July 30, 2009

The Atlantic Recommends Abandoning Marriage Because One Of Its Writers Can't Keep It In Her Pants

It's easy to criticize, harder to explain.

Read the article here.

Or, read the article with explanatory notes to the text.








Comments

Thank you for reminding me ... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 6:19 AM | Posted by Aaron Davies: | Reply

Thank you for reminding me that there are always people much more fucked up than I am out there.

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This article is one of seve... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 10:20 AM | Posted by yonas: | Reply

This article is one of several related reasons that contributed to my cancelling my Atlantic subscription.

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This kind of post is what k... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 10:52 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This kind of post is what keeps me subscribed to TLP.

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Well, she looks and seems l... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 11:09 AM | Posted by JB: | Reply

Well, she looks and seems like no prize, so I hope he hits the gym, gets a makeover and lands a stunning and worthy woman.

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thisis fabulo... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 11:21 AM | Posted by mmgutz: | Reply

this
is
fabulous.
i had the thought to print it out and frame it.
but won't.

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wow! more like this please!... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 11:32 AM | Posted by randy: | Reply

wow! more like this please!

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is this the recent atlantic... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 12:01 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

is this the recent atlantic? it would be nice to save this article.
generally, for a wife such as this woman, another man will not suffice. she will either get remarried and figure this out, or she will be alone, or she will have a string of unsatisfying relationships, and will get to find out what it is like to catch, and possibly pass on, VD. thrilling.

She will eventually figure out that things would have been better to stick with the 'disappointing' life before she messed up her husband's life, and her kids' lives, out of her extreme self-focus.

she will eventually accept getting older gracefully, and will eventually figure out that her trophy job was not worth it, and her attempts to make her kids trophy kids were not worth it. nobody ever really, deep-down, cared abt her thrilling writer's world, or what she wrote.

i am gonna have to look up some of her writing to see if it is as inane as i fear it might be.

btw: just because everyone else is doing it (trophy job, trophy kids, name-dropping about some new counter top material, cheating, divorcing, neglecting kids, etc.) does not make it right.

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I didn't fully understand w... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 12:35 PM | Posted by AB: | Reply

I didn't fully understand what you meant by narcissistic until now. The mark-up of the article finally makes it clear. Yes, this is the characterization of an entire society.

I feel the pull both ways: on the one hand worrying about the appearances of my life, wanting more free time, feeling dissatisfied with real people; on the other hand being concerned about substance (the mac n cheese diet, I've learned, is not fatal) and wanting to connect better with my family.

But I'm not sure how to keep the self-narratives at bay, as they seem to appear with any choice I have to make. Perhaps this writer would have been happier with her marriage if she didn't see it as a continuing choice.

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Whew. I remember seeing th... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 12:42 PM | Posted by Nadia: | Reply

Whew. I remember seeing this article on Fark and trying to read it. Didn't get far -- much more informative with your notes.

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You know, being poor, marri... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 1:34 PM | Posted by WD: | Reply

You know, being poor, married and raising children is hard but it's simple. I'm grateful for that. There's certainly nothing of the sort of shite this Loh gal goes on about. She comes of as a very self-centered entitled b****.

And twenty years after our kids were born I can say my wife and I still love each other very much. She got the same chuckle out of your mark-up, TLP, as I did.

This post's a keeper. Thanks and keep it up.

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I find the reaction on the ... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 2:37 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I find the reaction on the internet to this piece from The Atlantic more interesting, and certainly more narcissistic, than the piece itself. When the same author wrote and performed for 20 years skewering her ongoing life, using the same style of ironic distance and of mocking yet acknowledging "ambivalence" towards things like brand-name consciousness and suburban values, nobody was the least bit appalled. Yet when she takes deep breath and decides maybe the institution of marriage is perhaps a lot like an established brand and so is up for a little skewering, suddenly people are jumping up and down complaining about her narcissism.

Perhaps the article is, as you suggest, a poster-sized display of narcissism, but whose narcissism is on display? The author's (as author)? That of the people she writes about? That of the audience she is writing to ("Atlantic's readership")? That of the magazine editors, who paid money and framed things so provocatively ("Isn't it time you did the same?")? Or our Last Psychiatrist who, demonstrating his own "therapeutic neutrality," presents himself as so wisely able to judge things toward which another might remain, ahem, ambivalent.

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>Thank you for reminding me... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 2:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Aaron Davies's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

>Thank you for reminding me that there are always people much more fucked up than I am out there.

Wow.

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>Well, she looks and seems ... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 2:40 PM | Posted, in reply to JB's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

>Well, she looks and seems like no prize, so I hope he hits the gym, gets a makeover and lands a stunning and worthy woman.

Wow.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -6 (12 votes cast)
>and will get to find out w... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 2:41 PM | Posted, in reply to medsvstherapy's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

>and will get to find out what it is like to catch, and possibly pass on, VD

Wow.

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>She comes of as a very sel... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 2:42 PM | Posted, in reply to WD's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

>She comes of as a very self-centered entitled b****.

Wow.

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I'm not ambivalent ... that... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 3:34 PM | Posted by Dave Johnson: | Reply

I'm not ambivalent ... that would be one of those psychologically incorrect states ... I'm conflicted. On one hand, I see the self-centered, hedonistic, gratification-oriented tendencies. On the other hand ... there is a male culture which has taken these tendencies and raised them to an art form far greater than the one described because it also includes violence. Much more impact and drama. More bang for the buck.

