Link Rodeo

Friday, April 17, 2009

I apologize for posting so sporadically. Here’s some of what I’ve been reading lately:

Record unemployment in NC and California. Rising everywhere else. [Calculated Risk]

Bond market warning of worse to come. [WSJ via The Pragmatic Capitalist]

One month T-Bill at .01%. Hmmm? [Zero Hedge]

Gripping account of an effective U.S Army ambush of the Taliban in Afghanistan. [New York Times]

The anti-Goldman Sachs. This guys is being sued by GS and is counter suing. Juicy reading. []

What do women want? (This is a few weeks old now) [New York Times]


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.


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.

The Spirit of the American Woman

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My friend Lizzie Berne DeGear sent an email. I thought I’d pass it along:

Last night I saw the Spirit of the American Woman in action. I saw strength and beauty and what it means to be tough, yet graceful, in the face of adversity. I saw a beautiful American family center stage displaying the power of family values and I cheered them on! I watched with pride as history unfolded and revealed the True America.

I was watching Venus and Serena Williams at the US Open.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Into the Kitchen?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mark Halperin reports:

Carly Fiorina offers a harsh statement Tuesday afternoon in response to Democrats’ criticism of the Alaska Governor’s experience.

“Because of Hillary Clinton’s historic run for the Presidency and the treatment she received, American women are more highly tuned than ever to recognize and decry sexism in all its forms. They will not tolerate sexist treatment of Governor Palin.”

Which is more sexist: to ask questions about someone’s experience or to hide behind your gender to avoid them?

P.S. When is Palin going to come out of study hall to face the press? How about just one journalist (not from Fox News)?

Why Men Won’t Commit

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Aren’t any older women out there explaining men to young women? Don’t women gain any sense of wisdom about men after years of experience?

The popular Modern Love feature in today’s NY Times style section was disappointing. I just read it. It’s about a young woman who can’t get a man to commit. (It was ever thus, and thusly, disappointing.) She’s not sure why she wants this, but she just sort of does. In the article she reeled off a list of, at least, a dozen different hook-ups of one degree of seriousness or another.

Here’s my advice to that young woman and others like her:

Men and women are different. They want different things. In general, men want sex. Lots of it, with lots of different women. Particularly when they are young. Now men will often commit to a woman to get a regular supply of sex (and the companionship), and men, too, fall in love. But banking on these random, and in the case of the former, unsavory, possibilities is strategically foolish. Trust me on this: men can see you as nothing more than an object (look at pornography if you don’t believe me), and they can have sex, in fact, strongly desire sex, without a shred – and I mean nothing – of emotional intimacy.

To get sex, men will lie to you in a way that will make you curse your gullibility later. They will tell you that you are beautiful, that you remind them of their grandmother, a famous celebrity, whomever. They will let you think you’ve figured out things about them so that you’ll fall more deeply for them. And then they’ll get the hell out of there.

Now, why do they do this? Why won’t men commit?

Ultimately, because commitment forecloses male options. In short, it reduces the likelihood of sex with other women.

And that, right there, is the entire rub.

The fundamental purpose of our existence is procreation. I won’t go into a long disquisition (nor am I qualified to) about male evolutionary biology, but the basic dynamic of an abundant resource – sperm – seeking a relatively rare resource – the egg – means that the best bet for men to procreate is to spread as much of the sperm around as they can with the hope of fertilizing an egg. This makes intuitive sense and there is significant research to support the conclusion. Any appeal to reason, feminist logic, or modern contraceptives cannot stop the male’s unconscious, “genetic” perception of sex.

He simply wants, on a deep, instinctual level, more than one woman.

This truth, however, doesn’t mean that men won’t commit and it doesn’t excuse cheaters. It just means that, on balance, if men could, they would sleep with multiple women instead of just one. Accepting this fact about men, without excusing any bad behavior, will make your life easier.

(Now here’s a qualifying remark for those women who take exception to, or who are doubtful about, this biological reductionism.)

All people evaluated on all scales fall on a bell curve. Some women don’t want commitment and desire sex like a man. Some men want stability and desire commitment like a woman. But these people are on the extremes of the bell curve. Most people are in the middle. Most women want commitment and some sex, and most men want sex and some commitment. If you’re a woman, it’s up to you to find out where you are on the bell curve. What do you really want? What do you really value?

If you really value commitment, then what can you do to find a man who a) is on the extreme (or nearer the extreme) commitment end of the male sexual bell curve, or b) will fall in love with you?

Now, here’s the hard part. The part every woman I’ve ever said this to hates. Make them WAIT.

I know women need sex too, but again, for most, it’s not the kind of sex that men need. So have that fling with the hot dude if you know that’s all it is. Go for it. Bonk his brains out! But don’t expect him to call you. Don’t expect him to commit to anything. Accept that you’re just fulfilling a physical – not an emotional – need.

Otherwise, you’ve got to make men wait. Here’s what that will do. It will improve the odds that a man is either an (a) or a (b). If he waits around for six months while you freeze him out, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll call the next day.

I don’t want to go on forever, so I’ll just wrap up by saying this:

If this sounds terrible to you, don’t do it. You’ll very likely end up falling in love with someone and getting married (though not necessarily to the same person). The only thing that you will gain by doing what I have suggested is that you will be less likely to get hurt.

But if you feel the pain is worth it, that experience builds character and you’ll be better for it, do whatever you want. Just know that anticipation can be amazingly hot, and give you plenty to obsess about too.

In either case, that’s the advice older women should be giving to younger women.

Sex Differences: Men and Women Are Not the Same

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What seems like common sense to most people is a matter a great debate among scientists and social scientists. Mainly because the cause(s) of the differences between men and women is hard to identify. Susan Pinker’s book suggests a strong biological trigger for patterns of male and female behavior and the resultant differences between the sexes. Louann Brizendrine’s recent book essentially posits the same thing.

This, to me, seems like a no brainer. There is an important but poorly understood relationship between nature and nurture, but nature certainly is at least a co-equal part of development. The simple fact is that, biologically-speaking, women’s brains and bodies develop differently from men’s.

And that’s…okay. It’s really okay.

Apart from that, there is a political battle being fought here. It’s not that women are different, it’s that they’re discriminated against because they are different. This no longer holds water in the face of the continued advancement of women in our society. If women are not equally represented at the top of certain fields, it is not because men (or society) wouldn’t let them get there.

No one is going to stop a female Einstein from solving the deepest problems of the universe at her desk in the patent office, or for that matter, the nursery.