David Thompson
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June 13, 2016

Comments

Jonathan

Did someone order this?

sH2

Instead, Ms Penny thrills to the “growing power of uncoupled women” and “the threat this poses to the socioeconomic status quo.”

She's right in a sense. The welfare bill for even more single mothers could screw with the economy. Or isn't that what she meant?

David

Or isn’t that what she meant?

Quite. Though chronic dependency on the state, on the coerced forbearance of others, is a strange definition of power, or of “personal autonomy.”

David

On the upside, you don’t often hear the words “commune” and “career” in the same sentence.

Jen

"Do you actually want to spend years taking care of children and a partner when it's hard enough taking care of yourself?"

Speaks volumes.

Rob

Misery demands company.

David

Speaks volumes.

It does suggest an arrested, narrow and rather joyless view of human intimacy. Conventional coupling is disdained as merely the result of conformity and mental dullness, not love, and little more than a chore – “emotional labour… cleaning and cooking, the wiping of snotty noses… the remembering of food allergies… even if you’re lucky… a lifetime of domestic management.” Even the remembering of birthdays is framed as unpaid labour, a ghastly imposition, too much to bear. And curiously, the idea that a committed partner will reciprocate and take care of us, make us feel stronger and more capable, doesn’t seem to feature in her thinking. Or rather, her posturing.

Microbillionaire
Women everywhere are simply going on strike

I don't know about "everywhere".

But in the West, it's increasingly the men who are going on strike re marriage. For extended discourse on the matter, try Dalrock. The long and the short of it is perhaps this - there is little reason to marry any more, the classics of sex, children and helpmeet being increasingly disconnected from marriage, and much reason not to marry, due to presumption of male guilt in in practically every aspect of marital conflict.

David

Speaks volumes.

And again, you have to wonder, what would have happened if Laurie’s own parents had pursued a similar vision – scorning monogamous commitment and family stability as a thankless chore, an inconvenience best avoided. Would Laurie’s own rather comfortable middle-class upbringing, and her subsequent career as a thrusting leftwing columnist, have been quite so viable? Does she believe that her parents’ marriage and relationship were merely “a systemic lie designed to manipulate women into lifelong emotional labour”?

Dr Cromarty

Orlando, you know where 50 gay people have been shot was and more injured has just brought hatred of Laurie to the fore.

https://twitter.com/PennyRed/status/742267122831765504

Hey! She's the *real* victim here

#PrayForPenny

dw

Which would explain all those cheery, contended articles she churns out.

Nearly choked on my sandwich. Damn you, Thompson!

Nikw211

Instead, Ms Penny thrills to the “growing power of uncoupled women” and “the threat this poses to the socioeconomic status quo

Not entirely unrelated, I don’t think, is that Universal Basic Income (UBI) seems to be growing in popularity as the latest cause du jour just one of the arguments for which is the following:

    Patriarchy has put the world’s wealth in the hands of men, prevented women from being professionals and entrepreneurs, forced poor women into dead-end second-class labor jobs, and forced all women to become unpaid domestic servants and caretakers of the young, elderly, and disabled of their families. Women have been forced to be financially dependent on fathers or husbands who are often abusive. A basic income would change all of this. A basic income would be a massive transfer of wealth from men to women. Women would be free of financial dependence on any man, and the young, elderly, and disabled would all be fully supported. Women could afford to leave abusive husbands, those who chose to be caretakers would be fully compensated, and no woman would be forced into a dead-end job, and would instead be able to pursue her own financial goals as she saw fit.

No, really.

If this is being touted as an advantage of UBI, I can’t imagine what the disadvantages must look like.

David

Nearly choked on my sandwich.

No refunds. Credit note only.

jabrwok

Penny is advocating a return to matriarchy. The female-centered kinship system where fatherhood is a matter of opinion. She apparently thinks that without confidence in their own status as fathers, men will still be willing to work, bleed, kill, and die to protect and provide for women and *their* children.

One of the many problems with this perspective is that we can *see* what happens when traditional marriage is abandoned or actively destroyed: ghettos. The black underclass in the U.S. and, per Theodore Dalrymple's _Life at the Bottom_, the dolist classes in Britain, suffer from rampant illegitimacy and welfare-dependence. These are not "strong, independent" women (or men), they're bums. Parasites on the body politic, living on monies extorted via taxation from the working classes.

If men can't have guaranteed fatherhood, then we'll see more and more men deciding that marriage, which is already a bad deal in many ways given the divorce laws, simply isn't worth the bother. As Penny mentions, unmarried mothers are likely to be poor. Unmarried *men* on the other hand, do quite well for ourselves if we have any kind of work-ethic (granted, many don't, especially if they were raised in mother-headed, single-parent households in the ghettos). I suppose the next step is to significantly increase taxes on those hateful, commito-phobic shitlords to support the strong, independent womyn who bear children out of wedlock. Because "equality" or somesuch.

