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Dr. Helen

There’s not one of Murray’s rules that I haven’t broken

April 15th, 2014 - 9:48 am

As a lifelong curmudgeon, I was intrigued to read Charles Murray’s new book The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life. It’s a fun little guide to help people in their teens and twenties get ahead in life. I have already had a pretty good run of it as far as life goes but figured it’s never too late to learn something.

What I learned as I flipped through the chapter “On Thinking and Writing Well” is that my writing style probably sucks and I have broken nearly every rule that Murray outlined. He has you get together a “toolkit” of resources such as The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition or William Zinnser’s On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction as resources. I have never used them.

He gives a short primer to readers with a list of “serious” errors that may lead someone to think you are “hopeless.” I’m pretty sure I have made every one of those errors. For example, I have used the word “disinterested” to mean uninterested. However, Murray admits that even the Washington Post and other major publications do this so maybe my error is not so bad. Murray does not agree: “If we lose the distinctive meaning of the word, we have measurably degraded our ability to express ourselves in English.” Yikes! I have also used which instead of that, put an apostrophe in its by mistake and have probably confused affect with effect.

I guess as a psychologist and semi-writer, I view “serious” errors differently. A serious error means that a person has a bad outcome or someone else does because you missed something. A serious error is not standing up for truth in gender relations or educating people that men are people too. Perhaps we all have our different views of what constitutes a “serious error.” However, I get Murray’s point. He wants writers to learn to convey their ideas clearly and to display proper English when doing so. But I must admit that I am not one of those sticklers who demand perfection when it comes to writing, especially on the web, though many would prefer this.

Do you?

Sexism Sent Me To the ER!

April 13th, 2014 - 9:45 am

I was sucked into watching the TLC show Sex Sent Me to the ER last night after flipping through the channels and realizing that this was the best I was going to do on a weekend night. If you have never watched the show (good for you), it has three or so couples, each describing how their sexual escapades sent them to the ER and an ER doc will also narrate the situation. In the episode last night, a couple like variety and decide to heat up a large gummy bear (made of sugar, of course) and the woman begs the guy to pour it on her chest and eat it off. He does and it gives her third degree burns and his mouth is burned. They head to the ER where he is blamed for hurting his girlfriend and is given shaming looks.

Another couple has consensual sex in a pool naked and the woman gets her toe ring caught in the drain. The guy has to pull her leg to free her foot and she screams and all of her friends run to the pool to see what is going on and ask her if her boyfriend is hurting her. She goes to the ER where she is afraid of being shamed and tells her boyfriend that she is angry that he made her do it. Really? This lady looked to weigh over 300 pounds. Is she so weak that she cannot say no to sex in a pool? This nonsense where women and society pretend women are coerced into sex and men are the perps is getting old.

Another segment showed a man hauled into the ER on a gurney. He says he was “cleaning” and fell 30 feet from a window. He has broken a number of bones and the hospital calls his wife even though he does not want her there. A crazy frizzy-haired woman comes in and upon hearing from police that there looked to be more than cleaning going on, starts beating her husband.

The doctor passively stands back while his patient is beaten and talks about how he does not want to get involved. Finally, security is called and the wife is hauled away. The man has a heart attack and tells the doctor the truth: he had a hooker, was doing cocaine, tried to write a check but the hooker got angry and threw him naked from a third floor window. The doctor hopes he has learned his lesson. Wow, imagine if a man for any reason threw a woman from three floors. And would the doc have stood back if a woman was being beaten by a husband for cheating? Somehow, I doubt it.

Why are the men blamed and shamed for anything that goes wrong in a sexual encounter? Women are active participants as you can see if you watch the video below (about the couple and the gummy bear) but somehow, it is always just the man’s fault.


Generation Rex

April 11th, 2014 - 2:08 pm

I saw this NY Post article (via Drudge) about women having dogs instead of having kids:

America’s next generation of youngsters should be called “Generation Rex.”

