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Feb 15 2014

I have discovered a time machine!

And I’m a little dizzy after a short jaunt to the 1950s. It turns out it’s really easy to find your way to 60 years in the past; just open the pages of the Wall Street Journal, where dinosaurs walk again, and they’ve got control of all of your money. They ran an amazing opinion piece on Valentine’s Day, giving advice to all you little women out there.

Think about it: If you spend the first 10 years out of college focused entirely on building your career, when you finally get around to looking for a husband you’ll be in your 30s, competing with women in their 20s. That’s not a competition in which you’re likely to fare well. If you want to have children, your biological clock will be ticking loud enough to ward off any potential suitors. Don’t let it get to that point.

That’s the whole story: the author is telling all the women that careers are a waste of time, you need to find yourself a man, and do it while you’re still as young as possible, because face it, when you’re 30, you are so over. We’re not even going to contemplate 40, and 50…OMG, you’re supposed to be dead.

I always wonder what the women with these attitudes are actually like. Do they admire mayflies? Do they think only the first quarter of their life is worth living?

Anyway, she has specific advice for all you ladies: go to college. You face a confusing dilemma, though, because men like their women young and stupid (did I mention that the author has also assumed a deep contempt for us guys?), so you should attend college as a kind of meat market, but don’t learn too much.

An extraordinary education is the greatest gift you can give yourself. But if you are a young woman who has had that blessing, the task of finding a life partner who shares your intellectual curiosity and potential for success is difficult. Those men who are as well-educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women.

Could you marry a man who isn’t your intellectual or professional equal? Sure. But the likelihood is that it will be frustrating to be with someone who just can’t keep up with you or your friends. When the conversation turns to Jean Cocteau or Henrik Ibsen, the Bayeux Tapestry or Noam Chomsky, you won’t find that glazed look that comes over his face at all appealing. And if you start to earn more than he does? Forget about it. Very few men have egos that can endure what they will see as a form of emasculation.

It’s also horribly cliche-ridden.

Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.

Grandma? Is that you? You’ve been reincarnated and are writing dating books for Republicans?

139 comments

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  1. 1
    doghouse

    The Wall Street Journal is just trying to say that they don’t want any real competition from non-penis havers, and maybe don’t know that in many poorer households the women actually are the breadwinner in the new economy they have made for us.

  2. 2
    estraven

    I tried to comment on this, but I was just too befuddled to say anything coherent. But at least when i’m incoherent, I don’t write a column.

    Really? “Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free”? In 2014?

    Oh wait, I thought of something coherent: it’s the WSJ, so no wonder.

  3. 3
    zenlike

    I know one of the first comments shouldn’t be ‘what about the menz?’, but still: as a man I find this column exceedingly offensive and misandrist: it paints every man as an insecure egomaniac who views partnerships as an unequal relation and who views women being intellectually equal to them as a threat. (Actually, maybe Susan isn’t that far from the truth there, sigh, still a long way to go.)

  4. 4
    David Marjanović
    Those men who are as well-educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women.

    What utter nonsense. What complete and utter nonsense!

  5. 5
    Al Dente

    Those men who are as well-educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women.

    I must be an outlier because I want to be challenged by an intellectual, educated partner.

  6. 6
    mildlymagnificent

    it paints every man as an insecure egomaniac who views partnerships as an unequal relation and who views women being intellectually equal to them as a threat.

    That’s the thing that never ceases to amaze me. People who write this stuff must know that it’s offensive to and about women, but how come they seem never to notice just how horrible the picture they paint of men turns out to be.

    I also wonder about the social circles of these writers as well. As a parent whose younger daughter will very shortly turn 30 and I’ve met dozens of her friends at various times, my observation is that none of them – the women nor the men – seem to suffer from these kinds of ideas. I know Australians are not carbon-copies of Americans, but surely our ordinary, well-educated people under 35 aren’t so different that they seem not even to be in the frame, let alone the foreground, of the picture being painted here.

  7. 7
    hillaryrettig

    Jezebel is all over this, entertainingly:

    http://jezebel.com/college-gals-should-make-husband-hunting-their-major-s-1523126206

    One commenter astutely points out that her advice is like the mirror image of PUA advice, and eerily resembles it.

  8. 8
    antigone10

    Story time!

    I’m a little smarter than my husband. Not by much, but I pick up new material just a hair faster, and I remember just a little better.

    When we first got married, he was putting his time in as a flight instructor, making almost zero dollars. I was working as a tech person at the college, making slight more than almost zero dollars so I was the one paying the bills. His ego happily handled it just find. Now we both make more money, and he makes more than I do. Guess what? Still are respective egos are fine, though my twinges from time to time when money gets tight- not because he makes more, but because I don’t make more.

    We’ll have been happily married for 5 years in a week. And I didn’t do anything spectacular to be in a relationship either.

    A good romantic relationship is a like a good job- there are certain things that you can do, but at the end of the day it’s a stroke of luck if you manage to find the right place at the right time. Be the person you want to be, because you are always going to have your own company.

    And, besides, if you date someone who only likes you because you’re unchallenging, young, and beautiful, they are going to dump you the second you no longer are those things.

  9. 9
    hexidecima

    “Those men who are as well-educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women.”

    No they aren’t, Ms. Patton. They aren’t as well educated at all. They are twits that are not wanted or needed by women.

  10. 10
    voidhawk

    “the task of finding a life partner who shares your intellectual curiosity and potential for success is difficult”

    So is anything worth having.

  11. 11
    chris61

    What a bizarre piece of writing. It’s got to be a joke.

  12. 12
    Bronze Dog

    Absolutely disgusting. I find it deeply troubling that we have people who think like this and project their attitude onto everyone else.

    Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.

    Bullshit. Statements like this reduce relationships to a license to have sex. There’s more to women than the reproductive act, and there’s more to men, too. Sex is fun, or so I’m told, but we’re not like insects or whatever. People with any amount of emotional depth don’t just do the mating dance and go their separate ways the next morning. Frankly, statements like this practically endorse the non-committal player/rape culture. Sex isn’t something for men to opportunistically grab and run, it’s a cooperative social event involving people. Treating relationships as if they’re entirely about reproduction just sets women up to be used and encourages men to be emotionally stunted and abusive.

  13. 13
    estraven

    Yes, the level of condescension toward men in this piece is repulsive.

    My husband was attracted to me in part because he viewed me as intelligent, something he was looking for. We’ve been together for 44 years. We debate each other on a nearly daily basis and we love it.

    I don’t understand these idiots who write such drivel. Do they even live in the real world?

  14. 14
    draconius

    #7, @hillaryrettig:

    “One commenter astutely points out that her advice is like the mirror image of PUA advice, and eerily resembles it.”

    Right? I recognized the whole “you likely won’t get married if you’re 30″ (paraphrased) line right away thanks to reading Manboobz. The line is usually, “once you hit 27 or 28, you instantly become an old crone that no man could possibly love.”

    Not to mention the whole, “men like a women who is dumb and drunk” trope. Really? I’m not the brightest person around, so it’s nice to have someone smart enough to make sure I don’t blow everything up. :) (Like this comment, I hope it posts right.)

  15. 15
    Becca Stareyes

    Honestly, I’d rather be single forever than have a romantic partner who can’t deal with things like my age or my education. As far as I’m concerned, an education weeds out people I couldn’t make a romantic relationship work with, so it’s win-win.

    (Also, it’s not like being unmarried is the Worst Thing in the World. Better to be single than to be stuck in a relationship that makes you unhappy or clips your wings.)

  16. 16
    rq

    With everything that I’ve done wrong (that is, get an education, be intelligent, talk back, enjoy sex, etc.), I’m surprised my husband-hunting has been as successful as results show. Then again, I turn 30 later this year – does that mean he’ll be kicking me to the curb and going for a fresh graduate? (Something tells me no. :) )

  17. 17
    anteprepro

    This is pretty much a fair description of the patriarchal side of America. America is feminism never happened or if it had died a decade or three ago. A nation where men exclusively date women half their age and want woman to be mindless, submissive sex slaves instead of actual partners. A nation where marriage is all about sexual attraction, and sex is only for baby-making. A nation where women are just incubators, babysitters, and maids. It is certainly partially true, because some people still think like this and force women into these roles. That’s why we need feminism. And need to tell people like the author of this article that they are fucking our culture up and need to shut their idiotic gobs.

  18. 18
    machintelligence

    Assuming IQ scores actually measure something, someone should inform the author that the correlation of IQ scores for married couples is somewhat higher than that for full siblings and fraternal twins, although lower than that for identical twins. (Actual values vary by study, but the trends are pretty consistent.)

