Monday, August 31, 2015

Fighting Fanaticism

"Fanaticism is bred by hopelessness and despair. It is not the product of religion, although religion often becomes the sacral veneer for violence. The more desperate people become, the more this nihilistic violence will spread....Neoliberal ideologues, after all, are also utopian fanatics. And they, too, know only how to speak in the language of force. They are our version of Islamic State....The only choice offered by 'bourgeois society,' as Friedrich Engels knew, is 'socialism or regression into barbarism.' It is time we make this choice."

Chris Hedges in yesterday's article in Truthdig.  Two significant elections coming up.  Let's hope it's even possible to make this choice. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dear Orli

You wrote about the education system ruining your health because you started having panic attacks when you realized your future would be based on a set of criteria created by exam boards. You think young people are feeling pressure that shouldn't be imposed on anyone.  You ask,
"How can we justify putting the health of children on the line for an exam board’s definition of achievement? The most important achievement a person should aim for is being comfortable in their skin, safe in the knowledge they can live their life and define success on their own terms."
You feel that you're too young to make some significant life decisions, that politicians are to blame for the state of your mental health, and that "this isn't fair."

Have I heard you correctly?

Then listen a bit.

You don't have to let the school criteria judge you as a success or failure in life. Education is about teaching information and skills, but school evaluations are there to tell you what you're good at compared to others in society. It's a means to show you your abilities and limitations among the wider populous. Whether or not you decide your place on the list is a measure of your success in life is completely up to you. As my mom told me when I faced similar concerns thirty years ago, "It's important to do your best, not to be the best." She convinced me that I don't have to worry about being at the top of the class to be a good person or to be a valuable worthwhile individual, BUT the strength of my abilities in school compared to others would have implications on the job market.  Those are two very different things, and it's important not to conflate them. If I can be content to waitress, then I can ditch the stresses of school altogether. And I did drop out.

And then, bored to tears in an entry-level job, I went back.

Your ability to be among the best and brightest in a particular area - or not - will likely affect the kind of job you can get, but that isn't a measure of your worth as a human being. Being comfortable in your skin, however, won't get you far if it's the only thing on your resume. And defining success on your own terms is definitely how your should consider your value in the world, but it doesn't fit in the marketplace. If a bookseller decides she's a success if she can sell one book a week, then she might have great self-esteem, but she won't be able to pay the rent on the retail space she needs to sell books.

I don't think school affects mental health. I think it's our perception of the role of school marks that affects us. But that perception is a choice. We've been sucked into a competitive mode of living that puts a priority on being at the top. But it's pretty comfortable among the masses as well.  And, if we're working to our potential, school marks can give us valuable information about which fields we should pursue for money and which we should relegate to hobbies.

And about those life decisions at such a young age: don't forget that nothing is permanent. Choosing now gets you started on a path that can fork later. And you can start over at any time.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

On So Much Anger

Anger may be defined as an impulse, accompanied by pain, to a conspicuous revenge for a conspicuous slight directed without justification towards what concerns oneself or towards what concerns one's friends. If this is a proper definition of anger, it must always be felt towards some particular individual, e.g. Cleon, and not "man" in general. It must be felt because the other has done or intended to do something to him or one of his friends. It must always be attended by a certain pleasure -- that which arises from the expectation of revenge. - Aristotle

I'm just trying to figure out some things about anger here, so this will be long and rambling.

Aristotle wrote Rhetoric to teach the art of persuasion. The key to convincing others of your position is arousing emotions in them because emotions have the power to modify people's judgments to the point that we can persuade people to hate or desire that which was previously neutral. We're affected by this principle whenever we suddenly want something we've never considered after seeing an ad, or when we suddenly hate someone after hearing some gossip. He didn't want to get people to rise to action, but merely to be persuaded to agree with a position being offered. He was a very different sort than Socrates on that front. As influential as he was, some of us still think it's better to persuade with rational argumentation. Better? Maybe, in ethical terms at least, but effective? Not so much. Aristotle takes this one hands down. Lots of very rational discourse on environmental issues is doing squat to persuade the masses.

But my interest here is in that one statement: "It must always be felt towards some particular individual." Proper anger, useful anger, isn't tossed about in all directions. It's focused on someone specific who slighted you without justification. It appears we often do anger wrong.

