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an endless succession of beans and nuts.

Let's read this morning's Instapundit post about feminism and happiness.

Glenn Reynolds writes:

PYRRHIC VICTORY:  Joel Kotkin: Women have won the ‘war between the sexes,’ but at what cost?

Even Vox is wondering why women have gotten everything they said they wanted, but are still unhappy. Their explanation, of course, is that men still aren’t doing enough to make women happy. But it’s interesting that they’ve noticed the problem.

My hypothesis: What we’ve been told that “women” want is in fact what a relatively small percentage of women — 20% at most — who tend to be neurotic and anxious, and largely incapable of sustained happiness anyway, say they want. But even to the extent that’s true, their needs aren’t really those of most women whose interests fall closer to the norms.

Related:  “Actually, it’s very much an open question as to whether feminist interpretations of life make women happier. . . . Certainly, polls such as the General Social Survey suggest that women have become steadily less happy every year since 1972.”

Also:  The Female Happiness Paradox. 

Lots of parts there, so let's take this one piece at a time. 

First, Joel Kotkin's "Women have won the ‘war between the sexes,’ but at what cost?" (National Post)(the original link was dead, but this one might work). Subtitle: "Current trends portend not a feminist paradise, but a dysfunctional society where men and women are increasingly indifferent or at odds with each other." Kotkin says the rise of women has been at the expense of men. So who are women going to marry? Glenn is adding "Pyrrhic victory." Women's climb out of subordination is presented as a war, and the failure of men to respond well to their loss of control over half the population is cast as the women's problem. The "war" wasn't worth winning. Remember the good old days when you had no choice and you looked up to that husband of yours, who was doing reasonably well because half of the population wasn't competing with him in the workplace? Ha ha ha. You should have stayed put and counted your blessings. 

Moving on to Vox — even Vox — we see a comic from 2019 by Aubrey Hirsh, about "The gender gap we’re not talking about." What I'm seeing here is the opposite of Kotkin's point. Hirsh is saying that men are not the losers as women have risen. They've gained sexual freedom and escaped from family responsibilities. But still, from the woman's point of view, things are bad, not so much because women can't find men worth marrying, but because women entangle themselves with men who don't do an equal share of household work. There's also still inequality in the workplace. This comic is designed to fire up women to demand true equality. So, yeah, women are "unhappy" about that, but men can read that comic too and feel motivated to live up to a vision of equality. Why wouldn't they? Don't marry a man who wouldn't! And don't have children unless you've got a man you can trust to uphold equality (or you've got a trustworthy man-free arrangement).

Glenn hypothesizes:
What we’ve been told that “women” want is in fact what a relatively small percentage of women — 20% at most — who tend to be neurotic and anxious, and largely incapable of sustained happiness anyway, say they want. But even to the extent that’s true, their needs aren’t really those of most women whose interests fall closer to the norms.

It's a hypothesis, so someone else will have to delve into the psyche of women and find out what percentage of them are the troublemakers making life less pleasant for the other ladies, the ones who easily find fulfillment living a life close to "the norms." I haven't read the comments over there yet, but I suspect they will be full of men eager to disparage "neurotic and anxious" women and to tell us of the real women, the feminine women who are happy with a simple family life and a dominant husband. Writing that last sentence caused me to google the term "manosphere."

So I was stunned to find the word "manosphere" in the second sentence of the 2018 article at the next link — Mona Charen's "Can Feminists Cure What Ails Men?" (RCP)." Charen is reacting to a NYT op-ed by Jessica Valenti that worries about "a generation of mostly white men are being radicalized into believing that their problems stem from women's progress."

Valenti cites the "manosphere," the network of websites that peddle misogyny, and she's right that it is disturbing. But Valenti undermines her case by citing the popularity of Jordan Peterson as more evidence of woman hatred. On the contrary, Valenti and other feminists would do well to remove their women-centric blinders and examine the situation of young men more sympathetically. 

Valenti imagines that girls are doing great because when the mainstream culture gets them down, they can always repair to "feminist blogs and magazines" while "female college students who have critical questions about how gender shapes their lives can take women's studies courses." Actually, it's very much an open question as to whether feminist interpretations of life make women happier....

