Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Left a comment at Philly Mag

I'm posting it here in case it accidentally "gets lost" over there.  It's in response to Sandy Hingston's piece "Parents, Society to Blame for Guys Falling Behind" which is itself in response to her previous piece diplomatically titled "The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men" for which she got a significant negative response from...wait for it...young men.  Here's my comment:
It's all about incentives and disincentives.  Yes, the job market is brutal right now for young people, but it's not the economy that is halting marriage.  Young men still got married in the Depression.  Young men married during every war we've ever had.  Technology throws a monkey wrench into things, but young men aren't eschewing marriage because of porn or video games.  Having a kind, supportive, caring, nurturing, loyal, attractive living partner is going to be preferable to porn any day for the vast majority of men.  But the system isn't producing kind, caring, nurturing, loyal, attractive women who want to be wives and mothers.  It's set up to create crass, overweight, "empowered," mannish women who don't particularly like children or domesticity and who think sex is a contact sport and want to play until their fertility window is slamming shut.  
This is not the kind of woman men get excited about committing to.  
Furthermore, the system currently allows for a sort of children&home dream fulfillment without men via welfare/section8/WIC/food stamps/school lunches/medicaid.  This version is decidedly inferior to traditional home and hearth, but it does allow women to have and raise children without men.   
Many women opt for this version without even making a go of the other which makes a significant portion of the young female population single mothers.  Here's another thing about men: they don't particularly want to raise other men's children either.  
Additionally, the system is set up - not accidentally - to take both a man's money and his access to his children if his wife or girlfriend decides she wants out.  And she doesn't have to have a good reason either.  She's tired of him?  He can say good-bye to his future.  The police and courts will work hard to separate him from both his family and his money.  Two generations of men have now grown up seeing their fathers fully shorn after divorce.  That's a bit of a disincentive for settling down.  
Want men to want to get married again?  Get rid of sexist Police State laws like VAWA,  make divorce harder to get, and give fathers default custody upon divorce.  That right there will make divorce rates plummet because while plenty of women don't seem to mind chucking their husbands, they do not want to lose access to their children.  
Women also have to realize that what men find attractive is not what women find attractive.  Men are not sexually aroused by advanced degrees in liberal arts subjects, and they don't care if you crashed through the glass ceiling at work.  They want to be around pleasant women who like men and will treat them with respect.  
Hingston ended her piece with this:
I want them to know: Now that I better understand their plight, I don’t blame them for it. And I’m sorry, along with all the other parents I know, for our own contributions to the mess.
On its surface this sounds okay, almost humble, except that it offers no solutions, nor does it take any real accountability.  I'm sure Hingston doesn't really think she failed in her parenting.   Previous editorials would indicate that she feels her generation, the Boomers, solved all of America's problems:
We did, you know. We took the stark button-down black-and-white world we were born into and Kodachromed it, tie-dyed it, made it a rainbow of races and genders and candy-colored Spandex bike shorts. You think our force lay in numbers, but you’re wrong. It lay in the vision we had. You can’t comprehend that, because you’re [Gen X] so low-key, so small-scale, so It’s about intimacy. No. It’s not. Thomas Jefferson had it right: It’s about happiness. If you’ve ever had an honest conversation with your mom or dad, you have us to thank for it. If you get time off from work to take care of a new baby or a sick relative, you’re welcome for that. Getting a tax rebate for making your house more energy-efficient? Bike lanes, pocket parks, hate-crime laws, legalized pot, death-penalty moratoriums, organic food, space telescopes, genome-decoding — don’t you see what we were doing? We were taking the American dream to the max, pushing to its limits the pursuit of freaking happiness.
Hingston has made it plain before that it's not just the men of Gen Y who are useless, although men are inferior to women and generally superfluous.  So I'm not falling for it.

P.S. I'd trade the bike lanes in a heartbeat for the 1965 divorce rate (10%). That Kodachromed world the Silents and Boomers created changed the childhoods of Gen X and Y dramatically for the worse.


  1. Boomers spent every red cent when the times were good, crippled our economy, wrecked stable homes, and mortgaged our future and this dolt actually thinks they solved our problems with bike lanes? Oh, and we aren't even happier.

  2. I love how Boomers think they were the force behind civil rights and the space race. I always remember the pictures of 9 year olds who argued in front of the Supreme Court during the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the 23 year old engineering grad who built the Saturn V rocket by himself.

  3. Your comment is posted on that piece at the Philly Mag site.

    Nicely done.

    Seems like Sandy Hingston could write a lengthy series based on what she's (finally) learning via the feed back she's getting.

    Of course, all that could be avoided if you were to write just on piece explaining reality for them, grerp

  4. Sandy Hingston mentions growing up in Central Bucks County, PA. This is an affluent area where high school and elementary school teachers can make 100k per year with summers off and with lucrative pensions. A significant majority of the teachers, counselors, administrators are women. Maybe the failure of young men is job security for women.

  5. "Previous editorials would indicate that she feels her generation, the Boomers, solved all of America's problems"

    Just the same way Boomer feminists claim that they were the ones who got women the right to vote, to be able to actually work outside the home, and to not be enslaved and/or raped by their male chauvinist pig husbands.

  6. Fabulous comment, grerp. I'm glad you didn't hang up your blogging shingle...we get to read gems like that.

    Oh, and as a guy, I appreciate very much that there does indeed exist significant numbers of women who think as you do.

  7. There is something kind of huge going on in our schools, and it has been going on for like twenty years (but I'm only just learning about it, having a son in first grade now).

