Miscellaneous miscellany

Today, I spent the better part of an entire workday reading through the archives of my new favorite blog, Twisty Faster’s brilliant, trenchant, and extremely appetizing “I Blame The Patriarchy”. Perhaps I love it because I, too, blame the patriarchy. Perhaps it’s the many beautiful color photographs of extremely tasty-looking tidbits (for I am, as most people know, a total food-whore). It matters not. What matters is that I love IBTP. Hard.

And how does she get all those great pictures, anyway? I mean, I can cook. No, I’m not a trained chef or anything, but I won’t sell myself short. I can really cook.

But I can’t take a decent picture to save my life. Every time I’ve tried to photograph my delectable creations, they end up looking like shiny, pale turds floating against a background so underlit that it might as well be outer space. I can take a picture in which things that don’t even have eyes will have red-eye.

Plus, IBTP is easily the best feminist blog I’ve ever seen. Like, ever. She is really smart.

Good blogs – I mean really good ones, not just ones that say the kind of things you like to hear – are rare. This one is really good.

On an only marginally-related subject, a post of Twisty’s from last December reminded me of a story I heard on NPR (which has become increasingly annoying to me as well) the other day about how single women give birth to more girls. Did anyone else hear this remarkable dab of bullshit?

The story was actually about a decline in the percentage of babies that are boys, which is naturally causes journalistic pinheads everywhere to erupt in an estrus of hand-wringing concern. It’s the End of Man!

One physician who was interviewed in the course of the segment hypothesized – completely off the cuff – that the decline in male birthrates is caused by the increase in numbers of mothers raising children without a man in the house. Then the segment just moved on. I distinctly recall thinking “that’s a pretty big leap to make without some kind of evidence. Why did the segment just pass right over that without question?” But I was sort of half-napping, so I figured I must have heard wrong.

Alas, Dear Reader, I did not. The next day, in their little “We Get Mail” segment, the Disembodied Voices of Journalistic Authority who host All Things Considered noted that they heard from lots of those zany listeners about the aforementioned unsubstantiated assertion. It turns out that this wasn’t just some M.D. blowing sexist assumptions out of his cakehole. Rather, there is a study purporting to demonstrate a correlation between increasing numbers of whores single mothers and man-killing declining male birthrates. The authors of this study suggested that because a man-child has a marginally higher caloric requirement than a girl-child, women are “genetically programmed” (ick.) to produce girls if they don’t have a man around to defend the cave from saber-toothed tigers and drag home the carcasses of freshly-speared wooly mammoths. You know, because a woman could only round up so many calories with her weak attempts at berry-gathering.

Let me go ahead and say…

A) The study in question found a correlation between the being a single head of household and a decreased probability of having a boy baby.

B) The world is full of things you can correlate, but it is an elementary principle of research that correlation is not causation. And when I say “elementary,” I mean like “you learn that in elementary school”, which is why I am endlessly frustrated at the complete protardation of the media’s coverage of “the latest study”.

C) Even if this study managed to demonstrate some causal relationship between the presence of men in households and the male birthrate, I would remain unconvinced of any political or policy implications. Why? Check this out:

What, would you guess, is the leading cause of death in pregnant women? Why, it’s murder, Dear Reader! And who, do you think, is most statistically likely to injure or kill a woman in modern America? My goodness! It’s any man to whom she is married or related! In short, it seems to me that if a woman were going to have any sort of biological response to the consistent presence of a man in her immediate environment, it would hardly be to start producing more men. It would be more along the lines of her vagina growing shut, or her body growing a thick, spiny carapace, or spinning a cocoon and going into hibernation until the man leaves and she and her children could live in safety again.

Also, I find the sudden spasms of concern a little creepy. It’s not like 79% of babies are girls. It’s a minor shift to one side of the “halfway” mark. It could be attributed to a million causes, and would surely be no matter for comment if it didn’t involve a perceived threat to the future generations of those who bear the precious, vital organ upon which all human civilization rests: the mighty cock.

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