It's interesting to read this 5-year-old article. Valenti took the position that feminism, rather than "manosphere" material, could help men, and Charen used the occasion to opine that feminism wasn't even helping women. But Charen was also talking about men. That cartoon by Aubrey Hirsh said men got the advantage of sexual freedom, but Charen points out something that got pointed out a lot 5 years ago, only some men — a "small percentage of 'players'” — got that advantage....

... but many men are not so suave and find that forming relationships is out of reach. A fringe few describe themselves as "incels" (involuntarily celibate) and fulminate against women. As for the average guy, well, they are more likely to be out of the workforce, unmarried, and alienated from their children than any previous generation in American history. 

This returns us to Kotkin's point. In the old-fashioned arrangement, those un-suave men got marriages and families and decent jobs and docile women.

Valenti imagines that feminist ideas can help men through "the rejection of expectations that men be strong and stoic or ending the silence around male victims of sexual violence."...

Obviously, it's hard to see how that helps the un-suave incels reconnect. Charen has an idea (and it's Jordan Peterson's idea):

Could it be, perhaps, that men actually don't want to be freed from the expectation of being strong? That perhaps they are attracted to Jordan Peterson because he is a refreshing voice of masculinity as traditionally understood?.... 

Boys will always seek to be manly. It's in their natures....

Their natures. You know where this attitude has led, 5 years later: If you don't "seek to be manly," you must not be a boy. Get treatment. Change your body so it fits your mind. I liked it better when feminism was about being exactly whoever your really are and valuing that, not bullying yourself into fitting "nature" (or "the norms").

Finally, there's "The Female Happiness Paradox." This is a working paper by David G. Blanchflower and Alex Bryson:
Using data across countries and over time we show that women are unhappier than men in unhappiness and negative affect equations, irrespective of the measure used – anxiety, depression, fearfulness, sadness, loneliness, anger – and they have more days with bad mental health and more restless sleep. Women are also less satisfied with many aspects of their lives....

I took a break to listen to this song (which I've had in mind for half a century)(original version here):

Students at Imperial College London object to a sculpture "because of its 'obvious' interpretation as a person baring their erect penis."

The Guardian reports, in "Antony Gormley’s ‘phallic’ statue may damage our reputation, say students Imperial College/Union motion says students should have been consulted on work, due to ‘obvious’ erect penis interpretation."
[The students] note that while there is “nothing inherently wrong with phallic imagery in art”, the phallic interpretation’s preoccupation with the penis could be considered inappropriate for a grand public display. 
One of the key concerns for the union was the “exclusionary” phallic interpretation, when scientific research has been beset with issues around gender ratio and inclusion....
“College publicity regarding the statue chose an angle that avoided making the statue appear phallic,” the motion added. “This suggests that this interpretation, and backlash, was not unforeseen by some individuals within the college”....

The artist claims that he intended to represent a squatting man. But why would he choose squatting? That's suggestive of defecating. The title of the sculpture is "Alert." What's more alert — squatting or standing with an erect penis?

The artist says: "Balancing on the balls of the feet while squatting on its haunches and surveying the world around it the attitude of the sculpture is alive, alert and awake." Sorry. I'm not buying it. 

I found that via Instapundit, who writes

PHALLOPHOBIA RAISES ITS UGLY HEAD: College students upset at ‘phallic’ sculpture coming to campus.

It doesn’t look especially phallic to me, but what’s wrong with “an erect penis” anyway? Are you bigoted against people with penises? What about women with penises? Why do you hate women?

His link goes to The College Fix, which links to The Guardian, and The College Fix uses the angle that led the students to say that the college deliberately chose the angle that completely disguised the part that screams "semi-erect penis." That would be the second of the 6 images on the right side of this drawing:

Students at Imperial College London object to a sculpture

I don't see how you can deny that — seen from every angle other than the one The College Fix put at the top of its page — it looks like a man with a huge penis sticking straight out. 

It reminds me of things like this and the 6th image here. It's very common in the history of art.

Perhaps Glenn only looked at the photo of the frontward-facing sculpture. And it's funny to say "but what’s wrong with 'an erect penis' anyway?," but please notice that the students themselves wrote that there's "nothing inherently wrong with phallic imagery in art." Their point was that a celebration of the phallic doesn't belong in a central place on the grounds of an institution that should have a message of inclusiveness.

