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Guppy Love

Article #301 • Written by Jason Bellows

It has long been observed-- though not scientifically-- that women seem to show a vague preference for men who are already spoken for. This observation is known as the wedding ring effect, and there are numerous competing theories as to why it may be. Some suggest that the wedding ring is a cue that a man is "safe," a passing opportunity for empty flirting; while others theorize that the female psyche sees the ring as an indication that another woman has deemed him worthy. There is also the possibility that the increase in feminine attention is purely imagined, a way for a married man to reassure himself that he's still got "it" (or for that matter, that he ever had "it" to begin with).

It is weighty philosophical matters like these which have plagued civilization since its inception, but like so many of the great riddles, the answer may be found in a fish--in this case in a little matter called guppy syndrome.

The animal kingdom analog of the wedding ring effect is called the guppy syndrome because it was in the guppy that it was first documented. Perhaps it is more properly called mate-choice copying. To observe the effect one takes a large tank filled with female guppies, and adds about the same number of relatively indistinguishable male guppies. It doesn't take too long for the guppies to get adjusted to the new environment and, like any society, they soon begin mating. As is true with most species, it is the females who determine who gets to score, and an odd thing occurs: despite the fact that the males are all pretty much alike, some guys get all the luck, and others are spurned.

Why are the females all lining up to mate with a small, eclectic group of males? Is there a subtle physical difference that the females are basing their choices upon? Is there something in their social countenance? Are some of the males just too smart to make good mates?

In 1996 when this effect was first identified, a myriad of cruel scenarios were introduced to discover what was happening--for some reason, many scientists have a keen interest in finding out what makes individuals more attractive to the opposite sex. Generally a female guppy is attracted to a male with more color, but they found if a female is given the choice between a lonely but very colorful male and a lesser-colored but actively mating male, she'll go against norms and choose the male with less color. When a group of females are separated and allowed to watch a male and female going at it, that male is generally quite popular with the ladyfish when everyone is allowed to mingle again; this holds true even after more males are introduced.

There are a couple of theories as to why this happens. Perhaps the sight of unabashed sexual congress drive the females into a frenzy of passion. Maybe the females assume that the male's previous partner had discovered some inconspicuous yet crucial quality that made him a superior mate. Or perhaps practice is the key to being a good mate, and females will always pick the male they know has put in some hours.

Mate-choice copying can be observed in several species of fish and birds, but the real question is: can we extrapolate this behavior to humans? Fish aren't known for their intelligence, rationale, or discrimination, so there are plenty of people who say that one can see this happening in people too.

In a singles' bar one might observe that there is a group of men who receive the lion's share of courting, but that's as far as the analogy dares to go. In the night club there is no uniformity among the men, nor are there any controls over the assertiveness of potential suitors; there is very rarely copulation in full view of all the attendees. Those pesky "scientific ethics" hinder any effort to reproduce the Guppy Syndrome with humans in a controlled environment.

Since no one is willing to replicate the circumstances of the guppy syndrome for people, one can only speculate about the contortions a human mind makes in mate-choice copying. The Wedding Ring Effect is one such contortion, but once again those damnable ethics bar us from doing any really sordid testing. In one disappointingly tame attempt to study this, a woman was sent to sit in a bar for a long time.

Sometimes she wore a wedding ring, and others not. Observers tracked how often she was approached. Their findings suggested that heterosexual human males don't pay attention to jewelry-- whether or not she brandished a wedding band made little difference in terms of philandering frequency.

Another, better-devised experiment was conducted where women were shown a series of photographs and asked to indicate which man they preferred. The moderately creepy cards had similar men's faces on the left and right, and a woman's face in the center; in each she was looking at one of the men, and wearing either a smile or a neutral expression. After perusing the array, the women generally indicated that the men receiving the virtual positive feminine attention were the more desirable.

So it seems there is some guppy in us and our mating techniques, though it's hard to say just how much. So far, only one practical application of the data has arisen: in the wild one might sometimes spy a guy in a white lab-coat brandishing a life-sized portrait of a woman's face that smiles toward him. Thanks to steady march of scientific progress, the fish-probing researcher of today just might be the ladies' man of tomorrow.

Article written by Jason Bellows, published on 05 November 2007. Jason is a contributing editor for DamnInteresting.com.

Article design and artwork by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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130 Comments
MonkeyBones
Posted 05 November 2007 at 11:13 am

People generally want what they can't have.


djsteiniii
Posted 05 November 2007 at 11:13 am

First!


Lyzar
Posted 05 November 2007 at 11:17 am

Very DI indeed. I love it... some guppy in us! I wonder what it is that makes us and the guppies think that way? Is he a potentially good mate, or are they just a bunch of jealous girls?

Of course, with humans there's bound to be other factors as well. Does he/she look well-to-do? Can I get something from marrying them? (For example, when we lived overseas, local women were flirting with my father all the time. I imagine they were mostly wanting a green card. They were well aware he was married with 3 children.)


ggnutsc
Posted 05 November 2007 at 11:17 am

First!!! Maybe? And DI especially if your already married, but periodically go to the bar.

I wonder if it works in reverse for the wives since almost all of the reseach involved females picking males


Tink
Posted 05 November 2007 at 11:24 am

"Are some of the males just too smart to make good mates?"

LOL thats too funny, but a nice try, anyway! Sounds like a rather fishy theory to me, but what do I know? The sturgeon general, may have some insight to this phenom. Thanks Jason for lighting up a rather drab and crabby day. ;-)


noway
Posted 05 November 2007 at 11:29 am

djsteiniii said: "First!"

Not

ggnutsc said: "First!!! Maybe?

And not.

Fish aren't known for their intelligence, rationale, or discrimination, so there are plenty of people who say that one can see this happening in people too.

This was a funny article...good job Jason!


uthor
Posted 05 November 2007 at 11:56 am

Brilliant and subtle use of a Simpson's screen grab!


Trykt
Posted 05 November 2007 at 12:26 pm

I'm pretty sure "the one ring" would get you lots of chicks. And in the darkness bind them.


Kevin
Posted 05 November 2007 at 12:50 pm

Trykt said: "I'm pretty sure "the one ring" would get you lots of chicks. And in the darkness bind them."

Binding chicks in the darkness is your business Trykt...

Very DI... Reminds me of another Simpson's episode when Homer loses his ring revealing a tan line on his ring finger, and he is immediately deemed "fresh on the market" by some single ladies who seem to be blind to the blundering dolt before them.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 05 November 2007 at 01:09 pm

I prefer the friendship of men and the prescence of a wedding ring makes them 'safe'. Not safe for the purpose of empty flirting, but safe knowing you can be friends without worrying it will develop into more.


Too Tense
Posted 05 November 2007 at 01:18 pm

I've been somewhat aware of this since mid high school.
There was girl A, whom I never paid attention too.
Girl A got a Boyfriend.
Girl A then got my attention.
Furthermore, I've also noticed, when it comes to girls, they come in waves it seems.
That is to say, in my experience, no girls, no girls, no girls, 6 girls.
It may just be ones demeanour after he's gotten a girl, and that confidence could rub off.
But I've definatly noticed this effect both ways.


My2Cents
Posted 05 November 2007 at 01:39 pm

I've definately noticed this in my own life. I always have a significant other and it seems that when I do I always get smiles and hints from other guys but the second I become single and decide that I want to play the field for a bit I can't catch a break from anyone. Then when I do get with someone new and go steady with them for a while, back come the cute guys who seem to not want anyone but me. I've always called it "The Forbidden Fruit Aura", it's irresistable!!!


Fírinne
Posted 05 November 2007 at 01:39 pm

We automatically assume that others' choices are correct. I think there was this experiment where they had a group of people answering questions - the same question, but each person answering it aloud, one by one - and there were experimenters pretending to be part of the group, who would deliberately say the wrong answer... and it turned out that a lot of the time, the actual experimentee would change his/her answer to reflect the majority answer...


iain010100
Posted 05 November 2007 at 02:06 pm

Stead311
Posted 05 November 2007 at 02:38 pm

I think it was said best by Alec Baldwin in "The Departed":

Marriage is an important part of getting ahead: lets people know you're not a homo; married guy seems more stable; people see the ring, they think at least somebody can stand the son of a b*tch; ladies see the ring, they know immediately you must have some cash or your -expletive deleted- must work.

Truly eloquent in its brevity.


Reaper
Posted 05 November 2007 at 02:51 pm

Stead311 said: "I think it was said best by Alec Baldwin in "The Departed":"

The original was better, but that is completely beside the point, now isn't it?

On another note, I always suspected that women had a STRONG flock instinct, but I didn't figure men were that way. Case in point, women never go to the bathroom alone. Men never go in groups. That could translate into the current subject matter, couldn't it?!?


another viewpoint
Posted 05 November 2007 at 03:21 pm

...today the guppies...tomorrow-the sharks!

No matter how "fishy" the theory, animals "do it" for survival where only the strong survive. That's not necessarily the same for humans. In particular, when cuising bars (or other locales) looking for a few moments of erectile bliss.


Milkman76
Posted 05 November 2007 at 03:23 pm

djsteiniii said: "First!"

ggnutsc said: "First!!! Maybe?"

FIRST!!1!!11!

bwahahahah! 'Tards.


Asshe
Posted 05 November 2007 at 04:53 pm

You totally notice this in high school!

There'd be the group of girls that were all friends and looked out for each other, but as soon as one of them got a steady boyfriend the rest of them would begin to think he was mighty tasty and one of them would eventually cheat with him - and thus bring the group back to single-dom.
And then the pattern would repeat.

Not sure whether it was a jealousy thing, but probably more of a "I didn't notice you before because no-one else wanted you, but now that someone does - I do too!"


My2Cents
Posted 05 November 2007 at 04:55 pm

Reaper said:
On another note, I always suspected that women had a STRONG flock instinct, but I didn't figure men were that way. Case in point, women never go to the bathroom alone. Men never go in groups. That could translate into the current subject matter, couldn't it?!?"

I think the bathroom thing goes more with privacy and comfort. Guys actually have to see each other pee and there is etiquitte there where guys have an understanding that they don't stand next to each other and you definately don't talk (or so I've been told) whereas girls get their own private stall and chatting is almost a must. Then they like to take time to beautify themselves in the mirror and having a friend there is great for opinions on hair, makeup, or whatever.

I just don't think it's the same as what they're talking about with the guppies.


Anonymousx2
Posted 05 November 2007 at 05:28 pm

Both the article and the comments seem to be fairly clear-cut cases of guppy love.


swan
Posted 05 November 2007 at 06:42 pm

"Are some of the males just too smart to make good mates?"

Spoken like a true geek.


Guesser
Posted 05 November 2007 at 07:13 pm

I've got a bit of a hypothesis for one reason the guppy effect could be beneficial.. and you would need to try using more than just a single fish tank to test it.

If you're a guppy (or any species for that matter) and you're not going to be able to find a mate in your area no matter what you do, then what are your options? You've got to go elsewhere. At first glance, it may seem as if the guppies are squandering their genetic diversity by only selecting a small pool of the males... but I suspect that in nature, some of the spurned males will go elsewhere and mate with guppies in a more distant area. On the flip-side, this pool of female guppies who spurned males can expect to receive some male guppies that were spurned by a more distant pool (since afterall, those females in the distant pool are of the same species, and will exhibit similar behavior). This would help to _reduce_ inbreeding rather than increase it.