    It's a really bad thing. Boys are marginalized at school. School is currently designed for girls to succeed. Boy's normal behavior is pathologized. It's very, very bad. Awful. And this is in very good school districts, not just poor ones.

    So, you reap what you sow. Destroy boys, turn them into weakened, checked-out young men, and whoops! no one for Ms Brown University to marry and suck the life out of later.

    I feel like I'm fighting a WAR for my son at school. And he's quiet! and shy! and smart! I can't imagine how hard it is for parents with more boisterous boys. They end up on drugs. There is a private boys school here I checked out as an option that PROUDLY told me they had about a 50% ritalin rate.

    The US, right now, is hostile to males. Matriarchies are not notably stable or productive, I hate to say. We'll get to see how this plays out. It will collapse probably sooner rather than later.

  8. Tax rebates for home solar panels? Wonderful. So instead of investing their money into some sort of startup that will double their investment in 18 months, rich homeowners are buying a product that takes 20 years to pay for itself due to guilt.

    On the plus side, baby-boomers buy so much furniture (while throwing out perfectly good stuff) that you can furnish your apartment for less than $500. They should call us "The hand-me-down generation".

  9. On its surface this sounds okay, almost humble, except that it offers no solutions, nor does it take any real accountability. I'm sure Hingston doesn't really think she failed in her parenting. Previous editorials would indicate that she feels her generation, the Boomers, solved all of America's problems...

    This is an astute insight. I don't know how many boomers I've heard lament about the current culture without acknowledging their own complicity in the mess. Ideas have consequences, and it is the ideas that the boomers cherish so much - feminism, divorce, abortion, individualism, liberalism - that have laid waste to an entire generation. And boomers ain't changing those ideas...they represent who they are.

    Personally, I feel guilty for the satisfaction I cannot help but feel as I watch boomers pass away and leave the public sphere. As their ideas and numbers fade away, there is at least some hope for those who follow, as they have reaped the bitter fruits and know the dark side of the boomer's ideas. It takes a lot less energy to destroy than to build, so I doubt much can be rebuilt quickly, if at all, but it's a start.

  10. The Boomer rewriting of history is simply jaw-dropping, I mean the generations that won the Revolution, the Civil War and WWII never bragged this much. If there is such a thing as an infinite resource, it's Boomer self-regard. What a bunch of pathetic losers. makes you want to puke...

    Grerp for President...

  11. slwerner - I don't think Philly Mag would print anything by me. Hingston is a senior editor and this piece is par for the course for Philly Mag. I also commented on this piece:


    over the weekend. But it's like banging your head against a wall. I have conversations with a man like Rick Ungar on FB that go like this. I need to stop having conversations like this. Pointless.

    BlackOrchid - my son is really active and very much a boy's boy. Last year his classroom experience was...not ideal. The classroom was set up very loosely with kids being able to move about freely and consult each other and sit or stand or lay on the floor. This might work for some students, but didn't at all for my son. This year I specifically requested the most structured teacher they had.

    I really think his teacher last year just didn't like him. I've braced myself for all conferences, but his teacher this year seems unfazed. Whereas last year it was heavily implied that his behavior was distracting all the other kids and keeping them from learning, his teacher this year told me, "The other kids don't seem to notice his sitting down/standing up and moving about. And while he doesn't appear to be listening sometimes, if I ask him questions, he can answer them with no problems."

    The first grade teacher did an end-of-the-year ambush conference with me in which she got two other teachers to nod and smile while she pushed for getting an ADHD diagnosis. I took him to the doctor. The doctor asked if he was understanding the material (yes) and making friends (yes). Given that he was doing okay in these two areas, the doctor suggested medication would be the teacher's (not the student's) coping mechanism. I restrict his processed food and walk him to school in the morning (1.2 miles) and home again after school. I also supplement the school curriculum and address any problems with subject matter immediately. There's no way anyone can say he's not working at grade level.

    I do feel like I have to be on my toes advocating for him, and he's not a problem child. So I feel your pain.

  12. Re: the Boomers, again I should say that they did not accomplish all of this cultural destruction on their own. The big players in the Feminist movement (and the other big cultural shifts) were Silents, not Boomers. And none of it would have been possible if the generations before them hadn't allowed it as they were the ones still running the show in the 1960s. And, again, the Boomers are not intrinsically more or less moral than any other generation. They were born when they were born and reacted to their circumstances just as every other generation did. We all look at the situation we are born in and compare it to what we think was or should be or might be.

    But Hingston's smug and self-congratulatory assessment of her generation's accomplishments are not unrepresentative. She is unwilling to see more objectively what the "freedom" and "happiness" they demanded really resulted in or make changes accordingly. Seriously, we are NOT in a better place for all their efforts. In all but science and medicine, we are far, FAR worse off than we were in 1960 as a country, and children are much more at risk in just about every measurable way.

  13. Good stuff, grerp. I am very glad you're still writing. Please don't stop. Doesn't matter that men have these views; unless women say it and other women get it, nothing will ever change.

  14. You go grerp. More women (and men) should think like you. Boomers are similar to the entitled self-important women you referred to: it's all about them all the time.

  15. Very good post on something I've seen many boomers do.

    They truly believe that they changed the world ONLY for the better. They both give themselves too much credit for the changes (they really needed institutional help and changes of hearts in the preceding two generations) that were positive and way too little blame for the changes that were negative (easy divorce being mostly though not always something Boomers pushed). Convenient, hmm?