Microbillionaire mentioned Dalrock, so I'll put in a plug for Daniel Amneus' book The case for father custody. It could've used a better editor, but he essentially predicted everything Penny advocates.

PiperPaul

"pretentious teenager hoping to scandalise elderly relatives"

That does seem like an appropriate metaphor for whole swaths of the loud, loony left.

David

One of the many problems with this perspective is that we can *see* what happens when traditional marriage is abandoned or actively destroyed: ghettos… unmarried mothers are likely to be poor.

No, it doesn’t seem to result in much “personal autonomy” or any great swelling of human happiness. But Laurie feels that she and people like her should be able to self-determine how much of other people’s earnings are distributed their way, regardless of any effort or merit on their own part, and regardless of their own bad choices, thereby allowing them to avoid the chores and responsibilities endured by the little people.

Iowa Jim

For a picture of the ravishing Ms. Penny:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/18/laurie-penny-s-in-your-face-feminism.html

TheTooner

"... Universal Basic Income (UBI) ... Women would be free of financial dependence on any man,..."

So none of us, men, will have to contribute any taxes to fund the UBI? On that basis, sure, I'm in.

Burnsie

Feminists and the Left have fetishized single motherhood since the early 1980s, if not earlier, with the unsupportable assertion that all would be perfect if only society picked up the cost of raising these kids. This UBI nonsense has been around forever, in one form or another.

Does Ms. Penny realize she is mouthing the same dreary platitudes we've heard for nearly 40 years? My guess is "no." I'm sure she views herself as so radically transgressive when these ideas pop into her head.

MC

Narcissistic personality disorder: a career not an illness...

I'd like to think that Penny might feel differently about the world if she's in the same state when she's 40, but I suspect she is so fundamentally selfish that eternal spinsterhood won't bother her a bit. More 'me' time.

On the subject of marriage, despite its flaws it remains popular. It's often pointed out that gay marriage was not an issue, say 15 years ago. That may be true, but the number of my gay friends who have got married in the past five years or so suggests there was a fair bit of pent-up demand for it. Marriage is a good thing and people recognise that.

Jeff Guinn

So much deeply wrong in Red Penny's word salad that it proves, as if further proof is needed, that New Statesman's editorial standards are on the Voyager spacecraft, hurtling through interstellar space.

Challenge to the dread Red: re-write without passive voice.

Betcha can't do it.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

For a picture of the ravishing Ms. Penny:

This one is more flattering.

MC

2,252 words; 'I' or 'me' used about 70 times.

Gender fluid salad dressing

Re: flattering picture
Gordon Brown was also accomplished snot eater himself.

"We haf ze ways to make you laf."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DQ61G9ir0Q

Hedgehog

without confidence in their own status as fathers, men will still be willing to work, bleed, kill, and die

Except for the work part, they seem to be willing to do that, as the body count in Chicago every weekend makes abundantly clear. And ultimately that is the hellhole that reliance on Laurie Penny's advice will bring about. Of course she will somehow still be able to have a home in an upscale neighborhood and find readers for her drivel. Because mass societal disintegration will leave her corner of the world magically untouched.

But other than that, the advocating for the UBI, the claim that families are unnecessary for the rearing of children, the idea of the state as the ultimate provider, these are all hallmarks of every totalitarian society. The Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization, the Hitlerjugend, East Germany's Freie Deutsche Jugend, the Kim Il-Sung Socialist Youth League, and on and on, all of them are a way for the state to take children away from their families and raise them within the governing ideology and turn them away from their bourgeois tendencies.

There is a lot of totalitarianism in mainstream feminism.

Pat

Sounds like, because she wants this lifestyle with no responsibilities or joy, she demands that we should be just as miserable as she is. I'm sure she's just loads of fun on a date. Typical lib.

R. Sherman

Once again, we see the Leftist reality: All human interactions are zero-sum. If I am happy, someone somewhere must be miserable. Of course, this is especially insidious in marriage, because the miserable person is always the wife, by definition, and who derives no benefit whatsoever from a cooperative enterprise.

Somehow it escapes Penny's attention that the cooperative benefits of a voluntary association like her beloved commune, can be replicated with two participants (more with kids) with equal success.

Jamie MacMaster

I have this theory that only unhappy people feel the need to convince us how happy they are.

Tim Newman

I had been struggling to find language for my growing anxiety over the fact that, at almost 30, I still have no desire to settle down and form a traditional family. I’ve been waiting, as open-mindedly as possible, for a sudden neo-Darwinian impulse to pair up and reproduce. And yet here I am, and it hasn’t happened. Despite no small amount of social pressure, I am happy as I am.

