Dreams Whose Time Has Passed – A Blast From the Past From January 2013

Dreams Whose Time Has Passed – A Blast From the Past From January 2013

Years ago, I was talking to an older writer friend and she said wasn’t it weird how the future they expected and anticipated, with refectories and public crèches never came to pass.  I pointed out that, though they weren’t provided in a centralized manner, it had come to pass.  Back then (early 2000s) we were living a rather hectic life and often stopped for take-out – along with every other family with two working parents, also stopping for takeout.

It is natural for science fiction writers to think of centralized solutions for the future they want to happen.  This is natural not only because most science fiction writers older than I (and even more younger than I, but the reasons are different.  The younger ones were indoctrinated rather than taught) thought that the only way to achieve brand new patterns of living would be through top down imposition, but also because it’s easier to write a government solution for something, than the myriad, lurching confused, responses of the market – no matter how much more efficient the second is, in the long run.

This is the exact same reason we often end up with our characters saving the world or something of the sort and in my case often in the space of two weeks (I like stuff to go fast) because it’s much harder to say “And then some guy in China did this, and then…”  Also, makes for lousy stories.  The climaxes just are no fun, if you have to show a bunch of people no one heard of before doing a tiny bit to turn the situation.

Anyway, my friend was shocked at the idea, just as she was shocked at the idea that as it was most people WERE being raised by strangers in daycares.

This brings me to a fascinating paradox.  We are supposedly living in an age when feminism won and therefore we have all become… men?

Look, I know some of you – possibly because I WAS saying heretical stuff – interpreted my blowing steam post as meaning that I wanted all women to go back to the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.

Actually, I don’t believe in broad groups and that very much includes “male and female.”  No, I don’t think that those are “social constructs” – sorry –  even if some of the ways the inherent tendencies express are very much a cultural thing (after all, Elizabethan men wore make up.)  BUT I do think that when you talk about the statistical female and the statistical male you are not, in fact, talking about anyone who exists.  You’re talking about “in general, it is this way.”  Lies, damn lies and statistics.  Depending on where you hang out, you might not know a single woman who is in the center of the IQ curve, who loves shopping and whose greatest ambition in life is to have babies.  (I do know some women like that.  It always strikes me as offensive from a writing POV, the same way my Chinese dry cleaner annoys me.  I mean, shouldn’t these roles be less stereotypical?  What was the Great Author thinking?)

Although there is, broadly speaking, a female brain and a male brain, very few people have a perfectly gendered one.  My older son, in the few minutes before my eyes glaze completely over, has gone on about hormone baths in pregnancy and also how your hormone balance throughout life will affect your epigenetics.  Pregnancy does change your brain too, if you have kids and heck, an extended period on some contraceptives changes your brain too.  And one of the characteristics it changes is how well you fit your gender prototype.

Stereotypes of course got to exist for a reason.  Meaning they have SOME predictive value.  If you know someone who is madly craving a brood of children there’s a good chance the person will be female (though apparently once upon a time it was my dad.  And the partner who didn’t want ANY was my mom.  So they ended up with two.)  But in your circle of acquaintance, the person who really wants kids might be Joe, and the person who is a type A career driven maniac might be Mary.  And in ten years it might be reversed.

So – what do I mean by all of this?  Why am I confusing you?  There isn’t enough coffee for this – just this: people are not the group they belong to.  Humans aren’t chips to be moved around a board.  You can’t say “Group A was advantaged for centuries, so we’re going to punish their descendants.”  Not only aren’t their descendants the same people who got an advantage, but the reason that advantage existed might now be completely gone.  (For instance part of the reason males had an advantage in career was that, frankly, they couldn’t get knocked up.   Which meant their lives were less likely to be interrupted by stopping to have have babies [and trust me, it does a number on your brain] than women were.  Reliable contraceptives have stopped that.)

In fact, the ultimate definition of evil is always treating humans like things.  Humans have this tendency, statistics or not, to be highly individual.  Take me, for instance – for a while in my life (we were furnishing and rehabilitating a house) I hung out with the good old boys outside the hardware store, waiting for it to open.  I still like carpentry.  I was a tomboy until I had kids, and in some ways I still am (as you’d see, if you could glimpse me fighting the boys with nerf swords, up and down the stairs.)  So you’re thinking I’m a boyish type female.  I’ve certainly never had trouble competing with men intellectually or professionally.  BUT I love doing crochet, I enjoy dressing up and make up and if you saw me out – in high heels – for an evening with my husband you would think I was the girliest girly who ever stepped.  (The only form of shopping I like is for shoes.  Deal.)  I also wanted to have a dozen children.  (Stoopid lack of fertility thwarted me.)  And I chose a career that allowed me to work at home and raise the boys rather than the more monetarily rewarding career I could have had in translation or teaching.  (The fact I really wanted to write is neither here nor there.  The reason I quit my technical translation job was that I had pre-eclampsia with Robert and it does interesting things to your brain.  The reason I chose not to go back was that trying to establish myself in writing, instead, allowed me to stay home and raise him myself.)

The point is, if you try to fit me in either role, you’ll get me very upset.  (And trust me, no one wants me very upset.)

And I fit about as well in “the thing to do” now as I would have done when the “thing to do” was to “be a good wife and mother.”  I chose to have a career AND to raise my own kids.   So the career had to be one that allowed me to raise the kids, but I failed at soccer mom 101, because I was busy writing. Both were perfectly reasonable.  I had to do something intellectual or I’d go batty(er) and I always wanted to write fiction.  At the same time I’d seen the result of kids raised by strangers, knew there was a good chance my kids would be outliers of the type that always do worse in daycare, and I decided no, I wanted to raise them.

Yes, I spent years being looked down upon because I stayed home to raise the kids.  A gentleman who BARELY escaped having his head bitten off, this only because he was too stupid to talk to, at a party for a company Dan worked for in the late nineties, asked me what I did for a living.  I told him I was a writer – at the time I had sold my first novel, had five stories published and WAS working 8 + hours a day on getting the career off the ground.  Yes, I was normally working with the kids playing legos at my feet, or reading in my research chair.  He asked what I’d had published, and when I explained, he curled his lip and said “In other words, you’re a housewife.”

Now, the anedocte is illustrative of two things: first, he thought being a housewife was bad.  In fact, he thought it was so bad that he decided I was lying about writing (I still wonder how easy he thought it was to sell five stories and a novel.  Let me tell you, at the time, not easy) to cover up my condition as housewife.

He wasn’t the only one.  All through my life I’ve run into people assuming that a) because I’m married; b) because I chose to have kids;  c) because I chose to raise my own kids, I must have the IQ of warm milk.

Without an exception, the people making this assumption were feminists – whether male or female – and would have said that they were for female equality…

I’m fairly sure the shows showing every position of power from police captain to corporate exec as female (for double points female of color!) also think they’re striking one for equality.

My question is…  If we must all be equal, why must we all be equally male?  Why shouldn’t it be equality of opportunity: jobs have certain requirements, if you can fulfill them we don’t care what gender equipment you were born with.  (Unless the job is prostitution, where legal, of course.  Oh, wait.  That falls under requirements.)

