Saturday, November 25, 2017

Best posts of the week of November 19, 2017

The best posts of the week of November 19, 2017:

No surprise, no shame, and the Old Standards

Shockingly young! Surprisingly old! Too young, too old! Well, nothing much actually changing at all. . . Marriage ages then. . . and now. . and what does it all mean?

More Creepiness and the creepy things it tells us.

Our last item on the eruption of the exposition of creeps in our society was here:
Lex Anteinternet: No surprise, no shame, and the Old Standards:

The number falling, and the oddity of it all, seems to go on and on.  Added to this list recently have been George Bush (tush pinching, apparently),  Charlie Rose and Al Franken.  And of course the Roy Moore saga just goes on and on (when will that election ever arrive?). I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago in my entry entitled Creeps; which started off:
I noted a couple of things in that article which  could perhaps be expanded on a bit, and should.

The first is that Michael Reagan's confidant prediction that there'd be more women coming forward on Franken proved correct.  We're now up to four.   Tweeden's event has been the worst so far, and hopefully will remain so.  Otherwise Franken seems to have felt he had license to grab the female tush, uninvited, at least as to three other subjects.

None of which has stopped Ruth Marcus from defending him for the second week in a row.  Last week her column started off:
The national debate over sexual harassment and sexual assault has reached an important and precarious moment as it shifts from what behavior is acceptable to what punishment is warranted. Having underreacted for too long, are we now at risk of overreacting?
In fairness, I think she might have been right on that, at least to a degree.  I'm not going to regard tush grabbing, inappropriate though it be, as a national crisis.  Indeed, in pondering it I can recall a certain female lawyer I worked against early in my career who loved to drop in inappropriate terms of endearment and gynecological comments in order to attempt to embarrass young male attorneys and I know of one male attorney (not in our firm, by the way) who makes slightly suggestive comments to female lawyers in an effort to rattle them.  Well, to heck with them, but I don't think any exposes are warranted, and I don't think the senior (and likely by now senile) Bush's wondering hands nor Franken's are that much of a national crisis, although I think Franken has otherwise been pretty gross.

This week Marcus' column is entitled:

Al Franken’s defenders are right to speak up

Is she right?  Maybe, but only if we're going to agree that defenders of the various people in the public eye right now all deserve to have their defenders aired, no matter who they are.  That is, if Franken's defenders can defend him in spite of tush grabbiness, well I suppose that Moore's can for what is very clearly worse.  A standard is a standard, after all.

I.e, there shouldn't be a political litmus test for who gets their defense aired and who doesn't, not matter how icky their behavior is alleged to have been.

Speaking of really icky behavior, columnist Laura Hollis went after Harvey Weinstein in a big way, detailng some of his big spending effort to cover up his misdeeds.  Suffice it to say any reading of them makes Weinstein's statement;
I came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.
even more absurd than it already was.  

Hollis actually ties the latest creep eruption to the Democratic Party, maintaining that its now dead.  In spite of the claims the GOP is dead, I'd note that Time recently ran this as a cover story recently as well, proclaiming it dead for other reasons.  I think Hollis' claim that the wolf like libidos of some figures in Hollywood equate with the death of the Democratic Party is a huge stretch, but there is a slight point to it in that people of both parties are really sick of the close ties between political elites and other "elites" including Hollywood elites.  Both Sanders and Trump really picked up in that during the last election and Democrats have been dim enough about it that they've let the moldy oldies of the Democratic Party keep on running it, tainted in every way though they be.  I mean, after all, if you can recall when the Beatles! were a hot new band, you probably aren't a hot new anything.

Otherwise, it seems to me that both the Democrats and the Republicans both manage to look like they have a bunch of figures lurking around East Colfax in Denver.  Ick.

On Weinstein's weird, weird claim that he was going to channel his anger ("Aaargggg" thought poor Harvey, "now I might have to keep my pants on!  I'm so angry") towards battling the National Rifle Association ("Argggg, Wayne. .  I have my pants off and I'm coming your way"), the producer of Wind River yanked control of that film away from Weinstein, not wanting the independent film to go down in an explosion of Weinstein pantsless, braless, creepiness news.  I can't blame him, but its interesting in that I hadn't realized that Wind River had a Weinstein connection.

I liked Wind River and gave it the thumbs up here, but I'll note that it rivals The Wild Bunch in its use of firearms violence.  Indeed, frankly it rivals The Wild Bunch in regards to violence in general, and for all its antiquity, The Wild Bunch remains a shockingly violent film.  On that, however, it comes pretty close to being about as pro firearms as a story of its type can be.  The solitary nature of life in the west and the fact that "This isn’t the land of backup, Jane. This is the land of 'you’re on your own'." is pretty much right and explains why people here think self relying on their own marksmanship is probably a better bet than relying on the distant police.  Anyhow, I note this as its interesting how Hollywood makes millions on grossly exaggerated depictions of firearms use in every sense, but then will, so often, come out against individuals owning firearms.  I'd accord them more respect if they did with the same things they otherwise positively portrayed but which many question.  I.e., if they came out and said, "you know, living like we show in sitcoms will probably get you poor as well as a STD. . . don't do it".  But no, as Harvey and Franken show, they're fine with really immoral behavior in general.  Take off  the pants, grab the boobs, pet the tush, and snort the cocaine (Franken on that last one) , but for goodness sakes, keep your hands of those guns.  Hmmmm

Well, to quote a Hollywood item, Tombstone:
It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds

Lex Anteinternet: Lex Anteinternet: Distributist of the world unite!...

From a Prior Small Business Saturday:
Lex Anteinternet: Lex Anteinternet: Distributist of the world unite!...: Lex Anteinternet: Distributist of the world unite! National Small B... : Saturday, November 29, is National Small Business Saturday, a hol...
Which is, this year, today.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Shockingly young! Surprisingly old! Too young, too old! Well, nothing much actually changing at all. . . Marriage ages then. . . and now. . and what does it all mean?

 Eleanor Randolph Wilson in her wedding dress.  1914.  She was a daughter of President Wilson and would have been about 25 years old at the time this photograph was taken.

This is one of those topics that I started a really long time ago, and then it became sort of bizarrely relevant to current headlines, or maybe not.  

Anyhow, I thought of it, and determined to expand it out a bit, although perhaps I couldn't be doing so at a worse time, given that the current focus on marriage ages has turned sort of bizarre corner in the recent news. 

 Turkish bride and her attendants, 1914.

Indeed, this whole topic has been so much so much in current conversation, that an off line email conversation made me reconsider a lot of this topic, even though doing so makes a person feel a little odd and icky doing so.  But first we will start with what I originally started to start with, which is a link to this:

Median Age at Marriage–Then and Now

This really short article on A Hundred Years Ago has some really interesting information in it.  And some of that really interesting information just isn't what we'd expect.  The entry was part of a series on a century old diary, and its starts out:
 Bridesmaids, 1916.