Give it another 2-3 years, 5 tops, and she'll be desperately meeting all sorts of weirdos and misfits on OK Cupid wondering where it all went wrong. One of the most tragic things to witness in life is women entering their 30s thinking - in terms of romantic options - they'll be just like their 20s. It normally takes them until about 32-35 to figure out they should have wrapped things up years ago.

David

society must do more, and better, to support women’s choices.

It seems to me there’s quite a lot packed into that one throwaway line, which is Laurie’s sole attempt to address the correlation of single motherhood with hardship, welfare dependency, educational failure, criminality, etc.

According to Laurie, the “vanishing amount of security offered by coupledom” is outweighed by a million oppressions, like being mutually considerate and remembering birthdays, all of which constitute an intolerable loss of “personal autonomy.” Such is her disdain, she likes the idea of “women reject[ing] marriage and partnership en masse” and wishes to see the institutions of marriage and family “dismantled” in favour of atomised living and single mothers, which necessarily entails ever-more widespread dependency on the state – the aforementioned “society doing more to support women’s choices.”

According to Laurie, the participants in a marriage or any remotely conventional coupling can never be “true equals.” And so the gist seems to be that it’s wrong and oppressive for a woman to be emotionally or financially dependent on a man who cares for her, for richer and poorer, ‘til death, etc., even if he is equally dependent, financially and emotionally, on her. But for women, and by extension any children, to be utterly and existentially dependent on the state, which doesn’t and cannot care, this is somehow morally right and an act of “liberation.”

Tim Newman

Incidentally, you don't really get articles extolling the virtues of men remaining single, do you? Probably because - in my experience at least - despite all the stereotypes men don't really want to be single forever. I have reached my late 30s slightly surprised that *every* guy I know is in some sort of meaningful, long-term relationship with almost all of them being married and most with kids. Given the types of guys I used to know in their 20s and the behaviour some of them engaged in, I must say I'm surprised: I'd have thought that at least one or two would have shunned the restrictions of a serious, loving relationship in order to live the imagined "dream" of a single guy. When I discuss this with my friends and colleagues, we all agree that living a carefree life with no significant other can be heaps of fun in your early 20s but it starts to get boring and eventually just gets sad. One would be forgiven for thinking there is some strange natural force at work which predisposes human beings to form a special relationship with a chosen other. Who would have thought?

Guys either figure this out quicker, are better at compromising, or have more options to rectify the problem as they get older than a lot of their female counterparts, it seems. What Penny needs to realise is that menfolk don't give a shit whether she's single or not, and nor do most right-thinking women.

jabrwok

@Hedgehog: Regarding my "fight, bleed, kill, and die" comment, while it's true that many un-married baby-daddies will do all but the "work" part, how much of what they *will* do is "to protect and provide for women and *their* [ie, the womens' bastard] children"? I'd warrant not much.

The "work" part is particularly significant of course. Civilization doesn't happen on its own. The work needed to build and maintain it carries significant costs in time, effort, and personal safety. Why bother with all that to benefit someone else's children? Much easier to hang out, draw welfare (or deal drugs), and party like there's no tomorrow.

Criticas

Today the benefits of marriage and monogamy are increasingly outweighed by the costs.

Many young men seem to agree:

But in her new book Men on Strike Helen Smith offers a much simpler answer: men are simply making rational choices to opt out of institutions and social expectations that no longer serve their best interests. Smith, a PhD psychologist specializing in men’s issues, argues that society has grown so hostile toward men, both culturally and legally, that men are “going Galt.” They’re boycotting a society that not only fails to reward but also punishes them, simply for the unfortunate fact that they possess a Y chromosome.

Smith begins with the question of marriage and relationships. She argues that incentives for marriage have changed over the past few decades, and that now men face high risks if they choose to marry. Should a marriage fall apart, divorce courts tend to favor women (who, incidentally, initiate the majority of divorces). Current policies surrounding divorce and child custody are suited to times past, when women mostly stayed at home to raise children and depended on men financially. While social realities have changed, the laws have yet to catch up. Some states still mandate permanent alimony, which can indebt a man to a woman to whom he was married for only a short time, even if there are no children and she can fully support herself.

R. Sherman

While social realities have changed, the laws have yet to catch up.

I spent a substantial part of my early career representing litigants in domestic relations cases. In my jurisdiction, the laws "caught up," but they were ignored in favor of the old prejudices. Sadly, there was/is very little recourse to men who find themselves on the "right" side of the law but on the wrong side of judgement of dissolution of marriage, given that in such cases there is a substantial amount of "judicial discretion" baked into the system. Add in an increasing number of feminists on the judiciary and a government which takes a cut of child support payments, and one quickly sees why men are thinking twice about subjecting themselves to the risk of financial destruction at some point in the future.

