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Wait, Let’s Talk About This

Once upon a time, in what certainly feels like a galaxy far, far away, one had to visit a well-equipped library to consume the large volumes of media that were available. After all, not only were magazine subscriptions expensive, the amount of paper that would quickly accumulate could fill a house in a matter of months, if not weeks. From daily newspapers to weekly magazines and monthly journals, the only way to reasonably keep up with everything was to let the library hold the subscriptions and then visit on a regular basis.

To some degree, I rather miss that paradigm. There was a social element to those visits to the library. One no only knew the librarians by name but other patrons whose interests in the contents of those periodicals was similar. There was also the opportunity to see an article title on the cover of a magazine that one didn’t normally peruse and develop an interest one hadn’t had before. Consuming media in an analog fashion had advantages that have yet to be duplicated with digital media.

Of course, there are advantages to digital media as well. Not only can one read the media in the comfort of one’s own bathroom if they so desire, but the volume of sources is also practically endless. We can in many cases subscribe to those sources of information so that we are notified when there is new material from a specific source. One has greater access to a wealth of knowledge that would have been impractical for the majority of libraries to hold. The Internet is, in many ways, the digital equivalent to having the reference section of the New York Public Library on one’s phone.

Still, what we lack is the interaction with others, that ability to call into question what one is reading at the moment that one is reading it. Yes, there are countless forums dedicated to the discussion of every topic known to humanity, but there’s a significant and well-documented difference between having a conversation online versus in person. Online conversations don’t have the same depth and understanding as one gets when sitting face to face with another person.

More than that, I think that, in the vacuum of digital isolation, sometimes we consume material and information without actually thinking about the contents of what we’re consuming. We have become so accustomed to information hitting us in tidal waves that we focus on the consumption and not the digestion of the information. What we experience is perhaps the literary equivalent to taking a starving person to an all-you-can-eat buffet but limiting them to 30 minutes. We gorge ourselves on more information than our minds have the ability to process. As a result, we end up forgetting the greater majority of what we read.

Then, there’s also the challenge of having the time to thoroughly think about what is being shoved at us. I particularly have that problem this time of year when I’m juggling fashion shows on top of everything else. My days run 16-18 hours long with a constant stream of information coming at me, often faster than I can begin to grasp. I end up saving a number of articles to read later, and those saved articles become so backlogged that by the time I finally get to reading them several are no longer relevant.

What I want to look at this week are a number of articles that have hit my desk or inbox over the past few days and let’s take a moment to actually think about what they’re trying to tell us that the information we’re being asked to digest. These are articles with information that could, potentially, transform society if enough people were to engage them. I don’t think that is likely to happen because, to be sadly honest, not enough people are doing the reading in the first place. For every person who reads, there are fifteen who don’t. And yes, I just made that statistic up out of my head. So, I went and found the actual numbers. As of 2017, the last year for which numbers are currently available, only 19 percent of people over the age of 15 read for leisure, or because they choose to read rather than required reading. Nationwide, literacy is at an all-time low, which doesn’t help those numbers at all. 21 million Americans can’t read at all. 45 million are marginally illiterate. Put those two together, and roughly a third of the US population cannot read what I’m writing and we don’t want to start on actually comprehension rates.

That makes it all the more important that those of us who can read and do read actually pay attention to what we are consuming and not let the words wash over us. The next challenge in this conversation, however, is where do we start? To that end, I have carefully chosen a set of articles that I think are worth everyone’s time and some serious thought and consideration. Each title is a link to that article. My comments afterward assume one has at least glanced at the associated material. This isn’t college, however, so whether one actually reads or not is a matter of their own prerogative. Grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair.