I knew that the median age a century ago was not 18 years old, but I think that assumption is super common.  Indeed, I think that a lot of people operate under the assumption that back a century, or more, ago people married really young.

Let's take a look at that, and we'll start off with the article we linked in.
I was surprised to learn that in 1910 the median age at first marriage  was 21.6 for females and 25.1 for males.
The median marriage age steadily decreased until the middle of the 20th century. In 1950, it was 20.3 for females and 22.8 for males.
The trend then reversed and by 2007, it had increased to 25.0 for females and 26.7 for males–and preliminary estimates for 2010 suggest that it has continued to climb to about 26 for females and 28 for males.
Let's take a look at that, as I don't think that's what people expect at all.

 An early destination wedding?  A wedding, coming up on a century ago, in the Luray Caverns.

The median age for women was 21.6 in 1910. The same year, the median age for men was 25.1.

At the time the author wrote this entry, 2010, the median age for women was 25.0.  The median age for men was 26.7.  Data suggested that it had crept up a little over 1.7 years for women and 1.3 years for men.

Okay, that is a difference, but is that what you were expecting?

I doubt it, unless you are quite familiar with these statistics.

So, over century, the average age for "first marriages" has gone up a little under four years for women, and a little over 1.5 years for men.  Not that much of a climb.

 Wedding reception, 1907.  Doesn't look all that different from a lot of them you might see in a fancier wedding now.  This one is a bit unusual for the time, and was probably in a higher economic class, as the men are wearing tuxedos, which was not the standard for all weddings until relatively recently.

And that says quite a bit.

Additionally, we might note, the age differences between married couples tends not to be vast, at least for these first marriages. Early on, the men were a little over three years older than the women they married.  Now, a century later, they're almost two years older.  Not much of a change.

Particularly if we consider the vast societal, and moreover economic, changes during that century.

 Polish bride and groom, 1920.

We need, however, to first also take in mind that that these are averages. And as a median is an average, it's possible to arrive at these same results by having big swings in the numbers.  I.e., these numbers may reflect a really tight group, or they may reflect a really broad one.  The numbers themselves don't quite reveal which is which.  I'm taking them to be fairly tight, but I could be well off the mark.

But note, if this is correct, not only is the common assumption "people married so much younger" somewhat open to criticism, the assumption that "people are marrying older and older" is as well.  I suspect that both of those comments are in fact true, in context, but the numbers don't really adequately support it over the past century, and the changes, particularly after other factors are added in, may not actually be statistically significant.

 Portrait of very young Jewish bride, Ottoman Empire, 1870s.

Let's take a table that somebody else has generated and see if it changes things at all:

Year --- Men --- Women
2015 ----29.2 ----27.1
2010 --- 28.2 --- 26.1
2000 --- 26.8 --- 25.1
1990 --- 26.1 --- 23.9
1980 --- 24.7 --- 22.0
1970 --- 23.2 --- 20.8
1960 --- 22.8 --- 20.3
1950 --- 22.8 --- 20.3
1940 --- 24.3 --- 21.5
1930 --- 24.3 --- 21.3
1920 --- 24.6 --- 21.2
1910 --- 25.1 --- 21.6
1900 --- 25.9 --- 21.9
1890 --- 26.1 --- 22.0

Okay, that doesn't take us a lot further back, but it also produces some interesting results.  If we go all the way back to 1890 what we find is that the median age for men was 26.1, and that it then went down a year by 1910.  It continued to go down until 1960, at which time it was 22.8 years.  That really doesn't fit with our picture at all.  If we'd been making this same calculation mid 20th Century, we'd be noting that marriage ages were going down.  Now, if this table is correct, the age for men is 29.2, way up from 1960, and about three years up from 1890.  From 1890 on, however, it took all the way until 1990, 100 hundred years, for the age for men to rise back up to what it had been in 1890.  For that matter, it took from 1890 until 1980 for the age to rise back up to 22.0 years for women, although its climbed dramatically since then. . . maybe.

 Wedding party portrait, 1909.  Again, this couple must have been from an upper economic class, given the dress.

For women ages held fairly steady in the very early 20s, but still hit bottom in 1950 to 1960, when it was just a little over 20 years old.  It's way up to a little over 27 years old now, and that's quite a jump.

So this trend must be universal, going back, sort of kind of.

Not so much.

Let's look at 1850.

In 1850 the average marriage age for men was 28.

Um. . . 28?  Yes, we just climbed up over that in 2010.

And for women it was 26.  We got back to that in 2010 also.

It took us 130 years for the average "first" marriage age to get back to what it had been in 1850.

 Balkan wedding, 1919.  American officer is giving the bride away.

Hmm. . . . .

Now this gets harder and harder to do as you go back further and further, but let's take a look even further back.

 "Francis LeBaron and Mary Wilder during their wedding ceremony, with many guests, in a room, possibly in the magistrate's residence, officiated by a clergyman; includes two remarques, at bottom center is a bust portrait of Mary Wilder, facing left, and on the lower left is a scene with Dr. Francis LeBaron as a physician attending to a sick person."  LoC.

England, 1700s; Women: 25-26; Men: 30
New England, early 1600s; Women: Teens; Men: 26
New England, late 1600s; Women: 20; Men: 25
Pennsylvania Quakers, 1600s; Women: 22; Men: 26
Pennsylvania Quakers, 1700s; Women: 23; Men: 26
Rural South Carolina, 1700s; Women: 19; Men: 22

Wow.  None of this meets our expectations at all.

Basically, if we go back and looked at the United  States and the UK, and we take into account nothing but median ages, things have not really changed all that much.  For the most part, in North America, going back about 300 years, median ages have been in the upper half of the 20s.  Women have generally fallen in the lower half of the 20s.  Ages have climbed in recent years, but they've actually gone up and down over the years.

 Jewish wedding, Ottoman Empire, 1870s.  The families are signing a formal agreement in the context of the wedding.

So what's going on?

Well, in some ways not that much.


The long historical data basically suggests that even over time and change, in European American culture, men tend to get married in the second half of their 20s and women in the first half.

The trend line does move, up and down, and that means that external things influence this.

So what about all the stories to the opposite?

Well, let's consider historical outliers.  But before we do that, let's consider the current outliers in our own statistics.

 Wedding at Episcopal church in Jerusalem, 1940s.

But before we do that, let's remember that when we are dealing with statistics this consistent, the outliers don't make the story.

In other words, there may truly be a lot of nothing going on in this story. Things, quite frankly, may not have changed that much.  Here's an area in which you might truly be able to look back in the past and figure that your life might have played out much the same way.  Or maybe (and at least somewhat probably) not.

Okay.  Outliers in our current statistics.

One thing we're going to have to do in this is look at economics as part of this story, as well as acceptable social conventions.  Indeed, I argued just the other day that our current social conventions are messed up, and I mean it. That taps into this story in a way.

