October 2, 2009

Part 2: Why Can't Kids Walk Alone To School


without god.JPG





From part 1, here.

VI.

Narcissists don't feel guilt, only shame.  Since we are a generation of narcissists, we can't see other people's perspectives, so we extrapolate:  we assume that no one else feels guilt either.  (And that's probably accurate.)

If guilt is gone, then there are no internal controls to a person's behavior, only external ones.   Follow along:

You may have even been to a psychiatrist a few times-- god knows millions of other people have-- and you're actually normal... imagine how messed up other people are!

And be honest, look into your heart: you're a pretty twisted person.  You saw Halloween in the theatre on a weekday at 10pm.  At points, the audience was laughing.  You know they're not all serial killers, but... isn't that weird?   Well, you laughed at one point, too, but you have control.  How much can you trust them, in certain circumstances...?  

And I know you and your wife would never try to get your 16 yo cheerleader/babysitter drunk and seduce her, duh, obviously.   But that concept is arousing, right?  Nothing to feel guilty about, of course, you're not actually doing it...

Here's the problem.  Sometime around KROC Howard Stern, admitting such thoughts went from being acceptable ("as long as you don't do it") to commonplace.  So there's no associated guilt with the thought, at all.  I'm not judging whether there should be guilt, only observing that there definitely isn't any anymore.  Include here masturbation, pornography, etc. 

So the issue isn't whether there are pervs who might try to seduce your daughter on a babysitting gig after cheerleading practice; you already assume everyone is thinking it, because if you don't feel any guilt, why would they?   What you're left wondering is to what degree external controls-- shame-- are a strong enough disincentive-- word chosen very carefully-- for the other guy.  And the answer you're going to come up with is: if there's a way they can get away with it, not very strong.

Societal narcissism has put us in a bit of a bind.  

  • We don't believe that guilt will will control a person's behavior, because we don't feel any guilt in ourselves. 
  • We are very aware of the gigantic numbers of people that have easy access to us, but they are mostly supporting cast in our movie that we know nothing about because we do not really want to know anything about them, so we assume they're like us-- unable to feel guilt.
  • if you consider yourself ethically/morally above average-- despite the porn, cheating, self-serving lying, then it is entirely logical to assume most people you see in the street are cannibals. 
  • And the external controls you place on your kids and on strangers as protection end up being reminders that you haven't done an adequate job of preparing your child for life.
This is the result: you hover more, trust less, live with an unrelenting low level anxiety, and masturbate a lot.


VII.

And back in the day-- sorry, back in a time you assume existed based on what little you know of it from watching Mad Men or Family Ties-- you could at least trust that women were more moral and upstanding, they kept the men in check.  So the fact that a guy was married was one point in his favor.  But nine seconds of any modern TV drama-- Private Practice, Brothers and Sisters, whatever-- let you know that a perfectly normal, mannered, intelligent woman will sleep with a guy they don't even like not just for lust or money or revenge-- but for absolutely no reason at all.   They're not just immoral, which is fun; they're amoral, which is terrifying.

"Are you saying women are amoral?" --- No, I'm saying the message men (and women) constantly get is that women are amoral.  You did nod three sentences ago, right?  Since you are too much of a narcissist to know what women think-- I don't mean you aren't interested, I mean you are unable-- how would you know if TV is wrong?

What happens to society when the kids are taught not to feel safe with women?  Guess we'll find out.

VII.

"Are you talking about me?"-- of course not you, you're different.

IX.

This is a good time to point out that when we were kids, we were allowed to walk alone to school, to ride bikes without helmets, got spankings, took our chances down at the creek.   Now we're adults.  Look around at the results.  Perhaps walking to school alone wasn't such a good idea after all.




Comments

Just because I had to actua... (Below threshold)

October 2, 2009 6:51 PM | Posted by EH: | Reply

Just because I had to actually look it up:

http://www.noogenesis.com/malama/guilt.html

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Why are you drawing a concl... (Below threshold)

October 2, 2009 7:36 PM | Posted by u. saldin: | Reply

Why are you drawing a conclusion of amorality based on sex?

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An interesting double post.... (Below threshold)

October 2, 2009 8:39 PM | Posted by abysmal musings: | Reply

An interesting double post. Speaking as a manic-depressive father of three young boys.... etc... Personally I disagree with all of your premises and predictions. However, they sound awfully plausible in explanation of why all the other mums and dads are woeful fuck-ups.

atb D

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So these kids will grow up ... (Below threshold)

October 2, 2009 9:08 PM | Posted by spriteless: | Reply

So these kids will grow up to home school their kids while subscribing to lesson plans over the internet?

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Wait, it's confusing. You a... (Below threshold)

October 2, 2009 11:19 PM | Posted by Diego Bustamante: | Reply

Wait, it's confusing. You are saying that there's actually a direct correlation between walking alone to school when we where younger and our current incapability to let our children do the same these days?

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There's a serious logical f... (Below threshold)

October 3, 2009 5:53 AM | Posted by Martin: | Reply

There's a serious logical flaw in your argument.

First you say

So there's no associated guilt with the thought, at all. I'm not judging whether there should be guilt, only observing that there definitely isn't any anymore. Include here masturbation, pornography, etc.

Which is, as you agree, pointing out that people don't, and shouldn't, feel guilty about thoughts and about things (masturbation, pornography) which aren't unethical since they harm no one. So: we don't feel guilty about things we shouldn't feel guilty about.

Then you say we take this lack of guilt and project it onto others - but in the form of others acting in ways such that, were we to act like this, we definitely would feel guilty about.

There simply isn't a logical connection between the two. I would not feel guilty about the things in the first part. I would feel guilty about harming others. Thus you haven't shown that people don't feel guilt. This doesn't say whether your conclusions are inaccurate, just that your argument doesn't support them.

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At least a part of what's g... (Below threshold)

October 3, 2009 10:30 AM | Posted by Nancy Lebovitz: | Reply

At least a part of what's going on is people talking more about emotions. The cost to a person of having been sexually abused became public.

