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  • Originally posted by Rack Em View Post
    Needs to happen in the Seminaries. Not once a priest is ordained.













    And excommunicate the Jesuits
    I've got a couple friends in seminary and I think it's happening. Not everyone is geeking out, but there's a sizable chunk.

    As for the second part...find the good ones, make them the new Black Pope and leaders and let the order be renewed.

    Comment


    • G. Bruce Boyer just published an article in First Things titled "Dress Up":

      For quite a few years now, academic philosophers and sociologists, as well as popular social commentators who get paid to pronounce on such matters, have been telling us that people have been abandoning their formal personas in favor of the whims and behavior of their individual selves. The point of all the ink seems to be that public ritual behavior has given way to personal freedom, and that while we all used to have two personas, a public one and a private one, we now only have a private one which has gone public. Richard Sennett’s The Fall of Public Man appeared in 1977, followed by Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism in 1979, and then the deluge. The publishing climax may well have come in 2000 with Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, in which Putnam argued that individuals were increasingly disconnected from one another and social structures.

      While not putting an emphasis on dress itself, most commentators who have discussed the relationship between the public and private person have made reference to both dress and manners when discussing the abandonment of the formal public self. And perhaps nowhere can the loss of public self be so readily seen as in the clothes we wear. One commentator remarked, “A ‘gentleman’ no longer tipped his symbolic hat to a ‘lady’ to show the conventional respect due her sex; he no longer had a hat to tip.” And no one doubts that the hat is gone, as well as the suit, the tie, and the polished leather oxford. The word I’m searching for is casualization. There’s been, in the past couple of decades, a Great Casualization of the business wardrobe. The suits and white dress shirts and discreet ties that most businessmen wore for a hundred years and more started to disappear after the 1970s. When this casual business trend began in earnest in the following decade, fashion writers started referring to it as “the third wardrobe”—an alternative to both the tailored business clothes and athletic-inspired clothing that had traditionally comprised a man’s wardrobe for much of the twentieth century. Today, traditionally tailored clothing—suits, sports coats, and their accompanying accessories—might legitimately be considered the third wardrobe, a luxury wardrobe worn for dressy occasions by many, and daily by those in positions of real power in society.

      To complicate things even more, there has been the gradual gentrification of the proletarian wardrobe since mid-century: the work-wear of what used to be known as “blue-collar” workers, clothes that included blue chambray and denim work shirts and trousers (jeans), civilian uniforms of various types (postal workers, garage mechanics, etc.), farm and range clothing, and active field-and-stream outdoor sports clothing. Prole gear has firmly joined military clothes and athletic sportswear to make up the bulk of men’s wardrobes today. The fashion garment of the moment, for example, is the olive green military field jacket issued to soldiers during the Vietnam conflict, complete with cinch-waist cords, epaulets, bellows pockets, and concealed hood. You can buy one from the original military suppliers for less than $200, or from an Italian designer collection for over $1,000. But perhaps the most telling clue to this prole luxe gear category is that humblest of blue cotton work shirts itself, which used to be the staple of the steelworker and ranch hand’s daily wardrobe, and sold for around $3 to $5 forty years ago in Army and Navy stores across the country, and is now found to be the mainstay of international designer collections and boutique offerings, selling for anywhere from $100 to $500. The hip Wallace & Barnes label has a little chambray number for $118; Drakes of London, a favored haberdashery with the young and well-dressed, offers a blue denim shirt priced at around $200; and the super-chic Saint Laurent’s washed vintage blue denim shirt is a mere $950, but it’s advertised as being “oversized,” so presumably you get more shirt for your money.

      How is it that we have gone from wearing suits and ties to the office to wearing T-shirts, baseball caps, and a variety of military garments and ranch hand wardrobes? Everyone who’s ever perused photos of baseball games (or almost any other crowded venue for that matter) in an old Life magazine from the mid-twentieth century finds it remarkable that the majority of men in the crowd are wearing white shirts and ties, and business hats (a category of menswear now extinct). The metamorphosis over such a relatively short time to polo shirts and cargo shorts on most of the crowd is a bit staggering, almost as though we were looking at two different species. The history, the sociology, the psychology of dress all seem to come rushing in to confound my thoughts. But then I’m not alone.

      Let’s start with the history. The man’s tailored wardrobe—which has been with us virtually unchanged in form since just after the Civil War—has been under attack for half a century now. While the twentieth century can legitimately be thought of as the century of the suit, the high point of that garment seems to have come earlier rather than later. Some would say the oft-heralded demise of the suit and its accompanying accoutrements has been occasioned by the long trend towards comfort in clothing enhanced by breakthroughs in the science of fabrics. And there’s no doubt of the truth in this theory, particularly when you stop to consider that we live now in such a climate-controlled world that some people have not actually experienced the great outdoors except in moving from one Disneyland ride to another. Even the tailored wardrobe itself shows this trend towards comfort. Traditional business clothes—the heavily starched shirt, the thick, scratchy woolen suit, the almost bulletproof overcoat—weighed more than twice as much at the beginning of the twentieth century as they did at the end of it. Heavy, stiff, scratchy wool gave way to lighter, airier, and smoother fabrics, so that today a man’s suit can easily weigh in at a few ounces, rather than the ten to twenty pounds it would have in the early 1900s.

      Then too, there’s the eminently sensible argument that the jettisoning of the tailored wardrobe is merely a part of the larger and ongoing “democratization” of dress that started to standardize the wardrobe with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and whereby we may all eventually be encased in the same synthetic coverall and molded plastic footwear. Still others will tell you the degeneration of the trad wardrobe is all part of the “me” generation’s retreat from social consciousness and public style, part and parcel of a general lack of empathy, manners, and responsibility. More ancient members of the community can often be overheard muttering that we will eventually descend into anarchy, barbarism, and loincloths.

      But what does the sartorial history from mid-century really show? First, that the 1950s was a long decade, stretching, it can reasonably be argued, from 1944 to 1964. In 1944, with the Allied armies gaining strength and victories, the U.S. Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act to provide help for demobilized servicemen. It was the largest civilian aid act ever attempted by government, and would provide the largest range of benefits for returning veterans ever imagined. It’s difficult to overstate the importance and influence of this legislation. These government benefits included low-cost mortgages and business loans, unemployment compensation, and cash payments for higher education to every veteran who qualified. In addition to the private housing building boom, it’s estimated that one result was that enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities increased ten-fold in the ten years following the end of the war.

      The G. I. Bill, as it came to be known, ushered in a new age of prosperity for many lower- and middle-class families. The sons of steelworkers, mill hands, teachers, clerks, and farmers could go to college, start a business, buy a small house and car. A telling indication of this new prosperity could easily be seen by looking at what young people wore. Ivy League clothes—the soft-shouldered, buttoned-down, saddle-shoed, gray flannel wardrobe—were by 1950 not limited to the Eastern establishment elite who had owned the style and worn the clothes for more than half a century, but were adopted by youth from Boston to Brownsville to every land grant college in the Midwest. The Ivy look—the Eastern establishment elite look writ large—became a symbol of the new prosperity.

      This American menswear revolution could be seen everywhere, on campus, in film and TV, and in every men’s fashion magazine. Think of all the young, often blonde movie stars such as Tab Hunter, Paul Newman, Anthony Perkins, George Hamilton, and Troy Donahue who catered to the new teenage audience. And then there was the influence of the music. To mention only one pregnant example, in 1955 jazz trumpeter Miles Davis stepped onstage at the Newport Jazz Festival wearing a seersucker jacket and club-collar shirt purchased at Charlie Davidson’s Andover Shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and set a trend for the look of jazz musicians for the next decade and beyond. The look spread to Europe and Asia. Both W. David Marx (in his study Ametora), and Masafumi Monden (in Japanese Fashion Cultures) meticulously chart this trend in Japan since 1945.

      At the same time, American work gear such as denim jeans, ranch jackets, field-and-stream clothes, and a variety of Army and Navy store gear was becoming popular here and abroad. But by 1964 this Ivy look, so quintessentially American in its blending of the casual and the dressy (sack-cut suits and button-down shirts worn with penny loafers), was under attack from abroad. Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Terence Stamp, and other “angry young men” introduced Americans to the wasp-waisted jackets with deep side vents and flared, drainpipe trousers favored by the mods of Carnaby Street and the neo-Edwardians frequenting Savile Row. Meanwhile, the films of Federico Fellini and Vittorio De Sica helped Brioni, Emilio Pucci, and other Italian labels find an American market.

