A Woman’s Work Is Never Done So You’d Better Pay for Dinner

A Woman's Work Is Never Done

I am entering dangerous waters. You see, I am a man. And other than the whole testicle thing (Bad design, God!) I’m fairly happy being a man. You see, as much as I may not be some kind of testosterone fueled idiot, I am, in my way, quite dominant in relationships. Or more to the point, in the only way that I really care about—intellectually—I tend to dominate relationships. And that has generally been true of my romantic adventures, even if some of the women aren’t aware of it.[1] But having said that, as much as I am okay with the modern state of sexual politics, I think that women get the worse of it.

This is mostly manifested in the way that the home is run. Even when the man was the primary breadwinner, this situation sucked for women. As the saying goes, “A woman’s work is never done.” And it isn’t! But now the standard situation is that the woman goes off to work for eight or so hours and then comes home and works. As far as I can tell, the only real social improvement in this regard is that it has become far more acceptable for women to be lazy. But a dirty (or even messy) house is still looked down upon. And the whole situation eventually leads to which person is most accepting of a dirty bathtub. Most men won’t even notice until there is a quart inch of black mold covering the thing.

So it is not at all surprising that despite years of feminist gains, men still pay most of the dating bills. Randye Hoder reported on a recent study that found that in general, men feel that they should pay for dates and women are just fine with that. Still, it is all a game. Most men prefer to date women who at least try to pay for some things. In fact, 44% said they would stop seeing a woman who never did so. (Yeah, right!) Similarly, a solid majority of woman do offer to pay, although 39% say they secretly hope that the offer will not be accepted. And fully 76% of men who want women to offer to pay feel guilty if they accept the money.

I have a really cynical take on this. In my experience, many women will insist upon paying for some stuff. And (whether intentionally or not) they use this to justify the claim that they pay for half the stuff the couple does. Let’s see now. We go out of town and I pay for the car, the hotel, the food, and she pays for one round of drinks. Yeah, that’s about equal! Look: in fact, we are equal. Back at home, I will not vacuum until the dust is so think I hydroplane through the kitchen. Without her, every plant in the house will die and the front lawn will catch on fire after even weeds won’t grow on it. When I am alone, things will go so bad in the refrigerator that the neighbors will complain about the smell. So if a woman provides the support I need to live something like a civilized life, we are at least even and most likely, I’m far ahead of the game.

But part of the deal with being a man is pretending that we really are being Lancelot with a beer in the living room watching Charley Varrick. That’s why I’ve always loved buying flowers and dresses and other assorted presents for my lady friends. Because it makes me feel great! And yes, I know I’m a jerk about it. But if you ladies all want to turn lesbian, I totally understand. However, if you want to have relationships with the weaker sex, that’s the deal. In the past, we brought home dead rabbits even though you had spent the whole day collecting the fruit that was 90% of our diet. Just like you did then, you pretend that you would be lost without us.

And then you go back to work because not only is a woman’s work never done, but they’re showing Pulp Fiction uncut on TCM tonight and I really don’t want to miss that.

Update (22 August 2013 2:39 pm)

Matt Yglesias made an excellent point:

At any rate, aside from the obvious linkage to the gender pay gap I’d say we should also see this as linked to the gap in expectations of spending on appearance-related items. Conventional American gender norms saddle women with a structurally higher cost of living in terms of makeup and nail polish and expensive haircuts and accessories and a more varied set of apparel and footwear. The convention that men pay for dates is the flipside of that other convention.

[1] For the record, I am greedy and selfish when it comes to knowledge. Thus in any new relationship, I tend to be a taker. Those people may come away thinking I don’t know a thing, but it’s only because they came away not learning a thing. I’m not proud of this, but as Popeye said, “I yam what I yam.” Oh, one other thing: saying that I’m intellectually dominant is not the same as saying that I’m smarter. Most women I’ve been with have been smarter than I. But in our culture, women are such intellectual underachievers. Or they are just very aware that all the men would kill themselves if the women allowed them to know that their only real social function was as sperm donors.

