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Wednesday, January 3. 2007
A villainously good post from Villainous Company. One quote:
Read the entire, thoughtful piece.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 20:04 | Comments (28) | Trackbacks (0)
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Instapundit has the same topic up top, currently. The financial effect on the children, you'd think would be decisive in favor of commitment. What's wrong? Is HSS the Faustian Bargain of American decline?
To any of you who are happily married, more power to you, and count your blessings. I guess Bird Dog will just sigh in exasperation when I say this, but my basic attitude towards marriage is that it is a life sentence. And you can either make it a living hell or try to make the best of it.
Either way, marriage was designed by God primarily for the nurture and upbringing of children to love and serve God, not primarily for the enjoyment of the parents. I believe that is more important to be a good parent than a good spouse. One's duty to one's children is more important than frivolous wishes to amuse oneself with a spouse.
I think marriage improves both husband and wife, because we both have to overcome our natural selfishness and give in to the other, to avert bloodshed. THis is good for our characters, if not for our morale. In addition, husbands and wives bully each other into working, overcoming bad habits, taking on feared burdens, etc. and can help each other stagger thru the valley of the shadow of death when a child is diagnosed with a disability or a relative goes mad.
But marriage is not much fun, in my experience. This is my deficiency, the result of my bad character and screwed up upbringing, not the fault of the institution. I took to motherhood as a duck to water, but marriage has been a mighty puzzlement to me...I enjoy being with my children far more than with my spouse.
I am an absolutely rotten spouse, but I am a good mother. Being a wife has been a humbling experience of discovering one bad side of myself after another, and letting down another person repeatedly despite all wedding day good intentions...It has not been a haven, or a source of much comfort or joy, tho I think I have managed to give a certain amount of support to a spouse bludgeoned by unemployment, denied depression, etc..
I am grateful that I have children whose parents are married, however unhappily. I would rather be married to someone who is a good father than someone who is nice to me. Because in the long run, my children's welfare is far more important than my own.
I have never yet seen a marriage where the parents put each other first that the children did not suffer (my own parents certainly did). I think it is more important that the young be loved, nurtured, challenged and educated than that the grownups be happy. Remember watching a documentary about peregrine falcons, I think, when pregnant with my first kid. The mother and father birds wore themselves out bringing home prey to their ever hungry brood. That was God's plan for their life, not flying off happily into the wild blue yonder together and leaving the baby birds with a sitter.
I dare say people would like me better and I might even be happier if I shucked off my maternal responsibilities occasionally , but I would be wrong to do so. Nobody forced me to have kids. I wanted to. My children are the people I love most in the world. A spouse is for life, but it's not as important a relationship. Marriage is a sacred and lifelong obligation, and is the best place to rear children. But not because it is good for the parents. It is better for children to have constant access to both parents, and it is easier for parents to deal with colicky infants and difficult teenagers with another grownup to relieve them at times...
I have no warm and fuzzy feelings about marriage but I financially support my unemployed spouse, get him the medical care he needs, cook, clean, listen to, take care of him. But I would unhesitatingly save my children's lives before his. And he would do the same. Our most important common commitment is to putting our kids first.
Perhaps simply because both of us grew up literally beaten, abused, tormented by totally f__ed up Ivy League Wasps who were externally pillars of the community, who put themselves and their marriages way ahead of their parental responsibilities. Like it or not, some people have actually been abused as kids and didn't just make it all up at some unscrupulous shrinks' manipulations. Those of us who have survived such things give short shrift to frivolous adults who do not take good care of their children. Of course, as our own shrinks will remind us tediously, we try to give our own children the tender care we were denied.
Children either repeat their parents' mistakes or frantically swing to the opposite extreme.
So I believe divorce is a sin (not least because I daily try to heal the wounds my husband suffered during his own parents' divorce), and I am a frugal, faithful, and caring wife albeit one with the tongue of Xantippe at times, but I would never in a million years put my husband ahead of my children. A grownup can take care of themself, altho they might long to be taken care of.
As I have told my confidante many times, I believe that the medieval image of marriage as two yoked together, pulling a heavy burden, is pretty accurate.
It's not for the faint of heart. I married because I wanted to have children and love and educate them. No doubt, I was too selfish and immature to have married. But my children, I think, are glad that I did.
The fact that you face these things straight on, bodes well, i think. It may mean you have it under control, and can fix whatever needs fixing, if anything.
A couple of observations. There is little doubt that American men as a whole are much more feminized than The Greatest Generation. There's really no comparison. I mentioned Peter Panism in a post yesterday and it is SO relevent to our society to day it makes you wanna cry. Grow old ,don't grow up is the mantra for the Bummer Generation, male and female. I could go on ad nauseum but here are some very good articles on this matter.
Ever heard of GRUPS? Well this is us.