I don’t at all oppose showing women in positions of power – though I’d prefer if it were made clear there is a price in both cases.  The stay-at-home, no-job mom will be paying a price in employability and also in social standing.  But the career woman also pays in an often (though not always) lonely life and in childlessness.  There is no perfect path.  You lays your bet, you takes your earnings.  BUT I do oppose showing women in EVERY position of power (or just about.  Sometimes you’re allowed a minority guy in those roles.)

Why is it that from promiscuity while young (though I think that is because of the misguided late-nineteenth century idea that if we all had all the sex we wanted there would be no neurosis.  We should be past that now) to single minded pursuit of career as an ideal, we are pushing women into male roles and giving male roles the high status even as we disem-power (totally a word.  Deal) REAL males.

It’s as though we’ve determined the best  thing possible for society is for everyone to be males or ersatz males.  And ersatz males are better.

In a truly feminist society wouldn’t the female roles be more valued?  Wouldn’t we have guys bragging how they stay home with the toddlers because they’re way better at it than their wives?  Wouldn’t we have women embarrassed to admit that kids were put in daycare?

And you know, the puzzling thing about this, is that – no sentimentality considered – traditional female roles were of paramount importance.  The raising of the next generation is not only vital, but perhaps the most vital to the continuation of the civilization.

It is also one done very badly by strangers, be they the government or private people.  It is not the first time a civilization has tried this.  In fact, squinting and from a distance, our pursuit of status through abandoning of the raising of our own kids is exactly what Rome did, and what the French aristocracy did, and what the British aristocracy did.  And every time – mark me – every time the kids thus raised either brought the civilization that created them down, or had a d*mn good whack at it, even if saved by peripheral events.

The fact that we consider raising kids low status shows how far we’ve come to devaluing women in this supposedly woman-centered society.  This is just like the promiscuity that is supposed to “liberate” women actually results in young men who never feel the need to commit to a monogamous relationship.  Who is it liberating?

Look, the old model was restrictive and oppressive.  No doubt about that.  There were, I’m sure, excellent scientific brains that could have advanced humanity but instead were expended in the dark dankness of a cottage, rocking the cradle, because women weren’t to be taught.  (For that matter, I’m sure that there are excellent brains covered by burkas in places where women are simply what’s between their legs.)

The new model is restrictive and oppressive.  Young women are taught that wife and mother is not an honorable choice even if they are working at home AT THE SAME TIME.  Even if their profession is demanding.  For that matter, young men are taught that staying at home to raise kids is somehow wrong.  (For a brief time my husband was the “kindergarten mom” and I went out to work.  The sneers were WORSE.)

Are there women who would do very well in combat?  Probably.  And given other psychological arrangements (like, perhaps the instincts of their male colleagues cause problems, so perhaps an all-female unit, if it can be managed) if they meet the requirements men meet, let them do it. There are women (vanishingly few) who can fireman-carry a 400lb man out of a burning building.  And if they pass the tests, for the love of G-d why not let them do it?

But please don’t push them into it, don’t lower requirements for them, and don’t sneer at them if they choose NOT to do it.  Value what used to be called “men’s work” and “Men’s ways” and “women’s work” and “women’s ways.”  It’s all human work.  It all needs doing.

In the same way – I know a few couples this way – if the man is more nurturing and wants to stay home with the kids, suspend the jokes.  And if the man wants to be an engineer and the woman wants to stay home and cook and sew and raise babies, what business is it anyone else’s?  Why should people be made miserable to fulfill dreams of past generations?

Oh, sure, I’d prefer a future in which because of tech we have even more flexibility: a future in which most people work from home and parents can supervise their kids’ education which is mostly online.  A future in which human potential is highly augmented by labor-and-time saving technologies.

But even then it won’t be universal, and the best way to GET there is to stop grouping people: by color, by gender, by … whatever.

Let each person do what they’re best at and WANT to do.  You’ll find that people are best at what they like – or at least they work harder at it.  And that everyone is better off, when people are allowed to do what they feel called to do.

I believe in individuals.  Whether the individuals want to be barefoot (pregnant is more difficult, because some of those will be male and others will be infertile) in the kitchen, or suited up in the boardroom, or driving a truck, or exploring Mars, or teaching toddlers, or nursing the sick, or fighting wildfires, or fighting on behalf of their nation, or researching scientific puzzles, or writing a novel WHILE rocking the cradle.

I think each person should do what they want and are best suited to, and that we should stop counting heads and thinking there’s a “problem” if there’s more outies than innies here or there.

Let’s stop pounding square pegs into round holes.  It ruins both the holes and the pegs.

 

 

168 responses to “Dreams Whose Time Has Passed – A Blast From the Past From January 2013

  1. In some modes of thought, “equality” means “all the perceived injustices are still there, except now we’re the ones doing the oppressing.”

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      There were (and likely still exist) Black Politicians in Chicago who think “reform” means “now we get the pay-offs”. 😦

    • I heard people say, ‘Now it is our turn.’ Clearly they were not thinking that if it was a wrong when it was done to them it is wrong to be done to others. No, for some it was a bitter long nursed desire for pay-back.

  2. Not very religious am I, but this gets a most hearty Amen!

  3. I think your choice is actually one of the more common ones, Sarah. I remember seeing a recent survey on what moms would choose to do if money were no object: there was a lot of emphasis on the fact that very few would choose to work full time, but I also noted that even fewer would choose to be full time mothers. I think women need a balance: time spent with the kids but also a chance to join the adult world and contribute there. With the caveat that I’ve never actually read “The Feminine Mystique,” the way I’ve seen it summarized seems to me a good type of feminism: women want to be wives and want to be mothers…but that’s not all we want to be.

    Of course, it’s important to recognize that there’s a tradeoff for choosing the balanced life too: by being both a mom and a career woman, you’ll never be as good at either as the person who chooses to focus. I know that, and I’m okay with it.

    • Some modern feminists do not care that the choice is common, in their mind it should not even be a choice. 

      This happened in my own family.  An older woman who had gone to law school in the 1960s, told her step-daughter, who had chosen to be a stay at home mother, that she was ‘letting down the whole cause.’  This woman argued that all women of any intelligence ‘owed it to each other to be in the work place contributing to society. ‘ 

      Never mind that the raising of children is the foundation of any ongoing of society…

      • Dan Hamilton

        “told her step-daughter” you have all you need to know right there.

        • She expected the same of her own daughters from her first marriage. One is a OB-GYN surgeon. The other has a Phd and is a practicing psychologist.

      • Having children at all is devalued, so why wouldn’t raising them well also be devalued?

        I remember when I was home with kids thinking that maybe “society” and the “community” ought to arrange itself just *slightly* more conveniently for children and that a little bit of moral support would be nice. No such luck. You’re the one who decided to have children. Your children (it seems) are not a net gain or contribution to a better society. The view of children as a drain, as consumers, rather than valuable to even those people who aren’t their parents, seemed pretty standard across the board.

        Maybe it’s still Malthus? Anti-human sentiments? But of course having or raising children isn’t valued. You’re lucky they even LET you.

        • A great amount of it is anti-human hatred that comes with being with the Leftist viewpoint. Only a certain select few are meant ‘to be’; thus it is imperative to devalue everyone else, especially the ‘common rabble.’ When you’ve got a philosophy that sees the majority of the population as parasitical (‘they stand in the way of your access to resources and funding which is part of your ultimate manifest destiny and awesomeness’) it is no wonder that children are ‘horrible drains on the planet.’