It's plausible that having fewer children also made people more worried about the kids they had.

At the same time, people are bad at judging the importance of low but vividly imagined risks. And it's hard to know what the long term effects of relatively constrained childhoods are, as distinct from viewing with alarm because it's something new and viewing with alarm from few or no facts is a pleasant hobby.

In regards to "we": Lumping everyone (else?) into a fucked-up group whose thoughts you're an expert on just makes you *sound* like you know what's going on. I suspect it's just more narcissism.

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EH: I think Alone might be ... (Below threshold)

October 3, 2009 10:50 AM | Posted by Matt P: | Reply

EH: I think Alone might be working from slightly different meanings of guilt and shame. In an earlier post I found this: "Narcissists don't feel guilt-- based on objective right and wrong-- they feel shame-- based on exposure."

I think I'm on board with Martin's objection, but I keep arguing myself in circles around what your actual intent might have been. I hope you'll address his comments.

And finally, the thing I've been waiting for another narcissism post to ask: When you talk about "a generation of narcissists," who exactly are you talking about? The people you describe don't seem to be like the majority of the people I've known, but I've never been solidly middle class or lived in a major metropolitan area or a suburb thereof--I've never been, or been around, the kind of people that the NYT usually writes about.

When you write about "a generation", do you actually mean all people in an age cohort, or do you mean a relatively small segment of that cohort? I don't ask this to be accusing or snarky, I'm genuinely curious.

(For the record, we didn't walk to school as kids because the schools were too far away. We did ride bikes without helmets and play in the woods unsupervised, but the kids back there still do that today.)

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re: masturbation...which ar... (Below threshold)

October 3, 2009 12:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Martin's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

re: masturbation...which aren't unethical since they harm no one.


A preference for Porn/Masturbation instead of actual relationships can harm self and others.

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[quote](masturbation, porno... (Below threshold)

October 3, 2009 1:01 PM | Posted, in reply to Martin's comment, by Trei: | Reply

[quote](masturbation, pornography) which aren't unethical since they harm no one.[/quote]

lool.
1.that's how you rule on ethics?? 2 yes, they do. maybe you shuld use all your 3 neurons on this. better yet, read more on this blog; let those guys drule over that naked woman who's every little girl's idol

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clarification:Martin... (Below threshold)

October 3, 2009 1:02 PM | Posted by Trei: | Reply

clarification:
Martin, that's a fine way to judge ethics WHEN you're a 4 year old!
if you are, I take my tone back.

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"Then you say we take this ... (Below threshold)

October 3, 2009 1:37 PM | Posted, in reply to Martin's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Then you say we take this lack of guilt and project it onto others - but in the form of others acting in ways such that, were we to act like this, we definitely would feel guilty about."

That's one major assumption right there my friend. You sure?

"Yeah she was sixteen, but I didn't really arm her, she liked it and she was coming on to me anyway. I'm not really like that. She looks 21."

Not only this, but he actually specifies that we have a higher sense of our own morality. We think we're above the average. If I'm thinking about a hot 16 years old high school girl, surely my neighbor is doing one right now. Or at the very least, he's seriously thinking of doing, or, you know, would if he had the occasion.

But we're different. We'd never do it. Right right.


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The logic is sound, but ... (Below threshold)

October 3, 2009 5:48 PM | Posted, in reply to Martin's comment, by Alone: | Reply

The logic is sound, but my explanation sucked. Let me try again. Let's say you don't feel any guilt in masturbating, porn. Despite this, prior to 15 or so years ago, there was shame associated with both. You didn't casually mention masturbating to a friend. So the buffer that was set up was that even if you are doing it, even if you're ok with it, it's a secret thing.

Now you're in a world where people are openly talking about porn, masturbation, fantasies about sex with babysitters. So if this is what they are comfortable talking about, out loud, casually, then IMAGINE what they could be thinking in their dark minds...

Anonymous 1:37 picked up on it. You've set the bar for behavior much lower. If you don't feel any guilt at your thoughts, then for sure no one else does. If you feel no shame in talking about them, then maybe the other guy feels no shame in doing them (e.g. babysitters)-- because you always value yourself as more moral than the average.

Re: "generation." I don't really know what else to call it. Age 35-55. I don't know if it was the manner in which they were raised (i.e. related to their parents) or the media of that time (TV-- shared cultural experiences of stupidity?) or biotoxins (bisphenol-A, hormones in food, pharmacies in the water, no, I'm not kidding) or growing up in economically prosperous times/easy credit (Reagan, Clinton-- perhaps why narcissism is especially in those who could take advantage of the branding opportunities) etc.

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So the buffer that... (Below threshold)

October 4, 2009 5:27 AM | Posted by David Johnson: | Reply

So the buffer that was set up was that even if you are doing it, even if you're ok with it, it's a secret thing.

So the lower bar is openly talking about it? As opposed to doing it secretly?

if this is what they are comfortable talking about, out loud, casually, then IMAGINE what they could be thinking in their dark minds...

I could "imagine." I suppose I could then extrapolate, based on my personal imagination. I suppose I could then post an online article on why kids can't walk alone to school. But the center wouldn't hold. There's just supposition and conclusion.

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I expected my comment to ge... (Below threshold)

October 4, 2009 9:21 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Martin: | Reply

I expected my comment to generate a degree of ridicule, but it's a shame.

To first anonymous, re: A preference for Porn/Masturbation instead of actual relationships can harm self and others.

I didn't assume this was in preference to actual relationships, you did. That's a separate issue quite irrelevant to the article's point.

To Trei: if you have an issue with porn and masturbation, you can make that argument if you care to. Ridiculing me for seeing no harm in it gets nowhere.

To second Anonymous:
re: "major assumption". No, read the article. That assumption is the author's.

I'm sorry but I don't understand the rest of your comment.