  19. 19
    bargearse

    What an extraordinary piece of writing, a warning against becoming an old maid. I particularly liked this bit

    Those men who are as well-educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women.

    I can’t help thinking; so what? Even if that were true, why would any self-respecting person care?

  20. 20
    The Mellow Monkey

    If you want to have children, your biological clock will be ticking loud enough to ward off any potential suitors. Don’t let it get to that point.

    You know…it’s possible to have kids alone. Even if all men lost interest in all women the moment those women hit the magical age of thirty, it would still be perfectly possible for these women to spend their twenties pursuing education or having orgies or whatever people fear they’re doing and then have kids, if that was what they wanted. And if it wasn’t what they wanted, party on in childfree heaven.

    This heteronormative idea that the inability to attract a man will lead to women never having a family always creeps me out. The arbitrary standards of someone else’s libido and romantic interest are just…arbitrary. Maybe random chance will align so fifty people fall in love with you; maybe it will align so that no one does. Neither situation has much to do with your worthiness, and neither should stop you from doing anything you can do on your own (which is practically everything but get married).

  21. 21
    nora

    Let’s not forget another stereotype. In twenty years, the husband dumps the wife for a younger, more interesting coworker. I wonder what the author has to say about that.

  22. 22
    Space Monster

    Speaking of grandmas, I’ll never forget the hurt and disappointment I felt when, nearing the completion of my PhD work back in the late ’80s, my grandmother told me “It’s good you’ll have a degree so you can get a job if your husband loses his.”

    It should be noted I was not married at the time nor did I have any likely candidates waiting around. Nor had I ever actually expressed any interest in getting married or having kids. Fast forward to today, I still have absolutely no desire for kids or a husband (or any other partner).

  23. 23
    Moggie

    Not sure who is the audience for that article. I mean, how many college-age women turn to the WSJ for lifestyle advice?

  24. 24
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    When the conversation turns to Jean Cocteau or Henrik Ibsen, the Bayeux Tapestry or Noam Chomsky

    Because knowing about museum pieces and the works of dead white guys is the true indicator of intelligence.

    you won’t find that glazed look that comes over his face at all appealing.

    My wife does. She also doesn’t use it as evidence she’s smarter than I am; she just knows a lot about topics I’m ignorant of. Works the other way around, too.

    And if you start to earn more than he does? Forget about it. Very few men have egos that can endure what they will see as a form of emasculation.

    I feel sorry for what I assume is Patton’s experience within her social circle, but it’s still offensive for her to generalize it to the rest of the population.

  25. 25
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Those men who are as well-educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women.

    But the likelihood is that it will be frustrating to be with someone who just can’t keep up with you or your friends.

    Fascinating.
    Fascinating

  26. 26
    bargearse

    Ms. Patton is the author of “Marry Smart: Advice for Finding ‘The One,’ ” out in March from Gallery Books

    Dear god she’s written a whole book’s worth of this crap. My flabber is totally gasted.

  27. 27
    kevinalexander

    Hey, it’s the Wall Street Journal. It’s readers are men who are looking for cows.

  28. 28
    pacal

    Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.

    Aside from being a tired cliché this quote is part of the prostitution theory of marriage. The idea is that women must sell sex and men must buy it. Marriage is a contract then by which men therefore buy sex by providing material security to the women who is selling it. I guess women should sell it for the highest amount they can get and men will be looking for the cheapest they can get. (snark) So in this view marriage is very much like prostitution.

  29. 29
    evinm

    Well, jeez..! And here I was thinking a partnership was about being supportive of one another (career or otherwise), always encouraging and feeling excited at the others major achievements and advancements in life. Thank you Batshit Journal, I now know that I have let down men everywhere when I have done such despicable acts, like: slipping a nice or encouraging word to my wife while accompanying her to present a paper at an art history conference or when she has accepted an award for her research and writing, to have aided her a bit in such research, feeling the excitement of her tremendous joy when she has received a promotion from work and so forth.

    But seriously though, it amazes me how threatened men can get. I’m always delighted and thrilled to discuss any issue with my wife because of her knowledge and intellect. And, as I’m sure others may be able to attest to, when you are with someone like that she won’t use her intellect to make you feel stupid or inferior (I suppose the target audience for this piece would most likely perceive it that way–but that’s saying more about the man than the woman), she’s usually very interested in such things and is happy to share and discuss in-order to help you understand. And by doing this she is inviting you into the conversation as an equal, not just trying to talk over you.

  30. 30
    raven

    The WSJ is Fox News in print. It’s gone nowhere but downhill since Murdoch bought it.

    I was going to pick it apart and make fun of some of the sillier ideas but why bother?

    It’s just something dead from the 1950′s that has washed up on the beaches of 2014.

  31. 31
    Pierce R. Butler

    This writer would fit in those Douche Dynasty dickheads who can’t cope with women over the age of 16.

    Naked Bunny… @ # 16 – Psst! Chomsky is still alive, active and lucid.

  32. 32
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Isn’t it interesting that the radical right wants to return to the 1950s? Well, except for things like massive public works projects (the Interstate Highway System, for example), massive investment in education, high taxes rates on the rich (really, really high rates by today’s standards) and most workers in labour unions with paid health care and pensions. They just want the racism and sexism of the 1950s without the good stuff.

  33. 33
    U Frood

    Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.

    I bought the cow despite getting free milk.

    My wife was in her 30′s too, and wanted kids.
    Very strange.

  34. 34
    mikeyb

    The WSJ is owned by Murdoch – does any of this come as a surprise? It’s an open platform for pseudo-intellectual bigotry (as well as bad economic analysis).

  35. 35
    iknklast

    Does she seriously believe educated intelligent men want to spend their life with women who talk about nothing but kids and hairdos? Honestly, at the age of 40, I had so many offers from men who wanted to spend the rest of their life with me that I could have picked and chose, except there was only one of them that interested me, so I didn’t have to go through any great difficulties.

    My brother thought he wanted a woman who was ignorant, because he always has to be smarter than everyone else. Then he found her boring to talk to so he’d come over and pick a fight with me just to have someone educated to talk to. Their marriage didn’t last.

  36. 36
    Lynna, OM

    What the heck? Who is this woman? How does she manage to be “successful” with such a hobbled brain? Doesn’t she know brains and the intelligent use of them equals the Ultimate Sexiness?

    Susan Patton is a first-generation American and was in one of the first classes of women to graduate from Princeton in 1977. She is a first-time author, a human resources consultant, and an executive coach in New York City. She is the proud mother of two Princeton sons, a daughter-in-law who also graduated from Princeton, and a long-haired red dachshund named Lucille. Simon and Schuster link.

    Or we might ask, what’s wrong with Princeton, since it also turned out Professor Robert George, who is known to be a malicious anti-gay bigot, and a right-wing “intellectual” who is all for “natural” marriage and babies and women who take care of babies. Robert George info link.

    But let’s get back to Susan Patton:

    She is absolutely obnoxious, atrociously so. She is divorced, and she discloses to the Cut in a tornado of haughtiness that her husband “went to a school of almost no name recognition … Almost no name recognition. A school that nobody has respect for, including him, really.” boston.com link.

    Most of the right-wingers who come out of Princeton seem to be Catholics. Patton sounds like an ideal Mormon, stuck in the 1950s.

  37. 37
    muttpupdad

    40 years today married to the best lab partner I ever had, sometimes I made more and other times she carried the load but always together and still stimulating in all areas for each another. Looking forward to the next 40 as it only gets better!

  38. 38
    tsig

    So the WSJ is now A Voice for Men Going Their Own Way.

  39. 39
    laurentweppe

    how come they seem never to notice just how horrible the picture they paint of men turns out to be.

    That’s because reactionaries want to live in a world where they are the nobility and everyone else is treated like cattle and fucktoys, and they assume that everybody else share the same fantasy.

    ***

    Marriage is a contract then by which men therefore buy sex by providing material security to the women who is selling it

    As mother used to say:
    Traditional marriage is a contract between two men: the groom and the bride’s father.

  40. 40
    Anri

    Sheesh. If The Onion had published this, we’d have legions of MRA’s storming the gates insisting no-one actually believes this sort of thing anymore – and even if they did, they’d never be stupid enough to say so out loud.

  41. 41
    vaiyt

    Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.

    And when feminists say women are treated like cattle…

  42. 42
    thalwen

    I have a lot more respect for men than this douche. Unlike him, I don’t see them as shallow insecure beings who only care about a woman’s looks, and have their penises shrivel at the very thought of having a woman be equal to them.
    I’m 32, I spend most of my 20s in college and law school and am now trying to establish myself in my field. I don’t count marriage out, if I meet the right woman and we want to marry, then great – but it’s certainly not my number one priority and my biological clock has been perfectly sated by my cat.