Ultimately and finally, who really gives a shit, other than threatened males, why this woman decided to have an affair (primarily the province of men) and then decides to divorce (again, primarily the province of men who need a trophy wife to uplift their flaccid lives)?

I think there's a lot of reflexive fear here ... men hate it when women begin to adopt their philosophy. Given working women still do far more of the parenting and house keeping chores, there would seem to be greater motivation for them to bail on marriage than men, who benefit more from the current cultural zeitgeist.

At some point, as the self-centered, ambivalent author pointed out, we need to take a look at another player in the relationship- this society's contamination by christianity, with it's idiotic view of male-female relationships. Just recently, the July 13th Time magazine (yet another pop culture mag) cover blared: "Unfaithfully Yours-Infidelity is eroding our most sacred institution." Oh please. Most sacred? They did get "institution" right. Marriage was and is a legal contract having to do with the transfer & consolidation of property relative to the establishment of kinship and dressed up in the emperor's holy clothing.

A cursory review of history and culture (read: not just Amurica)details the myriad forms relationships have taken over the centuries and across cultures. People ... big surprise here, but the romantic/christian inbred ideal is hardly the most enduring model of relationships that ever existed.

Methinks the men doth protest too much.

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Good transference there Lou... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 4:06 PM | Posted, in reply to Dave Johnson's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Good transference there Lou! So how is your love life?

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"Ultimately and finally, wh... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 6:08 PM | Posted by CC: | Reply

"Ultimately and finally, who really gives a shit,...

Third-party beneficiaries may have interest and standing to give a shit about breached contracts, here, e.g. children, relatives who are compelled, morally, to pick up the slack and put up with the shit, taxpayers who take some minor, extenuated but significant in the cumulative, collateral hit, etc. etc. etc. More so a community with sacred covenants before God. Ultimately.

"...other than threatened males,"

So what if it's only people with motivations that trouble you who make a stink? Does that refute their objections? If the Devil says 2+2=4 is 2+2 not 4 because the Devil said it? See previous.

"...why this woman decided to have an affair (primarily the province of men)"

(Why that is or was that?)

"...and then decides to divorce (again, primarily the province of men who need a trophy wife to uplift their flaccid lives)?""

Trophy wives marry flaccid men? Veronica Lario wants out because Silvio can't get it up?

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oh wow.the last ps... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 8:19 PM | Posted by naah: | Reply

oh wow.

the last psychiatrist > helen fisher.

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I must not have read it cor... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 11:45 PM | Posted by as: | Reply

I must not have read it correctly the first time I read this piece. Does it actually say that she cheated? That her husband cheated? Is it implied? (Am I really this blind?)

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good lord, yes, I am that b... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 11:50 PM | Posted by as: | Reply

good lord, yes, I am that blind. Please pardon the doof.

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Alone's response: Two im... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 11:50 PM | Posted by Alone: | Reply

Alone's response: Two important things, in reverse order. Second, I hope I made it clear that 50% of the blame lies with her husband/"men" because they have abandoned their wives emotionally. However, because they maintain physical proximity (e.g. cooking) the woman is left confused: "I feel disconnected from him, yet...it's not like he isn't around." In fact, you are disconnected because he is making no attempt to remain connected. In this regard, women need more "attention" than men (not a judgment, just a statement) and it is the man's responsibility to give it.

First, her narcissism is obvious, but I do not blame her for it-- she is a trapped product of that generation. Of course there is individual responsibility, etc, but she is not at all unique in her feelings, lots of women have the exact same feelings and experience. And, of course, the resultant shame of it all. So many women didn't get this way because they all possess the evil gene. They got this way because they were nudged that way (e.g. her father, etc.) What would have prevented it all is if she and her husband had had very clear expectations of what their life together would be like, instead of winging it. But that's not how we were brought up.

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"Who gives a shit" refers t... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 11:57 PM | Posted, in reply to CC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Who gives a shit" refers to this woman and this article .... I can understand the general ideas raised are threatening. Men, after all, have made a lifestyle of divorcing, not following through on child support and generally chasing after younger women as a substitute for having a mid-life resolution. I was, however, commenting on this particular paragon of upper middle class white entitlement. This self-indulgent knife cuts both ways.

Trophy wives marry men with $$ and fame and/or $$ and power. Flaccidity isn't the issue for them. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophy_wife and pay close attention to the "pop" definition. After all, this is all pop derived conversation.

As far as your other comments go ... take a deep breath, exhale your religiosity and come back with some coherent point. Sacred covenants indeed.

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My apologies for posting be... (Below threshold)

July 31, 2009 12:02 AM | Posted by Dave Johnson: | Reply

My apologies for posting before identifying myself. I did write the reply to CC. To me, the issue isn't whether or not the man is to "blame," it's that this dance has been done for ages, primarily by men. For women to spout this sort of self-serving nonsense and adopt similar strategies is profoundly threatening.

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Ooooh I enjoyed that.... (Below threshold)

July 31, 2009 5:54 AM | Posted by K-Sometimes: | Reply

Ooooh I enjoyed that.