To Alone: I think, but I'm not sure, that I understand your argument. Are you saying that without 1950's prudishness and shame, someone has a "lowered bar" of ethical standards, and could actually (rather than just think about without guilt) rape a 16 year old babysitter? I think, vaguely, that this is the idea the author is proposing. I think it's rubbish. I emphatically don't think my ethical standards are lower than those of my parents' generation, nor do I think that there's any evidence (from crime statistics, for example) that this is generally the case.

I don't feel guilty about masturbation or porn. If (and it hasn't, but I'll not propose that it couldn't) the idea of drugging and raping a 16 year old crossed my mind I would find that repellent, not arousing. But if, just for argument's sake I did find it momentarily arousing I would not for a moment confuse the idea of the thing with any thought of actually doing it.

From what I've seen, both in people I know personally and in the more extreme cases I've read about (like Ted Haggard, for example), the more people are ruled by guilt and the more they deny their own feelings and desires, the more they turn those desires into demons which rule them. That's completely different than acting on those desires so don't for a moment confuse the two or think that I do. Being honest about your feelings is the first step to channeling them in positive directions, to my mind. All guilt does is screw up that process.

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Martin: If I'm reading him ... (Below threshold)

October 4, 2009 11:34 AM | Posted by Matt P: | Reply

Martin: If I'm reading him correctly, the keystone to Alone's argument is the idea that the narcissist sees himself as being more moral than his peers. Narcissist Adam has rape fantasies but knows he's (just barely?) moral enough not to act on them; Adam looks at Bob, assumes Bob has the same fantasies, but also assumes Bob is less capable of self-restraint. Adam therefore judges Bob to be a likely threat.

That seems like a valid argument. Remember, we're talking about Adam's subjective evaluation of Bob, not Bob's actual status as a potential rapist. Since you're willing to grant Bob the same status as a moral agent as yourself, you're probably not a narcissist.

Which kind of ties into the problem I have with Alone's writing about a generation of narcissists. It's effective rhetoric, but it also suggests a universality that I just don't see. Maybe it is commonplace amongst "people who were able to take advantage of the branding opportunities" (great phrasing, btw), but in my experience it's not pandemic. This is why Fight Club underperformed at the box office.

(I'm surprised to see Alone hasn't written about Fight Club, which I almost couldn't sit through because of the narcissism suffusing every frame. I'd think he'd have a field day with that one. Hint: the famous "you are not a precious snowflake" line clearly applies to everyone except the Narrator character.)

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I have agreed with all that... (Below threshold)

October 4, 2009 4:23 PM | Posted, in reply to Matt P's comment, by KayleighKins: | Reply

I have agreed with all that you have said except for Fight Club. That movie is f'ing fantastic. I can't see how you would say that the Narrator's Tylor is praising him as perfect, its not the case.

Tylor never praises the narrator as perfect, he ridicules him for trying to reach the bland perfection that the rest of society is reaching for. He tells the Narrator that the only way to really be perfect is to give up everything, even control. Perhaps you mean it's not the really the Narrator that is the narcissist, but the Narrators Tyler.

There is always a smidgen of narcissism in great leadership.

Narrator: One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.

"May I never be complete. May I never be content. May I never be perfect. Deliver me, Tyler, from being perfect and complete."

Tylor: All the ways you wish you could be, that's me. I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.

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Matt that certainly makes i... (Below threshold)

October 4, 2009 5:43 PM | Posted, in reply to Matt P's comment, by Martin: | Reply

Matt that certainly makes it clearer. And reading back through the article again I see that you're right.

the keystone to Alone's argument is the idea that the narcissist sees himself as being more moral than his peers. Narcissist Adam has rape fantasies but knows he's (just barely?) moral enough not to act on them; Adam looks at Bob, assumes Bob has the same fantasies, but also assumes Bob is less capable of self-restraint. Adam therefore judges Bob to be a likely threat.
But for this argument to succeed, even granting the premise that we are a generation of narcissists - there's some justification for thinking that, I'll grant you - then you have to make the connection between a rape fantasy and an actual act of rape.

Here's the problem: the article started by bringing up a couple of things which have no direct connection to harming others - masturbation and porn. Then it threw in something with a tenuous connection, the (presumably passing) thought of rape. I say "presumably passing thought" because if you're proposing that very many people have at all seriously thought of drugging and raping their babysitter then I say you're wrong. This is the first part of the article, it amounts to very little or nothing in terms what you might call "propensity to harm others." So let's call that "my ethics."

Grant that I suppose other people have lower ethical standards than me. Without proving that "my ethics" comes anywhere even slightly down the direction of actually being likely to harm others, then even by imputing lower standards to other people you haven't mad a case that I should be worried.

The porn and masturbation is a red herring. The thoughts of rape - I insist that they're at most passing thoughts (and if you or the author say you've ever had more than passing thoughts or this or that the idea of seriously contemplating it was not revolting then I'd be very surprised) - still amount to nothing. Thus the second part of the argument fails.

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Well, frankly yes. When so... (Below threshold)

October 4, 2009 6:28 PM | Posted, in reply to David Johnson's comment, by caeia: | Reply

Well, frankly yes. When something that used to be shocking no longer is, people feel that they have the freedom to go somewhat farther. I'll point to cussing as an example. There was a time, believe it or not that very few people would curse even among close friends. Then it became exceptable to use mild profanity, then later on F*** came to be heard qutie often. Then it got on TV, in movies, etc. It's so common now, that your 12 year old can curse his teacher out, and no one's going to be upset. It's gone from taboo to everyday.

Same with dress. What we wear today would have been underwear a century ago. It used to be that women would wear ankle length dresses and long sleeves, then they wore shorter dresses, say knee length, then slacks to the ankles, then shorter skirts and shorts. Now we were short shorts without the slightest embarassment.

