Monday, November 28, 2005


Thanksgiving Lament

Or, Thanksgiving Gaiety

I took my two youngest, 9 year old daughter and 12 year old son, on my annual, obligatory trip to Knoxville, to visit with my family for Thanksgiving. As Thanksgiving last year was not especially enjoyable with my family, as I previously noted here, I traveled with some trepidation. Although being a conservative, I easily keep my views to myself during family gatherings and other non-political occasions. Unfortunately, other, liberal, members of my family have no such self restraint as in my sister's "sexist moment" related in the link above.

I had been treated with a phone call from my older sister on Thanksgiving day. The call went pleasantly with niceties exchanged, etc. and finished with an invitation on her part to come and visit her. She stated my kids and I were welcome to stay at her house. Her extra bedrooms had been cleaned up. This sister typically invites us to stay with her at her house which, for my family, is unusual.

When I was a child, one of six, we regularly stayed with relatives when we traveled. Somehow, my family doesn't think this is a good idea. My middle sister and her husband would allow us to stay with them when they lived in Florida but now that they have returned to Tennessee no invitations have been extended. My parents live in the 5 bedroom house that we grew up in but my father once sent a letter to all out of town offspring that visitors need not apply but that he would help pay for a motel room. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. With the added costs, this curtails my visits.

My children spent most of Thanksgiving day with their mother. At 5:00 AM Friday morning, we started the trip south to Tennessee. The journey down was uneventful and we arrived in Knoxville at 9:30 AM.

After spending some time with my parents and my two younger sisters, we checked into the motel which, surprise, my father paid for in full this time. That evening my son and I went to watch Alcoa High School play in the semi-finals of the Class AA state championships. Alcoa is the defending state champion. The game was close until the 4th quarter when Alcoa broke into about a two touchdown lead and went on to victory. During this time my daughter went ice skating with my youngest sister at the outdoor rink set up in the Market Square Mall in downtown Knoxville.

My daughter enjoyed ice skating so much that she insisted on going again on Saturday. After a quick trip to the Sugarlands Visitor Center in the Smokey Mountain National Park and then Pigeon Forge, I took her and my son to the skating rink. There we hooked up with my older daughter, son-in-law and their kids. Fun was had by all although my younger daughter and son were the only ones that skated for any length of time.

On Sunday for a final goodbye, we met my parents at Cracker Barrel for lunch. My two sisters and my brother-in-law joined us. Being a lesbian my youngest sister brought her friend/lover. She and her friend sat closest to myself and my children. Towards the end of the meal the conversation turned towards the skating experiences.

My daughter brought up that a teenage boy she had seen at the rink the night before looked "gay." For her this was an observation based primarily on his hairstyle. As the boy was with a girl, I doubt that he actually was gay. My daughter also noted that when she had told me this that I immediately knew about whom she was talking. My son also chirped in on the conversation about this.

He then, for whatever reason, mentioned that the host of a show on Animal Planet looked "gay." In response to this my sister asked him what difference in made who a person had sex with as far as how well a person could do their job. My son didn't catch on to what she was trying to say and she rephrased her comment for him. At that point, I said that I thought what he was trying to say was that the fellow on Animal Planet was effeminate. After that the conversation turned to another subject.

In a few minutes, my sister stated she needed to leave. Giving polite goodbyes to all she and her friend left. It was then that I realized, or thought, that she was offended by my children's comments and perhaps mine. However, I was also offended that during a family lunch that my 12 year old son and 9 year old daughter were confronted about the morality of homosexuality.

Part of this is certainly misunderstanding on everyone's part. It is an irony that the term "gay," originally popularized as a more respectful alternative to the term "queer," has become a pejorative to today's children. It is also ironic that many of children still find the idea of homosexual activity repulsive despite efforts by so many to "normalize" it.

In my personal philosophy, I don't care if someone is gay or not. My religious perspective is that if it is a sin, it is not a great sin. I believe, if it is a sin, a shoplifter commits a greater sin than consenting adults engaged in homosexual activity. But I prefer my children to be heterosexual. I do not teach my children that anyone should be discriminated against because of sexual preference.

But I really don't teach my kids much at all about homosexuality. My two sons know that I have a brother that died of AIDS that he most likely contracted through homosexual activity. I haven't talked with my 9 year old daughter about this yet because I believe 9 year old girls have better things to worry about, like what clothes to pick out for their Build-A-Bear and studying for the Friday spelling test.

Frankly, I'm angry that our society is so permeated with sex that 9 year olds know about "gayness" and all sorts of other sexual activities. With TV show such as "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," characters like Richard on "Survivor," the gay boyfriend in the movie "Clueless," frequent sexual innuendo on radio shows, etc. a parent would have to perform gargantuan fetes of censorship to fully block out exposure to sexual references. When my children ask questions regarding sex, I provide factual, matter of fact responses as well as remind them that they can't date until they are 25 and can't kiss anyone till they are 30.

As far as trying to make philosophical, moral arguments with 12 and 9 year olds regarding homosexual activity and work performance, I don't believe it is appropriate. Kids need time, emotional development, and to develop abstract reasoning to adequately grasp these issues. They don't need the confusion that can come with these arguments being pushed upon them. I believe children learn better about how to treat others from the example of adults around them. When they witness me interact and treat homosexuals in a friendly, fair, civil, respectful manner they get the message that, while there may be certain aspects about a person you may not like or approve, you still treat them with dignity.

I imagine my sister is still feeling offended. Perhaps it is because as a liberal she may have "weakened self-esteem, injured narcissism and paranoid tendencies." Maybe it's something else. But my sister is a big girl. If she can't take it, tough. I feel no need for any apologies. My only obligation in this scenario is to my children and to help them to grow up to be as normal and healthy as possible. I don't see how conforming their views, at this age, on "gayness" to my sister's or anyone else's expectations contributes to that goal.

If past behaviors hold true, my sister, nor anyone else in my family will ever say anything to me about this, which is fine with me. During the roughest times of my life I received minimal support from my liberal siblings and parents. I visit my parents as regularly as possible because they are essentially good (although politically and socially misguided) people, in their 80's and deserve to live out the last years of their lives feeling loved.

After enduring many moments of tolerating my family's liberal moments, I don't look forward to gatherings, holidays, etc. because relaxation and enjoyment are too often interrupted by the politics of the moment or the cause celebre. Last Thanksgiving it was the mythical "sexist moment," this year it is "gayness," I can't predict what next year holds. Maybe all this is what Jesus was referring to when he said, "And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."