      Then, in the summer of 1967, came a blow to the American tradition of the tailored wardrobe from which it can be said never to have recovered. In the summer of 1967, 100,000 young people rushed to San Francisco for what came to be called “the Summer of Love.” The party lasted all summer. They left at the end of August to return to their campuses wearing not khakis and madras sports jackets and penny loafers, but festooned in tie-dyed T-shirts, bell-bottom jeans, love beads, and sandals of indeterminate origin, having only stopped off at home to burn their Harris Tweed sports jackets and Brooks Brothers button-downs, and let their hair grow longer.

      The final blow came two years later, when 400,000 young people crowded into an open field in upstate New York at Woodstock for a rock concert. That party only lasted for a few days, but it was enough to put the tombstone to the Ivy look on campus good and proper. Purposefully torn and distressed jeans, Indian cotton overshirts, and large beads became the rage first on campus and then everywhere else. Needless to say, necktie makers were seen weeping in the streets, and tailored clothing manufacturers took on a myriad of facial tics and bodily spasms. Those students (and their teachers) seen on campus wearing various elements of the old Ivy tailored wardrobe unironically were thought to be subversive, elitist, conservative, reactionary, and, cruelest of all, unhip. It didn’t even help if you liked folk music. The hippie versions of work gear and international prole clothing had triumphed on campus. As Philip Rieff (a strict sartorialist who wore waistcoats and bowler hats in protest against the casual spirit of the time) said, instead of a society that dressed in order to “identify up,” we dressed in order to “identify down.” Americans have a long and colorful history of “identifying down,” from the fictional heroes of James Fenimore Cooper to Western and gangster films, from Jacksonian buckskin to the work gear of Rebel Without a Cause and the military outfits of M.A.S.H.

      In all its long history, this casual impulse had never been so predominant as it became in the wake of Woodstock—overtaking not just the rock arena but the boardroom as well. The first attempt to loosen the traditional business outfit of gray suit, white shirt, discreet tie, and black oxfords—call it “the full IBM,” for the corporation which most assiduously promoted that super-clean look—was the concept known as “casual Fridays,” which some thought was merely a disgruntled managerial sop to office workers which cost the company nothing, while others beamed and gurgled to think that they didn’t have to wear a tie one day a week. Then corporate giants, IBM included, instituted a casual dress code, along with law firms, brokerage houses, and other stable and sane business establishments quickly tumbling into the gaping trend. It was thought at the time to have huge benefits, though they never did materialize.

      Sartorially speaking, and having gone through a period of depression and despair, the fashion business now attempted to make lucrative lemonade out of a cartload of decidedly mixed citrus by decreeing “the third wardrobe.” It had finally dawned on them that the changing business climate might present not a new age of barbarism, recreational-drug-filled citizens, and horrendously lost profits, but an opportunity. Fashion writers were rubbing together whatever it is fashion writers rub together and salivating to say that men were now free to dress more to their mood, their personalities, and (here comes that favorite word of the 70s) lifestyles. Not only were we now finally free of the stiff, heavy, starched, scratchy, dull, constricting, stuffed sausage business uniform that had prevailed since Victorian times, we were free to change our clothes to fit any occasion or mood, or for that matter, any persona we wished to assume at any given time. We could all be football players, guerrilla fighters, Indian chiefs, continental playboys, or recherché lords of the manor. History became a rather nice commodity to mine for ideas in this regard.

      It was a historic turn. In the early years of the nineteenth century there had been what fashion historians have called the “Great Masculine Renunciation” in Western male dress, as men turned their collective backs on all the silks and satins, buckled shoes and powdered wigs of court dress, and assumed the Victorian black worsted suit and cotton shirt of bourgeois middle-class business attire and propriety. The theory, first popularized in 1930 by the psychologist J. C. Flügel, attempted to account for the radical shift that men made to more sober attire after 1800, and the shift is usually seen as an expression of the triumph of the middle class, enlarging democracy, and the Industrial Revolution. A more ornate and chivalric ideal was replaced by the modest masculinity of a bourgeois gentleman in a democratic society. A gentleman’s clothes became more sober and standardized, his manners more reserved and proper. The very idea of a “gentleman” seems stuck in the nineteenth century.

      At the end of the twentieth century, dress underwent another great change; call it the “Tailored Renunciation” or the “Casual Revolution.” Underlying it is not the triumph of one class but rather the loss among all classes of a sense of occasion. By “occasion” I mean an event out of the ordinary, a function other than our daily lives, an experience for which we take special care and preparation, at which we act and speak and comport ourselves differently—events which could be called ritualistic in matters of propriety and appearance. There used to be many of these events, social rituals that filled our non-working lives: weddings and funerals, going to church, restaurants, parties, and theaters. Meeting important people of various stripes, people who had greater social standing than we did, was an occasion for our parents and grandparents to dress up, and that included going to the doctor’s office when you were sick, because the doctor was thought to be an important person worthy and deserving of that outward sign of respect. Respect for the event and those in attendance was what made the occasion special.

      It can now be said that this sort of an outward sign or almost any of the older outward signs of ritual are considered pure snobbery. After all, wasn’t the Edwardian Age the last time the really rich could hope to think that showing off their wealth in public display gave the poor a nice bit of entertainment and ray of sunshine in their drab lives?

      But then, if these outward signs are socially discouraged today, what makes an occasion special? And how do we know? Can an event be an occasion if there’s no attempt to outwardly manifest it? Ritualized behavior of one sort or another may be considered an outward sign of our inward disposition. But how complete can this be if it is not expressed in our appearance? We need not agree with Nicolás Gómez-Dávila’s claim that evening dress is the first step toward civilization to think that something has gone amiss. Is it possible to believe that when we now wear polo shirts, khakis, and hyper-designed athletic shoes to weddings, funerals, and graduations, it’s a sign that we have forgotten how to enjoy the events by which we measure life?

      Actions produce reactions, and pendulums do swing. Around the turn into the new millennium, there began to be whiffs of nostalgia in the air. It had been so easy once upon a time, we mused. If you were a good accountant or lawyer, or worked in sales or almost any other non-blue-collar office job, you put on your dark business suit, white shirt, discreet tie, black oxfords and went to work. It was all rather simple and time-saving and free of nagging choices. You might have incorporated a few personal touches like a pocket square or fancy wristwatch. But you didn’t have to worry about whether to wear the tangerine-colored cashmere turtleneck with the fawn suede blouson or the cappuccino-colored, waxed cotton shooting jacket with the puce narrow-wale cords (choices for which there seemed to be no authoritative guidance). As long as things fitted decently and weren’t garish, you were safe. More than a few men have told me they no longer understand what’s appropriate for any occasion anymore, except maybe weight-training.

      Perhaps this goes deeper than mere nostalgia for postwar prosperity and the convenience of settled expectations. Lord Chesterfield advised his son that it is preferable to take people as they are, rather than as they really are. But in an age in which so little is inappropriate, how is this to be accomplished? When all the world was a more defined stage, outward signs were both socially mandated and much more obvious. The doctor, lawyer, and Indian chief dressed the part, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say the part dressed them. With the lack of occasion and the freedom from any but financial restraint, today the social signals clothes send seem more numerous, more capricious, more interchangeable, more fluid and permeable, more complicated and ambiguous. Conceptions are “spun,” realities are “virtual,” and clothes are mere perceptions of fantasies. We choose the clothing we wear not for modesty or the differentiation of the sexes, nor for protection from the elements, nor to signal our place in the social structure, but for the roles we wish to play, unencumbered by any social considerations or occasion.

      Clothes have always provided the most obvious indication of both dignity and definition. There was no question in anyone’s mind when Louis XIV walked into the room who was king. His yards of ermine and gold cloth made it easy. But today we see a man walking in midtown Manhattan wearing a pair of jeans, denim shirt and jacket, cowboy hat, and cowboy boots and have no idea what he may be. He may of course be a cowboy, but on 34th Street? All we are given to know is that he wants to be thought a cowboy. At least for today.

      It is no accident that the casual ethic is embodied in this solitary figure of freedom. The sense of occasion he opposes was always communal—accessible at once to low and high. Occasions are shared public realities, rituals in which we recognize something other than private expression. C. S. Lewis thought about this idea of occasion in terms of solemnity. For Lewis, solemnity is a public joyous propriety in which we humbly give up our private selves to the ritual: “The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility.” Wearing one’s Sunday best, as much as kneeling, was a visible sign of a humble heart.

      If Lewis is right that a sense of occasion encourages humility, we should not be surprised to find that a society that no longer wants to dress up also gives more leeway to the strong than it does support to the weak. Fifty years on from the Casual Revolution, the dream of wearing shorts forever has faded. Frustrated by the demands of individual expression, some have begun to yearn again for a shared and public happiness. Behind their desire lies a realization that was once universal: A society hospitable to the down and out will not be afraid to dress up.
      So dress up, you filthy casual.

