Monday, August 04, 2014

Laughter can heal

Duarte Vitória
[Update: Makeda's playful take on a very serious ethical failing has elicited a surprising number of not-so-clueful comments. Many readers completely missed the point. Here is the point: “America has covertly adopted the crudest, cruelest, stupidest and most profligate form of eugenics conceivable: sterilizing and killing the poor while lavishing resources on unnaturally breeding the rich. When the rich cannot be bred by scientific means such as IVF, we are expected to suspend our disbelief and pretend that they can, celebrating every obviously stolen surrogate-born or donor-egg baby as if it were a scientific miracle.” Touché, anyone?]

[Another guest post by Makeda. Before you submit comments criticizing me for writing this, please know that I just love being mistaken for a young black woman-doctor, even if that makes you look silly.]

I recently caught myself snapping at a white-haired man who simply said hello to me. The context was a leftist gathering of sorts. I find such men, greying male leftists, unusually creepy. Perhaps I've been traumatized by men my father’s age making passes at me in the synagogue, or the surprising prevalence of borderline pedophilic academics who get caught sleeping with their students, but I’ve come to suspect that all old leftist men are acting politically involved only to try to pick up younger women.
Many such men have apparently been successful at this in the past, but, ever the optimist, I cling to the hope they have managed to produce offspring in some way that wouldn't creep everyone out. And so I recently asked whether one such old man’s twelve-year-old was perhaps a grandchild, or a child adopted with a presumably younger gay partner, only to hear it he was his own son. Which leaves two choices: either the man had rented a younger woman's ovaries via egg “donation,” or he had exploited a clueless younger woman and her perky anatomy. A third, unlikely possibility, is that he had found himself accidentally stumbling into love with a woman half his age. Such things do happen, but they are statistical outliers, and given the prevalence of such untimely offspring one is forced to recognize that something more than chance is at play. Where in the world (outside of Taliban-controlled parts of Afghanistan) do fifty-year old men routinely get to mate with twenty-year-old women?

The phenomenon of wealthy geriatric fathers is now so prevalent in New York City that it barely raises eyebrows. No longer the exclusive domain of misogynistic cultures in war-torn countries, the child-bride phenomenon is plainly visible in the most elite circles in the US, which, to flash their hypocrisy in neon, proclaim themselves to be “progressive.” Paul Jay recently mentioned on his left-leaning Real News channel [where, by the way, nobody could tell me how old he is when I called for a fact check -D.O.] that he had a baby. I gasped when I heard that! By the looks of him, some poor woman will likely end up changing the diapers on both the baby and him, one right after the other!

Medical science has made great strides, making it possible for a few Americans to live longer and longer lives, generally in proportion to their greater and greater wealth. One only need take a casual stroll through Manhattan to figure out what's going on. I was recently out on such a stroll when I saw a lovely girl in a beautiful dress pushing a boy in a designer stroller. I congratulated their grandfather, who was shambling along with them, on his adorable grandchildren. “Actually, I’m her father,” quoth the grizzled one. Visions flashed through my head of empoverished women in war-torn Ukraine having their eggs harvested to be implanted into the bodies of equally poor brown-skinned surrogate mothers in the US, all of these women being deprived of having children of their own. Eugenics, anyone?

But I said nothing. No one wants to challenge those who ostensibly use donor eggs and surrogates. No one wants to delve into the difficult issues of ethics, and we can’t exactly put the babies back where they came from. No one wants to come out and criticize older men who are out hunting for younger wives. If we did, we might be viewed as prudish, or, worse yet, practicing age discrimination in the face of intergenerational true love. But there is a difference to be drawn between acceptance and celebration. I suspect I’m not the only one who wishes that men like Paul Jay would keep their personal lives in a closet. What these men are doing, whether they are aware of it or not, is promoting a world of rich white male privilege. Ironically, such men also attempt to portray themselves as simultaneous feminists and saviors of women. I’ve had many conversations with older men about why they date younger women. Many see themselves as “helping” younger women by providing financial support. Apparently these sugar daddies live in a mental world in which it is unimaginable that a woman might find ways to feed herself other than by sleeping with older men. Other older men simply admit they can’t get it off with their own saggy, wrinkly peers. (This, by the way, is simply nature's way of telling them that it's time to stop breeding). My own brother-in-law, when trying to explain the age difference between himself and my sister, said “I’m really immature.” (Perhaps the immature shouldn't be breeding either.)