  16. The reason we hate the baby boomers is because we know they are inherently narcissistic. We know they were neglectful and couldn't give a crap about their children (hence the divorces). Even now, my in-laws are working well into their retirement years (69,71), essentially keeping an X-er from getting promoted to their position. The fact that they don't even notice this is a testament to their narcissism. But, the other side of the coin is that they spend like they will live forever. They didn't plan for their future like previous generations. It's frankly shocking and I really, really hate them and what they've done to the country. They've ruined it.

    1. What about those who lost their pensions? What about those whose pensions were DESTROYED by the economic meltdown of recent years? I'm not a Boomer (early Xer), but many folks did the right things, but didn't get the promised, right results.

    2. But that's just more narcissistic expectations. The stock market has crashes every so often... economies have credit crises every 20 years or so... are we supposed to banish them so that this generation of retirees can have their "promised, right results"?

      Isn't that a supreme example of narcissism too?

  17. It wasn't the boomers that created the world we're now stuck with, but rather the generatiuon born in the 30s

    All of the 60s icons are pre-boomer. The architects of the space race, the history revionists, the campus radicals are all older than boomers.

    Gloria Steinhem, Gerry Rubin, Peter, Paul and Mary, Alan Ginsberg, Germaine Greer...ALL of them are born in the 30s.

    In addition, if "Boomer" is defined as someone born in Jan. 1946 or later ( and it is!), then even the Beatles, The Rolling Stones ( Charlie Watts the drummer born in the 30s), Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin (all born in the early 40s) are all too old to be boomers as well.

    All of the antiwar movements, the campus protests, the love-ins and such were led by people born in the 30s. That generation could never compete with that of WWII and so they got their revenge on the previous gegneration by going after that generation's children, by kidnapping their minds, so to speak.

    For example, those who coined the phrase "don't tust anyone over 30" were themselves already past 30!

    They just didn't look it.

    In the late 60s the boomer college kids ( all of 19 or 20 ) were manipulated, deceived and used by a generation, most of 'em communists, who were some 10 to 15 years older

    The sense of history in this thread is appalling.

  18. My reply, which I'm sure won't last as it'll be labeled a "personal attack":

    Ms. Hingston,
    If you’re looking for an example of why today’s young men are failing to man up and thus leading to your (only the latest of a long line) article on “where have all the good men gone” maybe this quote from another article here at Philly Post:

    “A new Gallup poll asked Americans this question: If you could only have one child, would you rather it be a boy or a girl? Overall, 40 percent of us wanted a boy, 28 percent preferred a girl, and 26 percent weren’t sure or didn’t care. I can be fairly certain that a lot of the people answering this question don’t already have children, because if they did—and I have one of each—girls would have won, hands down. “(1)

    People who actually have children would choose girls hands down. Right there you’ve encapsulated what 30 or so years of boys, especially those growing up in the past 20, have been told, both directly and indirectly, their entire lives. Imagine reading in a web article that your own mother says having had you she enjoys girls much more. Now imagine how they would lead you to see yourself and your place in the world. Would it lead you to think you need to charge ahead because you can make an important contribution? Would it lead you to enjoy the company of women knowing they value you because of what your male nature adds to the world?

    I suspect it would lead you to spend more time in domains where you’re appreciated and what you do matters. In severe cases it might lead you to think, “every one else can screw off then”.

    I’d hate to think what kind of mother has such antipathy to boys that she’s willing to call them undesirable in public even though she has one. Perhaps you should find the author of the article where I got that quote and then interview her son about why he’s heading down the drop-out line like his peers.


  19. "Women also have to realize that what men find attractive is not what women find attractive."


    Further, if a woman is really concerned with understanding what men find attractive then she needs to stop listening to women on the subject and ask men - real men - and actually believe what they say.

  20. Born in 1957 - Boomers can't rely on a "But...but...it was him!" defense; that's a sham. Yes, the frontmen for Feminism and Civil Rights were mostly Silents, but Silents did NOT make up the majority of agitators in the late 20th century. The Boomers are proud of being agitators and protesters and law modifiers. They've bragged about it endlessly. No, they didn't change everything; change takes time and is complicated. But the Silents behaved themselves and went to college or to work, married, had children, and generally did as expected until the upheavals of the late sixties produced a critical mass of people will to buck the system... and then some of them joined in with abandon.

    Boomers did not manufacture the Civil Rights or Feminist movements, but they solidified and codified those movements into law. It's the Boomers who made college campuses into PC leftist paradises where all other thought was stifled or punished with bad grades/discipline. The Boomers divorced in record numbers. They had loads of abortions. And Boomer women have pounded home the "Career woman-good/homemaker bad" message to 2 generations of younger women now. Boomers filled the schools with special snowflake curriculum and made classrooms girl friendly and boy hostile. They've pushed their dual anti-white/pro-hedonism agendas on schoolchildren and college students. They've endlessly bashed religion and religious conservatives and tried to push them out of all public spaces if and when they wouldn't comply with their agendas. When they finally got to positions of importance in media, television, movies, and music became a cesspool of sex, drugs, violence, profanity, greed, jealousy, gluttony.

    Boomers pushed for VAWA and incredibly punishing divorce laws for men. They've celebrated casual sex for women while constantly broadening the definition of sexual assault until it encompasses "anything any woman doesn't like ever."

    Boomers talked the good talk about the environment and recycling and then went on the greatest consumer binge in history, gorging landfills, destroying crop and marsh land, and smogging up the air with their SUV exhaust. They utterly abandoned a healthy food culture too.

    Boomers spent ALL their money and don't want to concede any elderly entitlement benefits even though it's clear to all that Gen X and Gen Y will pay into but not receive any of these benefits themselves. Ironically, the generation that has resisted cooperative behavior in favor of the pursuit of individual happiness will probably have to live communally to survive their retirements.