      • Simone de Beauvoir told Betty Friedan that society should be structured in such a way that no woman can stay home with her children because if it’s allowed, too many women will take it.

        • Simone de Beauvoir told Betty Friedan that society should be structured in such a way that no woman can stay home with her children

          Wicked reply: society should be structured in such a way that no leftist can stay home and write poisonous essays. Then watch the leftist’s head explode.

    • we couldn’t afford it. Spent a lot of time starving. BUT I don’t regret it.
      There is a reason most female bestsellers become so after the kids leave the house.
      Now pray I have another 30 years.

      • Father, it would be awesome if Sarah had another 30 years. Although, as in all things, Your will be done. 60 more years would be even better. Amen.

      • Frankly I pray we have another 30 years. I want to hear what your grand-kids are like. I also like your writing. And maybe, just maybe, if we should both last that long, I’ll get a chance to see you in person again this side of eternity…

        On the other hand, there are days that my body tells me I don’t want to last that long.

    • The thing is, that unless you have half a dozen or more children, and they are spaced out (and you have a normal life span) you will really only spend about a quarter or less of your total life being an intense and hands-on mom. (More if you have a dozen children, each a couple of years apart.) So – having plans for the other three-quarters of that life is a good idea. And also giving your full attention to the kidlets for that stretch of Mom-time is also a good idea, I believe. They do grow up, and spending all of your life hovering over them is counter-productive.

      • I favor the idea that of course people will go out and have at least starter-jobs after high school, move around some, meet people– the big deformation right now is that “everyone” is supposed to go to college, which really isn’t financially reasonable if women are going to be open to the idea of having kids.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Regulations can economically heavily diminish the availability of starter jobs.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Moe Lane is the stay at home parent of his household. (Wife has a PhD in engineering, I think robotics. His Master’s is in English.) He had a side job as a political activist, before he quit blogging about politics. Currently he is working on creative writing.

  4. Let’s stop pounding square pegs into round holes.  It ruins both the holes and the pegs.

    What do you expect of people who have sipped at the cup of Marx and interpret everything through identity groupings?  They are very uncomfortable dealing with people who do not fit – who refuse to properly fit – into their categories. 

    Heads start to spin when you tell them that that their thinking is both not supported by science and operating under prejudice.  

    • “Heads start to spin when you tell them that that their thinking is both not supported by science and operating under prejudice.”

      I see the head-spinning thing occasionally in the young. When confronted with non-conforming data the neophyte Marxist pauses for thought before spouting the next canned response. That’s what happened to me after University, I got confronted with too much Truth with a capital “T”, that’s the stuff you can -measure-.

      While at university a guy silenced my incipient ecology fanboyism with one remark, while talking about windmills. “Its hard to run Stelco off a windmill.” The pause for thought lasted from 1978 until now.

      Older Marxists/socialists are a different deal. They already know its a pipe dream, and they DON’T CARE. They are in it because they are perverts who want to spend all day bashing square pegs into round holes with the biggest hammer ever. They want to see the look on your face when you realize what’s going to happen.

      We’re never going to get mercy from that lot, the Bernie Saunderses of the world. That’s why I’ve always been against things like gun control and public transit. (I can hear a head exploding out there already. ~:D) Public transit is great… until you have to run away from the authorities. Police for protection are great… until you need protection from the police.

      That’s where Europe is right now. If they need to run away they can’t, if they need to protect themselves from the cops, they can’t.

    • people who have sipped at the cup of Marx

      Talk about “the terror in each sip and in each sup”!

  5. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I’d accept being thought of as having the IQ of warm milk, if it means neutralizing the people who try to manipulate me via my desire to appear smart.

  6. OK, I just have to say, now I want to have an urban fantasy character who is Chinese and runs a laundry because he’s fed up with all his brothers and sisters who went to grad school in the hard sciences and spend their lives in theoretical worlds and labs and have huge student debt loads.

    Ya know, I have that spare Familiar who wandered into the book… Hmm…

    OK, back to the essay.

    • Daddy introduced me to a former STEM professor at the University of Pennsylvania who quit to open a butcher shop in Philadelphia’s Italian Market … I believe it had something to do with the quality of Italian Sausage he wasn’t finding.

      • yeah i wish i could find some here

        • This morning I was reading my copy of Cook’s Country Aug/Sept 2018. Low and behold, what do I see, the issues has a recipe for Easy Sweet Italian Sausage Patties. Don’t know if the information would be of help, but hope it is.

          • heck right now because of my roomate’s diet the only italian sausage we are eating is made from turkey.

  7. “A future in which human potential is highly augmented by labor-and-time saving technologies.”

    Idle thought, is human “potential” ever really augmented by technology? In my experience mostly what gets augmented is -output- of a particular job, minus the time spent screwing with the new technology.

    Word processors. Do they improve an author’s writing, or do they just increase finished output per day? For my money, they just make you faster to market at lower cost. Which is good, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t make the author tell better stories. It lets you tell more stories.

    • Well, there’s the ease of editing and revision, though some authors would claim those are for losers. But most word processors are running on machines connected to the WWW, which opens up nearly-instantaneous searching for information on any subject, the ability to network with other authors, etc. It’s a “secondary enabler” that’s largely invisible in recent years.

      • That is true, and I’ve been leveraging the Web while I write pretty solidly.

        But, and this is my point, a word processor by itself doesn’t really do much to change your life. It just allows you to go faster. Increase in finished output. An awful lot of things are like that.

        Actual life-changing technology is fairly rare, and often we don’t think of it that much. The clothes washer/dryer is oddly one of those things. I remember a TED talk about that, washing machines change the life of every woman who has one. Sanitation and labor savings so big that it makes a difference in life. Thinking about that, so does the home refrigerator and the stove. Taken together, modern appliances -do- make a huge difference in life. Human time and energy freed from repetitive work, which allows us all more time to be couch potatoes in front of the TV. ~:D

        So in that case, merely increasing output is life changing. (Don’t you love it when you argue yourself around in a circle like I just did?)

        • My paternal grandmother remembered what household chores were like before electricity – for decades she complained about Nobel Peace prize going to warmongers and never to inventor of fridge, oven or washing machine.

          I am currently reading Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert Gordon and period between 1900-1940 saw an astonishing number of changes to society and how people lived – telephone, electricity delivered safely to homes and businesses, cars, sewage system, instant hot and cold water, radios and a few others I am forgetting.

          I think twentieth century was most consequential century that humanity has ever lived through because of all changes that make life so much better than what our ancestors experienced.

          • So true. Because even in a more urban setting, the cooking, cleaning, and laundry – three jobs made incredibly easier by early 20th century tech – were truly full time jobs. The wife that lived in the home that couldn’t afford someone to do it for them was working a full-time job. Toss kids into the mix (or make it a rural home) and it’s no wonder no one smiled in pictures back then.

          • I recall my grandmother, in the 1870’s, using a twin-tub washer with a wringer (“mangle” for some) and clothesline. And I do not recall her saying anything about having something more automatic (Ma had a roller unit that hooked up to the sink… and a clothesline. Drying rack in the winter) or an electric dryer. Of course, she grew up where hot water was “There’s the wood, there’s the well, there’s the stove, have at it.”