How Will Your Climate Change By 2080?

 about climate change - old man tlkaing

2080. That’s 61 years from now. Chances are fairly certain that I won’t be around to worry about it, but several of you could. Part of the challenge with conversations about climate change, however, is that the greater majority of US citizens don’t live on a beach or an island so we don’t pay much attention to warnings that coastal cities could disappear. Those of us in the Midwest are especially prone to thinking that we won’t be affected, or if we are, it won’t be much. This dangerous direction of thought is key to the resistance against any effective policy shift on climate change. People have difficulty supporting something they don’t think is going to directly touch their lives.

The article, however, is just an explanation for this app that allows one to take a look at how different their climate may be by comparing it with the current climate in other cities. For most US cities, the change represents a shift southwest to varying degrees. Let’s look at a few examples.

  • For Indianapolis, the conditions are likely to get warmer and drier as our climate becomes similar to what is currently experienced around Jonesboro, Arkansas. Now, I’ve been to Jonesboro when I was a child. Summers there are significantly warmer than what we currently experience here. If forecasts are accurate, this is not going to be a pleasant shift.
  • Folks in Oklahoma City won’t see much of a temperature difference as their climate shifts to being more like Spring, Texas is now. However, they are likely to experience a lot more rain. This could be challenging as Oklahoma City is already prone to flooding anytime they get a heavy rain.
  • My baby brother living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area may actually get a bit of a break on the temperature as their climate shifts more Southeast toward New Orleans. The cooler temps are offset, however, by it being 143% wetter! Talk about some flooding issues! Folks around the Stockyard might want to start prepping now or those cows are going to need to learn how to swim.
  • Our more liberal friends up in Portland, Oregon, by contrast, are going to see nearly a fifteen-degree spike in summer temperatures as their climate becomes more like Johnson, California. The area is also 88.2 % drier. Perhaps Portland’s perpetual cloudiness will go away as well. Tough news for all those sparkly vampires up there (that’s a Twilight reference for those of you not up on such things).
  • My colleagues down in Atlanta, Georgia will only see slightly warmer temperatures but almost 50% more rain as the climate there shifts to be more like the greater Mobile, Alabama area. Atlanta’s street flooding tends to be severe only in specific areas of town, a more moist climate could have a severe effect on the local economy that relies on outdoor events.
  • Friends in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota area are likely to think they’re getting off lucky with only a modest increase in temperature as their climate becomes more like the Kansas City region. The real-world effect is likely to mean a bit less snow in the winters, and about 8 degrees warmer in the summer.
  • Climate change deniers in Lynchburg, Virginia might want to look into the price of arks, or at least umbrellas as their climate becomes more like that of Niceville, Florida, becoming almost 85% wetter in summer than it is now. Given that Virginia is one of the states likely to experience coastal flooding as well, boating could become a necessary skill.

One caveat to these predictions is the assumption that emission levels stay at or near their current level. The app adjusts for lower levels of emissions should those be adopted. However, since when has anything related to the weather ever remained static? Can we safely assume that if we do nothing that emission levels stay the same? Probably not. They would probably increase, possibly significantly because, collectively, we tend to act against our own best interests. This would make the difference in climate change all that much more severe.

While I probably won’t make it another 60 years to check these predictions, those of you under 40 stand a pretty good chance of surviving. Consider whether you really want to be treading water or spitting sand when you’re 90.

“Selfie Harm” Is The New Overreaction

Think Selfies - old man talking

Parents overreact to a lot of things. Part of the reason for that overreaction is the fact that we are constantly barraged by articles such as this one telling us that our kids are doing something horrible that is going to either scar them for life, kill them, or possibly turn them into game-playing zombies that never move out of the basement. We are all horrified, especially by that last option.

This particular article wants mom and dad to be concerned about all those selfies our kids are taking. A British photographer took pictures of 15 teens. He then allowed them to use a number of mobile-based apps to let them modify their photos any way they wanted. Then, he sounded the alarm. Each teen dramatically altered how they looked! Surely, this is a sign of some deep-seated self-loathing.

The photographer, who is not a trained psychologist but plays one in this article, is convinced that the teen’s modifications show how dramatically social media has altered their definition of beauty. He, along with an ad agency and his artist’s representatives, then go on to talk about how this effects mental health.