On top of this, the trek to another tribe may be a difficult one, and so the journey itself may have a strong selective effect (more difficult than the easy life of chowing down on the local food and mating every now and then). It could make the species stronger.


chemin-de-fer
Posted 05 November 2007 at 08:53 pm

In his book "Trawler", Redmond O'Hanlon has a conversation with a scientist about the behavior of a certain bird species that primarily resides in hedges. There is always a certain male that is somehow agreed upon by the females to be the most desirable. All of them will make an attempt to sneak away from their bonded mates and copulate with this male, then return to the nest and use their bonded mate to help raise the results of that copulation.

The scientist then points out that you can turn that hedge on end and now it's an apartment tower full of humans. And what do you suppose those human females are very likely to do?

So it may be a mechanism to pass on the most desirable genes. Either way it sucks to not be the alpha male.

Good book as well.


Lisette
Posted 05 November 2007 at 10:57 pm

Funny and DI... I'm going to keep a close watch on that aquarium!!! hahaha


supercalafragalistic
Posted 06 November 2007 at 12:38 am

"So far, only one practical application of the data has arisen: in the wild one might sometimes spy a guy in a white lab-coat brandishing a life-sized portrait of a woman's face that smiles toward him. Thanks to steady march of scientific progress, the fish-probing researcher of today just might be the ladies' man of tomorrow."

This must be why I fell for a scientist a few years back! I was duped!!! LMAO I read in a relatively (pun intended) recent issue of Discover Magazine that Albert Einstein was quite a ladies man in his day. Is it just me or is there something incredibly fetching about a white lab coat and the supreme intelligence that goes along with it? Sometimes in life it really DOES take a rocket scientist..... some people really DO need a rocket scientist....sorry I couldn't resist. Somebody stop me :)


justjim1
Posted 06 November 2007 at 02:32 am

djsteiniii #2 November 5th, 2007 11:13 am
First

not!


Anonymousx2
Posted 06 November 2007 at 03:56 am

swan said: ""Are some of the males just too smart to make good mates?"

Spoken like a true geek."

I recently read that a male's intelligence and physical characteristics are frequently inversely related (no, I am not joking; I might have read it in DI somewhere).

Is it possible that the human female prefers to have sex with the more physically desirable but less intelligent male but live with the other for social status and financial security? If that's true, it doesn't completely suck not to be the alpha male.


Anonymousx2
Posted 06 November 2007 at 03:58 am

chemin-de-fer said: "In his book "Trawler", Redmond O'Hanlon has a conversation with a scientist about the behavior of a certain bird species that primarily resides in hedges. There is always a certain male that is somehow agreed upon by the females to be the most desirable. All of them will make an attempt to sneak away from their bonded mates and copulate with this male, then return to the nest and use their bonded mate to help raise the results of that copulation.

The scientist then points out that you can turn that hedge on end and now it's an apartment tower full of humans. And what do you suppose those human females are very likely to do?

So it may be a mechanism to pass on the most desirable genes. Either way it sucks to not be the alpha male.

Good book as well."

You might also want to look up the definition of "cuckold."


nona
Posted 06 November 2007 at 06:15 am

When I was in a relationship - not married, so no ring, but definitely taken, boys would be crawling all over me (not literally you understand). This included boys who didn't know I was taken - and btw, I was four stone overweight at the time.

Then I got single, and lost four stone, and thought, given what happened when I was taken, now I was available, I'd be spoilt for choice. But no, no way, not even a sniff.

It seems a overweight, unavailable girl (even if you don't know they're unavailable) is more attractive then a slim, single girl.

It's all very confusing. Next time I go to the pub, I'm wearing a wedding ring.


J.K.
Posted 06 November 2007 at 07:24 am

Perhaps though a cute slimmer girl could just intimidate a guy into not asking out of fear of rejection too eh?

By the way while the Simspons pic there was a great drop... why not Futurama's Zapp Brannagan in his quarters, in robe, or as he calls it: "The Lovenasium" No love for the old Zapper? :)

I have no idea if guppy love exists, but there are a few things about both sides of the fence. When someone has something, others want it. If it's married, just attached, or gives off the perception through behavior of being attached...someone chick or dude will want it. Been married nearly just 3 weeks now to a girl I was with for 5 years about. I found when I was with her out in public I'd get more girly eyes on me. If I was not with her but was feeling good about her, had her on the mind, whatever...girly eyes still increased. If I was pissed off at her or just not thinking of her but of something else or theoretically 'nothing' not so much girly eyes. Was at the doctor last friday, and this early/mid 20something cutie was totally scoping me out standing before the elevator and while on it...more than I recall getting the googly eyes in many cases before in the past.

It's all the must have mentality I think more than breeding or the rest. If you give off, or just already have whats needed to give the perception of being taken, someones going to want some too.


silentwisp
Posted 06 November 2007 at 07:43 am

This was kind of boring and seemed more like speculation than research.


goodwindman
Posted 06 November 2007 at 07:57 am

Well I liked it. I like many of the other people on here experience this. I was always feast or famine with women. Funny thing is I truly believe, despite the quoted research, that man are less likely to even pay attention to a woman with a ring. i think the fault in that experiment lies in the chosen environment. A bar alone, tends to signify willingness to at least flirt in this society. How many married women go to a bar alone to just relax? But I digress. Maybe the attraction of the taken male is when he lets down his guard and becomes more relaxed and confident around other females, thus making him a more attractive potential mate, maybe. Damned ethics committees, they are always in the way of any of my pipe dream research methods.


Evil Twin
Posted 06 November 2007 at 08:00 am

I have observed this behavior before, just talk to any high school or college student, either male or female. They can be "single" for a period of time, but the minute they become involved with someone, the spotlight is turned on. Maybe it is some chemical signal we give off, maybe it is that glow of initial love (or infatuation?) that makes us more attractive? Who knows...


kwiksand
Posted 06 November 2007 at 08:32 am

silentwisp said: "This was kind of boring and seemed more like speculation than research."

I'm sure Jason is all for criticism (what kind of writer would he be if he wasn't), but saying its boring doesn't add anything.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 06 November 2007 at 08:35 am

Our behaviour now indicates that at one point, humans must have a harem-style social structure. Our bodies also support this idea. Males are able to reproduce with a number of mates in a short period of time, and women's reproductive cycles start to sync if they spend a significant amount of time with each other, including their time of 'estrus'.


hylton44
Posted 06 November 2007 at 10:18 am

Worth noting that the text on that ring, while tough to make out at first, now is becoming clearer and appears to be some form of elvish.


ke4roh
Posted 06 November 2007 at 10:38 am

38th!

I'm reminded of a friend of mine who was looking for work - and a number of other folks looking for work. Consider landing a job (while being of an age to always have a job) a little like landing a mate. You both search, and both parties must agree to the union. Here are some thoughts on the hiring process from one who has observed it recently:

Someone out of work is perceived to be somehow defective
Certain characteristics enforce grouping of similar suitors - college degree, love of nature, or whatever, based on the position in question
Recruiters will pursue you long after you have the job you want


My2Cents
Posted 06 November 2007 at 11:54 am

Evil Twin said: "I have observed this behavior before, just talk to any high school or college student, either male or female. They can be "single" for a period of time, but the minute they become involved with someone, the spotlight is turned on. Maybe it is some chemical signal we give off, maybe it is that glow of initial love (or infatuation?) that makes us more attractive? Who knows…"

I'm telling you, it's the forbidden fruit aura. :)


silentwisp
Posted 06 November 2007 at 12:16 pm

kwiksand said: "I'm sure Jason is all for criticism (what kind of writer would he be if he wasn't), but saying its boring doesn't add anything."

This website is called Damn Interesting for a reason.


Anonymousx2
Posted 06 November 2007 at 02:53 pm

Last?


BoredByPolitics
Posted 06 November 2007 at 03:01 pm

It's said that someone who is in love exhibits certain physical attributes, or has an air about them. They certainly exhibit a more positive outlook. Perhaps it is this that makes them more attractive to further prospective mates.

Or perhaps it is indeed just the bus syndrome.


BrianM
Posted 06 November 2007 at 05:37 pm

This might also explain the 'Bachelor' and 'Bachelorette' phenomena, where all of a sudden 25 beautiful people all find a single member of the opposite sex to be 'the one'. In a natural situation, would 25 women all find the one man attractive to the point of crying should they be turned down? In the end, almost every potential suitor finds the One appealing and sexy and desirable...


rob
Posted 06 November 2007 at 08:54 pm

yes, I am last!


rob
Posted 06 November 2007 at 08:55 pm

Oh, damn. not last anymore.


rev.felix
Posted 06 November 2007 at 11:01 pm

Fish aren't known for their intelligence, rationale, or discrimination, so there are plenty of people who say that one can see this happening in people too.

BURN! Someone get the man a pie!

Also,
ROB IS A NAZI!!1!11!
I hereby invoke Godwin's Law and claim my rightful place as last.


Skydive
Posted 07 November 2007 at 03:59 am

Interesting that everyone seems to have accepted the suggested links between an (arguably) simple minded fish ... and humans (particularly the smarter 'lab coat' variety)
*anyhoo*
I think this comment stream is testament to my philosophy that the smarter people are, the more the over-think, and over-complicate matters of the heart (or groin ... whatever your motivation). There are no logical answers, so stop looking!!!


Anonymousx2
Posted 07 November 2007 at 05:12 am

Skydive said: "Interesting that everyone seems to have accepted the suggested links between an (arguably) simple minded fish … and humans (particularly the smarter 'lab coat' variety)
*anyhoo*
I think this comment stream is testament to my philosophy that the smarter people are, the more the over-think, and over-complicate matters of the heart (or groin … whatever your motivation). There are no logical answers, so stop looking!!!"

That's a potentially dangerous comment, I think. Unless I am misunderstanding you, it seems that, by a fairly simple extrapolation, you are saying that the old stereotype of females not being capable of logic is correct.

If you are a male, run for the hills.

If you are a female, you still better run for the hills. Some of the other females who don't share your opinion might want to have a "Sopranos Talk" with you.


Anonymousx2
Posted 07 November 2007 at 05:19 am

BrianM said: "This might also explain the 'Bachelor' and 'Bachelorette' phenomena, where all of a sudden 25 beautiful people all find a single member of the opposite sex to be 'the one'. In a natural situation, would 25 women all find the one man attractive to the point of crying should they be turned down? In the end, almost every potential suitor finds the One appealing and sexy and desirable…"

In high school, the greatest aphrodisiacs seem to be either athletic prowess or the "bad boy syndrome." Later in life, it seems that money draws members of the other sex to you more than anything else. (Does anyone think that Bill Gates would have had a chance at Linda otherwise?) Of course, money can be seen as an indicator of power, which is what draws girls to the athletes and bad boys in high school.

Hmm. Come to think of it, the girls seemed to like the boys with money even more than the athletes or bad boys when I was in high school. Once in a while, a kid would come along who was a rich, athletic, bad boy. They were never lonely at night, so I heard.


nona
Posted 07 November 2007 at 05:38 am

hylton44 said: "Worth noting that the text on that ring, while tough to make out at first, now is becoming clearer and appears to be some form of elvish."

Someone must have put it in the fire. Not sure what effect on the opposite sex wearing Isildur's Bane (The One Ring) would have - would they be magnetically drawn to you, or crumble into dust?

