December 22, 2010

Infidelity And Other Taboos, Media Style

riddellandsomeguy.jpg
Freud was a punk


riddell.jpg

The story that is making the internet and morning TV rounds:

Two people, a man who looks suspiciously like Julian Assange, and a TV reporter who looks exactly like every MILF porn actress working today, divorce their spouses and get married.

The original couples were friends, and the two met at their kids' elementary school.  There are five kids between them, and, you know, whatever.

The twist is that they announced their marriage in the Style section of the New York Times, because, of course, they hooked up in style.  The further twist is that they semi-shamelessly recount in the Times how they fell in love while they were still married to other people.

Carol Anne Riddell and John Partilla met in 2006 in a pre-kindergarten classroom. They both had children attending the same Upper West Side school. They also both had spouses. ... The connection was immediate, but platonic. In fact, as they became friends so did their spouses. There were dinners, Christmas parties and even family vacations together.

Hardly uncommon; hardly newsworthy, but a little-- brazen?-- to reveal you were basically cheating.  Why even mention all that about the school and the spouses?  Why not simply say "we met and fell in love?"  Or better yet, why not just say nothing?  And why would the NYT report this?

The story inspired the predictable controversy with the obvious positions:

"The NYT's responsibility is to report, not be the judge."

"There's no infidelity-- they didn't have an affair, they split with their spouses before getting together."

"Cheat if you must, but don't try to parade it in public as a love affair..."

Whether what they did is wrong or modern is easy to answer (yes x 2) and not the point here.  Nor is the point-- a good one nonetheless-- that by the running of the story, the New York Times reinforces its position as the one who decides things, in this case ethical things.  You may be invited to offer comment, of course, but the best you can do is agree or disagree with the NYT-- they become the authority.  The burden of proof falls to you to explain why they're wrong. 

Nor is the point that these two dummies didn't anticipate that they'd be criticized.  Were they really so brazen, so shameless, to think we'd all be "wow, that's so Lifetime Original Special!"  Not exactly.

The mistake is in thinking they shouldn't have publicized their story.  They didn't have any other choice.

It's a mantra: narcissists don't feel guilt, only shame.  Well, it's not completely true, sometimes they do feel guilt, but you have to be hitting on a taboo to feel it.

Even the most hardened narcissist feels some passing guilt when their spouse is sobbing on the kitchen floor.  How do you get over that?  (Pills won't help, but psychiatry is happy to tell you they might.)

This is how narcissism eradicates guilt: it rewrites the story, or as the po-mo mofos say, "offer a competing narrative." 

[Offers Ms. Riddell] We did this because we just wanted one honest account of how this happened for our sakes and for our kids' sakes.

One honest account?  Which were the accounts that were not honest?  Were there any other accounts at all?  Oh, yeah, reality.  Well that account doesn't count.  This one's better:

it all changed two years later when Partilla invited her out for a drink at a local watering hole, the first time they had gotten together away from their spouses. "I've fallen in love with you," Riddell recalled Partilla as saying. She said she beat a path out of the bar, only to return five minutes later to tell him, "I feel the exact same way."

Dress it up in the language of a story, of overcoming, of finding a soul mate, of mid-life romance, of self-actualization.   These two were fortunate enough to be able to make it an actual story-- in which they are the main characters and everyone else is supporting cast and the readers-- you-- will focus on the main characters.  You may hate them, but that doesn't matter.  What matters is that they are the main characters.   That turns guilt into shame, and if there's no shame

We are really proud of our family and proud of the way we handled the situation. There was nothing in the story to be ashamed of.

They win.  That's how narcissism discharges guilt.

You'll notice that the exes are not mentioned by name or interviewed in the story; that's not to protect their identity, it's because the author of the article didn't care/need to interview them, because the author, and the new couple, are focused on the STORY.  Win.

In other words, putting their otherwise quite shameful story in the NYT wasn't dumb, poor judgment, or even damaging to their reputations no matter how many people end up hating them.  It was necessary to their own emotional survival.  As long as you hate them for it, they don't have to hate themselves. 


II.


I do not like the hypocrisy game, where you try to detect hypocrisy in someone as a proxy for dismissing their ideas; it is lazy and unhelpful, and usually done by those who themselves overvalue projected identity.  But sometimes you can't help but play.  Which brings me to this nut:

First, let's get the preliminaries cleared out of the way. A week ago, Sarah Palin was never going to be president of the United States. Today, Sarah Palin is never going to be president of the United States. Once you've accepted that fact (although it's not clear that Palin herself has), the political impact of this decision is minimal -- the Republicans as a party look even a little flakier than before (bad for the GOP, but what else is new?)

I don't expect journalists or anyone else to be free of moral ambiguity, but it should be a postulate that if you choose to write those words you should not also be having sex with your daughter.  Allegedly.

David Epstein, HuffPo-Mo blogger and Columbia professor of Applied Po-Mo allegedly had a sexual relationship with his 24 year old daughter.  I'll save you the google search: he doesn't have a mustache.  I was surprised as well.

Many think his behavior is shameful.  Harsh.  Some think it is illegal, though clever people found Lawrence v. Texas on wikipedia and discovered "an emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex."  After a nap they figured that might apply to incest as well.  And why not? Consenting adults?  It's a privacy issue, right?

Oh, it's a privacy issue, but not in the way Scalia meant.  The goal isn't privacy, the goal is the reverse. 

Dummy and his daughter allegedly sent text messages to each other, which anyone with a Nike shirt knows is what you want to do to get caught as quickly as possible.  I'm not saying Epstein wanted to get caught (though I am thinking it), but when you break a taboo you either face the guilt Dostoyevsky style with a lonely nervous breakdown and a trip to redemptive Siberia or you get out a pen and rewrite the story.  In Epstein's case, we're rewriting it for him: the mere discussion of this nonsense, the simple fact that any of us hate our fathers enough to write, "yes, but it's a legal issue..." means that Id and Ego fought Superego and Id and Ego won.  He's taken private guilt and core dumped it to the internet for public judgment and the internet will always be more forgiving than he could ever be.  As cocaine magnate Sigmund Freud wrote, "when the story goes live the guilt goes dead."

III. 


The stats on second marriages and the psychology of vampires and vagina predict that Riddell and Partilla will stay married.  When you hook up in the presence of adversity it tends to reinforce the relationship as they steel themselves against Those Who Just Don't Understand (though watch out, sometimes you find that that adversity was the only thing keeping you together).  And it's not how I'd run my life, but they did it and there's no use yelling at them, they have to make it work for themselves and for the kids, so best of luck: bad start, hope you make it worth it. 

But what you need to get out of these stories is how this generation and forwards will deal with guilt: externalizing it, converting it to shame, and then taking solace in the pockets of support that inevitably arise.   Everyone is famous to 15 people, and that's just enough people to help you sleep at night. 

It is, in effect, crowdsourcing the superego, and when that expression catches on remember where you first heard it.  Then remember why you heard it.  And then don't do it.


---

You might also enjoy:

How to get away with rape

Charlie Sheen Has An Awesome Experience

The Atlantic Recommends Abandoning Marriage

Don't Settle For The Man You Want


---

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych














Comments

Interesting article. I'm n... (Below threshold)

December 22, 2010 7:14 PM | Posted by JW: | Reply

Interesting article. I'm not quite sure what I feel other than I'm not the kind of person to take out an article in style about my relationship. I'm not sure if it wouldn't be worse if the couple glossed over how they met and downplayed the fact that there were married when this happened. Certainly this isn't an uncommon occurrence and I'm not sure what the decent thing to do is here. Not talk about? Talk about?

There doesn't seem to be a rule book for these announcements when they don't fit the norm.

winewillfixit.blogspot.com/2010/12/relationships-outside-of-catalogue.html

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The NYT can't really positi... (Below threshold)

December 22, 2010 7:40 PM | Posted by nohope: | Reply

The NYT can't really position itself as "the authority" in any meaningful sense unless its readership ALREADY believes what it's going to say. If the wedding announcement said the couple met at a cross-burning, the readership wouldn't suddenly say, "Oh, I guess those are OK now!"

The NYT is simply catering to its audience: statistically speaking, they are more likely to be on their own second marriages, and more likely to relate to the narrative being presented here. The readership has all already justified to themselves their own abandonments of their first spouses and families; and now, they can breathe a sigh of relief that everyone else in their universe (or, everyone who counts, at least) thinks it's OK, too.

If you're reading it, it's for you.

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crowdsourcing the superego ... (Below threshold)

December 22, 2010 10:12 PM | Posted by Anonymous Memetic Engineer: | Reply

crowdsourcing the superego is the new killing it

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I kinda feel like I'm missi... (Below threshold)

December 22, 2010 10:52 PM | Posted by pyromanfo: | Reply

I kinda feel like I'm missing the point with the Sarah Palin paragraph. Is the takeaway that he's the pot calling the kettle black? Or that he's insane? I don't get what the paragraph is trying to illustrate.

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I'm starting to wonder if t... (Below threshold)

December 22, 2010 10:55 PM | Posted by zozo: | Reply

I'm starting to wonder if the incessant narcissism schtick isn't just a cover for reactionary moralism: What's wrong with the kids these days? Why back in my day, we stayed married and felt guilt for sinning in our hearts, not just shame.

We can't bust heads like we used to. But we have our ways. One trick is to tell stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time I caught the ferry to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for m'shoe. So I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt. Which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. Gimme five bees for a quarter, you'd say. Now where was I... oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time. You couldn't get white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

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Doc, who made you th... (Below threshold)

December 22, 2010 11:09 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


Doc, who made you the dictator of anyone else's conscience? Your admitted fondness for rum might well mean you have enough trouble with your own conscience already.