The college's answer to the student is not that a sculpture of man with an erect penises sends the message they want. It's: Sir Antony Gormley is a famous artist and he gave us this sculpture. So he chose, and what did he chose? Oh, no, it's not a man with an erect penis. It's a squatting man. Who believes it looks like a squatting man? So much for the pursuit of truth. At least, call it what it is and defend it. The obsequiousness to the gift-giving famous artist is embarrassing.

I've seen some mockery of the 25-year-old NYT op-ed writer who referred to the "bad vibes" economy.

On August 4th, the NYT published "The Vibes in the Economy Are … Weird. Really Weird" by Kyla Scanlon, who opined:
There is no recession yet. Right now we are in a “vibe-cession” of sorts — a period of declining expectations that people are feeling based on both real-world worries and past experiences. Things are off. And if they don’t improve, we will have to worry about more than bad vibes.
Instapundit quoted the Ace of Spades take, "New York Times Publishes Op-Ed From 25-Year-Old Female 'Economics Influencer' Absolving Biden of Blame for Economy and Instead Putting It Where It Belongs: On the 'Bad Vibes' The Public Is Putting Out About the Economy, Man."

I'm only writing about this to say that the 25-year-old did not introduce this "bad vibes" take to the NYT. The NYT has a senior economics correspondent named Neil Irwin, who writes at the NYT page called  The Upshot. Last December, he had a column called "What We Learned About the Economy in 2021/For once, the government tried overheating the economy. For better and worse, it succeeded." 
In surveys, Americans are remarkably unsatisfied with economic conditions. The growth numbers have been good. The vibes have been bad."
On July 29, Irwin was on an Axios podcast titled "Biden vs. the bad vibes economy."  There, he said:
I think what Chair J. Powell was saying at this press conference was very much the conventional wisdom of professional economists, which is that as of right now, we've had strong enough job growth, enough good things happening in the economy that this is not technically a recession yet. Uh, the question I asked and the question he answered was, do you believe we are currently in a recession? That's not the same thing as do you think we will be in a few months. Um, nobody's quite sure where this goes in a few months, but right now the, the jobs numbers and other, uh, numbers have been too strong. What matters is how Americans feel, how they're able to earn an income, live their daily lives, not have kind of soul-crushing inflation that saos [sic] away their paychecks. Until that changes, I think that the vibes, whatever we wanna call it, are still gonna be bad and the communications is a second order issue.

So I don't think "bad vibes" is the kind of talk you get when you let a 25-year-old speak. I think it's a phrase older analysts use too. In fact, "bad vibes" has been Boomer slang since the 60s.

Did Scanlon write a good enough op-ed to deserve to be in the NYT even though she's young? That's a question to be answered without down-rating her for saying "bad vibes."

As for the distinction between what the economy really is and what people feel it is — I will leave that to be bantered about by econ geeks. But I have the impression — I don't know but I feel — that the feeling about the economy is a big part of what the economy is. And those in power and those out of power will have different ways of talking about that as they try to influence economics and politics. 

They're all trying to influence, so is there any reason to put "economics influencer" in quotes when speaking about young Ms. Scanlon? Neither she nor the Times called her that. In fact, when I google her name and "economics influencer," I get little more than the Ace of Spades headline linked above. So the quotes are just scare quotes.

"Some of us have died off, of course, but the remnants of the legendary pig in a python generation are still wending our way through the snake’s entrails, tussling with each other as we pass through the intestines of the body politic."

That's a quote I'm reading at Instapundit this morning.

I must say that this is the first time in my life that I've wondered about whether snake intestines curl around like the intestines of a mammal. 

Of course, I've heard that pig/python metaphor used many times to describe my my my my my my generation, but I'd never thought about how winding the long road through the final part of the snake was supposed to be pictured.

"My sense is that a law or regulation is at best an opening bid. Is it binding, legally or morally? Maybe..."

"... but the presumption should be neutral at best, or, realistically, highly skeptical. After all, laws and regulations are the products of legislators and bureaucrats, who are presumptively corrupt and dishonest. And everybody know that, really."

Somin's piece is at Reason. Excerpt:
The obvious criticism of views like King's is that many people may have poor judgment about which laws are unjust. For example, those who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 likely believed that enforcement of the laws against doing so would be unjust, because (in their view) Donald Trump had a right to stay in power. Similarly, both left and right-wing terrorists often believe they are justified in violating laws against murder and assault.