Let’s just get a few things straight.

  1. THIS IS NOT A SCIENTIFIC STUDY! In fact, it’s not even a good social observation. 15 people is far too small a study size, especially when one is discussing teens whose reactions to anything tend to be all over the place. Make that a 1,500 member controlled group and we might have reason to pay some attention.
  2. No one involved in this is a psychologist, psychiatrist, or even a licensed social worker. Therefore, absolutely nothing they say should be taken as anything more than the opinion of a casual observer. There is no authority here at all.
  3. The image editing apps used are not significantly different from the filters offered on apps such as Instagram and Snapchat. Therefore, the editing options were severely limited.
  4. Participants were not given any instruction as to the rules of image editing. They were given the apps and told to take a go at it.

From my perspective, also as a photographer and a parent, this whole article is absolute bullshit and is exactly the sort of thing that discredits real studies done by real professionals. This muddies the water for actual science, making it more difficult for stupid people to discern between what is real and what is nonsense. This article is clearly the latter.

Even the very premise of this project is misguided. One has to question whether the photographer in question, who goes by the name Rankin, has ever observed what teens do with photos on social media sites. If they are allowed access to filters, regardless of how ridiculous they might be or how they distort their appearance, they use them. Why? Because it’s fun, and the results are funny. There’s no self-loathing here. Rather, it’s an exercise in being silly.

Furthermore, as any digital design professional will tell you, give a rookie access to a bunch of filters without any instruction and they will do their best to use every damn one of them on every image they touch. This is why Photoshop fails is a thing. Give teens an app that allows them to enlarge their eyes and lips, narrow their nose and change their head shape, they’re going to use every last one of the filters available to them. They’re not any different from anyone else who encounters an editing app for the first time.

I’m really disappointed that Design Taxi chose to publish this nonsense. It does nothing positive for anyone. The alarms created in the article are false and dangerous because they distract parents from the real signs of mental illness in their teens (outside the fact that they’re teens, so there are some abnormal behaviors that come standard). In my opinion, the whole article needs to be retracted and Rankin needs to stick to photography.

Does Laughter Define Humanity?

Think laughter - old man talking

What makes us human? This is the question that philosophers and sociologists and psychologists and anthropologists have been asking for much of the past 600 or so years as those formal areas of study have come into being. We have an intrinsic desire to know what it is that separates us from other forms of primate. What makes us so damn unique, anyway? How has evolution given us the upper hand.

For all the prevailing theories out there, Chris Knight, a British anthropologist, makes the very interesting argument that laughter is the primary trait that separates humans from every other species on the planet. For all the studies and comparisons that have been done, there is no other creature that laughs in the same way that humans do. Moreover, laughter is the primary trait connecting every form of civilization known or studied over the history of our species.

This article is a long read, which is good because there’s a lot of science that needs to be considered when one is going to make a claim that, on the surface, might sound a bit perposterous. Knight lays out his argument quite carefully, however. He considers the various theories as to how and why laughter developed among humans. I would not have suspected that laughter has such a litanty of scientific research behind it, but it does and Knight seems to have not left out any prevailing study in his thesis. He looks at everything that has been postulated then either explains why he agrees or argues as to why the theory might be mistaken. This is a very academic piece of work.

At the same time, the work is engaging as it breaks down the way that different societies have used laughter. One of the most intriguing, at least from my perspective, is his account of the Mbendjele people in the Republic of Congo. Women there use laughter as a way to shame their husbands and keep them in line. They gather as a group in front of the man and the offended woman tells, outloud with all manner of flourish, what her foolish husband has done. As she tells the story, everyone else in the group laughs at him. Imagine the psychological effect such derision must have! Yet, it is a nonviolent way of bringing about social change and is a lot cheaper than hiring an attorney.

Knight makes a number of summations and reaches some conclusions while leaving other questions open to further exploration. One statement he makes, however, is certainly worthy of an entire conversation all on its own.