    And they still want to control the conversation and hold the moral high ground.

    There were plenty of good, moral, thrifty Boomers who didn't get divorced and raised their children right, but they were not the spokesmen for their generation (I actually typed "spokespeople" there first, which says everything right there about the effect Boomers have had on the culture and the language).

    Again, all generations are complicit, including my own, Gen X. But Generation X has never tooted its own horn. We know no one ever expected much from us and we figured out early that the focus and concern was never on us.

    1. There is a tendency to see the Boomers as a unified block. As a younger Boomer (1954) I know better. I'm the younger brother. I'm the little brother. I'm the guy who watched older siblings go off to college in 1965, 1968, and come back like some sort of pod-thing out of a science fiction movie. I'm the younger brother who got to clean up the mess of the alcoholic who was born in 1946. I'm the little brother who was ignored for a few years because of all the insane drama older siblings created, endlessly.

      I'm the guy who went to college in 1972 and found smoking wreckage where an institution of higher learning once existed, thanks to the leading edge of the Boom. I'm the guy who learned, long before X'rs did, that the only way to cope with the newly tenured radicals born in 1946 was to keep my head down and my opinions to myself - because even in 1975, the leading edge Boomers were very intent on stifling dissent.

      I'm the little brother who was the ONLY ONE in my entire family to oppose abortion, and divorce on demand, in the 1970's. The only one to see that Roe V. Wade was judicial tyranny. The only one to see that divorce just for the hell of it could only end badly.

      I'm the little brother who got yelled at a lot, who learned to watch and keep a zipped lip, who saw the leading edge Boomers get away with murder. Disneyland was built for them. That sums it up, if you think about it.

      But don't lump me in with them. I'm the little brother who has been cleaning up other people's messes all of my life, and they keep on making messes until they die. And I've had to clean up after that, too.

      And no, I'm not a spokesman for anyone except myself.

  21. "I don't think Philly Mag would print anything by me."

    I'm fairly certain you realize that I was just trying pay you a none-too-subtle compliment, rather than making a serious suggestion that you submit your work?

  22. Again, all generations are complicit, including my own, Gen X. But Generation X has never tooted its own horn. We know no one ever expected much from us...

    This is the big difference, IMO, between Boomers and X.

    As an X, I fully accept that my generation is a bunch of losers. The kids of X are screwed on the whole. The difference is: we know this and want something better. Boomers, OTOH, are proud of their rotten, selfish legacy. And for that, they are hated by all the generations around them. They simply won't be missed.

  23. The Boomers have had a long, long day in the sun to build goodwill among the upcoming generations, and I think they did not succeed. Now they are entering their more vulnerable years and they are realizing they need us and are both defensive and panicky.

    A good example of the Boomer mentality can be found in the song "He Thinks He'll Keep Her" by Mary Chapin Carpenter.


    She makes his coffee, she makes his bed
    She does the laundry, she keeps him fed
    When she was twenty-one she wore her mother's lace
    She said "forever" with a smile upon her face
    She does the car-pool, she PTAs
    Doctors and dentists, she drives all day
    When she was twenty-nine she delivered number three
    And every Christmas card showed a perfect family
    Everything runs right on time, years of practice and design
    Spit and polish till it shines. He thinks he'll keep her
    Everything is so benign, safest place you'll ever find
    God forbid you change your mind. He thinks he'll keep her
    She packs his suitcase, she sits and waits
    With no expression upon her face
    When she was thirty-six she met him at their door
    She said I'm sorry, I don't love you anymore
    Everything runs right on time, years of practice and design
    Spit and polish till it shines. He thinks he'll keep her
    Everything is so benign, safest place you'll ever find
    God forbid you change your mind. He thinks he'll keep her
    For fifteen years she had a job and not one raise in pay
    Now she's in the typing pool at minimum wage
    Everything runs right on time, years of practice and design
    Spit and polish till it shines. He thinks he'll keep her
    Everything is so benign, safest place you'll ever find
    At least until you change your mind. He thinks he'll keep her.

    Chapin Carpenter (born 1958) co-wrote this song. It came out in the early 1990s when Carpenter was in her mid-thirties. The woman in the song, the heroine with whom we are supposed to empathize chucks her husband and goes to work in the typing pool (!) for minimum wage (!) rather than be married. Her youngest child (of three) is 7 at the time.

    You might say, well, this is just one song. But "He Thinks He'll Keep Her" was Carpenter’s first number-one single on the Radio & Records country music charts. It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, and was accompanied by a live performance music video, taken from the 1993 CBS special Women of Country, where Carpenter was accompanied by Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Suzy Bogguss and Pam Tillis. It struck a chord. Women loved it.

    The video was made in 1994. A seven-year-old child then would be twenty-five now. And that woman who tossed her marriage and any financial security at thirty-six, destroyed her kids' family and made them come home from school to to no one is fifty-four now.

    She probably still doesn't have any money because, dear Lord, you'd have to be both terribly proud and terribly stupid to do what she did. And don't think her kids have forgotten it either. Probably none of them are married or have married and subsequently divorced already. Divorce is the gift that keeps on giving.

  24. slwerner - you have been such a nice supporter of this blog. Thank you.

  25. Exactly!

    The social contract has changed. If you don't like that men are choosing to opt out, then don't shame them into submission, fix the contract instead.

    PS: Late boomer here (b. 1963). I hear hate for my generation and the one before me (early boomers) all the time. I don't think it's entirely fair, although some of the things you mention really did screw things up.