Old Chinese proverb.
A womans tongue is her sword and she takes great care never to let it rust.
Biological fact: As men age they lose testosterone. As women age they gain testosterone.
Alexander Dumas."Women inspire us with great dreams that she will prevent us from accomplishing.
Robert Frost." A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes"
Finally todays vocabulary word. Xanthippe
I learned from exchanges @ Belmont, that habu's dad flew with Pappy Boyington. My dad flew a B-17, and was shot down over Germany in 1944, surviving as a POW to come home and father a houseful of li'l boomers, including my wufless ass. Like habu, i feel we are definitely inferior to the greatest generation. Why, they smoked wherever the hell they wanted--who was gonna stop 'em? Now we go outside and hunch into the blizzard for a craven drag or two. What the hell happened?
Socrates when asked about marriage said:
"Do what you want, either way you will regret it."
Wow, Habu, (I said that while typing- fingers, no tongue!), you'd like the student/ frat boy scene in Borat's new movie.
That Socrates is perfect. I also like Ambrose Bierce's
"Admiration, n.: Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves."
Ambrose Bierce,H.L. Menchen,Oscar Wilde,Mark Twain ... so many many good writers and we haven't even mentioned, well I'm about to.... Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
I intend in another two years to hike,ride horses, shoot my guns and at days end read all the great novels I've missed, while sitting on my mountainside Montana ranchhouse.
Come on up Buddy.
Dear Buddy: We have our fathers in common.WIth regard to marriage--the bottom line if you will is that both partners must come to the middle. To the place where male/female can agree on what is true--what is important. It does not matter if there is one spoiled child in the marriage, or two. The fact is that for either to be comfortable in the marriage, both have to agree that the strengths of the other are important to the success of the whole. Courtesy, concern, compassion, and great wit help! I believe that when we discuss marriage--we are discussing something different than the subject of raising children. I have seen some wonderful men work very hard to raise daughters by themselves. I have seen some horrible women destroy beautiful sons, because they did not have as delightful a professional career as their husband had. It is about individual's sense of honesty, and integrity. Skip the psycho babble! Finally, it is about self esteem--BOTH must have a good sense of what is fair play in order to get to the next anniversary. We have the big silver one coming up this year. The daughters are busy planning the whole big thing. What they don't know is that dad and I always have our worst confrontations the two weeks before each anniversary! Figure that one out! The rest of the year we take good pleasure in each making enough of a contribution (sacrifice) to make the whole thing work better. But, then again if you are married to a self centered, lazy ass SOB--you are the one who is wrong--for staying with the guy. Where is your courage? Why the hell can't you get up and get out and take care of those kids on your own? My great grandmother did that, my grandmother did that, my mother did that, and so did I (until she was 16). Oh dear--what just happened to that idea of independence? Did that just get flushed at the thought of being solely responsible?
Perhaps this is too atavistic but I do not believe there is a better person to raise children than their Mom's. I can't turn the clock back to a time when it took one breadwinner, usually the man, to have a good life. The kids got the supervision,love, and guidance all day long from Mom. Dad reinforced Mom when he go home and provided a non gender-bending role model.
Now, it's all gone except for a very few. We have a Nanny state and men who run for president who proudly proclaim themselves metrosexuals, deeply in touch with their feminine side.
To say when I was growing up that it's what I expected our society to be like challenges my vocabulary. Pity comes to mind, but so does anger.
Yes, I agree Habu. I tried to publish a correction notice, but I see that it has not been posted. Beginning with the words: But, then again, and going to the end was intended for Xantippe--not you.
My grandmother, my mother and myself have all kept the door open for the children's father to come through and be their parent whenever they have felt like it (no monetary conditions applied). Today's women are really something else. They don't have the courage to leave, they won't work at forcing an improvement int he relationship, all they want is to be pitied--and, I am sick of that BS! If on the other hand a woman stays with a man because she wants to stay at home and be a mother then she needs to be honest--say that out loud, without expecting pity. She can go back to school, and start taking courses that would prepare her to leave as soon as the youngest is in school full time. Or, she can force him to marriage counseling. But, don't bore me with your GD martyrdom!
Yes, it is best for children to have one full time parent at home--but, if that can't happen,we must not forget that there is something just as good: deal with your children with honesty. Help them to grow strong because of your own personal courage.
Sorry, I am just sick of the whining! We have one couple, the wife has been miserably married to a truly wonderful guy for 12 years. The reason--she couldn't get the fullest career she wanted as a tv reporter while being married. He held the marriage together for years. Now the boys are on their own--she gets a divorce, husband moves to another country and starts his life all over and guess who shows up on our door step weeping that she did not udnerstand what she had?
