Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Charles Cooper's Barely Contained Fertility

One of my handicaps in life is that things that sound absurd to other people often make sense to me.

For example, Charles Cooper's argument that older heterosexual couples need to be allowed to get married to restrain the fearsome procreative power of men over the age of 55. I mean, I'm not denying that the image is funny, especially since I feel safe in assuming that Cooper is himself over the age of 55 and the justices he was making the argument to most definitely were. But, if you're ok with abstract philosophical arguments about human behavior, it's not unreasonable. Adult human beings have a strong tendency to have sex. An imperfect but widely attempted strategy for controlling that tendency is to let everyone have one "right" person to have sex with while making it "wrong" to do with anyone else. Paul said in Corinthians that it was better to marry than to burn, in the Good Earth Wang Lung gets his sons wives to keep them from going to prostitutes. (Although it occurs to me that Wang Lung was not a real person and his story was created by Pearl S. Buck, so I'm not actually branching out of western culture here). So sure, I guess if marriage exists for the sole purpose of preventing illegitimate children, the marriage of a 55 year old, presumably fertile, man to a 55 year old, presumably infertile, woman has a legitimate role in that.

But the problem is that the exact same logic applies to gay couples. Gay people are capable of procreative sex, after all. Assuming that no one ever has sex that contradicts their orientation is only slightly less naive than assuming people don't have sex unless they love each other and want to have babies together. Of course, this is the modern age and people have expectations about love and compatibility beyond gender that prevents making people get married from being a simple solution to any problem...but if conservatives are going to be going around claiming that making poor people get married is the solution to poverty, and making unwed mothers get married would eliminate gun crime, I don't see how they can deny that making gay people get married would prevent gay unplanned pregnancies.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Long time...

I've been thinking lately that it would really be nice to have time to update this more. Thinking isn't necessarily going to make it so...it turns out motherhood is kind of demanding, timewise, and the reasons I wish I could update more are precisely the reasons it will be difficult. It's easy to keep facebook open in the background and like people's pictures and such when you might have to drop everything and change a diaper at any moment. It's quite a bit harder to spend time focusing on what exactly you want to say, looking up sources and data, and really scrutinizing your argument before you hit publish. But I miss the people in my life who find the second a more meaningful form of interaction than the first.

Ironically, just as I've been thinking about this dilemma more and more, Google has decided to shut down Reader. Hopefully some other RSS feeder will step up, if we're really lucky it'll be one that allows following/sharing. But it's disconcerting, and a reminder of how much it sucked when following/sharing got shut off in the first place, and how passive I was about it. Not that I had any chance of changing the company's mind, but I didn't even vote with my feet. Of course, I'm not sure how much Google would have cared about me taking my non-paying business elsewhere.

Because I read Andrew Sullivan's blog, and because he's been very fixated on "the future of journalism" lately...going independent and setting up his own subscription based site. I have not chipped in my $20 yet...I mean to, I think it's reasonable, but I'm lazy and poor. And I need to subscribe to the Merced Sun Star now too, which I think is even more reasonable. I'm heavily dependent on them every election when I'm trying to figure out how to vote on local candidates, and I really think they're a great local paper. And it's only 99 cents a month so...not too steep for my civic duty. But $20 a year here and $12 a year there is quickly going to eat up what I'm reasonably going to spend on online journalism, and it seems to tip the scales towards getting more of your information from one source if possible, which isn't the healthiest thing. I'd like to see "the future of journalism" go to some form of micropayments filtered through RSS feeders, personally. With a sharing function.

And maybe free babysitting. Although actually, I'm in no way interested in reducing the number of hours I spend on childcare. I'd like to go to work less, but that would probably impact my ability to nobly expect to pay for the content I consume.