    While I do believe that most of these things were done with the greater good in mind, Hingston's statements are ludicrous and self-aggrandizing.

    A big turning point came in the 1980's (when I came of age). That's when the boomer generations changed from looking out for society (as I had been taught in the early and mid 70's) to looking out for themselves. I think back to the Gordon Gekko 'Greed is Good' speech as the point where this philosophy went mainstream. I'm really curious about how this societal change took place.

    1. According to the authors of the book, Generations, they define Generation X as those born from 1961-1981. According to the Wiki on on Generation X, there is no universally, agreed upon time frame for Gen X. I was born about the same time as you (1962), and I consider myself early Gen X, not a Boomer; my attitudes, life experiences, etc. are more in line with Gen Xers than with those of the Boomers.

  26. And I'll add that one of the worst things the boomer generation did was to perpetuate the "homemaker bad/working woman good" thing.

    I am divorced now because of it.

    However, the oldest of the boomer generation was still in their teens when 2nd wave feminism started, so while the boomers were definitely culpable, then were basically taking over where the previous generations left off.

    Unfortunately, they went way beyond the idea of expanding choices for women, and actively tried to shame them into making the choices that they thought would accelerate the movement. It hurt a lot of people, including myself and my kids (my ex-wife too).

  27. I work with a lot of women with advanced degrees and good salaries. Their marriage rates are high and divorce rates low. Being pleasant and respectful isn't an ability that shrivels up with education and job advancement. The steep decreases in marriage rates are happening the most at the other end of the educational distribution curve. Worry about the women who aren't graduating from high school, not the ones who are getting masters degrees.

    1. I agree, the people you're are generally well behaved in their personal lives, almost like pre-Boomers.

      Two problems: (1) They have few or no kids; (2) They advocate or, at least, suppress all criticism of the irresponsible things they and their families don't themselves do: single momhood, early teen sex, etc.

  28. @RERP

    A boomer is offically defined as someone born between Jan. 1st 1946 and Jan. 1st 1966.

    That's quite a swath isn't it...as though people 20 years apart are expected to think and act the same.

    There is an element of "generational imperialism" in that definition of boomer.

    Just who came up with that definition?

    The 30s beat generation.

    You really underestimate just how driven by jealousy those following immediately in the wake of the WWII generation were.

    They took out their revenge by "colonising" the offspring of that generation and then turning them against the values of their parents.

    The beat generation ( mostly 30s born, but some from the late 20s) saw their opportunity and moved in for the kill.

    All that you ( rightly) denounce, be it the inversion of morality and values or the rampant self-hatred manifesting itself in the negation of The West, the Judeo-Chroistian world etc, etc is the handiwork of resentiment-driven 30s born communists.

    Not only The New Left, the SDS, the abortion movement, feminazism and all the other 60s tra-la-la ( Woodstock included!), but also the cultural/moral inversion that progressed all throughout the 70s, an inversion that led us to where we now are, is their opera.

    The boomers were just bit players.

    It is child's play for someone in their mid-30s to use and manipul;ate college kids only 18 or 19 years old for ideological purposes.

    ONe other thing, I'd wager that the majority of us born in the late 50s and early 60s are profoundly conservative in outlook.

    It's a long story...this is only a combox..

    Anyways, your posting is refreshing!

  29. Anonymous 01:46 PM, A big turning point came in the 1980's (when I came of age). That's when the boomer generations changed from looking out for society (as I had been taught in the early and mid 70's) to looking out for themselves.

    Anon, I just wanted to reply to this not to argue, merely to elucidate. Everyone I hang out with despises boomers for the era you describe as when boomers were looking out for society (I had to choke that out).

    Before 1963, America seemed a pretty good place to live and raise a family. But nearly any way one looks at things after boomers took over the culture (crime, federal debt, abortion, divorce, families, financial equality, hell even the clothing!) it was a bad ride. Basically, less than 20 years after the boomers decided to "look out for society" it was so culturally damaged there can be no return. If only boomers had just been greedy and stuck to making money!

  30. I know by commenting I'll be sliced in pieces and hung out to dry, but I am a very late silent/early boomer and not ashamed. You know - the group that has ruined the world now for all time to come. I have no illusions that I fell into this group simply by time and place of birth.
    What I don't know from the comments is how this group (post boomer)can think they can slice off my skin over and over and gleefully lick the wounds and then claim to have taken the higher moral road. The comments are so sanctimonious.
    Now, to my life as a member of that horrible generation. I married once and stayed that way. I kept my nose clean, worked hard, raised a family and tried to instill decent values that would enable them to be proud of themselves but responsible citizens. I tried to save a little money so I wouldn't be a burden to my kids or society.I wound up being a caregiver for lengthy times on more than one occasion to family members in need. I often changed my plans or wants because the needs of my family came first. I'm not trying to toot my own horn or look terrific. It doesn't make me any better or worse than a lot of people. It just happened as it did to many/most of the people I know. I feel angry that so many of us are lumped into a generational category when we played by the rules.
    I believe we did more than our fair share of making messes, but you don't have to look too far back in history to see that that has been done before and in all probability will be done by future generations - even the ones who are whining so much right now. Quit your griping. If we did it so badly, get off your butt and figure out ways to make it better. Right now I'm hearing "I want, I want, It's not my fault, I can't be blamed for not trying -after all you left me with such a mess." Life and opportunity aren't over until it's over.