I didn't find the article boring, I found it fascinating. It may be a lot of speculation, but much of science is speculation and questioning - especially in the area of human behaviour. We really don't understand ourselves, or why we do what we do, or how our emotions and intellect and sensibilites work at all.

And yes, a picture of Zach Brannigan would have been perfect!


Bolens
Posted 07 November 2007 at 06:16 am

nona said: "And yes, a picture of Zach Brannigan would have been perfect!"

Or Professor Farnsworth with "Mom" from the "Mother's Day" episode. Actually, that would debunk a lot of this... hehe.


Evil Twin
Posted 07 November 2007 at 07:53 am

Ah forbidden fruit! Does that apply to pie to?


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 07 November 2007 at 08:20 am

Bolens said: "Or Professor Farnsworth with "Mom" from the "Mother's Day" episode. Actually, that would debunk a lot of this… hehe."

Is it sad that I know EXACTLY what shot you are talking about? lol


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 07 November 2007 at 08:21 am

Bolens said: "Or Professor Farnsworth with "Mom" from the "Mother's Day" episode. Actually, that would debunk a lot of this… hehe."

Is it sad that I know EXACTLY what shot you are talking about? lol


Kao_Valin
Posted 07 November 2007 at 12:09 pm

I love reading articles that take just a little bit of special away from being human. Sooner or later we will have to share all of our special traits with other species heh. Have a little bit of reptilian aggression from here, have a little bit of guppy love from here, an finish it off with the desire to sling poo (in our case slander and insult) from the primates.


Kao_Valin
Posted 07 November 2007 at 12:09 pm

I love reading articles that take just a little bit of special away from being human. Sooner or later we will have to share all of our special traits with other species heh. Have a little bit of reptilian aggression from here, have a little bit of guppy love from here, an finish it off with the desire to sling poo (in our case slander and insult) from the primates.


Kao_Valin
Posted 07 November 2007 at 12:11 pm

Appoligies for the double post.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 07 November 2007 at 02:55 pm

Yeah, apologies from me too . . what the hell?


rev.felix
Posted 07 November 2007 at 04:11 pm

Now it's a triple post.


Hoekstes
Posted 08 November 2007 at 01:54 am

Birds of a feather flock together. Prime examples are womanisers, homos and DI readers.


Skydive
Posted 08 November 2007 at 03:31 am

Anonymousx2 said: "That's a potentially dangerous comment, I think. Unless I am misunderstanding you, it seems that, by a fairly simple extrapolation, you are saying that the old stereotype of females not being capable of logic is correct."

Far from it! I was merely inferring that the whole concept of finding love is without logic. People will always have their theories (I know I do) of how to be successful at it or how to find it. But at the end of the day there can be no single answer to explain how human relationships work, particturarly those as inheritantly complex as matters of the heart.

All you can do, and the only logical action to take is to just spend time doing things you like and surround yourself with people whose company you enjoy. Only worry about stuff that is within your control.


HiEv
Posted 08 November 2007 at 04:07 am

Skydive said: "Interesting that everyone seems to have accepted the suggested links between an (arguably) simple minded fish ... and humans (particularly the smarter 'lab coat' variety)"

Yeah, well, the evidence does kind of support the hypothesis. And just because there are differences between humans and fish doesn't mean that there won't also be similarities. We do, after all, share a common ancestor and quite a few genes.

Skydive said: "I think this comment stream is testament to my philosophy that the smarter people are, the more the over-think, and over-complicate matters of the heart (or groin ... whatever your motivation). There are no logical answers, so stop looking!!!"

How do you know there are no logical answers if you don't look? Personally, it looks like you're the one over-complicating things when you say that it's too illogical to ever figure out. We already do have some logical answers, so saying that there are none simply isn't true.

I think some people are just afraid that if we understand how and why we do the things we do that it will somehow "take away the magic" or something. For me, the fact that it happens at all is the "magic", and understanding the how and why of it won't take that away.


Anonymousx2
Posted 08 November 2007 at 06:14 am

Skydive said: "Far from it! I was merely inferring that the whole concept of finding love is without logic."

Boy, how I wish that were true, at least according to the science that I have read. What we think of as love, various scientists have found to be a complex interaction of physical, olfactory, and visual stimuli. Because each person has a slightly different chemical composition, variations in what is perceived as desirable and worthy of love will vary slightly. Overall, however, most persons agree as to who is attractive and who is not. Naturally, that explains why most actors and models are good looking -- they approach an ideal. Moreover, they have money.

All you can do, and the only logical action to take is to just spend time doing things you like and surround yourself with people whose company you enjoy. Only worry about stuff that is within your control."

You are correct. Most of us have no control over those whom we deem to be extremely desirable. Otherwise, everyone would have his/her version of Linda Gates. Basically, most of us have to settle for someone who will have us. In terms of hormones, that is definitely out of our control, at least for those of us who have the normal, natural dose of the mating drive. It's called "the heat of the moment" for a reason.


another viewpoint
Posted 08 November 2007 at 06:52 am

...I love mankind...it's people I can't stand!


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 08 November 2007 at 08:40 am

another viewpoint said: "…I love mankind…it's people I can't stand!"

lol . . . How I feel has just been put into the correct words. Bravo!


MonkeyBones
Posted 08 November 2007 at 10:44 am

Since I was first, it is only suitable that I claim the right to be last, like some kind of pseudo alpha-omega thing.


Anonymousx2
Posted 08 November 2007 at 11:50 am

another viewpoint said: "…I love mankind…it's people I can't stand!"

Charles Schulz. Peanuts. Linus, when he said that he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up.


ChrisW75
Posted 08 November 2007 at 05:46 pm

I think a few people are missing the point here. This research does not show that people instinctively want what they can't have. What this shows is that what people want is actually influenced by what they see others getting. This isn't just about getting sexual partners, it's about what people want. And what people want is what everyone else has got.
This is exactly why we see ridiculous fashion trends taken up, we see someone we admire (on some level) wearing something and think, "Well, it must be good if s/he is wearing it" and the the little sheep go out and buy it and wear it, and the trend marches on.
This is exactly why companies give away hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars worth of stuff to celebrities (like the gift packs at the Oscars), they know that when the sheep see the celeb wearing or carrying their product, there'll be a sudden rush of people buying the product.
I'm not one to follow fashion, however, I am a bit of a gadget freak, and the same thing influences me there, I see the guy at the next desk with a really nice looking Nokia 6110, while my 2 year old Motorola looks a little old now so now I feel this strong urge to go get a new phone.
The thing is, we recognise that people are unique, so we can't just go out and get ourselves a Jane/Bill Smith model because we've seen Jane/Bill Smith is popular, so we aim specifically for that person.
Well, that's my take on what this all means anyway.
And following on from the various relevant movie and TV quotes, I'll add in this from The Crow:
Victims, aren't we all?


Meeshymeg
Posted 08 November 2007 at 06:57 pm

Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George carries around a picture of a model and says it's his late wife in order to get dates with other models? If she was beautiful and she liked him, he must be special. I don't know if there's much science behind this, but I think the psychology is exactly what you've guessed. A woman might think that if someone chose him, he must have some redeeming qualities, or he's safe for flirting carelessly. Of course not all men are going to get hit on just because they are married, and not all married men are worth the attention, but it's logical. Noticing a ring won't attract me to someone that I wouldn't ordinarily be drawn to, but if he WAS attractive or charming, then it would be one of those "Ah, of course he's married" moments (well, would be if I were single). "The good ones are always taken" is a cliche for a reason. Also, seeing a guy interact sweetly with his significant other is appealing to some women, but that's not what's in question here.


Aero
Posted 08 November 2007 at 09:15 pm

Actually Salinger mentions this in many of his stories, the forbidden fruit so to speak. It is quite interesting, and I recommend for all.


SoxSweepAgain
Posted 08 November 2007 at 11:11 pm

djsteiniii said: "First!"

So what?


Anonymousx2
Posted 09 November 2007 at 03:50 am

ChrisW75 said: "I think a few people are missing the point here. This research does not show that people instinctively want what they can't have. What this shows is that what people want is actually influenced by what they see others getting. This isn't just about getting sexual partners, it's about what people want. And what people want is what everyone else has got.
This is exactly why we see ridiculous fashion trends taken up..."

I think that you will enjoy reading Mark Twain's "Corn-Pone Opinions." He shares your viewpoint.


Kao_Valin
Posted 09 November 2007 at 11:04 am

There is a difference between filling a functional need and fulfilling ones vanity. Gadgets, while sometimes vain, can perform various helpful time saving things for an individual. Fashion is normally quite vain as its a different coagulation of colors and fittings rather than functional adjustments for comfort and durability. Wanting the most functional items, be it clothing or gadgetry, speaks of survival to me.

By extention, seeing the functional reasons why one fish is better than the other can be animals being smart and going for function over form. They see one performing the function they find desirable and the fish all pounce. Of course I find it funny that the scientists are creating artificial studs in the fish world to live out their own island full of women fantasies. heh.


timtam
Posted 09 November 2007 at 12:21 pm

chrisw75 was right on about the entire concept of fashion/trends. there is more i would like to add as a piggy back onto that line of reasoning.

1. people often view things/events/places/other people through schemas. if the schema we have for Girl X in high school is that she is a good friend but not sexy, and then someone comes along who did not have that schema, finds her attractive and starts to date her, this may result in a change in our schema, now presenting her as a sexual being in our eyes. for the first time, we see her as being a potential mate to anyone, so why not ourselves. perhaps those to whom mates most frequently flock are merely perceived as being "sexy" simply because we have always been told they are.
take britney spears for example. when the girl was much younger, in fantastic shape and whatnot, she was still no more or less hot than the average college girl her age who worked out a lot and had adequate makeup/hairstyling. but she was hyped as being the sexiest thing that ever happened. somehow she became the standard of beauty, despite not really being all that unique anyway.

2. i don't think anyone has mentioned the possibility that there are other characteristics of the more popular mate choices that we are not considering, like confidence. perhaps being in a relationship makes people exude a confidence that they do not have when they are desperately desiring a mate. perhaps it's not the ring but the knowledge that you have someone at home already that makes one irresistable. i know i get more attention on days when i'm feeling hot than days when i feel bloaty or whatever, even though my actual appearance isn't strikingly different simply because my demeanor is more appealing.


Gerry Matlack
Posted 09 November 2007 at 02:59 pm

ChrisW75 said: "I think a few people are missing the point here. This research does not show that people instinctively want what they can't have. What this shows is that what people want is actually influenced by what they see others getting. This isn't just about getting sexual partners, it's about what people want. And what people want is what everyone else has got.

Right. To quote the work of the famous psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter:
"What does he DO?"
"He covets. What does he covet?"
"He covets what he sees."

It's also been observed behavior in captive iguanas that a pair will sometimes not breed until a second male has been introduced into the environment, even briefly. Make of that what you will.


Anonymousx2
Posted 09 November 2007 at 05:29 pm

"Non Sequitor," in addition to being a term loved by Spock and geeks, is the title of a comic strip. Interestingly enough, this week's strips have focused on exactly what we have been discussing: females want a male whom other females already have.