Joan

a list of oppressions supposedly inherent to marriage, including “the wiping of snotty noses,” being considerate of a partner’s allergies, and cleaning and cooking, which unmarried people never do, obviously. Even the remembering of birthdays is framed as unpaid labour, a ghastly imposition, too much to bear.

So I can eat out every night and afford a maid and all I have to do is divorce my husband?

*thinks*

Hedgehog

@jabrwok: Regarding my "fight, bleed, kill, and die" comment...

Yes, of course. My point was in part that men seem to be wired for the "bleed, kill, and die" thing, so they'll do it anyway. The advantage of a civilization is that it tries to channel the behavior into productive uses, hence the work part, which tends to fall by the wayside once the civilizing effect of the responsibility for another human being (or 2, or 3) disappears.

And then of course I was being snarky, but at the expense of Laurie Penny, not yours.

As to Why bother with all that to benefit someone else's children? I think there are studies that show that infants tend to look like their fathers in the first couple of years of life. The hypothesis is that it makes the father more likely to provide for the offspring since it gives him some confidence that he is, indeed, the father. The mother doesn't need this kind of reassurance since, strangely, she knows exactly where the kid came from. And so a resemblance to the father gives infants an evolutionary advantage. Just another example of how unscientific, even anti-scientific, the Left tends to be these days. But then the Left always wants to remake humanity in some Utopian fashion, reality be damned.

David

So I can eat out every night and afford a maid and all I have to do is divorce my husband?

In LaurieWorld™ all things are possible.

Hedgehog

divorce courts tend to favor women (who, incidentally, initiate the majority of divorces)

You mean that women take advantage of the situation? Really?

Russtovich

"... and no more important than Laurie’s books."

Am I the only one that read that line as Laurie's boobs instead of books? :)

SumDumGuy

Guys either figure this out quicker, are better at compromising, or have more options to rectify the problem as they get older than a lot of their female counterparts, it seems.

Men are like a wine, best after they've aerated a bit. Women are like mayonnaise at a picnic, best avoided after they've been in the sun for a while.

jabrwok

@Hedgehog: And then of course I was being snarky, but at the expense of Laurie Penny, not yours.

I didn't take it as directed at me. I can be a bit pedantic at times (really!) and thought I should expand on my point a bit. It looks like we're in pretty violent agreement:-).

dicentra

She doesn't seem to realize (or care) that those snotty nosed kids tend to grow up and produce grandchildren; yours truly had already rebutted her asinine assertions several days ago:

I'm over 50 and facing old age without a companion, without children, and without GRANDCHILDREN. Explain what the actual point IS of growing old if there are no grandchildren in the picture and nobody at your side!
I'll lying be on my deathbed, USB drive of my portfolio clutched in my arthritic hands, glorying in my independence.

Yessir, that will be me.

Tim Newman

Would Laurie’s own rather comfortable middle-class upbringing, and her subsequent career as a thrusting leftwing columnist, have been quite so viable?

Of course not. She probably rebelled against her parents in her teens by dyeing her hair and piercing her nose and never grew out of it. As your readers will know by now, I saw this first hand from somebody who could have been Penny's twin: not two days went by when she, age 32, did not launch into some rant about her middle-class, rather normal parents and their unreasonable expectations and attitudes.

Splotchy

“Do you actually want to spend years taking care of children and a partner when it’s hard enough taking care of yourself?"

Absolutely yes. The happiest years of my life have been the 'give-and-take' years of my marriage and child-rearing. How terribly tragic (and innately selfish) that Penny sees it all so negatively one-sided. She has clearly never known love, happiness, the joy of caring and of being cared for. All she knows is the me-me-ME!

What a hollow husk of a person she is.

Thomas Fuller

... “the threat this poses to the socioeconomic status quo” is indeed real, since these women will not pass on their genes and their phenotype will disappear, supplanted by that of people willing to breed.

From a biologist's perspective, spinsters' lives are largely pointless. In population biology, a non-breeder is defined as a "supernumerary", which neatly describes Miss P.

I cannot imagine anyone sensible taking the least notice of her views.

Hedgehog

@ Thomas Fuller: From a biologist's perspective, spinsters' lives are largely pointless.

One of the nice things about being human is that it is possible to expand the ability of the population without doing it exclusively through the transmission of one's genes, by adding to the sum total of human knowledge for example.

But then of course that would exclude Laurie Penny, so I'll concede your point.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

And again, you have to wonder, what would have happened if Laurie’s own parents had pursued a similar vision – scorning monogamous commitment and family stability as a thankless chore, an inconvenience best avoided.

I'm reminded of the 1930 movie Just Imagine (looks like it might be available on Youtube) in which Marjorie White sings the following ditty:

Mothers tell your daughters: never ever wed
Mothers tell your daughters: shun the married bed
Although I find that good advice, one drawback I can see
If Mom had followed that advice, there wouldn't be a me!