As to why kids really, really can't walk outdoors alone. I think it's a lot simpler than all the helicopter paerenting and narcissism type stuff. Simple truth is that we don't know our neighbors that well. Bsicly you see them long enough to wave while getting the paper, maybe enough to say hello. We can't trust them because they're essentially strangers. If we truely knew the people who lived around us, we could deal with the idea of a 12-year old wlaking to school, because he'd be walking past the houses of your neighbors, who you know. It's not the same as going by a stranger's house. No sane parent is going to let a kid go somewhere where he didn't know the people he was going to be around. Since you know nobody, the kid can't go anywhere.

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caeia is 100% correct.... (Below threshold)

October 4, 2009 7:54 PM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

caeia is 100% correct.

What was perverse behavior 50 years ago is now within the normal spectrum. That behavior may be at one or the other ends of the normal curve, but it's still considered "respectable". Divorce was commonplace in Hollywood, because that's what creative people did. But, we weren't so creative, so it was off-limits for us.

Homosexual "parents" were unheard of. Now they're active members of the PTA. When we are repulsed by behaviors of our neighbors today, we stay away from them out of fear and sadness.

The personal closeness in neighborhoods 50 years ago gave parents a sense of security. Their kids could safely walk past dozens of houses going to school. Today, we know the next door neighbors - maybe - but beyond that, it's all foreign territory.

Progress this ain't.

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I'd love something like thi... (Below threshold)

October 4, 2009 9:23 PM | Posted by Kevin: | Reply

I'd love something like this as your next topic: http://www.bogost.com/blog/life_goes_on_within_you_and_wi.shtml

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A preference to actual rela... (Below threshold)

October 4, 2009 11:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Martin's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

A preference to actual relationships was merely mentioned as one among many examples of how PORN/Masturbation can hurt others...the unsubstantiated declaration/assumption that it doesn't hurt anyone was entirely yours.

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People are scared of specif... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2009 3:49 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

People are scared of specific types of threats because of oprah.

It isn't narcissism. Fat housewives with mcdonalds fed toddlers are hyperprotective against pedos because 5 minutes ago the CSI special/sexual victims unit show just had an episode about Larry the Pedo with a twisted grin and a cigarette strained voice who gloated about taking the viriginity of a 10 year old. They saw that TV show and they thought "OMG strangers, omg my baby".

This has nothing to do with being a guiltless narcissist who assumes people are worse than him. First of all, people who fret over their kids are usually mothers. It's not "people" that are hyperprotective, MOM is hyperprotective. Dad, if he is a normal male, is like "whatever let kids be kids". That's how it's always been and still is. Dad swings the kids around, mom says "don't do that'.
It is a specific female-mom thing that makes her anxious and protective. That's why women often get mental problems after prengancy. The female hormones, they make you a bit anxious and crazy. It sorta helps keep your babies alive. Men are typically spared this, and are afflicted with opposite drives to be fascinated by violence and sex.

Second, people who are having these pretty low down thoughts about sex and violence are not just people, they are males-even fathers. That it is more acceptable now to talk about these thoughts is irrelevant, what is more relevant is the fact that it is males having them.

So you see this opposite trend of women being vigilant anxious and fretful and men thinking of things that women are anxious about.

Nothing has changed. THis has been going on since we became human.

The only thing that has changed is this:
1) Modern thinking and political correctness insists we not view certain behaviors or thoughts or tendencies as being male or female, even though intuitively we know they are. We then conclude narcissism driven paranoia is the root problem. We misappropriate the issue, we can't hope to ever understand it. Men aren't worried about their kids being kidnapped. Women(mom) is. Women aren't thinking horrible things. Men(dad) is. This has always been so. Media exaggerates it.

Communication has changed. Real communication (neighbors, friends) has been replaced by TV, newspapers. The natural female/maternal anxiety is triggered constantly by made up (or exaggerated, or hand picked) stories about psychopaths and sexual preditors. The natural male proclivity toward sex and violence is stimulated by it (shame and narcissism may come into effect here).

Narcissism isn't the problem, because when narcissism is the problem it is assumed having a stable and real sense of self would cure it. Self is always an illusion.

Narcissism is just code word for "person who is isolated from a society; who is a member of a group of individuals with no relation to one another". In other words, narcissism is just a symptom of society being broken down.

The real problem is natural human communication systems and social structures have been hijacked by industry, media, modern society. Women go around thinking larry the pedo is a real threat (when he's not, most of the time) and men go around thinking horrible shit, or alternately, thinking other men are thinking or doing worse... horrible things that appeal to them, that they saw on TV or the internet.

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That post was written even ... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2009 3:52 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

That post was written even crappier than usual. Apologies. But you get my point I hope.

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Anything could be argued to... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2009 10:52 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Sfon: | Reply

Anything could be argued to be harmful. Sleep, due to oversleeping. Eating, due to eating the wrong things or too much. Baseball or anything else due to being very obsessive about it. Yet we don't tend to go around saying they are "harmfull". To do so would make the word meaningless.

Yes, porn/masturbation CAN hurt others, but are the odds and likely severity of that truly so notable? Or can they simply be approached dysfunctionally just like anything else?

As for portraying women as sluts, I'm not sure I see that leading to the hatred of women. Maybe I am out of touch, and I admit that is not unlikely, but I don't think the average youngster sees sex as pure evil. Also what would they hate women in comparison to for being portrayed as unchaste? Certainly not the stereotypical man.

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Anonymous@03:49,Yo... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2009 11:04 AM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

Anonymous@03:49,

Your comments are very perceptive. You should take credit for them instead of staying anonymous.

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I'd initially intended to o... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2009 2:48 PM | Posted by Kevin: | Reply

I'd initially intended to only post something regarding the confluence of perception, reality, and justification.

People in the 1950s watched Leave it to Beaver and since that was the _broadcasted public norm_, largely people made some attempt to live that life. Now we have Jerry Springer, where I heard a 300+ pound man in a diaper exclaim that his fetish/psychological condition/whatever-possessed-him was a well documented and known behavior, therefore it was not screwed up, and should be accepted by society at large. I'm sure that there were a tiny number of middle aged men in the 1950s who put diapers on. But I'll bet that there were more than a few who kept themselves in check, because of their _perceptions_ of societal norms.

