my family. My 5G-Grandfather Joseph Henry 100 years 1723-1823, wife Martha 101, 1727-1828. Their daughter only lived 96 years, her husband 95. They were in England. I have all sorts of direct ancestors on my tree that far back living between 80-100 years. And several xG-grandmothers who died in childbirth. In general, it looks like a woman who DIDN’T die during childbirth lived well past 60.

    I can also document a whole lot of ancestral cousins that never made it to adulthood. Maybe it was different in Portugal, but where I can trace reliably, seems like in England, Scotland, Wales, Canada and the United States old people 70 and up weren’t museum pieces because of their rarity. Ireland looks like a different story… The reason couples had so many children is because the death rate for children 6 and under was huge. Once you survived all the childhood diseases, the chances of living to an old age increased dramatically. Back then virtually every woman lost a child. Nowadays childhood death is rare.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Ancestors aren’t necessarily a statistically representative sample of the population of the time. In part because we can be certain that some of the causes of mortality killed people before they had a chance to reproduce.

    • Sure, there were hereditary long-lived families (Dad’s side, for one, where 80s was normal) BUT for the majority of people eighty was unimaginably old. And older people were “older” too.

  36. You forgot the pregnancy hormones that make women:
    – irritable and prone to hysterical outbursts
    – with fat ankles
    – and zits
    – and a crazy, irrational BITCH!

    I know, because I was pregnant 3 times, and, yes, I was – on occasion – all of those things.

    • I mean I cried like a lunatic, but I wasn’t exactly irritable. It’s more that it brought out the four year old for whom everything was a fuzzy lambkins.
      The weirdest was crying at killing the cat’s fleas.

      • No, that’s not irrational, AT ALL!

        • well, I wasn’t irrational towards the guys, and didn’t get bitchy. Just droopy and sad.

          • *laughs* My safety gets removed– I’ve already got a hair trigger, but I’m USUALLY better at sitting on it.

            So I tend to get really, really quiet in person when I’m preggers, because between the panic attacks and the temper, I’m scared I’m going to hurt someone. (Emotionally. My lizard-brain still realizes that violence is a matter of “I am sure I’m about to die,” thank goodness.)

  37. The comments about all of the feminists believing they are the upper-crust ladies, and who were all the chambermaids and such got me thinking….
    The problem is the feminists don’t view such things as “working outside the home”, they view them as drudgery, akin to slavery. What they view as “work” is prestigious stuff, like men did. Because men who weren’t also drudges did cool, important things like soldiering (been there, done that, not really as prestigious as you think) and running things, you know, doing stuff. This is what they mean by “outside the home” – somewhere they might become famous. Or, most importantly, in charge.

    Modern feminism has never been about equality. It’s always been about power. It’s always been power envy.

    • This is what they mean by “outside the home” – somewhere they might become famous. Or, most importantly, in charge.

      Yes – they do not dream of being Ralph Kramden or Ed Norton, they dream of being J. B. Biggley.


      Without having to pay it the company way.