  43. 43
    Leo Buzalsky

    you’ll be in your 30s, competing with women in their 20s.

    So much wrong with this… I guess my first thought is, “Competing for whom?” There are probably going to be a number of men in their 30s out there that will be available. I can’t help but wonder if this author is thinking these 30-something men will have preference for the 20-something women. Even if that were true, there’s a problem here — those 30-something men will have to compete with 20-something men.
    That seems to be a common flaw in pieces like this. Women are warned they will have a limited selection of men, but men are never warned they will have a limited selection of women, which leaves the impression that women are in infinite supply.

  44. 44
    Lynna, OM

    From Salon:

    (Oh, one quick thing: Besides being a parody of parental anxiety among the 1 percent, Patton’s basic thesis is bullshit, of course. There is no “marriage crisis” among college-educated women in high-earning careers who want to get married. As Stephanie Coontz recently pointed out in the New York Times, “While marriage rates have fallen for most women since 1980, those for the highest earning women have increased, to 64 percent in 2010 from 58 percent in 1980. Women in the top 15 percent of earners are now more likely to be married than their lower-earning counterparts.”)

    Ah, good. Susan Patton even got the facts wrong.

  45. 45
    Louis

    I’ve read this thread and I think there may be some women posting comments on it. Will no one think of the children? PLEASE! SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!

    Or, you know, something like that. Frankly I’m amazed anyone wrote this before (or indeed after) April the 1st. I shouldn’t be, but I am.

    Louis

  46. 46
    dianne

    We’re not even going to contemplate 40, and 50…OMG, you’re supposed to be dead.

    I’m not dead yet! In fact, my sex life is feeling much better than when I was in my 20s.

  47. 47
    frank81

    I don’t see what is so bad about assertions such as men liking younger women…it is mostly true from what I can see and read. She is also right that marrying someone who is not of ones intellectual level is doubtless going to prove not very satisfying in the end.

    I will also point out that careerism is just as much a fetish of ‘progressives’ as marriage and family are for conservatives.

    Lets be real, hardly every person who goes to college winds up doing truly meaningful work, in fact probably most do not. Someone has to work in the soulless cube farms (or the equally soulless modern office that jazzes itself up with ‘open work spaces’ and lots of pointless chotsky’s), someone has to manage all the big box stores and food franchises and on and on.

    Fulfillment through careerism is way overhyped.

  48. 48
    frank81

    I suppose it was wrong to say family and marriage is a fetish – as these are important parts of life.

    Fulfillment through a career definitely is a fetish of the left, however.

    Let me point out this too – the only reason so many women AND men can have careers outside of the home is because technology has freed both sexes from the work of home and field. These same technologies, however, come at great cost as we are now seeing.

    I read a book about the Amish not too long ago written by a Mennonite couple. The wife of the couple had this to say of Amish women (not an exact quote): “They are too busy preparing and preserving food, cooking, gardening, taking care of the yard animals, and rearing their children (among many other chores) to be overly concerned with their so-called ‘liberation’.”

    Freedom from the fields and the home does not come free of cost; it is only the generally adolescent mindset of our society that can see only drudgery in such real, meaningful and necessary work.

  49. 49
    Inaji

    Dianne:

    We’re not even going to contemplate 40, and 50…OMG, you’re supposed to be dead.

    I’m not dead yet! In fact, my sex life is feeling much better than when I was in my 20s.

    Add me to the ‘not dead yet!’ pile, a not dead yet 56 year old still happy with the same partner after 35 years.

  50. 50
    Inaji

    frank81:

    Freedom from the fields and the home does not come free of cost; it is only the generally adolescent mindset of our society that can see only drudgery in such real, meaningful and necessary work.

    Oh FFS, stop trying so hard to troll have a “dissenting” opinion, will ya? All you’re doing is making yourself look like an idiot. It’s 2014, not 1804, and if you want to have a life spent preparing and preserving food, cooking, gardening, taking care of yard animals, and rearing children, why, it is 2014, and it’s perfectly okay for you, as a man, to do just that. Good luck.

  51. 51
    Rey Fox

    I think the reason that men are posited to want unchallenging women is that unchallenging women are less likely to see through their facades to all their faults and decide to find somebody better. And then you’re left without a maid and child caretaker and concubine and you gotta start all over again. Crap!

    Heck, last year* I was dating a woman who decided that I wasn’t hot shit and exercised her independence. And honestly, that kinda sucked. But it would suck worse to have someone hanging around me out of a sense of obligation or fear that that she couldn’t do better or lose some sort of financial/social security.

    * Wait, I guess it was the year before last. I’m in post-graduation unemployment mode, where time has no meaning.

  52. 52
    Rey Fox

    It’s true, self-determination is a fetish of the left. Shit, I’m getting hard just thinking about making my own life.

  53. 53
    nich

    Don’t let anyone tell you that these traditional roles are retrograde; they are perfectly natural and even wonderful.

    Reading the RIGHT complain about women being shoehorned into a specific role is pretty fucking rich.

  54. 54
    The Mellow Monkey

    frank81 @ 48

    I read a book about the Amish not too long ago written by a Mennonite couple. The wife of the couple had this to say of Amish women (not an exact quote): “They are too busy preparing and preserving food, cooking, gardening, taking care of the yard animals, and rearing their children (among many other chores) to be overly concerned with their so-called ‘liberation’.”

    Two people who are not Amish women cannot speak for all Amish women everywhere. That I have to say this at all blows my mind.

    A relative of mine works at a birth clinic that caters to Amish women and this is what she’s found: they’re people. Each woman is an individual. Each woman has a unique relationship with her husband, her children, and her community. Each woman has her own thoughts and feelings and desires. Many of them are very sick. Many of them live in what looks a lot more like poverty than an idyllic country life. Many of them are raising children with life-threatening illnesses or severe disabilities and have had to become very familiar with the American medical system.

    They are all individuals who all have one thing in common: they have been raised in an oppressive religion and were given the choice between a terrifying world without their family or further oppression. So they choose to stay with the oppression they know.

    This says nothing about how they as individuals feel about the situation. Because they are all–every last one of them!–individuals.

  55. 55
    knowknot

    - There’s are many facets of the article that are dizzying, and most have been commented on.
    - But one in particular seems chilling to me the (not exactly tacit) advice that, as a woman, you should CHOOSE to limit what’s in your head, not only because the time required to do otherwise will result in obsolescence, but because the simple fact that YOU have FAILED TO LIMIT who you are and how you think will make you…
    … what? Less of a lesser person?

    - Isn’t that directly Orwellian?

  56. 56
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    frank81:

    Freedom from the fields and the home does not come free of cost; it is only the generally adolescent mindset of our society that can see only drudgery in such real, meaningful and necessary work.

    I’ve never yet met anyone who eulogised about the attractions of hard, back-breaking labour, who had actually had to do any hard, back-breaking labour.

  57. 57
    dianne

    Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.

    Some of us cows prefer to be free to bestow our milk where we please and not owned by any man. Honestly, this statement reads like an incentive to go have sex with everyone so that no man will see you as a virgin potential slave/wife. Are you sure this isn’t a satire?

  58. 58
    brucegorton

    I don’t see what is so bad about assertions such as men liking younger women…it is mostly true from what I can see and read.

    What you have seen and read is largely based around a popular commercial culture that treats people and sex like commodities, largely interchangeable for newer models, because that is the only way it can see anything.

    Meanwhile in real life – generally people want partners rather than possessions. Ability and compatibility count for a lot more in that situation.

  59. 59
    Inaji

    Dianne:

    Are you sure this isn’t a satire?

    A rather amazing amount of people still trot out the “won’t buy the cow if the milk is free” adage. I heard it enough growing up, from grandparents and great grandparents. A woman’s worth is still very much judged on just how much milk got spilt, so to speak.

  60. 60
    raven

    Freedom from the fields and the home does not come free of cost; it is only the generally adolescent mindset of our society that can see only drudgery in such real, meaningful and necessary work.

    frank81 is clearly trolling and making dumb statements for our amusement.

    1. There is nothing keeping frank81 from adopting an Amish lifestyle. In fact, we should all cheer him on. The Amish don’t have electricity or internet access so that is one less internet troll. It’s a free country.

    2. In fact, during my college days in the 70′s, the hippie types were always going on about moving to the country and doing country things, raising their own food free from the mindless uniformity of the modern world and the big cities. Just about none of them lasted very long.