Now me, in the first case I'd wonder about the welfare and happiness of their kids, but then it might well improve if neither "splitter" is granted custody; I agree they sound like dipshits -- as do 90% of everybody out there. But nobody died and made me Madam Queen, so...

As for adultery itself I don't give a damn: people cheat, people have always cheated, and as long as they're brainwashed into thinking such an obviously irrational and ridiculous idea is "normal" people always will cheat. The purpose of that taboo is to inspire guilt which can then be manipulated by "religious leaders" -- or by anyone else who knows how to fuck with people's heads for fun and profit.
Like, oh, "mental health professionals."

As for consensual incest between adults, who the hell cares? In this case it's the New Gay: they'll even be letting out-of-the-closet queers in the Marines now, an act which is very unlikely to ever be undone, so The Gay is clearly joining inter-racial relationships, and blacks and white women voting, as another expired taboo. But there have to be taboos because there always has to be somebody for the arrogant power-hungry "Moral Authorities" (like you) to condemn: if there's nothing to condemn then the Dictators of Conscience and Definers of Shame will lose their power and "authority." That's why this incest between consenting adults case made the frigging paper, because the Morality Mavens felt their grip slipping again. And it's clearly why you seized on these issues to preach about: you're getting old, the shit that used to work
won't work now.

You do understand that "social standards" such as these serve a political and economic purpose, don't you? Or did you spend your half of the 20th century comatose? You don't have to blow the corpse of Stalin to admit a simple fact, one that your St. Freud himself admitted.

It's taking longer than your fellow Boomers thought but the times they are a-changing. And the rest of the world won't get off your lawn.

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Boy, you didn't just miss t... (Below threshold)

December 22, 2010 11:51 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Leann Rhimes: | Reply

Boy, you didn't just miss the point, you are the point.

He's telling you that he's not interested in the morality of their actions or in judging them, and especially not in "slippery slope" arguments. His point is how we assuage our guilt in the Internet era.

But you cleary don't believe in guilt. A person may not have the right to judge you for infidelity or The New Gay, as you call it, but that doesn't mean you're not still guilty.

But the more you write there's no such thing as guilt, or that guilt is a tool for social control, the better you feel about your own moral superiority. If you can show that Alone is wrong, then you must be right.

What was the term he used? Oh yes.


Crowdsourcing the superego.

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"As for adultery itself I d... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 1:21 AM | Posted by Walenty Lisek: | Reply

"As for adultery itself I don't give a damn: people cheat, people have always cheated, and as long as they're brainwashed into thinking such an obviously irrational and ridiculous idea is "normal" people always will cheat. The purpose of that taboo is to inspire guilt which can then be manipulated by "religious leaders" -- or by anyone else who knows how to fuck with people's heads for fun and profit.
Like, oh, "mental health professionals.""

The brutal mental retardation of liberal's inability to understand why families staying together is required to keep a civil society together is, at times, staggering. The clue you can't get is that evolution is real and that means human nature is real and that means you can't be whoever you want to be. We are all born boxed in by our biology - and that means you were born a savage animal that needed to be tamed but instead you got fed TV and PC bullshit.

Though they got their premises wrong with the whole "god" thing, conservatives have a far more realistic view of human being and human limitations. They understand that to keep a civil society functioning you need some for of social-conservativeness in place to civilize the savage humans.

"But there have to be taboos because there always has to be somebody for the arrogant power-hungry "Moral Authorities" (like you) to condemn"

No, there need to be taboos to keep ape-shit retards like you from slitting your neighbors throat and making his daughter drink your urine all the while shouting "don't judge me! don't judge me!"

Go back to the paleolithic where you belong.

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Wondering if "narcissists" ... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 1:26 AM | Posted by zozo: | Reply

Wondering if "narcissists" is code for po-mo mofo liberals and their godless lack of values.

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Seriously. What do we hate... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 1:31 AM | Posted by zozo: | Reply

Seriously. What do we hate on on this blog? The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, This American Life, liberals in general, Obama, oh, and the worst generation ever. The more I read this blog, the more I get the picture of a cranky, old (at least in spirit), right-winger longing for the halcyon days of Ward and June. What's the problem? You're the problem. Damn kids.

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nohope said Th... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 1:33 AM | Posted by cat: | Reply

nohope said

The NYT can't really position itself as "the authority" in any meaningful sense unless its readership ALREADY believes what it's going to say.

Indeed. So why did the NYT choose to spend its money giving one of its paid journos the brief to write this non-story (face it, this is a non-story - nothing interesting happened to some boring regular Joes).

It's playing to its audience, an audience of people who will recognize and agree with the language used in the story, and since the NYT is the Authority (if you're reading it, it's for you remember) they will chime in and agree or disagree and comment and talkback and... and increase traffic to the paper's dying website and increase advertising revenue, which is the sole reason these non-stories are written.

But yes, the fact that it was written and is popular means it strikes a chord with the people who believe the NYT to be the Authority. So yes, crowdsourcing. If you're crowding around it, it's for you.

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So might makes right... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 2:53 AM | Posted, in reply to Walenty Lisek's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


So might makes right: the only reason Hitler was wrong is because he lost and what made Stalin right was that he won. If you think humans are savage then you must realize that the savagery can never really be tamed, it can only either be held in till you crumple whining or directed against some Enemy outside. For the past oh 500 years the trend has been projection: blame the heretic Calvinists, the evil Papists, Jew-Bolsheviks, the untermenschen Slavs, the Trotskyist-Bukharinite clique,the rootless cosmopolitans, the hippies hiding in your closet, the Islamofascists, AND KILL THEM ALL.
What you wind up with is "a boot stomping on a human face, forever." Sieg heil, motherfucker.

Now me, I don't think think we're angels or could ever be, but looking backwards I see one hell of an advance through civilization and Reason and I see no reason why that advance should not continue. If I believed people were nothing but stupid I'd agree with you, but what disappoints me is that we can do much better than we have. More education would be a big help, as well as a "live & let live" outlook that at heart is not worried about how different you are from me because I'm focused on improving myself.

It's better if we can work together for mutual benefit, but at least let's try to stay out of each other's way. This includes not beating each other over our respective private lives, e.g., I don't care who you're having sex so you'd best keep your nose of out my my bedroom antics. Don't you have anything better to do than insist I run my life by your standards? Like, oh, run your own damn life?

The first step is to get the feet of bullies like you off the necks of everybody else. You power-hungry bastards who insist you're really kicking us in the head for our own good, who don't even have the common decency to Sieg Heil straight out like an honest little Nazi.

So fuck you. Go back under your rock where you belong.




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i think you must admit that... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 2:57 AM | Posted by Marcus: | Reply

i think you must admit that your perspective most often becomes a value judgment.

which psychological flaw is that?

wealthy and/or well connected people have another strategy available to deal with guilt. whether that guilt is misplaced or not is a whole other question. i find your writing very insightful despite the fact that more often than not you step far past the descriptive notion of 'narcissism', a slippery condition if there ever was one, into becoming a cheerleader for experiencing as much guilt as we humanly can...

a social environment says "don't do X". why. well often due to evolutionary history. let's not forget a few things, both i'd venture to say are truisms:

-- evolutionary strategies are not always successful
-- successful evolutionary strategies eventually outlive their value

so let's say that strategically society creates social pressure via taboos which by their nature are designed to create guilt...

is society correct? is the individual incorrect? you say "yes, always" to both of those, more or less. you will deny it, internally you'll deny it, but at the heart of it you heavily promote guilt complexes through your narcissistic interest in narcissism. (hey, it's slippery enough, tell me i really can't use that in this context).

note however that i'm happy to see your success as a blogger because your message appears to generally promote well being. and in my opinion your message of guilt falls on deaf ears. your readers aren't typically applying this stuff to themselves, at least not nearly as much as they are applying it to others, as you do.

so i'm not too worried about your heavy promotion of guilt; you'll never be able to out-guilt the fundamentalists and every other shade of misanthropy, so hurray for all the great insights you bring!

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Interesting discussion here... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 2:59 AM | Posted by David: | Reply

Interesting discussion here. Good to see people supporting incest. Family values and all that .... a quick correction here ... second marriages end in divorce quicker than first marriages. The NYT cluck can't do an interview of the actual spouses of the drama queens because that would be too much reality ... you know ... upset, anger, sadness, betrayal. All downer shit. That hardly serves the humanitarian largesse of the neo-couple proclaiming

We did this because we just wanted one honest account of how this happened for our sakes and for our kids' sakes.
Come on people! We'll have no whinging around this kind of selfless nobility. Think of the children! One day they might want to get fucked by daddy and if this has screwed them up so they're not able to ... perform ... well, who's fault is that?


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Two corrections to my prece... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 3:00 AM | Posted by Marcus: | Reply

Two corrections to my preceding comment since the comment engine stripped off some footnotes:

1. when i said, "which psychological flaw is that?" i indicated this is a value judgment, as in sarcastic

2. when i said, "hurray for the great insights you bring!" i indicated that this is genuine praise and not sarcastic, only stated in a sarcastic manner for effect

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@David: it would be good to... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 3:07 AM | Posted by Marcus: | Reply

@David: it would be good to read an interview with the spouses which of course we are very unlikely to see, which I think is really what TLP is getting at with NYT as arbitrators.

however the point of this discussion once we get past our own predisposition for imposing guilt on others is to understand both the human psyche and the hive psyche.

to this purpose your comment is a very useful addition to the discussion (let's call it exhibit D)

;)

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Actually, I have lit... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 3:19 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


Actually, I have little shame but lots of guilt: I never killed anybody or raped any babies but there was a time in my life, like over decade, when I was a crazy, stupid, hollering, self-centered little shit. What other people think or thought of that isn't what keeps me up at night, it's cringing inside with memories of the shitty things I did to people who were dumb enough to get involved with me. And I don't think I'm wise enough to write any scriptures but I do believe I've gained a working knowledge of shit one ought not to do inoffensive strangers let alone family & friends.