If you’re wondering why playgrounds around the city are so quiet and dog runs are packed, a new report has an answer: More and more US women are forgoing motherhood and getting their maternal kicks by owning handbag-size canines.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that a big drop in the number of babies born to women ages 15 to 29 corresponds with a huge increase in the number of tiny pooches owned by young US women, reports the business-news site Quartz….

“I’d rather have a dog over a kid,” declared Sara Foster, 30, a Chelsea equities trader who says her French bulldog, Maddie, brings her more joy than a child.

“It’s just less work and, honestly, I have more time to go out. You . . . don’t have to get a baby sitter.”

The federal data behind the report show that over the past seven years, the number of live births per 1,000 women between ages 15 and 29 in America has plunged 9 percent.

Given that fewer and fewer men want to marry, I wonder how much of this dog substitute for a child is because fewer men want to marry and there are fewer choices for partners for women? Or have women just bought into the feminist propaganda that life with a dog is just better? Maybe it is for now, but will it always be?

This article says that “in the U.S., 40 percent of women near the end of their childbearing years have fewer children than they would like”:

So what’s driving this gap between ideal and actual family size? Among others things, delays in childbearing, which may be caused by increases in educational attainment, or by the lack of a suitable partner, may play a role. Starting childbearing at a later age means that there are fewer years for a woman to meet her fertility ideals, plus it increases the risk of age-related infertility.

Are women really happy being dog owners for life or is it a phase? What about when they are 40? Will Fluffy be enough?

*****

Crossposted at PJ Lifestlye

April 11th, 2014 - 6:58 am

Women for Men: Two different versions of The Mask You Live In.

I have been thinking about this lately after a reader of my book pointed out to me that he felt prostitution should be made legal in order to give men more freedom from marriage and being tied down to a relationship in the hopes of getting sex. If prostitution were legal, men could get sex more readily and not be so dependent on getting involved with women. Given how dangerous it can be these days for men, between being called a rapist, a sexual harasser or a pervert, it makes sense that legal prostitution might be a good solution for some men that want to avoid the risks inherent in taking on a wife or long term (or short term) relationship with a woman. I looked at a couple of articles about why prostitution was illegal and found this article at Slate:

In 1999, Sweden made it legal to sell sex but illegal to buy it—only the johns and the traffickers can be prosecuted. This is the only approach to prostitution that’s based on “sex equality,” argues University of Michigan law professor Catherine MacKinnon.

It treats prostitution as a social evil but views the women who do it as the victims of sexual exploitation who “should not be victimized again by the state by being made into criminals,” as MacKinnon put it to me in an e-mail. It’s the men who use the women, she continued, who are “sexual predators” and should be punished as such.

….Sweden’s way of doing things is a big success. “In the capital city of Stockholm the number of women in street prostitution has been reduced by two thirds, and the number of johns has been reduced by 80%.” Trafficking is reportedly down to 200 to 400 girls and women a year, compared with 15,000 to 17,000 in nearby Finland. Max Waltman, a doctoral candidate in Stockholm who is studying the country’s prostitution laws, says that those stats hold up. He also said the police are actually going after the johns as ordered: In 2006, more than 150 were convicted and fined. (That might not sound like many, but then Sweden has a population of only 9 million.)

For feminists like MacKinnon (with whom Waltman works), this sure looks like the solution: Go after the men! Take down Eliot Spitzer and leave the call girls alone! On the other hand, the group SANS, for Sex Workers and Allies Network in Sweden, doesn’t like the 1999 law.