A few posts back I mentioned the pain-aggression response - otherwise known as pain-induced aggression. When we feel pain, we attack. It's a very primitive instinct common to all mammals. Way back when, in a university psych class, we were shown a video of a raccoon and rat inside a cage together. The raccoon had a good 3-4 times the weight of the rat, easily, but the two prisoners just sniffed around largely ignoring each other. Then an experimenter gave the rat an electric shock, and it lunged at the raccoon's throat, attacking it violently. The video cut off before we saw the aftermath of the battle though, so we don't know who won.
the #1 endangered big cat

But that video stayed with me.

And, like Aristotle says, it's not just our own pain that causes anger. Because of mirror neurons, we feel pain when we see someone else experience pain - even people we've never met, or lions, or, less commonly, the many species going extinct because of our frivolousness. It pains us to see others harmed without justification, and that makes us angry. But we don't always get angry at the instigator of the pain the way Aristotle hopes we will.

This entire line of consideration was planted years ago, but it sprouted when some trolls visited here, and grew when Amanda Marcotte wrote an article on why men are so angry with women.  She discussed the recently viral study that shows a strong correlation between how well men succeed at video games and how much vitriol they spew at women: losers are haters. But she takes the researchers to task for their analysis of the situation wrapped in terms of evolutionary sexual advantage. Instead, she thinks that angry reaction has more to do with the pain caused by losing and the fact that women are an easy target:
"...some people who are feeling bad about themselves try to regain a sense of mastery by picking on someone they think is down the social pecking order from them. In other words, these guys are bullies. They pick on women not because of some elaborate hardwired mating game, but because men are socialized to think women are weaker and somehow inferior to men.... They pick on women for the same reason kids at school like to bully the nerdy kid or the fat kid or the gay kid: To feel bigger and better than someone else, to get that rush of power over someone else, to kill a perceived weakness inside of them, to trick other people into thinking they're big and tough.... 
People are going to feel low sometimes and are going to want a quick fix to feel powerful. What we need, as a society, is to discourage men from chasing that quick fix by picking on women in this way. Sure, maybe teach better coping mechanisms--get some therapy, learn a hobby, get some exercise--but more importantly, stop seeing women as ciphers that exist for them to dump on. Learn to see women as equals and people who, like men, are worthy of respect."
If that raccoon and rat also had a mouse in their cage, then I think it likely that the shocked rat would have taken on the easier prey, but both are clearly easier than the experimenter who's outside the cage free to provoke others at will. We feel pain and we attack, not what caused the pain, but whatever's easy. Whatever's convenient. Sometimes what causes our pain is impossible to attack. The person is too powerful for us or too elusive. Of course it would be best to attack the person who caused the harm in order to actually try to resolve the situation (assuming, as Aristotle does, that revenge can be necessary), but it's easiest to attack whomever's close at hand and unable to retaliate effectively.

So if that's the issue, then Marcotte's solution "learn to see women as equals" is unhelpful regardless its accuracy. The solution has to involve specifically making sure the unwitting victims are able to retaliate effectively (through some online means of finding perpetrators and holding them responsible for their words) AND finding ways for the first victims, the shocked rats, to resolve problems with the original aggressor or the perception of original harm. That "original aggressor" might just be some woman who said "no" to a date, so we do need to attack the perspective that is creating all that pain. Attacking a person is so much easier than attacking an ideology, so this will be a hard slog.

Hedges talks about this male rage in Empire of Illusionin an interview with a male porn star who explained,
"My whole reason for being in the industry is to satisfy the desire of the men in the world who basically don't much care for women and want to see the men in my industry getting even with the women they couldn't have when they were growing up....We're getting even for their lost dreams....All I know is that large segments around the world like to watch young girls being tortured."
Hedges links the anger to the pain of rejection - not just actual rejection, but also the thought of being rejected by women who might say 'no' to them.

This is our whole mindset in a consumerist society. We are led to believe that, if we work hard, we should be able to have whatever we want. I can be a great athlete if I try hard enough - except I couldn't hit the side of a barn with a beach ball. I can buy a house without saving up for a down payment - except then I'll have insurmountable debt. I should be able to have whatever I see, just because I want it, without any negative consequences, dammit!! The career, the house, and the wife and kids. It's our birthright.

I wrote about the problems with that attitude a couple years ago. It's a bugger. It's invasive, and it's making us miserable.

