The joke around these parts is that when I started blogging, one of my favorite bitch-fests was that the Sacramento area didn’t have a single Hooter’s restaurant. Now there are three of them; so, all tremble before the power and wrath of The Blog That Nobody Reads. The serious side of it, though, is that market forces ultimately prevailed. And yet, since it took awhile, they obviously had to prevail against something. Prevail against what?
The answer is obvious: Prevail against the culture of “don’t want my husband looking at pretty women.” And the irony is that, since Sacramento survived a good long time without a Hooter’s, it probably could have survived without one indefinitely. The supply came because of the demand, and the demand was there because of the taboo against going. Going to silly restaurants with waitresses wearing skimpy clothes, and — any one of a number of other things. Don’t do this, don’t do that. It’s not the restaurant taboo that affects behavior, but the larger, broader taboo. And the NorCal culture is busy & thick with soft, silly, ineffectual rules; rules nobody takes the time to read, let alone follow, rules that command no respect. But, rules everyone likes to repeat over and over. It’s the land of a million rules that nobody ever follows.
We have a culture that is friendly to the little laws; it comes easy to us to complain that such-and-such is happening, unregulated and we need yet-another-little-law. Maybe an actual regulation, maybe just a new soft, cultural hand-slapping. No, we don’t have Hooters because a blogger complained. We have Hooters because of the people who wanted to keep Hooters out, or rather, because of the tension that built up around their mindset. It’s a case of the pressure building up under the blockage.
Half of us relieve our daily tensions by finding some refuge where we can get away from the little-laws. The other half of us, unfortunately, seem to escape similar tensions by passing those little-laws. Mencken said puritanism was the nagging fear that someone, somewhere is having a good time? What we’ve got is the widespread nagging fear that someone is able to do something they want to do. Not so much a desire to control others, as a phobia against liberty. Subtly different.
Those who have this phobia against liberty, I notice, seem to have a connected and inseparable loathing against success. The shrikes who won’t let their husbands go to Hooters, for example. What exactly is their problem, that the husbands have the freedom to go, or that the younger ladies are successful in trying to look good? Both are understandable resentments, but they tend to melt & meld together, no?
Not wanting the love of your life to gaze lasciviously upon another, is natural. Not wanting him to succeed at anything, is not.
A younger relative-of-sorts, who once shared a household with me due to one of my past relationships, put up a post at the Hello-Kitty-of-Blogging about the new configuration of his own household: Wife works, he’s Mr. Mom for awhile. Smart kid, knows how his bread is buttered. Wow, what a reaction! Like dragging tenderloin through a den of hungry lionesses. He netted lots of snotty lecturing about the laundry he may-or-may-not have screwed up yet, some you-go-girlfriends for the working wife, and a big mess of likes. And, silence from me, since contrary to my reputation I can figure out when my insight isn’t wanted.
Yes, I do live in a different world. But no, sorry if this disappoints anyone, on my planet we don’t look down upon Mr. Mom. I’ve been one. So has my Dad. We have to do what we have to do. In my world though, the reaction is not huzzahs and atta-girls for the lady of the house who now has to pick up the pieces, but one of concern. Yes, it is yet another thing we are not allowed to discuss, but a household in which the woman is the primary breadwinner, generally, is a household that would be in a more comfortable situation if that were not the case. I said “generally.” Even that is charitable; exceptions to the pattern are are quite rare. So we share the concern about finances that we’re sure exists even if it’s unspoken.
Cheers because she makes more now? What’s that all about. It’s supposed to be a partnership, not a race. I wonder what my Mother would have done if she got a “girl power” shout of support while she was working and my Dad wasn’t. She got something close to that, a lot of times, during the years when she owned her own business. None of those compliments ever actually put down my Dad, or accentuated the difference in their roles. At least not that I recall. What I do remember are the congratulations to her, and her alone, for living the “American dream.” Even so, she seemed a bit uneasy about it all. What if someone took the extra step and actually belittled or insulted her husband? There’s just no way. She wouldn’t have tolerated it.
But my parents were in a partnership. I guess that’s out of fashion now, and someone needs to warn the next generation of growing boys: There’s this huge tidal wave of available females who want to couple up with men, without any aspirations of partnership. And again, we see a supply forming to suit a demand, because we have a growing glut of available males ready to become human fashion accessories, or human furniture. Unequals for our supposedly-equal society.
John Hawkins writes:
We conquered a continent, built the Hoover Dam, went to the moon, and not only did our Olympic athletes refuse to dip our flag to Hitler during the 1936 Olympics, we made the most evil man who ever lived kill himself in fear before we could get to him.
That’s the stock that Americans come from, which begs an obvious question: What the hell happened to us?
How did the toughest, most independent society since Sparta turn into a wuss factory full of people who’ve never had an adventure in their life outside of a video game? We now have an entire grievance industry full of losers who spend all their time complaining that they’re “offended” by everything from the name of the Redskins to the “Patriarchy” to politicians using “violent language” like “crosshairs” and “job killing.”
There follows a list of five ways our society is losing its manly and capable edge, through generational attrition. He had the good sense to make “ban bossy” the first item on the list. You really should sit down and read the entire thing; #3 was news to me, and I only learned of #2 a little while ago. But I was most interested in the theme permeating throughout all of it. The subject of my complaint up above. The idea that whatever the problem is, yet one more obtrusive yet ultimately ineffectual nagging rule will somehow fix everything.
Rules, rules, and more rules! Can’t! Don’t! Prohibited! Stop! Not allowed! More more more…keep ’em coming, we should achieve total bliss any day now. I’d pop the top off a bottle of beer and watch it all down by the swimming pool…oh, if I could.
Prof. Sowell says:
Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. In area after area – crime, education, housing, race relations – the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them.
That’s now five decades, not three. It’s a twenty-one-year-old quote. It hits the nail right on the head: We’re so busy-busy-busy in this Twitter age, that the twits don’t have the time to stick around and see how these ideas pan out, let alone form their mouths around those all-important words, “I guess that didn’t work out quite like I thought it would.” It’s easy to find an Obama fan who will concede that some of the magic from 11/5/08 has worn off, but you can search weeks or months without finding one who will admit anyone in that movement made a mistake or had anything to learn at the beginning. Isn’t that ironic? After all their manic babbling about “change,” they don’t see any that’s necessary at this point. Just more of the same.
They’ve got lots of something called “humility,” but none of the good kind, the stuff that makes learning possible, that makes things actually work.
Wimps don’t worry me. I’m not even worried about an increasing population of wimps. Because wimps are, when you get right down to it, people who lack the resilience to learn. They’re missing the good-humility, the humility that is the start of all practical learning, the humility that says “I did something wrong there, the results speak loudly to me, so let us see how I can do it better next time.” They don’t worry me because they will eventually get tougher, and if they don’t, then their sphere of influence won’t get bigger than it is right now so they’ll remain harmless.
What worries me is the building of the wimps. The wimp-factories are shifting into high gear, revving up, achieving greater and greater efficiency and perfecting new methods as they manufacture these contributions to the newer wimp-generation. Hawkins continues:
There is actually a basic formula for building self-esteem. You find something you have talent at, you work at it, your ability is recognized and you feel better about yourself. However, we’ve moved past that formula and may have become the first society in history to almost entirely disconnect self-esteem from accomplishment. It’s debatable whether our schools should be focusing on building the self-esteem of kids at all, but we certainly shouldn’t be teaching every kid that he’s a special little sunflower, regardless of whether he’s done anything to earn it. Yes, God thinks all of His kids are special, but the rest of us generally aren’t impressed with someone who has nothing going for him other than the fact that he exists and his teacher says nice things about him. The world doesn’t owe you a living, you’re not special just because your teacher didn’t mark your papers with red ink, and the harsh truth is that the world values you for what you bring to the table, not because your life has been one long series of participation trophies.
It’s not just a kid-issue. It affects all aspects of our western society, right up to the tippy top. You see it when we have heads of state bragging, not about what they’ve actually managed to accomplish, but about the conversations they’ve been having over the phone. They’re acting like they’re doing, when all they’re doing is talking. Those are our leaders, tweeting away and hoping for their “participation trophies.” How can we expect better from the rank-and-file?
So our kids are not pushing themselves to deliver good results, or at any rate they have no reason to do so; the grown-ups are not likely to insist on such a threshold if they don’t insist on this from themselves. And after the kids earn their participation trophies, they are overprotected (hat tip to Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm).
It’s hard to absorb how much childhood norms have shifted in just one generation. Actions that would have been considered paranoid in the ’70s—walking third-graders to school, forbidding your kid to play ball in the street, going down the slide with your child in your lap—are now routine. In fact, they are the markers of good, responsible parenting. One very thorough study of “children’s independent mobility,” conducted in urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods in the U.K., shows that in 1971, 80 percent of third-graders walked to school alone. By 1990, that measure had dropped to 9 percent, and now it’s even lower. When you ask parents why they are more protective than their parents were, they might answer that the world is more dangerous than it was when they were growing up. But this isn’t true, or at least not in the way that we think. For example, parents now routinely tell their children never to talk to strangers, even though all available evidence suggests that children have about the same (very slim) chance of being abducted by a stranger as they did a generation ago. Maybe the real question is, how did these fears come to have such a hold over us? And what have our children lost—and gained—as we’ve succumbed to them?
What they gain is loyalty to a phony kind of “reality,” and what they lose is their attachment to the real-reality. The one that is genuine and testable.
We live in an age of wimp-reality leaders and wimp-reality constituents. It’s a vicious cycle, because constituents in this faux reality elect “leaders” who will tell them what to think. They have to. That’s how they form opinions; they repeat what they have heard, from others. Affordable, affordable, affordable.
And why do these leaders tell the constituents what the constituents are supposed to be thinking? Because they have no other choice. Their policies are awful and the results they produce are terrible.
A weak President emboldens our enemies and endangers the safety and very sovereignty of our country. And our Marxist/Alinsky-ite Follower of a President does not have the intestinal fortitude of a field mouse….and Putin knows it.
They lack that “good humility” I mentioned up above. The humility needed to recognize a revision to the plan must be necessary, because the results have not been good.
Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy has just released a study of the relative effects of stringent gun laws. They found that a country like Luxenbourg, which bans all guns has a murder rate that is 9 times higher than Germany, where there are 30,000 guns per 100,000 people. They also cited a study by the U.S.National Academy of Sciences, which studied 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, and it failed to find one gun control initiative that worked.
They talk about “science” endlessly but don’t know, or even seem to care, what that word is supposed to mean:
Real science (again, to them) isn’t real at all. The only real science is that which has been blessed by Al Gore, Barack Obama or his (allegedly non-political) Environmental Protection Agency.
Freedom, liberty, right and wrong are recognized by these types only — recently — in contexts that have something to do with gay sex. Huh, you know, some of us aren’t into that. Can we have freedom and liberty too?
It’s time to ask questions like this, I think, because force and freedom are measurable and rudimentary concepts. It’s true that “right and wrong” are not quite so simple. We can hash that one out across days, weeks, even years, with good points being made on both sides of a given disagreement. But I would expect any thinking individual to recognize the difference between, let’s say, taking in new information vs. deliberately blocking information out. I would expect them to distinguish properly between forming an opinion about nature in order to test it and validate it against measurements, vs. forming an opinion just to get along with everybody else. I would expect them to differentiate between discovering new things, and achieving unanimity within a collective by getting rid of any & all disagreement.
This is all part of our newer wimp-culture. Which, when you get right down to it, is a product of coddling. It is the product of too many people going too long without seeing prosperity connected to their wiser decisions, or seeing any suffering connected to their more foolish ones. They don’t catch on to these primitive and vital distinctions, because they don’t see the need and they don’t see the point.
They make these “jokes” about women being smarter than men; in so doing, they don’t look to me the way they think they’re presenting themselves. I know exactly what they want — I’m not supposed to take such comments seriously because they’re jokes. Well you see, the problem is that jokes are supposed to be funny, and in order to be funny they’re supposed to stay fresh. The “smart woman stupid man” joke is not fresh, it’s stale. The theme about President Obama being ordered around by the unforgiving First Lady Michelle, in particular, is now going on seven or eight years non-stop. As far as I can tell, there hasn’t even been any variance to it. So it doesn’t look like a joke. The guy telling it over and over again doesn’t look henpecked or humble in any way; not even respectful. The people who laugh at it don’t look sleek or sophisticated.
Who among us thinks for one moment, when the cameras click off, that President Obama says to Himself over and over “women are smarter than men, women are smarter than men,” and not — “Well, I pulled another one over on ’em.”
And what am I to think about these brittle biddies who know they’re being patronized like this, and laugh with their exuberant and theatrical approval anyway?
Where I come from, which I guess nowadays is another planet or something…this looks like what it is. Mass foolishness. Diseased thinking. The kind of faulty contemplation and deliberation that resulted in the healthcare.gov launch going the way it did.
Affordable, affordable, affordable…
It’s all cyclical. Life has a way of teaching you the same lesson over and over until you learn it, then you can go on to the next lesson. But there’s always some pain in these lessons, and the lesson that someone needs to learn here is: You can only count on strong and good results when you engage in strong and good thinking. I’m not sure what kind of pain has to be brought about to correct this wimp-thinking. I can only hope it’s spread out over a good long time, for the course correction we’re talking about here, and the mass, are way off on the high end. As in: Think of a long-drive of a golf ball resting on a tee, as a “course correction.” Now think of that golf ball possessing all the mass of a battleship. That’s how far off we are, I’m afraid. That’s the kind of correction that’s overdue now.
Obviously we’re dealing, once again, with a mass disagreement about a fundamental thing, a fissure that runs down between us separating us into two halves, unseen, imperceptible most of the time, but nevertheless running long and deep. The fundamental disagreement has to do with opportunity versus security, and outcome versus appearances. This connects back to that Sowell quote about replacing what works with what sounds good.
On the headboard of our bed I have a huge stack of Modesty Blaise books. I’m constantly wondering what today’s goth-wearing, complaining college-age feminists would think about it all. The constant theme is that Modesty, a woman, is the boss of Willie Garvin, a man. But Willie Garvin is not Ray Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond. Not even. By the time the story’s done, you wonder if Garvin or James Bond would come out on top mano-a-mano. He’s tough, resourceful, resilient and sharp. But throughout it all, he takes the extra step to find out what Modesty Blaise wants done, and how she wants it done, because — get this — he wants them both to come out of it alive and he figures they have a better shot that way.
Outcome over appearances. When that’s the priority, you get mutual respect regardless of who’s calling the shots. When the priority is the other way around, you get wimpiness, lots of complaining and butt-hurt, a bunch of bossy females bitching about being called “bossy” (!), friend-zoning, and perhaps most damaging of all: Zero actual learning, consistent courses of action repeated endlessly, at unlimited expense, with the culturally forced anticipation of inconsistent results.