I had read the article last week without your notes (following your link from the Twilight post) and kept thinking about it fuming and confused. I thought how could you possibly let this article drop like that, linked but un-commented?
I feel better now, thanks!

The desperation just becomes apparent at 40-odd, we start feeding it a lot earlier. Then it's masked with a newly found, post-divorce self confidence and presented (presentation has become Everything) as an intellectual school of thought which all self-respected, contemporary people should follow. (entry in the Atlantic and Validity). Because this is not a cry like "World's Unappreciated Women unite and let's have a chinese and bitch about our (x-)husbands", but it is served with literacy and a touch of class.

I just hate that. It passes as a lifestyle. So what? She's still ALONE.

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I liked her implied conclus... (Below threshold)

July 31, 2009 6:09 AM | Posted by varangianguard: | Reply

I liked her implied conclusion that since her attempts at marriage sucked, then marriage as an institution was at fault - not her. If that isn't the epitome of narcisscism, I don't know what is.

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... but you never questione... (Below threshold)

July 31, 2009 9:04 AM | Posted, in reply to Alone's comment, by think about it: | Reply

... but you never questioned that things could be different? You didn't try and fight it, you just kept going with the way things were. Surely you must have realized that your parents/older people are no different in being human (and rather unspecial,) than the generations that follow or came before them. To quote Timothy Leary, "Think for yourself, question authority".

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My thoughts as well, along ... (Below threshold)

July 31, 2009 11:07 AM | Posted, in reply to varangianguard's comment, by Interested Party: | Reply

My thoughts as well, along with wonder at no acknowledgement of responsibilty for the affair. "How did that affair happen to me? I don't even enjoy men?" Yet at some level she had to know where this was leading. Indeed, she was steering the boat because she admits during therapy that she is the one who said no to reconciliation. I would not want her trapped in a loveless marriage, but why not say "I'm unhappy; I want out."

And if we're blaming institutions for problems with marriage in America, let's give the Churches a pass and blame Disney and Hollywood. The Church's views on marriage, right or wrong, have been relatively fixed for centuries. The over-the-top romanticizing of Disney and the movies in general seem more recent and more pertinent. Everyone loves a spark, but few care to tend the flame or appreciate the warmth of the coals.

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Even without the resentment... (Below threshold)

July 31, 2009 12:55 PM | Posted by R. Kevin Hill: | Reply

Even without the resentment over taking up the slack, CC's basically right. Children are are not an accessory. They are people, dependent upon the people whose choices created them. This has nothing to do with "men feeling threatened"--a comment which itself implies that children do not exist, that divorce is always only a conflict between self-interested adults. To use the term "threatened" as if it always implies a pathological insecurity is question-begging. "Why do women feel threatened by porn?" may or may not be a fair question; "Why do women feel threatened by rape?" would be a monstrous one. Before one can determine what's pathological, one should determine what exactly is under threat/challenge and whether it should be or not. Merely identifying something as harmful to someone answers nothing. [Which is not to deny that there is the equity question about the burdens of child-rearing].

Last but not least: if anyone wants to blame society and thus take the chorus of outrage to task for blaming her, consider: this is how societies change their norms, and themselves. Choruses of outrage have mitigated racism, sexism and ever so much else besides. Affecting those socialized in the old ways adversely is the price of progress.

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Pawning your who-gives-a-sh... (Below threshold)

July 31, 2009 1:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Pawning your who-gives-a-shit-question off on to just this woman is weak sauce dude. It might work if we were talking about something like the Apollo program --e.g. who gives a shit about why NASA hasn't gone back to the moon?-- where the thing is attenuated, where the others affected by it are only affected in a very indirect way as members of the corporate body (e.g. taxpayers as citizens supporting the federal program). But here we are talking about the most important social institution in the world: marriage.

Now if you told me, nah, marriage is not in decline in the US so who gives a shit what this chick wrote about her failed marriage, then I would present counter-arguments to that premise and maybe we could have a useful discussion. Hint: I think she's more the rule than the exception.

You wrote: a "cursory review of history and culture... [shows, proves, demonstrates, or evidences]... myriad forms [of] relationships ... over the centuries and across cultures." To the extent that statement implies, fa la la, that all of those myriad forms were equally good, etc., it, the statement, is crap. No review, cursory or otherwise, could reasonably say anything significantly different than this: man is a social animal; man is a family man; "[s]ince we are not a solitary species, our social and political institutions are not made up of individuals but of families and communities.... The patterns of family life evolve, shift gears, change directions, and the transmutations of basic elements are so varied and sometimes take such fantastic forms that we are tempted to say, "This people does not recognize the family." However, the world has never before seen flourishing and productive societies committing themselves to undermining these fundamental principles of our social life: taboo on sexual relations within the family, maternal care, paternal authority, the basic division of labor between the sexes, the primary household responsibilities of the family for rearing children, and caring for the elderly and infirm. Destroy this foundation, and you wreck the entire social and political edifice erected upon these natural principles." (Yes, it's a secret.)

Look, I think I know what you're trying to say: men in the US have been full of shit too. On that we agree. As long as it didn't devolve into a chicken and egg debate, I'd say more power to you for pointing out male BS. Instead, unlike LP, you gotta go and grind some anti-male, anti-religion, pretend-worldly guy axes. What's up with that?