It's embarrassing to be recognized as "that asshole from 1986" or whatever, but what bothers me is that there's no way I could make
some of my shit up to anybody -- and most of 'em don't want to see my face long enough to hear me try to apologize. And the problem with that is that they're right.

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I imagine the ex-spo... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 3:32 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


I imagine the ex-spouses of the "Stylish" couple think they're immature cheating lying selfish little twits. So what? My grandmother went to her deathbed convinced I was hellbound for not cutting my hair, giving up my "silly" ideas and accepting Jesus in my heart. People often take viewpoints that cause them and others unnecessary pain, especially when they use them to try to make other people feel guilty for violating standards that don't fit.

I've done enough that I think is wrong by the codes and standards I've always claimed to hold. My conscience is heavy enough already without being called a narcissist or worse for not accepting some total stranger's alien ethics.

First we should agree that we should try not to shoot, rape, maim, starve, torture, bomb or poison people who happen to think or look different from us. Once we have achieved and mastered that maybe then we'll start constructing some valid viable general standards for our individual sex lives. If it still seems important, I mean.

Until then, well, Call Off Your Old Tired "Ethics."

Penny-wise, pound foolish. Motes & beams. Doctor heal thyself. Etc.

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"which anyone with a Nike s... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 4:02 AM | Posted by Termm: | Reply

"which anyone with a Nike shirt knows is what you want to do to get caught as quickly as possible."
could someone explain this to me? A tiger woods reference or something?

also, "As cocaine magnate Sigmund Freud..." is hilarious

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Now me, I don't think th... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 4:08 AM | Posted by Medusa: | Reply

Now me, I don't think think we're angels or could ever be, but looking backwards I see one hell of an advance through civilization and Reason and I see no reason why that advance should not continue.

Really? Clarify your definition of 'advance', because I am seeing no such thing, especially if you are talking about morality and social cohesiveness.

Are you talking about stuff like iPhones, Facebook and Priuses? Too bad those things have no inherent qualitative 'advancement' value in and of themselves, only the people that use them do. It's all the same shit as always, just faster and louder.

Or are you talking about the 'advancement' of social order, exemplified by things such as, say, democracy and capitalism? Because that's working out really well, as we are currently witnessing. And as we witnessed before about, oh, 1500 years ago. Same shit, just faster and louder.

Or perhaps moral values? Don't think I need to even clarify that one.

'Advance' all you want, but the people will stay forever stuck in the same wash cycles.

The first step is to get the feet of bullies like you off the necks of everybody else. You power-hungry bastards who insist you're really kicking us in the head for our own good, who don't even have the common decency to Sieg Heil straight out like an honest little Nazi.

This 'first step' you speak of has been going on since the dawn of man, but I find it amusing that you state this like it's some new revelation with regards to the 'advancement' of man. There will always be bullies on necks, just as there always has been. Concentrate on walking like that and you get nowhere fast. 100 years just to get around the block, and by the time to accomplish that the block has been torn down and rebuilt 10 times and you have no idea where the hell you are.

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There's a difference betwee... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 4:34 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

There's a difference between having beliefs that inform your actions and attempting to spin reality to suit what you do.

If you believe endogamy is evolutionarily/socially desirable, or if you think it's OK to betray someone in a way you've specifically sworn not to do, I can abhor it but I'll accept that that is what you believe.

On the other hand, the post-modern thing to do is to take a position for the sheer act of taking that position in order to make your actions less real and discharge your guilt over them.

It's both a liberal and conservative phenomenon: people thought that Palin might retire after her governorship and avoid the media spotlight, because it wasn't exactly kind in 2008. But if being a narcissist is about anything, it's about having the last word, hence the constant news presence of a somewhat-skilled politician sans office for the past two years.

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"Clarify your definition... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 6:55 AM | Posted, in reply to Medusa's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Clarify your definition of 'advance', because I am seeing no such thing, especially if you are talking about morality and social cohesiveness."

You're looking in a mirror, fool.

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Given some of TLP's discuss... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 8:25 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Given some of TLP's discussions of mercantilism (creating, then serving a market), I wonder if some of the ideas he/she presents in this post relate to the underlying causes and mechanisms behind modern Narcissism.

TLP seems to be saying, in part, here that much of the modern media/internet landscape exists to abate whatever little guilt a narcissist might feel. Is it going too far to suggest that, if this need to absolve guilt is the market, and social media serves that market, social media is directly responsible for that need to absolve guilt?

I'm not exactly sure how this would happen, and it's probably more symbiotic and complicated than I'm suggesting, but if modern Naricissim is axiomatic, I'm a little surprised how little time TLP devotes to its causes (or, is it that the causes just don't matter?)

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Hi (other) Anonymous,... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 12:07 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Hi (other) Anonymous,

I'm not trying to be snarky, so I hope you'll respond. I'm hoping you'll clarify one of your statements.

First we should agree that we should try not to shoot, rape, maim, starve, torture, bomb or poison people who happen to think or look different from us. Once we have achieved and mastered that maybe then we'll start constructing some valid viable general standards for our individual sex lives. If it still seems important, I mean.

I get that you're being sarcastic in your last statement, but that doesn't mean that you aren't also raising an issue.

Do you mean to suggest that if people can stop inflicting harm on people who are in some way different (and, from reading the above paragraph, presumably not also intimate partners) that they will then be "civilized" enough not to act unethically in their private lives?

Or are you suggesting that a person's conduct in their private life is of secondary importance to their actions and opinions in the wider social arena?

I'm hoping you mean the first. If not, what do you think would restrain a person from inflicting harm on someone different--who can easily be dehumanized as an Other--while still allowing this outwardly-ethical person to inflict harm on an intimate partner? The only thing I can think of is social censure: public shaming and ostracism. Which, in turn, suggests that unethical conduct towards an intimate partner would raise a similar reaction if anyone knew that this unethical conduct was occurring. In other words, the person in question would have to know that their behavior is "wrong" and "shameful" and, thus, something to keep hidden.

I would argue that ethical conduct in one's private life should come first, with the understanding that this "good" treatment of intimate partners should be extended to people who are less-well-known, unknown, and different. Positive, "ethical" treatment of strangers can only exist with negative, "unethical" treatment of intimate partners in a state of hypocrisy. Moreover, any person who acts in this manner is arguably acting not out of ethics and morals, but out of self-interest.

Hope to see a clarification; I'm interested in your thoughts on this matter.

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The woman's ex-husband fire... (Below threshold) ‘Is it a sign of our times ... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 2:34 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

‘Is it a sign of our times that personal responsibility to one's spouse and children takes a back seat to selfish, self-centered love?’

I do kind of wonder this myself. I don't know that I would prefer that no one have an opinion on this. It's fine to say "don't judge others" but at what point is it ok to say, "Hey, that was a really cruel action?"

And by the way, if I can't judge you for thinking these two people did something extremely hurtful that I don't believe is right, then you can't judge me for thinking that way.

Hey, you don't know the extenuiating circumstances of my life or what the right thing for me to do is, do you? And further more; what matters isn't whether or not I hurt feelings with my judgement.

What matters is that I do whatever i like no matter who it hurts and that you let me without saying a damn thing. Never judge me.

That's what matters. Isn't that the American dream?

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" if I can't judge you for ... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 2:37 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

" if I can't judge you for thinking these two people did something extremely hurtful that I don't believe is right"

Sorry that should be, "If I can't judge these two people for doing something I believe is extremely hurtful and morally wrong... "

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Marcus, this is not "imposi... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 2:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Marcus's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Marcus, this is not "imposing morals" on people. The article is about the mechanism of guilt discharging. These people probably actually felt guilt, and they dealt with it in the way alone described.

Also, you said this:

"a social environment says "don't do X". why. well often due to evolutionary history. let's not forget a few things, both i'd venture to say are truisms:

-- evolutionary strategies are not always successful
-- successful evolutionary strategies eventually outlive their value"

this may be true. But, what the FUCK do you (or other liberals) know?

Do you think you can judge the results of millions of years of evolution, or thousands of years of human society (composed of billions of people who lived before us)?

I think we should give these convention a chance after all. Or at least know them. And especially know how we deal with guilt, after we break these conventions.

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Do "morals" exist as taboos... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 2:54 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Do "morals" exist as taboos purely for the sake of control people? Or could morals actually imply, "commiting actions that contribute to the well being of other human beings?"

If morals is defined as "obeying societies codes of conduct for the sake being obedient" then morals are useless and mean nothing.

But of morals actually exist because we all agree to actually give a fuck about how others are affected by are behavior, than morals are incredibly valuable.

It's perfectly valid to discuss "What is the best way to treat each other? What is the kindest way to interact? what causes the most happiness and the least pain? What are ideal ways to interact?"

It's a fucked up world if asking this questions is itself taboo because it might mean a "value judgement". Scary! Not judgement of how people treat each other!!

Why should we all agree not to kill anyone? Why should this be obvious if it's perfectly fine to harm people "in our personal lives?"