One O’Clock Count

Count BasieI like the birthday posts, but they are a pain to do. On a normal day, it takes two hours or so to do. I do enjoy checking out a new painter, listening to music, trying to figure out what some obscure mathematician was on about. But time is precious and most days I don’t feel like I have the time to do in properly. Just so you know. I still plan to keep it up for the whole year.

On this day in 1725, the great French painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze was born. The great French mathematician Augustin-Louis Cauchy was born in 1789. French organic chemist Charles Frederic Gerhardt was born in 1816. Three great Frenchmen in one paragraph.

Comparative biologist Karl Gegenbaur was born in 1826. Art Nouveau artist Aubrey Beardsley was born in 1872. Animator Friz Freleng was born in 1905. Novelist M. M. Kaye was born in 1908. The great Soviet quantum field theorist Nikolay Bogolyubov was born in 1909.

Christopher Robin Milne was born in 1920. I’ll let you figure out who he is. One of the great heroes of my youth, Wilt Chamberlain was born in 1936. And the great Joe Strummer was born in 1952. He would only be 61 today. Sad. Here he is with The Only Band That Matters doing their biggest hit:

Co-founder of the Church of the SubGenius, Ivan Stang is 60 today. Actor Kim Cattrall is 57. I’ve had a crush on her ever since Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. (I’ve always had a thing for nubile Vulcans.) Another science fiction Bob Dobbsheartthrob, actor Carrie-Anne Moss is 46. (What nerd could not have a crush on her, although Belinda McClory is a close second.) Just to finish off this suite of crushes, is my current biggest crush, actor Joanne Froggatt who is 33. I don’t think she’s an especially beautiful woman. It is just that she plays Anna on Downton Abbey. And she falls in love and is steadfast to an older handicapped man with a dodgy background. How could I not crush on her? (Like a high school boy, I have her picture on my desktop.)

And the greatest sprinter of all time, Usain Bolt is 27 today. He made lots of news on this most recent Olympics, but he’s been huge for a long time. Of course, I only knew about him because of the screenplay I was writing that dealt with an older man sprinting. Anyway, it’s very interesting, but it is hard to think that sprinters are anything but born, even if you do believe in free will.

The day, however, belongs to the great jazz composer and musician Count Basie who was born on this day in 1904. He is best known as a big band leader. But I am most fond of his trio. Here he is at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1977:

And here he is with his “theme” the “One O’Clock Jump”:

Happy birthday Count Basie!

Jeffrey Toobin and the War on Couriers

Jeffrey ToobinI just read a Dylan Byers article about Jeffrey Toobin’s claim that David Miranda was acting like a “drug mule” for classified information that Greenwald had. I’m not going to go into that; Toobin is a typical government apologist. What he says in the article is more or less, “Of course I’m for freedom of the press. I’m just not in this particular case. Or this other one. Or that one over there.” I’m quite tired of these people who clog up the ranks of “journalism” without actually valuing journalism. The man is a villain like so many others in the profession.

The article got me thinking about that analogy though. As far as I understand it, what Toobin is saying is fundamentally correct: Miranda was transporting files from Laura Poitras to Glenn Greenwald. And that raises a really important point that goes entirely against Toobin and the other government apologists. Supposedly, the government wants those files so they don’t get into the wrong hands. But by stealing the files from couriers, it puts more pressure on journalists to send them electronically. That allows pretty much every spying agency in the world to get a chance to hack the files.

So instead of the slow and careful examination of the files and a standard journalistic (and safe) approach to their release, the data is much more likely to go feral. Is that what our government wants? I think that our government doesn’t particularly care. At this point, their actions are all about controlling this leak and stopping the next. Their interest in the current data is only to find out more of what people like Greenwald and Bart Gellman know. As we’ve seen throughout this process, the White House and the DHS have been spinning the news like crazy.

It is getting harder and harder to accept the claims of the government and its apologists who claim that all of this spying is for our own good. Anyone paying attention must at this point know that the government’s actions are all for its own good. And when spying on the nation is not enough, propaganda and intimidation will be used. And journalists like Jeffrey Toobin will be there to explain how right and necessary it all it.