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

I’ve been waiting, as open-mindedly as possible, for a sudden neo-Darwinian impulse to pair up and reproduce.

Perhaps the lack of impulse is the ghost of Darwin telling her she is not among the fittest of the species and hence should not reproduce.

n

chronic dependency on the state, on the coerced forbearance of others, is a strange definition of power, or of “personal autonomy.”

Does Penny Dreadful ever proof read her own articles?

David

Does Penny Dreadful ever proof read her own articles?

For spelling and colourful turns of phrase, yes, I’m sure she does. Just not for realism or coherence.

Lancastrian Oik

Just not for realism or coherence.

Take her reference to neo-Darwinism, for example. To Penny it's just a groovy-sounding phrase to drop, without the slightest grasp of what the concept entails.

She's a fraud, simple as that.

Thomas Fuller

@ Hedgehog

Agree absolutely – was speaking strictly from the biological perspective. But if one holds that personality is influenced by genes, such feminists are most definitely "on the wrong side of history"!

David

As I’ve said before, Laurie is following the standard trajectory of her type. Her status and career would have been much less likely without the very same bourgeois values she claims to despise and urges others to reject. If instead of a stable, rather comfortable middle-class upbringing she’d been raised in keeping with her own professed values – say, by a welfare-dependent single parent with multiple transient partners and no stability or commitment - I somehow doubt she’d have been able to spend time at Wadham College finding herself politically and playing “riot girl.” And I doubt she’d now be able to flit around the world while tweeting about how oppressed she is.

Likewise, her self-imagined role as a wordsmith revolutionary would be much harder to sustain without a great many other people cultivating those same bourgeois values and keeping things ticking over. A fact that Laurie counts on, despite her pretence. In effect, we, the bourgeois rubes whose values she rails against, are her safety net. The fact that few of us are credulous enough to take her at her words and follow her advice is what allows her to mouth it in relative comfort and security, knowing that the destruction of capitalism, marriage and the family unit (and all that would go with it), which she claims to want, won’t happen just yet.

the wolf

If women reject marriage and partnership en masse, the economic and social functioning of modern society will be shaken to its core.

Li'l Penny wouldn't survive five minutes in the chaos that would ensue from such an event.

WTP

She's a fraud, simple as that.

She's 27 years old and moderately famous. Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize (had to look up if that was meant to be ironic...apparently not), writes for a major international newspaper (as long as it lasts), invited to speak at universities across the globe, an International Nieman Fellow at Harvard of all places, and appears regularly on news shows on y'alls side of the pond. I dare say anyone here is much more likely to go to their graves having accumulated far less fanfare than she. Hell, Mohamar Khadaffi had to take over his country at that age to get as much attention. An authentic fraud, yes.

Apropos of nothing, anyone know where I can go to appeal my college GPA score? Apparently they still ask for such on job applications. I'm beginning to refuse to accept mine as valid.

dicentra

From a biologist's perspective, spinsters' lives are largely pointless.

It's pointless from a spinsters' perspective, too.

Fred the Fourth

The thread is full of chewy goodness, but I want to focus on one line from the UBI wiki entry quoted by Nikw211:

"A basic income would be a massive transfer of wealth from men to women."

To me this line exemplifies the basic societal and economic misunderstandings underpinning so much socialist and SJW "thought".
What does it take to believe that line? It takes this - That, AFTER the UBI is in place:
1. Individual men will continue to generate at least as much wealth as they do today.
2. Vastly fewer men than women will take the UBI as their main source of income.
3. (More subtly) The net per-capita wealth of society will not drop much, if at all.
I'll let 1 & 2 stand unsupported by me, and just look at 3.
There's this usually unstated corollary to the UBI dream: that most folk will be happy living in either a commune, or in a tiny and cheap urban apartment. That's because it takes MORE wealth to make MORE separate households, which is what Laurie Penny imagines would be her option should she ever tire of communal living. You can bet she's not longing for a future with 6 cats in a SRO hotel. No, she's surely thinking more along the lines of a loft apartment in SOMA SF, or an artists colony in the Smokies, or some such. Multiply that idea and its economics by 100 million and see what society looks like.
"But why is that a problem?" you ask. "Surely there's lots of wealth around?"
And this is where we get right back to Maggie Thatcher and running out of other people's money. The real key to modern socialist thinking is that it assumes that the status quo, resource-and-money-availability-wise, is fixed and robust. For operational proofs of the contrary, see Venezuela, Argentina, the USSR, the DDR, or any of countless other examples over the last century.
And THAT gets us back to the real root problem: a steadfast refusal to learn, or learn from, history.

