Respect for Marriage

Here’s a very good article about the so-called Respect for Marriage Act. I’m shocked that there are Republicans who voted for it. What’s the purpose of having a Republican party if they’ll do this kind of thing?


The difference between a neurotic and a healthy person is that a neurotic expects everybody to change to accommodate his neurosis. We saw this during COVID when some people took the position that everybody needed to change their lifestyle to make them less anxious. A healthy person, instead, changes her own behavior and deals with her anxiety herself without farming it out to others. The neurotic approach is doomed to failure because anxiety has an internal source and can only be controlled internally.

More on Why the West Rules

Here’s another reason why the West rules:

Is anybody making the citizens of, say, Havana or Lima litter like they are paid to do it? I’ve been to Havana. People spend all day sitting outside in the midst of piles of garbage with no inclination to clean up their own space. Is anybody forcing them to live like this? No, of course not.

Sweep your own doorstep and don’t drive like a maniac, and already the standard of living will improve significantly. But it’s more fun to pout, so pout they will.

I was born in a country where streets were covered with garbage and dog shit. And then people got over themselves and started cleaning up their mess. It’s possible to do for yourself without waiting for a kindly benefactor. Anybody can be “the West” if they choose to do it.

Childhood Innocence

“Mommy, I learned at school that there are black people and white people. And they had separate water fountains. That’s history!” Klara says.

I love Americans, I truly do. But this obsession with race is seriously unhealthy. Why do kids need this at 6? Why is it so urgent to inform them before they learn to tie their shoes?

I did what I could, put her in a private Christian school but even there the favorite national pastime of scratching the itch of race has found us.

My kid didn’t even know the word COVID until we were in New York on Sunday and she read it on a billboard. And COVID was happening as she was growing up, not in the previous century.

What’s the rush to inform the kids about bad things? Are we worrying that they’ll avoid finding out? No, they won’t. Divorce, child abuse, slavery, FGM, Bucha, Stalin, Auschwitz, Rwanda, women on leashes, serial killers, Putin – they’ll find out for sure. And the only way to make it bearable when they do find out is to give them a childhood where none of this exists.

American Humor

Klara developed a very American sense of humor and makes up jokes that take me a while to figure out because they are different in structure from what we consider a joke in my country.

Here are some examples:

“What did a pickle say when it fell out of a jar?” – “That’s a pretty pickle!”

“What did the tag say to the suitcase?” – “May I tag along?”

“Why do you dislike stairs?” “Because they are up to no good.”

This made me think about cultural differences in humor. It looks like in English, humor is dialogic and based on wordplay. Our humor, on the other hand, is situational and narrative. We don’t have “knock knock” jokes, for instance, and it took me ages to figure out what they were. Neither do we have the “what did X say when Y happened” jokes. I don’t even perceive them as joke unless somebody explains them at length. Instead, we narrate little anecdotes where people find themselves in ludicrous situations and say silly things.

For example, here’s a famous joke: “Why does everybody say Pavarotti is talented? He’s terrible. He’s got no voice and no sense of rhythm.” “Why, have you been to a Pavarotti concert?” “No, but my friend Rabinovich sang a couple of Pavarotti’s arias to me.”

If you are from another culture, how do you make jokes?