Second scenario: I have an 8 year old little nephew (2nd). His mom just died of breast cancer at the age of 41. He was a late in life baby. Both parents worked AND SHE sewed toys for her son's class AND she made sure there were home baked treats for every holiday for all the children in her son's class AND she made sure that every evening he was given her undivided attention so that he reads and does math and science at an advanced level. When she found out she was terminal she refused pain killers in order to stay alert until the end for when he would come home from school she continued to prepare him for the real world and what was to come; she continued to school him, etc. It was not until the cancer had burst through the skin and she was a month away from dying would she take a pain pill. She finally allowed herself to take one children's Tylenol every 4 hours--she did not want to really miss any minutes with him--just to take the edge off of the pain a little bit.
Don't come whining to me about the inconvenience of a lazy ass SOB and the conflict you feel about what is best for your kids--martyred parents create angry and weak children.
Sometimes a marriage isnít right from the outset for a partner, but once children are in the picture, that person elects to stay married until the kids are of age and on their own. Parents divorcing is still difficult on grown children, and while it seems best to do it as amicably as possible, I think the challenge lies in not giving the kids the impression that marital commitment isnít important, because it is.
Thatís the most difficult part for me, but I think mine has understood how much Iíve deferred for her sake and she's being a loving kid about it all. Am thrilled to see that her taste in guy friends runs to brilliant and capable manly men who arenít competitive with or insecure wrt women. Best part- they are all wonderful friends and mutually supportive. Most of them want marriage and kids and understand the importance of a stable home life and donít dismiss traditional roles out of hand. Girls these days have a lot going on, a lot of professional opportunity, but not as strident feminists, thankfully, and it looks as if theyíre learning how to accommodate meeting their ďpotentialĒ while being good wives and mothers. Anyway, some of this generation have it right, despite their parentsí foibles!
I'll say. Thoughtful and honest. And a little painful, too.
Very moving and interesting posts here on marriage and manliness, femininty and love. Thanks all.
This might be o/t but the following is a snip from a recent series run on WorldNetDaily by James Rutz that caught my attention. I know some people refer to World Net Daily as World Nut Daily but I am curious if soy consumption is really something to consider monitoring or is this just one more verse being sung by the 'we're all doomed' chorus? The article makes some claims that the UK, France and New Zealand are going to crack down hard on soy products for infants and a quick google search I did turns up some confirmations of this alongside disputes and offence taken with the WND headline that pronounces soy is making kids 'gay'.
Soy is making kids 'gay'
December 12, 2006
There's a slow poison out there that's severely damaging our children and threatening to tear apart our culture. The ironic part is, it's a "health food," one of our most popular.
Now, I'm a health-food guy, a fanatic who seldom allows anything into his kitchen unless it's organic. I state my bias here just so you'll know I'm not anti-health food.
The dangerous food I'm speaking of is soy. Soybean products are feminizing, and they're all over the place. You can hardly escape them anymore.
I have nothing against an occasional soy snack. Soy is nutritious and contains lots of good things. Unfortunately, when you eat or drink a lot of soy stuff, you're also getting substantial quantities of estrogens.
Estrogens are female hormones. If you're a woman, you're flooding your system with a substance it can't handle in surplus. If you're a man, you're suppressing your masculinity and stimulating your "female side," physically and mentally.
In fetal development, the default is being female. All humans (even in old age) tend toward femininity. The main thing that keeps men from diverging into the female pattern is testosterone, and testosterone is suppressed by an excess of estrogen.-snip-
What does this say about the Asian populations? There isn't an increased level of male homosexuality among them, is there?
Still, food is a chemical and it helps to consider all possible effects. I breast-fed for a year and didnít use formula, but understand that soy-based formula for infants -purportedly- has carcenogenic lysoealine and nitrosamines, phytates which block good mineral absorption, agents causing need for increased B12 and which block essential fat uptake, excessive aluminum, and even allergens on top of being a poor protein source and providing too many phytoestrogens.
Breast is best! And then after that, beef, of course. Organic, free-ranging, and Texas grown.
Debates about spelling aside, I do not consider it whining to be honest about difficulties. Jesus himself said that you should count the cost.
There are many women who run at the first sign of trouble. I don't doubt that this is best in cases of physical abuse, chronic drug abuse, or discovering that one has married a criminal. But there are also many of us who stay because we believe in keeping our marriage vows. Yes, we find it difficult at times to make nice about it. But we stay, and we look after the SOB in sickness and in health not because we enjoy whining, but because we do not take promises lightly. I don't expect a medal or even for anyone to like me for my choices, but at least I am not a quitter, and at least I keep myword.
How awful to grow up in a family where every woman abandonned her mate, one generation after another! No woman is as good a parent singly as two imperfect parents can be together. Kids need both mother and father, each making up for the other's deficiiencies.
