The End of Mom Guilt

By Lara Bazelon in The Atlantic.

Bazelon, 51 years old, in an essay adapted from a book, writes:

“The feminism of my mother’s generation was rightly focused on equal pay at work; eradicating the abuses that drove women out of the workforce or caused them to switch to lower-paying, part-time work; and, eventually, equal division of labor at home. That project is far from complete. But feminism today must be about more than these structural changes. We have to redefine what it means to be a good mother.”

She then adds:

“No real change is possible until working mothers stop trying to be all things to all people—perfect at work, perfect as partners, and perfect as mothers, with each role kept entirely separate. Rather than hermetically sealing motherhood off from workplace struggles and triumphs, women should embrace the seepage between their worlds. For themselves, but also for their sons and daughters.”

Then she describes a few working mothers who do seem to be all things to all people, which left me somewhat confused.

She makes a strong argument for ambitious mothers, but I couldn’t help but notice the two marriages she describes in most depth both ended in divorce. Which makes me think, acknowledging the limits of my hetero assumption, another book is in order. One on how men can partner more effectively with ambitious, successful women. 

Ca$hing In On The Political Divide

Imagine if there was some perfectly legal way to make money based upon people’s mutual antipathy for one another.

Introducing Conservative Move whose message is simple:

WE’RE MOVING YOU

TO VALUES, PROSPERITY, & SAFETY

When your community no longer reflects morals and values, it might be time to move. We’re an organization of real estate agents here to help you sell your homeorganize the move, and buy a home in a community where you feel safe, valued, and at home.

They emphasize three things that liberals make damn near impossible . . . great schools, safe streets, and lower taxes. Because any rational person knows liberals stand for crap schools, dangerous streets, and high taxes.

They could’ve gone with “no longer reflects YOUR morals and values,” but chose instead to tap deeper into their potential customers inner hate.

Then a kicker:

TIRED OF YOUR WOKE WORKPLACE? WE CAN HELP! 

I prob deserve some blame for this entrepreneurial effort for writing about gun control back in the day on this way too liberal blog.

Right to Bear Arms

“Maybe we should just divide the country into 25 “hawk” and 25 “dove” states. Pick one representative of each view and have them take turns picking states for everyone else. Since I disagree with almost everything in paragraph one, I nominate myself for the doves, and my first pick is Washington State. Clint Eastwood, representing the Hawks, will no doubt take California which I’m not happy about at all. My second pick, Oregon.

For practical reasons, residents of hawk and dove states will be allowed to travel freely into ideological enemy territory; however, they will have to agree to adapt to life in ideological enemy territory. For example, Clint will have to leave his gun at home when he flies to Seattle and I will have to avoid committing a violent crime when visiting California lest I be fired upon by private citizens and/or executed by Ahrnold. Social scientists can do longitudinal studies on the quality of life in each set of states.”

So I guess you have me to blame or thank for Conservative Move, depending upon your perspective. Now certainly, it’s only a matter of time before every conservative finds every other conservative and they fix their children’s schools, eliminate the crime in their community, and lower their taxes.

‘A Magic Carpet Ride’

Thank you Sweden for making an electric hydrofoil boat for me. The Candela C8.

“You don’t feel the waves hitting the hull, it’s silent and you’re unaffected by the sea state, so it’s a bit like merging flying and boating. It’s a very magical feeling.”

You had me at “you don’t feel the waves”!

And at only $330,000, I’ll won’t feel any oligarch yacht hostility either. Win, win.

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Monday Required Reading

You Can Learn to Love Being Alone.

“People who pursue solitude of their own volition ‘tend to report that it feels full — like they’re full of ideas or thoughts or things to do. . . . In this way, it’s distinct from loneliness, a negative state in which you’re disconnected from other people and it feels empty.”

Putin’s Bloody Folly in Ukraine.

“As Putin spills blood across Ukraine and threatens to destabilize Europe, Russians themselves stand to lose immeasurably. The ruble and the Russian stock market have cratered. But Putin does not care. His eyes are fixed on matters far grander than the well-being of his people. He is in full command of the largest army in Europe, and, as he has reminded the world, of an immense arsenal of nuclear weapons. In his mind, this is his moment, his triumphal historical drama, and damn the cost.”

The style and substance of South Carolina basketball’s Dawn Staley.

“‘She loves on them hard,’ associate head coach and longtime confidante Lisa Boyer says. ‘She’s playful with them, she’s hugging them, she’s there for them. I think they sense the fairness. I think they sense the genuineness of her. She speaks to them — it’s not some fairy tale. She’s telling them the deal.'”

“‘I owe basketball,’ Staley says. ‘I’m forever indebted to it. It engulfed my life for the positive. The game has gotten more of my time than my friends and my family. I feel like on a smaller or larger scale, it can impact my players’ lives in some kind of way.'”

A Renowned Community of Quilters is Taking on Copycats—and Winning.

“’We put a lot of work into it, and it’s about our life,’ Charley says of quilting. . . . We used these quilts for warmth. It was about our struggle, and our survival.'”

“Charley might feel differently, she offers, if these makers — who may have, say, studied textiles at art school — sent some of their profits back to the community that inspired them. But that doesn’t happen. “This work is ‘inspired’ in your mind, because you see the quilt pattern,” Charley says. “But you don’t know my story. And you’re going to try and duplicate it — and go to Joann Fabrics to do it?’”

The United States In Free Fall

One to two hundred years from now, historians will point to the end of the Twentieth Century and the first half of the Twenty First as the time that the United States ceded its global leadership to China and a menagerie of other nations. Basically, the timeline of my life.