Yet it would be a hopeless and morally reprehensible act to try to stop older men from having relationships with younger women. Who doesn’t want everyone to be as happy as possible? Even I sympathize, on a personal level. It seems cruel to call people out on an individual level; yet all responsibility is, in the end, individual responsibility. Looking around at how men only slightly older than me have let themselves go, I wonder if I won’t be joining some sort of cougar club soon. But growing up involves making a compromise with reality—for most of us, but not for the rich and the privileged. Wealthy men apparently plan to live to be 200 while the rest of us die earlier than our parents did: the first generation of Americans who will live shorter lives, on average, than their parents will, has already been born. But the life spans of this generation are anything but democratically distributed. The best indicator of life expectancy is the ZIP code. Biology has been trumped by political reality. America has covertly adopted the crudest, cruelest, stupidest and most profligate form of eugenics conceivable: sterilizing and killing the poor while lavishing resources on unnaturally breeding the rich. When the rich cannot be bred by scientific means such as IVF, we are expected to suspend our disbelief and pretend that they can, celebrating every obviously stolen surrogate-born or donor-egg baby as if it were a scientific miracle.

But were any of you to ever set foot inside many of the hospitals that serve the poor, it will be impossible for you to miss the anti-pregnancy literature that clutters the obstetrics wards. The working assumption seems to be that the poor just have no knowledge of how avoid pregnancy, and are continually having accidents. If only we could stop all of these accidents from happening, through education, then there would be no more poor people. The lack of logic in this line of reasoning is breathtaking: if the poor are doomed to little or—let’s be realistic—nonexistent social mobility and artificially shortened lives, then perhaps having children is for them a stunningly logical life choice. Having kids very early increases the chance that they will get the support of a living grandparent. The prospects of those who obey such obvious logic seem rosy compared to the plight of women like myself, who see their dreams of parenthood fading with every student loan payment.

Given such grim life patterns, it is understandable how older men come to see themselves as saviors of younger women. Many of my peers wondered why creepy old men contacted them as just they were finishing their professional degrees. These men may have thought that they were doing the country a public service: enabling terminally indebted women with scant career prospects to survive and procreate in spite of making the terrible mistake of living past twenty-three without finding a husband.

Someone needs to tell the gray-haired rich white men’s club that if they really want to “save” women, they might consider using their considerable financial and political resources to force through social change, so that women can live biologically normal lives. They might help usher in a world in which work-life isn’t a cult to which one must dedicate oneself monomaniacally, or face expulsion. They might even start making it socially questionable for men to pursue much younger women.

Such a cultural change is far from a feminist utopian dream. Yes, we do live in a society where men high-five each other for bedding “barely legal” women, but it may not all be hopeless. Quite recently, I sat with friends in a pub. A peer in his thirties announced that he had begun dating an eighteen-year-old. He wasn’t the only one in my social circle to attempt this laughable feat. I hinted that this was inappropriate with gentle humor: “I know you feel bad to be getting up in age with no children. Is combining babysitting and dating into one activity your way to feel better?” Taking a cue from me, one of his peers dug into him. One beer later even he was laughing at himself as his friends were asking whether he was going to help his new girlfriend finish high school. It had become clearer even to him how utterly ridiculous this was. Poking fun at men who attempt extreme cross-generational breeding experiments may be the only effective tool we have. There are some men who would argue that we should not be trying to prevent such situations because, after all, who could be against “true love”? These advocates for “true love” should remember that this kind of love’s extreme conclusion is a world in which a few oligarchs have a list of ex-wives, a young new wife, plus a few mistresses and girlfriends, while they—the normal men—die in solitude.

I would like to make a very modest proposal, in the name of equality and peer-on-peer love: perhaps the next time you observe a budding relationship between a fresh young woman and a decrepit septuagenarian, you should offer not only your congratulations but your sense of humor as well. See if you can't get the whole room looking at him and laughing. After all, laughter can heal.


Anarcissie said...

As a graying 74-year-old who frequents radical actions, meetings, groups, etc., I seem to have missed the boat on picking up young babes. Not that I've tried much, but I can tell. In general, I'd say that age prejudice against old people, which is monumental in the work world, also operates pretty strongly in social and sexual matters. Now that fat people, the disabled, and morons are off the boards as targets of humor and moralizing, old people are almost all that's left to have fun with prejudice about. So we're being worked pretty hard.

Kevin said...

I am not in sympathy with those who evidently feel a need to monitor the sex lives of other people. It's the sort of thing that only breeds misery.

Sam Holloway said...

I briefly tried to pick a fight with this post, but I can't. I'd be a hypocrite if I did. As much as I think babies are cute and awesome, the sight of a pregnant woman shepherding two or three other children around gives me the heebie-jeebies. (In fairness, I mentally place the father in my judgmental picture if he isn't already there. Also, my reaction typically increases in severity based on the apparent level of socioeconomic privilege on display. Sue me.)

Let's face it: humans are a carcinogenic virus on the planet, and we as individuals-- especially individuals in the Western realms of profligate consumption and waste-- need to be drastically curtailing our reproduction, like yesterday. The idea of some self-centered old bastard going out of his way to line another pampered landfiller up against poor Mother Nature obviously rubs me the wrong way.

Kudos, Makeda, for saying what too many liberal types are either too dim or too feckless to come out and say. Unlimited growth is the original human religion, and it's by far the most destructive. Old rich men might think they are gods on earth, but (with apologies to Guy McPherson) Nature Bats Last.

John Graham said...

Makeda, I'm glad you wrote this post, and I'm glad I read it.

And I'm glad "Laughter can heal" is the title - not everyone would have given it that title.

I'm glad because this article is reaching towards developing a 'healthy sense of shame', as Dmitry once put it. And the thing about a (live) laughter-situation is, it carries so much information, unfakeable, about community and norms, in context.

Laughter and community and norms, in context. God, that sounds almost idyllic.
Compared to the hours put into someone-being-wrong-on-the-internet.
And we don't have many counter-balances to the, what, millions of person-hours people spend absorbed in online environments where 'barely legal' and pseudo-paedophilia are attractions.
Many more hours than are spent discussing "peer-affiliation issues" and "mid-life crises" in person (or perhaps I'm the only one who has those these days...).

I wouldn't be into ridiculing, 'shaming' situations, except as a last resort, but any other kind of laughter situation? Great. That gets me in touch with my body and my conscience...

You've given me a nudge about some things I needed nudging on, and gave me some clues about this 'healthy sense of shame' thing, so thank you.

Rhisiart Gwilym said...

Old men like fresh young women. What's new, for the past several million years? Makeda doesn't like this much.


Damn, two duds in a row: Jim Kunstler demonstrating his mile-wide blind spot about Israel, and that turning his usual sparkling prose-style to wet cement - as seems to happen whenever he gets onto his two big blind-spot topics: Israel and the 9/11 inside job.

And now Club Orlov hosting Makeda's lamenting about the evolutionarily-inevitable.

Oh well, better luck next week, I suppose. I'll go and see whether the Saker has posted more enlightenment about what's happening in Novorossiya...

Gregory Austin said...

Hi Makeda and Dmitry,

First time posting here, although I'm been following for years now. Always good stuff here.

I wanted to weigh in on as a young, white male.

To me, the angst and frustration that surrounds gender issues is like the first class passengers on the Titanic bickering over whether their cabins should have double beds or two twins. I'm sure it's relevant to some segments of higher society, but it doesn't help me much in trying to find a woman to be a partner with in this long descent.

Someone posted in response that if the couples are raising well adjusted children, then no biggie. Personally, whenver I meet a young woman who's main focus in life is gender inquality, I know that I couldn't possibly raise a well adjusted child with her. It definitely takes two to tango.

Yossi said...

Laughter can heal, so I'm just going to laugh at this judgmental person telling other people how to live their lives. Perhaps she can learn to laugh at others she disapproves of too.

Terry T said...

Innocent young woman catches the eye of a rich old coot.
"Come heeere leeetle wooman" he says while waving her in with fanned decks of big bucks.
"Eef the Money won't bring you to me, I will chase after you weeth a net!." he adds.
"Who's Annette?"
Okay. I see how it happens.

William McCracken said...

Middle class male growth has been stunted for years. So many males in their 20's and 30's have incomes (and time) insufficient to raise a family. Producing a kid as a young male is easy. Being a young male parent to that kid? Not with college followed by years of working perma-temp jobs that did not used to require a degree (and have wages that reflect that).

When it comes to finding an able bodied male, it's just supply and demand.

Unknown said...