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That's me at 1:39 p.m.... (Below threshold)

July 31, 2009 1:42 PM | Posted by CC: | Reply

That's me at 1:39 p.m.

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>if anyone wants to [...] t... (Below threshold)

July 31, 2009 5:57 PM | Posted, in reply to R. Kevin Hill's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

>if anyone wants to [...] take the chorus of outrage to task for blaming her, consider: this is how societies change their norms, and themselves. [...] Affecting those socialized in the old ways adversely is the price of progress.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

So she lives in a milieu which is profoundly narcissistic and, to the extent that she participates in the prevailing culture, she is praised for it. Then, when she rebels against norms, she is suddenly seen as being "all about me" and (after volunteering, apparently, to be a societal scapegoat) she is given the label "narcissistic."

No, blaming society is far more cromulent than blaming her.

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Holy hell. That is really d... (Below threshold)

July 31, 2009 7:42 PM | Posted by drugs are fun: | Reply

Holy hell. That is really damn scary, I worry about her kids. I don't get it. Marriage isn't about love, why do people think it is? My parents love each other, but there married for much much much more complex reasons than that.

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"However, the world has ... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2009 3:56 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by ATraveller: | Reply

"However, the world has never before seen flourishing and productive societies committing themselves to undermining these fundamental principles of our social life: taboo on sexual relations within the family, maternal care, paternal authority, the basic division of labor between the sexes, the primary household responsibilities of the family for rearing children, and caring for the elderly and infirm."

Oh wow ... that's quite a statement. Is there any sort of reference on this, any place where I can see the rawdata, samplesize, timeperiods studied (guessing since beginning of man?) etc? I'm not that big on Anthropology, so I'm probably going to need the idiots study guide to different cultural norms as well, thanks.

A

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I must say, I read this art... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2009 4:56 AM | Posted by A Girl: | Reply

I must say, I read this article and your comments with interest. I do hope that one day you tackle the explaining bit as well, even though it may be harder.

Now, at one point, you comment "so much for therapeutic neutrality" Allow me to ask, as someone who has actually experienced therapeutic neutrality first hand, what on earth is it supposed to be good for? In a world wrapped up in IKEA kitchens and simmering chicken broths arranged in Mandala patterns, isn't it ok to know that there is someone out there who has an above average grasp on what is going on, as well as your best interest at heart?

Because if even your therapist doesn't seem to care, what chance you got then?

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I liked your analysis.Loved... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2009 10:45 AM | Posted by Dheeraj Kattula: | Reply

I liked your analysis.Loved it.

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Really? You really think t... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2009 12:33 PM | Posted, in reply to ATraveller's comment, by CC: | Reply

Really? You really think that's quite a statement? Let's take the first, the incest taboo, and reverse it. Has the world ever seen a flourishing and productive society committing itself to undermining that particular fundamental principle? No, you haven't. You know you haven't. Families that do that don't thrive. Societies that tolerate families that do that don't thrive. So don't be a pedantic fool. When you show me one --just ONE society that has thrived despite breaking that ONE fundamental principle in that list, then, yeah, sure, we'll have ourselves a nice little raw data, sample-size, time periods, let's use big words we don't understand internet comment blog debate. I'll be back on Sunday.... I won't be holding my breath....

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PS: And no, the incestuous ... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2009 12:45 PM | Posted, in reply to ATraveller's comment, by CC: | Reply

PS: And no, the incestuous marriages of Pharaohs and other ancient rulers do not a counter-example make. Think about it. They're just the top of the political pyramid of their societies, not the society itself. A better example perhaps would be to compare them to a wart; though it may persist for sometime on an otherwise functioning and thriving body, the wart is not a feature, but a bug.

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Again TLP shows his feminis... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2009 12:56 PM | Posted by BS_caller_II: | Reply

Again TLP shows his feminist leanings.
Anon / July 30 hit the bullseye.

If this article was written by a man, it would be unremarkable.

This blog is nothing but the ramblings of a misanthropic old ironically narcissistic man. Its readership consists of people with subpar intelligence getting a narcissistic high from deciphering the blog's convoluted rantings, and understanding the odd latin phrase here and there dropped by the author.

It would be funny if it didn't piss me off so much.

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one more thing.<a hr... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2009 4:15 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

one more thing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuM115zQDBQ

Hehe

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There are always individual... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2009 5:07 PM | Posted by mark: | Reply

There are always individuals willing to play the witch and others ready to burn the witch. Why don't you fisk some Jerry Springer videos while you're at it.

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I merely suggest that to un... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2009 6:19 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by R. Kevin Hill: | Reply

I merely suggest that to understand all is to forgive all; whether one chooses to do that in response to a product of a racist, sexist, or narcissist (?) society is up for grabs, but you're not likely to get the kind of change you want by hugging the sources/vectors/scapegoats (however you want to think about it).

Anyway, she rebelled against something? I missed that part. She seems pretty typical of the American middle class' midlife crisis shtik, before/during/after, far as I can tell.

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Now, at one point, you c... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2009 10:05 PM | Posted, in reply to A Girl's comment, by acute_mania: | Reply

Now, at one point, you comment "so much for therapeutic neutrality" Allow me to ask, as someone who has actually experienced therapeutic neutrality first hand, what on earth is it supposed to be good for? In a world wrapped up in IKEA kitchens and simmering chicken broths arranged in Mandala patterns, isn't it ok to know that there is someone out there who has an above average grasp on what is going on, as well as your best interest at heart?