My question after reading this mind-numbing drivel? How can it be legal to sell sex but illegal to buy it? Who are you selling sex to if no men are allowed to buy it? Of course, any time one sees a feminist of the Catherine MacKinnon ilk, all logic goes out the window as long as men are rounded up and put in jail. This is sick, twisted logic and has no place in a free society. It was a group of women who apparently banned prostitution in the US according to this Wikipedia entry:

Originally, prostitution was widely legal in the United States. Prostitution was made illegal in almost all states between 1910 and 1915 largely due to the influence of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

Perhaps women don’t want the competition from prostitutes for resources from men? Or they just feel disgusted that a man might be able to get sex so easily? I do wonder if men were able to go freely to prostitutes without fear of jail time if it would free them sexually from female and (and state) control? Or do you think there would be more problems caused by it?

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Social psychologist Milt Rosenberg of Ricochet.com and his own Website interviews me about Men on Strike:

Law firm’s edgy ads make the point that men often get the shaft in family court:

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach attorney is using an over-the-top advertising campaign to highlight a serious problem – the bias some men experience in family court.
The Firm for Men’s new commercial shows a man cheering about his divorce and his new “hot girlfriend.” It’s one of many new advertisements the law firm just began using to get men’s attention. They also plan to post a billboard that reads: “Just because she gave birth doesn’t make her the better parent.”

“We feel it shows men in a positive light, and it shows that life isn’t over because of divorce,” said attorney Jason Swango. “The ads say ‘we’re here for you, but you can also have a good ending.’”

The Firm for Men only represents men in divorce, custody cases, or family court battles — battles Swango says men historically don’t win.

“Men absolutely have the deck set against them, absolutely,” Swango said. “That’s why we are trying to bring awareness.”

Swango believes women fare better in court, especially in cases involving children.

“To be honest, why should the woman get everything?” said Swango. “She shouldn’t. It wasn’t built that way when she got married. Why should it be built that way when they divorced?”

I was watching the Suze Orman show the other day and it seemed like every other call was a woman trying to get her husband’s pension, bank account or other cash with willing partner Suze trying to tell her how. This ad is not “over the top, ” it sounds pretty accurate to me.

I Loved the Ending of How I Met Your Mother

April 2nd, 2014 - 12:21 pm

I watched the season finale to How I Met Your Mother Monday night and I thought they did a superb job with the ending. Apparently, many people were disappointed with the ending and let their feelings be known. I was always just disappointed that Robin and Ted were no longer together in the later shows and that they ended up together was a great way to wrap things up. It took the show full circle and gave it a twist at the end. It was already suspected that the mom was dead at the end of the show but that Ted hooked back up with Robin was a surprise and I thought the writers handled it beautifully. I know that some of you have no interest in such silly sitcoms but for those who watched the show, what was your opinion of the ending?

Confessions of a Failed Slut

March 31st, 2014 - 6:17 am

Kathy Shaidle emails to let me know she has a new book out called Confessions of A Failed Slut. Sounds fascinating.

I thought about this as my husband tried to explain to me that tectonic plates in the earth cause earthquakes and that a mild quake did not mean that California would plunge into the ocean. I was in Santa Monica the week before last when the first earthquake woke me up around 6:30 a.m. and I felt like the earth would give way. It might have been that I have bad motion sickness but I felt woozy for hours afterwards. Today, I heard about the earthquake in Oklahoma and Kansas and again my husband explained the physics of the earth tremors and why my fear that the earth would “explode” was unwarranted.

I remember the smelling salts my high school physics teacher, Mr. Kroll, used to put under my nose to wake me up while I slept through his class in the late afternoon. Looking back, I am infuriated by my utter lack of interest in the knowledge he was trying to impart to the class and the importance of it. There are so many aspects of the physical world that I do not understand because I did not pay attention in high school physics. We need to know these things, even those of us that aren’t in the hard sciences; at least we should know the basics. Now, as an adult, I will have to try to understand the basics without Dr. Kroll to help me. I should have listened in physics class many years ago.

Any suggestions for a basic physics book? I found some that looked good but if you know of better ones, drop the title in the comments. Thanks!

Update: Thanks so much for all the suggestions and lessons so far, they are extremely helpful to me.

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Confessions of a Failed Slut