      Comment


      • Business Insider's Chris Weller just published an article titled "Japan's fertility crisis is creating economic and social woes never before seen":

        It's midnight in Tokyo and Takehiro Onuki has just left the office, 16 hours after his shift began.

        Onuki, a 31-year-old salesman, is headed to the train station to catch the 12:24 a.m. train, the last one of the night, back to his home in Yokohama. The train will quickly fill up with other professional working men.

        At about 1:30 a.m., after having made a pit stop at a convenience store to grab a sandwich, Onuki arrives home. When he opens the bedroom door, he accidentally wakes his wife, Yoshiko, who just recently fell asleep after working an 11-hour day. She chides him for making too much noise and he apologizes.

        Then, with his food still digesting and his alarm set for 7 a.m., he creeps into bed, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

        Over the past two decades, stories like the Onukis' have become commonplace in Japan. Young couples are fighting to make relationships work amid a traditional work culture that expects men to be breadwinners and women to be homemakers. It's a losing battle. Many newlyweds are forced to watch their free time disappear, surrendering everything from the occasional date night to starting a family.

        The daily constraints have made for a worrisome trend. Japan has entered a vicious cycle of low fertility and low spending that has led to trillions in lost GDP and a population decline of 1 million people, all within just the past five years. If left unabated, experts forecast severe economic downturn and a breakdown in the fabric of social life.

        Mary Brinton, a Harvard sociologist, tells Business Insider that the situation will get only worse until Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet get with the times. Of the ongoing crisis, she says, "This is death to the family."

        The demographic time bomb in action

        Economists have a name for countries that contract because of these swirling forces: "demographic time bombs." In these nations, falling spending shrinks the economy, which discourages families from having kids, which shrinks the economy further. Meanwhile, people are living longer than ever before.

        "An aging population will mean higher costs for the government, a shortage of pension and social security-type funds, a shortage of people to care for the very aged, slow economic growth, and a shortage of young workers," Brinton says.

        Demographic time bombs are hard to defuse because they form over years, sometimes decades. In Japan's case, the story begins in the immediate aftermath of World War II.

        During the early 1950s, Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida made rebuilding Japan's economy his top priority. He enlisted major corporations to offer their employees lifelong job security, asking only that workers repay them with loyalty. The pact worked. Japan's economy is now the third largest in the world, and it's largely because of Yoshida's efforts 65 years ago.

        But there was a clear downside to that economic growth. In the early 1950s, fertility rates hovered at a healthy 2.75 children per woman, UN data shows. By 1960, as businesses asked more and more of their employees, the fertility rate had fallen to 2.08. Japan had sunk to a critical threshold known as "replacement fertility," the bare minimum to avoid losing population.

        "In those days, women's university enrollment rate exceeded 40%," Tokyo University economist Hiroshi Yoshida tells Business Insider. But as more women entered the workforce, fertility began to plummet. Today, more than 50 years later, Japan's fertility rate sits at 1.41, the population is falling, and brutally long work hours remain the norm.



        The new world of work

        In downtown Tokyo, 36-year-old Natsuko Fujimaki runs a daycare that teaches English to Japanese kids. As much as she adores the children, she says it's the people who pop in one or two Saturdays a month whom she really looks forward to seeing.

        On these weekends, a group of about 15 working mothers convene in the colorful one-room building. Among construction-paper art and signs that say "READ!," they swap stories of their hurried schedules, sharing tips for navigating motherhood and careerism. Fujimaki has been hosting the seminars for the past year. She says it's the ultimate passion project.

        Fujimaki, who happens to be Yoshiko Onuki's older sister and herself a mother of one, was raised by a working mom. Her father left when she was young. It's an experience that has stayed with Fujimaki all her life. Where plenty of other women were happy to become housewives, Fujimaki says her mother's balancing act convinced her never to compromise on her dreams.

        She tries to instill a similar mindset in the women who attend her seminar. After a long day at work and evenings spent cooking dinner and doing laundry, many have little free time left. They become lonely. "Nobody helps these career-oriented working mothers," Fujimaki tells Business Insider. "I want to help them."

        Fujimaki's business is just one of the consequences of Yoshida's early efforts to rebuild Japan's economy — which he did. But a major reason for that growth is that men and women bought into the idea that each sex had a specific role to play. The emerging labor force doesn't see it that way, says Frances Rosenbluth, a political scientist at Yale University.

        Following feminism's slow build in Japan since the 1970s, today's workers strive for equality between the sexes, something Japan's pyramid-style corporate structure just isn't built for. That's because institutional knowledge is viewed as a big deal in Japan, Rosenbluth says. Veteran accountants can't expect to leave their current job and start a new one at the same pay grade, as managers are of the opinion that skills don't transfer. As a result, both male and female workers stick around, even if conditions are miserable.

        On more than one occasion, Yoshiko has texted Natsuko complaining about how tired she is after spending 11 hours at her marketing job at Nissan.

        "She's exhausted every day," Natsuko says. "She always texts me like, 'Oh so tired.'" Yoshiko admits the work is draining and hardly fulfilling. "I do not see any joy in my job right now," she tells Business Insider. Her husband echoes the sentiment, saying the routine of his job at a steel supply company has become "boring." They both say they want to look for new jobs, although neither could specify when that change might occur.

        Yoshiko says she's considering a shake-up in a couple of years' time, when she's ready to have kids. But even here Rosenbluth says women often face a difficult dilemma. Exiting the labor force to raise kids can make it much harder to find work afterward. Social scientists call this the "mommy penalty."

        "The mommy penalty is big in Japan," Rosenbluth tells Business Insider.

        These opposing forces are something of a paradox, the unstoppable force of changing attitudes meeting the immovable object of traditional culture. "What do you do about the fact that firms' incentives don't align with the social desirability of changing this problem?" Rosenbluth says. "That's a hard one."

        Japan first, the world second

        The International Monetary Fund recently issued a warning to other Asian countries to be wary of Japan's trajectory of "getting old before becoming rich." And last year a UBS report showed changing attitudes toward work and gender roles could lead a number of industrialized nations, including the US, to face similar economic hardship.



        But as Rosenbluth and Brinton agree, compared to other countries Japan's case is extreme, particularly as it pertains to aging. Adult diapers have outsold baby diapers in Japan for the last six years, and many jails are turning into de facto nursing homes, as Japanese elders account for 20% of all crime in the country. With no one else to care for them, many reoffend just to come back. Stealing a sandwich can mean two years of jail time, but it also means two years of free housing and meals.

        Tokyo University's Yoshida says the most critical fact is death rates now fall well below birth rates. People just don't seem to be dying. The elderly now make up 27% of Japan's population. In the US, the rate is only 15%. Experts predict the ratio in Japan could rise to 40% by 2050. With that comes rising social-security costs, which the shrinking younger generations are expected to bear.

        But as 42-year-old journalist Renge Jibu says, that means shifting priorities from the personal to the professional. And a lot of Japanese young people simply don't have an interest in committing even more of themselves to a job they hate.

        "We need to think about what is happiness to us," says Jibu, a 2006 Fulbright scholar at the University of Michigan's Center for the Education of Women, "not think about happiness to company."

        But Natsuko Fujimaki says the costs absorbed by younger people have led them to reassess their priorities between work, family, and social life anyway. She says the Japanese concept of "majime" helps explain why. People who are majime are a cross between perfectionists and goody two-shoes. They always play by the rules and try to do it as precisely as possible.

        "Everyone is really majime to do their job," Fujimaki says. But after being so majime to buy food and pay their bills, many people feel they have time only for one other thing: climbing into bed at 2 a.m. with a bellyfull of hastily consumed food.

        Small-scale solutions

        Companies have taken a number of steps to make work-life balance less of a struggle.

        Japanese ad agency Dentsu recently began forcing people to take at least five days off every six months. The policy followed a 24-year-old employee's suicide in 2015 and a string of work-related suicides in Japan. The phenomenon is known as "karoshi," or death by overwork. The company shuts the lights off every night at 10 as an incentive for people to head home.

        At the Tokyo-based nursing-care business Saint-Works, employees wear purple capes that display the time they should leave the office. It's an effort to erase all doubt when the day is over. According to the South China Morning Post, people at Saint-Works are working half as many overtime hours since 2012, while profits continue to grow year over year.