How exactly does that logic work? Either hurting people is not a good thing, or it doesn't matter. If you're suggesting that we should do away with morals and not give a fuck how we affect anyone because we are terrified of people having guilt--- then why is murder taboo? what about pedophilia?

Why should some guy get to fuck his 24 year old daughter but not his 12 year old daughter?

why do you care?

Why are you allowed to pass a value judgement at all? What if the 12 years old says she fine with it, and the 24 year old is a mess and in a mental instituation afterward?

We SHOULD be thinking about what is wrong or right in how we treat others. we SHOULD consider how people are affected by our behavior. And if we see someone being mistreated, we should be allowed to say that is not ok.

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The money shot:Bu... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 2:56 PM | Posted by Mister 2312: | Reply

The money shot:
But what you need to get out of these stories is how this generation and forwards will deal with guilt: externalizing it, converting it to shame, and then taking solace in the pockets of support that inevitably arise.

Pretty interesting point. The Internet is big enough that someone out there will sympathize with you, no matter what you've done.

At that point, the parts of yourself that are at war ("I really wanna fuck Carol Anne" vs. "I'm a serious asshole for breaking up my family") become externalized as squabbling factions of Internet loudmouths.

Having chosen a side in advance (with your actions), you become part of "Team Yeah, Let's Fuck Carol Anne," part of a group, a movement, a representative of a "perspective" in the context of a diverse society.

And everyone's perspective deserves respect, right? You're not against diversity, are you?

Narcissism Win.

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@Anonymous, regarding judgi... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 3:07 PM | Posted by Marcus: | Reply

@Anonymous, regarding judging or not judging:

i am most certainly not clear in my post, and of course all ideas are not equal, at least as they relate to daily existence.

that said, i hold TLP to a much (much) higher standard of clarity. when he starts to judge i expect to see much richer notions of social rights and wrongs, their basis, their validity in reality as opposed to validity due to status quo and norms.

and more importantly, we can see that it's very likely this couple has made mistakes, presuming of course that the story we see is reasonably accurate and not missing critical details (that's not a very safe assumption though).

but TLP didn't do a very deep analysis. TLP had their narrative goals, very interesting ones, but also heavily leaned on the readers culture assumptions either by agreeing with those assumptions or if not, by manipulating us to accept the point of the narrative based on our assumptions.

it's a subtle but i think very critical point. so let's tear the narrative apart: the couple likely hurt their former significant other very greatly. does this mean that a person should never divorce if there is knowledge that it is a one-sided desire? that is an assumption implied by TLP and made by many commentators. for example marriage is a "solemn oath". i recommend such people return to the dark ages, they will find more happiness there, or just marry a very religious person or other culturally similar person who will honor that solemn oath. but for the rest of us we live with a reality that we may desire to reasonably divorce even if the other partner will be heartbroken. it sucks. it's horrible. but it is also in my view quite reasonable, and all the statements and implications on this page that say otherwise are firmly stuck in the equivalent of catholic dogma.

i expect the TLP to not make such weak implications nor to leave it so obviously to the reader to follow that narrative as such. commentators, well okay, they do what they like, no standards there.

on the other hand, the TLP may actually believe that one-sided divorce is a "bad thing". fine. well. back it up with some discussion dude. you've got some explaining to do.

and then the much more icky topic of incest, an unpopular taboo if there ever was one. one that is very likely rooted in our evolutionary development as a means by which humans evolve successfully through diversity and genetic fitness. that is a far more useful and interesting analysis than a simple "this is taboo and icky" pseudo-religious dogma. the TLP went with "icky". that's not a very insightful analysis. at best weak, at worst manipulative.

psychiatrists making judgement calls need to be a whole lot smarter than this about their own dogma. we can't avoid dogma (aka bias) but we can at least be intellectually honest about and also try to explain it.

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BTW to the other anonymous:... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 3:09 PM | Posted by Marcus: | Reply

BTW to the other anonymous: i'm not a liberal. i used to be. i'm also not a conservative. i also used to be. those are just layers of delusion.

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@Mister 2312: your point on... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 3:14 PM | Posted by Marcus: | Reply

@Mister 2312: your point only makes sense in sports score like view of other people's lives. and just choosing not to join a perceived side doesn't necessarily mean you aren't looking at it that way too.

are their sides? or are there only mistakes and pain?

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"the couple likely hurt the... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 3:31 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"the couple likely hurt their former significant other very greatly. does this mean that a person should never divorce if there is knowledge that it is a one-sided desire?"

ok. I want to go there with you with this.

You posed this as a question but you did go on to say that this seems reasonable to you. From a legal standpoint, I agree. This is a matter that the law should not impose on humans. Neither should society control what people do in these matters either.

However so far as a value, I believe it IS wrong to do something that hurts your partner. Within relationship situations we can't ever know all the details which means outside parties can't ultimately decide if extenuating circumstances that would make it ok to hurt your partner might be present. However let's say (since we're already hypothetical in the statement you made above anyway) that there are no extenuating circumstances, no on is abusive, nothing terrible is happening in the relationship, and one person just plain wants to leave because they're bored and they found someone that "completes them better" or whatever.

Is it ok, just because the person who wants to leave will feel slightly less happy? What if they're kids are devestated as a result of this? What if their partner is devastated and they can't fake being not devestated in front of the kids which adds to the kids being further devestated by it?

Is the devastation of all those people worth a slight percentage increase in happiness for one person? Let's say the person who leaves will be 10 percent happier and everyone else will be 50 percent more fucked up. Then does it make sense? What if the person who wants to leave would be 50 happier and everyone else will be 50 percent more miserable? How do we decide how much our internal desires should dictate our right to harm others?

And why is that logic not applied to other situations? Let's say a pedophile is in horrible misery because they long for a young thing to do the deed with. They're in agony.

why does this agony not give them the right to attack some child?

I don't see why it's automatically just "fine" to hurt your entire family in this way without any criticism or moral judgements from others.

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"automatically fine" -- i m... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 3:45 PM | Posted by Marcus: | Reply

"automatically fine" -- i mention pain, mistakes, etc. so, umm, huh?

and what's with all the "are all ideas equal" slinging from various people. maybe to you peeps, but certainly not to me.

i always find this to be the case, i suggest deeper thinking on topics in a search for a dialectic truth, instead i get debate and team sports.

the only "debate" here from me, as in firmly held position, repeatedly stated, is to hold the last psychiatrist to a higher standard.

it's also a pretty good rule of thumb that people who sling accusations of moral relativity both pro and con are as yet unaccomplished in their thinking on more difficult topics of metaphysics, the implications of evolutionary development in regards to psychological development, the problematic nature of universal ethics, and so on. you can consider this the second firmly held position from me ;)

all the rest if simply a request that you fuggin knee-jerks quit jerking ur fuggin knees lol

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Are you really an idiot or ... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 3:57 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Are you really an idiot or do you just play one on the Internet?

I mean that once we've conquered our major social evils I think the issue of the immoral, unnatural, hypocritical and guilt-trip-inspiring "norm" of monogamy will be less important if it's an issue at all.

And no, I do not think monogamy is natural for H. sapiens sapiens: "evolutionary psychology," or Social Darwinism if you will, is a bullshit pseudoscience on par with phrenology, astrology and Freudianism. Yes, we have certain naturally-occurring tendencies left over from our millions of years of evolution, including "inborn" temperaments and predispositions, such as a tendency to "moodiness," perfect pitch, sexual preference and a coincidental penchant for monogamy. We cannot all manifest these things, nor should monogamy be any more of an enforced social norm than pederasty was with the classical Athenians.

Surely you're aware that in the Athens of Demosthenes it was considered perfectly "normal," even commendable, to be "faithful" to one's wife among the wives and daughters of one's social peers but that their "standard of monogamy" allowed one to do as one liked with slaves and prostitutes of either sex, young men one was "tutoring" and male friends of equal standing? Do you imagine the men who followed that "social ideal" were forcing themselves against their own inclinations to rape teenage slaves, or will you admit that it probably seemed "natural" and "moral" to them? That's an "extreme" example of course, but the point is that the ruling class preaches and sometimes practices a "morality" that is congenial to them in their arrogance and pursuit of power and seeks to inculcate in their "underlings" those habits of mind and behavior that reinforce their power. Such as "getting fisted is just part of the job as much as washing dishes."

The "conscience" as we in the "West" know it is the product of the power-hunger of the Christian Church, especially in those ages when only priests and monks could be expected to be literate -- and a lot of them weren't. The Church, ruled by the remnants of the old "Roman" aristocracy, went on a "civilizing
mission" to add subverting and controlling the minds of the "barbarian" kings to their initial mission of "shepherding" the commoners, the goal in both cases being to preserve their classes' political, social and economic power. "Give us the first six years and we'll have them for the rest of their lives" is an ancient boast, and it's a simple truism that a good way to convince an illiterate warrior to do what you want is to convince him that if he doesn't he'll burn in a lake of fire forever and/or a smelly place where demons will for Time Everlasting do to him all those tortures he and his class have done to others.

You might also want to read up on how the monasteries got established as major landowners that "employed" slaves and peons and got themselves protected by the invading nobility, for example.

The ancient Athenian ruling class had no need to guilt-trip people that kind of "conscience" because they themselves were the masters in the areas of social, economic, political,
intellectual, military, religious, artistic and moral power. So they did not have to "tame" the warriors because they themselves were the warriors, nor did they have to rely on orthodoxy and orthopraxy among the populace because they were not averse to simply slaughtering any "subject" who dared disobey and rebel against their power regardless of whatever reasons the peons might claim.