Why? Because we’re losing economic momentum and China and other countries are gaining it. It’s only a matter of time before the “X” and “Y” axes cross.

And with our loss of economic momentum, people and institutions are under ever greater pressure. Economic anxiety compels more and more people to prioritize their self interests to the detriment of the common good.

For the first time in a long time, parents worry that their children will not live as comfortably and securely as them. Add to that the recent damage done to our political institutions which were integral to our Twentieth Century rise. Peaceful transitions of power can’t be assumed any longer. Legislators cannot compromise to invest in green energy and physical and social infrastructure.

Consequently, our roads are rutted and many, many international airports lap our own aging ones. At the Winter Olympics, China showed off it’s new bullet trains that go 217 mph, not quite up to Japanese speeds, but give them time.

Don’t interpret this as idealizing China, because there’s a lot more to quality of life than economic growth. There’s a sense of safety, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom to protest, equal opportunities, a healthy natural environment, physical and mental well-being, and support for the most vulnerable. China fails on many of those fronts. Increasingly, the U.S. does too.

Apart from our failing infrastructure, we imprison a larger percentage of our population than anyone. Our response to Covid has been “worst in the world” especially when adjusted for our economic status. Many use alcohol and drugs to escape and more and more of our children suffer from anxiety disorders and depression.

For the historically astute, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Greatness has always been fluid. Tides rise and tides fall. Our aristocracy, the top ten percent who are thriving economically, don’t realize a lower tide lowers all boats. That it is in their enlightened self interest to reduce the income and wealth gap. To reduce the vulnerability of the least fortunate among us.

Our problem is we don’t think in terms of generations or hundreds of years. The aristocracy thinks they’ll be fine and they work tirelessly to make sure the same is true of their children. Talk of environmental degradation and climate change, is mostly just that, talk.

I’m not immune from that self-centered myopia. I think to myself, if I can just keep running in Priest Point Park, keep cycling on Mount Rainier, keep swimming in Ward Lake, keep eating healthy food, keep drinking craft beers with good friends, all is good. Which does nothing to slow the country’s decline.

But then again, history suggests the decline is inevitable.

The take-away for my international friends? If you have the United States on any sort of pedestal, update your thinking. If we ever were a light upon a hill, we are not now.

Should You Still Wear A Mask?

Should you still wear a mask?

Breathe. Press pause. Breathe some more. Then read it not just to figure out your own course of action, but even more importantly, to better understand why other people’s decisions are many times different than yours.

Imminently sensible.

My fave paragraph:

“But if you’re otherwise healthy and have received your vaccine and booster shots, your risk of getting seriously ill with Covid is extraordinarily small. It’s about in line with other risks people take every day, such as driving in a car.”

Another insight:

“. . . follow the norms and the rules of the business you’re entering. If the sign at the door says “Mask Required,” you don’t want to make retail workers have to enforce policies over which they have no control. Their jobs are hard enough, and everyone can wear a mask with little to no sacrifice.”

Alright, my work is done here, no more mask hostilities.

The Age Of ‘Anti-Ambition’

A phrase for our times by The New York Times’ Noreen Malone. Subtitle, “When 25 million people leave their jobs, it’s about more than just burnout.”

Among the insights:

“. . . last month a Business Insider article declared that companies ‘are actively driving their white-collar workers away by presuming that employees are still thinking the way they did before the pandemic: that their jobs are the most important things in their lives. . .'”

“. . . a Gallup poll that showed that last year only a third of American workers said they were engaged in their jobs.”

Malone adds:

“Recently, I stumbled across the latest data on happiness from the General Social Survey, a gold-standard poll that has been tracking Americans’ attitudes since 1972. It’s shocking. Since the pandemic began, Americans’ happiness has cratered. The graph looks like the heart rate has plunged and they’re paging everyone on the floor to revive the patient. For the first time since the survey began, more people say they’re not too happy than say they’re very happy.”

Given the constant updating of statistics, the physical devastation caused by the pandemic is obvious. In contrast, the negative mental health effects lurk below the surface. If like me, you’re firmly on the ‘happy side’ of the ledger, keep in mind that we’re in the minority. Consequently, let’s strive to grant others more grace than normal.

The Future Is Bright

Thanks to my fam for hijacking the humble blog this weekend. . . the Good Wife’s idea, the daughters’ execution. After editing the beginning of the post, youngest said to eldest, “It’s kinda creepy how well you mimic dad’s writing voice.”

There are an overwhelming number of intractable problems in the world. You being stuck with me as primary author again. A slow walk to possible war in Ukraine. Environmental degradation. Global poverty. Pandemic induced loneliness and related mental health challenges. Endless Super Bowl crypto commercials.

But there’s at least one glimmer of hope that has not been reported widely enough.

Rotterdam bridge to be dismantled so Jeff Bezos’ yacht can pass through.

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From DutchNews:

“Bezos’ three-masted yacht is being built by the Oceano shipyard in Alblasserdam but is too big to pass under the bridge when the central section is raised to its full height. Now Oceano and Bezos have approached the council about temporarily dismantling the bridge at their cost. According to Rijnmond, city officials are prepared to take that step, despite the opposition of local history experts and others.”

How wonderful that Bezos’ yacht will not be stuck in Alblasserdam. It makes you wonder what else is possible when city councils and others truly commit to the greater good.

Postscript: A reader just asked, “Is that sarcasm?” YES.

Psychology Quiz

Name an emerging field of therapy.

Treating eco-anxiety.

“Her goal is not to be released from her fears about the warming planet, or paralyzed by them, but something in between: She compares it to someone with a fear of flying, who learns to manage their fear well enough to fly.

‘On a very personal level,’ she said, ‘the small victory is not thinking about this all the time.’”