Click this: http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2007/11/05/?uc_full_date=&campid=OasDefault/eBay_SPG_Sel_1007_AUTO&
The link will take you to Mon 5 Nov 07.
Small warning: You will have to click on a couple of "sponsors." In my case, I clicked "Autos" and then "EBay." No junk email; just one pop-up, which has not returned.


another viewpoint
Posted 09 November 2007 at 05:40 pm

Gerry Matlack said: It's also been observed behavior in captive iguanas that a pair will sometimes not breed until a second male has been introduced into the environment, even briefly. Make of that what you will."

...well, sometimes, sadly enough...you just have to take the bull by the tail (or iguana as the case may be), and face the situation!


supercalafragalistic
Posted 09 November 2007 at 08:56 pm

What about the people who start these trends that everyone else follows? In Chicago where I live, the artists flock to neighborhoods with cheap rents, they make the area hip, and then the yuppies come and the rent goes up. The artists then leave and the whole process starts all over again. From the artist perspective once a Starbucks goes up in their neighborhood their bohemian urban utopia is officially ruined and they can't stomach it anymore. It's almost like they pride themselves on being different, and being like everyone else is uncool. From what I've observed over the years some artists hate it when people try to copy them because they see it as taking the easy way out and escaping the work that goes along with being a cultural trailblazer. They call the yuppies wannabes, and treat them with disdain. They could be flattered, but most choose not to be flattered. The artists are the outliers of society. I guess they make it easier for everyone else to figure out what to do. Some people lead, other people follow. If we all followed wouldn't we always be following the same thing all the time? If we all did nothing but follow then there would be no one to start these fashion trends and mate selecting trends. The attitude of such an outlier might be that they deisre to get attention drawn to them rather than blend in, or it could be that a switch has been turned off in their brain where they just don't care what other people think? Or their behavior could be shaped by their environment. For example, if a person got made fun of their entire childhood for being a geek maybe they just get used to being made fun of and don't care anymore and just do whatever the heck they want? I'm just throwing out ideas here, but something makes certain people, guppies, yuppies, etc. exhibit unique behavior that then gets copied.


Anonymousx2
Posted 10 November 2007 at 06:22 am

supercalafragalistic said: "..."

Super: From my perspective, artists who actively attempt to look different, etc. are still conformists; they are merely conforming to a different standard.

Basically, anyone who *consciously* attempts to be different has failed. The persons who *are* different in some aspect and are not *trying* to be different and are not even *aware* that they are different but *are* because of their inherent nature are the ones who have succeeded.

Being different is akin to being intelligent. Either you are or you are not, and no amount of attempting to "look" intelligent will help.

Super, thanks for a different topic to write about. I await your response.


wh44
Posted 10 November 2007 at 02:26 pm

Anonymousx2 said: "Super: From my perspective, artists who actively attempt to look different, etc. are still conformists; they are merely conforming to a different standard.

Basically, anyone who *consciously* attempts to be different has failed. The persons who *are* different in some aspect and are not *trying* to be different and are not even *aware* that they are different but *are* because of their inherent nature are the ones who have succeeded."

I have often noticed that I am different from others, sometimes rather acutely. Not because I do or don't want to be different, but rather because I do what I think is the logical/right/preferable thing to do.

According to your entry, I shouldn't be aware of the difference, or I'm a conformist anyway. Somehow, I don't think so. :-)

Being different is akin to being intelligent. Either you are or you are not, and no amount of attempting to "look" intelligent will help.

Attempting to "look" intelligent won't help, but there are exercises one can do to improve ones "mental muscles". I suspect reading DI doesn't hurt in that area either. ;-)

Your description of leaders vs. followers reminds me of an interesting novel I read a few years back. It had a recurring topic: leaders who were hard to distinguish from the followers. Written by Connie Willis, it was named after the sometimes difficult to find leader of sheep, the Bellwether (Amazon.com). I recommend it.


supercalafragalistic
Posted 10 November 2007 at 07:26 pm

wh44 said: "Written by Connie Willis, it was named after the sometimes difficult to find leader of sheep, the Bellwether (Amazon.com). I recommend it."

Cool-I'm always looking for new things to take a look at. I'll put this on my to read list.

Anonymousx2 said: "Basically, anyone who *consciously* attempts to be different has failed. The persons who *are* different in some aspect and are not *trying* to be different and are not even *aware* that they are different but *are* because of their inherent nature are the ones who have succeeded."

This gives me more stuff to ponder, and I hear you. I love interacting on these points and thinking about this stuff because it puts the part of my brain that loves analysis to work. I went to school for the arts and I got sick of everyone trying to be different because they all ended up doing the same things to try to be different. Either A) they were actually following and copying other "different people" and saying to themselves something like if I want to be branded as "different" then I need to look just like Marilyn Manson, or B) they were all inclined to be as different as possible, all decided to take on opposite characteristics from the norm and independently all arrived at the same conclusion, or C) a little of both. I don't know the answer.

However if we apply it to mating selection habits in guppies it would be like instead of going for the guppy that everyone else flocks to, the guppy would say: I'm going to go out there and find the opposite of that just for the sake of being different.

Then what would happen? Would a subset of guppies copy the opposite behavior and form their own guppy counter culture with their own alpha male, or would all guppies who are non-conformists independently seek their own guppy to mate with that was not the alpha partner?

I think this calls for some more fish experiments. Everyone get out your clipboards and lab coats. I think DI can take this one on. LOL! :)


supercalafragalistic
Posted 10 November 2007 at 07:38 pm

Jason, would it be possible to direct the appropriate guppy scientists to this web site so they can read your damn fabulous article along with our damn fantastic comments?


God
Posted 11 November 2007 at 12:31 pm

Wow I wonder if someone could find something like a "cure".That will bring interesting results.


HiEv
Posted 11 November 2007 at 09:29 pm

Kao_Valin said: "There is a difference between filling a functional need and fulfilling ones vanity. [..] Fashion is normally quite vain as its a different coagulation of colors and fittings rather than functional adjustments for comfort and durability. Wanting the most functional items, be it clothing or gadgetry, speaks of survival to me."

But fashion can be quite "functional" when it comes to attracting a mate. While it may seem "vain", showing you can afford fancy clothes is also a way you can show that you have some power, and beauty is a way of showing health, both of which help when attempting to attract a mate. For example, a male peacock's tail feathers may actually slow him down, but the display shows that the male is healthy, which attracts females, thus allowing him to reproduce. Remember, it's not just survival that's important in evolution, without reproduction survival means nothing.


Anonymousx2
Posted 12 November 2007 at 06:46 am

For yet one more perspective on the debate as to why a female might go after a male who is "taken," go to this site: http://postsecret.blogspot.com/.

Then, scroll down four postcards. The fourth postcard has a black-and-white photograph of a young woman with an extremely low-cut dress and fairly large breasts. Those, however, are not the reason (reasons?) why I am posting this. It's the words that appear on the postcard.


magkneetoe
Posted 12 November 2007 at 11:02 am

What is this rubbish that people are attempting to claim "last post". That seems exponentially more retarded than claiming "first!!" I don't get it.


haQpod
Posted 12 November 2007 at 03:10 pm

LAST!


magkneetoe
Posted 13 November 2007 at 06:26 am

haQpod said: "LAST!"

nope


Anonymousx2
Posted 13 November 2007 at 09:33 am

magkneetoe said: "What is this rubbish that people are attempting to claim "last post". That seems exponentially more retarded than claiming "first!!" I don't get it."

I am the one who started that little bit around three or four weeks ago. Just a touch of dry humor. Nothing mean, though, because I get a kick of watching those who like to post "First!" I understand that they are joking around and that they are doing it for fun.

At first, everyone seemed to understand the intent of my joke. Now, it seems as if I have inadvertently started another contest here in the Hallowed Halls of Geekdom. Such was not my intent. On the other hand, it can easily be that those who are posting "Last!" understand my joke completely and are doing it for some more fun. Whatever the case might be, it's still enjoyable to watch. Speaking completely on a personal level, life is hard enough for me as it is, and I like to see others having a good time, no matter what form it takes, as long as no one else is hurt.

Serious point, now, one that I hope does not offend you, but I must admit that I have deep convictions in this area.

You wrote the following: "...exponentially more retarded..." For some years now, I have been conducting a fairly lonely battle to eradicate the casual usage of "retarded" in social discourse because it is a discriminatory, prejudicial term. I am well aware that the overwhelming majority of persons who use that term mean no offense whatsoever to those who are indeed mentally retarded, but that does not make it acceptable.

I am sure that you are one of those enlightened persons who never uses racial epithets. You would never dream of calling an African-America a "n--," an Italian-American a "w--," a Jew a "h--," a Euro-American a "h--" or "c--," and on and on.

If anything, using a derogatory word with someone who is "normal" is not as heinous as is using "retarded." Those of us who are in the "normal" group can defend ourselves; a person who is truly retarded cannot. Indeed, one could most likely walk up to a retarded person, smile, and say nicely "My, you certainly are retarded, aren't you?" with no fear of reprisal. Even worse, the retarded person might smile and either agree or say thanks.

The history of all countries is written in blood, as everyone knows. African-Americans, Jews, Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, Asian-Americans, and others have all had to fight for fair treatment and for their natural human rights endowed by -- to quote Thomas Jefferson -- nature's God. Their fights for respect have all too often involved the shedding of their blood and, in too many cases, the loss of life.

Those who are mentally different cannot defend themselves. Usually, they are not aware that they, too, have natural human rights. I am not asking you or anyone to shed your blood for them; all I ask is that, at the very least, you refrain from using "retarded."

To some persons, my stand might seem extreme. So be it. I, on the other hand, think that the true hallmark of a civilized society is how well it takes care of those who cannot take care of themselves. The most fundamental aspect of that care that we as civilized persons should display is the judicious use of words because words, being the offspring of thought, are the first visible steps toward an action. We must take great caution to ensure that our words and concomitant actions are for the overall good of society because *all* actions have consequences.

Do my beliefs mean that I am against the First Amendment? Do they mean that I am throttled by blind adherence to "political correctness"? Far from it. However, the right of free speech carries with it great responsibility. Perhaps the exercise of free speech without the employment of careful thought tarnishes that very right.

I have one comment to make in closing. I encourage everyone to observe carefully not only your words but also those things at which you laugh. As we all know, few things are funny unless someone is hurt. Have you ever noticed how many jokes make horrendous fun of various ethnic groups and/or religious systems? What about sexist comments and so-called jokes? How many times have you laughed at jokes involving baldness, obesity, athletes, rednecks, nerds, geeks, ad nauseum? Perhaps our laughter reveals our hatreds, prejudices, fears, and inadequacies.


Andinov
Posted 13 November 2007 at 02:28 pm

And they call it guppy looovvve. Oh, I guess they'll never know ....

Great article as always Jason with your trademak style, keep up the good work.


wh44
Posted 13 November 2007 at 05:23 pm

Re Anonymousx: I don't mind if somebody posts "First!" or "Last!" - but I would never post either myself, because there are those who get annoyed when almost every article starts with "First!".

Anonymousx said: "Have you ever noticed how many jokes make horrendous fun of various ethnic groups and/or religious systems? What about sexist comments and so-called jokes? How many times have you laughed at jokes involving baldness, obesity, athletes, rednecks, nerds, geeks, ad nauseum? Perhaps our laughter reveals our hatreds, prejudices, fears, and inadequacies."