Another peg in this board is that sharing anger helps it dissipate. I know if I'm in a snit, and I get mad at anyone for anything, I feel much better immediately - better enough to apologize profusely for my outburst. It's as if I've given the anger away to whomever I yelled at. I know how good this feels, but I try to prevent it, and it can be prevented. Ranting about the enraging situation to a supportive friend or the interwebs can do wonders for diminishing that build up of rage, even when the trigger is still there *coughHarpercough*.  We can't always immediately stop what's causing the pain, so we create support groups to help us deal with it so we don't inadvertently lash out at our loved ones nearby.

But that's exactly what some really angry men have done online, sort of. They've found each other. But instead of dissipating their anger through ranting, they've exacerbated it for one another. And instead of targeting the real cause of the pain in their lives - feeling crappy because of a losing streak on a game or a bad relationship - they verbally attack random women they've never met and ask other men to spread the word about them. To see how warp this is, an analogy would be an anti-Harper site with people suggesting we DESTROY ALL CONSERVATIVES, and posting this message on random con blogs everywhere. It's different than attack ads because the message doesn't question the policies or the person, but instead implies a straight route to a violent end to the actual existence of the people within the targeted group, or at least a silencing of them through a terror campaign. A lot of people are really, really upset with what's happened politically in the last few years, but there aren't many who wish actual harm to come to specific conservatives. We're not threatening them with a bombardment of heinous descriptions of sexual assaults.

That's a different level of anger that's scary and, it feels, growing exponentially.

From Maricotte's explanation, clearly it's not just about pain. It's about fear. Pain just tells us that there's something nearby that we should be afraid of, something that needs to be taken down. So we react aggressively until we feel safe again. We react aggressively when in pain, but the pain is often due to a perception that causes us to be afraid.

So why are some men so afraid?

Sometimes fear is from feeling like we have no say in anything. Being scared and trapped, without any means of controlling the situation, might necessitate aggressive action. But when we're not actually caged, we have to see that we're not as trapped as we think.

What's worked for me in my encounters with angry people is to give them control over the situation to alleviate their fears enough to find common ground and a viable solution. Freaking out because you don't want to do that assignment (likely because you're struggling)? Then feel free to choose another way you can show you understand the ideas. Upset because you don't have the kids tonight and you've got nothing else to do? How about you choose the nights you'd prefer them. It's not enough to give an illusion of control - like some politicians do. People feeling fearful have to be allowed to call the shots - but usually just until they feel more stabilized. It can be surprisingly effective at immediately alleviating rage.

Except we don't really have all that much control in the first place. It would work better if we could just let go of that need to run the show. We can do everything in our power to head towards a goal and still not make it. Shit happens. And so much is outside of our directly influence.

What's worked for me when I'm angry, is to do a quick 'stop and think' about what I'm afraid of.  Typically I start pitching a fit if I'm in a hurry - I'm afraid of being late, except that I'm never actually late for anything, and if I were, I could survive the inconvenience. A quick reminder of that can go a long way.

Except, anger actually feels good. It definitely feels much better than fear, but it can even feel much better than contentment. It's exciting and energizing. Sometimes people work hard to keep it going in order to keep up that rush of adrenaline. It can be hard to give that up - hard to see the more permanent rewards of stable relationships and world peace over the immediate reward of having power over others.

So why are they scared, scared and in pain enough to cause a crazy kind of anger that's only relieved by terrorizing women online?

If they don't get that girl, or win that game, or succeed at life, then they don't measure up. To be a man means to WIN, which is an impossible definition to live up to. Even men who have made it in many areas feel they're still not up to par. How could it not inspire some - if not many - to feel upset and, subsequently, very angry with the world? And the reality of our legal system right now is that women online are very easy targets for attack. The law has not yet caught up to technology, but it's also the case that descriptions of rape and torture cause pain in a way that's deeper than descriptions of unadorned murder threats. They don't have to actually carry out the threat to have an effect. This is a power too easily won, it might be hard to resist, the anger too satisfactorily relieved.

Okay, I'm no MRA apologist, so bear with me here.

When women have body image issues, and we understand that one root cause is the media that plants false expectations of reality in the culture's minds, we don't take it out on the women starving themselves (ok, some people do). The empathetic among us take it out on the media portrays: all the photoshopping and the very narrow version of beauty we see everywhere we look.

