Friday, April 17, 2015

Errata for the Week of April 10th

Remember yesterday's post when I said I was pressed for time, and a better blogger would have just waited to click "publish," but I didn't? Do you remember? That was awesome. Actually, it wasn't. I completely left out the proximate article that got me thinking along those lines: ESPN reporter Britt McHenry's merciless critique of a towing company employee's appearance brought on by McHenry's car being towed. Because the woman's weight and teeth had something to do with whether or not McHenry's car legitimately deserved towing, I guess?

I talked about these things with my wife last night, and she wondered why men are competitive, but they don't compete like women do. I said men are competitive within a sphere, but they ignore the things outside the sphere. So if I'm competing with a guy at work, his work and my work are what matter, not who looks like what. Another guy's looks start to matter when, let's say, we're competing for the affections of the same woman. But I give absolutely no thought to whether I'm better- or worse-looking than the men in my office, unless someone is ridiculously good-looking, and then I'm like, "Dude, well played." But women will go from competing at work to critiquing physical appearance. Again, some women might say it's because guys put it in their minds. I don't know if that's true or not. But I do know that women's all-out assault on their rivals seems a lot more like the description of sociopathic behavior described in Snakes in Suits (a book which, despite its repeated pleas to not use the text to diagnose sociopaths, I find indispensable in my hobby of diagnosing sociopaths). So, you read it here first: women are sociopaths. (Look for a walk-back on that statement in next week's errata.)

While discussing these things in front of our kids last night, my wife mentioned a body-positive ad campaign from Always. Our 12-year-old daughter said, "I don't know what Always makes." I said, "You are not going to like my answer." I said this because she has been creeped out by human sexuality her whole life. When she was about five years old I tried to explain to her the appropriate name for her genitals, and how with women there isn't just one name for the whole deal. She cut me off to explain, "I just call it 'The Babymaker.'" I reminded her of that two nights ago when I was telling my wife about an article entitled "The Case for Teaching Kids 'Vagina,' 'Penis,' and 'Vulva.'" At that point my daughter asked, "Isn't vulva a type of car?" I said, "No, it's what you've told me before you call 'The Babymaker.'" She said, "I still call it that, or I call it 'The Weird Thing.'" I said, "It's not weird." She disagreed. I said, "Your eyes do a crazy job but you don't call them 'the weird things.' No body part is weird. It's just maybe not as well-understood by you." But she insisted that it was weird.

Anyway, that's why I told her, "You are not going to like my answer." I explained, "There are two ways of dealing with menstruation. Well, there are three, but the third one creeps out Mom." I explained tampons, pads, and my wife's nemesis, the Diva Cup.

Anyway, on to issue number two: here's an article about helicopter parenting being illogical in a time of increasing children's safety. While I agree, I think the article does a poor job by not addressing this question: are children safer now because of helicopter parenting? How can you cite declining numbers of children pedestrians, cite declining numbers of vehicle-versus-children-pedestrian accidents, and come to the conclusion that children should be allowed to walk around more often? You should show that children who walk are safer, not all children.

Notice that the couple in Maryland in a battle with their county had their children abducted by agents of the state who wanted to make the case that, if you let your kids walk around, they can be abducted. An abduction doesn't stop being an abduction simply because it's conducted under the threat of state-sanctioned violence.

Thirdly, here's an AP article about the increased number of Mormon missionaries not leading to an increase in the conversion rate. Some Mormons, though, are aware that missionary success is not measured in conversions (see Hel. 7:1-3, cf. Hel. 10:4-5). The increased missionary effort can be described as "hastening the work," not "increasing conversion." Some Mormons might be troubled by this "lack of effectiveness," but thoughtful ones shouldn't be.

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