Knuckle Rap

China’s “peace plan” was impotent, as I said, but at least it finally gave us an official recognition that COVID came from a Chinese lab. With this recognition, the US is telling China to go back to its shed and stop trying to act important.

Concerted TikTok bans in US and Europe are another rap across the knuckles for China.

These are good news.

Sad Girls

Everybody is discussing these findings:

Earlier this month the CDC released the results of its Youth Risk Behavior Survey of American teenagers. The findings have been much discussed, with the focus largely and understandably on the fact that teenage girls are suffering from extraordinarily high levels of sadness and depression. . . Breaking things down by gender and ideology, they find that liberal girls have the highest increase in depressive affect and conservative boys have the least.

I want to offer my own, non-political take on the issue.

Liberal women tend to have children later in life. As a result, a girl’s puberty is more likely to coincide with the mother entering menopause.

During puberty, a girl needs to battle her mother for the role of the woman of the family. It’s like in a wolf pack where a young wolf has to defeat the old leader of the pack and take his place. If a girl can’t successfully battle the mother because the mother is dead, too controlling, etc, there are three future scenarios for her:

  • Find a mother substitute – an older friend, an aunt, a boss, a mentor, and go through this necessary process with her.
  • Not go through the process at all and fail to find fulfillment as a woman, being unable to get married and/or have children.
  • Assume a male role, become sexually and professionally aggressive, and then fight the men in her life for who’s the biggest macho.

If a girl hits puberty and starts battling the mother at the time when the mother is starting menopause, the mother is already in a sensitive place regarding her womanhood. She losing it, and here’s somebody driving the loss home in an even more painful way. The chances of such a mother gracefully stepping down and letting the girl win are not huge. It’s a lot easier when the mother is still way too young for menopause or, in much rare cases, has already gone through it and gotten used to it.

Nobody does any of it consciously, of course. Girls become mega annoying like clockwork, driving their mothers up a wall. Women blame themselves, thinking this means they are bad mothers when the rebellion means the exact opposite. The quiet, obedient, “mommy is my best friend even though I’m 24” types are the saddest cases.

Boys do the same with their dads, and this is one of the many reasons why dads are crucial.

The cure for this illness that affects absolutely everybody is to know about it and remain completely calm. It’s all good, it’s all necessary. At some point, kids pee and poop all over themselves, and you clean them up because that’s what they need. Then later they start turning into men and women, and the process also stinks but it’s just as necessary. Nobody freaks out when a 3-month-old pees herself. Neither should they get upset when a 13-year-old becomes moody, secretive, dramatic, and rude to her mommy.

We like to imagine that we are disembodied spirits, not affected by the workings of our bodies but that’s crap. Nobody goes either through puberty or through menopause without being affected by it.

An Evening in Madrid

Technology is really cool in many ways. I’m in Madrid, coordinating a sunflower shoot delivery back home while attending a lecture on political science in Ukraine.

But it’s ok because I read a whole paper book today. It’s a police procedural by a Basque author Peru C├ímara set in San Sebasti├ín. So my subjectivity is fine for now.

I’m dragging a whole suitcase of books back home because Spanish books are very far removed from the standards of political correctness and we are seeing what’s happening with digital editions. And new paper editions.

My Narcissistic Episode

Nobody is fully immune from an occasional bout of narcissism, my friends. Here’s a case in point. Agrider, the owner of my small countryside hotel that’s belonged to his family for over a century, speaks a very slow, careful Spanish to me.

“Ah!” I think in an attack of wounded narcissism. “He doesn’t trust that my Spanish is good enough to understand fluent speech.”

To convince Agrider of my outstanding language skills, I start firing off long, complex sentences delivered at a breakneck speed.

In response, Agrider speaks even more slowly and enunciates even more carefully.

Finally, today we had a good conversation, and I discovered that the reason why a guy who has lived his whole life in the Basque countryside speaks slow Spanish has nothing whatsoever to do with me. He’s simply a speaker of euskera. Spanish is a learned language for him. I was confusing him with my rapid-fire, convoluted Spanish.

It’s my fault for forgetting one of life’s most important rules: whatever it is, it’s probably not about me at all.