    3. But why limit your lifestyle to the 19th century? frank81 could go back to the Neolithic hunter-gather stage. People still do that such as Chris McCandless. They often end up dead, like Chris McCandless.

  61. 61
    jefrir

    Frank81,

    These same technologies, however, come at great cost as we are now seeing.

    Like what? Go on, be specific and name these costs.

    Freedom from the fields and the home does not come free of cost; it is only the generally adolescent mindset of our society that can see only drudgery in such real, meaningful and necessary work.

    But it is not necessary work. As you’ve just said, technological change has meant that these tasks are no longer needed. You are still free to do them, if that is something that is enjoyable and meaningful to you, but there really is no moral imperative to do hard, unnecessary work.
    And I fail to see how working at home or in the fields is any more meaningful than library work, the career that I have chosen and love.

  62. 62
    knowknot

    # 48 Frank81

    . The wife of the couple had this to say of Amish women (not an exact quote): “They are too busy preparing and preserving food, cooking, gardening, taking care of the yard animals, and rearing their children (among many other chores) to be overly concerned with their so-called ‘liberation’.”

    Freedom from the fields and the home does not come free of cost; it is only the generally adolescent mindset of our society that can see only drudgery in such real, meaningful and necessary work.</blockquote

    - I come from farm/ranch stock, one generation out, and I understand an aspect of this kind of thinking. My grandfather sold the farm out from under my father, who wanted very much to stay (and was as suited to it as anyone ever could be), because his son was going to do "better," DAMMIT. Which wasn't a vain imagination for my grandfather, who spent all his spare time and lamp oil studying law, languages, classics, etc. Some of that tension seems to have passed down, and I've always thought that I would have been better off back there as well.
    - But in moments of clarity I realize that to be true only because of certain peculiarities of my nature, and even then only when I maintain an idealized version of that life, and by ignoring the actual lives I've seen in the reality of that place.
    - So, while the latter part of the above quote has some truth in it, so does the following rephrasing, from the other side of the fence:
    " "Freedom" IN the fields and the home does not come free of cost; it is only the generally adolescent mindset of our society that can see virtue only in consistently having your ass kicked by nature, by economic hardship, by provincialism imposed by separation and time constraints, by limitations of understanding resulting from a sometimes necessary and sometimes just imposed division of labor, by the limited ability to pursue interests and insights due to the diurnal rigor of survival, by the need to conform in order to maintain the community support that is sometimes desperately needed…"
    - The effect on a person is seldom as lovely as Little House on the Prairie might suggest, though I still have enormous love and respect for those who endure it.
    - And more to the point: in my experience the lauded effects of farm life on a farm wife are largely apparent only because of their stoicism. In unguarded moments, they tend to be aware of what they've missed and what they've endured.
    - For a modern, metropolitan woman, for whom the analogous trade off is not a farm, not a community, not an extended family that's hoped to stay nearby, but A MAN and a man alone, the intellectual and psychological sacrifice may be more profound still.

  63. 63
    knowknot

    blockquote fail. sorry.

  64. 64
    wondering

    Oddly enough, my male partner has been with an intelligent, surly, hard-working, bread-winning, non-procreating-by-choice woman for the last 20 years. We discuss/argue about all sorts of topics typically considered taboo at all the right dinner parties and enjoy doing so. I push him – and support him – into taking risks he would not otherwise take and he does my laundry and makes me tea. (Never underestimate the importance of always having tea when you want it.) My paycheck is larger than his by multiples, but he’s also prettier than me, so fair’s fair. ‘-)

    May the Wall St Journal burn with envy.

  65. 65
    Inaji

    Jefrir:

    Like what? Go on, be specific and name these costs.

    Why, wimminfolk aren’t in their proper place, working themselves to death inbetween birthin’ babies.

    Knowknot:

    I come from farm/ranch stock, one generation out, and I understand an aspect of this kind of thinking.

    I live in farm country, and most farm wives around here have chosen to work outside the farm, or do something like medical transcription.

  66. 66
    consciousness razor

    frank81:

    She is also right that marrying someone who is not of ones intellectual level is doubtless going to prove not very satisfying in the end.

    Maybe you simply misread it. She said that people (men) at the same “level” want someone less intelligent (actually “educated”) than them. So, are you sure you’re not disagreeing with her, if perhaps accidentally?

    In fact, I’m pretty sure that statement was pure bullshit anyway, like most of the article. She doesn’t even believe it. But it is what it is.

    I will also point out that careerism is just as much a fetish of ‘progressives’ as marriage and family are for conservatives.

    I don’t know what “careerism” has to do with it. If someone wants to focus on a career more than baby-making, that is not any kind of a problem. We have no shortage of babies being churned out, only to work in the meaningless industrial/urban/modern jobs which you so despise.

    And if they want to go to college and not make a career out of whatever they studied, that’s fine too. College isn’t, in fact, all about your potential “career” as you seem to assume. (You careerist, you!) Some people do occasionally learn stuff in college, as a matter of fact.

    The point remains that everyone can and should have lives of their own, spent however they want, independent of potential “partners.” (But someone expecting you to churn out babies and do chores is not much of a “real, meaningful and necessary” partner, is it?)

    These same technologies, however, come at great cost as we are now seeing.

    I don’t see. What do you think these costs are?

    Freedom from the fields and the home does not come free of cost; it is only the generally adolescent mindset of our society that can see only drudgery in such real, meaningful and necessary work.

    Some people do find working agriculture and so on meaningful, but many others do not. How is it a problem if they find something else meaningful?

    And “necessary” for what? Is electricity necessary for your internet connection?

  67. 67
    Inaji

    wondering:

    non-procreating-by-choice woman

    I’m never surprised that childfree women never, ever come into the picture in such articles. The very thought is anathema to those who prefer those good old rigid, traditional roles. *childfree fistbump*

  68. 68
    wondering

    Frank81, darling, shut the fuck up about shit you know nothing about.

    I grew up as the eldest daughter of 12 children on a farm. We had cows, horses, pigs, and chickens, as well 4 sections of hay and crop land. I grew up sewing, canning, gardening, milking cows, training horses, looking after children, tutoring my siblings, throwing bales, plucking chickens, butchering, housekeeping, barn cleaning, animal caring, packing water, chopping firewood, doing more laundry and washing more dirty cloth diapers than you can even imagine and all the other fucking things you are eulogizing about. To top it off, it was in northern Canada, so add some lovely cold winters to all that effort. I left the farm as fast as I could – moving thousands of miles away from my family to put myself through university in the city.

    I still garden, preserve food, keep chickens, cook and clean, make soap, and sew occasionally, but now I do it by choice, not out of survival, and do it while holding down a well-paying full-time corporate job. I’ll give you one guess as to which life style I prefer.

    For the record, I have 3 adult sisters who chose to stay on the farm and continue to work on it. I note that they are all unmarried, but have 3 children between them. The boys all went to work in the oil industry instead.

  69. 69
    Lofty

    As my 25th wedding anniversary looms, I still can’t see why anyone would want to spend their life with someone who isn’t their equal partner in every way. It’d be awful dull to have no-one to bounce ideas off at home.

  70. 70
    carlie

    I read a very convincing article just recently arguing that careerism in the “do what you love” mentality is a horrible mindset – it makes you accept less money than your job should be worth (“I don’t make much, but I love what I do”), it can make work take over too much of your life, and it is restricted to a small subset of jobs that most people don’t actually have thee option to do.

    But none of that has anything to do with what frank was saying, which was “women would be hapier at home than at a job”. And careerism has NOTHING to do with “liberation”.

  71. 71
    consciousness razor

    I read a very convincing article just recently arguing that careerism in the “do what you love” mentality is a horrible mindset – it makes you accept less money than your job should be worth (“I don’t make much, but I love what I do”), it can make work take over too much of your life, and it is restricted to a small subset of jobs that most people don’t actually have thee option to do.

    Sometimes I think of being a musician as more of an addiction than a job. Particularly when I consider how much I make. Not exactly my fault that it’s undervalued, though. And if nothing else, it’s still a good drug. None of the others I’ve had come close. :)

    Anyway, if that’s not the sort of “real, meaningful and necessary” work that frank81 thinks everyone is supposed to do, lest civilization crumble before our eyes, then he can fucking fuck himself right the fuck off.

    But wait! I have a penis, frank81. Maybe that changes things somehow. We could still be friends. But then again, I don’t make babies with it, so I guess I probably suck at life.

  72. 72
    Lynna, OM

    Louis @45:

    I’ve read this thread and I think there may be some women posting comments on it.

    We are posting at the direction of, and under the supervision of, our more intelligent male overseers.

  73. 73
    Inaji

    CR:

    Sometimes I think of being a musician as more of an addiction than a job.