I wish Makeda had been around to laugh when my ex-husband, 33 to my 17, started hanging around. I could have used a friend who didn't think it was cute or sweet that I thought "oh, look! a genuine Vietnam War protesting radical has fallen in love with me, little old me!" I really could have used someone simply laughing like hell at the hideous spectacle.

Keep writing, Makeda! Your post about education and reproduction was great as well.

Kevin Frost said...

Here I'm revising an earlier entry due to typographical misgivings. The revision: In the words of the philosopher .. Michel Foucault: SEX IS BORING .. (but friendship is interesting .. ). That's better. This is what I wanted to say.

Ave said...

Part 1 : How much of this is really a choice ?

Reality is that many men nowadays can't afford a wife until they accumulated some wealth, and this takes at least a decade. It is less about affording a « price », like in a transaction, but rather affording the courtship. For instance, an article I read a long time ago stated that from an anthropological perspective the car in US suburbia was a critical element of procreation. No car, no procreation. I guess the McMansion can be added to the equation now : if there is no prospect of it, then the relationship doesn't hold.

This is also why most people go into debt, so that they can at least have a relationship. Women in these relationships accept to live in debt for 30+ years (or all their lives, more often than not). They couldn't be chased / mated if they couldn't accept it. (So, yeah, basically it sucks for both of them...) Also, being in a relationship can also more expensive than remaining single – it used to be the other way around.

This means that young men often do NOT choose to be single when they don't have the means for modern courtship. After a period of self-indulgence, those people start accumulating wealth, until they have enough to eventually be with someone.

As the difference of age and level of wealth increase, the courtship costs are diminishing, until it becomes negligible or even negative.

The people who venture into «mail-order brides » decide to tackle the issue themselves, but contrary to what the author of the articles thinks, older men are often being introduced to younger women. More often than not, this happens within the same social class, and other women (mothers, friends) play an instrumental role. Individual people can be passionate, but their friends and family are not, they are stone-cold rational.

Part 2 : Where the wealth is

An older man can be a better alternative than a younger man from the same environment and social class. Of course, there also scores of older men nobody wants, but this doesn't seem to grate on the nerves of the article's author too much.

There are a number of reasons why older men are a good choice : more maturity, more experience, an assessable reputation (“we know who and how he is”), the desire for a long-term relationship, stability, etc.

We could argue from a historically neutral point of view, and weigh in the patrimonial merits of older men, or why younger women are preferable to middle-aged women, and have lengthy debates. (As a side note, age-different couples used to be extremely common, much more than now, until after the Industrial Revolution.).

But we're in the end phase of our complex society, and thus things are a bit different because of that.

When you're in your twenties nowadays, man and woman alike, chances are your parents have little to give you to start your life with. Student debt, car debt and eventually real estate debt means that your next thirty years as indentured suburbian will leave you with nothing of value.

One would have to study in detail, but from my observations, the younger generation can only live like their parents used to when these parents die - provided the inheritance hasn't been destroyed in the housing crisis or prolonged live in hospitals / retirement homes. We are actually in a phase of wealth destruction.

This is a good reason why older men receive attention nowadays : they could accumulate some wealth at a time where there still was some. Someone who was debt free in 1994 accumulated a lot more wealth between 1994 and 2004 than someone who was debt-free in 2004 did from 2004 to 2014.

Also, the constant degradation in culture and literacy means the “pre-internet” generation is somewhat more refined than the “Facebook” generation. I consider the differences so wide that a young woman marrying a young man from her own social class would be homogamous (per definition), whereas if she'd mary an older man from the very same social class it would be close to hypergamy (“marrying up”).

Chris said...

Oh dear. Dare I point out the usual double standards that feminists like her have? She finds it perfectly acceptable to join a cougar club, but when a man dates a younger woman (which has been the norm in human societies for hundreds of thousands of years) that is suddenly sexist. It is her double standards that are sexist and ageist at the same time whilst also appearing sanctimonious and better than thou.
I also take issue with this sentence:
"Where in the world (outside of Taliban-controlled parts of Afghanistan) do fifty-year old men routinely get to mate with twenty-year-old women?"
- As it turns out, pretty much everywhere outside the West. It is standard practice in every traditional society and has been even here prior to the feminist revolution of the sixties. I'm sorry if she can't handle biological realities (men remain fertile and thus attractive to the opposite sex much longer than women. Just ask George Clooney or Sean Connery), but nature has its own set of rules and circumstances, women can't socially engineer themselves out of this one. As a matter of fact, many women (and quite a few gay men I know) PREFER older men.