When the Sword is the legitimizer of a society one has less practical need for the Cross. The history of the contemporary era, with its growing secularism and constant wars against less-powerful Others, is a good example of this: the Sword rules, the Cross stands in vain -- unless it serves the sword. We're coming full circle to the standards of the origin of "Western Civilization"; the Nazis were simply ahead of their time.

This has been obvious since those days when it was proclaimed in Greek propaganda (excuse me, "art"), and the Church began railing against its "pagan" remnants since the beginning of their own competing struggle for power amongst the powerless. And then lo! and behold! a bunch of illiterate nomads became the new ruling class! What an opportunity! ("Tell that stinking bastard the King that we can get his mother out of hell if he frees our Bishop and builds us a big new church. And meet me in the sacristy with your knee-pads on after supper.")

Surely you knew all this already, right?

And no, I don't think this is moral or right any more than the fox eating the mouse is moral or right. This is why I favor widespread education in a New Morality, that we might finally begin to transcend our atavisms and our inherited environments and direct our evolution toward ends I see as more moral. Like "Fisting people against their will is not allowed, nor if cutting off food to an old folks' home."

Once people are no longer brainwashed by ancient and unnatural "norms" they will be able to devote themselves to developing better norms more in tune with both the temperament of our species and its peaceful perpetuation. In line with, for example, the simple fact monogamy fits some people and not others, and should no more be an enforced "standard" than raping little boys should.

Get it?





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"it's also a pretty good ru... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 4:01 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"it's also a pretty good rule of thumb that people who sling accusations of moral relativity both pro and con are as yet unaccomplished in their thinking on more difficult topics of metaphysics, the implications of evolutionary development in regards to psychological development, the problematic nature of universal ethics, and so on"

Yeah yeah I went to buddhist school and studied human development and problems with universal ethics; and ultimately, despite that moral codes arise in relation to a social species trying to survive like every other specieas, we have to reach a point of empathy for living things through which we pressume that treating any living being with compassion for it's experience of existance is an ideal.

If you believe that the experience of others suffering has no true value and our belief that it matters is simply a biological construct that means nothing other than an instinct like any other that helps us survive--- you're really entering the realm of psychopathy.

Which under this construct is really not a big deal other than that if the psychopath is found out it can mean life ruining consequences, so therefore it would be a dysfunctional survival stradegy do to the intensity of social ramifications toward psychopaths.

But if we're going to discuss the existance of morals in the context that the experience of suffering matters, then it isn't important what the social context is.

It matters if people get hurt.

same goes for cultural immunity. If people are getting hurt it doesn't matter if "that's the cultural practice".

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There are "sides" as soon a... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 4:07 PM | Posted, in reply to Marcus's comment, by Anon2312: | Reply

There are "sides" as soon as you go public with your story and people on teh Internets start lining up for and against you.

TLP is suggesting that the whole point of going public with a story that should be a source of guilt and shame is that you become part of a "side." Thus, your inner conflict is externalized and neutralized. It's turned into a public debate with no winner, a squabble between opposing "points of view" in a society with no moral absolutes.

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Anonymous--- whew! This'll ... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 4:10 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Anonymous--- whew! This'll be fun.. : )

Ok so, foxes eating hens is natural and not right or wrong. People having sex with slaves against their will is natural--- but in your definition.. wrong? Or right, I can't really tell.

If you can clear that up for me I can go forward with a little back and forth on some of your other points.

But another question, are you claiming that if it feels natural it's ok? Because your points kind of contradicted each other.


You said that monogamy is not natural because back in the day people used to rape slaves, so therefore we shouldn't be monogamous because it's not natural, but raping people is wrong even though it's also natural.


(scratching head?)

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"If you believe t... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 4:13 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


"If you believe that the experience of others suffering has no true value and our belief that it matters is simply a biological construct that means nothing other than an instinct like any other that helps us survive--- you're really entering the realm of psychopathy."

No, I do not believe that, nor did i say that. You're trying to put words in my mouth. I don't have time at the moment to school you further, the dog needs walking, but you sure do need some edumacatin'

In the meantime: Beat that Straw Man! Beat it hard!

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"Ok so, foxes eat... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 4:16 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


"Ok so, foxes eating hens is natural and not right or wrong. People having sex with slaves against their will is natural--- but in your definition.. wrong? Or right, I can't really tell. "

So you really are an idiot. I did not say that; I might not have been clear but that's not what I said. But relax, you'll never get it anyway.

I'll go into my ideas on the New Clerisy later. Maybe on my own blog.

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Nice response!! Goddamn you... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 4:17 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Marcus: | Reply

Nice response!! Goddamn you have some friggin quotable quotes, sorry, this is lame to highlight like this but damn I wish you had a blog, this is the quality of counterpoints I wish I could get!:

-- "The "conscience" as we in the "West" know it is the product of the power-hunger of the Christian Church... [who] went on a civilizing mission... shepherding the commoners, the goal ... being to preserve their classes' political, social and economic power."

And: "Give us the first six years and we'll have them for the rest of their lives" is an ancient boast, and it's a simple truism that a good way to convince an illiterate warrior to do what you want is to convince him that if he doesn't he'll burn in a lake of fire forever"

And: "The ancient Athenian ruling class had no need to guilt-trip people that kind of "conscience" because they themselves were the masters in the areas of social, economic, political,
intellectual, military, religious, artistic and moral power. So they did not have to "tame" the warriors...simply slaughtering any "subject" who dared disobey and rebel"

-- "When the Sword is the legitimizer of a society one has less practical need for the Cross. The history of the contemporary era, with its growing secularism and constant wars against less-powerful Others, is a good example of this.

-- "We're coming full circle to the standards of the origin of "Western Civilization"; the Nazis were simply ahead of their time."

-- "This has been obvious since those days when it was proclaimed in Greek propaganda (excuse me, "art"), and the Church began railing against its "pagan" remnants since the beginning of their own competing struggle for power amongst the powerless."

-- "Once people are no longer brainwashed by ancient and unnatural "norms" they will be able to devote themselves to developing better norms more in tune with both the temperament of our species"

And the best of all:

-- "Monogamy fits some people and not others, and should no more be an enforced "standard" than raping little boys should."

Please blog so I don't have to do these reacharounds! ;D

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LOL, sorry, cut and paste d... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 4:18 PM | Posted by Marcus: | Reply

LOL, sorry, cut and paste doesn't work well in this comment engine :)

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Ah ah, I find your stupidit... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 5:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Ah ah, I find your stupidity amusing and very entertaining.

The improvement in human society are linear, this means that we had to start from somewhere. We were no more than apes once.

So of fucking course more ancient civilization where more brutal, dummy.

And moral restraints actually made it possible for us to progress as a society. What do you think ended slavery? Oh yeah, it was also thanks to the "Power Hungry" Church you talk about.

Enforcing monogamy is pretty useful for societal stability. It has been long tested. And the enforcement didn't meant that there were no promiscuous men or women, or that they were killed on the spot. They were simply shamed. What a big fucking deal. Same thing for infidelity.

Today we have less moral restraints. Less moral restraints about sodomy, about infidelity, about masturbation, about almost anything. And yet you bitch about feeling unjustly oppressed- or whatever? No one gives a shit. Today's morality is extremely lax yet you cry because of the possibility that someone on the internet or in the past may find your behavior morally wrong.

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we haven't gone up b... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 8:15 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


we haven't gone up biologically -- we're 98% chimp. We just think that because we have facebook that we're "kewl". Almost everything we do when nobody's telling us what to think about what we do is still ape.

The reason that they cheated is that we're really serial monogamists, not true monogamists as some birds are. We lie cheat and steal because we're looking for better rewards in the environment. We look for status symbols cause they help us mate.

We're apes, but we've tried to domesticate ourselves. Ego is just the wild ape in our head that still live like he's in the jungle.

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Holy crap dude(tte)… Overre... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 9:12 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Holy crap dude(tte)… Overreacting to a perfectly civil post much?

I never mentioned monogamy in my post. Not once. Please read it again. I used “an intimate partner”. I never specified that it had to be a one true holy-freaking-Twilight partner. Moreover, having “an intimate partner” does not preclude having multiple intimate partners. And yes, “intimate partner” sounds all hokey and prudish, but I didn’t want to specify gender and it was the best non-gendered term I could come up with at the time. Why did I bother? I was trying not to fall into the norm of everyone-must-be-heterosexual. We might agree on more points than you think.

Yes, I actually am aware that pederasty was common practice at that time. I believe it’s fairly common knowledge among any people who have an interest in Western history or the Classics.

Among those who study history, it is also commonly accepted that applying modern standards of morality to the past makes no sense whatsoever. So no, I would not judge the Athenians of the pre-Christian era by the Christian morals of the “Modern West”. Anyone reading that last sentence ought to be able to see the irrationality of attempting such a thing.

You clearly went to a great deal of effort to prepare your enormous lecture, but you’re preaching to someone who likes history and is not totally ignorant of historical abuse of power--so chill. If you want a fun historical fact for your arsenal--or my bona fides as a person interested in history--how about this one: marriages were not necessarily linked to the Church before the 9th century. Honest to God.

The Emperor Leo VI, A. D. 886, appears to have been the first of Roman legislators that declared ecclesiastical benedictions in the celebration of marriage. Source: http://preview.tinyurl.com/2ct3wgp.

Hear ye, hear ye: for almost the first millennium of Christianity, Christian states thought that civil marriages were entirely acceptable. Spread the word and stop people from using religious marriage as an excuse to deny the right to marry to people who don’t fit Christian norms and may not even be Christian.