UPDATE (12/18/05): There has been a fair amount of discussion regarding this incident resulting from a link at DrHelen. Which is just fine because if I wasn't willing to take the flack from expressing my feelings and opinions, I wouldn't make them public. First, I am quite willing to accept that I may be in the wrong here. Secondly, when a situation occurs of conflict regarding my children, my first move is to protect my children, emotionally and physically if needed. Last, I am tired of being "saved," "enlightened," "taught a lesson," "shown the way," etc.

Sometimes its as if life is an obstacle course of Moonies, Hari Krishnas, fundamentalists, civil rights activitists, Scientologists, ad infinitum all telling us how to live our lives and how we should act. Sometimes it would be nice to sit and enjoy lunch. Where there is history sores tend to fester and what would be minor incidents become magnified, but the sound of harmelss drops of water will eventually drive most people crazy.

Many moons ago, when I was living in married student housing another couple found my oldest (and only at the time) daughter playing around their apartment. They decided these girls shouldn't have been doing this, made them come into their apartment and called us and the other girl's parents. I went and retrieved my daughter and mildly scolded her for being where she shouldn't have been. When, the other father picked up his daughter he roundly informed the couple that they had committed kidnapping and any other incidents would result in a call to the police. He then instructed his daughter on not going where she had been.

When I learned of this, I realized the error in my actions. Fortunately, this couple was well intentioned if msguided. No adult should force a child into their residence. What if he had been a child molester, murderer, etc. Since then I have made it a policy to look after my children first.

Once, again, I don't find that saying someone looks "gay" should elicit a response of "What difference does it make who someone has sex with?" I've heard many times an adult, including my other sister, make the comment that someone looks gay and the response is "Yeah" or "How so?" or something along those lines. Within the last month I saw a tabloid in the grocery store with the large headline on the cover, "Who's Gay and Who's Not?" With all the media focus on gayness, is it any wonder that kids pick up on it. This is something that takes more than a 15 minute conversation to understand.

Growing up in the South, I am old enough to remember separate water fountains for whites and blacks. I remember restaurants that wouldn't serve blacks, theaters that wouldn't allow blacks entrance, blacks supposing to sit in the back of the bus. I asked my father about these things. He would say, "Some people think colored people shouldn't (whatever) with white people." "What do you think, Daddy?" "That colored people and white people should be able to drink, eat, sleep, etc. in the same places."

This was the extent of his racial equality teaching. He never initiated the conversation but he acted upon his beliefs. My brother had a black friend from our parochial over to visit on a regular basis. During the early sixties in white suburban American, this was something.

Rather than scolding us for perceived transgression concerning racial equality, my father simply lead by example. It worked quite well. This is one method of my father's I prefer to use. Socratic questioning techniques may work with adults but I believe other techniques are better with children. And, I still believe my sister was off the mark in her interpretation of my children's comments.

BTW - Judging from the locations of hits on my sitemeter over the past 2-3 weeks, I am 99% certain that at least some of my siblings are aware of this blog and this thread. Hi, guys! Guess we'll see where it goes from here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005



Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico has admitted to lying about having been a draft of the Kansas City Athletics in 1966. Only one question, why? Did Richardson really think this would increase he chances of winning elections? It's not like he was a Hall of Fame pitcher like Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky.

Maybe Richardson's ego was such that it needed the boost of having others believe he was a superior athlete. Who knows? But why do high ranking public officials find it necessary to lie about such irrelevant facts? Perhaps it's and insight into the mind of a politician that the truth is such a difficult thing to accept.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Happy Thanksgiving - For Most of Us

Some people just aren't capable of being happy and will reach into antiquity to find reasons to wallow in misery. Robert Jensen is such a person. Read his post at AlterNet where he compares Thanksgiving as a celebration of genocide..

I like this respondent's (Lone Pawn) comments:
Oh, dear God. See, this is why people don't like liberals. Everyone's sitting around, gathering their families, offering heartfelt thanks for the blessings and love that God has granted them, and then some cold-hearted ranting PC-bot comes raving in, spits in the mashed potatoes, slaps Grandma and calls her a religious nut, kicks Grandpa in the face and calls him a racist, calls Dad a chauvinist and Mom a sex traitor, then tears the pets' collars off and "frees" them into the cold night, and then leaves, congratulating himself on another family enlightened.

It's like those damned "Free Tibet" bumper stickers. First of all, I doubt the driver knows a thing about pre-Chinese Tibetan society, nor do they know a thing about historic Sino-Tibetan relationships. Moreover, what are *they* doing? They aren't freeing any nations, they're driving their goddamned car. Same with Support Our Troops. The driver isn't supporting our troops, the driver is wasting gasoline and lecturing us.

Americans don't like to be lectured. Nobody does. Tell me, have you given back all your land to the nearest person of Indian descent you've found? (Yes, I will say Indian, because that's what the nearest tribe wishes to be called.) Have you given all your possessions to the nearest person of African-American descent, as their ancestors may well have paid for it in sweat? That computer...if it was an Apple, it was made by victims of imperialism in Suzhou, China. They made it under an unfair market system in which you could argue the fruits of their labors have been stolen by American transnats. Better hand it back.

But you won't, because you simply like to lecture.
Jensen reminds me of typical liberal guilt tripping and then they drive off in their BMW. As a professor at a major state university, you can be assured Jensen isn't suffering and has plenty for which to be thankful.

I hope you are able to count you blessings as the nuns in grade school told me to do. I am thankful I live in the most free country in the world, I am thankful that I have children I can be proud of and share my love with. I am thankful I have a warm house, a decent job, can write on blogs, make bad jokes, eat too much, etc. I am thankful that I can experience compassion for those less fortunate than myself. I am thankful I can donate to charities, collect food for the food bank, work with charities to make the world a better place, and give a stranger a smile and kind word. I am also thankful that I can reject the blather the Jensen and his kind try to perpetrate on the world. I am thankful that I realize that I wasn't born 300 years ago and am not guilty for the actions of someone who was.


Harry Reid Uninformed On Iraq, WMD's

I received a link to this in my email. The headline of the article reads "Harry Reid Didn't Read Prewar Intel Report." Of course, we all know that the reason Harry Reid didn't read the report is that little Georgey Bush kept hitting him with paper wads and Harry couldn't concentrate.

Reid said: We're talking about six senators. The answer is, if you ask me, I didn't read it. But I don't know who did. But there's a hundred senators, not six. And some members of the Intelligence Committee may have read it. I don't know. But the fact of the matter is-you can't escape this-the administration manipulated the evidence and the people who opposed them, like Amb. [Joseph] Wilson were taken to the woodshed.
Sure is nice to know our senators update themselves with the latest information before sending our boys off to war. But, with Georgey cracking jokes and otherwise cutting up in class, who could have focused enough to read the boring report anyway. Gosh.