Looking at laughter from the perspective of an anthropologist, it’s possible to claim that all humour is essentially political. That insight transcends comedic forms such as satire; my point here is that humour in general, whatever its content, is political by nature. Down to the smallest details of our lives, our relationships and encounters involve exercises and exchanges of power. In the face of these dynamics, laughter is an equalising gesture, a restoration of a rightful order in the face of an unjust hierarchy.”

Stop and chew on that a minute. If humor is political, a restoration of order, then how mgiht that affect the role of the comic in society? My thoughts immediately turn to late night talk show hosts such as Stephen Colbert who, for the past two years, has spent the greater part of each evening’s monologue making fun of the US President. The Daily Show on Comedy Central has been poking fun at political figures around the world for more than twenty years. In fact, political comedy is a staple of late night, that ability to look at the world’s leaders and laugh.

That conclusion works with a quote Knight includes at the beginning of his article from psychologist Stephen Pinker’s book, How The Mind Works.

No government has the might to control an entire population … When scattered titters swell into a chorus of hilarity like a nuclear chain reaction, people are acknowledging that they have all noticed the same infirmity in an exalted target. A lone insulter would have risked the reprisals of the target, but a mob of them, unambiguously in cahoots in recognising the target’s foibles, is safe.

Placing humor and laughter into a political perspective changes one’s perceptions about every joke they’ve ever heard or told, to whom they’ve told it, and why the joke is or isn’t funny. Why we laugh relates to the degree in which the joke or humorous story corrects an inbalance in life. If there is no inbalance, there is no humor. Essentially, we laugh because we are flawed.

Knight’s final paragraphs are striking:

Laughing, then, appears to be intimately tied to our ability to reflect back on ourselves. When we chuckle at our own foibles, we show that we are no longer trapped inside our individual egos, but can see ourselves through one another’s eyes. Likewise, when speaking, we separate ourselves from those around us by using words such as ‘I’ or ‘me’, drawing attention to ourselves as one person among others, as if from outside. Language would be impossible without the ability to adopt such a reverse-egocentric standpoint.

Humans are instinctive egalitarians, who work best with one another when no one has absolute authority, when teasing is good-natured, when there is sufficient affection and trust for shared tasks to constitute their own reward. Laughter is a vital part of this picture – not simply a psychological relief valve, but a collective guard against despotism. When moved to laugh by those around us, we reveal ourselves to be truly human.

There is no way I will not approach every giggle, wry grin, or boisterous guffaw without some questioning and self-reflection after reading this article. If laughter defines us as humans, then what is the thing we are laughing at say about us? I’m ready to go all in on this conversation.

Life Tips People Actually Use

Think Life Hacks - old man talking

What does it say about us, about our collective lack of self-confidence, that we are constantly looking for better ways to just live. The fact that there are entire websites, multiple websites, dedicated to helping us find and share what we’ve come to call “life hacks” only further emphasizes the reality that we don’t trust ourselves to find the best way to do things. We’re constantly looking for an easier way to do everything from major car repairs to eating potato chips.

In this particular case, the young woman writing the article has gone for a deep dive on Reddit to find the life hacks that people claim to use most often, the ones that actually work. She then divides them up into distinct groups such as food, language, cleaning, and money. Here are some of the tips I found most interesting:

  • When microwaving food (casserole, pasta, etc), make it in the shape of a ring or a donut, basically have it hollowed out in the middle. It heats up significantly quicker and more evenly.
  • If someone won’t shut up, drop something, they’ll pause when you go to pick it up. Use that opportunity to speak, as you pick up whatever you dropped.
  • Setting a timer for 10 minutes every time I walk through the front door to clean/tidy. Stops it building up and goes really quick so doesn’t feel like a chore.
  • If you get a prepaid Visa gift card, save it with like a $1 or $2 and use it to sign up for free trials without having to worry about using your actual credit card.
  • Not filing in the ‘To” field in an email until I am completely done with the email. Saved me a lot of badly written emails, half finished emails, and emails I never sent because I had time to think better of it.