Fred the Fourth

Yeah, love the "neo-darwinist" thing. I bet she loves her friends who write about "quanta" and "geodesics" and "chaos" and "relativity" and all the rest of the old "Dancing Wu-Li Masters" crapola.

R. Sherman

From a biologist's perspective, spinsters' lives are largely pointless.

It's pointless from a spinsters' perspective, too.

If I may offer an opposing view, I have a distant cousin--now in her late eighties--for whom marriage was never in the cards. She dreamed of being a wife and mother, but it didn't happen. So, she prayed for God to show her what to do.

She wound up adopting four children from dysfunctional families and all whom she put through college and all of whom have significant careers and families of their own.

In addition to that, she decided she needed to do something to help Vietnamese immigrants and proceeded to learn the Vietnamese and help dozens of families acclimate to the American rural Midwest.

May I suggest, life is only pointless, if you let be so.

juliaeryn

Amazing!
Divorce used to be so rare. No doubt that some couples had miserable relationships, but generally most couples you speak of from two generations ago look back on their relationship fondly. I think of my Nanna, who was a more conservative-valued woman, with a dash of protestant work ethic and libertarianism mixed in. Love for my Papa (whom I never met) got her through WWII, the great depression, stillbirth of first child that almost killed her, Vietnam, and raising her first child in a shed in the hot Australian summer, among many other genuine life-challenges. Furthermore, her love and support for Papa despite his health scares, somewhat taciturn and reclusive personality upon return from war, and her embrace of a hard life as a farmers wife in a newly settled area made both of their lives so much richer, warmer, happier and more meaningful.
If only Nanna had known it was all a scam and that she was merely deluded into a life of slave labour. She might have had a proper, enlightened life of endless narcissism, navel gazing, and dependency on the state.
Come to think of it, if love is a con then Papa would have been deluded too. haha he went to war and sacrificed just cause he was deluded. What a racist asshole. Our generation is obviously superior.

dicentra

May I suggest, life is only pointless, if you let be so.

In the year 2000 I bought a new house, and inspired by 1 Cor 7:32-33 ("He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife"), I decided that if I weren't going to raise a family in this life, I'd still make myself useful in the world. I was going to grow a kick-ass flower garden and also find one or more charities to devote myself to.

By the summer of 2001 I was utterly kneecapped by a debilitating fatigue. I still don't have a diagnosis for it, and last year it progressed to the point where I cannot really work in my garden. I couldn't even put up the Christmas decorations last year.

It would appear that God doesn't find me useful in any capacity.

That's why I call my life pointless: because it is.

(No suggestions regarding diagnoses, please: I've heard it all tried even more. Nothing works.)

Lis

Dicentra, your life is not pointless. You just haven't gotten to the point yet. Stay faithful, and you will.

David Taylor

What is it with women complaining about how unfair it is to be married? My wife dictated how many kids we had. She has decreed she's never going back to work, even when they're all at school (next year). I work from home so am immediately available in the worst parts of the day - morning and evening. She considers everything I earn to be hers and spends freely without consultation. She does exactly what works for her without regard for the impact on me.

Where is the downside to marriage for her?

On top of all that, some of my taxes go to paying for Pointless Studies students to take up valuable space and produce useless, offensive theses.

I wish these silly bints would STFU - they've got everything going their way. They're just too stupid to realise it.

And yes, I am bitter. But not dumb enough (and don't want) to get divorced.

R. Sherman

It would appear that God doesn't find me useful in any capacity.

I know this sounds trite, cliche and whatever else, but not so. I cannot know what your purpose is, but you have one. Don't give up.

Vince N

I'll cut the narcissistic no-mind some slack over her comment about books/work being as important as her dating. But -

society must do more, and better, to support women’s choices

Wrong. Every individual woman's (and man's) choices are up to him or her, individually. "Society", meaning the collective, has no say.

I happen to believe in dismantling the social and economic institutions of marriage and family

It's not your call, except for your own individual situation.

Ray

dicentra,

Re your earlier point about grandchildren, I wholeheartedly concur. I'm early 60s, one son who is married but no kids. Our relationship has broken down due to a special kind of Tourettes that goes:

"Hi son, how are you? Long time no WHERE'S MY F**KING GRANDCHILDREN YOU USELESS LITTLE SH*T hear. Wife OK?"

Chin up.

Kevin

"For a picture of the ravishing Ms. Penny:

This one is more flattering."

Love the slave collar! Is it some sort of subliminal message?

David

I cannot imagine anyone sensible taking the least notice of her views.

Sensible or not, Laurie has 130,000 Twitter groupies and the retweets of her latest article have so far been mostly favourable. Quite a few people seem to like the sound of what she says and aren’t too troubled by its assumptions and general ricketiness. Which is interesting, as most of Laurie’s fan base are students, who are supposedly clever.