Bad Obama and Hurricane Katrina

Bad Obama!If you are still laughing from my previous suggestion that Peggy Noonan might be in favor of single payer healthcare reform, get ready. Talking Points Memo had Public Policy Polling (PPP) conduct a survey of Louisiana Republicans. Most of the poll was pretty standard stuff. For example, we find that the younger members of this group really like Rand Paul for president in 2016 while the older members really like Jeb Bush. But as is PPP’s wont, they threw in some crazy questions too, including, “Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush or Barack Obama?” You know this one’s gonna be good, right?

More Louisiana Republicans blame Barack Obama. Now this makes sense. While it is true that Obama had been in the Illinois state legislator up through the beginning of 2005, he had already been in Congress for 7 whole months at that time of the Hurricane. George W. Bush, on the other hand, was only at the end of his fifth year as president. Of course it was Obama’s fault! Isn’t everything?

In fairness, the results are close. George Bush was blamed by 28% and Obama by 29%. More striking is that 44% were just not sure. I wasn’t even especially paying attention to politics at that time, but I remember clearly who was president. I even remember, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job!” I would think that people in Louisiana would remember. But maybe it is just due to the fact that so many of the poor people in Louisiana were forced out of the state.

Drilling down into the data makes the picture clearer. Other than those few Republicans who claim to be liberal, large percentages mostly just don’t know who to blame for the terrible federal government response to Hurricane Katrina. But at least among those under 65, a distinct plurality recognize that Bush was in fact president at that time. Of course, that means among those over 65, the numbers look really bad. Of this group, 42% blame Obama for the response and only 24% blame Bush. I believe in respecting our elders (Especially as I become one!) but this is just terrible.

Now look: I understand. A large part of this is just a reflexive dislike of Obama. But I have a hard time believing that Democrats are this clueless. And I still think that Democrats are very clueless! Imagine a poll of Democrats in 1985 that asked, “Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to the Iran hostage crisis: Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan?” I know that many liberals would bristle at the question because it is not clear that Carter’s response was poor. But I doubt that more liberals would have blamed Reagan than Carter.

This gets to the very heart of what is wrong with the Republican Party. It doesn’t particularly believe anything and so its base of voters is just against whatever the Democrats are for. As I’ve noted before, it is no longer the case that Obama is a president Republicans disagree with; he is the president who is hell bent on destroying the one true America that each Republican just somehow divines. If that really were true, their behavior would be understandable. I would like to think that I would not have been willing to compromise with Hitler. But Obama most certainly is not the America destroy of Republican myth. Obama (on economic policy at least) is a good old fashioned conservative. It is only in the Republican echo chamber that he is a pernicious threat to America. But at this point, the echo chamber seems to be the only thing the Republicans have left.

But I do hope that Obama does a better job with the next Hurricane Katrina.


Speaking of laughing, Steve Benen very slyly noted that there is little Republicans would not blame Obama for:

More Louisiana Republicans blame Obama than Bush for the response to Katrina, which obviously don’t make sense, but I imagine if PPP asked, a non-trivial number of Louisiana Republicans would also blame the president for 9/11, Watergate, the Hindenburg disaster, the 1919 White Sox, and the U.S. Civil War.

It certainly would be for the best if Obama stopped betting on baseball.

Conservative Obamacare Bait and Switch

Peggy NoonanThere’s been a bit of discussion of a blog post from Peggy Noonan last week, The High Cost of ObamaCare. Ezra Klein has a full take down of it. Basically, Noonan doesn’t understand how part of Obamacare, Community First Choice, works. So she complains that Obamacare is not doing what Obamacare does do. She says that it should do exactly what it is doing. The horror!

I was very struck by the overall point of the article. According to her, Obamacare is a complicated mess. We should just start over. But how? She explains, “When a thousand things have to be changed about a law to make it workable, some politician is going to stand up and say: ‘This was a noble effort in the right direction but let’s do the right thing and simplify everything, with a transparent and understandable plan: single payer.’ Will that be Mrs. Clinton’s theme in 2016?” Is Peggy Noonan calling for single payer healthcare?

Okay. Okay. Stop laughing. Wipe the tears from your eyes. There’s still a lot of article left to read.