            • I recall my grandmother, in the 1970’s, using a twin-tub washer with a wringer (“mangle” for some) and clothesline. And I do not recall her saying anything about having something more automatic (Ma had a roller unit that hooked up to the sink… and a clothesline. Drying rack in the winter) or an electric dryer. Of course, she grew up where hot water was “There’s the wood, there’s the well, there’s the stove, have at it.”

              • WPDE
                I see you replied to yourself.
                Day before yesterday I got two replies from you in my notifications. Both were like this, repeated, and they were from last month, but I was just then notified.

                • This time it was a strange correction (1870’s vs. 1970’s) that was almost what was intended. As to the older notifications… strange. But I’ve gotten stuff like that as well.

                  In August I’ll be in Merrill, WI for about a week. If you care to take (dis)advantage of that somehow, let me know. Google’s mail service, Vakkotaur. I have no firm plans beyond a rough idea of timing so far.

              • Did you say wood?

                You should be out chopping more wood.

                • a cousin manages a grocery store.
                  Kid whines about his job “It’s exhausting running the checkout for a shift with only 2 short breaks and lunch!”
                  Cuz: “No. Splitting and stacking wood for 12 hours is exhausting, Working a full shift as cashier is boring.”

                  • I try and treat cashiers politely. They are doing a job that I would find challenging.

                    Boredom can be exhausting in its own way. Momma said it was good to have something to think about when doing repetitive chores. She liked to recite poetry to herself. The Spouse and I? We really appreciate modern technology and audio books.

                    • We’re getting an influx of California Refugees (the middle class ones) into Deepest Oregon. Some of them really need to figure out that they’re not in San Jose any more.

                      Case 1) Overheard at a restaurant: Someone mentioned that the new residents in the country-club development west of K-Falls were marveling at the green fields, but were really annoyed at the ag equipment cluttering up the roadways. (I’d recommend a close listening to the “International Harvester” song from a few years back.) As the local resident said, “How do they think the fields got so green in the first place?”

                      Case 2) Yesterday, we were at Fred Meyers and picked a favorite cashier, who’s quite friendly and willing to chat a few seconds. While we were waiting behind the person checking out, some $CREATURE came behind and complained about the wait. She suggested that we harass them. $SPOUSE told her NO, and $CREATURE complained that we were no fun. It’s purely accidental (true!) that we chatted a little longer than normal. (Cashier’s grand-daughter has an eye problem that similar to mine…) I had dismissed $CREATURE’s attitude, I simply forgot she was there. I assume there was a cloud of steam in the area as we left.

                      No folks, your time is not more important than everybody else’s. We’re in a rural county and people will be friendly. If you don’t like it, there’s the self-checkout. Deal!

                    • Feather Blade

                      Momma said it was good to have something to think about when doing repetitive chores.

                      I’ve started using video-game play-throughs for this. Ones on YouTube that have little or no commentary work best.

                      It’s not exactly “thinking”, but it occupies half of my mind well enough that I can focus on the repetitive work. And it means that I get to know those video-games that I can’t/wont’ spend the time and money to play myself.

                      And it’s better than sleep deprivation!

                  • Eh, it can be painful, too. I remember the first weeks of my cashier job. I left work and I wanted to walk about because i had been standing still so long, and I wanted to sit down to ease my aching feet.

              • Orvan it was called a mangle or mangler because of what would happen if you fed things in wrong, or worse got some part of your anatomy into the mechanism. And yes my mom had one in the cellar although It was never run in my memory (1964-1965 and onwards). Grandma still use hers in the mid 60’s and it was scary to watch. Better than pounding things on a rock or in a tub, but only marginally so.

                As a separate issue on laundry was something I learned in a servants tour of one of the houses in Newport RI. The women of the upper classes would often go through 3-4 changes of outfit in a day. Some of this would just be brushed. However, much would need to be washed. Everything closed primarily with buttons usually made of shell or glass. The pounding in the tubs would have destroyed the buttons. So the solution was
                1) Ladies maid removes all buttons from the dirty laundry
                2) Laundry is washed by the assorted staff (or sent out to a service)
                3) washed garment returned to ladies maid garment pressed and buttons sewn back on

                Not sure what the hoi polloi did about this, but this is part of why nearly every woman of class had to have a ladies maid of her own

                • Weirdly, I had a toy one, still made and given to kids, even though no one in the family ever used one. (They twisted clothes by hand. Fun with blankets, mind you.)

                • Oh, get why it was called a mangle. It’s just that I knew it a ‘wringer’ (as in ‘put through the wringer’) and hadn’t encountered the term ‘mangle’ for it until I saw (just a few years ago) the Three Men and a Mangle episode of Last of the Summer Wine and watched it partly out of curiosity as to what the photon they were going on about.

                • my grandmother had an antique one and showed us how to use it.

                • Grandma Pete had a mangle dryer. Good for sheets and table cloths and such. Not sure it was good for anything else. Same risks, plus you’d get burned and crushed at the same time. Whee.

          • The co-inventor of at least one refrigerator did receive a Nobel prize, though it was before he invented the refrigerator. The Einstein–Szilard absorption refrigerator is not the best known work of either man.

          • I saw my first dishwasher at 8. We didn’t own a fridge till around there. (Mom didn’t own a dishwasher till five years ago. Or a washer.)
            Trust me, most women spent their lives cooking and cleaning.

            • The first house my parents bought, and that I remember living in, came with a gas stove from the 20s. My mother was so happy when she got a stove that was younger than she was.

              • What about medical advances? Without them both Steve and I would be dead. We’ve both had surgery and take pills and shot(s) daily.

                Without them I wouldn’t have been born. I was born after my mother survived her first go-round with cancer.

                • Without modern medicine I would never have been born. Momma seemed to catch anything and everything that came her way. As a doctor’s daughter that was a quite a lot. She only survived to adulthood due to the modern miracle of penicillin.

        • Oh, yes. There’s a great book that has yet to be written on the Domestic Industrial Revolution.

          The first fruits of the Industrial Revolution were weapons…but the second fruits were domestic appliances. Which had a tremendous impact on the household economy. A century ago, Monday was normally Laundry Day. Meaning the lady of the house spent the entire day washing, drying, and ironing clothes. Today…5 minutes to load the washer, 5 more to transfer the clean but wet clothes to the dryer, 10 to put on hangers and/or fold. Done.

          • Owen Young, a farm boy who grew up to run General Electric, explained to his biographer what things had been like on Wash Day:

            “He drew from his memory a vivid picture of its miseries: the milk coming into the house from the barn; the skimming to be done; the pans and buckets to be washed; the churn waiting attention; the wash boiler on the stove while the wash tub and its back-breaking device, the washboard, stood by; the kitchen full of steam; hungry men at the door anxious to get at the day’s work and one pale, tired, and discouraged woman in the midst of this confusion.”

          • While you wait there is Chasing Dirt – The American Pursuit of Cleanliness by Suellen Hoy.

            Somewhere I also have, but could not quickly locate, a book on the Domestic Science movement and its effect in the U.S.

          • There was a great panel on clothing in fiction, talking about how much the tech affects the look. Two of the biggest things to affect how we dress have been the sewing machine and the automatic clothes washer. Put them together and you have today’s habit of wearing different clothing every day, even if you’re not rich.