It all comes down to intent and audience. If it is all in fun, fine, but if it is mean spirited, hurtful or demeaning, then it is not okay.

How many Baha'is does it take to change a light bulb?
Ten: nine to consult and one to change it.


Spike
Posted 13 November 2007 at 09:42 pm

"So it seems there is some guppy in us and our mating techniques, though it's hard to say just how much. So far, only one practical application of the data has arisen: in the wild one might sometimes spy a guy in a white lab-coat brandishing a life-sized portrait of a woman's face that smiles toward him. Thanks to steady march of scientific progress, the fish-probing researcher of today just might be the ladies' man of tomorrow."
Probably the best summation and conclusion I have ever read. A very DI to you Jason. When it comes to mating techniques, I guess we're really not as complicated as we would like to think.
Let's hear it for doing what comes naturally!


orc_jr
Posted 13 November 2007 at 09:56 pm

Anonymousx2 said: "As we all know, few things are funny unless someone is hurt. Have you ever noticed how many jokes make horrendous fun of various ethnic groups and/or religious systems? What about sexist comments and so-called jokes?"

You'll forgive my unclear rambling, but to take an idea from the main character, Valentine Michael Smith, of Robert A. Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" (I don't know how to underline here), laughter is humanity's way of relieving pain. It's a fictional story, but as you yourself pointed out, the vast majority of things that people find funny are in some way hurtful to somebody. I want to be clear that I am not in any way refuting your idea that laughter reveals

our hatreds, prejudices, fears, and inadequacies.
, merely suggesting that perhaps it is a useful way to soothe those pains.


Tink
Posted 14 November 2007 at 05:41 am

In this age of "Polite-ticle Correctness" may I humbly suggest that there are worse things to deal with in life than name calling?

This non-issue has been beat about the head ad-nauseum in todays society. It seems that everyone has a feather on their shoulder, just awaiting the puff of insult to set them off into a tirade of "your a bigoted asshole!"

Pleeeze!

My home is refuge for 13 MR and MI people. We live as a family, and consist of one race, (human) and all the colors that humans come in. All of the residents are aware of their various disabilities, but more aware of the advantages of living in a "mad house" as we affectionatly call home, because of societies fear of the un-popular.

In one of the worst high crime areas of the city, we live in peace and quiet, 'cause no one messes with the "crazy" folks. LOL
(An interesting thought here; ours is the most popular house in the hood, come Halloween.)

:-)
Sure, insults fly occasionaly, as in any family, and the term retard or tard is heard as well as other variations of your a crazy ...! But this is not taken out of context, but viewed as a certain comfortable joi de vire(sp?) in that;
1. This person knows and loves me, and means no harm.
2. This person is frustrated with my lack of comprehension.
3.This person is comfortable enough in my love for them that they can say anything to me without fear of it being a friendship distroying moment.

So sad that the world can not get off this silly crap of so-n-so called me a so-n-so! What ever happened to "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." ?

Alas, it seems to have gotten lost with the death of common sense, right after the first lawsuit was filed for little Johnny's skint knee on that dangerous old black top playground of life.
Laughter used to be the best medicine, now it is concidered rude to find humor in our differances, and in some cases, down right dangerouse to ignore them.

Sigh.


Anonymousx2
Posted 14 November 2007 at 07:01 am

wh44 said: "It all comes down to intent and audience. If it is all in fun, fine, but if it is mean spirited, hurtful or demeaning, then it is not okay.
How many Baha'is does it take to change a light bulb?
Ten: nine to consult and one to change it."

Perhaps the Baha'i joke would be funny inside their own circle. I wonder how a Baha'i would react to it if it came from an outsider.

You have touched upon the key area of contention: How does one determine when everything is in fun and when it is not? Also, the preponderance of psychologists, sociologists, etc. maintain that no joke is ever completely innocent and "all in fun." Instead, they hold that jokes have a germ of truth inside them and that that truth is concerned with jealousy, fear, hatred, etc.

I cannot recall who said it, but one person stated "The whole intention of humor is to feel superior."


Anonymousx2
Posted 14 November 2007 at 07:11 am

orc_jr said: "You'll forgive my unclear rambling, but to take an idea from the main character, Valentine Michael Smith, of Robert A. Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" (I don't know how to underline here), laughter is humanity's way of relieving pain."

Thanks for bringing that back to my attention. I remember that Smith finally laughs when he goes to a zoo and sees a large monkey who becomes upset for some reason. The large monkey then hits a smaller monkey, the smaller monkey then hits an even smaller monkey, and the even smaller monkey found the smallest monkey to hit. At that point, Smith understands human humor and is able to laugh. I think that he also understands human nature.

However, I cannot recall Heinlein indicating that laughter is humankind's way of relieving pain. I will have to return to the novel and reread it. Thanks.

Hmm... Perhaps one of Heinlein's implied points is that, if this how humankind relieves pain, we are not all that advanced. Rather sad, isn't it, that we feel a relief of pain by laughing at others' misfortune or loss of status/respect?


Anonymousx2
Posted 14 November 2007 at 07:18 am

orc_jr said: "... Robert A. Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" ..."

Crud. I forgot to mention that I have read nearly everything that he has written. He's definitely first rate.

On a personal level, I get a kick out of the fact that, in one of the novels, he features one character who has my brother's first name and another character who has my family's last name. Both my brother's name and our family name are fairly rare.


Anonymousx2
Posted 14 November 2007 at 07:36 am

Tink said: "In this age of "Polite-ticle Correctness" may I humbly suggest that there are worse things to deal with in life than name calling?

This non-issue has been beat about the head ad-nauseum in todays society. It seems that everyone has a feather on their shoulder, just awaiting the puff of insult to set them off into a tirade of "your a bigoted asshole!"

Pleeeze!

My home is refuge for 13 MR and MI people. We live as a family, and consist of one race, (human) and all the colors that humans come in. All of the residents are aware of their various disabilities, but more aware of the advantages of living in a "mad house" as we affectionatly call home, because of societies fear of the un-popular.

In one of the worst high crime areas of the city, we live in peace and quiet, ’cause no one messes with the "crazy" folks. LOL

(An interesting thought here; ours is the most popular house in the hood, come Halloween.)

:-)

Sure, insults fly occasionaly, as in any family, and the term retard or tard is heard as well as other variations of your a crazy …! But this is not taken out of context, but viewed as a certain comfortable joi de vire(sp?) in that;

1. This person knows and loves me, and means no harm.

2. This person is frustrated with my lack of comprehension.

3.This person is comfortable enough in my love for them that they can say anything to me without fear of it being a friendship distroying moment.

So sad that the world can not get off this silly crap of so-n-so called me a so-n-so! What ever happened to "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." ?

Alas, it seems to have gotten lost with the death of common sense, right after the first lawsuit was filed for little Johnny's skint knee on that dangerous old black top playground of life.

Laughter used to be the best medicine, now it is concidered rude to find humor in our differances, and in some cases, down right dangerouse to ignore them.

Sigh."

Tink:

Good to hear from you again; it's been a while.

1. "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." I used to think that, too. Then, I realized that that line was meant to be a palliative, either said by those who were powerless or said by those who could not stop the suffering of the powerless. For me, this line is now correct: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will surely kill me."

2. I still stand by my thinking that thoughts and words are the progenitors of all actions, both good and bad. Would Columbine have happened if the elite kids had not harassed the "weird kids"? Perhaps, but I doubt it. I remember seeing the intense pain on the faces of the kids on the playground in elementary when they were being cruelly teased. More than a few of those kids became discipline problems and fighters later on. I also know adults who grew up in verbally abusive homes. They're still a mess.

3. It's one thing for someone within my group or family to use a pejorative term, and it's another for an outsider to use that term. In my own cultural group, we will occasionally use a term with each other that we don't want outsiders to use. With us, it's a term of inclusion, but we still don't use it often because of how outsiders have used it. When outsiders have used it, it has been used as a tool of power, a way to make us feel inferior and subservient.

Please notice that I have used "outsider" carefully and deliberately. My hope is that, by watching our words and actions carefully, we will completely lose the feeling of "insider" and "outsider." However, that cannot be accomplished without attention being paid to our words.

4. Tink, please don't answer this, but I am curious as to what ethnic and/or cultural group you belong. In my area of the country, I have found that the dominant ethnic and/or cultural group is the one that is expressing dismay about those who object to certain words and jokes. Perhaps it is because they are speaking from a position of power. Perhaps they feel their power being challenged a bit. On the other hand, perhaps you don't belong to a power group and are able to look past everything. If it is the latter, you have my respect, but I will still ask you to be careful with your words.

5. Noticing and discussing differences is one thing. Joking about them is another.

Thanks, Tink. I enjoyed reading your response.


Reaper
Posted 14 November 2007 at 10:45 am

In response to Anonymousx2,

If you watch South Park, they did a fine episode concerning this. In the show, there is a retarded kid named Timmy. He has a speech impediment in which he can only say his own name (it sounds like "timmiah"). He becomes the vocalist for a rock band, and everybody laughs at the display. However, there are those who decry the event as being derogatory toward the mentally disabled. When all is said and done, though, they finally realize Timmy himself is absolutely elated to be able to do something like that and make so many people laugh. What is so wrong about that?

The moral of the story is that the "PC movement" has gone too far. The SPIRIT of what is said and done is what matters, not the content. If someone intends to hurt another, no racial epithets are necessary to do so. So what about the epithets makes the cutting remark any worse? Yes, this means that the words don't amplify jokes, either. So what is their purpose? Convenience. "N word" is easier to say than black person, which is also easier to say than the currently appropriate nomenclature, "African American," which is stupidly ignorant of the heritage of most black people. The same can be said for most of these terms, whether they have been used -- even created -- for hate in the past or not. Surely all of the black artists who use the "n word" can't be racist against themselves, can they? It is just slang.

In the end, we need to acknowledge and diminish the power of our differences if we are to move ahead into a global culture. No more getting mad when someone makes a light hearted remark involving your race. No more getting mad when someone uses a slang term for someone's ethnicity. To get angry at these things only gives power to those who want to cause you harm.


Helazoid
Posted 14 November 2007 at 04:12 pm

Nona #30 said "It seems a overweight, unavailable girl (even if you don't know they're unavailable) is more attractive then a slim, single girl."

My wife and I had a 280lb friend married to a man that supposedly preferred larger women; however, I knew him at work as well. I'd catch him online looking at slim women, but when he was at a party and his wife wasn't there, he would always find the largest woman and start hitting on her. Its a perception thing. A larger woman is perceived to have lower self esteem, and thus an easy mark for a one night stand. If you want the attention, and don't care if 90% of the hits are from men not interested in you as a person, go ahead and gain the weight back, but if you can keep the weight off, you are more likely to find someone that will say you look lovely and mean it.

My wife also had a conman at work that was run out of town after smooth talking thousands of dollars off co-workers. The subset of co-workers he targeted just happened to be overweight ladies. But as I mentioned above, its a perception thing...not all overweight people have a self-esteem problem; incidentally, the ones I know that are personally confident also turned him away when he asked for loans, and the ones with problems couldn't say no.

Now if I had to equate these 2 guys to guppies, I would say they were the ones that couldn't find mates, so they adapted and found a way to get what they wanted by targeting larger women. Were they successfull because of the targets they chose? I think not. I think they were mainly successfull because they THOUGHT they figured out a way to get what they wanted, so they became more confident. Then their changes in body language, due to confidence, is what helped them to score. I got to see both men in action, and both were very attentive and had a huge smile.