        But experts generally agree that equality must come from the government, not private industry. Fewer than 10% of managers in Japan are female, a disparity many say stems from a systemic bias against hiring women. Firms view female hires as bad investments, as pregnancy and maternity leave are viewed as a drain on company resources, Rosenbluth says. Neither she nor Brinton sees the government making strides in this area.

        In the five years since his election, Prime Minister Abe has addressed Japan's fertility rate mainly as a matter of inconvenience, they say. His government has hosted speed-dating events to get people chitchatting and held fatherhood classes to help single guys seem themselves in a parenting role.

        "It's great that [the government] is worried about it," Rosenbluth says. "But these things will not work."

        Instead, she argues, the government has a responsibility to implement policies that favor women while also appealing to corporate interests. She imagines firms getting a tax break for hiring female managers over male candidates. But Brinton doesn't see that happening either.

        "No matter what you say, what you hear out of Prime Minister Abe's mouth, it's not about gender equality," she says. "It's about productivity of the economy and addressing the fact that Japan is one of the most rapidly aging societies in the world and they're going to run out of labor unless women have more babies."

        Humanoids instead of humans

        To make up for an aging population and aversion toward immigrant work, Japan's tech sector has stepped up its efforts in robotics and artificial intelligence. In doing so, it has essentially turned a biological problem into an engineering one.

        In 2014, Telecom giant SoftBank Robotics Corp. released the prototype for its Pepper robot, a friendly white humanoid with puppy-dog eyes and a chest-mounted tablet computer. The company envisioned Pepper welcoming guests at a dinner party, greeting business partners, or comforting hospital patients. Pepper comes equipped with emotion-recognition software that analyzes voice tones and facial expressions. It's all part of Japan's effort to replicate the things that humans can do, if only there were people to do them.

        On a June weekend in 2015, SoftBank began selling 1,000 Pepper robots for consumer use, at a base price of $1,600 per robot. The supply sold out in one minute.

        The solutions to a lack of human labor have been small scale too.

        In 2015, Tokyo's Haneda Airport partnered with technology company Cyberdyne to outfit airport employees with sleek, waist-level devices that give elderly workers the strength of a strapping young person. The device picks up electrical impulses inside the body to help the muscles contract — say, to lift heavy bags or wrangle a rogue toddler. The exoskeletons can sync with floor robots capable of carting around up to 400 pounds of luggage, potentially eliminating the needs for humans.

        All hope isn't lost

        For all the statistical doom and gloom, many people are still optimistic that a happy, well-balanced life is possible.

        A 2016 study conducted by a Japanese research firm found that even though nearly 70% of unmarried Japanese men and 60% of unmarried Japanese women weren't in relationships, most people still say they want to get married.

        Renge Jibu, the journalist, said she was so inspired by American working moms when she studied at the University of Michigan that she felt confident enough to have two kids of her own. Fujimaki told a similar story of her own mother. And though Takehiro and Yoshiko Onuki don't yet have any kids, both agree they'll probably have at least one within the next five years. They hope their jobs will be more enjoyable and come with more flexible hours.

        But in the meantime, they'll continue texting during the workday and catching up from Friday to Sunday.

        "We have some distance on the weekdays," Yoshiko says. "But we can talk a lot on the weekends, so I think that's very good to keep us ... " She trailed off, searching for the word.

        "Married?" her husband said.

        "Yes!" she said, and both of them fell into laughter.

        Comment


        • Business Insider's Chris Weller just published an article titled "Japan's fertility crisis is creating economic and social woes never before seen":

          It's midnight in Tokyo and Takehiro Onuki has just left the office, 16 hours after his shift began.

          Onuki, a 31-year-old salesman, is headed to the train station to catch the 12:24 a.m. train, the last one of the night, back to his home in Yokohama. The train will quickly fill up with other professional working men.

          At about 1:30 a.m., after having made a pit stop at a convenience store to grab a sandwich, Onuki arrives home. When he opens the bedroom door, he accidentally wakes his wife, Yoshiko, who just recently fell asleep after working an 11-hour day. She chides him for making too much noise and he apologizes.

          Then, with his food still digesting and his alarm set for 7 a.m., he creeps into bed, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

          Over the past two decades, stories like the Onukis' have become commonplace in Japan. Young couples are fighting to make relationships work amid a traditional work culture that expects men to be breadwinners and women to be homemakers. It's a losing battle. Many newlyweds are forced to watch their free time disappear, surrendering everything from the occasional date night to starting a family.

          The daily constraints have made for a worrisome trend. Japan has entered a vicious cycle of low fertility and low spending that has led to trillions in lost GDP and a population decline of 1 million people, all within just the past five years. If left unabated, experts forecast severe economic downturn and a breakdown in the fabric of social life.

          Mary Brinton, a Harvard sociologist, tells Business Insider that the situation will get only worse until Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet get with the times. Of the ongoing crisis, she says, "This is death to the family."

          The demographic time bomb in action

          Economists have a name for countries that contract because of these swirling forces: "demographic time bombs." In these nations, falling spending shrinks the economy, which discourages families from having kids, which shrinks the economy further. Meanwhile, people are living longer than ever before.

          "An aging population will mean higher costs for the government, a shortage of pension and social security-type funds, a shortage of people to care for the very aged, slow economic growth, and a shortage of young workers," Brinton says.

          Demographic time bombs are hard to defuse because they form over years, sometimes decades. In Japan's case, the story begins in the immediate aftermath of World War II.

          During the early 1950s, Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida made rebuilding Japan's economy his top priority. He enlisted major corporations to offer their employees lifelong job security, asking only that workers repay them with loyalty. The pact worked. Japan's economy is now the third largest in the world, and it's largely because of Yoshida's efforts 65 years ago.

          But there was a clear downside to that economic growth. In the early 1950s, fertility rates hovered at a healthy 2.75 children per woman, UN data shows. By 1960, as businesses asked more and more of their employees, the fertility rate had fallen to 2.08. Japan had sunk to a critical threshold known as "replacement fertility," the bare minimum to avoid losing population.

          "In those days, women's university enrollment rate exceeded 40%," Tokyo University economist Hiroshi Yoshida tells Business Insider. But as more women entered the workforce, fertility began to plummet. Today, more than 50 years later, Japan's fertility rate sits at 1.41, the population is falling, and brutally long work hours remain the norm.



          The new world of work

          In downtown Tokyo, 36-year-old Natsuko Fujimaki runs a daycare that teaches English to Japanese kids. As much as she adores the children, she says it's the people who pop in one or two Saturdays a month whom she really looks forward to seeing.

          On these weekends, a group of about 15 working mothers convene in the colorful one-room building. Among construction-paper art and signs that say "READ!," they swap stories of their hurried schedules, sharing tips for navigating motherhood and careerism. Fujimaki has been hosting the seminars for the past year. She says it's the ultimate passion project.

          Fujimaki, who happens to be Yoshiko Onuki's older sister and herself a mother of one, was raised by a working mom. Her father left when she was young. It's an experience that has stayed with Fujimaki all her life. Where plenty of other women were happy to become housewives, Fujimaki says her mother's balancing act convinced her never to compromise on her dreams.

          She tries to instill a similar mindset in the women who attend her seminar. After a long day at work and evenings spent cooking dinner and doing laundry, many have little free time left. They become lonely. "Nobody helps these career-oriented working mothers," Fujimaki tells Business Insider. "I want to help them."

          Fujimaki's business is just one of the consequences of Yoshida's early efforts to rebuild Japan's economy — which he did. But a major reason for that growth is that men and women bought into the idea that each sex had a specific role to play. The emerging labor force doesn't see it that way, says Frances Rosenbluth, a political scientist at Yale University.

          Following feminism's slow build in Japan since the 1970s, today's workers strive for equality between the sexes, something Japan's pyramid-style corporate structure just isn't built for. That's because institutional knowledge is viewed as a big deal in Japan, Rosenbluth says. Veteran accountants can't expect to leave their current job and start a new one at the same pay grade, as managers are of the opinion that skills don't transfer. As a result, both male and female workers stick around, even if conditions are miserable.

          On more than one occasion, Yoshiko has texted Natsuko complaining about how tired she is after spending 11 hours at her marketing job at Nissan.

          "She's exhausted every day," Natsuko says. "She always texts me like, 'Oh so tired.'" Yoshiko admits the work is draining and hardly fulfilling. "I do not see any joy in my job right now," she tells Business Insider. Her husband echoes the sentiment, saying the routine of his job at a steel supply company has become "boring." They both say they want to look for new jobs, although neither could specify when that change might occur.