    That’s a good description of being an artist. Artist isn’t so much of a job as it is who you are. I imagine it’s that way with musician, too.

  74. 74
    unclefrogy

    if you are reading the WSJ and looking for information on marriage and relationships there is something seriously wrong some where.

    Here is something that she did not say directly but I see no other option.
    If you are a woman and reach 30 without finding a “Man” you are not doomed only less likely to find a “Man” in his 30′s or 40′s but if you are willing to look a little further off than your cubical there may be a “Man” in his 50′s or 60′s who would find you interesting and would already be established and have more money than some guy just beginning. What you are looking for is a “Sugar Daddy” .He may be looking for someone who understands how to get on socially and can inter into conversations on a higher level than the strictly domestic issues of home making and the latest fashion craze.

    seems implied to me and just as wrong
    uncle frogy

  75. 75
    knowknot

    70 carlie

    I read a very convincing article just recently arguing that careerism in the “do what you love” mentality is a horrible mindset (…) it is restricted to a small subset of jobs that most people don’t actually have thee option to do.
    But none of that has anything to do with what frank was saying, which was “women would be hapier at home than at a job”. And careerism has NOTHING to do with “liberation”.

    - It was convincing to be, due to previous conviction.
    - I went to college as a music student, among art students, drama students, aspiring writers, etc. Most of us were already thoroughly convinced of the “follow your passion/do what you love” dictum, which tacitly included “and everything will be fine.”
    - It wasn’t.
    - I still understand the first part, because it is mind-numbing not to do so, and in some cases mind-killing (as consciousness razor points out sidelong @ #71), because for whatever reason, and to whatever end, the impulse is too deep and too strong.
    - BUT, I’m concerned that no one seems to address the middle ground, in which a person might “do what they love” while also getting a grasp on the “harsh realities” of the “working world.” And some additional skills.
    - Granted, such middle ground precludes being, say, a med student and a concertising pianist, but then, a great many things preclude either.

    - There would still be sacrifices, obviously, some of them being profound. But I VERY seriously believe it doesn’t need to be so either-or as we make it (especially in academia and greenrooms).
    - MORE TO THE POINT: A woman’s education (or anyone’s) is about much more than doing what she loves, and also about more than “career,” if by any means possible. It is (or should be) about who she is, and hopefully, how she will be able to live her life in order to be precisely that.
    |
    NOTE: Though I fully believe what I’ve written above, I have this nagging feeling that I’m missing something. Can’t nail it down… corrections and slaps to the face are welcome.

  76. 76
    frank81

    “Oh FFS, stop trying so hard to troll have a “dissenting” opinion, will ya? All you’re doing is making yourself look like an idiot. It’s 2014, not 1804, and if you want to have a life spent preparing and preserving food, cooking, gardening, taking care of yard animals, and rearing children, why, it is 2014, and it’s perfectly okay for you, as a man, to do just that. Good luck.”

    My opinion was not invented for this forum.

    Besides, can you really get any more lame than “its 2014!” thing…what does this mean? Does this mean we must continue to live a destructive lifestyle? What was the magical year in which it was declared humans must forevermore, from that point forward, use machines for all or most of their manual labor?

    I notice that you did not address my concerns on the environmentally destructive nature of machines.

  77. 77
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I notice that you did not address my concerns on the environmentally destructive nature of machines.

    What concerns? Your unevidenced opinions can and are dismissed without evidence….

  78. 78
    frank81

    “Two people who are not Amish women cannot speak for all Amish women everywhere. That I have to say this at all blows my mind.”

    You do realize that Amish are mostly traditional farmers, right? You do realize traditional farming requires manual labor, right? Do you know the Mennonites are religious cousins of the Amish…they are both called ‘Anabaptists’. Originally there were only Mennonites and about 150 years in the Amish split off…some Old Order Mennonites live like the Amish.

    I would not so casually dismiss the authors opinions – they likely know far more about the Amish than you, I, or your friend.

    “A relative of mine works at a birth clinic that caters to Amish women and this is what she’s found: they’re people. Each woman is an individual. Each woman has a unique relationship with her husband, her children, and her community. Each woman has her own thoughts and feelings and desires. Many of them are very sick.”

    Did I sat every single Amish woman was identical to every other? I said that there were some commonalities to traditional farm wifery. This is no different than saying there are commonalities between city dwellers. A traditional farm wife will generally have to do certain things…that is what I said.

    “Many of them live in what looks a lot more like poverty than an idyllic country life. Many of them are raising children with life-threatening illnesses or severe disabilities and have had to become very familiar with the American medical system.”

    Listen – city types always have looked on the country folk as needing their help – at least since the industrial revolution. You are right that the Amish do not have as much stuff as us…they doesn’t mean we need to do anything for them. Poverty is relative. The Amish may not have all kinds of useless factory made gadgets, but they have food, their families, and most important intact communities.

    “They are all individuals who all have one thing in common: they have been raised in an oppressive religion and were given the choice between a terrifying world without their family or further oppression. So they choose to stay with the oppression they know.”

    What is so oppressive about the Amish religion? Because they have different values than you, and are not obsessed with ‘self expression’ like the rest of our society you call their religion oppressive. Generally from what I have seen the Amish are significantly less self-obsessed than the rest of our societ, which is a good thing.

    “This says nothing about how they as individuals feel about the situation. Because they are all–every last one of them!–individuals.”

    If I can make no statements about more than one Amish person at a time, than neither can you. See how that works?

    The fact is, it is possible to make generalizations about groups of people, and if you believe otherwise than you are never again allowed to talk about anything besides a given individual….don’t even use group names like ‘Amish’.

  79. 79
    knowknot

    # 76 frank81

    I notice that you did not address my concerns on the environmentally destructive nature of machines

    1. Because it’s so amazingly off-topic.
    2. Because, though everyone here gets the environmental impact of technology, your “concern” is so open ended and broad that it appears as nothing more than a Luddite invocation.

  80. 80
    jefrir

    I notice that you did not address my concerns on the environmentally destructive nature of machines.

    You did not make a point about environmental destruction. You complained about unspecified costs, but did nothing to indicate what you considered those costs to be. Hence my request for clarification.
    And if you’re genuinely concerned about the environment, reducing population size is a pretty good bet. Which means moving away from women being expected to have children no matter what their own preferences are.

  81. 81
    frank81

    “What concerns? Your unevidenced opinions can and are dismissed without evidence….”

    I mentioned that our machines in general are destructive of the environment…do you need a study or something to make this clear to you? Sheesh…

  82. 82
    jefrir

    frank81, if you think the Amish have got it right, go live like them. And stop using “useless factory made gadgets” like your computer.

  83. 83
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    do you need a study or something to make this clear to you? Sheesh…

    Your OPINION means nothing to me. Show me third party evidence to back up your inane and supported claims. SHEESH fuckwit.

  84. 84
    frank81

    “I’ve never yet met anyone who eulogised about the attractions of hard, back-breaking labour, who had actually had to do any hard, back-breaking labour.”

    Read Wendell Berry…from his books you will find many routes to like-minded people.

  85. 85
    frank81

    “Your OPINION means nothing to me. Show me third party evidence to back up your inane and supported claims. SHEESH fuckwit.”

    Are you thick? In what world do you live?

    Do you deny the various environmental crises currently gripping us? Do you deny global warming? Garbage patches in the oceans?

  86. 86
    zenlike

    Hi frank81, I’m noticing you are using this technological tool called ‘internet’ and ‘computers’ to spout your ‘viewpoint’.

    I think there is a real simple solution to your problem: just adopt the Amish lifestyle. Sell every tool you own, buy a plot of land, and start tilling away at it!

    Really, it’s that simple. It’s even so simple I find it strange it didn’t occur to you that this an actual thing you can do.

  87. 87
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Do you deny the various environmental crises currently gripping us? Do you deny global warming? Garbage patches in the oceans?

    Do you deny you are an evidenceless troll without point?

  88. 88
    frank81

    “There is nothing keeping frank81 from adopting an Amish lifestyle. In fact, we should all cheer him on. The Amish don’t have electricity or internet access so that is one less internet troll. It’s a free country.”

    You do realize farmland is not cheap? Even many of the Amish around here are having to leave farming…what all with the pressures of development, etc.

    Besides, your line is typical. Most of us need to use modern technology as most traditional systems of production have been destroyed…therefore it is quite foolish to begrudge any critic of technology the use of it.

    I do what I can…walk whenever possible, shop at farms and farmers markets, etc.

    “2. In fact, during my college days in the 70′s, the hippie types were always going on about moving to the country and doing country things, raising their own food free from the mindless uniformity of the modern world and the big cities. Just about none of them lasted very long.”

