Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Commentary on The Inefficiency Of Love

The Old Baguette has given me 6 points to chew on.  I shall try to address each point.  Alas the length of my extensive bull slinging will not accommodate the brevity allowed in comments.  So this is not a post per se but a reply to Old Baguette’s comment in the previous post, The Inefficiency of Love.  Here is the thread of previous comments:


Old Baguette said:

Do you suppose the author Sax believes his name on the book jacket is a misprint? Do you suppose that he believes he is Sex, not Sax? As for his ideas .... Each one sux.

Sextant said:

I think you are confusing Dr Sex with SEXtant. I am the one preoccupied with sex, not Sax. Sex was a relatively small portion of the book. As far as Sax's ideas sux, I thought he had some very good suggestions. Allowing pre-puberty girls to be girls and not dressed like their ready for a one night stand seemed sensible to me. He tries to impart the idea that modern girls need to develop a strong interior personality independent of celebrity and pressures of Facebook. Don't confuse Sax with my first two sex posts here. He had nothing to do with the articles in the Atlantic, other than being a source for alcohol abuse in Flanagan's article. What Sax seemed to push more than anything else is to allow children to be children like you and I were children and not be pushed by technology and extreme meritocracy into something they are not way ahead of when they are ready for such pressures. I thought his book on boys is very good as well. Again sexual issues are a small part of the books, its Dr. SEXtant whose ideas probably sux. I welcome more comment on this.

An Old Baguette said...
1. The 2010 census will shed light on this issue. Perhaps.
2. Information about how the Atlantic is selling these days will indicate whether or not they feel they must print titillating articles to acquire readers. Perhaps.
3. Comments by teenagers should be informative. Perhaps.
4. An analysis of naiveté should settle matters.
5. Sax is a Doctor Doctor, so he should know what he's talking about. Perhaps.
6. Because so few read books, persons concerned with these issues should browse the web.

These six comments will not knock your sox off. For sure.

So I shall try to address each of these comments although the first point, I am lost.

1.  The 2010 census.  I am not sure what your point is on this one.   So rather than me babbling, Old Baguette, please elucidate.

2.  The circulation of The Atlantic is about 400,000 according to Wikipedia.  The Atlantic’s website shows their circulation steadily climbing to 478,000 up to the year 2000, after which, curiously, no data is given.  Wouldn’t The Atlantic know what their circulation is?  I have been a subscriber since the early 80’s and have always enjoyed the magazine, although I must confess that I have seldom read it cover to cover.  According to Wikipedia, in 1999 The Atlantic was sold to new management.  In 2005, the editorial offices moved from Boston to Washington.  My observation is that the magazine is not the magazine of 10 or 15 years ago, and is a far cry from the thick tome that I received 12 months a year in the 1980s.  It is now 10 issues per year and still has good articles but they are becoming almost a rarity by comparison to the good old days.  Several years ago the magazine chose a glitzy (and thin) format and broadened their interest and included much shorter articles…perhaps both a format and interest to appeal to the younger generation.  I don’t like the magazine near as much as I used to although I would have to also admit that any publication that would appeal to me is doomed for failure because I am far removed from the moneyed mainstream.  In a very unscientific observation, I would estimate that in the 1980s I probably read 24 to 36 articles a year in The Atlantic that made me happy to be a subscriber.  I would estimate that number now to be about 5 to 10 a year. 

Caitlin Flanagan has been writing The Atlantic book reviews for quite some time.  I don’t believe that she is a paid employee on staff any longer.  I have always enjoyed her articles and much of the reaction which varies from accusations that she is an extreme liberal femni-nazi to an ultra conservative anti-feminist trying to rebuild the patriarchy.  She seems to have the ability to piss off a lot of people, which endears her to my heart.  Flanagan has a clear eyed practicality that I particularly enjoy.  The fact that I like her probably does not ode well for her, not that anyone particularly knows or gives a shit what I think, but rather in the idea that someone that appeals to me is bound to piss off a lot of people.  It may also explain the spectrum of bitching about her. Flanagan believes in what Flanagan believes, not what the latest movement in society happens to deliver to her door step.   A few years back she wrote a piece on weddings that had me in tears…both in humor and in pity for our society.  She also wrote an article several years ago on this oral sex thing that sort of implied that it was a bit blown out of proportion while Oprah was predicting the end of Western civilization. I like her and enjoy her writing.  (Sorry Caitlin.)

I have never heard of Natasha Vargas-Cooper prior to reading her article.  I enjoy her writing although I find her message to be rather confusing.  I think she had point but vastly overstated it.  Yet that is the view from a 61 year old geezer who was raised in the Internet-less world of yesteryear, brought up in the patriarchy where Mom ruled the house with an iron fist and there was not going to be any soft core erotica found in her house let alone porn. 