            • Look at the construction in old clothes if you get a chance. Grandma (Daddy’s mother) had a dress that had been her grandmother’s. Along with facings there was a lining and inner lining. The thing was a masterpiece of architecture, and not a particularly unusual piece for its time.

          • AND for most of us … what’s an iron? 🙂 🙂 😉

            • My great grandmother had an iron iron – the lump of metal with a handle, heated externally. She found it was most useful as doorstop. Which might say something of her opinion of using it back when. Or it was just small, heavy, and had a convenient handle. Or both, yes.

        • For real, Phantom? How old are you? The word-processor helps this dyslexic immeasurably. I remember the days of copying and copying and copying again, and still ending up with a mess of white out and retyping.

          • I’m so old I remember black and white network TV. Lassie was a weekly show. ~:D Ed Sullivan was live. The first word processor was released upon the world when I was in high school. The first one I ever saw was in a bank or something, a greenscreen CRT with a big keyboard and the box it ran in was the size of a beer fridge. Might have been a Sperry, it was this puke yellow colour. I saw Wang machines around in companies too, I remember those because of the jokes. (“Is that your Wang, Miss?” Bwaha! Maybe you had to be there…)

            Everything I wrote in those days was longhand, even my university papers. My mom typed them for me, because I was useless with the typewriter. Took forever. All of it loooong gone, and not missed.

            • I remember being a young teenager watching Star Trek. Didn’t know the woman in the Menagerie was supposed to be green because our ‘color’ TV showed everything with a heavy green tint.

              • Once upon a time Pa attended a tech school in the days of CRT and other tube(s) TV’s. One thing they did was some local TV repair. Supposedly one joker* that had been set to working on an even-then ancient set with a round picture tube, found that the green phosphor oscilloscope CRT’s they had were compatible and swapped one in. For a short time, some fellow had a Black & Green set.

                * The most interesting thing, for me, is that this is one time where the joker was NOT Pa. Or at least he never claimed it.

            • yeah, trust me. word processors enhance my potential. The free time allows me to read/live more, which makes me a better writer.

      • Of course, the connection to the www is a two-edged sword. It can give you access to a bunch of research you didn’t have before. It also gives you a means to procrastinate beyond the wildest dreams of earlier writers.

        • At least half the time when I need to look something up… I decide not to, because all too often it can turn into lost hours of “hey, that’s neat!” Which is fine for entertainment, but not for getting things done.

          Yeah, I’m an information junkie…

          • Wait. You mean to tell me someone here has gone to look something up, and hours later were totally informed on dozens of mildly and totally unrelated topics?
            Shocked! Shocked I tells ya. Where’s milady’s shocked face, I might need to borrow it.

            • Don’t know who said this but: A dullard is someone who opens the dictionary, looks up the required word and closes the dictionary. Word processing eliminated a lot of secretarial jobs. In 70’s possibly even 1980 the largest number of jobs for women who weren’t nurses, teachers or shop girls, was secretary.

              There was no cable tv in Brooklyn, NY in 1980. My father still typed his sermons on a manual typewriter. There were no electric typewriters with a Hebrew typeface (in the US). He wrote his sermon notes in pen on an index card.

              • I take advantage of the dictionary function on my computer, it is faster — particularly with my dyslexia.  Still, I miss the serendipity of discovering new words and meanings (or rediscovering forgotten ones) which comes with looking things up in a proper bound dictionary. 

            • In the ’60s, the columnist Sidney J. Harris did a regular feature on unrelated things found when looking something up. I was a rotten paper boy; I read the paper before doing my route. 🙂

            • Several months ago, I put a timer on the power for the WiFi. It’s strictly for self defense: I was tired of staying up late every night, thinking “one last article”, and then being dead tired the next day.

        • The web just makes it easier to get more lost. I recall having such issues even with printed paper encyclopedia. I suppose it’s a bit like one fellow summed up four wheel drive.”It won’t let you go everywhere, but it will let you to get stuck in an even more inaccessible place.”

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      C. S. Lewis had a comment on “Man’s Control Of Nature”.

      Basically he said that “Man’s Control Of Nature” actually meant “Men Controlling Other Men”.

      I think it was in “Abolition Of Man”.

    • “It doesn’t make the author tell better stories. It lets you tell more stories.”

      There’s at least an argument that those two are, if not exactly the same, at least very closely related. The way to write one really good story is to write a dozen crappy ones, figuring out what does and doesn’t work along the way.

    • In my experience mostly what gets augmented is -output- of a particular job, minus the time spent screwing with the new technology.

      If you hold out a bowling ball at chest height, the potential energy is chest-to-ground.

      If you’re in a lift that takes you up 20 feet and do it over a ledge, the potential energy is much higher.

      You’ve still got to be able to hold the ball, lift it, and drop it….

  8. *puts on historians hat* One of the things that grates me with modern feminism is how it manages to completely ignore the wee, minor fact that women were critical to the economic and physical survival of households, farms, and businesses well into the modern era. If a farmer didn’t have a competent wife who could handle raising small animals (kids, the other kids, and chickens or ducks and geese, lambs, calves, horses…), tending a garden, making and preserving food (including dairy for market), doing business at a market, making and mending clothes, assisting with harvest, probably home repair on many occasions, he was going to go broke very quickly, or starve. Ditto the merchants who entrusted their businesses and families to their wives when the men had to travel. There were women—widows usually but not always—who had full citizen rights and duties in some of the Hansa cities, including municipal defense. Traders and merchants married for skills and smarts as well as dowry and connections.

    But try convincing a wymynist of that. I think the knitted or crocheted pink pussy-cat hat deflects information better than does tin-foil.

    • That’s because their scenario doesn’t include those women. They’re only looking at “the proletariat”, even though a good many of those women worked in the “dark, satanic mills” just like the men did.

      In their world, everyone is under *someone’s” jackboot. Sort of like academia…

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      There was a story I read where an outsider was visiting a society where it was said “women knew their place” and thought “and as usual women made sure their place was as important as their men’s place”. 😉

      Of course, from my readings, English High Society Women didn’t have “jobs” in government or for the most part business but ruled the Social Network that supported both government and the business world.

      • English High Society -> the original “deep state”

        🙂

      • I’m told they exist, but I’ve never encountered a fundy Christian church that taught that women should be submissive to their husbands where they didn’t run the show.

      • Chesterton observed that when it was illegal for a man to marry his dead wife’s sister, it was far more common than for him to marry (as was legal) his dead wife’s maid.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          IIRC if he had married his dead wife’s maid, the High Society Matrons would not consider her respectable and thus wouldn’t invite her to Society Parties (or him if he insisted that she attended with him).

        • Wasn’t it obligatory for a man to marry his dead brother’s wife?

          • From memory, under Jewish law, the brother of the dead husband had to give a childless widow offspring– the “dead wife’s sister” was a consanguinity issue.

          • Different law.

            There were, in fact, great fights in the Victorian era about repealing the law about your dead wife’s sister.

    • Who runs the castle when the Duke is off to war?

  9. To Our Esteemed Hostess:

    Thank you for running this Blast From the Past. I missed it the first time.

    • I like them too. There are years’ worth of articles from back before I began following the blog, that I’d like to comment on.

      I’ve also looked at the difference in comments from the original article and the re-run. The comment strings are usually dramatically different.