A therapist's job is to help you understand what's going on by helping you see past what your quirks and biases will allow you to see, with the understanding and even insistence that you are the ultimate authority and decision maker about your own life. Without therapeutic neutrality, you have an overpaid busybody. A guy who thinks he knows life so much better than anybody else, that his advice is necessary and worth $120 an hour.

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Ehm, I fear you misundersta... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2009 4:09 AM | Posted, in reply to CC's comment, by ATraveller: | Reply

Ehm, I fear you misunderstand my question. What I wanted to know was, where can I look at the evidence to back up the statement that our world today is worse than it was a year ago, a decade ago, a eon ago? Who are these flourishing and productive societies, and how are they tearing down the Incest Taboo?

You are right in the sense that I cannot find an example of a society where incest between close blood-relatives is allowed. In fact, in most societies through the ages, it has been strictly regulated, even in Polynesia, which was by some considered the high capitcal of debauchery. However, I can pull up examples of how the prohibited degree of kinship has changed through the ages, and I am certain that those changes have been the matter of heated debates.

We live in changing times, and we must change with these times, for better or worse. But in my opinion, it is the high point of arrogance to think that we are the first or the last to do so.

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This is the part of CC's re... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2009 2:27 PM | Posted, in reply to ATraveller's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This is the part of CC's reasoned commentary I particularly relish:

. . . these fundamental principles of our social life: taboo on sexual relations within the family, maternal care, paternal authority, the basic division of labor between the sexes, the primary household responsibilities of the family for rearing children, and caring for the elderly and infirm.

Taboo on sexual relations arose from nowhere but the fevered imagination of CC's writing points and should be allowed to sink back into that paper tiger swamp from which it was unearthed. Maternal care ... ? I love that, especially given a quick comparison between how Amurica handles maternal leave and support compared to other industrialized nations. And, of course, it's become almost impossible for a single wage-earner in this day and age to buy/rent a house and raise children. But hey ... it's a good bumper sticker.

I especially like the "paternal authority, the basic division of labor between the sexes," as it so clearly demonstrates the fact that, although the nature of reality has changed somewhat since the Bronze Age, the enduring values of these roles have not. After all, paternal authority is not only biological, it's god-sanctioned. A societal two-fer going back before the Sumerians ever codified man's sexual, political and economic domination of women.

Then there's "the primary household responsibilities of the family for rearing children," whatever that means. Is it the nuclear family? Is it the extended family? The blended family? Is it the single mother family? You know-all those women who said "hell no, we'd rather be poor" to financial or emotional support?

Finally, another favorite of mine: "caring for the elderly and infirm." Yes, we do that so nicely ... just look at how well our lower middle class and lower class elderly live.

Fact is ... CC's screed seems to encapsulate a set of beliefs inculcated by middle to upper middle class white christians who seem quite unaware of our social-political policies-many of which are at odds with the ideals of families, children, mothers and seniors.

It's not about government or a society taking away the "primacy" of family ... it's about that society putting it's money where it's mouth is as opposed to creating yet another bumper sticker opportunity.

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Aug 2/2:27 anon totally own... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2009 3:24 PM | Posted, in reply to CC's comment, by anon: | Reply

Aug 2/2:27 anon totally owned CC.

I would chime in but I know better. CC is not the sort of person who argues rationally.

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So now you're saying I misu... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2009 6:29 PM | Posted, in reply to ATraveller's comment, by CC: | Reply

So now you're saying I misunderstood a question you didn't ask. You will pardon me for not being a mind-reader.

As for your agreeing with my basic point but noting there have been some differences in degree, glad we can agree. Or are you saying that differences in degree disprove the fundamental proposition? That would be ridiculous, but of course totally par for the course for an internet debate.

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Glad you relished it. We a... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2009 6:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by CC: | Reply

Glad you relished it. We are probably in vehement agreement on many things.

Please expand upon your final paragraph taking into account this question: whose money?

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Actually, I again inadverte... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2009 7:42 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Actually, I again inadvertently posted anonymously, it's another Dave Johnson rant at the 2:27 point. My apologies. We are in agreement on several things, for sure. One is both sexes are, in certain countries, at certain income levels, being afforded the opportunity to be as self-centered and narcissistic as the other. Second point I think we'd be in agreement on is the importance of binary parent/child relationships. There's just a lot of research out there that supports kids doing better in such a setup, across income levels and culture. We'd probably disagree that it doesn't need to be restricted to male/female binaries.

What we'd also disagree on is the role of religion, which serves to perpetuate stereotypes which haven't held water since the bronze age. What we'd probably disagree on is the extent of narcissism as it relates to males vs females. I contend males have defined and still predominate this particular venue. We're talking numbers and history here. TLP describes a female who happens to be a part of this heritage. I don't believe "being late to the party" excuses such behavior, either.

Finally (at long last), let me answer your question: Whose money? Well, in this imaginary world that I control, the answer is "our money," through taxation. Let me give you an example: An April 2009 poll found that 57% of the American people would pay higher taxes if it would mean universal health care. You can put me in that majority group. Of course, we were responding to the choice for universal health care, not some sorry-ass, watered-down "health reform."