To all those that wonder why they got more attention when they were taken, I'm willing to bet the difference was in your smile:)


Anonymousx2
Posted 14 November 2007 at 05:21 pm

Reaper said: "In response to Anonymousx2,

If you watch South Park, they did a fine episode concerning this. In the show, there is a retarded kid named Timmy. He has a speech impediment in which he can only say his own name (it sounds like "timmiah"). He becomes the vocalist for a rock band, and everybody laughs at the display. However, there are those who decry the event as being derogatory toward the mentally disabled. When all is said and done, though, they finally realize Timmy himself is absolutely elated to be able to do something like that and make so many people laugh. What is so wrong about that?

The moral of the story is that the "PC movement" has gone too far. The SPIRIT of what is said and done is what matters, not the content. If someone intends to hurt another, no racial epithets are necessary to do so. So what about the epithets makes the cutting remark any worse? Yes, this means that the words don't amplify jokes, either. So what is their purpose? Convenience. "N word" is easier to say than black person, which is also easier to say than the currently appropriate nomenclature, "African American," which is stupidly ignorant of the heritage of most black people. The same can be said for most of these terms, whether they have been used — even created — for hate in the past or not. Surely all of the black artists who use the "n word" can't be racist against themselves, can they? It is just slang.

In the end, we need to acknowledge and diminish the power of our differences if we are to move ahead into a global culture. No more getting mad when someone makes a light hearted remark involving your race. No more getting mad when someone uses a slang term for someone's ethnicity. To get angry at these things only gives power to those who want to cause you harm."

I used to think as you do, but I changed to my current perspective. Only time will tell what my perspective will be in the future.

Speaking of the future, I truly hope that I am far out of the mainstream and that the majority of the country is as you. But, to be honest, I am not sure that it is. One way to find out for certain if your statement,

"Surely all of the black artists who use the 'n word' can't be racist against themselves, can they? It is just slang,"
is for you to go by yourself to Watts, East LA, Central Detroit, Bronx, Queens, or Brooklyn and say "n--" to everyone you meet.

Please be sure to let us know what happens. I hope that you are right, but I fear that you are not.


Reaper
Posted 14 November 2007 at 09:49 pm

Oh, of course they'll get mad at it because they're "allowed" to. They're not really offended at it any more than the black women's basketball team was when Don Imus called them a group of nappy headed hoes. It is just that the girl's basketball team wasn't a comprised of people looking for a reason to be angry at someone.

BTW -- and I know this is cliche -- I do have a black(ish) friend around whom I make racist jokes all the time. He gets a laugh out of it ;) Shoot, I make fat jokes around my fat friends, too (I'm overweight, too, if it matters). That actually made another idea occur to me. People are probably only insulted by stuff like that in extraordinarily rare situations. They just see it as a means to garner pity/acknowledgment/money/what have you. I obviously can't speak for everybody, but based on what I've seen that is what I choose to believe~


Anonymousx2
Posted 15 November 2007 at 03:42 am

Reaper said: "Oh, of course they'll get mad at it because they're "allowed" to. They're not really offended at it any more than the black women's basketball team was when Don Imus called them a group of nappy headed hoes. It is just that the girl's basketball team wasn't a comprised of people looking for a reason to be angry at someone.

BTW — and I know this is cliche — I do have a black(ish) friend around whom I make racist jokes all the time. He gets a laugh out of it ;) Shoot, I make fat jokes around my fat friends, too (I'm overweight, too, if it matters). That actually made another idea occur to me. People are probably only insulted by stuff like that in extraordinarily rare situations. They just see it as a means to garner pity/acknowledgment/money/what have you. I obviously can't speak for everybody, but based on what I've seen that is what I choose to believe~"

I hope that you are completely correct and that it is just not what you have chosen to believe. If it is the former, perhaps there is hope for us, after all.


magkneetoe
Posted 15 November 2007 at 07:27 am

Anonymousx2,
If you are infact the person who started the "Last", you have now perplexed me two times now. By using the "r" word (not to offend you again), I did not mean any malevolence toward anyone and especially you or anyone else who could be classified as such. I was simply commenting that it is silly for someone to attempt to claim "Last" when there is absolutely no assurance that it will remain as such. In life, I have found, being easily offended, can actually cause more animosity towards the entire subject than the original slang or unintentional offense. I understand that you can get some uncomfortable bunching in the undergarments when you are up on a tall stallion, but hopefully you can learn to not be so easily offended. I believe you will find your life more enjoyable.


Reaper
Posted 15 November 2007 at 08:05 am

magkneetoe said: "In life, I have found, being easily offended, can actually cause more animosity towards the entire subject than the original slang or unintentional offense."

And that sums it up pretty nicely in a way that I have repeatedly managed to fail to do!


TheChickenDuck
Posted 15 November 2007 at 11:37 am

I have to say, Anonymousx2 raises a good point. It's hard to imagine what a lifetime of 'taking' little jibes, laughing along because you don't want to seem uptight, and going with the flow will do unless you've experienced it. As an example, I had a German friend explode one night, completely unexpectedly, when someone had just made a typical minor dig that many of us had made before about how terrible the Germans' treatment of the Jews was during WWII. Ha-ha, very funny, those Germans sure are a messed up bunch. Then we got a lecture for about 20 minutes about our human rights records over here. Oops. Guess we finally hit a nerve. Made me rethink things too, as Anoymousx2 mentioned.

Reaper - think about if you'd eventually find it tiresome if people always addressed you as "Heavy White American Guy." What if people you barely know asked you to comment on "How you heavy White Americans" feel on certain issues, as if you could talk for a whole group? And if people at parties told jokes about how heavy white Americans just love their fast food and do and say such silly things because of it, ha-ha. I know after a while those things would bug the hell out of me.

I agree it's best to not let insults get under your skin, and I think magkneetoe is right (and put in a pretty humorous way - good one!) that a bad reaction can escalate the problem rather than help. But we all can help by trying not to make insults in the first place. So, do you want to be part of the solution or part of the problem?


Reaper
Posted 15 November 2007 at 02:23 pm

TheChickenDuck said: "Reaper - think about if you'd eventually find it tiresome if people always addressed you as "Heavy White American Guy." What if people you barely know asked you to comment on "How you heavy White Americans" feel on certain issues, as if you could talk for a whole group? And if people at parties told jokes about how heavy white Americans just love their fast food and do and say such silly things because of it, ha-ha. I know after a while those things would bug the hell out of me."

Truth be told, I do. Not in real life, mind you, but in internet circles I see people berating America all the time. And there was a time when I did care.

Back when Bush was first elected, I was just getting into politics. As you know, Bush was never very well received, but I aligned myself with him and the Republican party. Back then (as if it isn't this way now), you couldn't turn your head without people issuing both low and high blows against his administration. I let those insults get to me, and I defended him. However, as things progressed, I found myself aligning with him on issues with which I truly disagreed. I was taking all of these broad, generic insults against my beliefs as personal attacks against my intellect (which they were), which caused me to further entrench myself into viewpoints that I didn't entirely agree with out of spite for "the other side" attacking me so. I also managed to get into some virulent verbal warfare because of this.

Fortunately, I realized what was going on and put a prompt stop to it. Almost overnight I was able to discuss issues in a much more detached and tactful manner, and I touted my own opinion and beliefs, not that of the party line. All I had to do was stop caring. I still have to tell myself that I don't care from time to time, but by God, that is all it takes. And now I'm an infinitely happier and more mature than I was before this realization.

This translates into all aspects of being offended by words. If you care, it is your fault. If we hold the speakers accountable for such trivial matters, there's no end to what we can render taboo on the same basis. Mind you, as I said before it is the spirit what matters. If someone says something with the intent to hurt, by all means, hold him accountable. There's no point in getting offended, but at the same time he needs to be shown that there is already too much hate in the world. There's no room for more.

I'm either close to or already rambling, so I'll stop for now :3


Mike0ne
Posted 15 November 2007 at 03:57 pm

In response to Anonymousx2,

"exponentially more retarded"

Retarded is used as an adjective, if you substitute the racial epithets you compared, the sentence would not make sense. That alone makes a large portion of your premise invalid.

The definition of the word retard - To cause to move or proceed slowly; delay or impede. It Aptly describes the learning ability of mentally retarded people, but it also describes many other things.

The real issue here is you're automatic association of the word "retarded" to mentally retarded people. Side note - "Mentally retarded" is an appropriate description, it's not derogatory, they are literally mentally retarded.

You being oversensitive, dramatic, and trying to force your personal brand of PC garbage on others is truly offensive, arrogant, and pompous. Stop playing the victim. Think for yourself.


Anonymousx2
Posted 16 November 2007 at 06:33 pm

magkneetoe said: "Anonymousx2,

If you are infact the person who started the "Last", you have now perplexed me two times now. By using the "r" word (not to offend you again), I did not mean any malevolence toward anyone and especially you or anyone else who could be classified as such. I was simply commenting that it is silly for someone to attempt to claim "Last" when there is absolutely no assurance that it will remain as such. In life, I have found, being easily offended, can actually cause more animosity towards the entire subject than the original slang or unintentional offense. I understand that you can get some uncomfortable bunching in the undergarments when you are up on a tall stallion, but hopefully you can learn to not be so easily offended. I believe you will find your life more enjoyable."

Please go back to reread all of my comments. You should see that I am not offended at all. I am speaking of being considerate of others, especially those who cannot defend themselves.


Anonymousx2
Posted 16 November 2007 at 06:53 pm

TheChickenDuck said: Then we got a lecture for about 20 minutes about our human rights records over here."

Thanks for your comments, especially about our record on human rights.

In regard to solution or problem, I agree with you. I think that another step toward world peace (which I know will never be achieved, but it's worth the struggle still) is not that of developing a less sensitive skin but is instead that of developing a more sensitive mind so that others will not need a less sensitive skin.

This thought just now occurred to me: I wonder how many people in our society who think that everyone just needs to stop worrying about the words we use also call themselves believers in a god that loves its creatures? Maybe none. Maybe some. Maybe a bunch.


Anonymousx2
Posted 16 November 2007 at 06:58 pm

Mike0ne said: "In response to Anonymousx2,

"exponentially more retarded"

Retarded is used as an adjective, if you substitute the racial epithets you compared, the sentence would not make sense. That alone makes a large portion of your premise invalid.

The definition of the word retard - To cause to move or proceed slowly; delay or impede. It Aptly describes the learning ability of mentally retarded people, but it also describes many other things.

The real issue here is you're automatic association of the word "retarded" to mentally retarded people. Side note - "Mentally retarded" is an appropriate description, it's not derogatory, they are literally mentally retarded.

You being oversensitive, dramatic, and trying to force your personal brand of PC garbage on others is truly offensive, arrogant, and pompous. Stop playing the victim. Think for yourself."

I find your comments to be highly interesting, especially because I have never once tried to force anything on anybody. I presented my ideas and asked for an exchange of opinions, which is what has occurred and has been extremely enlightening. I do not, though, understand "Stop playing the victim." Can you explain that?

In regard to your first comments, please look up information about Plato, Socrates, the Sophists, and sophistry.


Anonymousx2
Posted 16 November 2007 at 08:28 pm

Mike0ne said: "In response to Anonymousx2,

"exponentially more retarded"

Retarded is used as an adjective, if you substitute the racial epithets you compared, the sentence would not make sense. That alone makes a large portion of your premise invalid.

The definition of the word retard - To cause to move or proceed slowly; delay or impede. It Aptly describes the learning ability of mentally retarded people, but it also describes many other things.

The real issue here is you're automatic association of the word "retarded" to mentally retarded people. Side note - "Mentally retarded" is an appropriate description, it's not derogatory, they are literally mentally retarded.

You being oversensitive, dramatic, and trying to force your personal brand of PC garbage on others is truly offensive, arrogant, and pompous. Stop playing the victim. Think for yourself."

Forgot three items.

I do think for myself. Otherwise, I would have gone along with the rising tide on this issue.

Also, you were fairly strong in your tone and in your word choice. Being so in a blog is fairly easy. How well do you do the same in a room with real people who disagree with you, especially when they are bigger than you? Does your behavior change? If it does, that's okay. Blogs provide a valuable, safe outlet for pent-up rage and hostility, at least for the writer. If your behavior doesn't change, you have my respect, especially if the other people are considerably bigger and more physically violent than you are, but you refuse to change your behavior and refuse to recant your opinions.

You find an exchange of opinions in a calm, rational manner to be offensive? If you are serious, your thinking baffles me.


supercalafragalistic
Posted 16 November 2007 at 11:20 pm

Helazoid - I enjoy your thoughts on how non ideal members of the population conspire to still get what they want via other strategies. You totally inspired me to go out and buy a book on self confidence just for good measure. :)

Anonymousx2 - I'm intrigued by your intense insights because it makes me wonder about how people go about establishing social hierarchies? It seems to me that people might do this without really considering what they are doing and they want to categorize everyone in the rankings of some sort of social ladder. Does it seem that way to you in general on a high level? I'd be interested in your opinion because it might influence mine as well. As far as the article is concerned it was all about how these fish select mates and how that may or may not be similar to people. Guppies may have a social hierarchy but it's pretty unlikely, wouldn't you say? It kind of seems like in some ways though the fish have some sort of pecking order though, doesn't it? What intrigues me about your comments and the article as well is that they made me think about the possibility that perhaps other people insult and put down others as an unconscious attempt to elevate themselves on a social hierarchal level and as a result increase their chances for successful mating. I'd be curious as to anyone's thoughts on this. I've seen women compete with each other for men and it can get fierce.


Tink
Posted 17 November 2007 at 02:54 am

TheChickenDuck said:..."Reaper - think about if you'd eventually find it tiresome if people always addressed you as "Heavy White American Guy." What if people you barely know asked you to comment on "How you heavy White Americans" feel on certain issues, as if you could talk for a whole group? And if people at parties told jokes about how heavy white Americans just love their fast food and do and say such silly things because of it, ha-ha. I know after a while those things would bug the hell out of me..."

LOL, I love how this topic has evolved!
They are called redneck jokes, and yes they are as funny as any other to those with a sense of humor....You might be a redneck if you find yourself debateing PC with strangers @ 3:AM on a blog site where the original topic was about fish f*ing.

Try to forgive me , I can't help myself...

Did any one read the Yahoo news story about some folks warning the Santa Clause's to not use the term HO,HO,HO any more? They worried some "ladies" might find it offensive.

Too lazy to look up the link now, may post it later; after I go eats me a family favorite cassaroll made with, lox-n-bagels, boiled potatoes, sourkrout-n-sausage, kim chi, fried chicken, linguini, and topped with American cheese and truffels.
Then wash it all down with a cool drink my father invented called "Whos your Daddy": It's made with, sangria, whisky, scotch, burbon,tequila, champagne, carrot juice and Coors light.
Ok, I promise to stop now.

;-P


Anonymousx2
Posted 17 November 2007 at 06:33 am

Tink said: "Did any one read the Yahoo news story about some folks warning the Santa Clause's to not use the term HO,HO,HO any more?"

Hello, Tink. I did not read about it, but I heard about it on a radio station's news broadcast. According to the news reader, the story comes from Australia, and someone was afraid that "Ho, ho, ho" might be offensive to all women. The Santas have been instructed to use "Ha, ha, ha," instead. Somehow, the news reader managed to go through his script without breaking into gales of laughter. Enviable self-control, I think.

By the way, Tink, I have a question about your DI screenname. Is it meant to be a reference to James Matthew Barrie's "Peter Pan," William Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream," another work of literature, or something else altogether?


Anonymousx2
Posted 17 November 2007 at 07:04 am

supercalafragalistic said: "Helazoid - I enjoy your thoughts on how non ideal members of the population conspire to still get what they want via other strategies. You totally inspired me to go out and buy a book on self confidence just for good measure. :)

Anonymousx2 - I'm intrigued by your intense insights because it makes me wonder about how people go about establishing social hierarchies? It seems to me that people might do this without really considering what they are doing and they want to categorize everyone in the rankings of some sort of social ladder. Does it seem that way to you in general on a high level? I'd be interested in your opinion because it might influence mine as well. As far as the article is concerned it was all about how these fish select mates and how that may or may not be similar to people. Guppies may have a social hierarchy but it's pretty unlikely, wouldn't you say? It kind of seems like in some ways though the fish have some sort of pecking order though, doesn't it? What intrigues me about your comments and the article as well is that they made me think about the possibility that perhaps other people insult and put down others as an unconscious attempt to elevate themselves on a social hierarchal level and as a result increase their chances for successful mating. I'd be curious as to anyone's thoughts on this. I've seen women compete with each other for men and it can get fierce."

Thank you for your kind words. They mean a great deal to me because I share the same opinion of your postings. I have found them always to be well written, thorough, logical, and thought provoking, commodities that are in short supply in this "Let's-fight-like-starving-jackals-talk-show" era. The name-calling, screaming crud on television and radio that is accepted as real debate... good grief.

From my own perspective, it seems that all societies, both formal and informal, definitely have hierarchies. It is nowhere clearer than in an elementary and/or middle school classroom. There, the lines are starkly drawn, and everyone knows exactly in which stratum someone else lives, a social classification that, by and large, seems to last for the person's life, much as it did in the old caste system of India (supposedly, the caste system was abolished, but that is a matter of some dispute).

I also think that the elementary/middle school classroom demonstrates the basic foundation for all societal hierarchies: power. It might be physical power, it might be financial power, it might be intellectual power. In all hierarchies, though, one can usually see the one who is not at the top of the heap, and he/she badly wants to be. This person, however, frequently lacks enough physical, financial, or intellectual power to assume the highest position, and he/she turns to humor as his/her way of attempting to upset the hierarchy, to be the gadfly. His/her cutting sarcasm - wisely, never quite sharp enough to evoke a physical response from those around him/her - is his/her way of attempting to bring down those who are clearly superior to his/her level because he/she will never be able to be superior based on his/her own merits. The joker is well aware that he/she is seen for what he/she is: a clown. He/she is also aware that his/her presence in the group is most often one of toleration, not full acceptance, but also as long as he/she does not go too far in attacking those in the inner group. The joker is better off making fun of everyone else, providing a laugh for those in the inner group. The joker, of course, rarely attracts the most desirable mates because everyone else can see the joker's true station in life. Oh, sure, the joker of an elite group will still fare better than anyone else in one of America's "untouchable" classes, but he/she will rarely rise to the top level of power.

From what I have read and seen, such seems to happen in all animal groups, too. We all know about wolf and dog packs, but the same ranking phenomenon has been seen in chickens (!), cattle, simians (of course), horses, lions, whales, and on and on.

Among humans in their groups, the first device that we use to begin establishing a hierarchy is language. We use it to include or exclude, heal or harm, sustain or destroy. After that, we become fairly barbaric, even though our tools -- atomic weapons, for example -- are more effective than swords or clubs.


wh44
Posted 17 November 2007 at 10:20 am

Re: Hierarchies, supercalafragalistic / Anonymousx2:

I must say, some of these insights are rather depressing - I hate hierarchies. In school I was almost always the smallest and bottom of the totem pole, although currently I am a bit over average height.

In just about any social situation I am very self-confident. When I encounter new people, this has often led to "hierarchy seeking" from others: people trying to ingratiate themselves, become members of my in-group, women "making eyes" at me, or, men trying to challenge the authority I am not claiming, while others expect me to "lay down the law".

For years this curious behavior was very confusing to me - I had never experienced the other end of the spectrum. My own inclinations and behavior are antithetical to hierarchy seeking: I will challenge anyone who tries to exert undue authority, but do not exert authority myself - I like to seek an enlightened consensus, and will discuss anything interesting with anyone - not just an "in group". I am also already 'taken', so I ignore the "making eyes".

I'm not really headed anywhere with this, except perhaps to add my two cents and say that, yes, many people do seek hierarchies, but not everyone - myself being a notable exception.


Tink
Posted 17 November 2007 at 06:06 pm

Anonymousx2 said: "Hello, Tink. ...By the way, Tink, I have a question about your DI screenname. Is it meant to be a reference to James Matthew Barrie's "Peter Pan," William Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream," another work of literature, or something else altogether?"

This is a bit too personal a question for my comfort level, but the honest answer is, it is my natural nickname.
I have been called Tink by family and friends from childhood.

Upon discovering the DI! website a couple of years ago, I was very excited to share it with my peers, and because of Alans steadfast determination to not allow ads or spiders, etc. I felt comfortable enough to use a moniker that my nearest would recognise when they popped in to check it out.

Now may I ask why you choose to remain Anonymousx2?

My first assumption, (and yes I know all about the Felix Unger definition of assume, lol) was that perhaps these theoretical questions that you post were a veiled attempt to learn how and why people here reacted in a negative way to previous less passive, more aggressive posts, under other names x2.

But then as mentioned before, I am surrounded with [strike]several anal retentive[/strike] many unique personalitys 24/7,and have observed many types of abberations in said personalities, so perhaps, am unusually hyper-sensitive, to real or imagined subtle nuances of a dig covered with syrup, than say , the next guy.

Am most assuredly aware of the feather on my own shoulder, where it often feels like the weight of the world sits in a precariously balanced suspended animation.

(Am covering my ears now and singing La-la-la... ;X )


Anonymousx2
Posted 17 November 2007 at 06:53 pm

wh44 said: "Re: Hierarchies, supercalafragalistic / Anonymousx2:

I must say, some of these insights are rather depressing - I hate hierarchies. In school I was almost always the smallest and bottom of the totem pole, although currently I am a bit over average height.

In just about any social situation I am very self-confident. When I encounter new people, this has often led to "hierarchy seeking" from others: people trying to ingratiate themselves, become members of my in-group, women "making eyes" at me, or, men trying to challenge the authority I am not claiming, while others expect me to "lay down the law".

For years this curious behavior was very confusing to me - I had never experienced the other end of the spectrum. My own inclinations and behavior are antithetical to hierarchy seeking: I will challenge anyone who tries to exert undue authority, but do not exert authority myself - I like to seek an enlightened consensus, and will discuss anything interesting with anyone - not just an "in group". I am also already 'taken', so I ignore the "making eyes".

I'm not really headed anywhere with this, except perhaps to add my two cents and say that, yes, many people do seek hierarchies, but not everyone - myself being a notable exception."

Either you are my separated-at-birth twin, or I am your unknown clone.