But when men have anger issues, and we understand that one root cause is the media that plants false expectations of reality in the culture's minds, we completely take it out on the men. I think we need to be more angry with the media portrays: all the storylines that have men walking away from an explosion unscathed (literally or metaphorically), and the very narrow version of masculinity we see everywhere we look that offers women as trophies for success.

Yup, women get hit from both side - unable to live up to the beauty standards of the day AND, if they do, being relegated to trophy status.

And yes, those men need to grow up and rise above those unrealistic portrayals of men everywhere, but would we ever say women need to just stop being affected by the media?  I mean, it's a great idea in theory, but it's hard to expect people to be completely untainted by all persuasive ideology surrounding us. One significant difference between the two is body image issue may cause self-harm, but aggression might harm others, and there needs to be some expectation of responsibility taken for any harm that's caused by our behaviour. Absolutely. But as much as we rally around changing the norms for women, we must rally around changing the norms for men. Saying "he's just a bully" is far less effective than saying "he's been too affected by the dominant norms portrayed in media." His behaviour is bullying, but that's not who he is, necessarily, it's how's he's reacting to the cognitive dissonance perpetuated from seeing the world's expectations of him compared to his own unfulfilled reality.

We have much more complex brains than common rats, so we can override our basic instincts. We need to get people to 'stop and think' and recognize the bullshit presented to them at every turn. And we also need to put more out there that challenges the crap we're ALL swimming in.

Something like that.   ETA:


ETA: Martha Nussbaum wrote about anger a year after I this, drawing on Aristotle as well. He's the one, AND THEN, went on PEL to discuss when anger makes sense and when it's really stupid.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Economics of Happiness

The 60 min. documentary, Economics of Happiness, is being offered free to watch online for the month of August.

It's a thoughtful look at how we could be living if we could only let go of consumerist culture that hasn't made us particularly happy in the first place!

One Neat Trick to Lose Weight Fast

I just lost 10 pounds without even trying!!

So I was ready to give away some clothes to charity because it was time to resign myself to my middle-age body. I had to accept that I wasn't going to fit into these clothes ever again.  Then I tried them on one last time, and THEY FIT!

It's a miracle!

And, even better, this radical new program requires absolutely no change to your regular activities. You too can drop the pounds WITHOUT EXERCISE!!

(But you should still more around some because it's good for you.)

You just have to cut out this one food from your diet - JUST ONE FOOD ITEM!! And I feel as energetic as ever.

I know you're just dying to find out my secret. And I'll tell you for FREE!

What is this one neat trick??

Stop eating meat.


I stopped eating meat this spring after watching a presentation by one of my students on factory farms. It was nothing I didn't already know, but hearing it all again was the tipping point for me.  That coupled with Chris Hedges' insightful articles on why he became a vegetarian.

Because it's not just about the suffering animals in cramped quarters never seeing the light of day, and, more to the point, it's not just about maintaining my girlish figure:
"By eating meat and dairy products we aid and abet a system that is perhaps the primary cause of global warming and is pumping toxins and poisons into our bodies and the rest of the ecosystem. Animal agriculture sends more greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere than worldwide transportation. The waste and flatulence from livestock are responsible for creating at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock causes 65 percent of all emissions of anthropogenic nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. Crops raised to feed livestock consume 56 percent of the water used in the United States. Seventy percent of the crops we grow in the U.S. are fed to animals. Eighty percent of the world’s soy crop is fed to animals. It is a flagrant waste of precious and diminishing resources. It takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk."
 We can have more clean water and food for everyone and fewer GHG in our atmosphere and fewer toxins in our bodies, all by just changing our diet just a little bit.

What do you have to lose, except your waistline?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

On Teaching Philosophy to Children

There are several articles and discussions being reported about teaching philosophy to children. They largely focus on the questions should we, why, and how?

Britain has a program, Philosophy for Children (P4C), in which student get in groups to discuss philosophical issues after seeing a video or reading a story together that prompt a big question about truth, justice, reality, etc. The program is being praised because it improved reading levels.

Educator Tom Bennett suggests "the value of philosophy doesn't lie in its contribution to literacy, or indeed indirectly to any other perceived good....[suggesting it does] denies the intrinsic dignity of the activity." I agree. We shouldn't teach it to help other subjects, but for it's own benefits.