DaShui said...

In the 19th century the age difference n marriage was 18 years on adverage. Things r just returning to a historical norm. N china polygamy , banned since 49 is returning n a big way.

onething said...

Sorry, I'm just not buying this one.
There's so much wrong with this post I don't know where to begin. Makeda is annoyed that men are attracted to young women, but is not too annoyed with women who want financial stability to raise their children. The marriage game is always one of trade offs and give-to-get. Beauty, youth, money, and personality and talent are on the table. Everyone is different, money is more important to some women than others and so on.

I would not marry an older man, but that's me. I do think that feminism has given women the shaft in this country by selling a bill of goods about careers and equality, so that now a man can hardly support a family and women leave their infants at 6 weeks of age and go to some job. The problem is partly that women simply tried to live a life trajectory that was MALE. It makes more sense for women to marry and reproduce early, and go to school later, in their thirties. Now Makeda is caught in that very trap, and if her clock is ticking and she's in debt with a doctor career - is it possible that she could find a nice husband to stay home and raise the babies who is not her socioeconomic equal? Or, if she found a nice older man who could pay her student loans and perhaps let her take off some time to breast feed, wouldn't that be great, and helpful? How would that not be helpful?

She says that wealthy males ought to change the whole societal deal to make it easier for women to be mothers, and I certainly agree. That is what they've got in Europe but money rules here. But I'm afraid that ship has sailed, in that societal wealth is on the downslope and that deal costs money.

These older men with young wives are a drop in the bucket, numerically, and not worth all this angst and resentment. Plus, that sentence about older men thinking women cannot find another way to feed themselves than to sleep with them - is very odd. If the women wanted to find another way they would, and indeed most do. That sentence is written as if the women had no choice in the matter.

Then, too, the statement that our society is sterilizing and eugenicising the poor is quite out of touch with reality. What I and nearly everyone I know deplore is that the well adjusted, smart and middle class people are having one child, while derelicts are breeding without thought. There's a reason some people are poor. I say SOME. There's plenty of perfectly adequate poor people, but there are also a lot of people who don't have their acts together at all, which has a lot to do with why they're poor, and they do not think of consequences, especially when the consequence of giving birth to a 3rd, 4th, or 5th, or 6th child with a different father for each is a larger check from the govt. And just to be clear, I'm talking about white people. Their lives are a general mess, and they are taken care of by the taxpayer, and they are way outbreeding the well adjusted. And when they come to the hospital, they can be quite demanding and entitled in their attitude.

Unknown said...

Small minds talk about people.
Mediocre minds talk about events.
Great minds talk about ideas.

This Lady clearly talks about People.

Sam Holloway said...

Sorry, Dave N. The evo-psych hoodoo doesn't wash. We aren't 'following our genes.' We've been fighting evolution and nature for at least 10,000 years. We are living well beyond our means as a species (some specimens far more than others), and Makeda's observation of geriatric, gene-happy sugar daddies is spot on as a case study of humanity flipping off nature.

I understand why this rubs people the wrong way; we in the West bend and warp scientific doctrine and religious dogma to fit our desires, and we think we can get this finite planet to keep ponying up to match our unnaturally bottomless hunger for More. We really don't like it when a grown-up steps in to tell us that no, Junior, you can't have anything and everything you want.

As to reducing these arguments to 'emotional responses,' thanks for the patronization. I'll have you know I keep a freshly popped bag of metaphorical popcorn handy, and I'm looking forward to the time when these self-absorbed geezers get to watch their pampered children slaughtering and eating each other. (Our 10 to 15,000-year-long toddler tantrum is nearing its ignominious end, and it's going to be beautifully horrific.) Until then, I'm totally chill, because laughter heals.

rudyspeaks said...

Rhisiart Gwilym, thanks for expressing my 1st thought with your 2nd paragraph. 3 weeks of pedestrian, flat-footed articles by (the otherwise entertaining) James Kunstler have now been followed by this disappointing diatribe. Imagine all the references to "creepy", "grey-haired", etc., being Racial, Sexist, or any other bigotry and you'll understand how this came off to me... perhaps the author is channeling Michael Savage, eh?

Walter said...

Well at least you focus on white males with money for your diatribe. Back when I stopped supporting feminism in 1973, the focus was on getting power from white males without money. At least you have made a step up in your thinking. It is still far short of a rational plan of action, but hey, progress is progress.

Stanislav Datskovskiy said...

Dmitri! This guest article is easily the most appalling garbage I have had the misfortune to read in at least a year. And it appears, from the comments, that I am not alone in taking this position.

The author shows a shameless disregard for facts - and for intellectual honesty as general concept - in pursuit of her peculiar 'cultural-Marxist' ideological crusade.

(enthusiastic reader of 'cluborlov' since '07 - and satisfied buyer of the complete set of your books.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam!

First, that post was partially tongue-in-cheek and, honestly, no disrespect was intended.

I'm a research biochemist/biologist with ~20 years experience. I promise you we have not ever been "fighting evolution" - not even today as we fiddle with DNA and make novel cells in the lab (all critters are both a cause and effect in evolutionary terms).

I agree we Homo Saps are the most virulent form of primate, and it is possible our Timez UP, so to speak. All living things eat themselves out of house and home eventually, but not all living things are consciously aware of it like us (or, like a very small population of us).

"No(wo)man knoweth the day or the hour (but we gotta good bet on which century - lol), and, we should remember, "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than it is for the rich man to pass his genes on through the bottleneck."

The Thunderstorm is upon us -:)

Unknown said...

Grow up. Your moralizing about human biology. Healthy young women have ALWAYS sought older men of wealth and status and they ALWAYS will. You don't like it? Try being a healthy young man, without the money and status and have to compete with that reality. This is the way it's been forever. Wealth and status are men's Peacock feathers.

Silent Otto said...

Yes , you are right , we live in a collective cult of Saturn , or Satan as some have come to lnow him , the works of Leo Strauss / Ayn Rand etc against those of Anton Sandor Lavey and you will note the remarkable similarities ..... Shakespeare saw it coming , as Linda Woodbridge points out in "The Scythe of Saturn " ...
Young chicks, eternal youth are merely the booty of the Satanic Cult ...lefties ?? I doubt there would be one left anywhere in the western empire !
Cheers Mate

John Graham said...

Interesting range of comments, some adding valuable layers of complexity.

A couple of things to add.

First, hooray that Orlov and Kunstler have, in the same week, published things unpopular with some long-time readers. How the hell did I get something coming through my feedreader that doesn't condemn Israel? That doesn't reinforce my own opinions about what smart people should support? What kind of crappy echo chamber have I built here?

Second - I'm not saying Makeda's post is perfect, but...
it's resonated in a small way with a couple of us. Somebody has said what they think. It's a very small minority report - not the whole truth, but not pretending to be, I don't think.

I wonder, what is beyond our current pendulum swing, very positive in many ways, to zero-tolerance for 'intolerance' (in public, anyway). A taboo against ridiculing the ridiculous.

We're all, naturally, projecting contexts onto something very context-specific - relationship.
A healthy sense of creepiness depends so much on context, and when it arises, it helps so much if someone can express this very quiet "minority report", or has at least heard someone express it.

To rip something else out of context: here's Tracy Chapman, from "Behind the Wall":

"And when they arrive
They say they can't interfere
With domestic affairs
Between a man and his wife
And as they walk out the door
The tears well up in her eyes".

Context. Speaking of evolutionary precedent, where and when else have relationships been assumed to be outside the context of community (and the community of life on Earth), a dyad in a vacuum (or should that be two monads sitting beside each other on a couch with a laptop each, and the television on to avoid awkward silence).

Where are you planning to go from here? How are you going to, as Dmitry challenged us, take family and community with you as collapse progresses? What's the path to that subtle, healthy sense of shame? What kind of Community that Abides will yours be? ISIS certainly have an evolutionarily tried-and-tested formula - where's *your* evolutionary tinkering?
I'm all for John Michael Greer's "strategy of dissensus" - do what you think you need to do. The approach of humour seems to be a promising avenue. Context-specific problems, context sensitive solution. Perhaps it's the ultimate in positive anarchist strategy. I think JMG also said - we won't always be able to buy our way out of community.

Try making a room full of people laugh. You'll learn something, even if it's only that you've misjudged the room, or that you're an asshole, or that, hang-on, something doesn't feel right about this kind of laughter, or that look on the face of someone not laughing. Or it might heal.