But as with so much of Laurie’s blathering, it’s quite hard to disentangle. Chiefly because there are so many bits missing – it’s typically a pile of assertion, much of which is question-begging or simply contradictory. She seems to imagine that wild and dubious claims needn’t be supported with reference to reality or even the sketchiest argument provided she can quote someone else making much the same dubious, unsupported claim. A result of which is that these things sound like hyperbolical declarations of faith, or paranoia. And so she refers to capitalism as if it were some plotting, scheming entity, determined to subjugate anyone with a womb. And we get Laurie’s claim that unspecified “neoconservatives” are “bullying” and “threatening” white women “back to the kitchen and nursery” in “a racist panic.”

It’s boggling stuff.

David Taylor

society must do more, and better, to support women’s choices

That is a valid opinion for Penny to hold, and society as a whole will decide how much it has to do to support women's choices. I think that last bit is where she falls over, demanding rather than presenting a persuasive argument for why we should all make our own situation worse to supposedly better hers and those like her. Equal rights and opportunities for women is hard to argue against but I don't think that's what she's demanding.

I think she should take a long hard look at that anxiety that is starting to dog her... it could be the first stirrings of self-awareness that she's being an idiot well beyond when it is socially acceptable to do so.

Jeff Guinn
But as with so much of Laurie’s blathering, it’s quite hard to disentangle. Chiefly because there are so many bits missing – it’s typically a pile of assertion, much of which is question-begging or simply contradictory.

There is a fun word for that: pronunciamento — an authoritarian statement.

Here's a perfect example:

Study after study has shown that it is men, not women, who benefit most from marriage and long-term partnership. Men who marry are, on the whole, healthier and happier than single men.

Penny, Penny, you silly bint. Might that, just possibly have something to do with selection effect? That women, by and large, prefer not to marry losers? After all, if it was otherwise, women would be just as stupid as random chance. I'll bet that's not where you were intending to go with that, dear.

I want more options for myself, and I want them for all of us, not just as a feminist, but as a romantic, too – because it’s the only chance we have of one day, at last, meeting and mating as true equals.

Behold the irony. She, no doubt, given half a reason, would heap scorn upon creationists. Yet that is precisely what she, and her similarly addled feminist friends, is. She, through the miracle of pronunciamento, has in effect decreed that evolution stopped at the neckline; that despite eons of completely different survival challenges, men and women are wholly interchangeable equals.

If that isn't magical thinking, I have no earthly idea what might qualify.

jones

"For a picture of the ravishing Ms. Penny"

I have to admit that I actually find that a rather attractive image. It's a thang I guess......

Couldn't live with her though.

jones

I think it's the squint and brown eyes that draws me.

PiperPaul

"It would appear that God doesn't find me useful in any capacity.

Well, your posts are always interesting and thought-provoking, so you have a fan club of sorts here.

David

so you have a fan club of sorts here.

I knew I should have turned this place into a low-rent dating site.

[ Rubs chin. ]

Could still happen.

Kevin  Riches

Right.. there's a challenge. Which wag is going to have a go at writing Penny's dating-agency profile? Come on.. I need a laugh as it's been raining here all day.

Si

"Well, your posts are always interesting and thought-provoking, so you have a fan club of sorts here."

I'll second that.

Rafi

I'll second that.

Thirded.

Henry

According to Laurie, the “vanishing amount of security offered by coupledom” is outweighed by a million oppressions, like being mutually considerate and remembering birthdays..

...or having to negotiate with another person who's sharing your life, and is affected by your choices. And it's impossible to know if the roles are equal, or who's happier with the situation*. And you just can't get your way all the time, dang it...

Anyway, I digress. The nasty thing about expecting the state to be a father is the (very real) implication that real fathers aren't necessary. Of course things are complicated - some blokes disappear having helped a woman conceive. The problem is, it's not always clear that conception was their plan (or whether they had any say in the decision - they certainly don't get a say in whether an abortion takes place).

It also seems that the amount of state help means that some mothers have (and use) a choice to kick out unemployed fathers (& separate them from their kids) if the state benefits are more that way.

So I'm sceptical about the narrative that states that all men are bastards who take no responsibility. Even if they were - there are alternatives available: DNA tests can provide proof of parenthood, more pressure could be put on genuine absentee dads. Possibly women could be encouraged not to have children with chaps who aren't going to be around (but of course that would be denying women choice, and we couldn't be having that)

Every option has complex repercussions. Then we get Ms Penny with her customary even-handedness and wordly wisdom, saying give mothers more benefits, and not mentioning fathers** as though that part of the equation didn't exist. Thanks, Laurie!

* Ted Hughes wrote some unfathomable love poems based around this: mythical characters trying to answer questions like "Who gave most? Him or her?"

** we've counted the number of "I"s in the piece. The word "father" doesn't appear once.

Silver Whistle

"It would appear that God doesn't find me useful in any capacity.

