Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Mad Science: The Queen of Gold Diggers

The big news of the week was undoubtedly the Fiscal Cliff deal and all of its unending ramifications and negotiations, but Hugh Hefner’s marriage to Crystal Harris also made news, and in many ways, it was the marriage that was the more entertaining of the two stories.  Guardian writer Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett wrote my favorite article on the subject, in which she called Harris’s marriage a “master class” in gold-digging.
In the article, Cosslett writes that all women are essentially prostitutes who want four basic things from a man: money, power, a reputation for bad behavior, and an inability to get it on without medical assistance.
“Sites such as "Nice guys" of OKCupid are testament to the fact that these good, honest post-feminist new men are left to fester on the onanistic scrapheap by heartless jezebels while the cynical, overbearing Christian Greys of this world are ball[s] deep in Greek goddesses.”
Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
Y’know, look.  I get that it’s a joke and all, but still.  Hefner’s in his 80’s, and Harris is in her late 20’s.  She’s described sex with him as being such a small part of the relationship that it’s barely worth mentioning, and frankly, I can’t imagine what these two have to talk about--though it must be something.  So what?  Is this just a PR stunt for Hef?  I can’t imagine that the guy is so completely lacking in self-awareness that he doesn’t at least have an inkling of what he’s getting himself into.  And on the flipside, we can reasonably assume that there’s a pre-nup involved, but even so, Harris must have to wait some time to collect something.  I mean, Hef’s in pretty good shape to be 81; I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that he lives another ten years.  Does she have to wait that long?
Unless, you know, there really is some truth to this idea that what women want, subconsciously or not, is the power that a man brings to the relationship, coupled with the security of having enough money and resources to sort of ensure a better-than-decent life.  And if they can get all that without having to actually put much effort into the relationship, well, that’s all the better right?  I mean, that’s just good economics.  

Less Work + Better Payout > More Work + Less Money
To be honest with you, this whole thing is making me a little paranoid.  I’ve been married twice, I have two daughters and two dogs (both also female), and I can’t honestly say that I understand women in any way.  Yeah, we have a nice house and a decent life, but on the other hand, I know that my wife has to put a lot of effort into keeping it all running, and there are times when I know that she resents it.  When I can see that what she really wants is to just run screaming from the house, leaving us all to wallow in our own crap.  
The issue here isn’t so much that I think that Sally would do that, it’s more that I have trouble gauging how pervasive those feelings are.  Which is to say that we tend to love those things into which we pour our efforts.  And since I know Sally works hard to keep our household and our family moving forward, I can posit that for the most part, she wants to be there.  The thing is, this is important to me.  I don’t want it to be a thing where she made a commitment that she’s now stuck with or in which she cares about us and doesn’t want us to suffer and so embraces the responsibilities inherent in being a wife and a mother.  That’s not good enough.  Bottom line, I don’t want to be a chore.  And when I see these crazy-ass gold-digging matches--and that people get into these things voluntarily and seem happy about it--it makes me wonder if, bottom line, I’m providing a nice-enough life for my spouse.
Welcome to “A Husband’s Insecurity: Class 101”.
This, by the way, is what comes from having a parent who’s an alcoholic and another who’s a severe co-dependent.  You spend your entire life waiting to see which way the wind is blowing, looking for any sign of how soon the other shoe is gonna drop, and in the long run, it makes you crazy-paranoid about the relationships in your life.  All those random mood swings are not at all good for a person’s psyche.
This is one of those problems that a pair of fur-lined handcuffs and a set of entry-level nipple clamps would probably solve, but to be honest with you, that’s just not the way I swing.
Also courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
Congress finally signed a deal to avert the Fiscal Cliff, but although Republicans held out until the last minute, the fact is that the deal they wound up getting wasn’t anything like the one that President Obama originally put on the table back during the discussions to end the stalemate over the Debt Ceiling--the so-called Grand Bargain talks.  At that time, the President was looking for $2 trillion dollars in total debt reduction while Republicans were looking for more like $4 trillion, and there was some thought, skeptical but genuine, that this country’s leaders might finally be willing to deal with our long-term spending and entitlements issues.  However, after all the crying, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, what we finally got was a mere $737 billion of reductions, and what with making the Bush Tax Cuts permanent and all, it’s only really a spending cut when considered in comparison to what would have happened had nothing occurred, i.e. a continuation of 2012’s policy with no changes whatsoever.
Or, as they said on NPR yesterday, Congress underperformed even the most pessimistic of predictions for the resolution of the crisis.
With that said, it’s worth noting that many Democrats feel like they’ve given up all of their leverage now that they’ve agreed to make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent.  That sets up another massive fight in the coming months over a pair of issues, the debt ceiling and the sequestered spending cut that were the other half of the Fiscal Cliff considerations.  With tax levels seemingly settled, that leaves only spending cuts as an issue going forward, meaning that for all that Republicans seemingly just got their asses handed to them, the fact is that they’re in pretty good position for the rest of the Congressional term.
Personally, I just hope that reality gets put on the table in some form or fashion.  Right now there’s talk of cutting spending, and that’s fine, but if we agree up front to hold Defense spending constant, and we also agree up front to hold Entitlements spending (i.e. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) constant, then really, what we’ve done is to hold the vast majority of government spending constant.  So with that, it’ll be more or less impossible to reach a meaningful deal.  I mean, yeah, you can reach a deal.  You can jack up the interest of Student Loans, and you can put Welfare Mothers on the street, and you can maybe even cut farm subsidies--although I wouldn’t count on that last one happening--and do some other types of trimming around the edges, and if you’re lucky, you can maybe trim ten percent of the problem.  But if you don’t deal with the actual meat of the budget, you can’t make real, substantial progress towards fixing this country’s fiscal problems, and that, I’m afraid is that.
It’s a tough problem, but it’s not one that’s overly difficult to understand.  We fought two wars, and we put it on the credit card.  In addition, we have an aging population, and those folks who’ve retired represent the wealthiest, voting-est, most influential generational cohort in this nation’s history, and those folks are not going to cut their own benefits just at the point that they’ve begun to actually draw upon them.  On top of that, we retain a strong vested interest in the global status quo, but that status quo is protected unilaterally, meaning that in international security terms, nearly every nation on Earth is free-riding on American Hegemony.  Finally, there are countries that will lend us money, but even at super-low interest rates, the fact is that the debt service has mounted collasally.  
I’m sorry, but the fact is that you can’t fix that stuff by nibbling at the budget around the edges.  But nibbling around the edges is all that anyone seems to want to do anymore.
I’ll be interested to see how this all plays out, but I’m trying to remind myself to be even more pessimistic than I am normally and to expect Congress to underperform even my bottom-rung expectations.
Despite all of the above, John Boehner was easily re-elected Speaker of the House.  I’m not Boehner’s biggest fan, but I think the paralysis in the House is more an issue of his inability to control the junior members of his own party than it is an inability or unwillingness to work across the aisle to get things done.  Regardless, more of the same is on the way.

The winner, and still champion..
Finally, they’re casting for the role of Peter Quill in the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie.  Rumors include Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville), who’s confirmed to have read for the role, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Dark Knight Returns), who’s not.  
If you’re wondering, here’s hoping for Rosenbaum.
Have a great weekend!

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