TL;DR: Take home phrases:
A healthy sense of creepiness
ISIS certainly have an evolutionarily tried-and-tested formula - where's *your* evolutionary tinkering?

Unknown said...

I should add that being kind, smart, funny, caring, honest are also normal mating strategies for some men. Some women prioritize those qualities and others put wealth and status at the top of their list. I believe in pro-choice for all of women's choices.

HeyZeus said...

I am willing to bet all my earnings that the author is either in her thirties or older... and single...

Unknown said...

I find these May-December relationships to be a little creepy too, but as someone pointed out,greying men with much younger female partners hardly represent a significant percentage of the population.

And the author's tone is unduly moralistic and judgmental. Women make these choices, for whatever reason, financial security being a big one, I'm sure. And women want to have babies, many times.

I don't think it's these creepy old men (many of whom have grown children no doubt) who long to start a family. It's the woman with her ticking biologic clock who's pushing for that.

So...regardless of any personal disgust I might feel towards such a man or such a couple, at the moment people are free to make their own relationship choices and it doesn't concern me much.

One gets the feeling that Makeda is taking this kind of consensual behavior very personally. Could it be that it has to do with having had to give creepy old men the brush-off herself on numerous occasions?

The whole diatribe seems petty to me, but I don't travel in the same circles as the author, and I'm not a woman. I'm in my late fifties and I've been with my partner for over 35 years, 33 of them married. If I were to lose my wife (who gets more beautiful with every passing day), I can't conceive of being able to find any common ground with a woman of much younger years. What in the world would we talk about?

Unknown said...

This is Makeda. I have not had time to read all the comments, but I would like to add a couple notes. My intention was not to recommend making fun of old men in general at all. There are obviously many things that improve with age about people...not the least of which is their knowledge about most things. The patience and mental abilities of older people make them excellent grandparents...but I think it is silly to pretend they should schedule parenthood in their retirement. I may have been wrong to single out men. A scan of the internet and medical literature shows an exponential growth in women being scientifically brought out of menopause to become mothers, or using younger surrogates to do this. Nature has a natural rhythm. The recent case of baby Gammy shows what a mess the so called "advanced" Westerners are making when they think they can outsmart it.

Unknown said...

Among other things, the article ridicules a guy in his thirties dating an 18 year-old. My father was 13 years older than my mother and was always in much better shape and than she was and able to fulfill his duties as a father. I had a best friend whose dad was about 20 years older than his mom and again they had a long happy and fruitful marriage.
In some parts of China, businessmen devote themselves to building their business until they are in their mid-forties before marrying at which point it only makes sense that they would marry a younger woman to start a family with.
Orlov's blog usually presents useful ideas...this article was clearly an exception.

Banastal said...

I am not sure when people say "western" society - what do they mean... American? In Europe it was for centuries a standard practice for young women to often marry older men (for upkeep and money). Just read some books.
I can agree that to some of us it can look creepy when an older man has a child with a younger woman (and it is only our problem), but I have changed my opinion on this in the last few years of my life. As I got a little older, I started finding men my father's age not so unattractive (or attractive), as they display certain qualities that some younger men don't display. This only made me think that some younger women are simply mature enough or impressed enough by the qualities that older men display without seeing age as a sticking point (or may not noticing it all together that much). I sort of envy those women. It is only disgusting, if a woman is repulsed by the older partner and does it as a sales transaction - but we will not see it with a naked eye to make that judgement. So let's not.

As far as people artificially reversing aging to have a child... IDK... I am not in that boat... but I would not blame my girlfriends that never had a chance to have a baby for trying.

btw... my mother one time was in a hospital with a woman who was delivering a naturally and unintentionally conceived child at the age of 56. The lady was embarrassed and crying, she said she had grand kids... I would not DARE to judge someone like that either... or anyone...

Stanislav Datskovskiy said...

Re, the update text:

Dmitri, seriously!?

The U.S. rich have organized a 'eugenic' campaign to breed more of themselves, while 'sterilizing and killing' the poor ?

If this is true - they surely must be just as inept at breeding and killing as at their other activities.

Avoiding Extroverts said...

I am 53 and I have an 8-year old son. He's my only child and his mother is my wife who is 52. We were married later in life as I was previously married and she was not. Sorry if this gray-haired father doesn't fit with your reproductive ideals. Contrary to your need to try to be funny about old guys, no mood enhancing drugs or special medical procedures were required as both my wife and I are in better physical condition than many of our slothenly younger denizens.