    See above

    “3. But why limit your lifestyle to the 19th century? frank81 could go back to the Neolithic hunter-gather stage. People still do that such as Chris McCandless. They often end up dead, like Chris McCandless.”

    This does not acknowledge the qualitative differences between technology up through the 18th century and technology since.

    An old water or wind mill does alter its environment, but I do not think they are qualitatively comparable to modern dams or wind farms.

  89. 89
    frank81

    “Do you deny you are an evidenceless troll without point?”

    If you think that, then stop ‘feeding’ me as they say.

    My point is the hypocrisy of the left, and people like Nye, who on the one hand talk up all the supposed values of modern technology and on the other hand claim to have a legitimate concern for the environment.

  90. 90
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    And of course there’s no way Pol Pot frank81 would be part of the 90% dieback that would result if everyone went back to the lifestyle he advocates….

  91. 91
    frank81

    “Hi frank81, I’m noticing you are using this technological tool called ‘internet’ and ‘computers’ to spout your ‘viewpoint’.

    I think there is a real simple solution to your problem: just adopt the Amish lifestyle. Sell every tool you own, buy a plot of land, and start tilling away at it!

    Really, it’s that simple. It’s even so simple I find it strange it didn’t occur to you that this an actual thing you can do.”

    You want to buy the land for me?

    This really means you have no point. Like most people I have to work as a ‘professional’ to get by and I need a computer for that.

    Maybe everyone who complains about global warming needs to stop driving, stop using any electronics, etc. Right?

    It is practically impossible, if one does not have some land (and even that it is hard) to live without our technologies as traditional local economies have been shattered.

  92. 92
    Inaji

    frank81, as you just love the Amish so much, and think they just have everything in life nailed down correctly, I suggest you adopt the beliefs and lifestyle. You’d be happier, and so would the rest of us, seeing that you’d no longer be pestering people on the ‘net, having to give up that narsty computer, filthy technology that it happens to be.

  93. 93
    jefrir

    Wind farms are what you’re worried about?

  94. 94
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    My point is the hypocrisy of the left, and people like Nye, who on the one hand talk up all the supposed values of modern technology and on the other hand claim to have a legitimate concern for the environment.

    Without third party evidence you have no point. Many posts, not one link to third party evidence, from sources like Google Scholar. That tells me all I need to know about your lack of honesty and integrity.

  95. 95
    frank81

    “And of course there’s no way Pol Pot frank81 would be part of the 90% dieback that would result if everyone went back to the lifestyle he advocates….”

    How do you know how many people could be fed if more of us farmed? You do realize how small the current farming population is by historical standards, right?

    Not too mention our catastrophically wasteful land use policies…which gobble up farmland.

    Still, many Americans have large enough yards for significant gardens and even yard animals if zoning would allow it.

    The point is, you do not know how many we could feed without factory farms.

  96. 96
    frank81

    “Without third party evidence you have no point. Many posts, not one link to third party evidence, from sources like Google Scholar. That tells me all I need to know about your lack of honesty and integrity.”

    What powers our technologies, or most of them? Where does said power come from?

    Are you stupid?

  97. 97
    jefrir

    Like most people I have to work as a ‘professional’ to get by and I need a computer for that.

    But you don’t have to use it for leisure. I’m pretty sure your work does not involve arguing with us, so once you’ve finished whatever work you’re doing that requires using a computer you could turn it off and go do something else.

    I dunno, maybe we’re being too subtle. Frank81, what we’re all basically saying is FUCK OFF. Stop tutting at us, stop advocating a lifestyle that you’re clearly not following, and just GO THE FUCK AWAY. Clear enough now?

  98. 98
    frank81

    “You did not make a point about environmental destruction. You complained about unspecified costs, but did nothing to indicate what you considered those costs to be. Hence my request for clarification.
    And if you’re genuinely concerned about the environment, reducing population size is a pretty good bet. Which means moving away from women being expected to have children no matter what their own preferences are.”

    I would say living with less would be a better solution.

  99. 99
    jefrir

    How do you know how many people could be fed if more of us farmed? You do realize how small the current farming population is by historical standards, right?

    The farming population is small, but the farming land use is historically large, and that is the limiting factor. Small farms cannot possibly sustain our current population.

  100. 100
    wondering

    Hmmph. I notice frank81 darling has entirely ignored the comments of a woman who has actually done the backbreaking farm labour he favours so greatly (without having done it himself, naturally).

    Typical.

  101. 101
    jefrir

    Wondering,

    Hmmph. I notice frank81 darling has entirely ignored the comments of a woman who has actually done the backbreaking farm labour he favours so greatly (without having done it himself, naturally).

    Typical.

    Well yeah, it’s not actually about the environment, it’s about preventing women from making their own choices. He pretty much admitted that in #98

  102. 102
    wondering

    Oh, and frank81, sweetpea, don’t let the cost of land get you down. Roll up your shirtsleeves and volunteer to work at a farm for room and board if it’s so fucking important to you that everyone go back to the land. There are no shortage of farms that need skilled manual labours.

  103. 103
    wondering

    *sorry, labourers.

  104. 104
    frank81

    “The farming population is small, but the farming land use is historically large, and that is the limiting factor. Small farms cannot possibly sustain our current population.”

    Farms are historically large…are you sure about land use? I know our local county farm bureau had a link that something like 14 million acres of farmland are developed every two decades…which is all the farmland currently in use in Ohio.

    Anecdotally, all I see around here is expansion of housing developments into the farming areas…though this has slowed a lot since 2008, thankfully.

  105. 105
    frank81

    “Oh, and frank81, sweetpea, don’t let the cost of land get you down. Roll up your shirtsleeves and volunteer to work at a farm for room and board if it’s so fucking important to you that everyone go back to the land. There are no shortage of farms that need skilled manual labours.”

    So I am not a farmer and this means what?….everything is fine with our system? I cannot criticize it?

  106. 106
    zenlike

    Hmmm, I thought this thread was about backwards idea’s regarding relations etc.

    Now it’s all about frankies idiotic idea’s.

    Stop derailing, this discussion should be at the Thunderdome.

  107. 107
    frank81

    “Well yeah, it’s not actually about the environment, it’s about preventing women from making their own choices. He pretty much admitted that in #98″

    No. Just pointed out that careerism comes with a cost, environmentally and culturally with the destruction of communities and families as people become atomized seekers after their own ‘career fulfillment’.

    The article was about women, but I am not so sure what you think most men did before the industrial revolution…I guess they all sound around writing poetry all day while the women slaved away.

  108. 108
    wondering

    No, frank81, what you missed was that this conversation is supposed to be about life choices, specifically women’s life choices. What you did before derailing everything into being about the environment was to imply that women making choices different from Amish women working at home on the farm were being selfish. And probably lazy.

  109. 109
    frank81

    “Wind farms are what you’re worried about?”

    I am worried about the environment.

    My criticism of modern wind farms is that they are not nearly as green as claimed and have significant environmental costs in their production, distribution and use.

  110. 110
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    frank81 #89

    “Do you deny you are an evidenceless troll without point?”

    If you think that, then stop ‘feeding’ me as they say.

    Why? Inquisitive minds want to find out if you’ll burst.

    Please, Frankie-baby, tell us; have you ever kept house without electricity? Dug and maintained drainage ditches using nothing but a shovel? Ground your own flour? Ploughed a field without a tractor? Hell, have you ever even tried threading a sewing-needle by candle-light?

  111. 111
    Gregory Greenwood

    frank81 @ 48;

    Let me point out this too – the only reason so many women AND men can have careers outside of the home is because technology has freed both sexes from the work of home and field. These same technologies, however, come at great cost as we are now seeing…. Freedom from the fields and the home does not come free of cost; it is only the generally adolescent mindset of our society that can see only drudgery in such real, meaningful and necessary work.

    There is a strong argument that the reduction in the necessity for such extensive physical labour in order to produce food was a vital trigger in the formation of many asperts of society including the sciences, art, engineering and the rise of more progressive and tolerant social vlaues. When people don’t have to spend all day every day toiling in the fields just in order to have enough not to starve to death over the winter months, then there is more time and energy left to be devoted to the betterment of our species.

    There is also the fact that, however much you may attempt to romantacise back breaking labour that has largely been rendered unneccessary by technology, there are realities on the ground that mean that traditional agriculture, particularly of ths grossly inefficient and labour intensive variety you describe, is increasingly anachronistic. There are roughly eight billion people on the planet at the moment, and global population growth is continuing unabated. Even if we assume for arguments sake that the global population will suddenly stabilise at somewhere in the region of the current level, how exactly do you propose that the global population is to be fed without employing industrial farming techniques? Starvation is aleady numbered among the premier killers in the world, both directly and through its effect on lowering resistence leading to disease outbreaks, and food poverty is a growing problem even within wealthier societies. Without the mass food production techniques you seem to find so objectionable, it seems inevitable that this already dire situation would only worsen.

