commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: Daddy Issues
To DAD (if you're reading), I'm actually kind of struggling with this issue from the opposite perspective. When I was younger, I was always attracted to men who were older than I was, generally speaking, in their 30s and 40s; that's still my sweet spot BTW, so perhaps this is a problem you will age out of.
I think it is harder for relationships between those with sharply divergent ages to be equal. In general, you're going to bring different agendas to the table (do we go out and hit the clubs or stay in and watch Netflix?). Your partner will most likely earn rather more than you and own more in the way of assets. These things can cause real problems, especially when male pride and ego get involved.
There is some wiggle room there: I find the "half-your-age-plus-seven" rule to be a good general rule to decide if your partner can function as an equal age-wise. So if you're 25, you can date someone as old as 36 or so without it seeming unusual.
A large part of this discomfort on my part comes from the pretty overt appeals to incest in the related dad/son scene. I find any scene that is OK-enough with incest (possibly including child molestation) to re-enact it to be pushing some really serious moral boundaries way too far.
My other big concern with this sort of thing is that I have seen some relationships of this type play out in other unhealthy ways, especially ones where the older guy has basically started supporting his boy-toy in what I would call the "Anna-Nicole Smith" relationship model (you youngsters can Google her right after you get off my damn lawn). Relationships like that are often particularly destructive to the younger member (although you do see older men becoming financially ruined as a result sometimes too).
So yes, there's lots of reasons to be wary. You don't want a creep. You don't want a sugar daddy. And a lot of the 40- or 50-something guys out there chasing men in their 20s are pretty creepy.
But on the other hand, I have seen these relationships work out really well too. Not often, but it does happen. My observation is that it really takes a very great deal of maturity, communication and empathy on the part of both partners. You both need to understand that you're in different places in a lot of different ways. That will mean a lot of flexibility and willingness to sacrifice some things in order to meet your partner half-way.
commented on NCAA Pulls Championships from North Carolina After Anti-Gay Laws
I know the parts of the bill affecting transgendered people has been getting the lion's share of the attention, so I really appreciate the effort to keep other parts of the law in the public view.
This sort of law is a perfect example of how Republican commitments to devolution of powers and local control are merely a sham meant to centralize power in those levels of government where Republicans tend to be most successful.
The whole argument is that political decisions should always be made at the lowest level practicable, because the more local the government is, the more reflective of its community it will be (in the way that the political culture in Seattle is light years from the political culture in Walla Walla). This was the argument that was deployed against federal involvement in the enforcement of civil rights.
Well, surprise! It turns out that local government really isn't the best place to reflect community values, if those values don't happen to serve your agenda.
The shame of it is, because of all of the attention being paid to the parts of the bill affecting transgendered people, the situation the left is creating is one where the NC legislature will feel compelled to cave, not by repealing the entire bill, but only by repealing or amending the part to do with restroom access and the like.
Which means that the minimum wage and anti-discrimination restrictions will probably stand.
I'm not saying that the transgender elements aren't important, because they are. But ultimately, they only affect a handful of people. Meanwhile, there are a ton of workers out there who will be severely affected by the other parts of the bill. And I've got a feeling they're really going to be the ones that we all, both left and right, throw under the bus in the name of compromise.
It's great that the NCAA and all these corporations are willing to stick up for the transgendered. Now lets make them stand up for everyone else too. And major kudos to you guys for continuing to do just that.
commented on Phyllis Schlafly
@15 Has it.
The irony of her life was that, whatever she may have said about feminism, she, herself, lived a feminist life. Educated, a lawyer, an activist, a politician, an author, not to mention wife and mother of six. Change her politics and she would have been an icon.
commented on NPR Believes in Miracles
I won't get into the whole theism vs. atheism thing mostly because I'm not a 21 year old college kid with a bag of pot handy.
What I will observe is that human beings seem to have a fairly deep impulse towards religion and spirituality. I'd hazard a guess that even the most committed atheist will feel the stirrings of something when coming to a particular spot in the mountains or a clearing or a spring or something. Likewise, we love our rituals. Just as Dan said, even if you don't believe in it, for someone raised Catholic, there's something comforting about the rhythm of the liturgy.
People believe in this stuff because they want to. Some of them on a really deep level. It's hardwired into humanity. You could, as some do, take that itself for a sign of the presence of a creator. But even if you don't, it's still there.
Eighty years of Soviet atheism and the Russian Orthodox church is still there, even growing. Millennia of hardship and slaughter and diaspora and Judaism, truly the religion that will not die, is still going strong.
So the whole "is there or isn't there?" argument is kinda beside the point. People are going to proceed on the basis that there is. Might as well get used to it.
commented on Here Are 6 Reasons Why Trigger Warnings Aren't Bullshit.
Just to be clear: people are saying that warnings give people the option to withdraw, restore agency, and all that.
In every class, you get a syllabus. I'm in one right now that deals with genocide and holocaust studies, something that could be acutely triggering. The appropriate time to deal with that question. Is at the beginning of the semester, one on one with the teacher. You can do talk through concerns and decide if the class is right for you.
It's inappropriate to ask to be exempted from having to study one part of the coursework while everyone else has to go through it. If you can't handle part of the course, you can't handle the course. You do have options (i.e. agency)
1) Take a different, equivalent course with different materials.
2) Wait until you are in a position to take the entire course.
3) If the material in that course is required for your major or degree, consider another line of study.
But you should not get a free pass for any material just because it's particularly difficult fo you. Nor do you get to arbitrarily alter the class to suit your circumstances. That's not fair to the other students or to the teacher.
commented on Here Are 6 Reasons Why Trigger Warnings Aren't Bullshit.
On that last point, the one about structural violence, you absolutely must start with the fact that we live in what is absolutely and without a doubt the least violent human society there has ever been, anytime, anywhere.
We talk about what it is for things to be "normal". Well normal for the human species is pretty darn brutal.
The point being, society reaches a point of diminishing returns when it finds itself catering more and more to traumatized individuals. That's a hard, cold, callous sounding thing to say, but it's important.
The reality is, if we're going to choose between students of criminal law being able to candidly discuss rape or assault and battery or domestic violence in class and avoiding those subjects because someone might have entirely justifiable difficulty with those topics, then honestly, I think the best solution is for that person to withdraw from law school unless and until they can do the work.
Not everyone is cut out to be someone who deals with these hard situations. No matter how much you may want to be a lawyer or counselor or police officer or whatever, you may not have the psychological wherewithal to handle the job. Just like I, at my age, can't just go run off and enlist in the Army. There's nothing wrong with that; we've all got different strengths and weaknesses.
My concern is that we are now raking the discussion to a place where we are being asked to artificially limit speech where it should be most free, and alter standards for no good pedagogical reason.