On the surface, this seems like filler fluff, editorial nothingness that fills space, gives someone something innocusous to read while on the toilet without anyone getting upset. One can assume that all the tips work at least in certain situations with certain types of people. Honestly, I’ve never needed to set a timer for cleaning. I live with children. There’s no point.

On a deeper level, though, the writer’s choice of life hacks say something about who we are as a civilization. Let’s look at each of the hacks I’ve mentioned.

  • We reheat leftovers individually, which means, in most cases, that we’re probably eating that microwaved meal alone. Heating individual plates for an entire family takes more time than actually cooking something. We might nuke a specific dish, but probably not the whole meal a plate at a time. Therefore, one might assume that the person who arranges their food in a circle before heating it is probably a wee bit lonely, at least at meal time.
  • We don’t know how to exit converations gracefully. This isn’t a new issue. Anyone who has ever worked in a large office understands the problem of getting stuck in an elevator with that one person who won’t just shut up. While the hack certainly works, what would be better is to become more assertive, to interupt the person and say something along the lines of, “I’m sorry, but I’ve other things to attend to at the moment.” Exact phrasing might change based upon whether the person speaking has the ability to fire you, but learning to stand up for yourself and your time is important. Dropping something is just a cop out.
  • Setting a timer doesn’t just apply to cleaning, but anything which over which one tends to obsess, and a lot of people have difficulty being overly obsessive about certain aspects of their lives. Cleaning is certainly a common one, but other people are just as obsessive about gaming, or brushing their hair, or arranging furniture or any number of things. While not everyone has these obsessive tendencies, we’ve normalized being obsessed to a point we wonder what is wrong with that person who isn’t obsessed about something. Anything. Everything.
  • The tip about the prepaid Visa is a good one that thwarts the psychology behind free trials. We all know that websites offer free trials because once they have your credit card information chances are quite likely that you’ll let the monthly charges slide, even if you never visit the website again. A lot of website depend on that flaw in our economic planning and using a card that only has a couple dollars’ worth of value keeps our bank accounts from becoming overdrawn. However, it does nothing to address the fact that we are, collectively, totally irresponsible with our credit cards. Instead of managing what we spend and where we spend it, we just continue paying the monthly minimum while credit companies and everyone else makes millions off our laziness. The real life hack here has to be cutting that shit off and getting our finances back under control.
  • The issue with emal is that if we weren’t so flippant in how we use it we wouldn’t need this hack. If one is constantly sending emails they later regret, then perhaps one needs to deal with whatever emotional issue is causing them to send those emails in the first place. Sure, there are legitimate reasons for not filling in the To: line, such as making sure spelling and grammar are correct and making sure that the person receiving the email is the person who is best equipped to respond. If one has a bad habit of sending angry emails, however, one needs to deal with the anger issues.

This leaves me wondering how often we use life hacks as a way to help us avoid solving the larger and more fundamental issues in our lives. Are life hacks a way of essneitally saying, “I can’t stop doing this so I need a way to keep it from ruining my life?” If we’re finding ourselves so dependent on these short cuts are we avoiding the larger problems?

I’m not aware of any serious studies on this issue but it seems evident from my perspective that while some short cuts might certainly make life a bit easier, we need to examine why we need any shortcuts in our lives at all. What is it we’re circumventing?

This conversation is full of rabbit holes, however, so be careful.

Seven Fixes For American Capitalism

Think Economy - old man talking

This is a team written piece and it certainly shows. The one cohesive thread is the agreed-upon problem: the American economy is broken. This is a sentiment we are hearing with greater frequency as those younger than Baby Boomers, all of them, are increasingly dissatisfied with their economic opportunities. This is a severe change in attitude from the Boomers who have always been convinced that Capitalism is not only the best solution, but the only solution. So, right off the bat one has to consider whether we’re really ready as a society to completely abandon Capitalism and have we thoroughly considered what it means to do so?