Note bene: “civilizing mission” is strongly tied to the history of European colonization. You are using it in a sense that is anachronistic and purists will object.

I am entirely opposed to the rape of any person at any time.

Are we done now? Because if you can refrain from “schooling” me on history that I am familiar with and lecturing me about norms to which I do not demand conformation, you might find that we could have an interesting discussion. If I gave you some reason for the vitriolic nature of your reply, it wasn’t done deliberately. I’ll restate my question and I hope that if you respond you will do so with more consideration of what I have said--and what I have not said.

You wrote:

First we should agree that we should try not to shoot, rape, maim, starve, torture, bomb or poison people who happen to think or look different from us. Once we have achieved and mastered that maybe then we'll start constructing some valid viable general standards for our individual sex lives. If it still seems important, I mean.

From your response, I gather that what you meant was that the destructiveness of enforcing relationship norms pales in comparison to the destructiveness of war crimes, murder, torture, rape, assault, etc. perpetrated against those who do not fit a particular social mold.

I was considering whether humanity can stop perpetrating outwardly-directed violence without simultaneously or previously putting a stop to more-closely-directed violence. Accordingly, what I wanted to discuss with you was this:

- Is it possible for people who think it is okay to harm intimate partners to recognize the necessity of not harming people with whom they have no personal connection?
- If so, what motivates them to treat people with whom they have no connection--moreover, people who can be cast as the Other--better than they would treat people with whom they are intimately involved?

I think that there are grounds for discussion there. It would all be theoretical, of course, but anyone familiar with Demosthenes should be well-educated enough to manage it. If you have any thoughts on that topic, I would like to hear them. If you are just going to insult my intelligence, I would really prefer that you not bother responding.

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Typo.. crap... ought to be ... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 9:21 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Typo.. crap... ought to be "nota bene"

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Did anyone else notice this... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 10:23 PM | Posted by Mark: | Reply

Did anyone else notice this Slate article on Incest vs Homosexuality?

http://www.slate.com/id/2277787/

Liberals tend to recoil from such arguments. They fear that a movement to preserve the "family unit" would roll back equal rights for homosexuals. But that doesn't follow. Morally, the family-structure argument captures our central intuition about incest: It confuses relationships. [...] Incest spectacularly flunks this test. By definition, it occurs within an already existing family. So it offers no benefit in terms of family formation. On the contrary, it injects a notoriously incendiary dynamic—sexual tension—into the mix.
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"- Is it possible for peopl... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2010 11:18 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"- Is it possible for people who think it is okay to harm intimate partners to recognize the necessity of not harming people with whom they have no personal connection?
- If so, what motivates them to treat people with whom they have no connection--moreover, people who can be cast as the Other--better than they would treat people with whom they are intimately involved?"

I too am interested in a response to this.

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I met my husband the same w... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 12:49 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I met my husband the same way. And we both wanted our announcement to be in the times. Well, we called them up after submitting our information and asked if we had been chosen. They said no. I asked why? They said that our picture was too bland (it had nothing to do with how we met and the fact that we were already married but decided to pursue each other anyway and that we don't mind including that information in our announcement). I said to her ' you choose who makes your announcement page off of the pictures people submit? The person on the phone said 'no. We choose who makes it by how much money they send us- the individual staffers in the weddings announcement department- in addition to the quality of their picture...get it blondie (my hair is blond-we had submitted a color photo)?' I replied that I understood and that my soon to be husband and I would be wiring her office $1000 within the hour (we really wanted to be in the paper). Well, she nearly laughed in my face through the phone. '$1,000 bucks is how much the announcement department spends on chinese takeout on deadline Saturday. You're wasting my time blondie.' Well, I had about had it with her calling me blondie and I was very annoyed that this low level times employee held such power over me and I could do nothing in the face of it -but pay a kings ransom- if I wanted to achieve our dream of being in the times. It was like she was a 'nothing-to-lose' Somali pirate and I was an enormous ship owned by a Greek shipping magnate and bound for a much better place than the Horn of Africa, yet I could not move if I did not acknowledge the needs of this pirate.

In the end, we decided to take money out of our kids' (I have 4 daugters; he has 3 sons) college funds to satisfy the wedding announcement department. It took $20,000.

We should be in on Sunday. Look for us! We are both lawyers (senior partners at our respective firms) in Manhattan who live in Pound Ridge, NY and met each other through our spouses- that should be enough information for you to recognize us.

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On the subject of how to fe... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 2:12 AM | Posted by New Era Caps: | Reply

On the subject of how to feel about market price quotations for your long-term holdings, I defer to Ben Graham, who said it better than anyone. "The market is a voting machine in the short term and a weighing machine in the long term."
http://www.gotoorder.com

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That reminds me of somethin... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 9:18 AM | Posted by Ethan Lewis: | Reply

That reminds me of something that always bothered me about the movie
"Walk The Line", an otherwise excellent film about a real hero of mine.

What happened to Johnny Cash's first wife? After watching the film many times I can't even remember her name. Once Johnny sets his sights on June Carter, his wife gets dropped from the narrative like a bad prom date and it's all Johnny and June from then on. I was commenting on this afterwards with my dad (who is normally an extremely moralistic person, mind you) and he said that theirs was one of the truly great love stories of the century...that they were soulmates.

And perhaps they are soulmates. But in any case, their story provides excellent archetypes for others who want to cheat and feel good about it. "I'm not being unfaithful, I'm following my heart...just like Johnny cash." If you can photoshop yourself into a good enough story, perhaps you can do away with both guilt and shame.

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Being 98% chimp doesn't mea... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 10:18 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Being 98% chimp doesn't mean shit, if that 2% is responsible for significant differences.

And what are you actually proposing? Since we share a lot of genes with chimps, we should behave like them? What?

Human beings are actually capable of controlling themselves and their impulses. It's how society formed and advanced. And yes, it has advanced. We are richer than ever, more educated than ever, less enslaved than ever, we have more rights than ever. These are facts.

I don't get your tirade against external moral authority. Nobody is going to shot these adulterers dead to enforce morality, and likewise no one is going to shot you dead for whatever (external) moral rule you infringed. So what's the problem, really?
It seems that you are so pissed just because you don't like your feelings of having done something wrong.

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"In the end, we d... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 12:20 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


"In the end, we decided to take money out of our kids' (I have 4 daugters; he has 3 sons) college funds to satisfy the wedding announcement department. It took $20,000."

Y'all wanted to see your home-wrecking selves in the paper bragging & gloating over your "good fortune" so you robbed your kids' futures. That is AMAZINGLY selfish. You're moving me over to the Doc's side on this issue.

Come the Revolution people like you will swing from the street-lamps.


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I sincerely hope that the c... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 1:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by M: | Reply

I sincerely hope that the commenter that you are replying to was being satirical...

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Why not do it? It sounds be... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 1:29 PM | Posted by Nathan Cook: | Reply

Why not do it? It sounds better than Siberia.

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I hope she was being... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 1:39 PM | Posted, in reply to M's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


I hope she was being satirical too but few Americans are smart enough for satire. "Nobody ever lost any money..."

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Alone, I think there is a v... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 2:08 PM | Posted by Foobs: | Reply

Alone, I think there is a very obvious and interesting area where internal feelings are diffused through externalizing them. Elite athletes (I was once very nearly one of them) often have an insane focus on being disrespected. Taken at face value, the apparently near-universal belief among athletes is strange. It could be viewed as confidence ("I know I'm great, so anyone who doesn't realize that is disrespecting me!"), but that fails because even universally recognized great athletes do it. I think a better answer is that real or imagined external doubt is used to replace real internal doubt. So, instead of having to think "I don't know if I can make this shot", they can think "THOSE people don't think I can make this shot. Fuck them." In this way, the self-doubt is eliminated. This is not something that normal people can do, but if elite athletes thought like normal people they wouldn't be elite athletes.

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Does this mean we are all g... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 2:31 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by GT: | Reply

Does this mean we are all going ape shit?

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I think too many of the com... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 3:31 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Ethan Lewis: | Reply

I think too many of the commenters are getting hung up on the particulars of marital ethics. Some people believe that divorce is wrong under any circumstances, and OBVIOUSLY they are going to believe that what Riddell and Partilla did is wrong. Some people think marriage is an inherently harmful and coercive institution that should be done away with, so of course they're going to think it's not such a big deal. And the article itself is not really about the ethics of the situation, it's about narcissism.

Let's get this out of the way: sexual ethics are, at least to an extent, culturally imbedded and socially constructed. That's not to say that all constructions are equal, but that's a different conversation. So, let's evaluate the situation with Riddell and Partilla. There is no easy solution that fixes everything without creating some kind of problem - and they know it. "Pain or more pain." (Question: Whose pain?) Leaving the spouse will cause a certain (large) amount of harm to all parties involved, spouses, lovers, children, etc. Not leaving the spouse will also cause a certain amount of harm: self-harm, harm to the lover, who is now doomed to a lifetime of unrequited love, and yes, probably harm to the spouses and children as well - how good of a spouse are you going to be if deep down you think that your marriage is a lie? So, making the decision involves weighing harm and benefit, both to self and others. They made a choice, and I'm sure they thought they made the best choice that was available to them.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that theirs was the best choice, the one that caused, on average, the most benefit and the least harm to all parties involved. I don't think that's the case, but that's not the point. The narcissism does not consist in the fact that they sought personal happiness, nor even in the manner in which they did so, but in the narrative they spin around the situation, specifically, in the way that the spouses and children shrink and flatten, are reduced to set pieces in their big romantic drama.