  10. “Oh, sure, I’d prefer a future in which because of tech we have even more flexibility: a future in which most people work from home and parents can supervise their kids’ education which is mostly online.  A future in which human potential is highly augmented by labor-and-time saving technologies.”
    Reading this paragraph, I was struck both by the author’s prescience (you pretty much can, now!) and by how quickly tech has changed. Five years, and look at the growth in both self-employment options and online learning.

  11. Every choice has a consequence… true. I was one who went for the career and no children. Now I did raise children, but they were my parents. I have wondered sometimes if I made the right choice. However, I wouldn’t have stayed this sane if I had gone the other way. So every person is an individual. I do have admiration for women who are good at raising children.

    • I’m sneaky. I’m doing the stay-at-home mom thing, but I have a continual work history. It just happens to be for a photography studio that is run by a family, so they don’t mind having somebody on the rolls that they can call in a few times a year without any paperwork to worry about other than an updated W-2. (Not that my resume is going to mention how very part-time that work is… I think it was under 40 hours last year. But they were 40 very important hours.)

      • Part of my decision to not have children was that I didn’t marry until I was 31. I refused to bring children into single parent home. I felt that I needed someone who would be a good father. However, the man I finally married was old enough that he didn’t want to build another family (he had two girls already). By that time the baby crazies were gone. So there were many more reasons for this decision besides having a career.

  12. All through my life I’ve run into people assuming that a) because I’m married; b) because I chose to have kids; c) because I chose to raise my own kids, I must have the IQ of warm milk.

    Without an exception, the people making this assumption were feminists – whether male or female – and would have said that they were for female equality…

    I’m fairly sure the shows showing every position of power from police captain to corporate exec as female (for double points female of color!) also think they’re striking one for equality.

    My question is… If we must all be equal, why must we all be equally male?

    Because, as Dennis Prager has said, what passes for “feminism” these days is actually “masculinism” — the belief that if only women are involved in some activity, it must be inherently inferior, and anything where men are the majority must be superior.

    • Feminism has become weirdly centered on men these days, though. There’s still “anything men do must be better” so women might be said to value “male” occupations, and of course “just having women present makes anything much better” is rapidly morphing into “and if men were like women it would be better yet” and “if I don’t really like this occupation and work environment after all, it means that it’s toxic and must be changed so that I like it.” Liking something *else* is off the table. Math and logic are the Patriarchy and ought to be done away with even if you’re participating in STEM, competition is bad if you’re in business, the market is bad if someone else isn’t “providing” for you,
      and anyone who challenges me is super bad because conflict makes me unhappy. Men who like math or logic or competition or the market place are toxic and bad if they don’t conform to what makes me more comfortable.

      So maybe feminists are still going after what seems “male” but they’re also trying to feminize men.

      We women with some strong masculine tendencies (no matter how girly we are in other areas) can really only respond with horror at the thought.

      • So maybe feminists are still going after what seems “male” but they’re also trying to feminize men. 

        I doubt that ever felt like singing: 

        If they did they now are embarrassed by it.  

        Might it possible that for some feminists the feminization of men is a way to avoid the chance of it happening?

  13. Sarah, have you ever had a parathyroid workup? Hyperparathyroidism appears (per recent research that found 100% correlation) to be end-stage hypothyroidism — the key point being low thyroid causes low blood calcium and the parathyroids overcompensate, and if they develop fibroid tumors (thyroid receptor tissue) will continue to overcompensate even if the thyroid gets fixed. And other than blood calcium, the symptom list is identical.

    https://www.parathyroid.com/diagnosis.htm

    • LOL. I’m being treated for HYPOThyroidism, derived from my autoimmune. Yeah, back then it was untreated. I still need (probably) dosage adjusted up.
      It’s a weird thyroid thing, though. My body has decided I should be MASSIVELY hypothyroidal, so it produces masses of RT3.
      And yeah, I had the basic thyroid test every year, because I had the hypothyroidal mask, but it came back normal, and none asked for a more thorough work up. For 20 years.

      • My internist is making noises that direction – hypothyroidism. Other than slightly high output, I’m asymptomatic, although there is a maternal family history for problems. *shrug* Having a physical in the last week of December leads to some odd results. “Could just be stress.” Ya think.

      • For most of my life I made it a point *not* to know any more about health or medicine than I had to, because I’m a hypochrondriac. Did you ever see that movie, “The Disorderly Orderly” where Jerry Lewis was listening to a bunch of old women talk about their “female problems”, and he was experiencing every symptom? That kind of hypochondiac. “Cough… cough… might be ebola…”

        Unfortunately I’ve had too many run-ins with the medical profession in recent years, and I’ve had to become an informed consumer. And since I’ve been getting copies of the doctor’s reports for each visit, and copies of all test results, it has been downright scary, with things like results for tests that were never done, referrals nobody told me about, etc.

        Some offices don’t want to part with the reports or test results, or want to charge me for them. I point out that’s part of what I’ve paid for, and I’d be thrilled to face them in the county small claims court. When they have that kind of attitude, it’s not like I’m ever going back anyway…

        • That’s really not cool. I don’t understand why there aren’t more medical groups set up like Kaiser and the Mayo Clinic, where everything is integrated and you have the one-stop shop (no random charges for specialists, for one thing.) All of my medical records are accessible, as are my test results, and that’s how I found out that my ferritin was critically low—and by finding that out, could do enough research to figure out that’s why I was acting anemic while still having decent blood counts. (Mind you, my doctor said, “but you’re not anemic, you shouldn’t feel that way,” but since the treatment is an OTC iron pill, which worked, I didn’t have to fuss about it.)

        • Oh, yeah, the test results for the stuff in my uterus that caused removal int he records just says everything is fine. I had a print out that said otherwise, but heaven knows where after three moves.
          the records also had me taking meds I never took, and not having taken meds I’m taking. my thyroid meds (25mc twice a day) was written as 5 mcgs once a day. ETC.

          • Remind me again how Electronic Medical Records are going to solve all the worlds problems from hyperinflation to hemorrhoids.

            • The EMRs were part of the original Clinton “healthcare plan”, which was resurrected as Obamacare. The Fed, out of the goodness of their hearts, was going to streamline interoperability among all sections of the healthcare industry by Federal law, for the benefit of… as I understood it, essentially creating a de facto Federal ID card, as the plan called for a special ID which would have to be presented to obtain medical services. Almost every American winds up in their clutches at some time or another.

              All that information, shared among umpteen vendors, providers, law enforcement agencies, and bureaucrats would all, of course, be absolutely confidential and… what are you laughing at?

              “Quick, we’ll distract them with the Clipper Chip!”

        • I’m seeing too many different doctors right now, but a couple of practices stand out as really good at giving data. My primary doctor goes through the hospital, and I get detailed data dumps on medical tests from the mychart dot com software they use. (I’ve got 24 hours worth of heart monitor data downloaded. I understand a portion of it…) Another hospital uses the same software, and it’s actually coordinated. Kind of nice.

          I’m not sure how much data they have to give the patient; I gather it’s somewhere in the HIPAA law, but I don’t have enough caffeine in my bloodstream to tackle that mess right now.

          What’s there can be accurate, but most of this is table driven, and if somebody doesn’t note a change, the previous data is carried through.
          I’ve had a case where the retina guy thought I was still on a drop that had been discontinued. OTOH, that was partly a result of needing two different specialists and a general ophthalmologist, all in different locations.