Whose money when it comes to other policies economically and educationally supporting, children, mothers and those out of work? Our money, in taxes, along with my business taxes. Major US corporations are required to provide certain benefits or rights when operating in EU countries (mandatory vacation days are a good example). For some reason, these US companies can do it and remain competitive in the EU, but can't in the US? Please.

Where the average taxpayer and the average small business owner (like me) balks against higher taxation is when we really aren't given real options, like universal health. Some hopelessly compromised "co-op" bastard stepchild that's been cobbled together by various corporate health interests is what is being pushed. It's NOT universal health care. And that ... I have NO desire to pay more taxes for. I'm already paying too much for too little with the private health insurance I carry. Not only is it far too pricey- it's completely inadequate and increasingly capricious.

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"We'd probably disagree tha... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2009 9:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by CC: | Reply

"We'd probably disagree that it doesn't need to be restricted to male/female binaries."

Well, it's all over right there. I'm asserting there are certain fundamentals of human nature. You disagree. Of course we might agree on similar goals, vehemently as I suspected, but odds are, and as the rest of your comment shows me, we ain't gonna agree on how to get there.

As for the criticism of the article, I don't think that holds either. LP seemed to make a few points about men in general, which seemed rather decent of him, considering the essay-in-chief was by and about a woman. I mean unless you've got an ax to grind, why complain that LP didn't divide the blame?

With regard to the money, don't higher taxes take away from the primacy of the family? Recall your statement:

"It's not about government or a society taking away the "primacy" of family ... it's about that society putting it's money where it's mouth is as opposed to creating yet another bumper sticker opportunity."

Things can't be something and not something at the same time. We can't have a larger state without necessarily taking away from or limiting other institutions such as the family. You can't have your cake and eat it too. It's basic. If you know your actions are going to result in certain particular consequences, your wishful thinking is no excuse. Just saying "it's not about" this or that doesn't mean this or that don't come into play. I'm sure a lot of Bolsheviks, Fabians, etc. etc. etc. could say it's not about taking away the primacy of the family but, in the immortal words of Pulp Fiction, that's what you did Brad, that's what you did.

In a nutshell my view is that the pendulum needs to swing back in the direction of the family and away from the state. 'Course, national bankruptcy might make arguing about this moot.

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I entered into this discuss... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2009 9:37 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I entered into this discussion (virtually) in my late twenties, thinking it was going to be great. I didn't have clear expectations; I was just winging it. Now that I am (virtually) in my late forties, I understand that this discussion is just a train wreck, so I'm asking for a divorce.

[For anyone keeping score at home, my posts (from among those by several anonymous posters) were here through here, and here.]

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PPS- Sorry, it didn't seem ... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2009 9:41 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

PPS- Sorry, it didn't seem to like my attempt at HTML links. My posts were July 30, 2009 2:37 PM through 2:42 PM, and July 31, 2009 5:57 PM.

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I just threw up in my mouth... (Below threshold)

August 2, 2009 11:58 PM | Posted, in reply to Aaron Davies's comment, by Jack : | Reply

I just threw up in my mouth. This is reason the USA is on a long slow death. She sounds like she has daddy issues and her deep hatred of strong males in her life makes her angry. Someone kill me but I need a Guinness first.

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nice, very nice! </p... (Below threshold)

August 3, 2009 9:11 AM | Posted by Trei: | Reply

nice, very nice!

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Busybody or not, I just thi... (Below threshold)

August 3, 2009 10:56 AM | Posted, in reply to acute_mania's comment, by A girl: | Reply

Busybody or not, I just think that sometimes you need someone to pat you on the back and tell you it's going to be ok. To (gently) push you in the direction of a decision, with the understanding that you can come crying back if it doesn't work out. Not someone who just sits there expressionless, asking "Well, what do you think" day in and day out, until you jump on the next plan that comes along out of sheer frusteration, and then deny for ever after having made a mistake, because that's going to land you right back in the whole "Well, what do you think" mess. Yeah, the above would probably traditionally be the province of mothers/mentors/priests. But we don't all have access to good copies of those ...

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Et all- It comes down to th... (Below threshold)

August 3, 2009 4:56 PM | Posted by Paula: | Reply

Et all- It comes down to the children. That is all there is. How will they get their needs met? After they are 18-off the parents go about thier needs and -whatever. Hopeing they pay for the childrens college. In all of society- only the children's needs matter. Make a society that is supportive of this and then when you are childless, do what you will-kill yourself-shoot herion-just please, raise your children!
Here in California- we are sick and tired of paying for others children.

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Oh wow, that comment about ... (Below threshold)

August 4, 2009 3:56 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Oh wow, that comment about why men cook - if I want to cook, or do anything at all, I have to arrange childcare or somehow manage to do it while simultaneously watching little babies and children. If he wants to cook, BY GOD EVERYONE MUST STAY OUT OF THE KITCHEN, unless he's up on his imaginary lecture podium talking fucking Michael Pollan crap at one of the older children about how people who cook are BETTER.

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Can you do a similar annota... (Below threshold)

August 5, 2009 3:09 PM | Posted by mark: | Reply

Can you do a similar annotation for this alleged diary of the gym shooter, George Sodini? http://abcnews.go.com/US/Story?id=8258001&page=1

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I find it alarming that the... (Below threshold)

August 5, 2009 3:10 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I find it alarming that there are women that age who have somehow completely failed to become adults

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Here, here!And fur... (Below threshold)

August 6, 2009 4:49 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Nicole in Australia: | Reply

Here, here!