Anonymousx2
Posted 17 November 2007 at 07:03 pm

Tink said: "This is a bit too personal a question for my comfort level, but the honest answer is, it is my natural nickname.

I have been called Tink by family and friends from childhood.

Upon discovering the DI! website a couple of years ago, I was very excited to share it with my peers, and because of Alans steadfast determination to not allow ads or spiders, etc. I felt comfortable enough to use a moniker that my nearest would recognise when they popped in to check it out.

Now may I ask why you choose to remain Anonymousx2?

My first assumption, (and yes I know all about the Felix Unger definition of assume, lol) was that perhaps these theoretical questions that you post were a veiled attempt to learn how and why people here reacted in a negative way to previous less passive, more aggressive posts, under other names x2.

But then as mentioned before, I am surrounded with [strike]several anal retentive[/strike] many unique personalitys 24/7,and have observed many types of abberations in said personalities, so perhaps, am unusually hyper-sensitive, to real or imagined subtle nuances of a dig covered with syrup, than say , the next guy.

Am most assuredly aware of the feather on my own shoulder, where it often feels like the weight of the world sits in a precariously balanced suspended animation.

(Am covering my ears now and singing La-la-la… ;X )"

First, please accept my apologies about making you feel uncomfortable; that was not my intention because it never occurred to me that "Tink" is your actual nickname. I thank you for answering. You could have easily ignored it.

In regard to my screen name, you assume correctly: I do not want anyone to know anything about me except what I leave here in this ephemeral dimension.

Part of the reason is this: Marshall MacLuhan's observation that the medium is the message and Neil Postman's refinement of his teacher's dictum that the medium is the metaphor.

As much as is possible, I want anyone who reads my words to focus on the message only and not the medium. In addition to the technology that a writer uses, the writer him/herself is a medium, and I want the medium of myself to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Imagine, if you will, the disembodied brains called the Cogitors in Brian Herbert's "prequels" to his father's "Dune" series. The Cogitors wanted to exist as much as was possible in the dimension of thought, unimpeded by physical impediments.

That is my goal here, too. I like to imagine each of us as a Cogitor.


Anonymousx2
Posted 17 November 2007 at 07:11 pm

Time for a final comment about humor, I think. Most participants seemed to have given up the ghost in this DI area. On the other hand, it might spur more discussion. We will see.

A couple of years ago, one of my friends had a teacher who said, "I find it curious that the shortest line in the Bible is NOT 'Jesus laughed.'"

This caught my attention, and I spoke to a minister about it. He said that he imagined that Jesus laughed and loved life, just as any other normal person in that day. He added, though, that the omission of Jesus' laughter in the Gospels is indicative of his loving, forgiving nature. His final comment was that "Jesus wept" is more in keeping with the character of Jesus that is presented in the Gospels, whereas "Jesus laughed" is not.


Anonymousx2
Posted 18 November 2007 at 09:28 am

Well, I guess that I couldn't leave completely without one last post, one that I have always found to be extremely troubling because it seems to be true in many places on Earth. It comes from chapter three, book three, of the late George Orwell's "1984." I think that it explains in all-too-stark relief the fundamental impetus of building any social hierarchy. I know but little html, but I will try my hand at bolding a couple of key lines. If it doesn't work, you'll still be able to see the areas that I think are most important. (It looks fine in the preview pane.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Winston shrank back upon the bed. Whatever he said, the swift answer crushed him like a bludgeon. And yet he knew, he knew, that he was in the right. The belief that nothing exists outside your own mind -- surely there must be some way of demonstrating that it was false? Had it not been exposed long ago as a fallacy? There was even a name for it, which he had forgotten. A faint smile twitched the corners of O'Brien's mouth as he looked down at him.

'I told you, Winston,' he said, 'that metaphysics is not your strong point. The word you are trying to think of is solipsism. But you are mistaken. This is not solipsism. Collective solipsism, if you like. But that is a different thing: in fact, the opposite thing. All this is a digression,' he added in a different tone. 'The real power, the power we have to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but over men.' He paused, and for a moment assumed again his air of a schoolmaster questioning a promising pupil: 'How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?'

Winston thought. 'By making him suffer,' he said.

'Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery is torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always -- do not forget this, Winston -- always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever.'

He paused as though he expected Winston to speak. Winston had tried to shrink back into the surface of the bed again. He could not say anything. His heart seemed to be frozen. O'Brien went on:

'And remember that it is for ever. The face will always be there to be stamped upon. The heretic, the enemy of society, will always be there, so that he can be defeated and humiliated over again. Everything that you have undergone since you have been in our hands -- all that will continue, and worse. The espionage, the betrayals, the arrests, the tortures, the executions, the disappearances will never cease. It will be a world of terror as much as a world of triumph. The more the Party is powerful, the less it will be tolerant: the weaker the opposition, the tighter the despotism. Goldstein and his heresies will live for ever. Every day, at every moment, they will be defeated, discredited, ridiculed, spat upon and yet they will always survive. This drama that I have played out with you during seven years will be played out over and over again generation after generation, always in subtler forms. Always we shall have the heretic here at our mercy, screaming with pain, broken up, contemptible -- and in the end utterly penitent, saved from himself, crawling to our feet of his own accord. That is the world that we are preparing, Winston. A world of victory after victory, triumph after triumph after triumph: an endless pressing, pressing, pressing upon the nerve of power. You are beginning, I can see, to realize what that world will be like. But in the end you will do more than understand it. You will accept it, welcome it, become part of it.'


Anonymousx2
Posted 18 November 2007 at 09:46 am

wh44 said: "Re: Hierarchies, supercalafragalistic / Anonymousx2: I must say, some of these insights are rather depressing - "

The truth shall set you free, but first it's going to hurt.

I'm not claiming that anything that I ever write is the truth; I just like the quote, and your comment brought it back to the front of my mind. In my case, though, that quote was incredibly true. Some singer from years ago had a song called Seventeen, and one of the lines was At seventeen, I learned the truth. I began to see the various truths in third grade, and each apocalypse was an armageddon.

Today, I am a part of the army of the walking wounded, but I prefer that over being a True Believer. Such persons scare me.


vicsailgarden
Posted 18 November 2007 at 11:44 am

Weird Al Yankovich ... where are you?

And they called it guppy lo-o-o-ove ....


Jeffrey93
Posted 18 November 2007 at 11:21 pm

MonkeyBones said: "People generally want what they can't have."

If we didn't we'd be complete morons, why would we want something we can have? The 'want' wouldn't last very long since whatever we 'want' is attainable. I 'want' more money...why? Because I can't just 'have' it.
A woman can 'have' a man that is married, just not immediately. Similar to me and more money, they would both take time to get.
People want things that they can't readily have, because things that you can readily have you simply get, no extended wanting required. I 'want' Taco Bell, so I go get it...done. No more wanting. We want things that we need to want for a while before we can get.
Nobody wants something that they literally can't have, if you do you are a fool. What would the point be in wanting something that is impossible to attain? Just like what is the point in wanting something that is easily attainable?
We want things that we can't immediately have.
Women 'want' married men because they have proven several things already, they are attainble but not readily (shouldn't be anyway).
Put simply, I 'want' a car that has been tested and proven to be a high quality car. I might take a sexy looking prototype car that is untested and unproven though. It just means I'll have to put the car through it's paces myself and then judge whether I want to keep it, the proven car (married man) means somebody else has put it through it's paces and judged it to be worthy.
I actually knew a couple guys that wore wedding rings out to the bar even though they were no longer married, they claimed it helped them 'pick-up'.


supercalafragalistic
Posted 19 November 2007 at 12:01 am

vicsailgarden said: "Weird Al Yankovich … where are you?

And they called it guppy lo-o-o-ove …."

Please allow me to show my truly geeky side and answer your question:
http://www.weirdal.com/
Personally, he is not the same since he shaved off his 'stache and got rid of the glasses....


tech42er
Posted 24 November 2007 at 07:24 pm

supercalafragalistic said: "Please allow me to show my truly geeky side and answer your question:

http://www.weirdal.com/

Personally, he is not the same since he shaved off his 'stache and got rid of the glasses…."

I don't know about that. He's a little less physically "quirky", I guess, but he still makes great music. "White and Nerdy" was great.

Regarding your observations on bohemian artists and yuppies, you're absolutely right. And one can consciously become different, though one can never consciously become intelligent. Even if it's conforming, it is different from the "mainstream".


JM
Posted 22 January 2008 at 01:54 pm

Ok, seeing as how the last post was in November, I doubt anyone will be reading this, but I had to add my two cents. Going back to the *original* subject of this article (before we got distracted by what is and isn't PC and whatnot), why is it that no one else has suggested that the reason that women are often attracted to "taken" men, is that the men are taken for a reason (i.e. that they are more attractive/desirable/whatever). I really think this is a better explanation in most, if not all cases. And frankly, I think the "people hit on me more when I'm not available" thing is largely in people's minds. Maybe you just tend to notice it more because you can't (or shouldn't) respond to advances when you are involved with someone.

Basically, what I think is that if a guy (guy #1) is a big loser, has no social skills, no hygiene, or whatever, he is much less likely to be in a relationship. Also, despite his single status, women are much less likely to hit on him or pursue him. If a guy (guy #2) is good-looking, has a nice body, is funny, witty, intelligent, well educated, employed, rich, he is most likely going to be in a relationship. (Isn't that what women say? "all the good ones are either taken or gay") Because he can actually *get* a girl, unlike the other guy. And who wants to be single forever? However, these attributes are also going to attract other women. And who would be over flirting with guy #1, who is probably also extremely annoying and overbearing to any girl that will give him the time of day, when they could be talking to guy #2, wedding ring or no? Also, when guy #2 does happen to break up, you can bet it won't last long if he is looking to get into another relationship. It will be a lot easier for him than guy #1.

I personally think this is a much better explanation than the cliche "we always want what we can't have" that everyone has been throwing around. If you put two equally attractive, successful, intelligent, funny guys together and one was single and one wasn't, I will bet you that the single one would be getting more attention than the married one. But then, he also probably wouldn't stay single for very long.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 25 March 2009 at 01:49 am

Jeffrey93 said: "A woman can 'have' a man that is married, just not immediately. Similar to me and more money, they would both take time to get.
...
We want things that we can't immediately have.
Women 'want' married men because they have proven several things already, they are attainble but not readily (shouldn't be anyway)
...
Put simply, I 'want' a car that has been tested and proven to be a high quality car. I might take a sexy looking prototype car that is untested and unproven though. It just means I'll have to put the car through it's paces myself and then judge whether I want to keep it, the proven car (married man) means somebody else has put it through it's paces and judged it to be worthy."

I don't think your analogy holds firm for either cars or relationships.
People buy used cars, because they are much cheaper than new ones. Given the choice between a used and a new car for the same price, I don't think anyone would choose the used one.
Regarding relationships... Well, I can only speak for myself, but I've never been interested in "taken" women at all. For one thing there is this pesky honour thing, but even if I leave that aside: even if I were successful in winning her away from her current boyfriend, how could I ever trust her not to leave me for the next best guy? She has already proven she's capable of it. For me trust is the necessary foundation for every relationship, and it would be very hard to build trust in such a relationship.


Chitach
Posted 11 March 2010 at 09:56 am

Here is this article in Russian: http://chitach.ru/posts/3/


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