    And if, as seems likely from current trends, population pressures continue to mount, then I regret to inform you that we will almost certainly have to radically reassess how our species produces its food. Vertical hydroponic farming techniques paired with the widespread use of genetically engineered crops with higher and more consistent yeilds that require less water and use of pesticides will most likely become unavoidable, and current meat consumption and its associated pastoral farming will almost certainly have to be adandoned altogether. Insects are a far more efficient source of protein when measured against the resources, energy and space required to produce it. These options are actually far less harmful to the environment than the traditional farming techniques you advocate, requiring far less land, energy and water, and so making it possible to return more of the landmass currently taken up by agriculture to its natural state.

    With the exception of a few speciality farms producing niche foodstuffs far out of the price range of most people, conventional farming will probably become a thing of the past relatively soon, and necessarily so. Allowing vast numbers of people to starve in order that we can be all nostalgic about the supposed ‘good old days’ is hardly an ethically acceptable option, is it?

  112. 112
    jefrir

    No. Just pointed out that careerism comes with a cost, environmentally and culturally with the destruction of communities and families as people become atomized seekers after their own ‘career fulfillment’.

    One of the things I really like about living in a big city is the sense of community I’ve been able to build. It’s big enough to have a diverse population, and to support boardgaming groups and knitting groups and Russian-language meetups, and as a result I’ve been able to find “my people”. I was far lonelier and more isolated when I was living in a small, fairly rural town.

  113. 113
    The Mellow Monkey

    frank81 @ 78

    You do realize that Amish are mostly traditional farmers, right? You do realize traditional farming requires manual labor, right? Do you know the Mennonites are religious cousins of the Amish…they are both called ‘Anabaptists’. Originally there were only Mennonites and about 150 years in the Amish split off…some Old Order Mennonites live like the Amish.

    No, they live like Mennonites. Being Amish is not about living in a time capsule. Some Amish people utilize more modern technology than others, some use less. The differences between the two groups are religious and cultural. Amish people who have gas powered tractors, calculators, flashlights, gas grills, chain saws, refrigerators, washing machines and hot water heaters (and many Amish communities allow these things) are not “living like Mennonites.”

    Listen – city types always have looked on the country folk as needing their help – at least since the industrial revolution.

    I live in a village of fifty people. I can assure you, my perspective on this isn’t one of pitying country people. This simply isn’t some idyllic life that washes away all interest in social justice and gender equality.

    What is so oppressive about the Amish religion?

    If a woman doesn’t agree with her husband, too fucking bad. He’s the head of the household. If someone is gay, too fucking bad. They have to confess and be subject to discipline for their sin. Want a divorce? Too fucking bad. You can be excommunicated for that one. Getting hot underneath all those layers? Too fucking bad. That’s what you’re wearing until you go in the ground.

    If I can make no statements about more than one Amish person at a time, than neither can you. See how that works?

    You can make statements about more than one Amish person at a time. There is a difference between saying “these are the community standards of this group” versus “this is how women in this group feel.” One is a description of outward facts that can be verified; another is lumping the individual, personal feelings of over a hundred thousand women together.

  114. 114
    Gregory Greenwood

    And to get back on topic, a luddite hostility toward modern farming techniques is no excuse for implying that women who choose to live lives other than those of punishing manual toil are somehow behaving improperly or irresponsibly.

    What frank81 decries as ‘careerism’, liberal progressives and feminists see as the emancipation brought by pesonal autonomy and choice. Whether or not a woman chooses to have a family at a certain age or at all, and what career she decides to follow, is for her to decide. It is not within the remit of the state or patriarchal society to put limits upon her ambitions or available choices. Promoting a rose tinted view of the agricultural past does nothing to change that.

  115. 115
    The Mellow Monkey

    As an aside: I got a call the other day from an Amish man who borrowed somebody’s smartphone and wanted to know if I’d edit an extensive website on beekeeping down to a book for him so he could share it with others in his community. He had already contacted the man who put the website together and got his permission for this.

    This weird fetishization of the Amish as these pure, technology-less people is bizarre.

  116. 116
    jefrir

    The article was about women, but I am not so sure what you think most men did before the industrial revolution…I guess they all sound around writing poetry all day while the women slaved away.

    They worked hard, mostly at jobs that they were only doing because it was the only option available to them. They had somewhat more control of their lives than women of the same time period, but still not a great deal. They regularly did without basics, like adequate food. Around a third of their children died before reaching adulthood. It was shit. I’m not sure why you’d want us to go back to that.

  117. 117
    Inaji

    Daz:

    Hell, have you ever even tried threading a sewing-needle by candle-light?

    I have. Give me electricity any time, thank you very much.

    MM, you’re one of the few people I can beat – I live in a, uh, ‘town’ of 79. And as Jefrir says, it’s much more isolating to live rural than it is to be in a large town or city.

  118. 118
    carlie

    Oh, frank doesn’t want to live that way, he just wants everyone else to so he doesn’t have to feel guilty for how his lifestyle affects the environment. He cares so much about it that he wants everyone else to take care of it for him.

  119. 119
    muskiet

    Looking at the comments on the article makes me think it was aimed at the right audience. Damn.

  120. 120
    The Mellow Monkey

    Inaji, oh yes. It’s amazingly isolating. I’m lucky in that we have a sort of little “commune” here, so that when I ran out of propane* I could move to the other end of the property to stay with my mom. Someone running off to try to live this isolated without any community ties and no power? Oy. There are good reasons why so many people move to cities when they can.

    Breaking down the isolation that farm wives suffered from was one of the great triumphs of cars coming to rural areas. It gave them the ability to actually make real communities, to get help when an accident happened, and to take on outside jobs for their own income so they weren’t at their husbands’ financial mercy.

    *I ordered an electric heater with enough oomph to warm my house, so this will hopefully only last a week.

  121. 121
    Inaji

    MM, oh I know those ran out of propane blues. Seriously sucks.

    *I ordered an electric heater with enough oomph to warm my house, so this will hopefully only last a week.

    Yeah, I bit the bullet on a major large one for the front of the house a while back. It helps.

  122. 122
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Gregory Greenwood 111

    And if, as seems likely from current trends, population pressures continue to mount

    Not true, actually. The rate of population growth has been slowing for decades; if current trends continue the population will stabilize at ~9-10 billion sometime around midcentury.

  123. 123
    ChasCPeterson
    And if, as seems likely from current trends, population pressures continue to mount

    Not true, actually. The rate of population growth has been slowing for decades; if current trends continue the population will stabilize at ~9-10 billion sometime around midcentury.

    Even if your unreferenced data-assertion is correct*, that’s an increase of 2-3 billion (30-40%!) over the next 35 years. I’d say then that the statement “population pressures will continue to mount” is, therefore, and contra your assertion, true, actually.

    *it’s actually optimistic. (source –see how easy that is?)

  124. 124
    Jafafa Hots

    My opinion was not invented for this forum.

    We know what your opinion was invented for. We even know you aren’t the one who invented it.

  125. 125
    Travis

    One of the things I really like about living in a big city is the sense of community I’ve been able to build. It’s big enough to have a diverse population, and to support boardgaming groups and knitting groups and Russian-language meetups, and as a result I’ve been able to find “my people”. I was far lonelier and more isolated when I was living in a small, fairly rural town.

    I agree so much with this. I am from a small city, and have spent a lot of time in small towns, and I have loved living in big cities after that experience. Small towns can have terrible communities, everyone knows your business, being different can be a miserable experience. Small town politics are often toxic. To be honest, I have never understood the idea that big cities cause us to lose our sense of community. Living in larger cities has done nothing but make me more aware of different groups of people, and has let me find far more people that are similar to me than anywhere else, and find acceptance in that. It has exposed me to far more than I would have had I stayed in my hometown and I have such strong relationships with others.

  126. 126
    Travis

    To finish what I said, I find the fetishization of small, insular communities to be bizarre. If you want to live there, go ahead, but I have little interest in taking part.

  127. 127
    consciousness razor

    How do you know how many people could be fed if more of us farmed?

    Indeed, you’re so fucking vague and bullshitty, how are we supposed to know? Would there still be people working in industries making modern fertilizers? If so, how exactly are we going to make them and get them to wherever they need to go (i.e., all over the place, where all of the farms are)?