I'm just a bumpkin from Tennessee now living else where. When Georgy, whom I did vote for, was first elected, my biggest concern was that he would find an excuse to invade Iraq and finish Daddy's business. If I could see this potentially coming, why couldn't all these bigwigs? Why do they pretend to be so naive? The see an opportunity to score political point and maybe win the next presidential election. The hurricane relief fiasco hurt Bush and now they're coming in for the kill. But, anyone who thinks the Demos have your or your country's best interest in mind are sorely mistaken. It's opportunism, pure and simple. They can throw all the accusations at Bush they like but they are equally guilty.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Democrats Protesting Iraq War

I find it cynically amusing to listen to the Democrats accuse George W. of lying to them about WMD's, etc. in order to justify invading Iraq. Of course, the whole message here is George W. lied to us all, vote for us.

I'm not arguing whether or not W lied. This is the same group of Democrats who voted for the war (before they voted against it).
The Senate vote sharply divided Democrats, with 29 voting for the measure and 21 against. All Republicans except Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island voted for passage.

Ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle announced Thursday morning he would support Bush on Iraq, saying it is important for the country "to speak with one voice at this critical moment.
John Kerry said this in the Senate floor:
With respect to Saddam Hussein and the threat he presents, we must ask ourselves a simple question: Why? Why is Saddam Hussein pursuing weapons that most nations have agreed to limit or give up? Why is Saddam Hussein guilty of breaking his own cease-fire agreement with the international community? Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don't even try, and responsible nations that have them attempt to limit their potential for disaster? Why did Saddam Hussein threaten and provoke? Why does he develop missiles that exceed allowable limits? Why did Saddam Hussein lie and deceive the inspection teams previously? Why did Saddam Hussein not account for all of the weapons of mass destruction which UNSCOM identified? Why is he seeking to develop unmanned airborne vehicles for delivery of biological agents?
Since before his first presidential campaign, George W. has been portrayed by Democrats as a stupid bubba who can barely remember how to tie his shoes each morning.

Some how George "Bubba" Bush managed to fool so many Democrats. How did he do it? I don't know. But, why should I put my faith in a group of individuals who were so easily fooled, if they were truly fooled as they claim? Someone who is easily fooled is a fool. I'd rather not put my trust in fools.


What If She'd Been A Man?

Debra Lafave and her attorney reached a plea agreement in which she will serve no jail time for having sex with a 14 year old student. What if situation had been a male teacher and a female student?

John Walker, who had been a high school teacher in Batavia, OH, got 5 years in jail in a plea bargain for having sex with 2 female high school students. John Walker's brother is a Common Pleas judge in the same county and that is still the best he could do. Joey Buttafuoco served 6 months in jail for having sex with a teenage girl who obviously wanted him.

Gregory Payne in Amelia, OH did get probation for sexual misconduct with a female student. Another from the same article:
Jeffrey Sears, 41, of Amelia - is serving a three-year prison term after pleading guilty in December to two counts of sexual battery involving two female students.
Eric Fouss, a former teacher at the same high school as Payne and Sears (Wow!) received 5 years probation. Sure seems to be a lot of sex between teacher and student in certain areas of Ohio. Amelia and Batavia are close to each other.

So, in all fairness, it appears that Lafave's sentence may be fair. But, it seems that teachers in general may be getting off too easy for preying on students. For me, five years may be too stiff but 6 to 18 months wouldn't.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Price Gouging in the Sugar Industry??

Today, on the way to work, I heard that sugar prices were way up. Supposedly due to the hurricanes this year. After doing a little checking, I found this.
Since the end of August, the price of sugar has gone from 28 cents a pound to over 40 cents, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,...
While this may seem reasonable, no one seemed too happy when gasoline prices went up which also seemed reasonable. This article has sugar at 42 cents per pound as of October 28, 2005.
Sugar is now selling at 42 cents per pound on the wholesale market compared to 24.5 cents per pound a year ago, according to stats compiled by Miller and Baking News, which tracks sugar prices for manufacturers.
Maybe this is an attempt by the sugar industry to drive prices back up for greater profits.

While in the U.S. prices for sugar are over 40 cents per pound, international prices are much lower.
The world price for refined sugar averaged 14.18 cents a pound, according to the USDA.
In the past few years, sugar prices went down without the savings being passed on to the consumer.
Food Manufacturers Pocket Savings, Pass None Along to Consumers

WASHINGTON - The price a farmer received for a pound of sugar in 2004 was 11 percent lower than it was the previous year, according to figures recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sugar prices fell to 23.5 cents per pound in 2004, down from 26.1 cents a pound in 2003.

Jack Roney, director of economic and policy analysis with the American Sugar Alliance, said it's ironic that this news comes on the heels of a major food manufacturer announcing a steep price hike for confectioner products in 2005.

"Time and time again, we see giant candy companies willing to raise consumer prices to offset increases in their business costs, which they typically and inaccurately attribute to sugar prices," Roney said. "But we never see candy companies lowering consumer prices to reflect the savings they see from slumping sugar prices. That's because they pocket lower farmer prices-there is no pass-through to grocery shoppers."
All of this means more expensive pies, cakes, cookies, Christmas candies, etc. Is it a coincidence that these price increases come during the time of year when sugar consumption is probably at its highest? I doubt it. Simply another example of how corporations rip off the little guy. Contact your Senators and Congressperson.


Pull Out of Iraq?

As widely reported, John Murtha, Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania, has called for pulling out from Iraq. While I had and have reservations about the war in Iraq, I disagree with Murtha for simple reasons.

Pulling out gives our enemies the message that we don't have the intestinal fortitude to stick it, or anything, out. All our enemies have to do is out last us and they win. Also, pulling out without insuring internal stability in Iraq and with insuring that the Iraqi government has the ability to sustain itself would be horribly irresponsible and may lead to the deaths of many more Iraqis.

What bothers me most about what Murtha is his response to Dick Cheney's criticism of Democrats.
"I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."
Our military was put under civilian control by our founder fathers for an important reason, that the military should answer to the civilians it is supposed to protect and defend. Murtha implies that these civilians should not have a voice in military actions. This is quite similar to the argument that we've heard that Cindy Sheehan had some sort of moral imperative or greater moral grounds to speak out against the war because her son had died in battle.

In our society, all voice are supposed to be equal. That is why we have one person, one vote. If you can win the argument on the merits of your case, great. But trying to lock people out of a debate because they never served in the military, or no one in their family died in military service goes against the grain of an egalitarian, pluralistic society. Of course, I would like it so that only property owners vote on property taxes.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Veteran's Day Revisited

Last Friday was Veteran's Day. Veterans were honored in many ways including by blogs. Whenever I think of veterans, I think of the veterans I know and have known. Veterans from WWII come to mind most readily. Having been born only six years after WWII ended, I have always known of the Great War and the brave men and women involved in the struggle.