On the other hand in the 1950s, abused people largely didn't report things, and I am sure that abusers knew this. When you watch old movies, there are more than a few involving the wife being beaten and not saying anything.

We are a society largely made of of Narcissists.

It has nothing to do with guilt.

It is because we strive for comfort, and not to be better people or to make the world better.

But because I think like an engineer, I'm not willing to trust my own possibly skewed perception of how safe my neighborhood is, or the opinion of someone else either...

So I went looking for some reality to base my perception on:

Within 2 miles of my home there are 41 registered sex offenders. The offenses are listed by number of offenders, crime, and years of birth offenders:

15 - molestation of a child - 1959, 1947, 1976, 1968, 1941, 1949, 1929, 1959, 1988, 1964, 1957, 1962, 1950, 1964, 1958
10 - sexual assault - 1969, 1953, 1972, 1954, 1955, 1962, 1947, 1969, 1969, 1952
9 - sexual conduct with a minor - 1959, 1973, 1964, 1984, 1956, 1986, 1974, 1971, 1958
4 - kidnapping - 1955, 1982, 1981, 1952
3 - rape - 1972, 1981, 1969
3 - sexual abuse - 1969, 1982, 1981
3 - attempted sexual abuse - 1984, 1990, 1976
2 - attempted molestation of a child - 1964, 1969
1 - attempted sexual exploitation of a minor (2 counts) - 1972

3 of them have failed to register at some point, 2 had counts of indecent exposure, and 2 more had public sexual indecency counts. Of the indecency counts (3 offenders), 2 of them were also found guilty of molestation of a child.

What I get from this is:

There's one guy in the list who was probably having sex in public who is now marked for life (personal and governmental stupidity, IMO).

Around half of those convicted of sexual conduct with a minor are my age or younger. I definitely understand how someone could end up on that list for a lame reason. I met my wife of ~10 years at DeVry (average age of my class was 30+). She was 17, I was 25. I learned her age and refused to date her before she was 18, but when I met her I guessed she was 21 or 22...

The other half of those convicted of sexual conduct with a minor were born in 1956, 1958, 1959, and 1964. Charging children/minors with this kind of thing was not common when I was young, at least not to the degree it is now. These guys are old and really creepy looking, but not necessarily white or with mustaches.

Arizona defines "molestation of a child" as involving someone 14 years old or less. Once again, when I was young children were almost never charged with this. All but two of the offenders are over 40 years old. This means that there are at least 13 child molesters (of some variation of the stereotype) within 2 miles of me.

Statistics from:
http://locator.thevision2020.com/

The Official Arizona site (slower, poor layout, etc):
http://az.gov/app/sows/GeocodeAddressList.xhtml

Based on facts (about your neighborhood), would you let your child walk to school?

My decision will be based on: the neighborhood, how far the walk is, if she will be alone or with other kids, and my perception of her ability to run or defend herself...

Note: I listed offenders within 2 miles, since within 3 miles the number of offenders jumps to 84, and within 5 miles there are 99 offenders.

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Homosexual "parent... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2009 6:27 PM | Posted, in reply to Jack Coupal's comment, by David Johnson: | Reply

Homosexual "parents" were unheard of. Now they're active members of the PTA. When we are repulsed by behaviors of our neighbors today, we stay away from them out of fear and sadness.

Repulsed I tell you. doG forbid teh gays should attend the PTA.

Progress this ain't.
This is where we agree. Thinking like this definitely "ain't" progress.
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Why do the thoughts people ... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2009 6:48 PM | Posted, in reply to Alone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Why do the thoughts people hold within have to be more perverse? What if nowadays people just say what they think about--they don't hold anything back. It's not that they have more perverse thoughts but that they don't hide anything.

I don't feel like if I talk about banging a babysitter with one of my friends that I have deeper, more perverse thoughts. I feel like this is the argument that anti-porn people make. (They like to say things like porn increases rates of rape). Well it's bullshit, rape rates have decreased since the advent (and development of) internet porn.

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That's hardly everyone: wha... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2009 8:13 PM | Posted by Basil Valentine: | Reply

That's hardly everyone: what about the parents for whom alternative transportation is not an option? If you can't afford for your kids not to walk, you'll just have to suck it up and let them. You simply cannot afford to be a narcissist. So a "generation of narcissists" seems a bit overblown.

Interestingly, this seems to classify narcissism as a bit of a positional good, something observed amongst white-collar professionals like lawyers, bankers and, oh, I don't know, psychiatrists. Hence extrapolating a generation of narcissists when really, it's only the small cohort of well-to-do individuals Alone associates with and the people who get media exposure (by and large rich or famous or somehow prominent and able to 'afford' narcissism), and maybe Young People (as referenced by Craig Ferguson: "those with disproportionate disposable income, in both time and money, thanks to their parents"). It just so happens that the most narcissistic people are also the most visible to this crypto-scientologist blogger.

Please don't stop blogging in these apocalyptic tones, though-- it's way better reading.

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No one has commented on the... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2009 10:15 AM | Posted by Eddie Sylvano: | Reply

No one has commented on the picture beneath the headline. Is this meant to be an anchor for your argument? I've heard numerous time that athiesm = immorality. Without the stick, we'd all be savages. My neighbor recently harangued me for 40 minutes about how same-sex marriage is a proxy for legalizing incest.

What determines people's actions, though? Are we inherently selfish and destructive, but saved by the moral grace of god? Maybe. It works for some people. What is guilt? Can it exist outside theology? How is it different than shame? Is guilt just the anxious precursor to shame?

We do and avoid to obtain our needs, a lot of those needs being harmony with other people. In the absence of others, there is no moral definition. Guilt is the superego - the accumulated voices in our head. It is learned. Shame is the process of building the superego. One is external and one is the internal accumulation of the external.