But he also makes a great point about group work in general:
"'s a good group activity when students have a strong, solid core of knowledge at the heart of the conversation. But it stumbles when students don't have a lot to say on the topic. The usual impish pitfalls of group work appear, of course: unequal loading; invisible participants; the unready, the unwilling; the workhorses; the usual suspects at the front etc. In addition to that, it's a thin exercise to do when children are asked to talk about a subject that might be new or alien to them."
Except I'm not sure his concerns apply to philosophy quite the same way they might apply to a discussion of factual events. Without a knowledge basis around WWI, I'd be at a loss in a group told to discuss the trench warfare experience. But without previous training in "truth," I think I'd still have something to say about it. And most kids have lots to say about justice.

My concern is to what extent is reading a story, followed by a discussion of it, necessarily philosophy. He addresses that as well: "I'd challenge the view that it actually makes you any better at philosophy as a discipline when you're old enough to understand it." A class discussion on a reading doesn't always provoke a philosophical discussion regardless the prompting.

Relevant aside: This last term I actually had to explain to a grade 10 class what a class discussion is. I'd say we're going to have a class discussion on a topic, and everyone would talk to their neighbour. Then I'd reel them back in to try to take turns, and they'd say, "But this is a class discussion!" I soon realized they weren't being rude, they just didn't have any idea that a class discussion doesn't mean everyone talks at once, but everyone is actually heard, one at a time, by the entire class. There's a first for everything!  But it makes me wonder if the new structure to classes is encouraging teachers to allow so much independent work that students are losing the very concept of working together as an entire class. Anyway...

What I think is most important about teaching philosophy to children is teaching them the basics of good argumentation. Before they get to the meaty topics, they have to learn a bit about problematic arguments, fallacies (ad hominems first), deflectors, etc. But that's all entirely possible to teach young children. These guys have the right idea. One example of each and most of them get the hang of it. Others catch on as the facilitator stops any bad arguments from slipping by. Soon the kids can take turns being the fallacy catcher during discussions.

But it's also important to teach children how to support their arguments so they're not just throwing out assertions willy nilly. They have to support a thesis in English and history to a point, but philosophy makes you do it by thinking instead of plonking down quotes. It's a very different skill.

And, once we get that far, then it's so exciting to find out that there are ideas out there that you've never thought of before. We're swimming in our own ideologies to the point that suggesting "democracy is a horrible form of government" can at least get kids to look up from their phones for a minute. Thinking about why you believe what you do, thinking of opposing points then refuting them (or refuting the original position) is the exciting bit. Learning to read and listen and watch critically, with an eye for flaws in the arguments and missing premises, is vital to an intelligent society. Wouldn't it be amazing to live in a civilization where people didn't easily get scammed or sucked in by poorly substantiated claims?

I think philosophy should be right up there with basic literacy and numeracy. I'd also add a basic understanding of the scientific method to that list of essentials. We need to really work with kids to make sure they can read and add, but also to make sure they understand how to figure out if an idea is likely to be right or wrong, what makes sense, and how to clarify their ideas so we can all communicate better together. AND so we can talk about something more than just the weather.

(Except right now, because this is one crazy storm we're having!)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

On Marriage and Divorce and Trolls and Haters

I moderate my comments because I once got 67 comments about carpet cleaning on one post. I rarely get comments at all, so I hate to block any I do get, but an anonymous writer sent in a comment on my recent post on Krakauer's latest book. The comment had little to do with the post; it's largely just misdirected vitriol, so I thought I'd share it here for some closer scrutiny. (Sorry about the swears.)

We men must boycott marriage, and never marry. Why? Because there are ZERO benefits for men in marriage. If you get married, there is at least a 50 percent chance that your wife will divorce you, kidnap your children from you, and steal all your money in divorce. 
So, what are the alternatives to marriage?
1. Learn how to game and seduce women
2. Fuck prostitutes
3. Masturbate to porn
Did you know that it's cheaper to fuck a prostitute once a week than to maintain a wife? You will get bored of fucking your wife after the first six months of marriage but with a prostitute you can fuck a new one every time. 
There is already a MASSIVE anti-marriage campaign worldwide, with men basically giving up on marriage and refusing to get married. Here are two recent articles on it:


This main article is from Peter Lloyd of the Daily Mail (the second article is merely reporting on the first link). Lloyd writes about a new book that suggests the falling marriage rate is all women's fault:
"Ultimately, men know there’s a good chance they’ll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and — if it all goes wrong — their family,’ says Dr Helen Smith, author of Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood And The American Dream.
Lloyd discusses primarily the legal ramifications of marriage that skew everything in favour of the mom now in Britain (and elsewhere): "The Children Act of 1989 specifically declares: ‘The rule of law that a father is the natural guardian of his legitimate child is abolished.’"