If we look at the current stats, men at age  29.2 and women at 27.1, we have to consider that these statistics would be at least somewhat depressed if we used the 1917 definitions.

 Bedouin wedding procession, early 20th Century.

Up until after World War Two cohabitation was largely illegal in most states and extremely shameful everywhere in European American and European society. The only people you really saw cohabitate tended to be on the far edges of society.  People so down and out that the statistics didn't count for them, or so Bohemian that they didn't.  And in many instances when that occurred the presumption of the Common Law marriage was presumed to exist.

Now, Common Law marriages still exist in most states, I think, but they do not exist in mine per se (we'll recognize common law marriages that are contracted elsewhere).  Common law marriages have never been as common as presumed, but they have been widely recognized at least in societies that use English Common Law.

This matters in terms of our current statistics as quite a few instances of "cohabitation" would either be deemed common law marriages under the pre World War Two law or they'd be regarded as illegal arrangements.  Post World War Two many would still be regarded as common law marriages, at first, or would be regarded as shameful. Now it's become, and in my view its not a good thing, extremely common.

 Chinese wedding party, 1909.

It's so common in fact that what at first was an edgy behavior mostly done by middle class rebellious youth has become pretty widely accepted to the point where the old instances of the common law marriage have come to apply to them in some ways, and indeed in many ways.  Over the last ten years, for example, I knew one cohabitating couple in which at least the female in the arrangement simply introduced the male members as her "husband". That would be sufficient for a common law marriage to be recognized under the old law (they in fact later married).  Another couple I know is engaged, has a child, and have had a very long standing relationship. They're in their early 30s, but the relationship stretches back to their early 20s and would likely have been regarded as a common law marriage, if we looked at it in 1917, or they would have certainly been legally compelled to marry quite early on.  Another couple I know is in their late 30s but again has been living in such an arrangement for a decade or more.  And another one I know has been engaged in it for a shorter period but again have undertaken things that would have caused a common law marriage to have been recognized earlier on.  And to show how even the people who are engaged in such relationships are confused by what they mean, I recently heard a man in one such relationship try to describe another man in one by what he was in relation to the female object of that second union, and ended u using the word "husband".

 This photograph of a native Alaskan wedding party almost certainly depicts a party at a Russian Orthodox wedding service.

The point on this is that this is that, because marriage is a natural institution (people familiar with some bodies of law will be familiar with the term "natural marriage") people tend to re-create its incidents even when they are attempting not to.  So, if we look at the men at age  29.2 and women at 27.1, if we include common law marriages and ersatz, pseudo and near common law marriages, that number is actually lower.  Probably quite a bit lower.

Indeed, we'd have to depress these ages for every decade since the 1970s as this practice became more accepted.  If we did, my guess (and its just that) is that the ages would remain about where they were in 1980.

When we get beyond that, what we tend to find is that we have about a ten year period, from 20 to 30 years age, when "first marriages" are normally contracted for men and women, but that those ages slide around, up and down, for a variety of reasons.

 Bedouin wedding, Syria, 1940s

And I suspect that those reasons are fairly consistent.  Economic and societal reason are primary factors, over the ages, but often very different economic and societal factors.  So the forces that impact this are the same, and different, at the same time.

Currently, we've been seeing the restoration of economic forces that most people in our current era did not experience, but which are a bit of the historical norm, at least for men.  It's taking a long time for men to establish themselves economically now, and indeed due to the entry of women into the work force (which we'll deal with in a minute) its also taking a long time for women to do the same.

This has been going on longer than people recognize and I suspect that its something that can be traced at least back to the 1980s.  And in this context, its interesting to note that marriage ages for men climbed from just about 23 years of age in 1950 to just about 25 years of age in 1980, and then to 26 years of age in 1990.

In 1950 American men still lived in an era when a high school degree, which they normally acquired at age 17 or 18, could gain entry to the work force at a beginning, but real, level.  A bachelor's degree, normally obtained at that time at age 22, guaranteed entry into the white collar world.  By age 22 men had likely more often than not (but not always, these are statistics) met the woman they were likely to marry and by age 22 they were established enough to get married, more often than not.

Now, not all did.  Some married later (and we'll get to that in a moment) and some younger, but you can see how the general trend worked.

 Bride portrait, about 1910.

By the 1980s, however, this was much less the case.  Bachelors degrees that had taken four years now often took five.  And a bachelors degree was a much more dicey proposition in terms of employment.  By 1990 this was even more the case, and by 2000 many bachelors degrees did not guarantee employment at all. So this meant that men who had entered career fields at 22, in the 50s, were not entering them until 25 or 26, at the earliest, a couple of decades later, which pretty much matched the rise in marriage ages.   Now, with even advance degrees like law not offering immediate employment opportunities that stage of life is often pushed off to age 30 or even older.

The concept of somebody being young, we'd note, has also risen.  In 1930 a person who was 30 wasn't a kid.  Now, perhaps they are.

When we look back further this is all the more evident.  If we look at hard economic times, like the 1890s, men and women both pushed the age of marriage back.  When economic times were really good, like the 1950s and 1960s, the opposite was true.  Geographically this is also evident.  When we look at England of the 1700s the average age was about 30, while it was about 26 in North America.  People's prospects were generally better in North America than they were in England.

 Wartime wedding of Australian service members in Jerusalem.

When you add in women, the same is also evident, but the pressures are different.  Up until the 1930s or so, as we've written about before, most women remained in their parents households until they married.  Their labor was needed, but if you look at writings from women of that age, they often strongly desired to get married just to get out of their parents' homes.  While it would be going a ways back, the 1700s, the writings of Jane Austen, who of course was herself a late 18th Century and early 19th Century figure, and an unmarried woman, this comes across well.  In Pride and Prejudice, for example, one figure marries simply because she's a burden on her parents, past the average marriage age (late 20s in the case of the figure in the novel), and wants to keep her own home.  The marriage prospects of all of the Bennet sisters in the novel are of utmost concern to her parents as they will not inherit an estate and will be subject to economic disaster if they do not marry.   The portrayal is dramatic, but not really greatly different from contemporary writings of the time involving people in similar situations.

What this tended to mean is that women always married a bit younger than men, but never as young as some seem to think.  As a rule, prior to mid century, and even some time after that, the fact that their husband was established and they were moving from one domestic employment to another operated in regards to that.  That is, for example, if we look at 1920, they tend to average just over 21 years of age and were marrying men who were just under 25, which would mean that by that time they'd been living as adult women at home, as a rule, for several years and were marrying men who were a couple of years at least into what would likely be their lifetime employment.  Situations vary, but that would have been relatively stable.

 Wedding of officer of the German fighting ship Emden.  The ship grounded early in World War One so I don't know what happened to the subjects.

Figuring out what was going on in 1970, when women hit the floor age, wise at just under 21 is a little harder to figure. Their spouses averaged at just over 23.  So it would seem that some of the same factors were at work, but that women, who were no longer needed at home for domestic employment, but who hadn't yet been subject to the pressure of "must have a career" were marrying fairly young in relative terms.  Women may have actually hit the height of their freedom in real terms about that time.