If prior shame hasn't fostered guilt, what went wrong? Is the person simply unresponsive to emotion? Too dim to see the connection? No longer care about our standing with others?

Regardless of moral or earthly law, reality still exists. There are consequences for our actions. If I drive drunk in a world with no police, I still end up in the ditch. Pretending or imagining ourselves to be free from consequences doesn't accomplish it.

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"Regardless of moral or ... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2009 4:15 PM | Posted, in reply to Eddie Sylvano's comment, by BHL: | Reply

"Regardless of moral or earthly law, reality still exists. There are consequences for our actions. ... Pretending or imagining ourselves to be free from consequences doesn't accomplish it."

Yes. This.

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Yes, odd. I meant it to... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2009 5:11 PM | Posted, in reply to Eddie Sylvano's comment, by Alone: | Reply

Yes, odd. I meant it to conjure up the phrase Dostoyevsky didn't say, "Without God all things are possible." The point here isn't God, but a superego/guilt system that serves as an internal control.

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Um, I don't know about the ... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2009 7:36 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by PKS: | Reply

Um, I don't know about the parents you know, but out of a dozen or so couples with kids that I know, I can think of 2 or 3 cases where in fact it's the father, not the mother, who is the overprotective one. One of my wife's friends, he flat-out refuses to get a babysitter who isn't a close friend or his parents, full stop.

So is my group of a few representative? I don't know. But if you make the claim that "black swans do not exist in nature", I don't have to show you ever possible swan, I just need to show you a single black swan to invalidate your claim.

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I’m inclined to agree with ... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2009 10:48 PM | Posted by Lucas: | Reply

I’m inclined to agree with Anonymous. “Narcissism,” as Alone defines it, might be a natural, albeit unhealthy, response to an increasingly fractured society.

Take it from an evolutionary perspective. The human brain adapted under the selective pressures of the Paleolithic. Specifically, we evolved as hunter/gatherers in tightly knit groups. The group part is important. The plasticity and generalized nature of our intelligence evolved because we had to interact with and manipulate group dynamics.

It isn’t hard to see how a strong in-group bias would be selected for. Strong ties to a group, particularly a group with a relatively high percentage of relatives, increases reproductive success. Even today, people who live as hunter gatherers have strong group ties, distrust outsiders, and distinguish themselves with in-group markings.

That need doesn’t disappear in a few thousand years of civilization, and certainly not in the few decades since we still knew most of our neighbors. Now, we’re surrounded by strangers, but we still have a fundamental need identify with a group, even if there are none around.

Groups define us in strange ways. When asked “What kind of person are you,” people from illiterate, subsistence cultures answer, “Why ask me, you should ask my neighbors” (I can find and link the study if anyone is interested). Those of us from modern cultures can talk for ages about ourselves.

A narcissist is just a person cut off from their “neighbors’” opinions. They cobble together their own identity and defend it at all costs because, unlike the environment humans evolved for, no one is ever around to ground them in reality.

To test it, find out how many people with close groups of lifelong friends are narcissists. I’d bet not many, particularly in groups of males (narcissists are easy targets). Not only do we care what close friends think, but also it is impossible to view them as “supporting cast.”

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Looks to me like people hav... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2009 10:50 PM | Posted by Common Reader: | Reply

Looks to me like people have just replaced guilt and shame about pervy stuff with guilt and shame about being racist.

And I am really floored to hear people talking about not letting *12yos* go around by themselves. I thought this was about 5 and 6yos. If your 12yo can't take a walk by herself that is not ok.

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Lucas, Which Anon... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2009 12:13 PM | Posted, in reply to Lucas's comment, by Jack Coupal: | Reply

Lucas,

Which Anonymous comment are you referring to?

There are so many of them.

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October 5, 3:49AM... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2009 3:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Jack Coupal's comment, by Lucas: | Reply

October 5, 3:49AM

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PKS – I don’t doubt there a... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2009 4:11 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

PKS – I don’t doubt there are overprotective brood-oriented fathers with indifferent & more adventurous mothers. Sometimes. However this is an unnatural configuration, a reversal of the natural behavioral tendencies of the sexes, where in which the male is taking on the female role and the female is taking the male role. Females who developed to be self-centered and not as emotionally invested in others (“masculine”) will attract emo males. The more important point is that most families feature one parent (usually the mother) who is defensive and protective, and one parent (usually the father) who allows the children to follow their adventurous nature and even encourages risky behaviors at times. I don’t think any parent wants young children walking in the streets alone by themselves at night, but the point I’m making is it’s usually mom who is fretting over relatively innocuous behaviors and pushing the overprotective envelope. It’s women who are freaking out over stories on the news or even crime drama shows. When men behave that way, it’s really not typical for male behavior, and I would assume they have a feminine personality or perhaps some other reason (e.g. anxiety and paranoia?)

Yes, there are exceptions but it doesn’t violate the evolutionary logic behind male and female behavior. For example, homosexuality exists, but it doesn’t change the fact that normal male sexuality is to be attracted toward humans who look feminine/fertile (wide hips, narrow waist, good skin, full lips and other signs of high estrogen and ovulation). Sexuality only exists for reproduction, after all, therefore it must be true that sexuality should orient the organism toward successful reproduction. Males can only reproduce successfully with females who are also fertile. Duh.
The existence of one or two or three men who are attracted to virile young men doesn’t negate the fact that the “intended configuration” of male sexuality is to be oriented toward fertile women, for the purpose of reproduction.
The evolutionary logic behind female overprotective/anxious behavior is to protect her children. Throughout evolution it has always been females raising/rearing children, males have only been involved in the process to any significant degree in recent decades. Males do not have a natural “paternal instinct”. So called paternal behavior is just general defensive/preservative protective behavior that could be just as well applied to society at large as it could to the specific task of protecting and raising children and keeping your family secure. I don’t mean to say men cannot raise and love a child, obviously they can… I’m just saying it isn’t as natural and innate as it is for women. In general. Women have an easier time adapting to the role of caregiver, mother (parent). And that has a lot to do with real sex differences in our brains.