 3. Comments by teenagers.  Don’t hold your breath on this one.  I have Stat Counter monitoring the hits on the blog, which can tell you some interesting things about who is looking at your blog.  Despite claims to other wise I have two readers, one from Minneapolis / St Paul, and a very faithful albeit silent reader which I will say no more than he or (I suspect) she resides in the Atlantic provinces of Canada.  Of the 30 to 50 visitors to my blog daily, I have two readers.  The rest have been referred in by Google Images, come to look at pictures, and their average visit length is less than 20 seconds.  If I deleted all my pictures, I would have 1 to 3 hits a day.  (The Old Baguette has a nasty habit of disappearing for a week or two at time always causing me to worry). If I left the blog as it is and simply deleted the St Theresa of Avila post, I would probably have 5 to 10 hits a day.  I am not sure why but St. Theresa accounts for about 80% of the traffic on my blog.   I should conduct my blog by email and save server space.  This thing is waste of time and server space if one considers readership.  However, I am extremely grateful to my two readers, two are far better than none.  All this to say that I don’t believe that we will ever see a comment here by a teenager.  I did talk to a young lad fresh out of college at work about all this.  He said that he agreed with Sax’s observations on boys dropping out of society, although his experience is that they wake up in their mid to late 20s, but he had never heard of the oral sex phenomena.  Unfortunately, being at work, we didn’t have much time to discuss this.  Perhaps I should take the lad out for a beer, except I don’t drink and he may not be old enough.  My “have a beer” sessions are always allegorical.  

4.  An analysis of naïveté.  The naïveté of whom?  Me?  How can I analyze my self?  You have to do that.  Or society? 

na•ive•té or na•ïve•té   (n   v-t  , nä -, n -  v -t  , nä-)
1. The state or quality of being inexperienced or unsophisticated, especially in being artless, credulous, or uncritical.
2. An artless, credulous, or uncritical statement or act.
From    The Free
Wikipedia has an article on it as well covering broader usage. 

First I believe myself to be extremely naive as to what goes on in popular culture.  I watch very little TV and have little contact with the greater world other than people I work with, engineers—not exactly a demographic that is considered to be hot or culturally sophisticated.  So indeed I don’t know what the hell goes on in the world.  It has been my observation in the few movies that I watch, that the moment a relationship has even a minor sour note, members of both genders go looking for other bed partners immediately.  Sex with a stranger can alleviate a broken heart?  Hearts must be rather flimsy these days.

Or are we talking of the naïveté of society about sex?  I think everyone can agree that there is something strange about sex.  It effects us a bit differently than most aspects of life.  A very simple way of looking at it…in what ways can a human being be a god?  I can only think of four ways:  a.) create life,  b.) take a life, c.) grant forgiveness through grace, and d.) unbidden altruism.  I am sure there are more ways but those are the ones that come to my mind.  Fortunately most of us are not given to murder, although our fascination for war presents a troublesome wrinkle in that belief.  Unbidden altruism can be something as simple as a kind word or holding a door for a stranger, or it can be the unthinking bravery required to run in a burning building to save a life of some one you don’t know.  The granting of forgiveness through grace may actually be a supremely selfish act.  Grudges and hatreds are extremely heavy baggage, and they often only hurt the holder of the grudge.  The offender seldom suffers from the grudge.  That leaves the creation of life's method and ritual of sex.  Sex is in the nature of a trinity: mind, body, and spirit.  It is built into us for the need to procreate, yet it goes far beyond the simple need for reproduction.  Sex of course is performed by the body for the enjoyment of the mind—the high from brain chemicals that can make sex addictive.  Ahhh, but what of the spirit.  The Soul?  This is where our society is naïve about sex.  Advertising and entertainment sells the body to the mind, but Soul is ignored.  If you don’t believe you have a Soul, then you certainly have no need to sexually satisfy it.  So a drunken hook-up or one way oral sex is fine.  But if you believe you have a Soul, then you may realize that your Soul has a desire to commune with another Soul and I believe the most efficient vector is loving sexual expression--not screwing but making love--there is a difference.   I don’t feel that our culture believes for most part that we have a Soul, and quite often those who do believe we have a soul (no I didn’t forget to capitalize it) believe that it is something weak and human and easily given to evil and that sex is the high road to despair.   I think that much of our popular culture think these spiritual ideas are corny and could get in the way of the profits to be had by pushing lust.  Is the sentiment behind the sale of revealing clothes so different than the distribution of porn?

So indeed,  I am totally artless by what society and the culture finds important, but on the other hand I think the culture is completely naïve about the Sacred aspects of sex between a long term loving monogamous couple, and may fear the loss of profits to be had by unbridled lust.  Why buy a BMW when a Honda is almost as good?  The difference in quality certainly does not justify the difference in price.  It is plumage, and somebody is making one hell of a buck off of our culture’s desire for plumage!  If we invested as much interest in our sexual relationships as we as a society invest in plumage, we would be far better off.  I have always felt that the world would be a far better place with more love making and less strutting.

5.  Indeed Sax is both an MD and some sort of counseling PHD, but that doesn’t make him right. I have read plenty by both groups that I thought was un-distilled bullshit.   If you read his books, rather than my poorly written interpretations of his books I think you would find much to agree on, although not necessarily agree on everything.  Reading books primarily written for parents is not something us old farts want bothered with, so may I suggest browsing his website:

There are some links to magazine articles that he has written that will give you a flavor for his thoughts on child rearing and the importance of recognizing gender differences among children and how they should be handled by parents and education. Again sex is a minor part of his commentary. 

6. The Internet.  One can prove any conviction by looking on the Internet.  Look at me.  I am basically full of shit yet here I babble away on the Internet as though I know something.  I have chosen to ignore the moral obligation to be knowledgeable about something before one opens his mouth.  Unmitigated bullshit.  Regard it as entertainment.


  1. Entertainment. To entertain or not to entertain.
    Is that not the question?

  2. Unfortunately the only person I think I am entertaining is myself.