As for old guys interested in younger women, sorry but I don't understand that one myself. I find the tattooed, ultra padded push up bra wearing 20-somethings with attitude oozing from every pore quite repulsive…even more so once most any of them opens her mouth and I have to listen to what comes out of it.

I somewhat understand where the author is coming from, but I've long ago lost any need to protect 20-something, got-it-all-figured-out women from their own poor choices. Funny how old guys are jerks for marrying younger women with dollar signs in their eyes. Somehow that’s purely the guy’s fault right?

Face it, there are stupid people everywhere in this country. These people you mention are just a small fraction of the total. You can’t fix it or them. About the only option you have is not letting their stupidity bother you. Or, you can rant and rave about it and get snappy about it at your next leftist get together then go on a crusade to fix this self-perceived malady. Personally I see this as problem #8,637 that we face in today’s world. But hey, knock yourself out trying to fix it.

As for curbing population you might want to look at military families. I live near an army base and I find that nearly every family I encounter with 3-6 kids in it is a military family. I think they get more pay for each pup pushed out. Just my observation as I attend few leftist events so I see few to no sugar daddies to shun as part of my effort to help out your cause.

makedablogs said...

Congratulations that you and your then 44 year old wife got pregnant without a lot of help. If you just go look at the charts and numbers available from the CDC or NIH or any other reputable health source you will notice you are a statistical much so that we recommend women over 40 do not wait to see if they can get pregnant naturally, but simply begin with IVF. So many people are missing my point here I wrote an additional blog post (More Reproducing the Rich) about it posted on my own new blog:
but if you don't believe me I suggest reading more academic books on the subject starting with "Killing the Black Body" by Dorothy Roberts...I am not the only one who sees this- because it is a very real phenomenon.

Avoiding Extroverts said...

You are correct about me being an anomaly. I exist well outside the mainstream and am quite happy to do so.

First off, having a child wasn't the sole aspiration of my wife and me. She went off birth control, if she got pregnant, fine, if not, fine. Such is life.

Second, yes I am white. Last year I pulled down around $26,000 in my business. Plus some side work for a grand whopping total of around $30,000. I often shop for clothes at ARC and other resale stores. I don’t have an iphone. I’ve never hired a black or brown woman to walk my kid in a stroller while her kids were left to who knows what for the day. Not all of us older white guys who have kids are wealthy, well connected, racist, part of the old boys club, etc…

I have no interest in “living large” or being hip or part of the latest trend. These are cultural traps that keep poor people poor. But just try explaining that to them and see if they don’t light you up for trying to limit their life or whatever. Of course this system is built to keep people in their social place, however, I cannot count the times I have seen a poor person make a conscious, outright stupid decision to ensure they stay poor and struggling…like buying a status symbol car.

Third, as for choosing between education or kids like the guy in your blog post, I do have a graduate degree. I did all of that well before I had my son. It’s one reason I had my kid later in life. Unfortunately we can’t have it all work out the way we think it should in life.

Finally, rich people have waged war on poor people for ages. Capitalism continues this trend quite efficiently. The irony is how many poor people act and vote against their self-interest on a daily basis due to the “temporarily embarrassed millionaire” mindset so prevalent in this country. They don’t want to tax rich people because they just know they will be rich themselves one day and they don’t want to pay those pesky taxes. This goes back to the “living large” stupidity I mentioned above. You can’t fix stupid. Unfortunately, many people are quite content to remain stupid.

Sure there are racists. Tons of them and not all of them are white. Seek out unlikely allies in your fight against such ignorance instead of painting with too broad a brush.

Etyere Petyere said...

This is not just are related the age factor is just one of the discrepancy . Even in the so called age group + - 5 years . when you are not with a biological genetic match you have failed . Only Genetic biological match has a legitimate reason to breed . Al you woman who choose a man for any other reason to be with a man I.E. Economical survival reasons have comitted a crime against humannes and the biological order . No wonder how the genetic material is watered down these days and humanyty is going thru a period of genetic degradation .....Question The writer mentiones "My own brother-in-law, when trying to explain the age difference between himself and my sister,"...what is the age difference there _

Etyere Petyere said...

73 year old canadian caucasian male Banging a 16 y old Fillippini as sickening as it can get or not ?