Just read through the NYT article once more, paying special attention to the quotes of the happy couple. Notice anything? Riddell crying in the shower because the world is so cruel as to contain barriers to her having what she wants (anyone smell a hint of rage there?). They didn't want to sneak around, they wanted to get up and read the paper together -Whether or not that's what they really wanted, that statement is identity maintenance, rejecting one self-image for another. They're not cheaters, they're soulmates. It's self-actualization (bittersweet), not an affair (just sordid).

Breaking the news to his spouse, Partilla "did a terrible thing as honorably as he could". That's not about the spouse, it's an I-statement, it's about Partilla. Not atoning for or dealing with guilt, but managing shame.

Back to Riddell - "I had to earn it. We were brave enough to hold hands and jump". There's only two people in that picture. Two brave people. Hero and heroine in their own little movie.

So, how about the fallout? Riddell once again: "I will always feel terribly..." The husband appears later in that sentence, but not as a person, as a flat photograph, perhaps one that she keeps in her top dresser drawer and looks at wistfully as the music swells and the camera sweeps in for a close-up. "My kids are going to look at me and know that I am flawed and not perfect, but also deeply in love" - her kids WILL (Quick, is that a statement or an imperative? Answer: it's a statement. Imperatives don't apply to things, only persons) see her as she wishes to see herself. What if they don't? Ah well, it doesn't matter, when it comes down to it. If they don't come around to her point of view, then that conflict could drive her next Oscar-winning performance.

And to wrap it up? Classic mauvaise foi, ala Sartre: pretending not to have a choice, taking one's own choices out of the picture. "This is life, This is how it goes.” No it's not, this is YOUR life. If you had chosen differently, it would have gone differently, and this is what you did with it.

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Divorce happens. It'... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 6:31 PM | Posted by DOB: | Reply


Divorce happens. It's not ideal but then not divorcing is often worse. (As in my parents' case for example, but not because either parent Met Somebody; more that they met each other and weren't smart enough to see that their crazinesses didn't mesh well together.) And yes, I do think marriage is "an inherently harmful and coercive institution that should be done away with" anyway -- and that it's based more on property and control than affection. (Not that people think of it that way: people are easy to brainwash with fairy-tale bullshit.) And yes, I agree those two people are too damn self-absorbed and, yes, narcissistic: there's at least one right way and dozens of wrong ways to do just about everything, and they're breaking up two families in a way that makes me want to punch them. I'd prefer they go "we're doing the best we know how with a situation that perhaps should never have happened, it's just that given the situation we got ourselves in this seems like the best thing to do." I.e. they don't have to fucking BRAG about what shining HEROES they are -- I doubt either of their spouses was a fire-breathing dragon. I hope they eventually grow up enough to be a little ashamed of themselves.

However, I get tired of people laying guilt- trips on other people. In the first place I think these two feel too Entitled to know what guilt really means so preaching to them is wasting your time -- and preaching to us about them is likewise a waste of time as most of us made up our minds about Love & Marriage before we finished puberty.

In my case, to quote my ex-brother-in-law, who later, because his wife "found Jesus" and helped him get "saved" too, became a Southern Baptist preacher: "marriage is women's entrapment of men"; never mind that I'm grown up enough to tolerate that behavior in other people and see that it might be different for them, to me the second somebody mentions ME getting married I feel the ball & chain about to fasten on. As far as I'm concerned marriage is no more something to be proud of than divorce is: if I can can avoid repeating that mistake anybody who's not officially fucked in the head should be able to avoid doing it at all.

But again, nobody's going to listen to my carping either, and waving your finger at somebody just makes you look like a hateful old crone.

So anyway, about those "happy heroes" in that article, I look at it this way: their ex- spouses and families should be happy to get rid of those selfish brats. "Hell is other people" -- and I think in their case once the shine wears away they'll find their personal hells with each other. That is that the problem ain't as bad as it could be and it'll eventually fix itself.

Besides, "life is pain -- get used to it."

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Correct me if I'm wrong, bu... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2010 7:49 PM | Posted by Z. Constantine: | Reply

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the evolution of human social behavior has always rewarded those best-equipped to hide their true intentions and even their identities (following on Machiavelli's advice, the perennial scandals surrounding religious and political leaders, et cetera).

The projection of an identity could very well be a coping mechanism in the face of individuals' ever-diminishing privacy and the growing (albeit limited) interconnection of social networks which inherently foster self-centered storytelling.

If everyone reverts to narcissistic behavior from time to time - and the most persistent narcissists ensure their stories are told so often and so loudly that they're believed - doesn't that give the constant narcissist an advantage?

If narcissism is an adaptation which benefits its host then everything is going perfectly according to plan - if not, how can you explain its prevalence?

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For what it's worth, my com... (Below threshold)

December 25, 2010 10:26 AM | Posted, in reply to DOB's comment, by Ethan Lewis: | Reply

For what it's worth, my comments aren't addressed TO the happy couple, not even indirectly: as you said it's a waste of time trying to induce guilt in people whose sense of guilt is probably severely impaired. Plus, I'm pretty sure they don't read this blog.

Also, let's remember that this isn't a page out of someone's diary, it's a New York Times article. Which means that some editing has gone on. The quotes that are in the article are selected. This isn't just about narcissism, it's about the media, how they foster this narcissism. And, let's not forget, the media didn't arise ex nihilo. The NYT is a business. They are satisfying a demand. Who is doing the demanding?

Perhaps Riddell and Partilla aren't nearly so narcissistic as they come across based on that handful of quotes. I don't know them, so I can't say. I'm only commenting on what I'm seeing.

Regarding marriage, one problem is that the people contemplating marriage (that is to say, un-married people) have no accurate frame of reference for evaluating what they are getting into. Your friends' marriage, your parents' marriage...none of these are even remotely similar to YOUR marriage. Not because the marriage itself is fundamentally different; things just look different from the inside. And even for those who are contemplating re-marriage...as unbelievable as this sounds, being married to a different person will be different. A man cannot cross the same river twice; it is not the same river, and he is not the same man.

So, what does marriage look like to someone who's never been married? SEX LICENSE. A Certificate, issued by the sovereign state, signed in the presence of witnesses and backed by the full power of Almighty God Himself, to be fruitful and multiply, that is, go GET YOUR BONE ON. AT least, this is the way it appears to those who have been trained from a very young age not to fornicate, and if they must fornicate, to at least have the decency to feel bad about it.

This happens with my toddler all the time. Put something he wants just out of reach and it's all he can think about.

I say all of this as a Christian, born and raised in a conservative household. You tell people they can't have sex. Then tell them they can't fantasize about it either (lust, after all, is just as bad as the act itself, Jesus says so.) Then tell them they can have sex IF AND ONLY IF they are married. What did you think was going to happen?

I've been married for a couple of years now. Suffice it to say my perspective has shifted. Marriage is great, I love being married. But rewind to Summer of 2008. I had no clue. Not only that, but I didn't even know what a clue would look like if it had hit me in the face.

Did I just inadvertently make an argument for arranged marriage? Oh dear...

But anyway, I don't deserve a pat on the head for being married. Most people get married in order to get something they want: sex, money, security, approval from others, most often a combination of a lot of these things and others. But nobody needs or deserves praise for pursuing what they want. A divorce is a promise broken. There's no way I can really see that as positive thing. At BEST it's the better of two bad options. A wedding vow is a promise made. In and of itself, that's almost nothing at all. Why else are all those witnesses present? (Oh right, free booze, and maybe to score with someone in the bridal party).

A promise kept...now that is a truly remarkable thing.

I suppose I'm in a minority of socially and politically conservative American Christians who will face up to the fact that our way of doing things is one among many possibilities. How about the often-predicted collapse of traditional marriage? Or the much-dreaded word: Socialism? Well, go to Iceland. They've got a fair amount of both going on there. I'm sure there are pluses and minuses, but I'm not seeing fire and brimstone in the sky, unless you count Eyjafjallajökull. So, if traditional monogamous marriage is one option among many, such as polygamy, serial monogamy, and whatever you want to call what college kids are doing these days and if we aren't going to literally stone everyone who lives differently, then the job at hand is basically salesmanship, and too many people seem fixated on proving that all the other ways are bad. That's just bad salesmanship. If the other ways really are so bad, the consequences will be obvious. Now tell me what's so great about YOUR way (this isn't addressed to anyone in particular, it's basically the job of anyone who wishes to promote a way of life).

Me, I don't have my pitch worked out yet, I've haven't been at this for long.

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To those bashing 'liberals'... (Below threshold)

December 25, 2010 5:34 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

To those bashing 'liberals'.

Do you believe in the right for women to vote, work, and generally enjoy the full rights of being an adult? Have you ever been against a work of art just because the artist was female?
Do you believe that people should not be oppressed by the government because of their religious or other beliefs?

Oh, sure, such things are not considered liberal in all places now. But in many places they still are.

I am someone who believes that extended family is very important. That kicking children out at 18 and nursing homes are both the methods of very selfish people. Old people should be living with family if they need assistance due to their age, and it is important to look out for other family members too. It doesn't matter if it is hard to take care of others or find room for them. I also believe spanking has its place in child discipline, when a child is being a danger to themselves or others and other methods are not cutting it.

I'm not going to argue about those beliefs, that is not why I'm posting this. My point is that despite them, I am very much a liberal.