This is clearly a gambit. What Noonan is hoping to do is get liberal support for a repeal of Obamacare. That isn’t a completely insane idea. After all, there are a lot of liberals (Like me!) who really dislike Obamacare. But clearly, what Noonan is hoping is that with the help of liberals, the Republicans can repeal Obamacare. But after it’s gone, Hillary Clinton (for example) wouldn’t have overwhelming majorities in Congress and so we would get the preferred Republican plan: nothing. (Not even the fee for the gaming license.)

I run into a less calculated version of this gambit from conservatives all the time. Especially since Obamacare has become law, the big complaint about it is that it is so complicated. As Noonan says, it has “10 million moving parts.” These conservatives always say more or less the same thing, “Why can’t we have something simple.” And they are open minded about single payer. I don’t doubt that they are genuine in what they claim. (That’s clearly not true of Noonan!) They’ve all been told so much how terrible Obamacare is that they figure single payer could be no worse.

These same open minded conservatives would quickly close their minds to single payer, however. Charles Krauthammer would inform them all of the truth: single payer really is much more socialized medicine than Obamacare was. And suddenly, “complexity” would not be the rationale for opposing healthcare reform. It would instantly switch to something about a homosexual zombie orgy led by Stalin and Hitler.

Always be leery of conservatives who claim to be for reasonable reforms like these. In this specific case, it isn’t that conservatives don’t like Obamacare on the merits. They are just looking for a reason—Any reason!—to block it. The only healthcare “reform” policies that they are for are things that they’ve wanted to do for other reasons for a long time, like tort “reform.” If you think Noonan is disingenuous and hysterical now, just wait until Hillary Clinton proposes single payer. I can just hear her now, “Just because single payer is simple, doesn’t mean this socialist takeover of the healthcare industry is a good idea! At least Obamacare relied on the private sector!”

Jonathan Chait’s Convention Wisdom Shocker

Jonathan ChaitJonathan Chait wrote a really annoying article yesterday. It isn’t that I disagree with him necessarily. Rather, it is that he puts forth the commonest of common wisdom as though he’s being an iconoclast. His big insight: the Republicans will keep control of the House. He’s really put himself out on a limb there!

Mostly, he’s pushing back on some commentary from people like Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei. They’ve argued that the business community is none too happy with the House Republicans. And Chait is right to ridicule this. I already did last week, Hoping Won’t Make Chamber of Commerce Hate GOP. But what’s really going on here? It’s August in Washington; Congress is in recess; what’s a Politico reporter to do?

But there has been a reasonable change of opinion about the 2014 Congressional election. Before, following from the stupid idea of the six-year curse, people thought the Democrats would lose big. But now, as I wrote in The Next Three Election Cycles, it looks like the Republicans will make minor gains in both chambers.

Chait is at his most silly in discussing immigration reform. I don’t understand these mainstream liberals and their fascination with this issue. He claims that by not passing comprehensive (but mostly pathetically tepid, overwhelmingly pro-business) reform, the Republican Party brand will be poisoned for decades among Latinos. I’m not clear on the whole notion of party “brands” and loyalties. The African American community was loyal to the Republican Party for so long, not because of Lincoln, but because the Democratic Party stayed explicitly racist into the 1960s. If the Republican Party changed its policies, Latinos would vote for it.

Of course, the issues that Latinos care about are not exclusively immigration. In fact, it is at least a little offensive that these liberal white guy reporters focus so much on this issue. What it shows is that they are not the one thing that most defines the Latino community: poor. Yes, it is certainly true that the explicitly racist elements of the party hurt its standing with Latinos. Comprehensive immigration reform is not the end all, be all. Mostly it is simply a matter that Republican policies are designed to harm the poor and limit their opportunities.

Chait ends his article by making an analogy with the Republicans of the late 1990s and how it took 6 years of George W Bush for the Republicans to lose control of Congress. That’s true, but he conveniently forgets that there was not a demographic tidal wave sweeping over American politics at that point. I still maintain that the Republicans will not go down easily. But to suggest that the Republicans can keep doing what they’re doing and that it will take 6 years of President Rand Paul before they pay a price for it is madness. Let’s not forget, Bush didn’t win the 2000 election and wouldn’t have won the 2004 election without 9/11. None of which means that the Republicans won’t continue to find ways to win. But to suggest that they will by default is just the smug spouting of conventional wisdom.