Sunday, March 07, 2021

Rule No 1 for saving your marriage: have the fight

Jordan Peterson’s new book features a chapter on how much sex you should be having if you want your marriage to last.

During the one Zoom interview he has so far managed to do with The Times of London, he broke down.

So, for now, he has offered up his book for review and guess what? There is a chapter about romance. Also, how much sex you should be having if you want your marriage to last. Bet you didn’t expect that, did you?

But it makes sense because if there is one message Peterson would like to get across right now, it’s that none of us — not you, not him — can do this alone. Life is brutal, and it’s really only our relationships with other people — and the honest one with our own selves — that make our otherwise painful existence bearable.

Peterson dedicates the book — Beyond Order: 12 More Rules For Life — to his wife Tammy “whom I have loved deeply for fifty years”.

He gives a hat tip also to his children, his granddaughter, his physicians and his friends as he recounts some of the horror of the previous 18 months, including the difficulties imposed on people of this planet by COVID-19.

But this is not a book about coping with the pandemic.

It is a romp through the ages, and popular culture: you will find Harry Potter, the Gospel stories; Disney’s Pocahontas; the wolf pack, the elder gods of Mesopotamia; JRR Tolkien; Pinocchio; Dr Peterson’s father-in-law; Williams Blake and Wordsworth; wildebeests and the Kingdom of God

But it is rule No 10 — finding ways to keep your marriage alive — that Peterson cites as among the most important.

“Life is too difficult to negotiate alone,” he says. Yet it’s so difficult to get along with other people!

Rule No 1 for saving your marriage, perhaps paradoxically, is: have the fight.

To illustrate, Peterson recounts the tale of the wife who allows “so-called minor irritations” (which are not in fact minor if they happen day after day) to continue for years. One day she explodes.

“Do not pretend you are happy with something if you are not, and if a reasonable solution might, in principle, be negotiated,” Peterson writes. “Have the damn fight, unpleasant as that might be in the moment.”

If you don’t, “every little problem you have, every morning, afternoon, or evening with your spouse will be repeated … every trivial but chronic disagreement about cooking, dishes, housecleaning, responsibility for fin­ances, or frequency of intimate contact will be duplicated, over and over.”

Then your marriage will end. You need to say what you want — and you need to listen to what your partner wants from you.

Which brings us to sex. “What do you owe each other sexually if you are entangled in a marriage?” Peterson writes. “The answer is not ‘no sex’.”

Nor — sorry here to all the ladies who love it — is the answer sex 15 times a day, and “it is probably not sex begrudgingly once a year. It is somewhere between extremes, and that is where you must begin to negotiate.”

Once, twice or three times a week seems reasonable to Peterson (he notes that three times a week might be a lofty goal for those who have been married a long time.) But once or twice, “if handled well, seems to work out acceptably for both partners. Twice is better than once, but once is much better than zero.

“Zero is bad. If you go to zero, then one of you is tyrannising the other, and the other is submitting. If you go to zero, then one of you is going to have an affair … I do not say that lightly.”

New lovers won’t find it difficult to have sex twice a week, but couples with two careers, two kids and two decades of matrimony behind them almost certainly will because “maybe there is a list of ten things you will do in a day, and sex is number eleven”.

But you still need to agree on what will keep each of you satisfied, meaning: seen and understood. Maybe you’re thinking no, it’s too late. I chose the wrong person and we just don’t get along.

Peterson says “there are seven billion people in the world. At least a hundred million, let us say, might have made good partners for you. You are not going to get along with any partner — not easily, unless you agree to be tyrannised and silent, and even then, you will take your revenge.

“You are different people. And not only are you different from your partner, but you are rife with inadequacies and so is he — or she.”

Now, it’s true, sometimes, a person will find themselves married to a psychopathic brute, “a congenital and incorrigible liar, a criminal, an alcoholic, a sadist, and maybe all five at once”.

“Then you must escape,” Peterson writes, as you might a hurricane. But if it’s simply the case that the marriage has become unbelievably tedious and frustrating, it may yet be salvageable.

“A marriage is a vow, and there is a reason for it,” Peterson writes. “You announce jointly, publicly: ‘I am not going to leave you, in sickness or health, in poverty or wealth — and you are not going to leave me’. It is actually a threat: ‘We are not getting rid of each other, no matter what’.”

Having “no escape hatch” creates a set of circumstances in which the couple must learn to negotiate. In so doing, they mature into less selfish people.


US protesters including young children burn face masks at Idaho Capitol rally against coronavirus measures

At least one hundred people have gathered at the front of the Idaho Capitol in the US to burn masks in a protest against measures taken to limit infections and deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Some groups said mask mandates are a restriction of their freedoms. Health experts say they help slow the spread of the disease.

Videos posted on social media showed adults encouraging children to toss masks into a fire.

In a series of videos, people of all ages are seen walking up to a blue metal drum in which a fire is burning and throwing disposable masks inside.

Fellow protesters can be heard laughing and cheering after the masks are set alight. Some carried signs reading "we are free" and "no masks".

Darr Moon, who said he is one of the organisers of the event, said people had rallied against the direction their state government was taking. "We're standing here today to rein back government," he said.

Idaho's Republican Governor Brad Little has never issued a statewide mask mandate, but seven counties and 11 cities have such requirements in place.

Visitors to the Capitol are asked to wear masks, but they're not required and few Republican politicians wear them.

A Republican politician on Wednesday introduced legislation to prohibit mask mandates.

More than 170,000 Idaho residents have been infected with the virus, and nearly 1,900 have died.


The 'wrong' illustrations that got six Dr. Seuss books cancelled

Horrors! One featured an illustration of a "Chinese man who eats with sticks."