And furthermore, I'm sick of feminism being solely to blame for the high divorce rate, or any other social "problems", for that matter.

If the men in this example are behaving like "passive-aggressives" - like women apparently did in the good ol' days - then why isn't this article holding the men equally accountable for the divorce rate?

Why do these men have to act in the "opposite role" to their women? Because the way they define their masculinity is "to not be a woman", whatever that may be? Identity FAIL!

You are a HUMAN, not a gender, guys!

Thank God I've never had children, because the Author of this forum seems to think that raising children all comes down to the idea that it is the WOMEN who SHOULD BE raising them. If the men helped raise them, there would be no need for hired help, would there?


Of course I could be wrong, but I don't see where the men are doing the right thing by their children in this article. If Author of Blog is going to play the narcissist card, then Author should explore the narcissism of both parents.

Because BOTH parents are being narcissitic in this example, it's just that the roles are reversed.

I'm writing this as a person who was raised by a single parent (my Dad died when I was 2 years old).

My mother re-married 7 years later, and then divorced her husband after 20 years of marriage. Since I was an adult when they divorced, I know that it took 2 people to make the marriage fail. Their own individual psycho-dramas (and lack of understanding of each other, as well as themselves) was the main reason. The other reason was that HE was having an affair.

Was he being a narcissist? Perhaps.

Was narcissism the ONLY reason he behaved the way he did? No.

Was it ALL one partners fault? NO.

Same deal with the women who are the subjects of this particular essay.


For the record, I'm glad my mother and step-father divorced - and I do have my own personal reasons for that, too. But I feel sorry for both of them. They both greived (grieved?) over the end of the relationship, and I became the meat in the sandwich, so to speak. Even as an adult it was awful, I'm glad I never had to deal with any of that as a 4 year old. There wasn't any nasty dispute over property/money/custody (it was, surprisingly, settled by their lawyers in an amicable way, who'd have thunk? No. we weren't dirt poor then or now).

I hate to think of all the children in modern society who are trying to cope with their parents splitting up, without having the emotional knowledge to cope...Which as an adult I should been able to, but even I made mistakes in dealing with this situation. Because life is always a strange new world, every day. If you don't understand that, then you are not having a life, merely an existence.

Neither of them have learned a lot from the experience, from my observation. At least I can say on behalf of my mother, she's happier single. She's earned it! He deserves to be happy, too.

I guess my point is, ultimately no-one is perfect. Why don't we try to teach people the skills that they need to have a successful relationship with their partner and children, instead of participating in a witch-hunt of who done wrong - and it seems to be the woman's fault, usually, in many circles. This guy who writes this Blog seems to suscribe to that idea too.

That said, I have no problem with MRA's, AS LONG AS THEY ARE PREPARED TO ADMIT THAT PERHAPS THEY MADE MISTAKES, TOO!

P.S. A message to my EX: Oh, Helloo SIMON! How are your kids, mate? Still got a pot habit? Still struggling to hold down a job, aside from being your new g/f's employee? Umm, didn't you have that pot habit BEFORE you impregnated the mother of your children not once, but THREE TIMES?

Yeah, you were fun for a while. And I felt sorry for your sad upbringing, too. It was worse than mine. BUT why, oh why, couldn't YOU keep YOUR DICK in YOUR PANTS? You must be really grateful that neither I, nor any of your other g/f's mothered any more of your children, considering you BITCH SO MUCH about the mother of your children asking you for child support, which you never paid - until you met me, and tried to take me for my property when you took up with your new g/f. I wouldn't have minded, had we bought the property TOGETHER. But we didn't, and actually I think that what I paid you as FUCK OFF MONEY, in the property settlement, was money well spent. Just think, you wouldn't have had much claim to the property I bought BEFORE I MET YOU!


Be a man, and stop letting WOMEN be your rescuer, that way you don't have to BLAME them for everything that's wrong with your life.

Oh, sorry, that would be asking you to be RESPONSIBLE, wouldn't it? Duh, silly me!


P.P.S. Dear The Last Psychiatrist,

My life experience has taught me that keeping the dick in the pants ain't just a woman's problem, when it comes to long term relationships. So please feel free to email or post any articles which you write/edit, to balance this apparently fault-finding exercise.

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Nicole, there are magazines... (Below threshold)

August 6, 2009 12:05 PM | Posted by Christine: | Reply

Nicole, there are magazines for women, romance novels, self-serving women's memoirs and anthologies like "Bitch in the House" that will help you feel better.

This blog is for people who aren't into those publications.

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So you consider Sandra Tsin... (Below threshold)

August 13, 2009 5:19 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by La BellaDonna: | Reply

So you consider Sandra Tsing Loh as a paragon of upper middle class WHITE entitlement. I wonder if she sees herself as Asian American? I wonder if they have more interesting entitlements than whites do?

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I find the reaction on t... (Below threshold)

August 15, 2009 6:11 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Snipergirl: | Reply

I find the reaction on the internet to this piece from The Atlantic more interesting, and certainly more narcissistic, than the piece itself. When the same author wrote and performed for 20 years skewering her ongoing life, using the same style of ironic distance and of mocking yet acknowledging "ambivalence" towards things like brand-name consciousness and suburban values, nobody was the least bit appalled. Yet when she takes deep breath and decides maybe the institution of marriage is perhaps a lot like an established brand and so is up for a little skewering, suddenly people are jumping up and down complaining about her narcissism.

Perhaps the article is, as you suggest, a poster-sized display of narcissism, but whose narcissism is on display? The author's (as author)? That of the people she writes about? That of the audience she is writing to ("Atlantic's readership")? That of the magazine editors, who paid money and framed things so provocatively ("Isn't it time you did the same?")? Or our Last Psychiatrist who, demonstrating his own "therapeutic neutrality," presents himself as so wisely able to judge things toward which another might remain, ahem, ambivalent.

Hear hear!

I read the Last Psychiatrist because I find it interesting. Interesting for a couple of reasons. It makes me think about narcissism, but it also makes me wonder about the author's crusade against "narcissism".

Sometimes what is termed narcissistic on this blog is far more nuanced than pure narcissism- yet it is couched as narcissism despite evidence to the contrary. It is dangerous for anyone, let alone a practicing psychiatrist to concentrate heavily on one diagnosis to the exclusion of others.

I wonder, in particular why it is this particular diagnosis that has so inflamed the author? It might be because of self-identification, but is it something else? Is it that he has a beef with contemporary Western "individualistic" (read: narcisstic) culture, is it that he has many patients with this flaw, or is it a (set of) particular incident(s) in the past that is revisited emotionally?

Just a thought.

PS I don't think that the author of this article is narcissistic as such. I think she is more than a little aware of the possibility of selfishness and not just admits this, but also displays a slightly sarcastic self-deprecation, and a knowing irony.

Rephrased: it is subtle writing where she is making fun of herself for repeating the obviously selfish lessons of western views on marriage.

I think she feels empty and lonely. But happier than she did with her husband. Cheating is a symptom of relationship dysfunction, not a root cause.

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This article should be titl... (Below threshold)

September 16, 2009 7:48 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This article should be titled: "Blaming the institution of marriage: The new tactic for justifying infidelity and relational immaturity."

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Great post. It is a sad pie... (Below threshold)

February 2, 2010 11:17 AM | Posted by legal pad: | Reply

Great post. It is a sad piece of writing to read. editors of atlantic would do much better to publish your breakdown of the essay instead. This makes it worthwhile to read.

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The shocking thing to me in... (Below threshold)

February 12, 2010 5:52 PM | Posted by Foobs: | Reply

The shocking thing to me in reading the original article was the passive tone. It was never that she DID something, it was that her actions were things that happened, like the weather. Also, I'm putting at least 50/50 odds that within a few years Ian is dating men. Just throwing that out there...

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Men being passive aggressiv... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2010 3:24 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Men being passive aggressive (just retreating, instead of pushing the other out) in a dysfunctional relationship may have a lot to do with the financial and other losses (risk of parental alienation, given custody laws) that a divorce means in the modern family. The cost is too high to be an active aggressor. Better just stay disconnected and do one's own thing.

And as Chris Lasch points out in the Culture of Narcissism, aggressive and manly women have also themselves to blame for men losing their sex drive for them after a while. A man needs to feel protective and dominating for his sex drive to be sustained. Call me old fashioned. But men's impotence qua their wives is not just the men's fault.

Libido being related to feeling of being attractive is nothing new and nothing very abnormal. Rejection related to one's sexuality is extremely painful, because one is at one's most naked and vulnerable, and naturally one wants to avoid any possibility of this pain. If one is feeling less than handsome or beautiful, entering sex is more emotionally risky.

Coupled with modern women who are ready to be too direct about their rejection of men, no wonder their husbands shy away.

MILF porn may serve the purpose Alone mentions, but it serves a much larger purpose of catering to the fantasy of having sex with a beautiful woman who has a flaw (her age) and therefore will not reject "me". It is emotionally safe sex. Have you noticed that in the vast majority of Milf porn, it is the woman who does the seduction? And it is usually very shy and nerdy young men (the ones most sensitive to rejection) that she courts? Rejection of the male is not even a possibility in such a scenario, as he is not the pursuer in the first place.

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Barbara Ehrenrich isn't dis... (Below threshold)

December 1, 2012 3:53 AM | Posted by James Landis: | Reply

Barbara Ehrenrich isn't disallowing another woman from scrubbing her toilets because she doesn't want her to be her slave, she's doing it because now that she's an insider, she knows that that woman is going to use the same scrubber on the toilets as she uses on the sink. It's just convenient that she gets to act like she's not giving the maid the job for the maid's sake.

If you're reading "Nickeled and Dimed", it's for you.

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I haven't read the book, bu... (Below threshold)

December 1, 2012 6:45 AM | Posted, in reply to James Landis's comment, by Mr Clean: | Reply

I haven't read the book, but I thought that name looked familiar. I just had to do a professional review of some crap that she wrote about working at w*lmart.

Her words, not mine: "I can relate more to the clothes than the customers."

Based on her essay, I don't think it had anything to do with the brush: I think she's just an asocial narcissist. She doesn't want women doing X, because it threatens to injure her Identity. She probably gets off on denying the maid for the same reason.

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