Lucas - Brilliant. Nail on head. Narcissism is just a response to a social configuration our human brains did not evolve to tolerate... much in the way hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia and eventual obesity is a response to industry created foods such as oreo slurry shakes that we cannot find in nature. Narcissism is going to be worse in the upper classes (which may be why Alone is so preoccupied with it - he associates with severe narcissists constantly) because in the upper classes the social structures become increasingly more bizarre and foreign to the human mind (priorities of work image and success and less about family and friends).

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Mom wasn't overprotective. ... (Below threshold)

October 8, 2009 9:45 PM | Posted by married nowadays and supposedly normal: | Reply

Mom wasn't overprotective. She was always weary of strangers, though. She always told me to run away from strangers who were creepy, to not accept candy from strangers etc.

To no avail. I was molested when I was five and then again when I was eight/nine, by two different people. Needless to say, they weren't strangers. They were mom's acquaintances/friends.

She always told me to be suspicious of creepy people. But not of the un-creepy if they all of a sudden made me feel weird/ashamed/bad.

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Perhaps Alone is describing... (Below threshold)

October 10, 2009 4:25 PM | Posted by fivebells: | Reply

Perhaps Alone is describing his own style of thinking, and assuming it's a general trait of a narcissistic generation? This assumption that other people must be less moral than me because I have dark thoughts seems very alien, to me. I just don't seem to be thinking that way.

I'd be curious to know how many people in the audience can relate to this way of thinking.

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LP wrote:"What you... (Below threshold)

October 12, 2009 12:07 PM | Posted by AK: | Reply

LP wrote:

"What you're left wondering is to what degree external controls-- shame-- are a strong enough disincentive-- word chosen very carefully-- for the other guy. And the answer you're going to come up with is: if there's a way they can get away with it, not very strong."

Decades ago, my mother, who was born in 1924, said something that echoes what Last Psychiatrist has suggested in the quote given above.

Mom told me that she and the kids in her neighborhood were well aware of a Mr. Perv. She and the other children went together to the Saturday matinees. They all knew to sit together and never, ever to let Mr Perv come anywhere near them.

Mom said, 'Back then, the social consensus was strict. Even if the guy wanted to go after kids, he had good reason to fear there would be consequences, and also that people were watching.

'Today' Mom said saidly, 'most of those external social restraints are gone. I bet if Mr Perv had been here today, he would have acted out.'

In addition to the destruction of the social codes that acted as the equivalent of an external prop, that may have acted as a restraint upon people with fragile inner character structure, we now may have a very much higher propertion of people running around loose who have grave degrees of Axis 2 impairment. We have had several generations in which people incapable of actual *parenting* have nevertheless procreated and the level of social dysfunction has risen..and at the same time, society gives less support for actual parenting, yet has become yet more punitive when poorly parented people commit crime.

We have a society that fails to support parents and also fosters greed in children via commercials, yet this same society is eager to build prisons and impose adult sentences upon children, who commit horrors because their own parents were never told how to parent the kids in ways that would prevent them from behaving like monsters when older.

I am witnessing a disaster unfold among some rich people who are children in adult bodies. They never taught their children how to hold and contain frustration in age appropriate ways. Even their dog barkes uncontrollably and is a pest.

The household is full of noise and chaos and the kids were allowed to stay up late and gorge on computer games and argue back to their parents.

The oldest kid became suicidal and violent and has been shipped away from home to a facility that may we hope, give him some structure he needed when 2 years old and is only now getting at age 16.

They've pasted a bipolar dx on him and an add dx on his kid brother.

I have zero idea if the children rate these diagnoses, or whether the way they present could better be accounted for by the fucked up family and constant physicial and psychological stimulus overload.

Frankly the parents ought to be binned up, but because they are adults and have money, that possiblity is remote.

Sorry to ramble. But this family is what you get when children in adult bodies are have children and cannot parent their own kids because no one parented them.

Have enough of these families, and it becomes less safe for kids to walk to school. And once at school, even kids with good parents have to cope with other children who are messed up.

If you have a coworker with a character disorder, you can arrange a transfer or get help from HR (unless its your boss). But a kid in school has to cope with other kids who are dangerous due to rotten parenting--and this is the case even in wealthy areas.

Sorry to grouch. Maybe I need to boost my Celexa. I love Big Pharma.

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Okay, here is another puzzl... (Below threshold)

October 12, 2009 12:16 PM | Posted by AK: | Reply

Okay, here is another puzzler. We profess to worry , worry worry about our kids being allowed to walk alone to school.

Why then has sexualized clothing for children, especially little girls, been permitted?

When I was in grade school, we were not running around wearing burqas, but those were the days when grade school kids, especially girls, were still dressed as grade school girls, not as aspirants for the casting couch.

And...I wasnt educated in a convent. I went to a grade school, a public school, in Hollywood, California.

That era ended around 1971 when the gender based dress codes were abolished in the public schools. But even in the early 1970s, I remember one or two girls telling me that some clothes were considered 'date clothes' but they did not think it right to wear
'date clothes' to school.

But that internalized common sense--what to wear to school and what to wear when going out on a date--soon faded after a few years.

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MARRIED nowadays is right.... (Below threshold)

October 12, 2009 5:49 PM | Posted by social worker: | Reply

MARRIED nowadays is right. It is 99% a person who knows the child.
I'm interested in children not being abused. Kids need to know it will likely be a person they know. The guy in Arizona, wow- that is really horrible. I would be very afraid to let any child under 12 out. That is serious.
I work with porn women and strippers. They all start to use drugs to do the job and loose all the money they meant to make. They are all abused, mostly sexually.
I try to tell men they are watching women act out who have been abused as children- and yes, they should feel guilty for that. Also, I taught my son never to have sex with the girl giving it away- the "easy" one as she was molested and comes from an abusive family. Period.
I try to instill insight and understanding of why people act the way they do from childhood abuse. To protect him and help him have more meaning in his life.