I have been reading your comments for quite a few years now di, and that is a long way from being true. I have learned a great deal from you.

Jeff Guinn

What Silver Whistle said.

banner

The more of her crap I read the more convinced than ever I become that when she makes peace with bourgeois society - and logic - she will morph into the Melanie Phillips of the 2040s.

I look forward to seeing her despised by whatever has risen from the ashes of The Guardian a few decades hence.

james

Guys either figure this out quicker, are better at compromising, or have more options to rectify the problem as they get older than a lot of their female counterparts, it seems

That is my wife's theory anyway.

She reckons that the women are generally hit on the double: their erstwhile drinking and partying male companions not only jump ship, but generally catch a spouse 5 or 10 years younger.

james

It would appear that God doesn't find me useful in any capacity.

That's why I call my life pointless: because it is.

@Dicentra
I am a regular reader, and occasional poster here.

I always enjoy your posts, which are thoughtful and have a different perspective from most here.

I have no advice for you (you will be relieved to hear)- just my best wishes that things improve.

dicentra

"Well, your posts are always interesting and thought-provoking, so you have a fan club of sorts here."

I thank you all for your kind words.

May you never endure 15+ plus years of debilitating fatigue while single, working, and having to maintain a house and yard.

But may such a plague descend on all your enemies. :-)

dicentra

I knew I should have turned this place into a low-rent dating site.

[ Rubs chin. ]

Could still happen.

I only have eyes for you, David, and since you're not available (in so many ways), I'll just go back to crushing on Godfrey Elfwick and Milo.

David

I only have eyes for you, David,

Think of the babies we’d have produced.

What?

Tim Newman

Which wag is going to have a go at writing Penny's dating-agency profile?

I've read some which would probably be close. They go something like this:

Summary: Sapiosexual (don't bother contacting me if you need to look it up) feminist and proud of it, looking for short or long term dating and casual sex. No creeps please and no guys with beards (ugh, I hate beards!) Be prepared to be challenged, if you can't handle me you'll be told to move on!

Interests: Feminist theory, politics, smashing the patriarchy, protests, travelling, writing, films.

Photo will look something like this.

Joan

She just can't help herself.

https://twitter.com/Sargon_of_Akkad/status/742813919077670912

#FeelLauriesPain
#LauriesSoBrave
#MeMeMe

David

She just can’t help herself.

Laurie churns out these awful, mawkish things so frequently, I sometimes wonder if she keeps a template drafted, on hot standby, in case something awful happens, and then just fills in the particulars of the latest horror, but always with herself in a starring role, forever caring and weeping bravely. And given Laurie’s history of fabrication, I’m never quite convinced that much of what she describes actually happened. It all sounds a little scripted and contrived.

Tim Newman

It all sounds a little scripted and contrived.

In that sense she's the Johann Hari de nos jours.

PiperPaul

"What?"

I love that film and have seen it multiple times, and will see it again. The remake with Superman and Rebecca was acceptable.

The storyline could be a metaphor for what's happening at some universities in the Angry/Useless Studies Departments, I suppose. Except for the part where the "new breed" is super intelligent, competent and sort of appealing.

David

I love that film and have seen it multiple times,

Yes, given its age and tiny budget, it stands up quite well. Much better than the inferior sequel or the 90s remake. One of John Wyndham’s better stories, I think. “You’re not thinking of atomic energy. You’re thinking of… a brick wall…!”

There’s a pretty good documentary about Wyndham here.

prm

Talking of SJWs... http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-06-15

PiperPaul

"documentary about Wyndham"

I was supposed to actually get stuff done today, David. Thanks a lot.

David

Except for the part where the “new breed” is super intelligent, competent and sort of appealing.

If memory serves, the children are to some extent sympathetic, at least in the book, insofar as they aren’t cartoonishly malevolent and have little understanding of where they came from, or why. They can, however, anticipate how events will unfold, and are obliged to act accordingly. I suppose the sense of inevitability is what made the scenario rather chilling.

David

Thanks a lot.

No refunds. Credit note only.

dicentra

Think of the babies we’d have produced.

Don't be daft, David. The schnozz on that kid isn't nearly long and pointy enough.

To be one of MY offspring, I mean. I've no clue what's sticking out of YOUR face.

David

I’ve no clue what’s sticking out of YOUR face.

Cup of coffee at the moment.

[ Checks self in mirror, oozes self-satisfaction. ]

dicentra

Cup of coffee at the moment.

You should be proud; that's a good one.

PiperPaul

"If the scholars believed their work had value, they would presumably appreciate wide distribution"

"Don't point out my mistakes and crappy 'science', my ego and psyche can't handle it! [Plus, I might be exposed]"

(I just needed to push this thread past the century mark)

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