Great wars like WWII touch every aspect of cultures and bring changes throughout. My own life comes from the chance meeting of my parents due to WWII. My father, from Ohio, volunteered for the Army after test 4F when drafted due to his poor eyesight. His reasoning reflects the understated commitment of his generation. "There was nothing else to do." After a couple of years of training, he ended up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to help build the atomic bomb.

On Dec. 7, 1941, my mother, 16 at the time, was on an date with her boyfriend who was home on leave from the Army. Over the radio they heard of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. All military personnel were told to report for active duty immediately. My mother's boyfriend dropped her off at home and went to report for duty. Although he survived the war, she never saw him again. A few years ago, he tracked her down and sent her some pictures of her wearing his Army hat. I can only assume that a flicker of that old love still burns.

After high school graduation, my mother traveled from Oklahoma to Oak Ridge to be the secretary for my father's commanding officer. Naturally, when my father saw the 5' 8" beauty for the west he was smitten. Eventually, they ended up married and living in Tennessee, a place they had come to love. Luckily, neither of my parents had to endure combat.

Until I rented a house for Tex McDonald and his wife, Olive, I had no understanding of what it might be like in battle except very scary. As the star player, Tex lead his high school team to the state championship in basketball.

Tex ended up in the infantry, 36th infantry I believe. As the house I rented was next door to Tex's, to pay rent each month I would simply walk next door. He would invite me in and I would linger and hour or more to listen to his stories about fighting in the war.

Tex fought under Patton in north Africa. He told me how the Germans drove their tanks over the top of foxholes with American soldiers in them. The Germans put one track of the tank in forward and the other in reverse causing the tank to spin in place. In this manner they ground the American solders into the dirt. Tex still heard the screams.

After many minor battles, Tex fought in Italy at the Rapido River. This was the epic struggle for Monte Cassino, one of most costly and ill conceived battles for the Americans. Tex lost the lower half of one of his legs. Having been a superb athlete, Tex never seemed to fully overcome the psychological affects of this injury.

While the history, details and individual stories can be read and seen in many places, hearing about it from an actual participant changed my view forever. Hearing the emotion in his voice watching his lip quiver, his emotional gestures, the look in his eyes, 45 years later helped me to scratch the surface of understanding of what war must be like, or at least that war.

I got to know Tex well enough to know he wasn't a man taken to emotionality. To see the strength of the emotions still there 45 years after the experience made me realize the courage of these men and the sacrifice they made for their country and the world. Tex passed away a few years ago but his experiences will live on.

In one of those intriguing twists of life, the father-in-law of one of my sisters fought in the same battle and was captured by the Germans. He survived his ordeal physically intact. I've never had the chance to discuss his experiences with him. My brother-in-law says his father never talked about it much.

For simple debate some ask the question, "Does history make the person or does the person make history?" I say a little of both. Tom Brokaw calls them "The Greatest Generation." One thing is for sure, it is a generation of heroes, men fighting against evil on the battlefield, military women providing medical and other support, men and women moving across the country and doing whatever they could to help.

I thank Tex for opening the window so I could see in just a little bit.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Are Too Many People Going to College? ran this article about the low graduation rate of college students.
Just 54 percent of students entering four-year colleges in 1997 had a degree six years later -- and even fewer Hispanics and blacks did, according to some of the latest government figures. After borrowing for school but failing to graduate, many of those students may be worse off than if they had never attended college at all.
Maybe too many people are entering college that shouldn't be. Or, maybe, they should allow a longer time span for graduation. It took me six and a half years because I didn't want to take out a bunch of loans and worked to pay my way through college. This also necessitated not taking classes at times in order to build up funds to pay for college.

Coming from a family that amassed two Phd's, a law degree (Doctor of Jurisprudence), four M.S. degrees and seven bachelor's degrees, questioning the value of a college education is sacrilege. But, many don't have the self-discipline and perseverance to complete the rigors of college. Others simply aren't smart enough.

My oldest son, a junior in high school, loves working on cars and wants to go into some sort of automobile related career. He talks about mechanical engineering. Unless he improves his math skills this may not be an option. What if he simply decides to be an auto mechanic?

According to The Oakland Press "the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates dealers face an annual shortage of 35,000 technicians through 2010." This is a shortage! There are also all the garages and auto repair businesses not attached to auto dealers. This article discusses a program for minority students that includes guaranteed jobs that pay almost $40,000 a year. Not too bad. Better than B.A. degrees pay starting out in my company. Several years ago, I read an article in Reader's Digest regarding a drive across the country in search of an honest mechanic. (They found one in Falmouth, Kentucky not far from where I live.) In the article they mentioned how the ratio of cars to mechanics had doubled in since 1970, i.e. twice as many cars per mechanic. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the article online.

If a mechanic manages to open his own business and have others working for him, he can earn an excellent living. One of my schoolmates in high school father owned a gas station/auto service business. My schoolmate was able to buy the area Mercedes-Benz dealership with his father's help. He later became a major car dealer in Atlanta. Not bad.

Still, I want my children to go to and graduate from college but maybe it's vanity talking.

BTW - the highest money earner in my family constellation is my sister's husband who flunked out of college after one quarter.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Barn Blogging

Want to roll in the hay?

I saw this barn in Russellville, Ohio (about 50 miles east of Cincinnati). It is huge and has a dirt ramp that goes to the upper level of the barn. To get some idea of the barns size, on the left side in front of the barn is an old mobile home that is 40-50 long.

Barns are strictly utilitarian structures but still have beauty.


APA - Study Men or Not?

This post by DrHelen about 3 weeks ago is what moved me to further explore the APA and its attitudes toward men. DrHelen's post contains this statement
Sixty percent of the dissertations explored mothers only, 30% studied "parents," and 10% explored fathers only.
cited from on a 1992 article entitled, "Where's Poppa? The Relative Lack of Attention to the Role of Fathers in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology." in American Psychologist (the Journal of the American Psychological Association).

What is Ronald F. Levant's, president of the APA, view regarding the focus of research on men. In his article "Why Study Boys and Man?" (2002), Levant makes this statement in the opening paragraph:
Well, yes, of course, males have been the focal point of most psychological research.
There is a difference between studying fathers/mothers and males/females. But Levant offers no foundation for his statement.

If you go to the APA website and do some test searches you will find results that support the article cited by DrHelen.

