Older Men, Reproduction, and Resentment

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It’s a beautiful day in New York so I’m not going to write a long (or, many will argue, well thought-out) post for this issue, but I will just say I am consistently amazed at the resentment among privileged, educated women at men generally, and, I’m guessing, at their husbands specifically.

Reading the New York Times Magazine and a piece within by Lisa Belkin, essentially calling for men to be riven by the same age and time pressure as women when in comes to reproduction. She cites several studies that promote the idea that older men have children with more problems – lower IQs, autism, etc. Assuming that the studies rigorously controlled for other factors (which is always a legitimate concern in studies of this kind) like environment and mothers’ age, correlation doesn’t imply causation.

It seems more likely to me that older dads are simply too tired to supply the extra stimulation to boost their childrens’ IQs by two or three points.

In any case, Belkin goes off on an embittered riff about men having “sell by” dates and hoping that women will now begin to judge them in the same way women are judged.

Good luck, sister.

And while you’re at it, quit complaining. The choices of the modern woman are what women have been fighting for for decades, right? Furthermore, she isn’t really at war with men or the culture, she’s at war with biology, but doesn’t seem to realize it.

Reproduction is the purpose of life. If you don’t want to have kids, don’t have them. But if you do, quit complaining. The world has had enough of these latter-day feminists whining about the burdens of motherhood. She writes of the stereotype of “women eager to settle down and men as reluctant” as though their were no truth in it; as though women are not the primary drivers of our reproductive dyad. It’s just silly.

Lisa, women – you want babies and are anatomically constructed to grow and nurture them. Get used to it already. In fact, revel in it. It’s the point of your existence – not, and this is true of men as well, whatever pathetic career you pursue until you die and everyone forgets you ever existed.

Even if it turns out to be true that sperm loses some potency as men age, it does not change the sexual dynamic. Men can reproduce well beyond the age when women can. Fecundity is sexually attractive. Ipso facto, men are attractive to the opposite sex for longer than women are. That’s why women go for the “silver-haired sex symbols,” and why old ladies can’t get a date.

What can you do? Life sucks.

One can only imagine what its like to live with a woman like this. Carefully charting up chores and duties to make sure they’re split 50/50 and resenting it the whole way; seething about breastfeeding and having the primary role as the caregiver because she is “mommy.”

Eeesh. I pity her poor husband.


West Side Story Prologue

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Watching this reminds me of my own hardscrabble childhood dance-rumbling on the frying pan blacktop of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen.

Music by Leonard Bernstein. Choreography by Jerome Robbins.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Everything I read in the paper this morning is infuriating to me.

David Brooks writes of the pork laden stimulus bill coming out the House. I need to read more about it, but it seems like a disgraceful piece of Congressional crap. Obama must veto and veto again until they get it right.

Also on the op-ed page, Robert Zoellick wants more money for developing countries. Why? So it can be pissed away into the Swiss bank account of the son of some tyrant? So he can drive a Mercedes and wear a gold watch? How many years has the world been pouring money into Africa, for instance? Where is the real, lasting improvement?

Then, inside, I read about a youth detention center that guards essentially ran as a criminal racket. A boy died and now his mother is suing the city for $20 million. That’s my money. I don’t want this woman (and her ambulance chaser) to get rich because of these jackasses.

Further in, a woman named Susan Dominus writes a column about Caroline Kennedy’s failed bid for the Senate. Her point seems to be that CK deserved a shot (even though she was the wrong woman) because it would have demonstrated that women who have been out of the workplace to raise kids can still do the job. T.S., honey. How about giving me a shot at the Senate seat? Because I work, I don’t deserve it? This bit about women not getting opportunities in the workplace after the kids is so tired and vaginocentric that it’s offensive. Hey, I’d love a high paying job that I’m not trained for and haven’t given any thought to in 20 years (Sarah Palin, anyone?). Isn’t making money to support children beneficial to society? Didn’t I learn valuable managerial skills? (Btw, did you notice Paterson actually appointed a qualified person to the job?…and she has a vagina!) I bet there are a lot of working women who found CK’s chutzpah off-putting.

Wait a sec, I have an idea.

I write a blog. I want to be appointed to Susan Dominus’s job. I’ve never been a reporter, per se, but I’ve done a lot of similar work in the writing type field. I know I can do a great job. And hey, she’s a woman. Shouldn’t there be more men writing her column?

Sorry. There’s more, but I’ve run out of gas. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood, but these people are destroying my sense of hope.

Thoughts on the Obama Inaugural

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

If I had time, I’d organize these into an essay…but I don’t, so…

1) There is a terrific irony in the Obama victory. His candidacy was sealed, in my opinion, by the Sarah Palin pick. Palin may have solidified the GOP wingnut “base,” but she cost McCain the sensible, conservatively-inclined middle – including a great many so-called Reagan Democrats. Palin’s candidacy was a stand-in for the Southern strategy that has been so effective for the GOP. She appeals to the proudly ignorant, to the uneducated masses, to all those who are threatened by America’s multiculturalism. It was her candidacy, the very real possibility of the worst of us ascending to the highest office in the land, that ultimately made voters either reject her, or, at the very least, stay home. In other words, ignorance helped usher in a new dawn in America. Sarah Palin, with a massive assist from W., was finally enough to bring about the day when education bested ignorance.