Certainly, this is the first problem with the article in that there is no consideration as to what happens when we move away from pure Capitalism. There’s no conversation as to how that happens nor what the consequences might be. Admitting that the system is broken is one thing but to suggest serious alternatives to that system requires that one consider whether a peaceful and reasonable transition is even possible, let alone desirable.

If we jump past that fundamental flaw, we then have to contend with the fact that what is presented in the article is not a fix of any kind. Instead, these are seven different economic theories that are unproven as a single solution to any economy anywhere. If we are looking at this through a realistic perspective and not an academic one, none of these theories stand a chance of working. Instead, the best solution for resolving the issues of Capitalism involve some merging of the best of these theories with each one addressing the issues it handles best while letting some other method address the weaker matters.

Pure economic theory doesn’t work because they fail to account for the human condition, namely greed, corruption, and the overwhelming desire for power. We can spend all day discussing the egalitarian ideals of this economic theory or another but until we grapple head on with the aspects of humanity that are the most unsavory we get nowhere. What has ruined Capitalism is not that it was a bad idea but the fact that too many people were able to manipulate it for their own gain to the explicit detriment of others. One is naive to beleive that other theories don’t offer similar opportunities to different groups of people.

All that being said, the seven economic methods the article proposes are:

  1. Anti-trust Pivot—an extreme limitation of corporate consolidation and monopolistic power. Think the dramatic breaking apart of companies such as Google, Facebook, and General Electric.
  2. Supply-Side Economics—Republicans have been trying this since the Reagan era and it’s not working. Thing unregulating everything, slash government spending, and provide no corporate oversight. Yeah, that’s going to end badly every damn time.
  3. The German Method or Co-Determination—a form with which most Americans are not familiar where “in a corporation with more than 500 employees, a third of supervisory board seats must be filled by directors elected by workers, a share that rises to one-half for companies with more than 2,000 employees.” Some unions would like to see the US adopt a version of this model.
  4. Modern Monetary Theory—is the concept that financing emergency issues is more important than having the cash on hand to pay for them. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s the exact reasoning the President is using to pay for his border wall initiative. This is not a strictly Republican plan, however. Democrats supporting the Green Deal support this economic theory as well.
  5. Tarrif Truthers—are that group of people who believe that tarrifs serve no purpose other than to drive up prices. They would eliminate such burdens across the board and let the market have its way. Of course, this only works if everyone is paying their workers on the same scale.
  6. Libertarianism—is the idea that taxes are wrong and that government should be as small as possible. This theory holds to the ideal that private enterprise is capable of addressing social issues better than government, ie private prisons that make money off keeping jails as full as possible. We do see the problem with this, don’t we?
  7. “Tech to the Rescue”—is the concept supported by Jeff Bezos and other tech billionaires that innovation holds the key to solving all our problems, that technology can cure any social issue and eliminate any threat if we let it. Keep in mind, this is coming from a group of people who are among the 0.001 percent of the population whose employees are often public assitance. Something doesn’t quite add up here.

One doesn’t have to look very deep into any of these theories to understand that every last one of them is severly flawed and unworkable at a mass scale. Neither does one need to understand economic theory to realize that the downside for any of these theories puts us in greater danger than we are already facing.

I’m still waiting for someone to create an economic theory, and a political system as well, that takes into consideration the time-proven fact that if there is a way for someone to cheat, steal, usurp power, or legally enslave others, they’re going to do so. There are always going to be people who want to have more than everyone else and until we find an economic theory that limits those people without simultaneously hindering innovation and advancement then we’re not going to gain any ground. We’re screwed no matter which way we turn.

Monogamy Bores Women

Think Monogamy - old man talking

Conventional Wisdom has held for centuries that it is men who are always looking to sidestep monogamy. Women, we are told, want reliability, consistency, and commitment. Women, these same sources tell us, want to cuddle, to be coddled and made to feel special by that one person who cherishes them above all else.