      • I’m beginning to think that the “normal” is actually WRONG. I also tested as normal for years even though the doctors knew I had a”goiter.” It turned out to be cancer. Still checked as “normal” before the surgery.

  14. “It is natural for science fiction writers to think of centralized solutions for the future they want to happen. This is natural not only because most science fiction writers older than I thought that the only way to achieve brand new patterns of living would be through top down imposition, but also because it’s easier to write a government solution for something, than the myriad, lurching confused, responses of the market – no matter how much more efficient the second is, in the long run.”

    It’s interesting to find this mode of thought since, historically speaking, most of the grand projects of the past 500 or so years weren’t feasible without private finance. Some may have been possible with simple tax dollars, but they wouldn’t have happened as often or as quickly had they relied solely on the King’s Coin. Still happens to this day, making King Three Putt’s “you didn’t build that” admonition as ignorant as it was risible.

    • making King Three Putt’s “you didn’t build that” admonition as ignorant as it was risible.

      What amazed me was that he got ANY votes after saying that. The Far Left really does think in ways that are alien to me. I suppose I understand what he MEANT by it, but it boggles me that people actually think like that.

  15. And now for the out of context quote of the day:

    “… don’t believe in broad groups …”

    I guess I can understand that. Women-only organizations can be very frightening. 😉

    Let’s see, married, have multiple children, raising and teaching them at home. Best way I know to keep our species viable in the long run. I’d say that was one of the most valuable things someone could do with their life.

    • A stay at home mom is a drain on the economy, as they do not receive a pay-check they are not producing income tax revenue. 😉

      • In other words, while they are absolutely essential for their family, they’re of no use to the government.

        That sounds like a plus right there. I really dislike being used by the government; almost as much as I dislike being used by politicians.

        • Also, it is usual for a working mother to spend almost all her paycheck on paying daycare. (I guess the governments get the rest.) So it’s often a ridiculous financial choice.

          Same thing with paying a teacher to school your children, if you can do it yourself or with help.

          • All the better in some people’s minds. Not only are the working moms paying taxes, so are the day-care workers.

  16. “It is natural for science fiction writers to think of centralized solutions for the future they want to happen. This is natural not only because most science fiction writers older than I thought that the only way to achieve brand new patterns of living would be through top down imposition, but also because it’s easier to write a government solution for something, than the myriad, lurching confused, responses of the market – no matter how much more efficient the second is, in the long run.”

    For a story I’ve been writing, I recently had to think through this. I don’t think “Centralized Solutions” really work in space after a certain point. Space, it’s big man. Can you imagine the number of ships it would take to effectively police even a single star system? Now, multiply that by the bazillion star systems out there. Sure, If/when mankind does finally reach for the stars, I’m positive that the various Earth governments are going to TRY to control everything. Just look at current laws. Did you know, there are rules that say anything that you put on Mars has to be sterilized? Just so that earth bacteria doesn’t infect Mars? Now, fast forward 20, 50, or 100 years, If/when someone invents more convenient/affordable space transportation and any reasonably well-off person will be able to go wherever they wish. EVENTUALLY, the governments will have to let go. The cat will be out of the bag. They won’t be able control all of space, because it’s too big.

    The only thing that upsets me about it all is it’s taking so darn long. I’m not getting any younger here! Sadly, I’m betting it will take just long enough that I’ll kick the bucket before we get there.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      The problems technocracy has at smaller scales are similar, just less obvious.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Playing with this in a WIP. There’s a big human empire, but it’s not the only human polity. And their main alien competitors are divided into dozens of smaller, sometimes antagonistic, factions. No Planets of Hats here.

    • If anything you put on Mars has to be sterilized, there are going to be some unhappy astronauts.

  17. The Latter Day Saint mormons (there are other variants in mormonism) have quite the focus and population growth rate. 7 children can be considered normal or at the higher normal curve. 12 children would be an outlier but not impossible given adoption and second or third marriages.

    I make mention of this because much of American Western culture is as Hoyt mentioned. But there are still ancient traditional segments of society, like the Amish, that are more like sub cultures under the US mainstream culture.

    If a person has a religious or political belief that their life is the be all end all of things, then children or other extraneous costs are superfluous. If a person knows or believes that there’s more stuff going on here than mortality, then children become a different issue.

    • My question is… If we must all be equal, why must we all be equally male? Why shouldn’t it be equality of opportunity: jobs have certain requirements, if you can fulfill them we don’t care what gender equipment you were born with.

      There’s two opposing forces, factions, or philosophies.

      One faction believes in progressing through stages by serving others.

      The other faction believes in progressing through the stages by serving the self and dominating others.

      They need to be male not because the male is the solidification of a philosophy, but merely the advent or outcome side effect of a polarity, positive vs negative, yin vs yang, light vs darkness. They need to be male because the males can obtain orgasm and benefit, at the detriment of the female where the female does not get anything except pain (reference good old ancient rome). It is an easy analogy for humans and other life forms to understand. Although due to the (divine) law of confusion and Babel, there’s a language filter preventing true comprehension.

      Equality of outcome vs equality of opportunity, or in another sense, the Salvation of all regardless of justice vs Justice regardless of salvation. Humans can decide to join either faction or perhaps even try to sit in the middle as a neutral or undecided. In order to benefit others and thus also accrue benefit to self, the harmony can lead to humans wishing and working for the benefit of their enemies. In such a fashion, enemies may turn into allies. The faction that believes in the ultimate service of the self, when polarity reaches high percentages, that faction will grow through conflict: black vs white, poor vs rich, women vs men, creating a kind of Forever War.

      HOw far someone goes on this spectrum depends on their will and effort. The ego is key to most human traditions and upbringings. We avoid that which is painful and feel hurt when our Tribe is attacked even though we are not our tribe (or nation or in group or philosophy or political party).

      Individuals that believe the negative harmony is superior to the positive harmony, will teach and market their ways. This is not a service to others so much as it becomes a contest of power. People on the Left compete with each other as well as looting enemies and fighting over that loot. By benefiting themselves, they can contribute to the group harmony as I understand it. A strong warrior king contributes to the power of his nation state and tribe.

      Individuals that believe the positive harmony is superior to the negative harmony, will also teach and market their ways. They do not help others beyond a certain point, due to the free will problem. This intention can warp and distort itself, in the case where helping other people becomes the same as dominating other people and merely helping yourself (virtue signalling).

      Most people do not commit 99% to one faction over another. They instead just pick and choose what they like from both camps.

    • As well as Catholics, some Protestants, and Muslims. If your community values children, values you for having them, and is happy when you announce another instead of being horrified, you’re likely to have more of them. EVEN if your religion accepts the use of birth control and limiting family size.

      You’re also likely to have a husband who doesn’t insist that his wife ought to work at a paying job out of the home in order to “contribute.”

      On that front I actually have two stories (which I suddenly realize are from the same family.) My friend’s husband had divorced his first wife because she spent all his money on horses after saying she was going to stay home and have babies, but not having any babies. And her brother, who is single to this day, had a woman friend with a child who wanted to be a stay at home Mom and he felt that was lazy leaching and not contributing. But then, his mother had worked and his sister did all the housework, so what did he know?

      • “But then, his mother had worked and his sister did all the housework, so what did he know?”