          Yoshiko says she's considering a shake-up in a couple of years' time, when she's ready to have kids. But even here Rosenbluth says women often face a difficult dilemma. Exiting the labor force to raise kids can make it much harder to find work afterward. Social scientists call this the "mommy penalty."

          "The mommy penalty is big in Japan," Rosenbluth tells Business Insider.

          These opposing forces are something of a paradox, the unstoppable force of changing attitudes meeting the immovable object of traditional culture. "What do you do about the fact that firms' incentives don't align with the social desirability of changing this problem?" Rosenbluth says. "That's a hard one."

          Japan first, the world second

          The International Monetary Fund recently issued a warning to other Asian countries to be wary of Japan's trajectory of "getting old before becoming rich." And last year a UBS report showed changing attitudes toward work and gender roles could lead a number of industrialized nations, including the US, to face similar economic hardship.



          But as Rosenbluth and Brinton agree, compared to other countries Japan's case is extreme, particularly as it pertains to aging. Adult diapers have outsold baby diapers in Japan for the last six years, and many jails are turning into de facto nursing homes, as Japanese elders account for 20% of all crime in the country. With no one else to care for them, many reoffend just to come back. Stealing a sandwich can mean two years of jail time, but it also means two years of free housing and meals.

          Tokyo University's Yoshida says the most critical fact is death rates now fall well below birth rates. People just don't seem to be dying. The elderly now make up 27% of Japan's population. In the US, the rate is only 15%. Experts predict the ratio in Japan could rise to 40% by 2050. With that comes rising social-security costs, which the shrinking younger generations are expected to bear.

          But as 42-year-old journalist Renge Jibu says, that means shifting priorities from the personal to the professional. And a lot of Japanese young people simply don't have an interest in committing even more of themselves to a job they hate.

          "We need to think about what is happiness to us," says Jibu, a 2006 Fulbright scholar at the University of Michigan's Center for the Education of Women, "not think about happiness to company."

          But Natsuko Fujimaki says the costs absorbed by younger people have led them to reassess their priorities between work, family, and social life anyway. She says the Japanese concept of "majime" helps explain why. People who are majime are a cross between perfectionists and goody two-shoes. They always play by the rules and try to do it as precisely as possible.

          "Everyone is really majime to do their job," Fujimaki says. But after being so majime to buy food and pay their bills, many people feel they have time only for one other thing: climbing into bed at 2 a.m. with a bellyfull of hastily consumed food.

          Small-scale solutions

          Companies have taken a number of steps to make work-life balance less of a struggle.

          Japanese ad agency Dentsu recently began forcing people to take at least five days off every six months. The policy followed a 24-year-old employee's suicide in 2015 and a string of work-related suicides in Japan. The phenomenon is known as "karoshi," or death by overwork. The company shuts the lights off every night at 10 as an incentive for people to head home.

          At the Tokyo-based nursing-care business Saint-Works, employees wear purple capes that display the time they should leave the office. It's an effort to erase all doubt when the day is over. According to the South China Morning Post, people at Saint-Works are working half as many overtime hours since 2012, while profits continue to grow year over year.

          But experts generally agree that equality must come from the government, not private industry. Fewer than 10% of managers in Japan are female, a disparity many say stems from a systemic bias against hiring women. Firms view female hires as bad investments, as pregnancy and maternity leave are viewed as a drain on company resources, Rosenbluth says. Neither she nor Brinton sees the government making strides in this area.

          In the five years since his election, Prime Minister Abe has addressed Japan's fertility rate mainly as a matter of inconvenience, they say. His government has hosted speed-dating events to get people chitchatting and held fatherhood classes to help single guys seem themselves in a parenting role.

          "It's great that [the government] is worried about it," Rosenbluth says. "But these things will not work."

          Instead, she argues, the government has a responsibility to implement policies that favor women while also appealing to corporate interests. She imagines firms getting a tax break for hiring female managers over male candidates. But Brinton doesn't see that happening either.

          "No matter what you say, what you hear out of Prime Minister Abe's mouth, it's not about gender equality," she says. "It's about productivity of the economy and addressing the fact that Japan is one of the most rapidly aging societies in the world and they're going to run out of labor unless women have more babies."

          Humanoids instead of humans

          To make up for an aging population and aversion toward immigrant work, Japan's tech sector has stepped up its efforts in robotics and artificial intelligence. In doing so, it has essentially turned a biological problem into an engineering one.

          In 2014, Telecom giant SoftBank Robotics Corp. released the prototype for its Pepper robot, a friendly white humanoid with puppy-dog eyes and a chest-mounted tablet computer. The company envisioned Pepper welcoming guests at a dinner party, greeting business partners, or comforting hospital patients. Pepper comes equipped with emotion-recognition software that analyzes voice tones and facial expressions. It's all part of Japan's effort to replicate the things that humans can do, if only there were people to do them.

          On a June weekend in 2015, SoftBank began selling 1,000 Pepper robots for consumer use, at a base price of $1,600 per robot. The supply sold out in one minute.

          The solutions to a lack of human labor have been small scale too.

          In 2015, Tokyo's Haneda Airport partnered with technology company Cyberdyne to outfit airport employees with sleek, waist-level devices that give elderly workers the strength of a strapping young person. The device picks up electrical impulses inside the body to help the muscles contract — say, to lift heavy bags or wrangle a rogue toddler. The exoskeletons can sync with floor robots capable of carting around up to 400 pounds of luggage, potentially eliminating the needs for humans.

          All hope isn't lost

          For all the statistical doom and gloom, many people are still optimistic that a happy, well-balanced life is possible.

          A 2016 study conducted by a Japanese research firm found that even though nearly 70% of unmarried Japanese men and 60% of unmarried Japanese women weren't in relationships, most people still say they want to get married.

          Renge Jibu, the journalist, said she was so inspired by American working moms when she studied at the University of Michigan that she felt confident enough to have two kids of her own. Fujimaki told a similar story of her own mother. And though Takehiro and Yoshiko Onuki don't yet have any kids, both agree they'll probably have at least one within the next five years. They hope their jobs will be more enjoyable and come with more flexible hours.

          But in the meantime, they'll continue texting during the workday and catching up from Friday to Sunday.

          "We have some distance on the weekdays," Yoshiko says. "But we can talk a lot on the weekends, so I think that's very good to keep us ... " She trailed off, searching for the word.

          "Married?" her husband said.

          "Yes!" she said, and both of them fell into laughter.

          Comment


          • Making Strides: Just 75 Years Ago, the "College Girl" Category of Porn Couldn't Have Existed:

            Across the country and around the world, women are slowly but surely defeating the forces that oppress them, fighting tirelessly for equality. We still have a long way to go, but here’s something that really puts in perspective just how far we’ve come: A mere 75 years ago, the “college girl” category of porn couldn’t even have existed.

            Truly inspirational. This is what progress looks like.

            When our nation’s first colleges were founded, they were open only to men, so the idea of a barely legal freshman getting railed in her dorm room was completely unthinkable. Even when colleges for women first began to crop up, it was still a long time before most institutions of higher learning opened their doors to women, and a group of scantily clad coeds going to town on the members of the football team could become a reality.

            As late as the 1950s, options for women were depressingly limited, and you were still far more likely to encounter porn featuring sexy housewives than porn featuring desperate students who were willing to do whatever it took to get an A. How quickly things changed between then and now, as the internet is overflowing with college girls who are wet, wild, and begging to fuck, a true testament to the major strides women have made in the past 75 years.

            Today, women can do anything they set their minds to. They don’t just have to be a slutty nurse or an obedient secretary—they can be a horny doctor giving an up-close-and-personal prostate exam, or a latex-clad CEO tying up her employee before having her way with him. Now more than ever, it’s possible for women to do all these things while still being MILFs who have enough time to really teach their step sons how it’s done.

            True equality may still be a ways away, but it’s heartening to see how much progress has been made. So here’s to the women who continue to strive toward a fairer future, and to the spring break wet T-shirt contests they enter along the way!

            Comment


            • Nick Land just published an article in Jacobite titled "The Atomization Trap" which is getting a decent amount of traction on Twitter:

              “Hands up everyone who hates atomization.” That isn’t a call for surrender (at least overtly), but merely an informal poll.

              Now try it differently:

              “Hands up everyone who hates atomization, but this time without looking around.” Was the decision-process – perhaps ironically – a little slower this time? It’s worth thinking about that. Taking a shortcut that bypasses the social process might be expected to speed things up. Yet on the other hand – introducing the delay – comes the hazy recognition: If you make the call privately, you’re already complicit. A minor formal re-organization of the question transforms it insidiously. What do you think of atomization, speaking atomistically? It becomes a strange, or self-referential loop. Modern history has been like that.