Two of the six permanently pulled from publication currently rank as the world's best-selling children's books

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the official manager of books published under the moniker Dr. Seuss, announced Tuesday that it will no longer be publishing six Dr. Seuss titles because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

The most popular of the six titles are 1950’s If I Ran the Zoo and the 1937 book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, which was the first children’s book published under the Dr. Seuss name by author Theodor Seuss Geisel. As of March 2, which also happens to be the author’s birthday, both books remained in the top 10 most popular children’s titles on

The other titles no longer being published are McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer, which were all released between 1947 and 1976.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises did not specify which illustrations were offensive, but four of the titles contain cartoon depictions of Asian people, while three contain stereotypical portrayals of Inuit.

If I Ran the Zoo features a young boy imagining a hunting expedition to the fictional land of Zomba-ma-tant where locals “wear their eyes at a slant.” Other pages also show the “African island of Yerka,” featuring squat African tribesmen with large hoops through their noses.

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street has its young protagonist imagining an increasingly fanciful street parade that includes “a Chinaman who eats with sticks,” a “Rajah, with rubies” and two fur-clad figures being pulled by a reindeer.

McElligot’s Pool follows a boy imagining the far-out things he’ll catch while fishing in a stagnant pond, including “Eskimo Fish from beyond Hudson Bay.”

Scrambled Eggs Super! has its young protagonist boasting about the increasingly rare eggs he would source for breakfast, including that of the Mt. Strookoo Cuckoo, for which he would enlist the help of a beturbaned helper named Ali. The people of the fictional Arctic nation of Fa-Zoal are also shown clad in furs and paddling skin boats in order to harvest eggs from a “Grice.”

The Cat’s Quizzer, the most recent (and least popular) of the six books appears to have gotten pulled because of a page 11 illustration of a yellow figure in a coolie hat with the caption, “how old do you have to be to be a Japanese?”

Of the six, the problematic imagery in On Beyond Zebra! is probably the least obvious. The book catalogues a whimsical set of new letters in the alphabet, and briefly features the “Nazzim of Bazzim,” a figure of unspecified nationality riding a camel-like creature called a “Spazzim.”

The six titles were selected after consultation with a “panel of experts,” according to Dr. Seuss Enterprises. The books will no longer be printed or licensed, meaning that the titles will also not be available for sale as e-books.

Thirty years after his death, Theodor Seuss Geisel remains the world’s top-selling children’s author. Of the 20 best-selling children’s books on Amazon right now, 15 of them are Dr. Seuss titles. The Publisher’s Weekly ranking of top-selling children’s show five Dr. Seuss books currently in the top 10.

In recent years, however, Geisel has been targeted for imagery deemed stereotypical or out-of-date, including a 2014 scholarly work asserting that The Cat in the Hat is an elaborate mockery of black people. In 2017, when then-First Lady Melania Trump gifted a collection of Dr. Seuss to a Massachusetts school, the books were returned by librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro with a note that the literature was “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”

Of Geisel’s decades-long portfolio, it’s his advertising work and editorial cartoons — drawn in the 1930s and 1940s — that contain the heaviest use of derogatory racial caricatures. One of the more notorious is a series of ads for the insecticide company Flit that features big-lipped Africans riding elephants and living in grass huts.

After the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, Geisel published a number of cartoons depicting Japanese people with stereotypically prominent front teeth. One 1942 cartoon even endorses Japanese-American internment by showing Japanese-Americans as disloyal citizens stockpiling explosives and “waiting for the signal from home.”

Despite this, Geisel could simultaneously take stances against racism and prejudice, even when those concepts were against the mainstream. While an editorial cartoonist for the liberal New York paper PM, Geisel was an early advocate for strong U.S. action against Nazi Germany, and in one cartoon said Americans needed a “good mental insecticide” to clear their minds of “racial prejudice.”

Waiting for the signal from home, published by Theodor Seuss Geisel just at the onset of Japanese-American internment in 1942.
Waiting for the signal from home, published by Theodor Seuss Geisel just at the onset of Japanese-American internment in 1942.

Later in life, Geisel would pen several Dr. Seuss titles that would openly grapple with racism, most notably The Sneetches, which catalogues the travails of a bird-like species that enforces a rigid class structure based on which among them have stars on their bellies.


You can now be cancelled for things you didn’t say

A PR boss has resigned after saying he does not hire people based on race, sexual orientation or religion.

A PR boss has had to resign from the firm he founded after saying ‘we don’t hire blacks, gays or Catholics’. Sounds bad, right? But Gordon Beattie was actually making a point against discrimination. In a LinkedIn post, Beattie wrote:

‘At Beattie Communications, we don’t hire blacks, gays or Catholics. We sign talented people and we don’t care about the colour of their skin, sexual orientation or religion. That’s the way it should be with every company – only hire people for their talent, experience, knowledge and wisdom. We hire people we like, trust and admire, and recruit people who have the potential to be better than us.’

The company’s chief executive said Beattie’s language was ‘out of touch’, while also making clear ‘he does not have a prejudiced bone in his body’. Sadly, not actually being racist is apparently not enough these days. According to Barrington Reeves, the founder of the Black Scottish Business Fund, Beattie’s words were ‘tone deaf, insensitive, racist, homophobic and utterly unacceptable’.

But he was clearly not being racist or homophobic. He was making the point that companies should not discriminate by race, religion or sexual orientation. To him, these characteristics are irrelevant – being good enough for the job is all that matters.

We have reached the point where you can be cancelled not for what you have actually said, but based on how your views might be distorted.




No comments: