Relationship Advice

So, women, do you know how the overwhelming majority of men is not brought up to be able to name and process their emotions? And that 98 out of 100 men automatically look to women to tell them what they feel and what to do with it? Because having a vagina somehow magically qualifies one to be an expert on emotions?

OK, if you know this, then I’m sure you realize why it’s a bad idea to say to a man things like “You don’t love me,” “You don’t even care about me,” “You are so insensitive,” etc. No matter how he really feels, he probably believes you are a much greater authority on feelings than he is. So he might just end up believing you.

I made this mistake once. I started with the “You don’t love me” thing not because I believed it but because I wanted reassurance. I knew the guy loved me to bits, so I wanted to get him into an enjoyable “Yes, I do. – No, you don’t. – Yes, I do” exchange. Instead, though, the poor creature looked completely devastated and decided he’s not even capable of love if what he’s feeling is not considered love by the Great Expert on Feelings, aka me.

It is so much more productive to switch to “You are a very sensitive person,” “You love me so much, “I can see how much you care.” Even if it’s not true, he is more than likely to end up believing it.

Homeschooling and Today’s Economy

Homeschooling is spreading outside its original religious context. Given their cultural influence and cache, Silicon Valley families who are adopting and promoting homeschooling will likely accelerate its rise. Secondly, as we’ve noted before, this movement represents a threat not only to outdated schooling systems and models, but also to the entire blue progressive worldview. The threat to the blue model schooling system here is obvious: parents are rejecting a one-size-fits-all “time served” approach to education that does not encourage or allow students to rise to their full potential. They believe schools are failing to prepare their children for today’s economy, and they are right.

Yes, because today’s economy is totally welcoming to people who are not taught to venture outside of their houses, whose mobility is limited to the family abode, and who are used to being pampered and helicoptered by the doting parents. 

Forget about mobility, forget about knowing how to adapt to different environments, forget about interacting with people who are not exactly like you, forget opening yourself up to different perspectives, accents and cultural backgrounds, forget independence, forget learning how to structure your own time without Mommy’s constant supervision, forget about standing on your own feet emotionally and psychologically, forget about connecting to your peers in your own way. Today’s economy has no use for anything of the kind. The contemporary workplace is totally in need of workers who fall apart at a job interview if Mommy and Daddy can’t follow them into the interview room and proof-read their CV for them.

All that’s left to do is to inform the employers that “children belong to parents” and that when hiring in today’s economy, you need to prepare for Mommy and Daddy to hover around the workplace, checking of their 30-year-old baby is not being traumatized by mean, horrible adults.

The Sarcophagus in the Red Square

It’s like Putin is trying to freak everybody out on purpose. I’m sure you are familiar with the following famous image of the Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin:

As the clock strikes 12 on the most important night of the year (the New Year’s eve), the people of Russia and the Russian-speaking immigrants all stare at this image.

But this year, the famous tower looks like this:

There is a whole variety of conspiracy theories explaining that scary sarcophagus. My theory is that Putin wanted people to concentrate on something even uglier than him during the festive season. And he is succeeding.

What Pleases Women

Readers of novels are and have always been women. The goal of authors who write entertainment literature is to sell books, so they have to please the audience. I read quite a bit of mystery novels and I keep noticing that:

1) A hard-core male detective is always extremely chivalrous, uxorious, and faithful.

2) The only way for a male protagonist of such books to have a new woman in his life is if the one he’s with leaves him or dies. The detective will spend about 2 years grieving and drinking himself to death, but then a new woman will give him hope.

3) Male protagonists are always dumped by female protagonists.

4) Female protagonists, however, dump men all over the place. The #1 reason is that they are “not ready for a relationship.” The #2 reason is that they want more excitement.

5) If a hard-core male detective is dumped by his deeply beloved wife (and there is no other kind), she marries a much younger man almost instantly while the abandoned hard-core male detective will pine for her for decades to come. And raise his children, her children, and the children she has with the new man.

6) A hard-core female detective apprehends criminals in her 9th month of pregnancy and always has a husband whose work allows him to be with their children all or almost all of the time. It seems like the only point of childbirth for women in these novels is to get an opportunity to pursue a gang of armed and vicious killers while beginning to go into labor. After that valuable experience, the child loses all importance until s/he is 5 and can be conveniently kidnapped by a gang of armed and vicious pedophiles for the hard-core female detective to pursue.

7) A hard-core male detective is incapable of having sex without being profoundly in love.

8) A hard-core female detective prefers to have casual sex and lots of it.

9) Every woman has a male friend who will do absolutely anything for her. She, however, keeps forgetting he exists.

10) Male protagonists are all great cooks while female protagonists can’t boil water.

Entertainment movies embody male fantasies while entertainment literature does the same for women. And this makes for very repetitive and boring entertainment.

Why Is the US So Religious?

“Why is the US so religious as opposed to other developed countries?” a European friend asks me.

The reason is that the kind of religion most Americans practice is so easy, I tell him. It’s the perfect religion for lazy consumers who want no hardship and no obligations.

I mean, take the Greek Orthodox Christianity. That religion is extremely hard and requires many sacrifices from the faithful. I don’t belong to it and would never consider belonging but I have to recognize that one has to be very serious about one’s faith to fulfill all the requirements. Just consider the endless fasts when you have to give up sex and all the good food. Can you imagine Americans giving up on eating anything tasty for several months out of a year? Yeah, right.

Catholicism is easier but still quite hard. There is work to do, effort to make, sacrifices to offer.

Judaism and Islam are equally demanding when done seriously and conscientiously. Practicing these religions is like having a second job with no pay.

And now consider the US Evangelicals. They don’t have to do anything to consider themselves religious. There is no fasting, no confession, no repentance, no authority to respect and obey. Feel like proclaiming yourself a founder of a new church? Go ahead! Feel like stuffing your face with hamburgers, guzzling beer, yet still feeling super self-righteous? Knock yourself out! Feel like engaging in every act of depravity between bouts of massive preaching? Feel free! The only requirements consist of attending services that look more like Broadway musicals every once in a while and hating gays and feminists. Easy peasy! What’s not to like about a nifty religion like that?

Can you imagine any of the Americans who foam at the mouth with their so-called religiousness giving up on alcohol and praying five times a day for their beliefs? Let’s agree that it isn’t very likely.

Please don’t think I’m condemning Americans for choosing this consumerist approach to religion. I’m an even better consumer than they are and, as a result, my religiousness requires even less that theirs. I don’t need either to attend services or hate gays and feminists to practice it.

Clarissa and Jesus

Last night, we were driving home from St. Louis. N was very hungry and kept asking me to feed him as soon as we got home.

“I need to eat now! Right now!” he was saying.

“But I can’t feed you right now,” I responded. “I need time to cook something. I can’t produce food instantly.”

“Well, there was one guy who managed to do it,” N. said.

“I understand you worship me and all,” I answered, “but this is a pretty high standard to set.”

Since I was facing stiff competition from Jesus, I whipped out a two-course hot meal in ten minutes.

“I am the way and the truth and the life,” I announced as I was serving dinner. “No one comes to food in this house except through me.”

Barking at Strangers Helps

And here people keep saying that going off aggressively at strangers doesn’t work.

Remember how I barked at a blogger who published nasty things about my university? So guess what? It worked. Now the blogger in question always takes care to specify that she is criticizing our sister institution and not us.

I’m still not linking to that blogger because I’m still not quite over the trauma of seeing my university referred to in negative terms. I will soon get over it completely, however, and will resume reading that blogger and linking to her normally very good blog.

I’m improving the world here, one aggressive outburst at a time. And where is the appreciation?

Five Great Jews

The great Jew #1 was King Solomon. He said, “The most important part of a human being is this” and pointed to his head.

The great Jew #2 was Jesus. He said, “The most important part of a human being is this” and pointed to his heart.

The great Jew #3 was Karl Marx. He said, “The most important part of a human being is this” and pointed to his belly.

The great Jew #4 was Sigmund Freud. He said, “The most important part of a human being is this” and pointed to his genitals.

The great Jew #5 was Albert Einstein. He listened to the other four guys and said, “You know, folks, it’s all relative.”

Penis or Family Jewels?

A conversation with a senior colleague:

Clarissa: Do you remember this play we saw last year?

Colleague: No, what play?

Clarissa: The one with a penis!

Colleague: I have no idea what you are talking about. What was the play’s title?

Clarissa: I don’t remember the title but there was a naked guy in the play. With a penis!

Colleague: Who was the author, then?

Clarissa: I don’t know. I just remember the penis.

Colleague: Oh, was that the play where we bought jewelry during the intermission?

Clarissa: I don’t know from jewelry. The penis is all I retained from the play.

Colleague: Yes, that was some really cool jewelry.