Obviously, I remind myself daily that I'm not that great a catch either! But. more importantly, what I teach my children by staying with their father is that grownups can be trusted, that they keep their promises, and that people will keep on doing the loving thing even when the loving feelings have evaporated. That two grownups can put aside their differences to cherish the children they created together. I believe that feelings follow actions, not the reverse.
I've been in love, hopelessly, desperately so. I've thought the sun, moon and the stars not so beautiful as a beloved's face, sound of his voice, etc. I am no man hater. Romantic love redeems the world. But that was for the happy days of youth. When we grow up, we set it aside and try to be good citizens, faithful spouses, responsible parents. I am sorry if you find my description disagreeable.
As I said, more power to you if you still have the hots for your beloved. God has blessed you. You didn't say if you had children? Just don't dare to tell me that I damage my children by acting with integrity, by keeping my promises, by putting their needs ahead of the romantic dream. Real women don't abandon their mates. Real women may rant and rave to friends or doctors, and sound quite fierce and obnoxious, but then we go home and cook him a good dinner, and listen to his discouragent and offer encouragement for the millionth time, and pray always that God will heal a situation that all the effort and good intentions in the world have not yet fixed.
And if you want to call that whining, that's your privilege.
Re-reading Habu and Apple Pie, I should say that I think mothers should stay at home full time with their children. I did for eight years. But when my savings ran out and my husband continued unemployed, and my youngest needed expensive medical care, I went back to work so that we could pay the doctor and so that we could eat. The profession I trained for and loved, would have been too hard on my kids (the hours) so I took a "mommy" job that left me free when the kids were home from school to drive them, bake their cupcakes, attend their sports, etc.
THere are many of us traditional mothers who would like the luxury of being at home full time, but who do not have successful enough husbands to do that. I hardly think ditching hubby and inflicting visitation battles on my kids would have helped anyone under the circumstances. Whereas staying and struggling to survive together at least kept some things constant for the kids. Not all working mothers do it to "fulfill" themselves or to escape the home or to buy expensive toys. Some of us do what we have to to feed and care for our families. Don't add insult to injury by castigating our attitude about our situation. If you haven't been in my situation, tais-toi!
Be happy with what you know is right for you and yours, X-----. Sometimes other peopleís opinions and actions disappoint, but what can you do, other than to follow your heart and conscience? Thereís no easy fixing other peopleís insecurities, so we fix our own and need to be satisfied with our choices and doings, yes?
Expectations are best seasoned with the spices at hand, fer sher.
Good golly, yes, but expectations are the hardest to digest, no matter the seasoning.
Thanks for your input anonymous. I see so many young people who are tofu vegetarians and lots of my menopausal women friends are chugging down soy milk for hot flashes so the subject peaked my interest. I figure the amounts of phytoestrogens from soy now being consumed is unprecedented but I had no idea there was a soy/manliness controversy until I did some google searches today. It is getting to be a hot debate with tempers flaring and conspiracy theories flying. There is a ton of conflicting information even as regards the common belief that all Asians eat a lot of soy (miso contains no phytoestrogens). So I went to the Cornell site and found the following. It pretty much says there is no good information on the subject yet.
-Phytoestrogens are chemicals found in plant foods that can act like estrogen in the body.-
-infants fed soy formula have blood levels of phytoestrogens that are far greater than normal levels of estrogen in infants. No studies have examined the health effects of children eating phytoestrogen-rich foods. Long-term studies that look at the health benefits and risks of soy-based infant formulas and eating phytoestrogen-rich foods as a child are needed.-
In regards to marriage and masculine/feminine love in marriage today, I am finding quite a lot of confusion and disappointment and anger from many men and women lately from both the young and old. I know one couple who were together for 25 years and finally got married two years ago and that union is now kaput. With or without kids or pressing economic responsibilities or deep religious beliefs to hold them together, many people today bail out of their marriages and I think many of them probably live to regret that too.
Some clarifications for X___.
Abuse is a learned character flaw; the actions are the same any where in the world. Some of them include physical battery (why my grandmother left). Some include adultery(why my mother left), and some include both (why I left). I have been lucky the second time around ; but that is not to say we are as well paid as we deserve; that is not to say we have not had to help each other learn to live with greater grace, and tolerance. Nor does it mean that we have had an easy time of it--we have in fact had some very difficult times. I just don't believe in wallowing in it, like you I believe in getting up every morning and trying to make this day as good as it can be for both of us!
You gals have a lot of heart, and you should appreciate yourselves, I hope you do.
I just lost my best piece ever here on this comment page. I will not try to re-write, merely to hope that I will remember to use WORD first.
I only want to say that we do appreciate each other.
I can only say that it is these words that have been my strongest guide. They are pasted on my kitchen cabinet:
"the best you can do--is to help the weakest among you become the best THEY can be".
Hope that helps X__ extract herself from the pain of no hope, while show her the possible way to move beyond what is.