2) This is likely beaten to death everywhere, but I haven’t been reading a lot about the inaugural, so I’m going to take my shot and write about the dynamism of American democracy. Where else, indeed? Really, no where else – not in this way, not at this time. I do not like American triumphalism, that perpetual pat-ourselves-on-the-back that pours forth among Rupert Murdoch’s propagandists, but in this case, it is well deserved. America truly is the world’s first microcosmic global community. Here we have everyone, people from all over the world, finding opportunity, living lives unimaginable in their homelands, becoming Americans and, without limitation, it now seems, seeking to fulfill their highest aspirations. This is what gives me hope for America. This is why I don’t bet against us now. Because, for all our faults, we are always ready to begin again anew. America has grown on its ancient wounds a stronger fiber and possibility is now effused with light and momentum. This is the dynamic character of a free and ever adaptable people. We are down now. But we are not out. We are never out. This election has proved that again.

3) More later…no time to write now…

Andrew Wyeth RIP

Friday, January 16, 2009

I first became aware of Andrew Wyeth in the 80s when the news about the Helga pictures broke. I loved what I saw of those paintings and I read a little about Wyeth and his father, N.C.

I am not saddened by his death – I am always amazed by people with the emotional capacity to feel connected to strangers, even if they share an intimacy with their work – but in reading about him now and his place in the artistic canon (ugh), I’m sorry he is dead.

I would take one Andrew Wyeth over 300 Jeff Koons any day of the week.

Furthermore, I’ve always admire what I perceived as his simple, dedicated life. Living out in the country, working every day, quiet, surrounded by nature. I don’t really know about the truth of his life, but I will say, for me, as a teenager, it was an ideal that I kept in the back of my mind as a model of good living.

The Sound of Music!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Sound of Music is the greatest movie ever made. I haven’t gotten around to ranking the ten best movies but the Sound of Music is my number one. What? I’m a giant pussy, you say?

Think about it. It’s got everything. The beautiful and conflicted nun Fraulein Maria (played by my favorite actress of all time, Julie Andrews). Great songs, Salzburg, the Austrian countryside, Christopher Plummer (who’s got a new memoir out and apparently was quite the “plumber” himself. (I know, lame.)) It’s got Nazi bad guys, a chase scene, and, did I mention, the incomparable, perfect Julie Andrews?

Growing up, my secret dream was to have Julie Andrews as my governess.

Anyway, I turn on the TV and I’m watching it right now on ABC and it’s the scene where the Baroness Schrader confronts Fraulein Maria and leaves shamed by Maria’s honesty and seductive innocence. The Baroness is the lessor woman and she knows it. But she quickly recovers, because she thinks that she has won her man.

Oh, then the excruciating scene where she tries to bond with the children by tossing a ball around. She tells Max that she’s going to ship them off to boarding school once she’s landed Georg.

Next you’ve got Captain Von Trapp walking around everyday wearing that strange quasi military jacket with green velvet lapels and having that strange whimsical reaction to his own emotional torment at Maria having left. He tells the kids that he and the Baroness are to be married and they line up in silence to pay their respects.

God, what a great movie. I’ll admit that the “I am sixteen, you are seventeen” song sucks enormously. And the love song in the gazebo after Georg finally makes his move is also a tad wanting, but I just pretend that I am Captain Von Trapp and the virginal Fraulein Maria is falling in love with me.

Speaking of which, how can Von Trapp be a naval captain in the Austria? It’s a landlocked country! Look, I know there was a port in Trieste that was part of the Hapsburg empire, and probably some other access to water somewhere on their turf, but with those green lapels and Edelweiss and all, you get the sense he was out cruising that lake behind the house rather than sinking U-boats, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, the Anschluss happens and that world class dick Rolf starts showing up again.

Here, as an aside, are the top five songs from the movie.

5) So Long, Farewell
5) Climb Every Mountain
4) The Lonely Goatherd (the puppet show scene)
3) The Sound of Music (the hills are alive)
2) My Favorite Things
1) Do-Re-Mi (doe, a deer)

Then the Captain and Maria return from their honeymoon. And I really believe I see a change in Maria. She’s a woman now. The implications of penetration and physical intimacy, previously unknown to her, have changed her. She was already the perfect woman and she has become, in a month, the perfect wife. She is also a mother, a responsibility she takes seriously.

Anyway, they sing at the festival. They knock it out of the park. Everyone loves it. Julie Andrews sings like a angel.

And they escape! The chase is on…

Right from the beginning of the movie you knew Rolf was a weasel. For that matter, I never really like Liesl. She is easily…well, I was going to say she was my least favorite Von Trapp child, but Kurt doesn’t do it for me either. At any rate, Rolf is a weak-chinned Nazi wannabe. Sickening. But they escape again from the convent after he finds them and…

Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow…til you find your dream…

#1, jack! You got that right.

Pastor Rick Hearts Homosexuals

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Of course this is an unfortunate choice. The man in question, Rick Warren, is a charlatan and liar who trades in snake oil. Why gays would be upset that he has anti-homosexual views is beyond me. What would you expect?

His business is based on a mythology that is thousands of years old and reflects the primitive culture and beliefs of that time. Instead of worrying about changing an archaic system of lies, a better bet would be to ignore the system altogether. Jesus doesn’t love you because Jesus doesn’t exist.

Neither does the Hebrew God. Or the Virgin birth. Or literally anything of putative divinity found in the Bible. These are primitive beliefs and rituals for primitive people.

The bigger question for me is when will we have an inauguration that doesn’t require an invocation of sacred lies. On that day, it’s likely that homosexuals – along with everyone else – will have advanced beyond a level of atavism that will be worthy of admiration.

That is the day all of us should fight for.