Finally

The article I started writing the day before I found out I was pregnant with Klara is finally published. Fittingly, I found out about this the day before Klara will turn 3 years old.

We’ve had a ton of bad luck with this edited volume but it finally came out:

For good measure, this is Klara:

Still No Trickle

A headline in the perennially clueless NYTimes:

#MeToo Paradox: Movement Topples the Powerful, Not the Ordinary

Finally, these idiots are discovering that the concerns of aging Hollywood actresses are utterly alien to us, the “ordinary” folks.

Other than appreciative exclamations from construction workers (which I actually like because I don’t think construction workers are lesser beings and need to keep their eyes on the ground) and an occasional compliment at the store or at the bus stop (which I also like), I have encountered no sexual harassment in this country. Compared to other regions where I lived or visited, this is a veritable paradise for women where men en más de are extremely courteous, helpful, and respectful. So all of this incessant blabber about the suffering of the very rich women we’ve had to endure for two years has nothing to do with my life or that of any women I know.

Stupid Twitteroids

Representative Ilhan Omar, who has been battling charges of anti-Semitism for weeks, drew swift and unqualified condemnation from fellow Democrats on Monday — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the entire House leadership — after she insinuated on Twitter Sunday night that American support for Israel is fueled by money from a pro-Israel lobbying group that has Jewish backing.

I can’t fathom what possesses people who hold public office to make total idiots of themselves on Twitter. Why not go read a book, spend time with family, or just simply take a nap? What goal are they trying to achieve with all this infantile posturing on the most ridiculous social network in existence? Even the most profound person on the planet (which this lady clearly is not) will look like a dumbass on Twitter. Why work so hard to make yourself look more stupid?

Teenagers and Religion

Now as to what I learned from these materials I’ve been discussing about religous faith. African Americans are still a lot more religious as a group than whites, and the gap is growing in all age groups. But teenagers as a whole have abandoned religion almost completely.

Among the rapidly shrinking minority of teens who see themselves as religous, what they actually believe is not any existing religion but, rather, MTD (Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.) This is a system of belief which posits that if you are a good person (and everybody considers oneself to be one), then you deserve for good things to happen to you. MTDers don’t accept any limits on their behavior because they are good people and good people deserve to do exactly what they want to do. This is a worldview that offers no guidance and posits no meaning to life other than satisfying every fleeting whim. Consumerism is the real object of faith here.

This is why the folks who still believe that religious fundamentalists or fanatics or whatever still represent a threat in this country need to wake up and check their calendars. It’s all gone, dead, completely outdated. And the politicians who try to rile us up against the utterly insignificant Knights of Columbus and Co are dirty, dishonest hacks who are lying to us as part of their con.

More on Mental Health

Now, let’s talk about actual clinical depression and not just depressive symptoms. 56% more teenagers experienced a major episode of clinical depression in 2015 than in 2010. 60% if teenagers experienced severe impairment.

Between 2007 and 2015, the number of 12- to 14- year-olds who killed themselves grew by 150%. If this is not terrifying, I don’t know what is.

These are kids who discovered smartphones at the entrance to puberty. And whose parents discovered smartphones when their kids were entering puberty, which is probably even more important. Smartphones weren’t ubiquitous before 2012. Now think about what’s going to happen for those who are immersed in them since infancy when they reach that age. And whose parents are immersed throughout the kids’ whole lives.

I’m really glad we are reading such important material at work.

Screens and Mental Health

In the past 15 years, the number of teens who hang out with friends every day was cut in half. Most of the decline took place since 2010.

At the same time (and taking into the account not just this but everything I mentioned in the previous posts), rates of anxiety and depression amongst teens skyrocketed. Studies show that absolutely every single activity you can do online correlates with higher degrees of unhappiness. The more time you spend off-screen doing absolutely anything whatsoever, the higher your rates of satisfaction with your life are.

The risk of depression for teens who have an active social media presence is dramatically higher than for those who don’t. But it doesn’t work the other way around. Being depressed doesn’t lead to more social media use. (It’s exactly the same in adults, too. One study after another shows that, after you get through the initial withdrawal symptoms, there is nothing better you can do for your mental health non-medically than quitting social media. So if you are anxious or depressed, lock up the phone for a month.)

Two+ hours of screens increase a teen’s suicide risk. When it gets past 3 hours a day, the risk begins to spike and gets dramatic once you get past 5 hours a day.

Teenagers today are experiencing an unprecedented mental health crisis. Everybody who works with this age group will confirm this for you but there are also studies up the wazoo. And this is in times of peace and prosperity. What if there was actual adversity this already extremely psychologically vulnerable generation experienced?