And this is a real concern. It's not uncommon for challenged power structures to flip, Animal Farm style, instead of dissolving into a beautiful puddle of equity. Until recently, women were in a position to lose everything without a husband to grant them legitimate children and a home and a name, but once women found the numbers and strategies necessary to fight back, the dynamics flipped, and now child support and custody absolutely favour women.

I know this first hand. When I was splitting from my kid's dad, I sat down to look at how much I'd need to maintain my daughter's life at the same standard of living. This is what child support is supposed to be about - making sure children don't suffer during a break-up. But then I checked the Ontario child support tables, and found that I "had a right to" THREE TIMES that amount, which amounted to almost 45% of his take home pay. So I showed him the tables, asked for a third of the suggested amount, and we did it all without lawyers or courthouses. I'm all for primary caregivers getting support, but I question an amount that leaves the secondary caregiver struggling to get by.

And I know some women might get a little greedy when they see the dollar signs, and, possibly, when they have a lawyer that suggests they should get as much as they can to invest for the child's future. It's asking a lot of people to see what they could have and hope they choose to take less. In fact, if we could manage that at all, we wouldn't be in the dire straights we're in environmentally.

I've been through this twice. The first time round, a rookie, I immediately went to a lawyer who aggressively tried to convince me to get back-pay from the moment my oldest was born - amounting to $20,000.  I knew that a lump sum payment like that would set my ex back significantly, and I declined. But I had to be firm on that. My lawyer was ready to fight for things I didn't want. I can imagine a less anti-materialistic person having a hard time refusing to get into that battle.

I'm not sure how prevalent it is for women to go for the gold. I know it happens. But what's interesting to me is how strong that stereotype is. Even though I took only what I really needed and not a penny more in order to work towards an equitable solution for the best of the kids, both exes started down the road of common lines from these types of arguments.  It took a while to erode the stereotypes enough for them to remember what I'm actually like:

I'd stop their random drop-in visits, and get the standard accusation: "You're trying to keep the kids from me!" and I'd respond with "Not at all - let's arrange another day each week at your place." And that extra day would inevitably just fall away as they realized they didn't actually want to take them more than half the time. Restrictions can be hard to live with, so a sense of freedom can help people see what actually works best.

They'd want to buy something they couldn't afford and accuse me of being in it for the money, but a quick look at my expenses, how frugally I live, and how much I could have asked for, eventually ended those random attacks. I can't afford travelling through Europe either.

It's to a point that it can be hard to be heard above the cacophony of stereotypes around broken homes: conniving moms and deadbeat dads or disney dads. I wasn't ready for it the first time round, and it took me by surprise to be automatically slated into the bad guy role, but when I heard the same words in round two, which was a very different scenario, I knew it was a bigger cultural issue and not something I was provoking. The role models of how to make this work amiably are few and far between.


First of all, the divorce rate has actually gone down significantly. It peaked at 50% shortly after becoming easier to get, but it's not still up there. But it is true that marriage is in decline. I've never actually married myself, not for the reasons Anon suggests - all those prostitutes! - but mainly because I don't think we can actually vow to love anyone for any amount of time, much less to death. I touch a bit on other thoughts here.

But it's clear from that portion of Anon's comment that he - I'm going to go right ahead and assume it's a 'he' - really sees marriage as all about sex, even about money for sex no matter how you slice it. I find this so weird in this day and age when casual sex outside of marriage is so much more acceptable. First of all, as I explain here, there's nothing that states that sex has to be part of a marriage. It's just part of what might happen. But, that being said, some studies show that sex actually gets better after marriage. Being with one person for a while can open up new adventures that don't often happen on the first try - even with a skilled professional. But there are other things partnering up can offer: an extra set of hands to help around the house, someone to actually raise children with jointly, and maybe even at chance at some company and, if it's not asking too much, support when you need a kind word or pat on the back. Yes these things can be had outside of a marriage too, but many people find them key benefits to their marriage. Whatever works.