              First, though, a few terminological preliminaries. An ‘atom’ is etymologically indistinct from an ‘individual.’ At the root, the words are almost perfectly interchangeable. Neither, relative to the other, carries any special semantic charge. So if ‘atomization’ sounds like a metaphor, it really isn’t. There’s nothing essentially derivative about the word’s sociological application. If it appears to be a borrowing from physics, that might be due to any number of confusions, but not to a displacement from an original or natural terrain. Atoms and societies belong together primordially, though in tension. That’s what being a social animal – rather than a fully ‘eusocial’ one (like an ant, or a mole-rat) – already indicates.

              Individuals are hard to find. Nowhere are they simply and reliably given, least of all to themselves. They require historical work, and ultimately fabrication, even to float them as functional approximations. A process is involved. That’s why the word ‘atomization’ is less prone to dupery than ‘atom’ itself is. Individuality is nothing outside a destiny (but this is to get ahead of ourselves).

              It’s difficult to know where to begin. (Did Athens sentence Socrates to death for being a social atomizer?) Individualism is stereotypically WEIRD (western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic), and so tends to lead into the labyrinth of comparative ethnography. It has been unevenly distributed, in roughly the same way that modernity has been. Since this is already to say almost everything on the topic, it merits some dismantling.

              The work of Walter Russell Mead provides a useful relay station. The historical questions he has engaged – which concern nothing less than the outcome of the world – have been embedded within an intellectual framework shaped by special attention to modern providential Christianity. What has been the source of the ‘manifest destiny’ which has placed the keys to global mastery in the hands of a progressively distilled social project, Protestant, then Puritan, then Yankee? If not exactly or straightforwardly ‘God’ (he is too subtle for that), it is at least something that the lineage of Reform Christianity has tapped with unique effectiveness. Protestantism sealed a pact with historical destiny – to all appearances defining a specifically modern global teleology – by consistently winning. Individualization of conscience – atomization – was made fate.

              Six years after Special Providence (2001) came God and Gold, which reinforced the Anglo-American and capitalistic threads of the narrative. The boundaries between socio-economic and religious history were strategically melted, in a way pioneered by Max Weber, Werner Sombart, and – more critically – by numerous Catholic thinkers who have identified, and continue to identify, the essence of modernity as a hostile religious power. Eugene Michael Jones is Walter Russell Mead on the other side of the mirror. The story each is telling transforms without significant distortion into that of the other, once chilled below the threshold of moral agitation. Whatever it was that happened to Western Christianity in the Renaissance unleashed capitalism upon the world.

              It is possible to be still cruder without sacrificing much reality. When considered as rigid designations, Atomization, Protestantism, Capitalism, and Modernity name exactly the same thing. In the domain of public policy (and beyond it), privatization addresses the same directory.

              While any particular variant of implicit or explicit Protestantism has its distinctive theological (or atheological) features, just as any stage of capitalistic industrialization has its concrete characteristics, these serve as distractions more than as hand-holds in the big picture. The only truly big picture is splitting. The Reformation was not only a break, but still more importantly a normalization of breaking, an initially informal, but increasingly rigorized, protocol for social disintegration. The ultimate solution it offered in regard to all social questions was not argumentation, but exit. Chronic fission was installed as the core of historical process. Fundamentally, that is what atomization means.

              Protestantism – Real Abstract Protestantism – which is ever more likely to identify itself as post-Christian, post-theistic, and post-Everything Else, is a self-propelling machine for incomprehensibly prolonged social disintegration, and everyone knows it. Atomization has become an autonomous, inhuman agency, or at least, something ever more autonomous, and ever more inhuman. It can only liquidate everything you’ve ever cared about, by its very nature, so – of course – no one likes it. Catholicism, socialism, and nationalism have sought, in succession, coalition, or mutual competition, to rally the shards of violated community against it. The long string of defeat that ensued has been a rich source of cultural and political mythology. Because there is really no choice but to resist, battle has always been rejoined, but without any serious sign of any reversal of fortune.

              Under current conditions, atomization serves – uniquely – as an inexhaustible tube of reactionary glue. Profound aversion to the process is the sole common denominator of our contemporary cultural opposition, stretching from traditionalist Catholicism to alt-right ethno-nationalism. “Whatever our preferred glue, can’t we at least agree that things have become unglued – and are ever less glued?” That seems very far from an unreasonable aspiration. After all, if coalition building is the goal, what – imaginably – could provide a better rallying point than the very principle of social integrity, even if this is invoked purely, and negatively, by way of an anathematization directed at its fatal historic foe? Atomization, in this regard, brings people together, at least conversationally, though this works best when the conversation doesn’t get very deep.

              Scarcely anybody wants to be atomized (they say). Perhaps they read Michel Houellebecq’s 1998 novel Atomised (or Elementary Particles), and nod along to it. How could one not? If that’s where it ended, it would be hard to see the problem, or how there ever came to be a problem, but it doesn’t end there, or anywhere close, because atomization makes a mockery of words. Atomization was never good at parties, unsurprisingly. It’s unpopular to the point of essence. There’s the Puritan thing, and the Ayn Rand thing, and the nerd thing, and the trigger for Asperger’s jokes – if that’s actually a separate thing – and no doubt innumerable further social disabilities, each alone disqualifying, if receiving a ‘like’ in some collective medium is the goal, because nobody likes it, as we’ve heard (for half a millennium already). But what we’ve heard, and what we’ve seen, have been two very different things.

              Atomization never tried to sell itself. Instead, it came free, with everything else that was sold. It was the formal implication of dissent, first of all, of methodical skepticism, or critical inquiry, which presupposed a bracketing of authority that proved irreversible, and then – equally implicit originally – the frame of the contractual relation, and every subsequent innovation in the realm of the private deal (there would be many, and we have scarcely started). “So what do you think (or want)?” That was quite enough. No articulate enthusiasm for atomization was ever necessary. The sorcery of revealed preference has done all the work, and there, too, we have scarcely started.

              Atomization may have few friends, but it has no shortage of formidable allies. Even when people are readily persuaded that atomization is undesirable, they ultimately want to decide for themselves, and the more so as they think that it matters. Insofar as atomization has become a true horror, it compels an intimate cognitive and moral relation with itself. No one who glimpses what it is can delegate relevant conclusions to any higher authority. Thus it wins. Every Catholic of intellectual seriousness has seen this, for centuries. Socialists have too, for decades. The moment of ethno-nationalist revelation cannot long be delayed. Under modern conditions, every authoritative moral community is held hostage to private decision, even when it is apparently affirmed, and especially when such affirmation is most vehemently asserted. (The most excitable elements within the world of Islam see this arriving, and are conspicuously unhappy about the fact.)

              Substantially, if only notionally, freedom of conscience might tend to collectivity, but formally it locks-in individualism ever more tightly. It defies the authority of community at the very moment it offers explicit endorsement, by making community an urgent matter of private decision, and – at the very peak of its purported sacredness – of shopping. Religious traditionalists see themselves mirrored in whole-food markets, and are appalled, when not darkly amused. “Birkenstock Conservatives” was Rod Dreher’s grimly ironic self-identification. Anti-consumerism becomes a consumer preference, the public cause a private enthusiasm. Intensification of collectivist sentiment only tightens the monkey-trap. It gets worse.

              American history – at the global frontier of atomization – is thickly speckled with elective communities. From the Puritan religious communities of the early colonial period, through to the ‘hippy’ communes of the previous century, and beyond, experiments in communal living under the auspices of radicalized private conscience have sought to ameliorate atomization in the way most consistent with its historical destiny. Such experiments reliably fail, which helps to crank the process forward, but that is not the main thing. What matters most about all of these co-ops, communes, and cults is the semi-formal contractual option that frames them. From the moment of their initiation – or even their conception – they confirm a sovereign atomization, and its reconstruction of the social world on the model of a menu. Dreher’s much-discussed ‘Benedict Option’ is no exception to this. There is no withdrawal from the course of modernity, ‘back’ into community, that does not reinforce the pattern of dissent, schism, and exit from which atomization continually replenishes its momentum. As private conscience directs itself towards escape from the privatization of conscience, it regenerates that which it flees, ever more deeply within itself. Individuation, considered impersonally, likes it when you run.

              As is well understood, ‘atoms’ are not atoms, and ‘elements’ are not elements. Elementary particles – if they exist at all – are at least two (deep) levels further down. Human individuals are certainly no less decomposable. Marvin Minsky’s ‘society of mind’ is but one vivid indication of how historical sociology might tilt into the sub-atomic realm. Particle accelerators demonstrate that shattering entities down to the smallest attainable pieces is a technological problem. The same holds in the social realm, though naturally with very different technologies.

              To dismiss individuals as metaphysical figments, therefore, would be the most futile of diversions. Atomization has no constraining metaphysics, whether in particle physics or in the dynamic anthropological, socio-historical process. If it promises at times to tell you what you really are, such whispers will eventually cease, or come to deride themselves, or simply be forgotten. Protestantism, it has to be remembered, is only masked, momentarily, as a religion. What it is underneath, and enduringly, is a way of breaking things.

              After so much has already been torn apart, with so many monstrosities spawned, it is no doubt exhausting to be told that while almost everything remains to be built, no less still waits to be broken. Atomization has already gone too far, we are incessantly told. If so, the future will be hard. There can be no realistic doubt that it will be extremely divided. The dynamo driving things tends irresistibly in that direction. Try to split, and it whirls faster.

              “Hands up everyone who hates atomization.” No, that isn’t a question anymore. It would be a call for surrender, if surrender mattered, but it doesn’t, as we’ve seen. Keep on fighting it, by all means. It likes that.

              Comment


              • http://attitude.co.uk/new-study-find...ss-and-cuddle/

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                • TIL I'm a statistical anomaly.

                  Funnier than you in 2012.

                  Comment


                  • Teacher charged with having sex with three male students | Daily Mail Online



                    Bruh.

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                    • Wtf....smokeshow
                      Based Mullet Kid owns

                      Comment


                      • If you want to discuss culture... It says something weird about our culture that the pictures chosen for that news piece are clearly meant to show as much skin as possible. What purpose does a bikini candid have in this type of story? We all know.

                        Funnier than you in 2012.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by greyhammer90 View Post
                          If you want to discuss culture... It says something weird about our culture that the pictures chosen for that news piece are clearly meant to show as much skin as possible. What purpose does a bikini candid have in this type of story? We all know.


                          I expected Whiskeyjack to be the one to crush our juvenile sensitivities with warning about the evils of premarital relations, but you beat him to the punch.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                            I expected Whiskeyjack to be the one to crush our juvenile sensitivities with warning about the evils of premarital relations, but you beat him to the punch.
                            Oh I don't disagree. Feel free to continue to oogle without judgment. I'm not making a statement on whether or not one or the other is a bad thing. I'm just saying that it's hypocritical. Either it's literally so gross that we as a society need to jail this predator and have her be labeled for life. Or it's not.

                            It's just interesting because the law and those pictures seem like two totally different societies.

                            Funnier than you in 2012.

                            Comment


                            • I am not saying she is not good looking, and if she was my teacher and asking it would be extremely difficult to say no, but if she is that good looking what the heck is going on in that brain case that she goes after high school boys and not someone nearer her age of 25?
                              Fan since Vagas Ferguson and Jerome Heavens!

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by greyhammer90 View Post
                                Oh I don't disagree. Feel free to continue to oogle without judgment. I'm not making a statement on whether or not one or the other is a bad thing. I'm just saying that it's hypocritical. Either it's literally so gross that we as a society need to jail this predator and have her be labeled for life. Or it's not.

                                It's just interesting because the law and those pictures seem like two totally different societies.
                                Question for the lawyers.

                                Say the boys turn 18 soon. Can they hypothetically get the charges dropped since they were the "victims"?
                                Based Mullet Kid owns

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by connor_in View Post
                                  I am not saying she is not good looking, and if she was my teacher and asking it would be extremely difficult to say no, but if she is that good looking what the heck is going on in that brain case that she goes after high school boys and not someone nearer her age of 25?
                                  That's the part I can't figure out. Hot women tend to date up, not down.

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                    I expected Whiskeyjack to be the one to crush our juvenile sensitivities with warning about the evils of premarital relations, but you beat him to the punch.
                                    Just you wait. In my 20s, I too would have chuckled about this sort of fantasy. Now, if one of my boys was targeted by such a succubus, I'd be organizing a lynch mob. These are broken women (often former victims of abuse themselves) who cause serious irreparable harm to the boys they prey upon.

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by Whiskeyjack View Post
                                      Just you wait. In my 20s, I too would have chuckled about this sort of fantasy. Now, if one of my boys was targeted by such a succubus, I'd be organizing a lynch mob. These are broken women (often former victims of abuse themselves) who cause serious irreparable harm to the boys they prey upon.
                                      ...but you still would tho.

                                      Comment


                                      • I'm proud of y'all. It's been 20 minutes and nobody's posted the obligatory South Park meme

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by zelezo vlk View Post
                                          I'm proud of y'all. It's been 20 minutes and nobody's posted the obligatory South Park meme
                                          I'd say our avoidance of that meme is...



                                          Niiiiiiiice.

                                          Funnier than you in 2012.

                                          Comment


                                          • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                            ...but you still would tho.
                                            At 16 or 17? Yes, I probably would have. Which is all the more reason to throw the book at her.

                                            Comment


                                            • Originally posted by NorthDakota View Post
                                              Question for the lawyers.

                                              Say the boys turn 18 soon. Can they hypothetically get the charges dropped since they were the "victims"?
                                              Not a criminal attorney by any means but I would guess no. The state has such an interest in preventing pedo behavior that there's no way they would let a known child molester walk just because a young victim claims they don't want it to occur. If you think about it, that would be a really bad loophole because then every emotionally manipulated almost-18 year old would be on the market for those people.

                                              Funnier than you in 2012.

                                              Comment


                                              • Originally posted by Whiskeyjack View Post
                                                At 16 or 17? Yes, I probably would have. Which is all the more reason to throw the book at her.
                                                Teenage boys are really where the whole "you can't consent if your this age" mindset makes the most sense IMO. A teenage boy is completely incapable of understanding what he's getting himself into and has way, way, way more hormones than good-sense.

                                                It's like giving a dying man in the middle of a dessert a gallon of salt water. He's eventually going to drink it no matter how bad it is for him.

                                                Funnier than you in 2012.

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                                                • Originally posted by greyhammer90 View Post
                                                  Not a criminal attorney by any means but I would guess no. The state has such an interest in preventing pedo behavior that there's no way they would let a known child molester walk just because a young victim claims they don't want it to occur. If you think about it, that would be a really bad loophole because then every emotionally manipulated almost-18 year old would be on the market for those people.
                                                  It's not "pedo behavior." The age of consent is a social construct, no italics.

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                                                  • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                                    It's not "pedo behavior." The age of consent is a social construct, no italics.
                                                    I'm speaking legally because his question was a legal question. Her behavior would cause her to be legally labeled a pedophile. The state has a strong interest in preventing that behavior.

                                                    Funnier than you in 2012.

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                                                    • Originally posted by greyhammer90 View Post
                                                      I'm speaking legally because his question was a legal question. Her behavior would cause her to be legally labeled a pedophile. The state has a strong interest in preventing that behavior.
                                                      No it wouldn't. Pedophilia isn't a legal term. Pedophilia isn't even a crime. It's not a crime to be sexually attracted to a six year old. Statutory rape and pedophilia are not the same thing.

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                                                      • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                                        It's not "pedo behavior." The age of consent is a social construct, no italics.
                                                        Legal construct?


                                                        EDIT already discussed by the time i posted...meant for actual act
                                                        Fan since Vagas Ferguson and Jerome Heavens!

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                                                        • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                                          It's not "pedo behavior." The age of consent is a social construct, no italics.
                                                          Wiz, rethink this. "But what if the child consents..." is the most ridiculous, repulsive and obviously evil corner of libertarian thought.

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                                                          • The "First Lady" of France did the exact same thing with the French Obama, only with 9 more years of experience under her belt. Nobody seems to care about that. So its understandable that its hard for some people to see it as a criminal act.

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                                                            • Originally posted by Whiskeyjack View Post
                                                              Wiz, rethink this. "But what if the child consents..." is the most ridiculous corner of libertarian thought.
                                                              That's not my point. I'm not saying what this woman did was okay or should be legal. I'm simply objecting to the term "pedophilia," which refers specifically to sexual maturity, i.e. it's not pedophilia if the child is post-pubescent. The legal age of consent and psychological age of majority are two separate conversations.

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                                                              • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                                                That's not my point. I'm not saying what this woman did was okay or should be legal. I'm simply objecting to the term "pedophilia," which refers specifically to sexual maturity, i.e. it's not pedophilia if the child is post-pubescent. The legal age of consent and psychological age of majority are two separate conversations.
                                                                You pick the weirdest fucking hills to die on.

