Saturday, December 22, 2007

PJM Political

If you missed PJM political on XM this week, you can download the various segments including our interview with John McCain here. Also, be sure and take a listen to Evan Sayet’s speech at the Heritage Foundation on "How Modern Liberals 'Think.'" In the speech, Sayet discusses the book, The Closing of the American Mind by Allen Bloom in an entertaining and engaging fashion. Sayet's speech is definitely worth listening to.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sudden Divorce Syndrome

A reader (thanks!) sent me this article on "sudden divorce syndrome:"

Sudden Divorce Syndrome. You won't find it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, that bible of psychiatric illnesses, but you will find it in life. In a 2004 poll by the AARP, one in four men who were divorces in the previous year said they "never saw it coming." (Only 14 percent of divorced women said they experienced the same unexpected broadside.) And few events in a man's life can be as devastating to his physical, mental, and financial health. "I meet men all the time who are going through breakups, and it's very common for them to say it caught them by surprise," says Los Angeles-based sex therapist Lori Buckley, PsyD, host of "On the Minds of Men," a weekly relationship podcast on iTunes....

This may come as startling news to a public that has been led to believe that women are the ones who suffer financially postdivorce, not men. But the data show otherwise, according to an exhaustive study of the subject by Sanford L. Braver, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University and author of Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths. "The man is in a lot poorer condition than the popular media portray," he says. "This idea of the swinging, happy-go-lucky, no-worries single guy in a bar... that's just not it at all." The misconception was fueled by Harvard professor Lenore Weitzman's widely cited book, The Divorce Revolution: The Unexpected Social and Economic Consequences for Women and Children in America.

The article also states that recently divorced men are nearly nine times more likely to commit suicide than their female counterparts. I wonder if Sudden Divorce Syndrome is why we are seeing a spike in middle-aged suicides.

Spin Sisters

Jeri Thompson talks to John Hawkins about the (mal) treatment of conservative women by the media:

What I think is probably of more interest to some of your readers is the fact that conservative women get such a different treatment in the press, including the women's press, than the Democrats.

For goodness sake, Hillary has been on the cover of most women's magazines and had glowing reports on everything she has ever touched. Michelle Obama actually could stand up in an Annie Leibovitz spread in Vogue magazine with her finger pointed at her husband's campaign manager, telling him what to do in the caption, and I don't think that Cindy, or Judith, or I, could get away with such a thing.

No, I doubt you could. Libertarian and conservative women are treated with disdain (if they are interviewed at all) by the liberal media, including what are supposed to be "women's" magazines. Myrna Blyth, ex-editor of Ladies' Home Journal in her book Spin Sisters "bashes the Left on grounds that the Spin Sisters (her name for the female media elite) need women to think of themselves as victims if they are going to look for help from a liberal government." Naturally, these magazines emphasize how women are supposed to vote for Democrats (preferably women!) to save the day with "free" government programs that nurture, build self-esteem and promote dependency. No way are they going to give positive press to women like Jeri and other outsiders who don't march in line with the rest of the "good girls." Perhaps the "feminist" slogan "well-behaved women rarely make history" should be changed to "only well-behaved women make the cover of Vogue."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Is George Costanza Really a Sex Symbol?

After reading the comments to my previous post on nice guys, I read with interest this post on MSN entitled, Dating Advice for Shy Guys thinking I might get some good tips to pass along to any shy male readers. No such luck.

Instead, here is some of the sucky advice that two men! who are the authors of what looks like a rather funny book called Die Happy: 499 Things Every Guy's Gotta Do While He Still Can had to say to those of you too tongue-tied to ask a woman out:

Be eye-catchingly honest
Remember George Costanza’s approach in Seinfeld: “My name is George. I’m unemployed and live with my parents.” Hey, it worked for him. So why not try being straight up with women? Tell them you’re not much of a player. David Wells, 31, confirms, “When I was younger, I made the mistake of thinking I had to act suave,” he says. But since then, he’s upfront about the fact that he’s shy. “A lot of women think it’s charming!” he says.

Ask for help
Damsels in distress have been doing this for years; there’s no reason guys can’t take advantage of women’s desire to swoop in and save the day, too. Just be sure to pick a topic on which women will feel they can offer some assistance. You’ll rarely go wrong seeking style advice (“Excuse me, but I need a woman’s opinion on this jacket. Is it a keeper, or should it never leave my closet again?”) or relationships (“Hey, my pal and I need a woman’s perspective on how long a guy should wait before calling after a date. What’s your opinion?”). Asking for advice will diffuse the pressure of it being a pickup.

Just add a question mark
You’re starting to get to know this woman and suddenly you can’t think of what to say. Here’s an easy solution. Simply repeat the last notable thing she said and place a question mark after it. “Oh, you work as a female professional wrestler; what’s it like??” Bingo.

Seek out the yin to your yang
If you’re not much of a talker, someone who yaks up a storm may well love spending time with you. You know the old “opposites attract” adage. And how Jerry Maguire professed, “You complete me.” Be her best audience ever, and trust us, she’ll keep coming back for more.

Okay, you get the idea, just act like an oppressed woman with the vapors from the 18th century and according to these guys, women will start swooning. Yeah, right. Perhaps the authors of the article were just catering to a female audience at MSN but they aren't doing guys any favor with this pathetic advice.