Anon goes on to explain that the problem isn't just about marriage, but about - wait for it - feminism:
Now, there are THREE main ways we can destroy feminism forever and take women off the massive pedestal they are on. We must fund and promote the following three technologies: 
1. Virtual reality sex programs,   2. Artificial wombs,   3. Sex Robots
Once these three technologies are in place, women will no longer have any power in society. After all, why would you waste time chasing after fat women in real life when you can fuck hot supermodels in virtual reality or fuck a female sex robot? And since women's main power comes from their reproduction capacity, if we REMOVE that capacity from women through the technology of artificial wombs, then women will have ZERO power left in society and thus feminism is finished forever.

THIS is the solution, gentlemen! Now we must do our part and spread the above message to as many men as possible so that we can raise the consciousness of men worldwide. I am the guy who created the famous Boycott American Women blog, which reached around 40 million people worldwide through the internet campaign I created. Therefore I know what I am talking about.

In summary:

Do not ever get married. Simply seduce and bang women, or fuck prostitutes, and help promote the above three technologies, and we will DESTROY FEMINISM FOREVER! Thank you!

If you still have doubts about WHY you should not get married, I strongly recommend you to read the following article.

Apparently, there's a belief out there that the power feminists have comes entirely from the hold we have over men as the only means to satisfy their need for sex and children. With robots to provide these services, women would lose all their hard-won gains.

It makes me wish I could write science-fiction; I'd like to see what Robert Sawyer could do with that initial premise. I picture some men spending all their money on sex machines, the way they currently might with prostitutes, and then the rest of the world just carrying on, falling in love and marrying and having babies the old-fashioned way. It might put flesh-and-blood prostitutes out of work, but there coud be openings in other fields now that men are so busy with their robots and their "iWomb" children. Would child-care become an entirely male centred activity? If so, then it's just a flipped version of the 50s, with the men home with the kids and the sex toys, and the women freed up from their mothering and sexual duties to really get powerful.

Careful what you wish for!


It's hard when you've been destroyed by someone close to you. It's hard when you started at square one and are now twenty paces behind in the game. That really sucks. Absolutely.

It's especially hard when your expectations of relationships don't come close to matching the real world. You know that real world, where women are more than just jizz buckets who make sandwiches; they're actually people worthy of the same respect given to men. Some women are jerks, of course they are, and so are some men. That's another part of reality that can be hard to get used to. If you come to a relationship expecting a housekeeper with benefits, then I can understand your disappointment. But it's that expectation that need to shift, not the services granted by the women encountered. That's a difficult journey to begin, but I know it's possible to get there.  This guy does a great job of explaining it all:

It can feel really good to find a scapegoat for all that pain and suffering, but this is when we have to be so, so careful about what we attack next. There's a built in reaction in all mammals: the pain-aggression response. When we feel pain, we'll attack the first thing we see. Ever stub your toe then yell at your friend for something completely unrelated? It makes sense if you're in the jungle to immediately attack when pain hits, but it makes far less sense in our day-to-day lives. I believe we have big enough brains to override this instinct - most of the time.

Here's the thing: your pain is not the fault of feminists. It's got precious little to do with the movement that helped to get women up to the same legal status as men. And attacking feminists just gets you written off as a nut-job instead of really listened to, and then nothing can change.

Stereotypes are deadly.

I work to remember this myself: When another kid gets killed by police I take a minute to remind myself of all the awesome cops there are out there who are risking their lives to keep us safe. If we start assigning the behaviours of a few bad apples to the entire group, then we'll just have so many more to hate and so few allies to work towards a better way to live and love together. We can't take sides in a ridiculous war. The stakes are way too high right now. We work together as fellow citizens of this wounded planet, or we all die trying.

ETA: This link on sex with robots:
"But for all our creativity, are we so unimaginative that we can’t conceive of any other way to interact with sentient beings besides domination? The human ability to designate subhumans (in this case, robots) represents the worst in our species’ capacity; if men by and large don’t treat women well, gynoids won’t help any more than owning slaves has made men less likely to abuse their wives. We cannot improve as a society or a culture through replication."