  31. The Boomers aren't identical. Some of them, heavily working class in origin, actually were as fine an asset as any nation has ever had, and they share the disdain many have for the coddled,self-important jerks that era produced.There was a huge split in that generation, between those who went to war, and those that avoided it and are heavily represented in academia and the self-styled elite.

    'In truth, the “Vietnam generation” is a misnomer. Those who came of age during that war are permanently divided by different reactions to a whole range of counter-cultural agendas, and nothing divides them more deeply than the personal ramifications of the war itself. The sizable portion of the Vietnam age group who declined to support the counter-cultural agenda, and especially the men and women who opted to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, are quite different from their peers who for decades have claimed to speak for them" quote from former Sen. James Webb titled "Sen. Jim Webb and the Vietnam Generation"


  32. Hi Grerp,

    Thank you for your blog and for the comment you made in the main article.

    It is so refreshing to see a women make an honest comment about her observations of society.

    You have restored my faith in women.

  33. We did, you know. ... You think our force lay in numbers, but you’re wrong. It lay in the vision we had. You can’t comprehend that, because you’re [Gen X] ... If you get ... you’re welcome for that.

    Oooooooooooooooooooo .... how I hate Boomer arrogance. These unspeakable narcissists have spent their entire lives being sucked up to by society at large, the only hardship they've had has come from spraining their arms occasionally while patting themselves on the back, and all they take away from it is how incredibly wonderful and special they are. I swear, they're the fat girl in a DC bar of generations.

    It was your numbers, you jerks.

    a tax rebate for making your house more energy-efficient? Bike lanes, pocket parks, hate-crime laws, legalized pot, death-penalty moratoriums,

    Thanks for ruining my country and sticking me with the bill.

    organic food,

    You're kidding, right?

    space telescopes, genome-decoding

    I'm not sure that those were exclusively "Boomer" accomplishments, and I'm even less sure that there was all that much overlap between the tie-died hippy freak bulk of the generation and the nerdy minority that actually did work. In the Sixties we had Apollo, in the Eighties we had the Space Shuttle. See if you can figure out the difference.

    — don’t you see what we were doing? We were taking the American dream to the max, pushing to its limits the pursuit of freaking happiness.

    You were maxing out the credit cards and blowing the money on package tours to Hawaii, then boring everyone with tales of how "well-travelled" you were.


    (I'm a late X-er. X's are the most contemptuous of generations, despising Boomers on the one hand, and staring in amazement at the feral basket cases who came after us.)

  34. I work with a lot of women with advanced degrees and good salaries. Their marriage rates are high and divorce rates low. Being pleasant and respectful isn't an ability that shrivels up with education and job advancement. The steep decreases in marriage rates are happening the most at the other end of the educational distribution curve. Worry about the women who aren't graduating from high school, not the ones who are getting masters degrees.

    Disagree. Upper-class women perpetuate a LOT of the divorces. Upper-class women are also typically sexually promiscuous and many don't have children at all in their marriages thanks to the pill.

    This whole rich vs. poor picture doesn't cut it. It's about culture, not just income, and unfortunately upper-class women have a feminist culture. They just have the money to "fix" their mistakes and many times they have other problems. Who pays for the illnesses of the lower and upper classes? The middle class. Keep on worshipping upper-class women. They're as bad the lower classes and not any better.

  35. I also disagree. The upper classes are full of frivolous divorces. You're right that these women are more likely to be swayed by the ills of feminism*, and remember that money is less of an issue for these women also.

    * I don't believe all feminists to be inherently evil, but I do think that some of the theories, policies, and strategies of feminism have resulted in serious societal problems. This is what I mean by the "ills of feminism".

  36. Grerp,
    Sad as they may be, I have to agree with your comments.

  37. Disagree. Upper-class women perpetuate a LOT of the divorces.

    It's complicated.

    High IQ (which is pretty much a class-decider) decreases divorce rate in the USA, but other countries (where IQ is not as important to class) IQ increases divorce. But morals, religion, family history, etc. each have a say.

    But think about it: a high status (read: high IQ) woman or man will naturally be less likely to divorce if only because they will be more skilled at spotting potential problems before tying the knot. But I get the feminism point, which does correlate with divorce.

  38. "Disagree. Upper-class women perpetuate a LOT of the divorces."

    This isn't really an agree/disagree kind of framework. Divorce rates for college-educated couples have been falling for decades. Conservative attitudes about divorce have risen: http://nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-evolution-of-divorce
    Upper-class women are waiting longer to marry and having fewer kids, but they're still overwhelmingly getting married and not getting divorced. I believe divorce rates for women w/ graduate degrees are slightly higher than for those with only college degrees, but they're still not where the decline of marriage is happening. Perhaps you'd like to think that women who are more successful in traditionally masculine realms are unsuccessful at marriage, but that's just not the case. (They are having few kids, though. So if you want something to be smug about that's consistent with the data, I offer you that.)

  39. Perhaps you'd like to think that women who are more successful in traditionally masculine realms are unsuccessful at marriage, but that's just not the case.

    Actually, it is. They are, by and large, useless as wives. The fact that the poor bastards who were stupid enough to marry them suffer their fate out of (a.) concern for their children and (b.) fear of a dreadfully biased court system does not mean that these females have in any sense "succeeded" at marriage.

    Furthermore, a quick look at the charts here will quickly show that, details aside, the trendline for marriage across all groups, educated or not, is down, down, down.

    For very good reasons.

  40. Twenty, the trendline for marriage across all groups, educated or not, is down, down, down.

    This is true. Heck, you can see this in the TITLE of your chart Marriage Rates Among Young Adults Ages 25-34. Since when did women wait until their prime breeding years were already over to marry? Doesn't that sort of tell the whole story?