But the risk that individual citizens may be mistaken about matters of justice has to be balanced against the danger that government can be wrong about such things, as well. Even in democratic societies, there is a long and awful history of the latter. Throughout American history, many more people have been killed and oppressed by unjust exercises of government power than by individuals acting on mistaken assumptions about which laws are morally defensible. The toll of slavery and segregation (both imposed by law) alone easily outweighs that of all morally motivated private disobedience to law combined. The extent to which people should defer to the government's judgment on questions of justice depends heavily on how good that judgment is. All too often, the answer is that it is, at best, highly unreliable.

I'm not agreeing with everything I'm quoting. I'm offering it as worthy of contemplation and debate. 

So now it's "torture" for children to eat outside when it's 40°?

I'm seeing this over at Instapundit:

Here's the underlying Not the Bee article, showing that the outdoor lunch-eating happened in 40° weather:

Stunning footage circulated around the Internet this week of a school in Portland, Oregon forcing young children to eat their lunches outside, in 40-degree weather, on buckets, because school administrators were afraid of a COVID outbreak or something.

The kids had coats on. Outdoor eating is healthy. Hardiness is good! I remember when the right mocked the left for making kids into "snowflakes." 

"Snowflakes" is a bad metaphor for this issue — since real snowflakes do better in the cold — but you know what I mean. They melt in heat. Personally, I'd rather sit outside and eat when it's 40° than when it's 90°, but yeah, temperatures vary, and we need to adapt to the weather as it cycles around. Kids are strong and resilient. They even play in snow until their cheeks turn rosy. If you let them.

There's no way this outdoor lunch is torture or child abuse.

ADDED: "How to plan a snow picnic."

AND: The coolest kids are into snow picnics:

"Two programs at Harvard Law show close ties between the school, the Democratic Party, and liberal activist groups with an interest in fighting elections through the judicial system."

"Reporting the launch of the Election Law Clinic in April, Harvard Law Today said participating students will get course credit for working on political campaigns, as well as 'hands-on litigation and advocacy work across a range of election law areas, with an initial focus on redistricting and voter suppression cases. Clinic offerings include federal and state litigation projects, as well as some advocacy opportunities.'... Glenn Reynolds, the libertarian University of Tennessee law professor known for his Instapundit blog, tells RealClearInvestigations that if institutions such as Harvard start turning out significantly more students with expertise in election law, those lawyers will create a demand for their expertise and election litigation. 'That's just how the law works,' he says. The backgrounds of those staffing the putatively nonpartisan Election Law Clinic show a distinct progressive tilt...."

"When is a racial hate crime not a racial hate crime? When it doesn’t advance the left’s, and the Democrats’, narrative."

"When white teenager Kyle Rittenhouse shot three white men who were violently assaulting him, it somehow got treated by the press and politicians as a racial hate crime. President Joe Biden (falsely) called Rittenhouse a white supremacist, and the discussion of his case was so focused on racial issues that many Americans mistakenly thought that the three men Rittenhouse shot were black. But when a black man, Darrell Brooks, with a long history of posting hateful anti-white rhetoric on social media drove a car into a mostly white Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring dozens, the press was eager to wish the story away. (The New York Times buried it on page A22.) Even when a Black Lives Matter activist connected it to the Rittenhouse verdict, observing 'it sounds like the revolution has started,' the media generally downplayed it." 

"What can you say about an institution that is willing to break faith with its members and engage in blackmail and the subornation of false statements to wage a political vendetta?"

"Sadly, you’d have to say that it’s pretty typical these days. As we’ve seen in the willingness of the press, with help from the FBI and other government agencies, to spread many false stories, from the Russian 'collusion' myth to the phony reports on the Covington boys in Washington to the bogus University of Virginia 'rape' case, politics trumps all in America’s elite institutions. Which, by all appearances, aren’t so elite after all. Maybe we should stop acting as if they are."

Writes Glenn Reynolds, in "Students suing Yale Law show America’s elites have a low opinion of minorities" (NY Post).
Let's read this morning's Instapundit post about feminism and happiness.Students at Imperial College London object to a sculpture "because of its 'obvious' interpretation as a person baring their erect penis.""Some of us have died off, of course, but the remnants of the legendary pig in a python generation are still wending our way through the snake’s entrails, tussling with each other as we pass through the intestines of the body politic."So now it's "torture" for children to eat outside when it's 40°?

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