After 1970s a new era increasingly took over in which women were now subject to increased expectations that they had to have a "career" just like men.  As that developed, they same pressure that they establish themselves in that career really built. Today that pressure is full on.  With that in mind, that "first marriage" age for women is now up to 27 is no surprise, they're enduring the same thing that men are.

So what's that leave us with? Well, for most people, marriage ages haven't changed as much as we commonly think, as first marriages are generally contracted older than we think they are, and beyond that, economic and social pressures have an influence on that.

 Just married.  1943.

Social pressures?

What am I talking about here?  I only addressed economic pressures.

Well, on to social concerns, or perhaps I should say cultural concerns. These too have historically had an impact on marriage ages, but they're outliers in a way.

Consider for example the Irish.  The news in Ireland is that marriage ages are up, and now the first age for men and women is now in the 30s (although there may be a statistical glitch in this that makes the data a bit flawed).  The average age for women, in Ireland, is 33 and for men, 35.

But in reality, the average age in Ireland, and amongst Irish Americans, has always been high.  Men have crowed or surpassed age 30 routinely for as long as the statistics have been taken, and traditionally women were in their late 20s. There were strong economic reasons for this for centuries, but its also now a strongly cultural matter that has only changed marginally.  "Young Irish bride" is a category that doesn't even really exist.  Indeed, under the law of Ireland, a person under 21 years of age is a minor and marriages in that age group are regarded as under aged, which they would not be in the US.  Ireland allows marriages with legal provisions down to 16, which is actually a higher age than most US states ultimately have (I don't know what it is in my state, but at least according to a sign that was once up in the courthouse it was something like down to age 15 with parents permission.)

Indeed, my own family is somewhat of an example of this as my parents, who both had Irish heritage, didn't marry until they were both in their 30s.  They'd fit in nicely with the current Irish statistics.  I'm not sure how old my mother's parents were, but I know that they were more or less engaged as a couple for an extremely long time while my grandfather worked to get his feet on the ground economically.  I think, therefore, that they were likely around 30 when they were married.  I was 31 at the time of our wedding.


Well what about the opposite, "young" marriages? Are there cultures in the United States where this is common?  Well, not really any mainstream ones really.

There are some where the ages are slightly younger than the average, but they're only slightly younger.  Mormons, for example, marry statistically younger, but the median ages are only a couple of years younger than the national average.  By observation, this makes sense as we tend to see Mormon couples in fact be a couple of years younger than what we'd otherwise find.  While, by observation, Mormon dating practises are dramatically different than the American cultural norm, that isn't translating into really young brides as some people sometimes tend to think it does.

Some recent immigrant cultures do tend towards young marriages, particularly young brides, but those amount to statistical outliers and may not be statistically significant.  If they are, they are something that has existed throughout American history and have probably pushed the average marriage ages down, statistically, for a long time.  Some American Hispanic cultures had very young marriage ages, compared to the overall population, at one time for example.  The same is true of Italian Americans.  Marriages down into the teenage years were not uncommon in either culture, at one time, but they are now.  As the overall percentage of the population such groups represent is always a minority, the impact on overall statistics would be small.  Having said that, I've known at least one deceased New Mexican person who was married at about age 14 to a husband who was only a couple of years older, in the 1930s, and an Italian American couple that was 16 years old, in the 40s, when they they were married. FWIW, the marriages worked and were successful.

So what about the ones that are always the source of myth and rumor? You know, 30 year old guy marries 14 year old girl. That type of thing.

Well that was never common.

And it was particularly not common for a male "first" marriage.

Which takes us to second marriages, or rather a marriage where one of the two participants had been married previously. This is, I suspect, where we pick up these stories more often than not.

A real factor in the story of marriage in prior centuries was female mortality.  The female death rate was very high, often due to death giving birth.  Women wanted to be married, but at the same time its notable that the basic incidents of marriage could be lethal to women, and frequently were. 

What that meant was that the number of widowers was once very high. For that matter, there were once a lot of widows was very high as well.  The dynamics of this had a real impact on "second" marriage ages.

Today, there are more women than men, as male mortality is higher.  That's always been true to a degree, but if we go back prior to the mid 19th Century we'll find that this was not always the case. Female mortality was quite high.  As a result of this, it's not uncommon at all to find examples of men who were married three or so times and never due to divorce. Their prior wives had just all died.

None of that had an impact on "first marriages", and it didn't always have an impact on second marriages either.  Generally, given a choice, men tend to marry at or near their own ages, or within a decade of it (going down, usually, not up).  But for second marriages, this does begin to break apart.

For one thing, some men will simply look down towards first marriageable age no matter what.  Its not hard to find examples of that now, and I can think of at least one such example readily myself.  But beyond that, if a man had means at all, and his spouse died, he likely was in the position of having to hire female assistance to take care of his young children, and that assistance ends up explaining a lot of young brides.

As we've already discussed, women, prior to the mid 20th Century, normally worked in their parents homes until they married.  This wasn't the case for those who were forced to work outside the home for economic reasons, however.  Some women worked their entire lives as "domestics".  But some just started off their lives that way.  That is, they were surplus labor at home in a home that was better off with them employed outside the home.  Often these women were in fact girls.

Employed, as they sometimes were, in the home of a widower, who likely wasn't really all that old, and taking care of his children, at some point, practicality and familiarity took over.  This wasn't exactly a love match per se.  The man probably needed the labor, but probably also had some affection for the subject bride. The bride had a family that benefited from her leaving home, and what she'd be doing in the household of her new husband wasn't dramatically different from what she was doing otherwise, but somewhat more stable.

Indeed, you can find lots of examples, sometimes upset examples, of older children being really upset by a father "marrying down".  I can think of one such example of that myself in which a highly educated  man had been married to a highly educated woman, who died. The second wife was one of the maids.

Another example of this, although not a good one due to the conditions, is that of the parents of T. E. Lawrence, i.e. Lawrence of Arabia.  Lawrence's father was Sir Thomas Chapman and was married to a woman of equal rank who was one year older than he was. But Chapman took up with the governess of his children with his wife, who was fifteen years his junior. A better historical example, although still obviously rather problematic, would be that of Sally Hemmings, who became the mistress of Thomas Jefferson after the death of Jefferson's wife, and her half sister, Martha (who herself had been married prior to Jefferson but who had been widowed.  Of interest here, Martha had been 18 years old at the time of her first marriage, her husband had been 22, but Sally was in her mid teens when she became the enslaved mistress and perhaps near spouse of Jefferson (the dynamics of this are, suffice it to say, rather odd and problematic).

This is only one variant of that, of course. Poverty and security, in an age before any social welfare system existed at all, forced some people into relationships that were not only extreme in our view, but likely were extreme at the time.  They'd not arise now, however, as the economic pressures that gave rise to them just don't exist.