    But note the crossover point between old maid (25 yo+) high IQ versus old maid low IQ women: it's 1992. That's when some higher-class types began to wake up. The lower class is indeed history, and entering the spawning phase.

    However, there still exists a subset of women in the US who are doing it right, and alpha men pursue these slim pickings with vigor. They have these traits: a) religious, b) virgin (or very little fornication at most, viewed as such) before marriage, c) marry by age 25, d) hate feminism worse than men. These women tend to come from strong families, have above average IQ, have humility, and want lots of children. Well worth marrying.

    If a man is looking for a wife without those above traits, he is wasting his time, and should remain a player. Men who wish to marry should stop bar-hopping and start church-hopping, or getting involved in conservative colleges, or if still luckless go overseas. With the laws stacked against you, focus on people who are above the law and still follow a moral code.

  41. Divorce rates for college-educated couples have been falling for decades.

    You have distorted the statistics. The female to male ratio in college has become completely skewed towards the female (60% female, 40% male) and females are climbing the career lader. As female climb up the career ladder we end up with a smaller pool of potential husbands. A decline of a potential male partners means less women getting married. Less marriages = less divorces. The college-educated women who get married are not worse nor any better than lower-class women.

  42. Hello Grerp,
    Longtime lurker here. While I don't always agree with *everything* you write in every post, I *do* appreciate the thought, effort and caring you put into them.
    And in addition to caring about your 'target audience' of young girls, you actually care about males, starting with your husband and son. It's sad that such behavior as yours, once more common, is becoming rarer. Hingston seems to have little clue about that piece of the "puzzle". Thanks for writing.


  43. The good news is that some women now appear to be aware of the problem and are willing to speak out about it. I suppose that's something even though those women tend to be mature. Young women are oblivious. Men have no standing and must remain silent. The bad news is if you think it's bad now, just wait for the younger generations to squeeze through the pipes. Forget about it.

  44. Reading this, I simply saw more and more reason guys would be wise to proceed very slowly, selectively and carefully with any woman they start dating.

  45. Read your posts “Left a comment at Philly Mag” and (belatedly) “Thoughts on The Fourth Turning, part 2: Gen X’s childhood,” and have some personal experience to relate. You are quite right in your comments, Sandra Hingston is less so.

    At age 9, being born at the bottom of the Gen X “baby bust” in 1970, I stood up to a bully in an “armpit” urban environment… and soon had a price on my teeth (with druggies trying to collect) and “What’re were gonna do?!” from instant buddies I drew. “Boys will be boys” and “oh, not my baby” (based upon adults’ expectations from 1950s childhoods with no violent, drug-using and sexually-active preteens or latchkey neglect) let the bully and his “in crowd” followers behave like Lord of the Flies with girls, abusable substances and early-‘80s hit tunes. (Half of my side would become female because we didn’t make anyone “put out,” but that was “just kids” “experimenting” of course.) Broke our opponents’ will to fight with the same prolonged aggravation strategy North Vietnam used on us, using their stress against them… over five years (and my nearly getting killed a half-dozen times providing example and direction in order to win) shows the level of Baby Boomer adult involvement with Gen X back then. I can’t say I blame my generation’s writers of screenplays and novels for their treatment of Baby Boomers now.

    After all that, I graduated from college in three years with honors (no crushed self-esteem and suicidal feelings, sorry) and, I can tell you, there wasn’t much place for successful non-slacker young men even then… got kicked out of a job interview to “What’s wrong, didn’t you like school?!” when the interviewer read that on my resume. During college wasn’t much better, changed from Joe Regular to invisible with the opposite sex there-- “eww, you’re like my father” and not “a lot of fun” like guys they’d complain about. “Look, I recruit for Dilbert jobs; you’re qualified to be either Rambo or Batman, and I’m just not looking for that,” a headhunter turned me away a decade later about the same time a significant other dumped me at the Seven Year Itch point to “Why can’t you be passive, selfish and hypersensitive like a Goddamn normal person?!” Got divorced at the same point recently because I “don’t need” her and am “missing something” (have a natural lack of vulnerability as an upright, resilient personality) but, with a war on now, at least I’ve been useful for something.

    Where are all the good men? Probably gave up and don’t want the abuse any more. Not a whole lot of place for them to “man up” (as in to their benefit, not penalty) but there’s sure plenty of room to criticize them for not doing so.

  46. I was reading some of the comments and I can't help but find myself nodding my head in agreement at many of the comments. Just before I start I'll give a bit of background, I was born in 1981, male, openly gay and single - so basically I'm a 'generation Y'. Just some observations in no particular order:

    1) The changes that were made socially needed to occur but some just went way to far - yes decriminalise homosexuality but did it need to then go to the extreme of, "well, since we've decriminalised that now there are no limits what so ever! promiscuity for everyone!"? so if you decriminalise something then it becomes an automatic free for all? where were these 'open minded parents' setting some boundaries?

    Then there is the introduction of the DPB (Domestic Purposes Benefit - the NZ name for it) for single mothers who need help due circumstances outside of their control (wife escapes relationship because of abusive husband) but it has led to single mothering becoming an 'acceptable lifestyle choice'. The welfare system itself, original designed as a safety net to act like a trampoline where you fall and bounce back into another job - for many it is a hammock, a way to prop up a set of lifestyle choices that are unsustainable.

