July 17th 2009 - Friday
Hour One: "Brunch With Bernie" Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spends the hour with Thom discussing the issues and answering listener questions www.sanders.senate.gov
Hour Two: "News Under The Radar" Christy Harvey of the Center for American Progress stops by www.americanprogress.org
I think we should wait until they invent a robotic cat so the robotic mocking bird will have someone to pick on.
Loretta and Quark,
You’ve raised some important issues about how women are judged more critically on their physical appearance and how this can have a negative effect on girls and young women as they’re developing a sense of themselves.
Quark was right in relating our attraction to and preference for beauty to our evolution. The fact is, it’s our inheritance from our animal predecessors who also select mates on the basis of characteristics that imply health and fitness. Things I’ve seen and read indicate that it’s much more than cultural. I remember a TV program some years ago that dealt with tests conducted with 6 month old infants. The babies were shown pictures of people on a screen and were observed to see how long they looked at each picture. The results showed that even at 6 months old babies looked at the pictures of “attractive” people significantly longer than they look at pictures of “unattractive” people.
Another study (which I consider heartbreaking) is that parents give more attention to attractive babies than they do to less attractive babies. I find that heartbreaking because we know that an infant’s brain develops more fully (makes more neural connections) when the baby is held, touched, talked to and played with more. So an attractive baby gets a head-start on brain development because it gets more love. It’s unintentional, but seems so cruel to me.
I have little infant memories of my parents and other adults constantly picking me up, hugging and kissing me, tickling and coochie-cooing me, etc, when all I wanted to do was lie on my blanket and play with my foot. I was just so darn cute.
If the preference for beauty is so deeply wired into our being, the best we may be able to hope for is to consciously and culturally mitigate the preference for beauty. There are several physical preference that we would have to be more aware of. Studies claim that taller people earn more money and that it’s been calculated how much every extra inch of height is worth.
There are probably several reasons women are criticized for the physical appearance more than men are. Men are still seen as having the roll (no relation to me) of being the breadwinner and women are seen as the mom. Men are still seen as being the leaders in our society. The prosperous and powerful man is rewarded with an attractive wife. Our society hasn’t adjusted yet to women’s advances in education, economics and politics. In addition, there’s always resistance to change. Attitudes and opinions often lag behind the facts on the ground.
How do we bring our thinking into line with our changing society? That’s a tough one. We see societies around the world going in two directions. Some people are opening up to greater equality and understanding, but others are retreating into rigid old patriarchal beliefs. Economic and climatic changes are going to bring about major changes in society. If we're prepared, we might come out better than we are now. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem we are prepared. Maybe our best hope is that the situation is too unpredictable to know what's going to happen. Maybe we'll get lucky.
How can we prevent our society's collapse?
Your comments remind me of Jared Diamond's work on why some societies collapse and others don't. His books 1) Guns, Germs and Steel and 2) Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed offer some insight.
Here's a short (18-min.) video clip general summary, tho there are hour+-long videos from which to choose by Googling "Jared Diamond:"
I'll check that Jared Diamond video out. I'm familiar with Diamond.
You ask me how we can prevent our society's collapse. Why you asking me? That's above my pay grade. I'm a college dropout. Even Thom Hartmann doesn't pay attention to what I say, let alone world leaders.
I actually was conflicted when I wrote my post that ended with "Maybe we’ll get lucky." I edited out my original ending which talked about how emotions seem to have more influence on our rational thinking than our ability to reason than our ability to reason has on our emotions. I edited it out because I didn’t want to be too negative at the time. However… since you asked…
I look at all the crises in the world, all the tipping points we’re teetering on and it looks like we may not have the right stuff to solve one of them let alone multiple problems. This list may not be complete; it’s what comes to my mind right now:
1) Global climate disruption is probably the crisis that is hardest to stop if it’s gone past a tipping point and could have the most catastrophic repercussions.
2) Water shortages around the world can make life unsustainable in many regions of the planet.
3) The world wide financial crisis is causing huge problems and could make it difficult, maybe impossible, to pay for solutions for the other crises.
4) The energy crisis has several components. Supplies of fossil fuels are diminishing, getting more difficult to find and exploit and getting them is becoming more difficult and expensive. Using fossil fuels has profoundly negative climatic and pollution repercussions.
5) There’s also a crisis in our basic humanity. Whether on a local level or worldwide, people in general don’t seem willing to make sacrifices for others outside their small circle, but seem very willing to be riled up to attack others.
I think that it would take worldwide cooperation to solve these problems. There are people around the world that are willing to work cooperatively to solve these problems, but are there enough? And are there enough to overcome the resistance of those who are only concerned about their short term benefits?
Right now, we aren’t even doing too well at cooperating to solve these problems in this country, let alone the world. Energy producers and their right wing supporters fight against our attempts to get away from fossil fuels. The people, financial corporations and organizations that precipitated the financial crisis used the crisis to steal taxpayer money on the grounds that they were too big to fail. Right wingers fight to replace scientific knowledge with religion in our schools and a majority of Americans believe that the story of Noah’s Arc is historical fact.
I’m not sure that humanity has what it takes to solve the deepening problems that face us. I don’t know if we can identify the time at which we passed the tipping point, but I have a feeling that if it wasn’t earlier regarding climate change, it may very well have been on December 12, 2000, when the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of George W. Bush in Bush v Gore. The policies of the Bush Administration may have changed the course of human history forever.
Do what you gotta do, but I saw the original Clash of the Titans over at MGM (I think) before it's release and I couldn't get into the stop motion animation. Maybe it was just a bad day for me, I know it was a bad date.
Memories are rushing back, but not about the movie. I just remembered that a prostitute came up the my car on my way to pick up my date and offered to provide me with a particular service. I wasn't interested, but something didn't look quite right about her. Since her face was right by my car window, I ran my finger up her cheek and if felt like sandpaper.