Which I suppose takes us up to the odd outliers we see in the news now and then today.  When we hear things like the Roy Moore story, or read about another Duggar getting married in a nearly arranged marriage, these are not only unusual, but in fact cross over into odd.

So, what's the overall story here? Well, there is one, but it's not the one that people expect.  Average marriage ages have changed, in fact, not hardly at all.  Where we think we see some change it's often because of economic and statistical factors that we don't quite appreciate.

  Yes, this is the third (now fourth) time I've run this photo.  I just like it.  Two young couples.  Migrant farm workers in Louisiana and their children, 1939.

So there's a story here, to be sure.  But maybe a lot less of one than we'd suppose, and its influenced by factors that we often don't really grasp, while we analyze ones that perhaps get more attention than they deserve.


Related threads:


Et Ux*: A legal and societal history of marriage

Today In Wyoming's History: February 2: Common Law Marriages

For First Time in Modern Era, Living With Parents Edges Out Other Living Arrangements for 18- to 34-Year-Olds. Generations: Part Three of Three

The Milwaukee Police Department Bombing, November 24, 1917

Holding the infamous distinction of being the single deadliest day for American Policemen until September 11, 2001, on this day a black powder bomb went off at the Milwaukee Central Police Station at Oneida and Broadway.

It had not been placed there by the perpetrators, but rather taken there by Sam Mazzone, janitor for an evangelical church in Milwaukee's third ward after it had been discovered next to the church by a social worker. The social worker had taken it inside the church's basement and the janitor, finding it suspicious, took it to the police.  Prior to it being inspected police were informally observing it when it went off, killing nine policemen and a female civilian.

Anarchists were suspected in the blast and apparently correctly as many years later Galleanists bombmaker Mario Buda was implicated in interviews of surviving Galleanists.  There had been tensions between the police, the church, and anarchists prior to the bomb being placed.  No arrests were ever made for the bombing, however.  It did cast a specter over the trial of Italian anarchists who werent to trail shortly thereafter on unrelated charges, resulting ultimately in many of their convictions being overturned as tainted.

The nine police deaths in a single terrorist event remained the single most deadly day for American policemen due to a single event until the Al Queda strike on New York two decades ago.

Lex Anteinternet: REI to close on Black Friday

And again this year:
Lex Anteinternet: REI to close on Black Friday: REI has announced that its stores will be closed on Black Friday . REI, the outdoor outfitter, has always been pretty darned granola, but ...
Good for them!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

He's gone, and not really mourned all that much

Thomas Gobblers, that is.

He was a persistent urban turkey in town.  Quite recognizable.

He was also, like most turkeys, as dumb as a box of rocks.  Unlike most turkeys, however, he had become highly acclimated to people.

Whom he largely disliked, in spite of the fact (yes, we know that you were doing it) some fed him.

He blocked traffic.  He chased and attacked people, particularly women (hmmm. . . .perhaps he was the first to be revealed in a current trend).  He chased the same poor female middle school student every day on her way to class.  He tried to use his claws on a female game and fish biologist. 

He was, quite frankly.  A menace. Even my daughter went from loving him to aggravated with him..

Well, a Star Tribune expose reveals that he's truly disappeared.  He hasn't been seen on anyone front stoop crapping, or roosting in anyone's backyard, or chasing people. . . .mostly women.

Apparently Mrs. Hopper, the female turkey that tried to follow him around (she's crippled on one foot) has been spotted somewhere.  Well, she's better off without him, and I note that he abounded her during that certain season when the other female turkeys came into town.  He had a bad character . . even with the other turkeys.

Lex Anteinternet: Thanksgiving

Lex Anteinternet: Thanksgiving: Today, November 22, is the Thanksgiving Holiday for 2012.  Thanksgiving remains one of the two really big holidays in the United States, ...

Lex Anteinternet: Lex Anteinternet: Thanksgiving

Lex Anteinternet: Lex Anteinternet: Thanksgiving:  Casper's Thomas Gobbler, the urban (and not very smart) turkey on the town.  I always wonder if he'll be around after Thanksgiv...

Lex Anteinternet: Enough with the idiot turkey "pardoning" thing alr...

Lex Anteinternet: Enough with the idiot turkey "pardoning" thing alr...: This year, as every Thanksgiving, we've been treated to the stupidity of a Presidential turkey pardoning, an annual ritual that s...
Seriously.  Enough of this stupidity is enough.

Lex Anteinternet: The Native American Side Of The Thanksgiving Menu ...

Lex Anteinternet: The Native American Side Of The Thanksgiving Menu ...: The Native American Side Of The Thanksgiving Menu : The Salt : NPR

Lex Anteinternet: Creeps. The weird stuff people say.

Recently I ran an article about Creeps, dealing  with the revelations about creepy behavior we've been enduring. 

What I didn't appreciate is that people say some weird things, both intentionally and accidentally.  It's been interesting.  It reminds me, in part, of the bogus title I made up borrowing from the title of Al Franken's book, that being Creepiness, and the Creepy Creeps who act Creepy.  It otherwise has some real foot in the mouth aspects to it.

Harvey Weinstein so far takes the cake for his apology.  It's so special, I'm just going to repeat the whole thing, highlighting the particularly odd parts of it, and adding my own special commentary.
I came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.
It was?  I thought  the 60s generation was supposed to be the one that was all liberated and stuff.  Apparently not.  Apparently the 60s generation, if Harvey is right, bounced off of 1979 and all the way back to some date in the 1950s.  Oh well.

Where's Janice and Big Brother and the Holding Company when you need them?
I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office — or out of it. To anyone.
I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person, and my interactions with the people I work with have changed.
I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.
Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment. My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons. Over the last year, I’ve asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me, and she’s put together a team of people. I’ve brought on therapists, and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all women, and regret what happened.
Oh brother.  You need therapy for this?  How about a pamphlet on basic morality?

Lisa Bloom is an attorney.  Does Havey need tutoring that Lisa can provide? What's that like? "Harvey!  Put your pants on!  Bad Harvey, bad".

I hope that my actions will speak louder than words and that one day we will all be able to earn their trust and sit down together with Lisa to learn more. Jay Z wrote in 4:44: “I’m not the man I thought I was, and I better be that man for my children.” The same is true for me. I want a second chance in the community, but I know I’ve got work to do to earn it. I have goals that are now priorities. Trust me, this isn’t an overnight process. I’ve been trying to do this for 10 years, and this is a wake-up call. I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt, and I plan to do right by all of them.
Turns out that Jay Z didn't write that.  Not that I'd know.  But apparently he didn't.
I am going to need a place to channel that anger, so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom, and I won’t disappoint her.
Wow. That's really weird.  In one single paragraph Harvey manages to become the victim (he's angry?), somehow attempt to deflect groping every good looking gal that comes across his path to anger against the NRA, President Trump and insult his own Jewish faith, at least unintentionally.  What a massive Creep.