    And these other industries that will magically appear to make 18th century farming equipment — where did they come from and who is going to do that? What do you think the factory conditions would be like?

    Could we at least keep fire extinguishers and a few other modern amenities like that? Won’t you think of the children?

    You do realize how small the current farming population is by historical standards, right?

    Which has absolutely everything to do with women going to college and working in whatever career to whatever extent they want, instead of pumping out babies, as if they were livestock on one of your farms. (Well, not your farms — somebody else’s, I guess — but at least for now they are figments of your imagination.)

    Still, many Americans have large enough yards for significant gardens and even yard animals if zoning would allow it.

    I have no yard. I suppose I can’t be a subsistence farmer in your fantasyland, so I’ll starve. Shucks.

    And I’m no farmer, but I’m pretty sure a quarter of an acre, say, for some baby-factory of a family you apparently have in mind, is nowhere near enough.

    The point is, you do not know how many we could feed without factory farms.

    Your point is apparently that you also don’t know.

    But I think that as long as people can sustain a good quality of life for an indefinite period of time, the number of people makes no difference whatsoever. You want more people? Have at it, but make sure you send them to Mars or some shit. We don’t need more.

    I would say living with less would be a better solution.

    Why shouldn’t we do both? And does it have anything to do with the OP by any chance? Because I could use a reminder as to what that’s about. It’s been a while. Ever since you started commenting, in fact.

  128. 128
    consciousness razor

    To finish what I said, I find the fetishization of small, insular communities to be bizarre.

    It’s less bizarre to the people who have the privilege of benefiting from it. They’d probably still be better off in a different sort of community, but they don’t know that.

    And people do like to reassure themselves about how good they have it. They have the best town, the best family, the best religion, the best football team, the largest penis, etc. It doesn’t matter if it’s true. What matters more is only how good they think it is. Convincing yourself of that is much easier than actually making it the reality.

  129. 129
    Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending

    If I may comment without reference to Frank81:

    When the conversation turns to Jean Cocteau or Henrik Ibsen, the Bayeux Tapestry or Noam Chomsky, you won’t find that glazed look that comes over his face at all appealing.

    There are a few ways to read this. Men who are not your equal are more likely to get bored. Men who marry someone not their equal like that glazed over look.

    The article was not exactly a paragon of virtuoso logic and insight, was it?

  130. 130
    Rob Grigjanis

    cr @127:

    I’m pretty sure a quarter of an acre, say, for some baby-factory of a family you apparently have in mind, is nowhere near enough.

    If I did my sums right, 0.25 acres would grow enough spuds to keep your family in chips and vodka*.

    *If home distilling is legal, or tolerated, where you live.

  131. 131
    jefrir

    And I’m no farmer, but I’m pretty sure a quarter of an acre, say, for some baby-factory of a family you apparently have in mind, is nowhere near enough.

    When I was reading smallholding stuff the general recommendation was that 2 acres (of reasonable land, in the UK) was enough to provide most of the food for a family of four – you’d still need to buy things that couldn’t be grown here, and you’d need significantly more if you wanted to keep livestock other than rabbits and chickens.
    So no, not the sort of thing that many people could do in their back gardens. Especially not if you’ve decided that women choosing how many children to have is a bad thing.

    And, seriously, the best thing we can do to help the environment in the long run is to gradually reduce the number of humans there are. We know that the birth rate is strongly dependant on women’s autonomy – increase women’s education, career opportunities and social independence, and the birth rate will fall. Even if you care about nothing but the environment, empowering women is vital.

  132. 132
    brucegorton

    frank81
    15 February 2014 at 5:17 pm (UTC -6) Link to this comment
    “What concerns? Your unevidenced opinions can and are dismissed without evidence….”

    I mentioned that our machines in general are destructive of the environment…do you need a study or something to make this clear to you? Sheesh…

    Actually our machines are the major reason our population hasn’t destroyed the planet quite yet.

    Without mechanised farming, we would have to utilise more ground for growing food – which means that natural reserves would be far more difficult to maintain.

    As evidence for this consider Indonesia. Because it is a third world country, its farming tends towards being a lot less mechanised and a lot more subsistence based than in Western countries – which in turn means that it takes up more ground.

    That means that they end up blanketing the surrounding countries with smog every now and then because they’re burning down their rain forests. The same can be observed in much of Africa, where several old forests are threatened by illegal logging operations.

    Without refrigeration we would waste a lot more of the food we produce – meaning less efficiency and greater environmental costs. The same goes for transportation, communication and a million and one different things that neo-Luddism neglects.

  133. 133
    unclefrogy

    fuck we ain’t going to all go back to farming small farms that is just bull shit talk. The only way that is going to happen is if we have a tremendous crash of some unimaginable kind. To take f’n 81′s point about how everything is going to crap and all, all the way out. It looks like this is how it is the pressure of population is at the root of whole problem too much “technology” that is “costly” to the environment if you try small farms you need more infrastructure and more energy to support those people and get the produce to market thus exacerbating the problem of the environment.
    In her novel The Lathe of Heaven Ursala Le Guin has her main character solve the growing problems hinted at by F’n81 by causing a huge epidemic which wipes out something like 3/4 of the population.
    That is the only magic solution we are likely to find but that is the only “quick and easy way”.
    Like the editorial at the top these ideas advocated are just not in the real world at all.
    uncle frogy

  134. 134
    opposablethumbs

    And, seriously, the best thing we can do to help the environment in the long run is to gradually reduce the number of humans there are. We know that the birth rate is strongly dependant on women’s autonomy – increase women’s education, career opportunities and social independence, and the birth rate will fall. Even if you care about nothing but the environment, empowering women is vital.

    QFT, from jefrir. Empowering women/increasing the independence of all human beings as opposed to just a fraction of only one sex (however you prefer to put it) is the ultimate win-win – it’s a moral imperative, a matter of justice, a recipe for social stability and economic growth (in the sense of less hunger and greater qol for those without, not necessarily more outrageous over-consumption for those who already have), a reduction in overpopulation and hence a massive reduction in stress on the environment for all of us … all in one.

    And to think that so many people would still prefer to (invoke religious excuses to) enjoy enslaving women in the short term, even though they will be contributing to trashing the world for their own grandsons

  135. 135
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Of course Frankie’s a Wendell Berry fan. Berry is well known for his patronizing attitude toward women and feminism. The environmentalist version of “manarchism.”

  136. 136
    Louis

    Lynna, #72,

    As, of course, is right and proper. {Serious Nod}

    Louis

  137. 137
    Athywren

    You face a confusing dilemma, though, because men like their women young and stupid (did I mention that the author has also assumed a deep contempt for us guys?), so you should attend college as a kind of meat market, but don’t learn too much.

    Ah, no, you’ve misunderstood! It’s feminists who have contempt for us, what with their belief that it’s possible, as well as a reasonable expectation, that we can treat women as if they were humans. Boooo! Down with reasonable expectations!

    Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.

    But… it’s not the milk that makes someone want to buy. Milk is milk. Sometimes it’s sweeter, sometimes it’s less fattening, but it’s all milk… I hate this euphemism. You’re not a cow.
    If you’re marrying someone for sex alone, you’re doing it wrong.
    What about their personality? What about common interests? What about how heart-burstingly wonderful life feels when you’re near them? What about the joy you feel when you achieve something together? Forget about the milk. Yes, milk is delicious, but there’s so much more to life than milk. Milk is only the beginning.

  138. 138
    Athywren

    Oh wow, I should’ve read through the thread before commenting. That was fun!
    I have to wonder, would people like Frank81 support improvements in green technology, working to further reduce the environmental effects that human activity causes, or is this environmentalism thing just a flimsy screen to hide a simple desire to revert to a previous state?

    In the 2000AD Judge Dredd comics, they had orbital farming satellites that dealt with people’s food requirements… assuming micro gravity wouldn’t be a problem, which it probably would be, that sounds good to me. Mind you, those comics also had nuclear wastelands, staggering crime rates, and psionically powerful revenant Judges from an alternate universe, so I wouldn’t suggest total emulation – just the good stuff.

  139. 139
    Anri

    Not to belabor the derail too badly, but the machines (and computer systems) I work on are doing gene sequencing of commercial crops. This allows for, among other things, to-till farming techniques which are greener and less labor-intensive than typical mechanized techniques. More yield per acre, with less petrochemical use.

    So, as anyone living in the real world knows, technology is a tool. It hits what you swing it at.

    (PS – Would you consider slash-and-burn agriculture highly technological, or recent, or modern? Would you consider it green? Would you prefer if the majority of industrialized agriculture switched to this old-time method?)

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