Science, however, paints a very different picture. Women are bored by monogamy and may benefit more from an open relationship than do men. At least, that’s the direction Wednesday Martin takes this article that was published on, big surprise, Valentine’s Day (and yes, Addams Family fans, her name really is Wednesday). She backs up her premise with a considerable amount of research from University of Nevada, Las Vegas as well as a British study of 15,000 people aged 16 to 74 aswel as a fwe smaller studies. The numbers are pretty solid and the analysis based on the data is difficult to refute.

One should be careful to note that the article isn’t necessarily against monogamy. In fact, Ms. Martin goes out of her way to make sure one doesn’t think that she’s recommending wide-open raucous relationships for everyone. There is a very careful maneuvering that takes place so as to not upset the whole “traditional values” thing.

However, if one looks objectively at the data that Ms. Martin raises, that whole “traditional values” thing may be something we consider tossing in the waste bin. Jump out of the article and look separately at the related and referenced pieces and one gets the idea that monogamy might actually be harming women in relation to their long-term happiness and ability to maintain relationships.

Consider a statement like this:”Women in long-term, committed heterosexual partnerships might think they’ve ‘gone off’ sex—but it’s more that they’ve gone off the same sex with the same person over and over.”

I am amuseed by the degree to which Ms. Martin attempts to side-step the obvious fact that women get bored with a sex partner not only as much but often more quickly than men. She also stays away from delving into the topic of open relationships. The few times she mentions them it is always to someone else’s attribution and she fails to follow up on the opening.

Ultimately, Ms. Martin’s article is disappointing because it fails to consider the solutions that are right there in front of her. Her final suggestion is that perhaps women should be given a “cheat card” or “hall pass” to have sex outside a relationship on occasion. She never seriously consideres polyamory, open relationships, same-gender reltionships apart from straight relationships, or any number of possible solutions to the problem of being bored.

Neither does she fully explore why it is women are bored in the first place. There’s no talk about the quality of sex (which seems irrelevan to the problem) and only cursory mention of the frequency of sex. Don’t women deserve a lot more than a dismissive, “Yeah, we’re bored but we don’t want to hurt the guys’ feelings too badly.”

Oh, and could we also talk about the fact that an increasing number of women consider marriage and the very construct of the traditional relationship as restrictive and unattractive?

I first clicked on this article because I thought that perhaps The Atlantic might give the topic all the attention and depth of consideration that it deserves. They did not. This ended up being a fluff piece that provided just enough titilation to generate a high number of clicks without upsetting all the traditional, and boring relationships of their readers.

This brings me to a rather disturbing final point in that too many of the articles I looked at in prepating for this piece had great headlines with no worthwhile content. The nature of media today is that what is in an article isn’t nearly as possible as the fact that it has fifty-million clicks. With out the realitistic and budgetary constraints of putting ink on paper, digital editors are less worred about the quality and ethics of content and more concerned about how many views an article gets and whether a reader clicks on the ad in a side bar before they move on in search of something more neaingful.

This exercise leaves me missing those days in the library even more. Back then, if I read an article in a newspaper, chances are pretty good that it was whole and complete. If one walked away with questios they were matters of deeper concern and there were places where those concerns could be reaonsably addressed.

As strange as it may seem, I wonder if to some degree the answer comes not in stepping backward, for that never works, but perhaps in reducing that amount of media, backing away from the sources that routinely and habitually flood our senses with articles that are completely and totally reelevant. If we are only going to read when we go to the bathroom, as has been frequently suggested to be the case, then let us read things that matter rather than “The Secrets The Cast of Gilligan’s Island Kept Hidden” and other such nonsense. Perhaps the answer lies in editors only accepting articles that are thoroughly sourced. Perhaps the answer comes in being more careful about where we click.

Let’s think about this.   

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