Well, Harvey, rather than deflecting your "anger" on the NRA and seeking counsel from Bloom (Harvey, pants!), perhaps going back to where you had that Bar Mitzvah would be a good idea.  It seems that you didn't absorb much of the Torah while you were there.  Maybe you will now.  Maybe its time to take that Faith seriously.  Pretty much everything you need to absorb about how to act properly to other people, including women, was probably taught to you in that place you had to go to before our Bar Mitzvah.

The Rabbi who is there can read to you about Susanna.
In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; her parents were righteous and had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses. Joakim was very rich and he had a garden near his house. The Jews had recourse to him often because he was the most respected of them all. 
That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges, of whom the Lord said, “Lawlessness has come out of Babylon, that is, from the elders who were to govern the people as judges.” These men, to whom all brought their cases, frequented the house of Joakim. When the people left at noon, Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk. When the elders saw her enter every day for her walk, they began to lust for her. They perverted their thinking; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgments. Though both were enamored of her, they did not tell each other their trouble, for they were ashamed to reveal their lustful desire to have her. Day by day they watched eagerly for her. One day they said to each other, “Let us be off for home, it is time for the noon meal.” So they went their separate ways. But both turned back and arrived at the same spot. When they asked each other the reason, they admitted their lust, and then they agreed to look for an occasion when they could find her alone.

One day, while they were waiting for the right moment, she entered as usual, with two maids only, wanting to bathe in the garden, for the weather was warm. Nobody else was there except the two elders, who had hidden themselves and were watching her. “Bring me oil and soap,” she said to the maids, “and shut the garden gates while I bathe.” They did as she said; they shut the garden gates and left by the side gate to fetch what she had ordered, unaware that the elders were hidden inside.
As soon as the maids had left, the two old men got up and ran to her. “Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, no one can see us, and we want you. So give in to our desire, and lie with us. If you refuse, we will testify against you that a young man was here with you and that is why you sent your maids away.”

“I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned. “If I yield, it will be my death; if I refuse, I cannot escape your power. Yet it is better for me not to do it and to fall into your power than to sin before the Lord.” Then Susanna screamed, and the two old men also shouted at her, as one of them ran to open the garden gates. When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden, they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her. At the accusations of the old men, the servants felt very much ashamed, for never had any such thing been said about Susanna.

When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day, the two wicked old men also came, full of lawless intent to put Susanna to death. Before the people they ordered: “Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah, the wife of Joakim.” When she was sent for, she came with her parents, children and all her relatives. Susanna, very delicate and beautiful, was veiled; but those transgressors of the law ordered that she be exposed so as to sate themselves with her beauty. All her companions and the onlookers were weeping.

In the midst of the people the two old men rose up and laid their hands on her head. As she wept she looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly. The old men said, “As we were walking in the garden alone, this woman entered with two servant girls, shut the garden gates and sent the servant girls away. A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her. When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this lawlessness, we ran toward them. We saw them lying together, but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we; he opened the gates and ran off. Then we seized this one and asked who the young man was, but she refused to tell us. We testify to this.” The assembly believed them, since they were elders and judges of the people, and they condemned her to death.

But Susanna cried aloud: “Eternal God, you know what is hidden and are aware of all things before they come to be: you know that they have testified falsely against me. Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things for which these men have condemned me.”

The Lord heard her prayer. As she was being led to execution, God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel, and he cried aloud: “I am innocent of this woman’s blood.” All the people turned and asked him, “What are you saying?” He stood in their midst and said, “Are you such fools, you Israelites, to condemn a daughter of Israel without investigation and without clear evidence? Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.”

Then all the people returned in haste. To Daniel the elders said, “Come, sit with us and inform us, since God has given you the prestige of old age.” But he replied, “Separate these two far from one another, and I will examine them.”
After they were separated from each other, he called one of them and said: “How you have grown evil with age! Now have your past sins come to term: passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent, and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says, ‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’ Now, then, if you were a witness, tell me under what tree you saw them together.” “Under a mastic tree,” he answered. “Your fine lie has cost you your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God has already received the sentence from God and shall split you in two.” Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought. “Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah,” Daniel said to him, “beauty has seduced you, lust has perverted your heart. This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel, and in their fear they yielded to you; but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your lawlessness. Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.” “Under an oak,” he said. “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two so as to destroy you both.”

The whole assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves those who hope in him. They rose up against the two old men, for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of bearing false witness.b They condemned them to the fate they had planned for their neighbor: in accordance with the law of Moses they put them to death. Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

Hilkiah and his wife praised God for their daughter Susanna, with Joakim her husband and all her relatives, because she was found innocent of any shameful deed. And from that day onward Daniel was greatly esteemed by the people.
Consider it Harvey.  The counsel wasn't that the unjust judges seek tutoring from Lisa Bloom.

While on the topic of odd citations to religion, one of the commenters on This Week went off on a long tirade about everything that needed to occur to address what we're seeing.  He's a liberal commentator and that means that what he said is really easy to mistake, as he said that "more non Christians need to be in power".

At first its hard not to gasp at that.  While it's become a habit in some liberal quarters to blame everything on Christianity that's just a flat out weird statement.  Certainly all of the recent male bad actors have run the range in their expressed beliefs, as have their accusers, and as have the commenters.  This definitely isn't a Christian thing, or  Jewish thing, or any any religion thing, it's the opposite, the unless a worship of money and self can be regarded as their religion.
Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
Which in listening to the rest of what he had to say, was actually what he meant.  He meant to say that this was horrible conduct which more than Christians needed to condemn.  Okay, I agree with that, and I think everyone else does as well. At least the religions of these various bad actors would all agree that they were acting immorally.

Speaking of gaffs, but not on this topic, people are going after Joe Biden for stating a week ago that the man shot the Texas killer "shouldn't have had that rifle", with that rifle being some sort of AR.  What Joe clearly meant (I saw the television interview) is that the killer shouldn't have had an AR.  That's not what he said, but then Joe isn't a spring chicken and he responds a little more rapidly than me means too.

Back to odd commentary, one of the odd comments that's come up in the Roy Moore things is that one of the mothers of a 14 year old thought he was a good catch, or words to that effect.

That's weird and no mater what people think that people once did or what is common in some cultures, that's really strange.

All the commentary from commentators seeking to relativize respective bad behavior is odd.  Some people are cheering Franken being in trouble while saying that its all just an Alabama thing for Moore.  Or vice versa.

People are, and I'm glad, starting to go back in time on their prior excusing of some prior stories.  Quite a few Democrats are starting to say that maybe Bill Clinton was a bit creepy in this department.  Of course, that may just mean that the Clintons have finally bit the political dust.  Others are now reopening the wounds from the Thomas confirmation hearings and reconsidering what was said there, although perhaps that's something that can't really be easily judged even now, maybe.