These guys are teaching you to be the nice guy that women say they want but really don't. So how is this advice going to help? It's more likely to backfire.

My advice, show a little confidence and ignore the above advice.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How can the Internet be Dehumanizing if it's Made up of People?

Is the Internet dehumanizing? Tam at View From the Porch doesn't think so:

At this very moment, somewhere some pasty-faced academic is sweating out his dissertation on the dehumanizing impact of the 'web. I think he's barking up the wrong tree. How can it be dehumanizing when it's made of people?

It was late on a recent Saturday night, I was in a poopy mood, and I had just updated my blog and toddled off to bed. As my head hit the pillow, the phone rang. On the other end were traffic noises, the muted drone of a cop radio, and a Texas drawl: "Leonard Cohen, Tam? What's wrong?"

Don't tell me it's dehumanizing.

It certainly doesn't have to be. I read many blogs where people seem to have a sense of community, despite all the blog fighting. If you lost your internet connection, would you suffer a sleepless night about the lack of ability to talk with others like this guy?

Honestly, its a bit scary. Building a chunk of your life around something, and losing it suddenly. It's 'loss', in its classic terms. I think it's like a deep wound. Once you have lived through 'loss', the wound remains even if healed over. The scar is there and sensitive to pressure, even the smallest prod. Losing the internet and easy access to most of my friends was a strong prod to think about these issues.

Loss has been to visit before, and left scars. Last night was lonely, and difficult.

It may be time for me to back up and spend some time getting comfortable with 'me' again. Last night showed me that... at any time.... it may be all I have.

While I have never lost sleep over the internet, I have to say that before the internet, I could count on one hand the number of people I felt I had anything in common with. I no longer feel that way, thanks to this wonderful machine, and to so many of you.

Should Alimony Die a Quick Death?

My PJM column is up:

The time for alimony as we know it may have passed, writes Dr. Helen Smith. “No man or woman should be held to being a slave to an ex-spouse after a marriage ends.”

Should we think about abolishing alimony except in extreme cases? Go read my column and tell me either there or here what you think.


Pass the Hairbrush

Do even more difficult aesthetic standards apply to the male candidates? It looks like Ann Althouse's son John agrees with me that men also get hit with the looks game. He goes into more detail about how and why. Smart guy. Take a look.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ageism: Not for Women Only

Ann Althouse has a post about how a picture of Hillary showing her wrinkles is a sign of sexism against women for aging:

But here's my second reaction, on reflection: We make high demands on women. A picture like this of a male candidate would barely register. Fred Thompson always looks this bad, and people seem to think he's handsome. We need to get used to older women and get over the feeling that when women look old they are properly marginalized as "old ladies." If women are to exercise great power, they will come into that power in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. We must — if we care about the advancement of women — accommodate our vision and see a face like this as mature, experienced, serious — the way we naturally and normally see men's faces.

Some of Althouse's commenters mention that male candidates do not get held up to such scrutiny:

However, it is unfair and discriminatory to make a big deal out of her appearance as an older wrinkled saggy faced woman, when we don't do the same over McCain, Guilliani or Thompson who are also old wrinkled and sagging. So, it's ok to admire Hillary when she is botoxed, made up, hair perfectly coiffed, filmed through layers of gauze but when she accidentally appears as a normal woman she is held up for riducule.

Oh really, it's only female candidates who get hit with sexism because they look old? Men get it too. As Dean Esmay at Dean's World notes:

The only other comment I'll add is that I'm baffled by people who think no one ever comments on how old Senator McCain looks, when it seems like I've rarely read an article about him this year which didn't bring that up.

Yeah, Dean, I'm baffled too. Whenever you read about McCain, he is often referred to as a "grumpy old man." In this video, a young man asks McCain if he is too old to be President and thinks he might die of a disease in office. Would people dare to ask a woman that question? They might think it but I bet they wouldn't ask it.

In fact, there is even an article entitled Is McCain too Old to be President? that illustrates that ageism is alive and well for men too:

One-fifth of New Hampshire residents surveyed in a recent University of New Hampshire poll said McCain's age would make them less likely to vote for them.

So spare me the "no ageism" when it comes to men. Ageism seems to be prevalent for both men and women in US society. Why do you think so many men over 40 are frightened of losing their jobs to someone younger? Maybe we should learn to cut both genders some slack and look at what people have to offer instead of focusing so much on their age. I am no fan of Hillary but I thought the picture showed her to have some authenticity, nothing wrong with that.

Update: The Anchoress also takes exception to the notion that only women are held up to scrutiny--both genders seem to be fair game when it comes to unflattering photos.

Interview with John McCain

We caught up with presidential candidate John McCain to discuss the ups and downs of this long primary season. He talks about the polls, Iraq, religion and politics and has a few "I-told-you-sos" for those who did not listen to him on the surge and other issues.

You can listen directly -- no downloading needed -- by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. You can download the file and listen to it at your leisure by clicking right here. And you can get a lo-fi version suitable for dialup by going here and selecting lo-fi. Plus, there's a free subscription available via iTunes -- why wouldn't you want one?

This podcast was brought to you by Volvo Automobiles. Music is by Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere.

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I just read that one of my favorite musicians, Dan Fogelberg, died yesterday of advanced prostate cancer. Guys, get yourself checked as Mr. Fogelberg suggested. It's important.