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                                                                • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                                                  No it wouldn't. Pedophilia isn't a legal term. Pedophilia isn't even a crime. It's not a crime to be sexually attracted to a six year old. Statutory rape and pedophilia are not the same thing.
                                                                  Holy cow do you know how to make an argument about nothing. I am aware that pedophilia is a condition. I am aware that pedophilia is technically an attraction to prepubescent children. However, in the United States it is commonly accepted both in the legal field and in general parlance to call someone who commits molestation to people under the age of consent a pedophile. I am also aware that certain state departments label people pedophiles in their state records over statutory rape, because I have seen these.

                                                                  I would think that the board would allow me a modicum of informality, particularly when the definition of pedophilia has absolutely no bearing on the overall point of my post. But Lo! There Wiz appears over the horizon on a white horse. He races down the sloping range towards the peasants and their 'common usage'. With his lightsaber he charges the ramparts and lets out his battle cry!


                                                                  Funnier than you in 2012.

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                                                                  • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                                                    No it wouldn't. Pedophilia isn't a legal term. Pedophilia isn't even a crime. It's not a crime to be sexually attracted to a six year old. Statutory rape and pedophilia are not the same thing.
                                                                    Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                                                    That's not my point. I'm not saying what this woman did was okay or should be legal. I'm simply objecting to the term "pedophilia," which refers specifically to sexual maturity, i.e. it's not pedophilia if the child is post-pubescent. The legal age of consent and psychological age of majority are two separate conversations.
                                                                    Child please. This is a 2007 Koon type argument.

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                                                                    • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                                                      That's not my point. I'm not saying what this woman did was okay or should be legal. I'm simply objecting to the term "pedophilia," which refers specifically to sexual maturity, i.e. it's not pedophilia if the child is post-pubescent. The legal age of consent and psychological age of agency are two separate conversations.
                                                                      As far as consent, arbitrary lines have to be chosen. And this is just a good example of one of those lines. But as men who have been 17 yo, it doesn't strike us as entirely obvious that what happened there was a person incapable of giving consent being criminally taken advantage of by an adult. In fact, the kid may have experienced the situation in the exact opposite manner.

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                                                                      • Originally posted by koonja View Post
                                                                        Child please. This is a 2007 Koon type argument.
                                                                        When Koon is telling you to sit this one out, you know it's time to reconsider your life choices.

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                                                                        • I will give anyone all my vbucks if they can photoshop wiz onto Milo's body.

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                                                                          • I just figured out the age difference between wiz and his wife........
                                                                            This sig will not change until The Browns win the Super Bowl... So get real used to it.

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                                                                            • Originally posted by Cackalacky View Post
                                                                              I will give anyone all my vbucks if they can photoshop wiz onto Milo's body.
                                                                              I wish I had Milo's body...

                                                                              Take that however you want.

                                                                              Originally posted by ACamp1900 View Post
                                                                              I just figured out the age difference between wiz and his wife........
                                                                              Joke's on you. My wife is older than me.

                                                                              If you want to see some disturbing math, calculate how old I was when your mom picked me up for the first time.

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                                                                              • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                                                                I wish I had Milo's body...
                                                                                ... in your basement freezer?

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                                                                                • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                                                                  If you want to see some disturbing math, calculate how old I was when your mom picked me up for the first time.
                                                                                  But my mom was never a teacher... how can she be with a third grade education??
                                                                                  This sig will not change until The Browns win the Super Bowl... So get real used to it.

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                                                                                  • Originally posted by koonja View Post
                                                                                    Child please. This is a 2007 Koon type argument.
                                                                                    Originally posted by Whiskeyjack View Post
                                                                                    When Koon is telling you to sit this one out, you know it's time to reconsider your life choices.
                                                                                    Originally posted by Cackalacky View Post
                                                                                    I will give anyone all my vbucks if they can photoshop wiz onto Milo's body.
                                                                                    I'm missing some of the jokes here, but I think it's both healthy and necessary to distinguish between pedophilia and taking advantage of an older minor.

                                                                                    The latter is bad and should be punished, but the former is abominable and requires the harshest penalties the law can tolerate.

                                                                                    Calling sex between a 25 year old woman and a 17 year old male "pedophilia" waters down the term--just like calling a man who has consensual sex with a friend after she's had a few drinks "rape" waters down that term.

                                                                                    All of those behaviors may be wrong, but failing to distinguish them robs the terms "pedophilia" and "rape" of the power they should have to shock.
                                                                                    Last edited by Domina Nostra; 06-12-2017, 03:03 PM.

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                                                                                    • Originally posted by Domina Nostra View Post
                                                                                      I'm missing some of the jokes here, but I think it's both healthy and necessary to distinguish between pedophilia and taking advantage of an older minor.

                                                                                      The latter is bad and should be punished, but the former is abominable and requires the harshest penalties the law can tolerate.

                                                                                      Calling sex between a 25 year old woman and a 17 year old male "pedophilia" waters down the term--just like calling a man who has consensual sex with his girlfriend after she's had a few drinks "rape" waters down that term.

                                                                                      All of those behaviors may be wrong, but failing to distinguish them robs the terms "pedophilia" and "rape" of the power they should have to shock.
                                                                                      This is the type of argument Wooderson would have made had he gone to college.

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                                                                                        • Originally posted by Cackalacky View Post
                                                                                          This is the type of argument Wooderson would have made had he gone to college.
                                                                                          So you don't see an important distinction between what this high school teacher did and her doing the same thing with a 10 year old. Or, say, a fourth grade teacher doing the same thing with a 9 year old girl? Please!


                                                                                          Just because something is bad, doesn't mean you get to call it whatever you want. Words have meanings.
                                                                                          Last edited by Domina Nostra; 06-12-2017, 03:12 PM.

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                                                                                          • Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post


                                                                                            LMAO...Done. I saved the picture though so now it is forever.

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                                                                                            • Originally posted by Domina Nostra View Post
                                                                                              So you don't see an important distinction between what this high school teacher did and her doing the same thing with a 10 year old. Or, say, a fourth grade teacher doing the same thing with a 9 year old girl? Please!


                                                                                              Just because something is bad, doesn't mean you get to call it whatever you want. Words have meanings.
                                                                                              Kind of like drunk driving with a .02 BAC vs .20 BAC - night and day difference on the real threat to society. Just as easy to imagine HS juniors and seniors doing nothing but look to score with the (likely) messed up 25 year old hot teacher. I do think who-stalked-who is relevant and have a hard time thinking the (likely) high fiving teenagers should be held harmless here.

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                                                                                              • Originally posted by Domina Nostra View Post
                                                                                                I'm missing some of the jokes here, but I think it's both healthy and necessary to distinguish between pedophilia and taking advantage of an older minor.

                                                                                                The latter is bad and should be punished, but the former is abominable and requires the harshest penalties the law can tolerate.

                                                                                                Calling sex between a 25 year old woman and a 17 year old male "pedophilia" waters down the term--just like calling a man who has consensual sex with a friend after she's had a few drinks "rape" waters down that term.

                                                                                                All of those behaviors may be wrong, but failing to distinguish them robs the terms "pedophilia" and "rape" of the power they should have to shock.
                                                                                                It was clear from the context that by "preventing pedo behavior", grey meant "policing the statutory age of consent". We're busting wiz's chops for pedantry. No one here would deny the distinction you're trying to make.

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                                                                                                • Originally posted by Domina Nostra View Post
                                                                                                  So you don't see an important distinction between what this high school teacher did and her doing the same thing with a 10 year old. Or, say, a fourth grade teacher doing the same thing with a 9 year old girl? Please!


                                                                                                  Just because something is bad, doesn't mean you get to call it whatever you want. Words have meanings.
                                                                                                  I was being tongue in cheek.

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                                                                                                  • Originally posted by NorthDakota View Post
                                                                                                    Question for the lawyers.

                                                                                                    Say the boys turn 18 soon. Can they hypothetically get the charges dropped since they were the "victims"?
                                                                                                    Not a lawyer.

                                                                                                    18 has nothing to do with this case. Age of consent for males in NC is 16.

                                                                                                    NC has a law prohibiting teachers from having sex with students.

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                                                                                                    • Originally posted by Whiskeyjack View Post
                                                                                                      It was clear from the context that by "preventing pedo behavior", grey meant "policing the statutory age of consent". We're busting wiz's chops for pedantry. No one here would deny the distinction you're trying to make.
                                                                                                      Originally posted by Cackalacky View Post
                                                                                                      I was being tongue in cheek.
                                                                                                      You both need to be more accommodating of men, like me, who were born without a sense of humor. It's an underappreciated disability.

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