    2) The destruction of the welfare state, reduction of economic protection etc. was a decision that was taken by the baby boomers - while they received (in the case of most western countries) comprehensive healthcare, education, cradle to retirement job security they threw all that under the bus in favour of boosting their retirement savings - to be honest I don't feel the slightest bit of sorry for them now that it has all crashed and burned with the financial crisis recently. There were issues with the welfare state and they needed to be addressed but the whole thing wasn't in dire need of being torn down to what we see today - especially in the United States being the remnants of Reaganism followed by Bushism followed by Clintonism then followed by Dubya-ism and now Obamaism.

    3) Some have thrown around here the term feminism - what you see today isn't feminism but, "I want to do a whole heap of stuff but I want someone else to pay for it" what I like to call "bitchy feminism". Guys are then split into two groups, the first group are pussy whipped and just bend over and accept it, the second group are guys who say, "screw it" and decide to remain single, have the occasional one night stand and prefer hanging out with the friends. Sorry to say but the vast majority of men fit into the first group - I serve them every day (I work in the service industry). We have had three to four generations who have made things more 'free' but never coupled anything to this 'freedom' by way of pointing out the obvious - that with freedom comes responsibility.

  47. THE song about the modern woman:


  48. Twenty -

    I'm a baby boomer (turn sixty in July), and I agree with your assessment of my generation. About the only thing that I can point to that's better about my generation than my parents' is that we're less racist. We're arrogant barbarians who don't care about anything that happened before we were born, care about what's new rather than what's good, and are about as undisciplined as can be.

  49. "hate-crime laws, legalized pot, death-penalty moratoriums, organic food"

    someone wants to take CREDIT for that?!

    f$%& you, hippies! f#$* you!

    "space telescopes, genome-decoding"

    psh you can thank white men for that

  50. I just read Hingston's article about men being inferior to women, and I am deeply offended by it. I don't get how a woman with her mindset was able to find a man and convince him to have children with her.

    I would be horrified to learn that my spouse thought so little of me.

  51. Excellent comment, I'm really surprised they printed it. But the comments here have certainly gone off the rails. Treating a group that large as a monolithic, single-purpose and thought entity is a foolish exercise. Born in 1958, I vividly remember thinking "why do they put men down to bring women up?" "Who gives a crap that Billie Jean King (who looks like a man) beats an old man in tennis?" Boy, did that get shot down when I voiced it. By my parents' generation. Teachers, church elders, it wasn't one slice of the country divided by age that was infected with this garbage. Also, my parents, born in the 30's, divorced, as did at least half the families in my neighborhood.

    I married at 22 (too young! from the generation ahead of me). Wanting to be a wife and mother was a position under constant assault - "but you're wasting your life! What about the women who went before you to give you CHOICES?" I got so tired of repeating, over and over, "I thought it was about choices? This is mine." Like another commenter above said, those who didn't buy into this shit learned to shut up and plug away.

    Every generation thinks they got dumped on. There will be angsty, whiny people who are still eggs and sperm now, decrying GenX and GenY, and some of it will be valid, so get your rhetoric under control. And there will be a lot thrown at you that will be complete and utter bullshit, too. Enjoy.

  52. So what happened to this blog? Is there any chance of you continuing posting, Grerp? I hope all is well with you.
    I had just been delighted to finally encounter fresh and quality writing about these issues, and then... poof! :(

  53. You boomers are so child-like, magalommaniacal, self absorbed. You down RX drugs like candy--another of your gifts to the world---so everyone can be happy. Who the hell wants to be happy---it is not the RX for the human race nor should it be. Dissaatisfaction and conflict produce the best of everything. Fighting your way out of darkness produces light. Who the hell wants to be comfortably numb--Good job, indeed.

  54. I have a son. He's 14. My advice to him is to stay away from woman. Go to PUA schools. Learn that craft and limit your exposure to women only to that. You cannot trust any woman. Not that all are bad, but that the jeopardy that you face by marriage, that if you compare on one side, the perfect state of a good marriage and its value against the probability of 50% divorce and the cost of a bad one, that the decision is obvious. If I told you of an investment that looks similar to prisoners dilemma with a reward with risk, a static position, and a big loss as penalty for attempting the reward, you would take the static. PUA is that static. So all in all, from a cost/benefit analysis, women don't measure up.

    Another thing. That woman's comments about men preferring a nurturing , caring, etc real woman to porn. Maybe so. I wouldn't know because when you marry you don't get one of those. You get something different. Porn is better sexually than most wives after 3 years of being with her. Porn is younger, prettier, sexier. Porn never says no. It is always ready when you are. Porn cares about you and your desires. Porn takes 5 minutes and you're done. When a man compares the BS that he has to go through with women, dating, listening to them, paying, putting up their crap, rejection, hassle, tardiness, selfishness, borish behavior, drama, or the whining, complaining, selfish nature of a wive sexually, and then compares that to 5 minutes and almost no cost and then you done. Women are ridiculously incompetent sexually. It is not even close. I can make her have 3 or 4 orgasms. I know everything about her body. I have read books and I put in the effort sexually. They can barely even give me one orgasm and the general attitude they have is "Here I am. That's all you get from me. I let you touch me. You should feel lucky." I always tell myself after masturbation that "And that is all that it is worth". One orgasm is as good as another whether women like it or not. I don't have to be a husband to be a man in the biological sense. After you get divorced and thrown out of "decent" society and you learn to separate real benefit from social benefit and real cost of social cost. Women are not worth their price for the benefit that you accrue from having one. Happiness is as simple as not being unhappy. Cut and woman and you get there real quick. I will advise any young, especially my son to take that path. Limit women in your life and you will reduce unhappiness, stress, pressure, slavery,....