"Liberal" and "conservative" are not political beliefs, but very rough simplifications. When you speak of liberals like they are all crazy, then everyone who is not far to the right is going to assume your whole point is the old "Because I say so, and questioning me is questioning God because of course he agrees with me." that we've heard a zillion times before.

Some of us are liberals mostly because many conservatives are crazy too!

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Great post. Kennedy wrote L... (Below threshold)

December 25, 2010 6:32 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Great post. Kennedy wrote Lawrence though. Scalia dissented.

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First thought at the end of... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2010 2:11 AM | Posted by Kevin Smith: | Reply

First thought at the end of this: "Oh god i did this just over the summer."

I then remembered that when I told the one sole confidant, I got no remorse or kindness. In fact, I found out later that i had dredged out a repressed childhood memory which only made me feel worse. I assume that was guilt.

So my next thought was: "Next time my friend tells me about the shit she does, the answer isn't sympathy or even apathy (as easier as that is for most people) but instead rage. Get angry. Make them feel guilty. Make them think that if they tell anybody else, they'll be beaten half to death or disowned. Make them scared and disgusted with themselves rather than just feel embarrassed for revealing it to you.

This is starting to sound like a cure for obesity for me.

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What I mean by "going apesh... (Below threshold)

December 27, 2010 11:40 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

What I mean by "going apeshit" if that's the term you want to use is that if you look at the nearly related great apes, we do a lot of the same things. And I don't think it's coincidence, nor does social evolution really fall under psuedoscience. It passes a lot of trials and explains behaviors that make no sense otherwise. One I might point out is our almost irrational love of FREE items. Even in experiments that have prices drop by the same amount (say good item A is $0.20 more than average item B) the experiments show that if the price of item B drops to FREE, the people tested overwhelmingly choose the FREE item over the other option. It makes sense in wild environments as getting something for nothing in those enviroments has real advantages (usually it's food) yet has no real advantage in civilized environments where you usually get the "free" item for purchasing something else of marginal value -- something that without the FREE item attached you would never purchase. Stuff like buying a cereal with a "Free" toy inside. You might not even like the cereal, and the toy is usually crap, but little kids especially see that and demand the free treat. Or adults will do the same thing -- subscribe and get a free doohickey. We do it all the time. We'll buy buy-one-get one products more than we'll buy half off products (and we'll buy two). It makes perfect sense in jungles, but everybody with a room temperature IQ over the age of 5 knows it's a trick. We still do it. If that's not behavioral evolution I don't know what else to call it.

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"po-mo mofos":D :D... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2010 4:33 AM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

"po-mo mofos"

:D :D

Yes, this society is so far out it's "in" again.

Back to the times of the Bible when it was ok to write about those very same things and force kids ever since to read about it because it's a "Holy Book."

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Please blog so I don't h... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2010 4:56 AM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

Please blog so I don't have to do these reacharounds!

He already has a blog, this one. Only The Doc could write this way. ;)

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>Do you believe in the righ... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2010 8:34 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

>Do you believe in the right for women to vote,

nope.

>work,
yes

>and generally enjoy the full rights of being an adult?

????. Wrong question. Being an adult should be a chore, a pain in the ass. "Enjoy" is the wrong word. So no, on the account of the wrongness of your question.

Or maybe you meant "that" ;) ;) ;) kind of "adult" ;) ;) ;) stuff? (sex) ?

>Have you ever been against a work of art just because the artist was female?

no

>Do you believe that people should not be oppressed by the government because of their religious or other beliefs?

of course the government should not oppress people for their ideas.

I just disagree with liberals. Liberals have their own set of morals, just like conservatives. Well, I think conservatives nowadays are totally sold on liberalism morality. But I'm digressing. Liberals have their own set of morality, which I disagree strongly with. They have their dogmas and their enforcing of their morality upon others, and I absolutely hate their dogmas and their ways of enforcing their morality, that I find harsher and less tolerant than the traditional methods.

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I don't quite understand wh... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2010 10:07 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I don't quite understand why it's the government's business what women are and are not allowed to do. I don't care if you teach your wives and daughters that it's not good for them to vote, but unless someone is incapable of rational thought (due to age or mental impairment) the government has no say in the matter of who does and does not vote. In fact, any government to do so is in essence not a free society -- You can get any result you want if you only allow people who agree with you to vote. Jim Crow lasted as long as it did for just that reason -- the people hurt by it (southern blacks) couldn't vote on it, so it passed every time. Not exactly conservative in my view.

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I think letting women vote ... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2010 2:30 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I think letting women vote is a stupid idea. I mean men already have the interest and happiness at women at heart- it's in their dna.

That's why you vote. It seemed such a big deal for you, and men even if they thought it was the stupidest bullshit idea, let women vote- because they care for their happiness of women.

And then what happened? Two fucking world wars for starters. Coincidence? I THINK NOT. Anyway letting women vote is stupid. Women only think about themselves, are extremely myopic, and think nothing of sending men to wage wars. Why should a woman even have a say on sending men to die? It's not like they fight wars. Fuck that.

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This is crazy, but you can ... (Below threshold)

December 28, 2010 2:31 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This is crazy, but you can actually Crowdsource the Superego at a website called Side Taker:

http://www.spousonomics.com/19/2010/11/the-real-marriage-ref/

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Anonymous, what's hard to u... (Below threshold)

January 7, 2011 1:31 AM | Posted by JCM: | Reply

Anonymous, what's hard to understand here? The writer is against publicizing your breakup in the papers and rationalizing it and trying to get everyone to approve of it. This is not the same as disapproving of the breakup. Hell, if they'd written in the "Style" section, "We cheated on our spouses and now we're together and we like it, fuck you," that'd earn less of the writer's ire, and to not write about it anywhere at all would be even better.

The problem here is not that they broke up, but that they had to publicly re-write the story for themselves and others to agree with them. They didn't have the balls to do it themselves, they had to go around with cap-in-hand looking for approval and sympathy.

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Hey, I know: people ... (Below threshold)

January 7, 2011 2:39 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


Hey, I know: people should be compelled by law and religion to drop everything and have some form of sexual relations with anyone who asks, and careful note should be taken (perhaps by electronic means) to ensure that everyone who's not in surgery, in a coma or too ill for anyone to desire must have some form of sexual relations with at least one other human being every day -- on penalty of public denunciation on the first offense, public flogging on the second, 30 days in jail on the third, and death on the fourth.

That'll learn 'em.

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Jeans are popular to both m... (Below threshold)

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The Discount Reebok EasyTon... (Below threshold)

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Thanks for sharing the info... (Below threshold)

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semantics and irony interse... (Below threshold)

August 6, 2012 6:23 PM | Posted by tim: | Reply

semantics and irony intersect:

Ms. Riddell says "I will always feel terribly about the pain I caused my ex-husband"...and she is being a lot more honest than she realises here. What she meant to say was 'feel terrible' -- but what she said, even though it was a mistake, reveals the truth -- which is that she felt 'terribly'. i.e. there's something wrong with her feeling ability, apparently. that is to say, she has trouble feeling the pain she caused her husband. Gotta love the irony. A Freudian slip, maybe...

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Hello all,I... (Below threshold)

September 19, 2012 1:58 AM | Posted by dr: | Reply


Hello all,

I think many of you ask yourself, what if i had the password of my fr
iend / girlfriend / boyfriend, associate, life partner, etc. .. to kn
ow the truth about your near partner, and reassuring that they do not
hide you something.

You have the right to be reasured !

For all that are in need of this kind of services We c
ome to your aid, feel free to contact us on our mail for any information, w
e will be happy to help you

"Owning the information, means having the power "

drpasswd@yahoo.com

http://getmypassword.tk/

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I think you offer a despica... (Below threshold)

September 19, 2012 3:55 PM | Posted, in reply to dr's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I think you offer a despicable service. Having been the innocent one spied on by a paranoid boyfriend, it is a service only for the emotionally crippled. You are profiting from the extreme weakness of controlling and abusive partners who think they have a right to your very thoughts. Now that is something to be proud of! You cannot make someone love or want you no matter how much secret information you may possess. Your clients deserve whatever sadistic torture they get from poking around in someone's private correspondence.

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Moral aside it can be quest... (Below threshold)

September 19, 2012 5:55 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Moral aside it can be questioned how much of insight the password will give. But obviously it will reveal a lot as we behave accordingly to who's watching (reading).

Anon first you victimize your ex, then he's eligible for torture. Do you think (ala popular-Socrates?) that everyone that do such a fucked up thing eg as reading the partners diary is governed wrongly and is in fact themselves victims?

Guess it boils down to the debate of free will. Won't go there. It's precisely that we do not know do which extent and in which ways the choices of our brothers and sisters are determined, that should induce us to caution when forming opinions about them.

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Females Absolve Infidelity ... (Below threshold)

February 5, 2013 5:27 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Females Absolve Infidelity Quickly, Men Do not… for more information.

http://www.trendsfair.com/women-absolve-infidelity-quickly-men-do-not/

On the other side, only one in ten men would keep with a woman who had strayed, based to a review. a UK study found that more than six in ten women would absolve two relationship mistakes which include unfaithfulness, excessive flirty habits…

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Females Absolve Infidelity ... (Below threshold)

February 5, 2013 5:31 AM | Posted by trendsworld: | Reply

Females Absolve Infidelity Quickly, Men Do not… for more information.

http://www.trendsfair.com/women-absolve-infidelity-quickly-men-do-not/

On the other side, only one in ten men would keep with a woman who had strayed, based to a review. a UK study found that more than six in ten women would absolve two relationship mistakes which include unfaithfulness, excessive flirty habits…

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