Nobody seems to be willing to reconsider John F. Kennedy, however. Too bad.



Oh, I managed to miss one when I did these the other day.  And its from Alabama State Auditor about Roy Moore:

Take the Bible — Zachariah and Elizabeth, for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist.  Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.  There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here.  Maybe just a little bit unusual.
Umm. . . . .

Well, these are really odd examples, to say the least.  And let's start with the Jospehite Marriage of  Mary and Joseph.

The Josephite Marriage?

Yes, the Jospehite Marriage..

A Josephite Marriage is one in which a couple is married with the understanding going into it that they will not have sex.  In our sex obsessed culture that concept is completely foreign to most, even to Christians, but it's been a relationship that has long existed in  history, still actually exists now (although rare) and apparently is completely outside of the understanding of Auditor Zeigler.  Or maybe he was just grasping (his other examples would suggest so).

There's lots of reasons that these occurred in the past and some reasons they occur now.  In the past, a complete lack of a social safety net explains a lot of the reason that these occurred.  I.e, men sometimes married women as they had means and some relationship with the woman and it was so she didn't become destitute.  Sometimes this arose due to familial reasons.  I.e, there was a family relationship between the couple that basically required the union, and other times because it was a type of an act of chairity.

In this particular case, while a lot more is known about Mary than people, particularly those not too familiar with the early church, suppose, the exact reasons for the marriage between Mary and Joseph, outside of divine will, are not really well known, but a long standing and fairly well supported tradition is that Mary was a Consecrated Virgin and Joseph was fully aware of that.  Additionally, it's a tradition that has some support that he may have been a widower with an existing family.  Therefore, while more would need to be added on this, he was taking Mary in as a spouse but not as one that he intended to have sex with or that he ever did.

That of course fully credits that Mary was a virgin at the time of their marriage and fully remained so until her assumption, a position that's fully accepted by all of the Apostolic Churches and all of the Protestant churches based on them.  Only in much more recent Protestant thought in some Protestant churches is this not accepted, but those same bodies usually are unaware of the fairly rich body of knowledge on Mary from the early Church or of Jewish customs at the time.  At any rate, Joseph likely was quite a bit older than Mary (contrary to a cartoon that's circulating now) and he was taking her in as somebody who would be legally his wife but with whom he'd never have sexual relations with and he knew that and was fine with that.

That's a lot different than the Roy Moore story, no matter what it is.

Camp Custer, Michigan. November 23, 1917.

Review of the 84th Division by commanding General Harry C. Hale, Camp Zachary Taylor, Louisville, Ky., November 23, 1917

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

No surprise, no shame, and the Old Standards

The number falling, and the oddity of it all, seems to go on and on.  Added to this list recently have been George Bush (tush pinching, apparently),  Charlie Rose and Al Franken.  And of course the Roy Moore saga just goes on and on (when will that election ever arrive?).

I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago in my entry entitled Creeps; which started off:
Delia Kane, age 14.  The Exchange Luncheon, Boston.  January 31, 1917.  Recent stories have been focused on recent creeps, but you have to wonder how bad the treatment somebody like this girl, employed at age 14 in 1917, was in her era.  I hope not bad, but I'm not optimistic.
When the news hit about Harvey Weinstein, my first reaction was, "who is Harvey Weinstein?"^
Maybe I should have started it off, Franken title style, with Creepiness, and the Creepy Creeps who act Creepy.

Anyhow, this past weekend on at least one of the two news shows (I haven't listened to the other yet) there were piles of discussion on whether this was a "watershed" moment and if so, what that meant.  It may be, but the analysis (except for one commentator who managed to step on his words and accidentally say something really bigoted accidentally) is pretty far off the mark.  We're not crying out for a new standard here. Rather, the abandonment of the old released the serpent that's out there now and caging it back up requires the old standard be reasserted.  But the "progressives" amongst us can't quite seem to grasp that.  Standards, even ones that were never perfectly applied, existed for a reason.
Even as that discussion is taking place, its' still interesting to see how the partisans from both sides, although with decreasing frequency, maintain that the cry doesn't really quite apply to them. Well, it most certainly does.

Let's consider Al Franken and Roy Moore.

Franken started off in the public world as a Saturday Night Live writer and its well known that at that time, like seemingly everyone else in SNL, he was  a cocaine user.  I know the two aren't linked, but for some reason, given that, I'm not hugely surprised.  I thought it interesting on Franken that commentator Michael Reagan, in his column on Franken and Moore, stated confidently that more women would come out with accusations against Franken as a groper just doesn't commit a single act of groping, and sure enough, in today's paper, a second woman has surfaced accusing Franken of groping her butt at a public appearance. 

Franken, so far, isn't accused of anything like Moore, who is accused of what amounts to some species of really creepy sexual assault (unless you consider boob groping sexual assault, which in my state it is, and which it probably is everywhere else, and you assume that the photograph of him with his hands covering the breasts of a sleeping Leeanne Tweeden shows contact, which isn't clear).  Nonetheless, what Franken is accused of is icky.  

Nonetheless, I'm not surprised that Franken drew left wing apologist right away, as in this Washington Times Op-ed:
As a feminist and the author of a book on rape culture, I could reasonably be expected to lead the calls for Al Franken to step down, following allegations that he forced his tongue down a woman’s throat, accompanied by a photo of him grinning as he moves in to grope her breasts while she sleeps. It’s disgusting. He treated a sleeping woman as a comedy prop, no more human than the contents of Carrot Top’s trunk, and I firmly believe he should suffer social and professional consequences for it.
But I don’t believe resigning from his position is the only possible consequence, or the one that’s best for American women.
Well of course the author doesn't.  Franken's act get a pass as he's a man of the political left by at least some.

Just I suppose as Trump has on the political right.

Moore, perhaps more interestingly, has received a lot less right wing support, although there's some out there.  It's not in official circles but quiet ones.  I think it tends to be of the "we'll loose this seat if we don't support him", which they will (maybe), but Alabama, let alone the GOP, doesn't really need a reminder of the embarrassing nature of the line in Sweet Home Alabama about the governor.
In Birmingham they love the Gov'nor, boo-hoo-hoo
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you, tell the truth
Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you, here I come
We'll see what happens.  Moore isn't going to back down, I think.

Anyhow, what to make of all of this?  At first it seemed rather obvious. The lid was off on eons old male bad behavior.  But with more and more of this out there, maybe we ought to ask a little bit more about it

Maybe we ought to start off where one of the female speakers on This Week stated this week.  She stated the proposition that women have been coming forward with this sort of thing for a long time, and that everyone knew it about these guys, including the men. And she stated its time for the men to do something about it.

I think she's right.

Indeed, the more and more I think about this, if I can think of instances I know about to some degree, the men did in fact have reputations as "players" or "playboys" or, if you go back far enough, as "wolves".    At one time it was so highly tolerated it was even regarded as, I dare say, a bit cute in a way, even though at the same time the standards of personal conduct (and we'll get to that in a moment) were much higher.