Searching on the APA home page which, apparently searches for the "APA's most requested documents
by their titles, keywords, and descriptions," I attained these results:
Search word: "men" - 573 results
Search word "women" - 1046 results

It appears that the members of the APA, judging by the results of a search of the APA's most requested documents, give twice the attention to women as to men. This is very close to the statement cited by DrHelen. Again, it appears that Ronald F. Levant, president of the APA, leans more on his personal biases and prejudices than on reality.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Male/Female - Real Differences

During the past week or so, I have discussed the view of masculinity and men held by many psychologists and similar persons. These items hold at least two beliefs in common, a negative view of "traditional" masculinity and that "traditional" masculinity is the result of "the male role socialization process." Levant claims:
The new psychology of men views gender roles not as biological or even social "givens", but rather as psychologically and socially constructed entities that bring certain advantages and disadvantages, and, most importantly, can change. This perspective acknowledges the biological differences between men and women, but argues that it is not the biological differences of sex that make for "masculinity" and "femininity".
While a given culture/society certainly helps define how masculine roles will be defined there appear to be biological differences so strong that to ignore their presence would be foolish at best.

A few years ago my mother was reading a book of feminist orientation that claimed that a girl throwing like a girl was result of fathers going out and throwing ball with their sons while daughters were relegated to more feminine activities. For years I had heard that there was a difference in the bone structure of males and females that caused the difference in throwing and other motions.

Ironically, it turns out that the greatest gender difference in physical abilities is in throwing.
By far, the largest documented sex differences in physical competencies are for throwing distance and throwing velocity (Thomas & French, 1985). As early as 4- to 7-years-of-age, more than 9 out of 10 boys show a higher throwing velocity than the average same-age girl, despite the fact that girls are physically more mature at this age. By 12 years of age, there is little overlap in the distribution of the throwing velocities of boys and girls; the very best girls show throwing velocities that are comparable to the throwing velocities of the least skilled boys. The sex difference is somewhat larger for throwing distance. By 2- to 4-years-of-age, more than 9 out of 10 boys can throw farther than the average girl, and by 17 years of age only the very best girls can throw as far as the least skilled boys.

The finding of large sex differences in throwing skills as early as 2 years of age indicates that it is very unlikely that these differences result from the differential socialization of boys and girls (see the Parenting section below). In fact, these sex differences are almost certainly related, at least in part, to differences in the structure of the skeletal system that supports throwing.
Some of these differences go way back (same source as above):
for prehistoric fossils, patterns of bone wear indicate that men walked and ran more frequently than women (Ruff, 1987). Across preindustrial societies, men travel farther from the home village than women, on average, for a number of reasons, including finding mates, developing alliances with the men of neighboring villages, hunting, and intergroup warfare (Chagnon, 1977; Hill & Hurtado, 1996; Hill & Kaplan, 1988; Symons, 1979).

The world record for the mile run is 3.43.13 for men. Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute barrier over 50 years ago. No woman has broken that barrier yet. The woman's world record is 4.12.56. The American high school record is 3.55.3 set by Jim Ryun in 1963. Strength differences are similar. The world record in the shot put for men is 23.12 meters and for women is 22.63 meters. Doesn't seem like much of a difference until you consider that the men's shot put is 16 pounds and the women's is 8.8 pounds. The men's shot is nearly twice as heavy and the men still throw it further. Physically in appearance and performance the differences in masculine and feminine are completely obvious to anyone.

If you read this article, you will find the story of boy raised as a girl because of accidental genitalia damage during circumcision, who never found happiness until she went back to being a man. An childhood of being socialized as a female could not make him a her.

Interestingly, performances by women are closest to that of men in swimming events as compared to running and jumping events. In fact, the record for swimming the English Channel is held by a woman (7 hours, 40 minutes) as compared to the fastest men's time of 8 hours and 12 minutes.

In 2002, Israeli scientist announced they could tell differences between boys and girls three weeks after conception. Yes, over eight months before birth the differences between males and females are observable.

There are also lots of ways males and females think and learn differently.

All of this just scratches in the differences between man and women, male and female, masculine and feminine. These differences are rooted in biological evolution. There used to be only asexual organisms. To write of the differences between masculinity and feminity "as psychologically and socially constructed entities" denies evolution and the adaptations our species has made over hundreds of thousands of years to survive and flourish. Creationist are ridiculed roundly for holding such views but the APA president and others proudly deny our biological history and our biological being and are called experts. Ignoring and denying the innate aspects of masculinity is harmful to individuals and society.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


A Closer Look at the APA

During the past couple of days I've been touring the American Psychological Association (APA) website. This is a huge site with much information. What I found was much more that a guide to good footnotes and at times was bothersome but not a total den of inequity.

The current president of the APA is Ronald F. Levant was the first president and founder of Division 51, The Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity. As the APA presidency is an elected position, one could assume the views and opinions of the APA president are widely respected and accepted in the profession. In the The New Psychology of Men, Levant uses this definition of traditional masculinity:
More recently, Levant, Hirsch, Celentano, Cozza, Hill, MacEachern, Marty, & Schnedeker (1992) defined traditional masculinity ideology in terms of seven dimensions: The requirement to avoid all things feminine; the injunction to restrict one's emotional life; the emphasis on toughness and aggression; the injunction to be self-reliant; the emphasis on achieving status above all else; non-relational, objectifying attitudes toward sexuality; and fear and hatred of homosexuals.
Some how this sounds like the worst feminist's definition of masculinity. I can't say that I've ever known anyone that fulfills this definition. It sounds like a hypermacho character out of an 70's B grade movie.

In WHY STUDY BOYS AND MEN? Levant makes this point:
In addition, there is a "crisis of connection" between men and women resulting from major structural changes in women's roles over the past 40 years without compensatory changes in men's roles. This resulted from women's dramatically increased participation in the labor market. There has been an almost 600% rise in the employment of mothers of small children since the 1950's: 12% mothers of children under the age of six were employed in 1950, whereas almost 70% were employed in 2000. Women have thus moved from a sole emphasis on the family, and now combine career and family concerns. In making this shift, they have integrated traditional values such as love, family, and caring for others with newer values such as independence, career, and defining themselves through their own accomplishments. Many men have yet to make equivalent and corresponding changes.
The obvious implication says that women are coping wonderfully and men aren't. Where I work about 75% of the employees are female. Many have MBA's and other graduate degrees. From observation of this group, the women aren't doing any better than the men at coping. Many of the younger women change to part-time work, work at home schedules or just quit in order to be with their children. They create a "traditional" family structure.

More from this article:
First of all, we must take men's experience seriously and adopt an empathic approach to their pain. If we want men to hear our message, we must first listen to theirs. Second, the masculinity crisis has resulted in a wholesale trashing of all aspects of masculinity, such that for many men the essential dilemma is that much of what they have been taught to value since childhood is under attack. To help men come to terms with the crisis and restore their lost sense of pride, we also must honor the still-valuable aspects of masculinity in order to restore the lost sense of pride associated with being a man.
With this I must mostly agree but feel Dr. Levant and many of his cohorts are as much the "trashers" (re: definition above) as the helpers.

In this articleHelping men to help themselves Lea Winerman explores:
Research aims to understand why men are less likely than women to seek mental health help, and what psychologists can do to change that.
The article starts with:
Try to imagine the Marlboro man in therapy. The image just doesn't compute, does it? The Marlboro man wouldn't admit to needing help. The Marlboro man wouldn't talk about his emotions. For that matter, the Marlboro man might not even recognize that he has emotions.
When I read this I almost immediately experience feelings of irritation and anger. Oops, I can't be aware of my feelings I'm a man. Better go find a psychologist to teach me how to be aware of my feelings. Perhaps it's better that men don't as readily go to the doctor, etc., that way men don't get written as "hysterical" as did DrHelen when she was having a heart attack. Damned of you do, damned if you don't.

The article also contains this:
APA President and Nova Southeastern University psychologist Ronald F. Levant, EdD, has coined the term "normative male alexithymia"--literally "without words for emotions" (see page 60)--to describe this phenomenon.

In another article Are men emotional mummies? Levant is cited as making the same argument but
William S. Pollack, PhD, suggests that most men display what amounts to a full-blown case of alexithymia, the result of a gender-specific rearing and socialization process.
Maybe it's just the group that these psychologists associate with that can't adequately express emotions, themselves.

Here is an article by a psychologist bemoaning the state of the APA entitled "Lunacy 101: Questioning the Need for Fathers" (By Dr. Wade F. Horn). An excerpt:
Last year the APA published a study advocating that the term child sexual abuse be replaced, at least in some cases, with adult-child sex, a more "value neutral term." Fortunately, after several months of defending the publication of that study, the APA came to its senses and acknowledged that its not in the best interests of children to define pedophilia down (boy, now there's courage for you!).

No sooner had I completed my mental victory dance in celebration of this return to sanity within the APA, then what should appear on my desk but the June 1999 issue of the American Psychologist. Now, the American Psychologist is no obscure journal; in fact, it is the only APA journal sent to every member of the American Psychological Association. It is used routinely to espouse the viewpoint of the APA leadership.

So what was so upsetting about this issue of the American Psychologist? In its infinite wisdom, the APA decided to publish as its lead article, a broadside against the fatherhood movement just in time for Father's Day. They should have just sent a tie.

Titled "Deconstructing the Essential Father" and penned by Louise B. Silverstein and Carl F. Auerbach, both of Yeshiva University, the authors of the article make two arguments: First, fathers are really non-essential to the healthy development of children. Second, marriage stinks.
This was a few years ago but not exactly ancient history. I had forgotten all about the adult-child sex thing.

Ron Levant's Responses to questions from The Monitor:
I think the declining percentage of males in college and graduate school reflects a masculinity crisis which is ongoing in our society. The masculinity crisis involves the collapse of the basic pattern by which men have traditionally fulfilled the code for masculine role behavior -- the good provider role -- and the resultant intensification of gender role strain. The solution requires the reconstruction of masculinity, a re-evaluation and re-definition of what it means to be a man in a post-patriarchal society, one in which traditional gender roles have been transcended. APA Division 51 (the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity) could probably help out in a collaborative project with Division 2.
There seems to be a common theme here, men need to change. In the feminist movement the message was society needs to change to allow women to reach there full potential. A message with which I agree. Yet the message for men is quite the opposite.

Another psychologist, Jim ONeil, widely published, etc. states his
reason for studying male psychology
In 1979, while at the University of Kansas, I wanted to create conceptualizations that explained why men were sexist, dysfunctional, unhappy, and conflicted because of their socialized masculinity
ONeil certainly started from an unbiased position. I am now experiencing a feeling of abject frustration that people such as this have tremendous influence in private and governmental policies, programs, etc. This was not at the APA website but was too good to pass up.

I found a paper on gay parenting. The interesting part is the brief history of homosexuality being considered a mental illness.
The psychiatric, psychological, and social-work professions do not consider homosexual orientation to be a mental disorder. More than 20 years ago, the American Psychiatric Association removed "homosexuality" from its list of mental disorders, stating that "homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities" (American Psychiatric Association, 1980). In 1975, the American Psychological Association took the same position and urged all mental health professionals to help dispel the stigma of mental illness that had long been associated with homosexual orientation (American Psychological Association, 1975). The National Association of Social Workers has a similar policy (National Association of Social Workers, 1994).
The APA has let go of old definitions of homosexuality but holds on to even older definitions of "traditional masculinity." BTW - I am not here to argue gay parenting or homosexuality. I couldn't find an article specifically on male parenting however.

I did find it interesting that The Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity Mission Statement contained this:
SPSMM acknowledges its historical debt to feminist-inspired scholarship on gender, and commits itself to the support of groups such as women, gays, lesbians and peoples of color that have been uniquely oppressed by the gender/class/race system.
A tribute to feminism and nearly every group but men.

The scrolling window on the home page of SPScontainedned this in the message:
Three of our four Board of Directors seats are reserved for a woman, a person of color, and a gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered person.
They certainly seem obsessed with the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered person. I guy I went to high school with is now a transsexual lesbian. She'd be perfect for the board and obviously more objective and emotionally healthy than a traditional man.

On a more positive note, I found this Relating To Boys About Boys' Relationships by Judy Y. Chu which directly contradicts the premises of Levant, ONeil and such.
Far from being emotionally deficient and relationally impaired, the adolescent boys in my study showed themselves to be 1) keenly aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and desires, 2) sensitive and responsive to the dynamics of their interpersonal relationships, and 3) attuned to the realities of their social and cultural contexts (Chu, 1998, 1999). Contrary to discourse suggesting that boys' gender socialization renders them incapable of and/or uninterested in expressing and sharing themselves with others, there is evidence in boys' interview narratives that the fundamental capacity and desire to establish close, mutual relationships, which boys clearly demonstrate in infancy (Stern, 1985; Trevarthan, 1979; Tronick, 1989) and begin to cover up in early childhood (Chu, 2000), carry forth into adolescence.

As we understand that boys' gender socialization may have psychological costs and relational consequences, an initial instinct is to focus on changing the cultural messages and social processes that appear to pose a threat to boys' well being. However, as we realize that there will always be obstacles and challenges that boys (and girls) inevitably encounter as part of their normative development, it is also important to focus on fostering individual boys' consciousness, awareness, and critical reflection so that -- as active participants in their socialization and development -- they can make more informed decisions about who they want to be and how they want to act. The idea is not necessarily to change boys but to understand how they decide to be the ways they are and do the things they do, to respect their decisions while helping them to explore alternate possibilities, and to bolster the resources from which they already draw strength to resistant and resilient when social pressures threaten to compromise their personal integrity. Above all, we must start with boys' perspectives. For it is by considering where boys feel they are coming from and what boys feel they are up against that we can best learn how to support boys' development in ways that account for their experiences, are relevant to their lives.
Not "emotionally deficient and relationally impaired." Can't be! Say it ain't so!! Maybe when boys turn to men they become "emotionally deficient and relationally impaired" and suffer from "Normative Male Alexithymia." Or, maybe what Levant and his ilk see stems from what they are looking for rather than the way men really are. The old self-fulfilling prophecy type thing. Whatever the case, the APA and SPSMM seem mostly interested in perpetuating the myths of the "super masculine male" and then prescibing "cures."


The Minds of Boys

Scouter magazine has an execellent article about Michael Gurian's new book, The Minds of Boys." In his book, Gurian points out the differences between boys and girls, apparently without implying one should be more like the other.

Some of the points made:With figures like these it seems the problems lie in the way we try to teach and deal with boys as much as in the boys themselves. Gurian describes the heart of the problem:
At the heart of Gurian's theory: Boys learn differently than girls learn because boys' brains are wired differently. Culling research from the emerging study of "gender science," Gurian believes that conventional approaches to education are often mismatched to boys' brains and learning styles. And these differences aren't just educational curiosities, Gurian argues; they are the source of a crisis in boys' academic performance.
The article is a quick, easy, but informative read.

Michael Gurian has written many books concerning boys and other child, family and social issues.

Friday, November 04, 2005


The Psychology of Men According To a Psychologist

I came across this article entitled "Explorations in Phenomenology" by Christopher Kilmartin, Newsletter Editor via DrHelen. You will have to scroll down to find it if you go to the page. Dr. Kilmartin asked a class of 25 undergraduate students to conduct an in-depth interviews with an man and write about their experience. I am certain that his reaction and "interpretation" of the papers is more enlightening that any of the papers themselves.

Dr. Kilmartin's first statement regarding the papers reads: "The overarching finding was that most men continue to carry masculinity as a non-conscious ideology." He writes that the men hadn't thought of themselves as men but as "generic" human beings. He labels this as "prereflective" as in not having begun to reflect on their maleness. Kilmartin seems dissatisfied that the men hadn't sat around at some point and thought about themselves being men, or something like that.

Continuing on we come to this: "They rarely had any formal or informal theories about why (perceived) sex differences exist. The flavor was, "men are just like that; that's just the way it is." Sounds existential to me. Kilmartin also seems to think it significant that most of the interviewees described themselves as being different than most guys. Wow, what an enlightenment. I remember having this discussion with other counselors at summer camp when I was 19. Only one described himself as just an average, normal guy. The rest of us were different, somehow.

Things get a little stranger with this paragraph:
What do you like about being a man? The first responses were "here's what I like about NOT being a woman." A staggering number of interviewees mentioned menstruation and childbirth as experiences they are happy to have escaped. Given the antifeminine nature of cultural masculinity, this is not a surprise. And yet there was not much overt antifemininity in the rest of what they said. Perhaps they were being polite to the (mostly) female interviewers.
Not having read the actual reports or witnessed the interviews, I can't ascertain the actual comments of the men but not having periods or giving childbirth seems somewhat logical to have been mentioned. Even women complain about the monthly bother and of "passing a watermelon." The next sentence is where he derails, "Given the antifeminine nature of cultural masculinity..." So now masculinity is antifeminine!! I wonder if cultural feminity is antimasculine. That would explain much of the actions of feminist. But more, he notes that "there was not much overt antifemininity in the rest of what they said." Rathing than acknowledging the possibility that the men weren't antifeminine he chalks it up to being "polite." Someone seems unable to step outside the bounds of his preconceived notions.

The following paragraph begins with "Their awareness of privilege was somewhat surprising." I doubt any or the interviewees used the term privilege or framed their comments as such. The example Kilmartin gives is that the men said they felt relatively safe compared to women. How this interprets to privilege I don't know. Kilmartin fails to reflect on how this feeling is not reflected in reality in that men make up the overwhelming majority of victims of murder, assault and all violent crimes except rape. He does mention this: "threat from women, they expressed concern that a woman might falsely accuse them of sexual harassment or sexual assault, grossly overestimating the probability of these occurrences." The threat of false sexual harrasment charges are probably no less realistic than the false feeling of safety but relating all this "masculine" psychology to women is more important to Kilmartin than actually looking at the men.

He only focuses on the interviews in how they relate to women leaving out the bigger picture.

Kilmartin then state that "homophobia was palpable." I assume he is using palpable in the sense of "easily percieved." Yet he only mentions one man as complaing about Queer Eye and Will and Grace on TV. Here Kilmarten interjects, "(I would have followed up with "Name four more" or even "Name ONE more"). Seems to be getting angry. Personally I find having anal or oral sex with another man repulsive, as well as it would be with some women. But, I'd rather a guy be gay than liberal. Kilmartin mentions his anger, "The rest of the interview with this person had the same flavor, and I found myself getting angrier and angrier as I read it." Seems a little objective detachment might be in order.

Some how Kilmartin thinks it is significant that only one man mentioned his penis. Maybe real, normal men aren't as obsessed with all this crap as psychologists think they should be. Further on he states, "All of these men experience the pressure to be masculine..." He gave no examples earlier in the article. I've never felt pressure to be masculine. I just am, can't help it. I'm a man. That's what men do. They're masculine, usually anyway. Just like woman are feminine usually.

Kilmartin finishes with, "When we give men the gift of gender-aware language, we change masculine conformity from the status of default option to that of informed choice." Dr. Kilmartin, we don't want or need your "gift." You mention how the men being interviewed described themselves as stepping outside the "roles." Yet you some how think, with professional conceit I believe, that the men need your help to step outside the roles. Wake up. They've already done it. The real stereotypes are in your mind and the minds of those like you. Try stepping outside of your role as a psychological expert and looking at the world as it is.

"'what is' is the most sacred" - J. Krishnamurti

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Men, Women, Domestic Violence and Abortion

DrHelen wrote a short blurb on domestic violence with a link to this article by Erin Pizzey. Erin Pizzey has studied and written about these issues for a long time. I first came across her when searching for information to explain the actions of my ex-wife. I came across this excerptfrom one of her books.

An excerpt from the excerpt:
To the family terrorist, there is only one wronged, one sufferer, only one person in pain, and this person is the terrorist herself. The terrorist has no empathy and feels only her own pain. In this manner, the terrorist's capacity for feeling is narcissistic, solipsistic, and in fact pathological.
Does this sound familiar to you? It sure did to me.

Ever know anyone who did this?
telephoning all mutual friends and business associates of the spouse in an effort to ruin the spouse's reputation

or this

vandalising the spouse's property
After over 8 years of separation and 7 years of divorce, my ex finally gave me my suits and sport coats. She still has some of my stuff, including toys and tools my parents gave me when I was 9 or 10 years old. My ex seems to be motivated to return my belongings because she has finally developed a relationship with another man.

I guess she can now begin to cease the negative emotional stuff towards me. I am very curious to see how her relationship with this new man turns out. I also feel sorry and apprehensive for the guy. He seems to be a nice guy. Maybe it's just me, but that's part of the emotional terrorist trap. We'll see how it goes.


BTW - Cathy Young writes about abortion and men's rights (none). Instapundit has some interesting related comments here. Most of it:
in many states her spouse -- even if he's not the father of the child -- would still be on the hook for child support. Likewise, if he didn't want children, but she disagreed, lied to him about birth control, and got pregnant. And he certainly couldn't force her to have an abortion if she did so, even if his desire not to have children was powerful, and explicitly expressed at the outset. (The usual response -- "he made his choice when he had sex without a condom" -- never comes up in discussions of women and abortion.)

So where's the husband's procreational autonomy? Did he give it up by getting married? And, if he did, is it unthinkable that when they get married women might give some of their autonomy up, too?

The problem here is that you can say "my body, my choice" -- but when you say, "my body, my choice but our responsibility," well, it loses some of its punch.
One of my thoughts on this issue is that since women can have abortion upon demand then men should be able to declare "non-parenthood" of a child before it is born if they wish. As I've pointed out before, some now believe legitimate sperm donors should pay child support. The only way this issue could become more one sided is for a woman to be able to demand a man's sperm and then force him to pay child support.


Racism: How Bad Is It in the USA?

Maybe Not As Bad As You Think

Along the thoughts I've had before concerning blacks in advertisements, racism in America must not be that bad. The field I work in is marketing research. Most of the day I program surveys for the Internet and phone for companies interested in knowing what products the public would like to have, what would sell a product, the level of customer satisfaction, etc. Billions are spent annually on such research. My company has highly respected experts in statistical analysis, survey design, etc. in order to conduct this research. Probably 10% of our full-time employees have Phd's, post graduate degrees are common.

Companies take marketing research seriously. Usually large successful companies send products to the market with accurate estimations of the products level of success. Similarly, advertising campaigns are carefully planned and researched. Companies will often test TV commercials via Internet and will track the impact of commercials also.

When I see a TV commercial or print advertising with a black person or black people, I feel certain that the advertiser knows that the advertising and the people in the ad will have a positive impact. Allstate Insurance, Hanes, Phillips Milk of Magnesia all primarily use blacks in their ads. Advertisers commonly use blacks in groups, etc. which could easily be interpreted as trying to appeal to a broader base, but it goes beyond that.

Demographically, companies usually shoot for 80% white, 10% black, and 10 Hispanic and others. Would companies risk alienating 80% of their market to draw in the other 10 or 20%? I doubt it. These companies know through their research that the typical white American has a positive perception of the blacks in their advertising. This is a great sign that racism exists to a much less greater degree in this country than many would have us believe.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Red Light Cameras Create Accidents

Instapundit has commented a several times recently about red light cameras and increased incidence of car accidents.

Patrick Bedard at Car and Drive magazine has known this for quite a while. Reading car mags can enlighten you in more ways than engine displacement, horsepower and lateral G's.


Thoughts On Dowd

Maureen Dowd wrote a column in the New York Times a couple of days ago which created quite a stir. In the column, titled "What's a Modern Girl to Do?", Dowd laments about the difficulty of finding/having a suitable male partner in her life.

In the process Dowd covers nearly every cliche known to the relationship game. She covers the games women play to determine if a man is acceptable material for a relationship, such as who will pay for the meal the two just ate.
"They make like they are heading into their bag after a meal, but it is a dodge," Marc Santora, a 30-year-old Metro reporter for The Times, says. "They know you will stop them before a credit card can be drawn. If you don't, they hold it against you."

...a TV producer in New York, told me much the same thing: "If you offer, and they accept, then it's over."

When I asked a young man at my gym how he and his lawyer girlfriend were going to divide the costs on a California vacation, he looked askance. "She never offers," he replied. "And I like paying for her." It is, as one guy said, "one of the few remaining ways we can demonstrate our manhood."
The last example struck me as particular pathetic. No wonder this guy is in a gym. He is trying desperately to develop some "manhood."

A few years ago at a White House correspondents' dinner, I met a very beautiful and successful actress. Within minutes, she blurted out: "I can't believe I'm 46 and not married. Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women."
First, it's a wonder anyone marries a famous, successful actor or actress when you look at the marriage/divorce rate of Hollywood. These people marry and divorce more often than high school kids go steady and break up. No normal person wants to disrupt their life in this way.
A study by psychology researchers at the University of Michigan, using college undergraduates, suggested that men going for long-term relationships would rather marry women in subordinate jobs than women who are supervisors. Men think that women with important jobs are more likely to cheat on them. There it is, right in the DNA: women get penalized by insecure men for being too independent.
Most people, female and male, probably want a partner who they feel is supportive to them. A "subordinate" person would probably be more willing to be supportive of more successful person because it includes a increase in status and standard of living. However, this is less likely to be the case with males because independence is a strongly held male value. Having a spouse who out earns you is a threat to this value. Over the last 40 years, valuing independence has increased in females also which only makes the problem of getting together with someone even more difficult.

Continuing on and on and on, Dowd relates feminism to the relationship problems about which I am sure she is partially correct. She also describes how there is a boomerang reaction to feminist values currently. Mostly she demonstrates how one can write a long, seemingly in-depth article and still be very shallow. All her anecdotes revolve around the successful types of New York, Hollywood, etc. In the typical conceit of these people she assumes they lead society and that the masses follow their lead.

This is the conceit that prompts celebrities to threaten to leave the country if son and so is elected. This is the conceit that makes celebrities believe everyday people care about their political opinions. This is the conceit that leads celebrities to disparage the huddled masses as stupid, uninformed, mislead, whatever because they didn't vote the way the celebrity thought they should.

This conceit is primarily what prevents many of the successful from enjoying the benefits of relationships that ordinary people enjoy. For many of the successful it's about self-aggrandizement, status, and the such. For ordinary people it's about building a life, meeting day to day challenges and mutually helping someone else for the benefit of both.

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