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Absolutely true. I think t... (Below threshold)

October 13, 2009 9:06 AM | Posted, in reply to Lucas's comment, by caeia: | Reply

Absolutely true. I think that's probably the crux of most of our problems today. We evolved in clanns, and that's how we function best. That's one reason why I favor paganism over montheistic religions. Monotheism is based on the idea that the unit of society is the individual, that you are responsible for yourself and taken to the extremes ONLY yourself. Bullshido. We were much much more civilized when we realized that what we do reflects on other people close to us. Our nuclear family (which is a fairly recent thing, BTW because we used to live in extended families), our extended family (what the ancients called clanns or tribes) and the nation as a whole. We used to honor our forebearers as well. Tell their stories, their beliefs and their deeds. Now everything is based on the NOW with no memory of the past or a sense of building for the future.

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I agree that we seem to fun... (Below threshold)

October 13, 2009 10:59 AM | Posted by AK: | Reply

I agree that we seem to function best as members of clans.

However, I dont think its monotheism that is the culprit...Judiasm and Islam both began amongst tribal peoples who lived according to the clan system.

Protestantism accelerated the modern emphasis on the individual, and this tendency really took off as more and more people immigrated to the New World, especially to North America, leaving their traditions behind, and seeking to assimilate, become 'American'.

And a big part of becoming 'Americanized' was to learn standard English, not use your family's native language (my mother begged her grandmother to teach her Swedish, but Great Grandma wanted Mom to Americanize and refused to teach her).

And, becoming 'American' too often meant buying stuff that was advertised and dressing the way you saw people dress in the movies and (later) on TV.

You became defined not by your old clan, but by what you bought and what you displayed in public.

Notice too how in the old days, one was given a name that ran in your family, or was assigned according to your religious tradition.

Today, one names children according to what is popular.

By contrast, in the Islamic countries, one still has a method of naming based on tribal and family affiliation. When someone pronounces his or her full name, that gives you the exact map that disignates where someone fits into their family geneology.

My surname isnt even from my family. My dad adopted the surname from someone who adopted him and his brother...Dad wanted to hide that he was Jewish.

Thats how easily, in the United States, we uproot ourselves and draft from our clans. We feel free, but at the price of an internal fracture that makes us strangers to ourselves, and that messes us up when we try to parent our own children.

Then our children pass that dysfunction in amplified form, to the next generation.

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Here is a speculation, a po... (Below threshold)

October 13, 2009 11:05 AM | Posted by AK: | Reply

Here is a speculation, a possible hunch.

Could it be that in the US, those of us who feel internally homeless have a special fear of immigrant groups who do preserve their clan structure, and thus possess a rootedness and group
identity that we have squandered away?

Jews, Mexicans, the Chinese, and yes, immigrants from the Islamic countries, are all groups that are above average at maintaining some group cohesion, because clan solidarity is still honored.

Compared with this achievement, psychologically rootless Americans may feel inferior when dealing with persons from immigrant groups that have preserved clan solidarity.

I am not saying these groups do a perfect job and I am not saying there is freedom from disagreement or internal discord, within these immigrant groups. But there is at least a sense of gut level belonging that is sadly missing from the American scene.

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perhaps not Christianity pe... (Below threshold)

October 15, 2009 9:43 AM | Posted, in reply to AK's comment, by caeia: | Reply

perhaps not Christianity per se, but the Protestant idea that it was all about YOU -- in essence the unit of society is the individual, not the clann, not even the family so much anymore (which I believe is one of the reasons that we're less inclined to make or work hard to keep a nuclear family).

As to why immigration is such a big deal, yes I think you're right to a degree, but I think the phenomena is best seen in other things like gang formation and neo-nazis. In both cases it seems as though the old family unit was so broken that the people involved either formed or joined a "new family" that can provide roots for those who lack them.

Even the almost cultish way that political parties behave can be IMO traced back to having no identity of your own. With a wing nut group, either side BTW, you substitute the ideological foundation of the group for your identity, and the leaders of the group become your role models. The patron saint of Conservatism is Ronald Reagan, who is treated the same way that an ancient tribe might have treated the founder of the clann. All dealings are filtered through WWRRD (What Would Ronald Regean Do?) almost the same way that a Christian would ask what Jesus would do. I'm sure that Liberals have the same type of Saint somewhere (best guess is FDR) who serves the same function. I won't say that it's bad to form such articifial versions of the tribe structure, but I think the major problem is that the artificial clanns seem to be doing bad things.

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Credit should be given when... (Below threshold)

October 16, 2009 7:09 AM | Posted by EvilPoet: | Reply

Credit should be given when credit is due:
http://atheism.about.com/od/religiousright/ig/Christian-Propaganda-Posters/Without-God-No-Morality.htm

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YOU'RE ALL FUCKING WIGGERS<... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2009 11:23 PM | Posted by flunkycarter: | Reply

YOU'RE ALL FUCKING WIGGERS

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Funny. The more I read your... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2009 9:45 AM | Posted by Iron: | Reply

Funny. The more I read your blog, more your predictions are confirmed by the very own posters. Is amazing.
Some people who reply to your posts suffer from some serious cognitive dissonance of what is going on the world.

People misconstrue what you say to bizarre extent. Not that I personally agree with everything you has to say, but still...

Do people really think that the moral standards are the same they were 50 years ago? Really? With all the random shootings and fathers raping daughters, and then raping the children of their raped daughters?
I wonder WHEN those people will find fault with the world. I really dont wish to be aroud when things get this bad.

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Catnip. The part about how ... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 12:35 AM | Posted by feliscatus: | Reply

Catnip. The part about how children have (or will) learn(ed) not to trust women is solid gold. I vote for Charleton Heston to play Clytemnestra.

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