        Oh, it sounds like he might have known a thing or two about lazy leaching…

        • Being single all his life, however, he’s probably learned to do it himself… though I doubt he’s actually figured it out.

          If I’m charitable I have to admit that it’s *possible* that this woman would have sat on a sofa watching television and eating bon-bons all day and he *still* wouldn’t have his clothes washed or meals made. Maybe I’m being unkind and he simply knew the truth of her.

          Of course, I remember him from High School.

  18. “It is also one done very badly by strangers, be they the government or private people”…it’s interesting: “progressives” and self-defined intellectuals are very in to Artisan this and Artisan that, they would probably by Artisan automobiles if it were possible….wonder how they would react to the term “artisan child raising”?

    • Actually, ‘artisan’ automobiles exist. They run to two types: speedcars and the peculiar. The problem being that keeping one running requires a degree of practical skill the self-nominated ‘intellectuals’ lack.

      I would suggest that they are into ‘artisan’ consumables (like bread), and not into anything that is likely to demand technical attention.

      • Good points, bread would have been a better example. The people I’m talking about generally tend to resent the existence of factories: they are quite different in this from earlier generations of leftists who were just fine with the factories as long as they were run by the State, in the name of the People. But leftists of both sorts are all in favor of a factory approach to raising young children.

        • They may resent factories, but that have an amazing talent for viewing any industry they like the results of as part of the Arts and Crafts movement.

          Like Solar Power. Solar chips are NOT made by hand. Nor are they, by any stretch of the imagination, an ‘environmentally friendly’ product.

          *shrug*

          It comes,down to; they absolutely will not do serious analysis of anything. Consequently their clams to intellectualism are entirely bogus.

  19. “Let’s stop pounding square pegs into round holes. It ruins both the holes and the pegs.”

    Ah, but to a degree, that’s the point. A good deal of Feminism (and more and more as the useful goals are met) is a Socialist scam to cause the breakdown of the affluent society that frustrates Socialists by being clearly superior to Socialism. Socialism is so plainly a failure that it has to be sold as an alternative to something WORSE before it can go over with most people.

    Socialism, by and large, is the answer to a lot of questions nobody with a lick of sense would be asking if the Socialists hadn’t already mucked things up.

  20. “It is natural for science fiction writers to think of centralized solutions for the future they want to happen.”

    That’s odd…the story I’m intermittently working on goes against that trend. Part of the backstory is that the woman who developed the theory behind the faster-than-light drive did it as a part-time professor…while raising four kids. (My protagonist is a great-grandson…which is worth nothing beyond the educational trust fund – or so he thinks) And the primary entertainments are essentially high-end YouTube videos, centralized entertainment production having died out in the 2030s.

  21. “In fact, squinting and from a distance, our pursuit of status through abandoning of the raising of our own kids is exactly what Rome did, and what the French aristocracy did, and what the British aristocracy did.”

    In Britain, I believe it included even the lower levels of the aristocracy, the country squires. I wonder when the trend began–anyone know?

    Also, I had thought this was less-common in France–was that wrong?

  22. it isn’t just putting a square peg into a round hole. It is putting a square peg into a round hole and then using the blunt end of a screwdriver as a hammer when it doesn’t fit.

  23. He wasn’t the only one. All through my life I’ve run into people assuming that a) because I’m married; b) because I chose to have kids; c) because I chose to raise my own kids, I must have the IQ of warm milk.

    Without an exception, the people making this assumption were feminists – whether male or female – and would have said that they were for female equality…

    Wonder if that’s why CNN thought the absolute most important thing about the career of the lady supreme court possible nominee was how many children she had (more than two, thus “so many”).

    My mom pointed out that having that many kids meant she was probably pro-life, and she’s right– but kinda says a lot that you can be pretty dang accurate on ruling out that someone’s “pro-choice” by them choosing to have kids. Seriously, it’s not like it’s that bad…..

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Do we know that Ivanka Trump isn’t pro-choice? Because there might be people who have kids, but aren’t into politics enough to have picked a policy side.

      • Her last name is Trump, so obviously she isn’t really a female, or even a human being, and wants us all dead, barefoot and locked in the kitchen.

        Outside of the nutjobs….some of this may be regional, note, Salt Lake City you’re going to get less attention with three than you will having two in New York, but:
        Three kids is on the fence for the pro-choice thing– it’s “a lot,” but you can sometimes get a pass. Four, if there’s twins, or the first three are the same sex, but you’re going to get hassled about “stop trying for a ____.”
        Five? Much less seven? Crazy-town. -.-

        Ivanka is serious enough that she converted to marry her husband, and canny enough she hasn’t bitten on any of the attempts to get her to say one way or another, so I’d guess she’s emotionally pro-choice but loyal enough not to publicly embarrass her husband or father.

        • Five? Much less seven? Crazy-town. -.-

          The recent leader of the Latter Day Saints lineage has 12. At least 11 daughters. Which have 11 son in laws as a result.

          I looked at that and thought “so that’s how family trees normally look, no wonder Japan and First World thinks 5 children is crazy town…

          • My grandmother was one of 13 surviving– on the other side, they tended towards small families of 8 or so….although the generation that came to the US was all sons, so it looks different.

            I’d much rather error on the side of the “rent a park for family reunions” rather than the “what does the word ‘uncle’ mean?” of China. 😦

            • **“what does the word ‘uncle’ mean?” of China. **

              On my side of the family (both sides), since family names are retreaded each generation someone might ask “Why Big Uncle VS Little Uncle?” because it isn’t based on size either vertically or horizontally regardless of how it may appear. Big = Great Uncle & Little = one’s parents sibling. Why? Because smaller kids can understandably more or less pronounce “big”, but not “great”. Plus we picked it up because those who don’t use the Uncle tag, use “big/little” to designate which person being referred to. Drove my new husband nuts. FYI. We did not retread a family name, from either side, hubby refused. AND we could have gotten major mileage from both sides, for very different reasons. In fact his mother was very not happy we didn’t name the new baby after his dad who died six weeks before kid was born … hey, he had to explain it, not me.

            • Modern Chinese idioms are rather strange, even to the Japanese or American language matrix. For one thing, the Chinese use sister/uncle as a mark of respect and social class. I suspect this is was not the case back in Sun Tzu’s days…

              The Japanese have a different method of marking seniority in language, so their family terms are its own clan hierarchy. But in modern China, an uncle or sister is just like an associate that you respect slightly more and will use a more familiar term to create a closer relationship.

              China is probably a lot more closer to the mixture of First and Asian world than even Japan or S Korea. Japan has had a longer relationship, but their era of feudalism is still present and hasn’t changed too much since the industrialization of Miracle Economy in Japan. In China, the industrialization period was due to Mao, and Mao can be translated in japanese as “Demon Lord”.

      • I should probably point out that in this case, “pro choice” would mean “defends the complete right to partial-birth abortion, opposes all restrictions on abortion that go beyond those on buying a pack of gum, and would likely approve as constitutional the mandatory public funding of abortions.”

        The definition of “pro-choice” is pretty flexible; I tend to use the popular meaning of “I might want a few more/less restrictions, but the basic idea is OK”. (Support surveys often use a definition so strict that the Catholic Church is considered as supporting “some” abortion rights, because treatments which indirectly cause the death of the unborn are licit to save the mother.)