Now, by men doing something about it, I'd include women as well, although they are doing something by coming out against it, but I think the opposition to this behavior needs to be grasped in context and the excuses quit.

If that's done, there's a lot of societal reform that needs to occur.

Let's start with the most obvious, which is also the most difficult. The behavior you observe at work, in the bar, in the boardroom, or more likely, in the lunchroom.  Hitting on the women, particularly forcing or attempting to force them to do things of a sexual nature is wrong.

But why is it wrong?

That' may seem like an odd question, but so far, interestingly enough, people are operating off of the "Old Law".

You know what that is, even if you don't.  It's the law that's ingrained in the hearts of humans everywhere in which you know some things are wrong.  Treating women like sexual toys or prostitutes is wrong. 

But if that's wrong, at the end of the day, what we get to is that the Old Law applies the way the old law applied. Things that operate to encourage women to be available are also wrong, including female behavior that encourages it, or societal behavior that demands it.

Now, it's easy to get the wrong message here.  Even people who make their living plying their bodies for cash have an absolute right not to be violated.  But a Heffnerized society in which the expectation is that all women are just aching to put out, is going to have that expectation.

Indeed, it's not too surprising that so many of these claims have come out of Hollywood.  Hollywood has been a moral sewer since the first 35mm raw film went through a motion picture camera.  That some women would sleep their way to career success in Hollywood, and that men would let them do it, has long been known. That doesn't mean every actress would by a long shot, but some would, and a general libertine moral culture existed there since day one.  It's not a far step from actresses offering themselves to one in which Harvey Weinstein figures he can force himself on every female he takes a fancy too.  That conduct is wrong, but it's the moral wrong tip of the iceberg, and that iceberg has been loose in the sea for a long time.  My guess is that Weinstein is merely representative of a subset of the Hollywood culture, not a particularly remarkable example of it.

Of course, that sort of conduct wasn't approved of everywhere by any means. The silent treatment on it certainly has been widespread, however, and that needs to stop. And by stopping it, that does mean taking the band-aide off of old wounds.  If Franken acted like a cad, well it appears fairly clear that Trump did as well, and Kennedy acted like an absolute pig.  Why protects any of them?

But if we go that far, acting like a toy or a prostitute is wrong also, and we all know that as well.  That brings us back to Leeanne Tweeden.

Her account of Franken, not yet a Senator but already the author of Lies and the Lieing Liars Who Tell Them, as as follows:
Franken had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.
As a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along.
Okay, model?  Give me a break.  Tweeden's behavior in this fashion isn't much different that that of women who have slept their way to position. She prostituted her image in several venues that are simply imaginary sex vehicles for men.  That's not the same as offering yourself in person, but it really isn't all that much different.  And being a "sports broadcaster" "familiar to the audience" means one thing if you are Katie Nolan, and quite another if you are Leeanne Tweeden, which is why, whether we should think it or not, that a Franken assault on Nolan would be more shocking than one on Tweeden.

Tweeden goes on:
When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.
On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’

I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.
I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.
I felt disgusted and violated.

How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?
Nobody should.  But, well, Ms. Tweeden, thousands of men had no doubt already imagined grabbing your breasts, and still do, and having sex with you, which is what you wanted when you prostituted your image.   That Franken would regard you as somewhat available when you had already advertised that fact hasn't hugely surprising.  It's wrong.  It's creepy. But it wasn't an wholly uninvited thought. "Think of me as available and in bed" one moment, for the public, and then "don't think of me as a woman but a colleague" the next, is intellectually inconsistent.

Now, this doesn't mean that Franken's conduct is excusable.  Rather, it means that Tweeden encouraged it, whether she realizes it or not, and that she encouraged every single woman in society to be viewed the same way. . . fully available.  His conduct was boorish and creepy.  Her's was dense and destructive.

And that's where the current culture differs from the old.  In the old one, these things occurred, to be sure, but they were known to be wrong. So much so, in fact, that violent death would occasionally occur when an offended family member learned of the "shame" that had occurred.  Now we're shameless.

And that gets back to where the various commentators don't want to go. When you start looking at this topic, you end back up at the old standard every time.  That standard, as we know, wasn't adhered to fully by everyone by every means. But it was there, and it provided a standard that men, and women, were expected to live up to.  Not being a sexual toy was part of that standard, and expecting that women would protect their virtue, and that real men would not violate it, was part of the standard as well.  Indeed, that this was the standard, and remains the ingrained one of the Old Law, is why these things tend to be buried for so long.  Men, with the rare exceptions of uber creeps like Hugh Hefner, don't want to be thought of as predatory wolves on the prowl. Women don't want people thinking that they didn't protect their virtue.

And that, dear reader, means that the Old Standard is the real one.  Both in the past, and now. 

Because, as I noted before, people who imagine themselves thinking that this is about power are wholly wrong. This is about sex. 

Okay, a couple of additional minor thoughts.

Now that we all agree that this behavior is horrible and that the guilty must fall, let's not go berserk on the "no bullying" level that exists in schools today.  No, we don't want people bullied, but we've gone to the point where even one kid looking cross eyed at another is a cause for a regional crisis.

By that I mean that there obviously exists plenty of genuine creepy behavior to be addressed adn we probably don't really need to go to the George Bush pinching butt level to root out evil.  Even what Franken is accused of, while truly an assault in legal terms (maybe, depending upon what really happened) isn't hte same at all as what Cosby and Weinstein have been accused of.  Not by a long shot.  So I don't know that Franken's transgressions need to be career ending, although they should bring shame.

But in terms of career ending, or reputation ending, the ongoing protection of violation should also stop.  We just learned this past week thath Congress has paid out $15,000,000 in settlements, some of which is from sexual assaults of some sort.  These are confidential. The confidentiality should be stripped.

And speaking of stripped, you may have noticed that this phenomenon is uniquely American. European bad actors aren't being stripped of anything, even their freedom.  Unless this is just going to be regarded as a freakish example of American puritanism, which is exactly how I think Europeans view this, we ought to do more to bring back in the creeps who have taken refuge in Europe. Roman Polanski. . . your jail cell is waiting . . . 

On also on stripping protection, go back and strip it.  We have, right now, a guy who would peg out on the current creep charts who has an "eternal flame" blazing away above him as if he's a national hero.  John F. Kennedy deserves to be right up there in the current list of shame.  Make it so.  Unless we do, this is all just a little bit of a temporary flap, and it'll pass.  After all, ole' Jack was just one of the boys, right?

But at the same time, gals. . . a little modesty.  You can't be on the cover of Maxim one week and then complain people are looking at your boobs the next. That's why you were on the cover of Maxim.  And when you do that, you hurt all women, not just yourself.

And Alabama.  Just say no.  And now.  Don't let this go the ballot.
To be a woman is a great adventure;
To drive men mad is a heroic thing.”
― Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago