August 14, 2010

"Men, [Susan] Orlean says, 'are a lot better at putting blinkers on' and focusing on their work."

"[Elizabeth] Gilbert does not have kids but she agrees. Men, she adds, are also 'more entitled to suffer for their work' and let their wife and kids get neglected. Gilbert adds that her form of suffering involves compulsively taking care of 'anyone who comes within' her orbit. 'Do you think Philip Roth ever set aside his novel so he could change the sheets in the guest bedroom for the third time that week?' she asks."

***

If it ever seems that men are greater than women, you must look harder — harder — until you can perceive that women are greater than men.

52 comments:

David said...

Gilbert should read Roth's memoir of the decline and death of his father. Roth had a lengthly, harrowing and distracting stint as caregiver. Much easier to make assumptions, though, for Ms. Gilbert.

Fred4Pres said...

Just don't send Philip to the butcher to get a liver.

c3 said...

There has to be a winner and a loser doesn't there.

edutcher said...

Most women will tell you they're a lot better multi-taskers than men; the whole, "I've got one on my hip and another wants a juice box, and someone's at the door...".

So, now we have feminists dissing women who have better self-esteem than feminists.

It's coming, I tell ya.

HT said...

I haven't listened yet, but did one of them say that women are better writers/lawyers/etc than men? I'm not sure they did. So this reader at least does not have to look harder. I try hard not to make those winner loser judgments.

But looking at the caregiving responsibilities of elders, I do wonder what the sex breakdown is.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"She's the sort of woman who lives for others—you can always tell the others by their hunted expression." -- C.S. Lewis

Flexo said...

If only "compulsively taking care" of others consisted of getting rid of the resentful attitude that this is a competition, that one sex is necessarily "better" or "greater" than the other, bitching to yourself that you have to get up and change the sheets yourself so that that damned Roth can work on his damned novel.

HT said...

Ok, as everyone seems to think that one of the people in the BhTV vid states that women are 'better' than men, lemme go listen.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I agree with the quote pulled out, though.

When I worked in offices, the men were there to do their jobs as effciently as possible and then go home.

If 'Bob' didn't say hi to 'Mark' when they passed on the stairs, Mark shrugged and never thought about it again. He didn't get paid to socialize with Bob, he got paid to do his job.


Meanwhile, if Roberta didn't say "good morning" to Marcia with proper intonations, it started a major interdepartmental war with Marcia happily letting all business grind to a halt to let Roberta see who had the REAL power...

good times... not. The women I know who DO focus on their jobs like men do while they're at work. (i.e: This is my task. I will complete it. I will complete it well. Hmmm. Bob didn't say hi. He must be pretty busy....this is my task....) HAVE been as successful as men.

Distraction from the goal is NOT a virtue in the workplace.

At home? Constant distractions, but mostly because the goal keeps changing (do the dishes...no, change the diaper... no... clean up the spill....no...investigate the loud noise...no... STOP THE BLOOD! APPLY DIRECT PRESSURE! GET TODDLER TO STOP CRYING SO I CAN ASSESS THE DAMAGE!!!!)

Problems start when you start trying to apply the urgency of caring for small children to office politics.....

TMink said...

I don't have to look harder when the goal is to make one of us better than the other.

Not my cup of tea.

Trey

HT said...

I'm listening now, it's a somewhat interesting discussion, but this is an issue I feel that was recently in one form or another brought on Althouse. Elizabeth Gilbert sounds a bit entitled, recalling houseguest "infestations." I bet she'd like that one back. While also calling her attention to them "loving." Yawn. Then Susan Orlean says she can't recall a discussion between two men in video or digital format in which they sort of complain about the conflicts they feel in trying to do work and take care of the family. I feel like I hear this a lot. At work (I used to work at a large international org), the guys would call home and goo goo talk to their one and two year olds. It was very refreshing. The guys there felt a high degree of obligation to their families and wove it into the workday. Many of those men were foreign.

So far this discussion is about nothing new. Nothing. I think it's just two women kevetching.

Oh, and Elizabeth Gilbert did not really say that about Roth. She is quoting someone who did.

traditionalguy said...

More genderist propaganda. Stating that men are not women must violate some equality thing... if you will just stand over there and look at it this certain way. The facts are that these differences are 90% personality types and 10% which hormones are fueling their engines. Many men are good caregivers. Many women are self centered jerks.

lemondog said...

......her form of suffering.....

**ssssss**......I'm....speechlessly shocked at the extent of her ordeal. I'll immediately cancel my World Vision sponsorship of the two poor Ethiopian orphans to help in anyway I can to relieve her suffering.

Hope I'm not alone in reaching out....:-(

lemondog said...

More Men Take the Lead Role in Caring for Elderly Parents

The Alzheimer’s Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving estimate that men make up nearly 40 percent of family care providers now, up from 19 percent in a 1996 study by the Alzheimer’s Association. About 17 million men are caring for an adult.

Propaganda written by a maaaan

HT said...

Interesting that 40% of caregivers for Alzheimer's patients are men. Do you think the same holds for elderly across the board?

Synova said...

I think that men are somewhat prone to feel that their obsessions are important because they are their obsessions. Women tend to downgrade their interests to hobbies and then fuss when they aren't as successful. I think that men are far more prone to accept work-place abuse, long hours, and unreasonable bosses than women are.

HT said...

Yes, Synova, I generally agree. The large offices (especially the for profit variety of businesses) I have known are like physical manifestations of a man's mind. It's his milieu, and I mean that in ways that right now I'm just too lazy to elaborate. Having said that, I also think a mixed sex workplace is the best. I've just heard absolute nightmare stories about all male and all female offices. I would not want to work in either.

HT said...

But at the same time, Synova, let's be clear that the long hours part are many times just not an option for women, right? I've seen many occurences of crucial afterhours conversations with the boss in which key decisions were made and careers advanced. After hours many times people especially managers are a bit more relaxed and prone to just gabbing and shooting the breeze. They're more amenable, open.

former law student said...

1. If you can't change a bed in five minutes, you're not trying: Pass closet, get clean sheets, replace pillow cases, pull sheets and blanket off bed, hook on corner of bottom sheet, hook on opposite corner, hook on remaining corner, spread top sheet and blanket, tuck in bottom of each, replace pillows and bedspread. Dump dirty sheets in hamper.

2. If you can't spare five minutes, reduce (1) to "Pass closet, get clean sheets, dump on guest bed, tell guest where dirty sheets go." I mean what else does the houseguest have to do in the morning?

3. If you really need to work on your book, don't have houseguests. They will suck down far more of your time than the five minutes of sheet-changing.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So different genders tend to have different roles in the relationship?

Maybe someone should try basing a civilization on that principal.

Nah, what am I saying? That's crazy talk.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

If it ever seems that men are greater than women, you must look harder — harder — until you can perceive that women are greater than men.

Ann, is this not the most blatant sexism? Or have you taken a page from black grievance mongers, and you take the position that women can't be sexist?

former law student said...

From this slate special issue, procrastination -- the desire to change sheets in the guestroom even though a deadline is looming -- affects men and women equally.

http://www.slate.com/id/2190909/

FloridaSteve said...

So what is the "prize" exactly for "winning"? I mean shit... All I can do is all I can do. there are as many scorekeepers as there are human beings.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Note that the Slate entry you link to is misquoting Gilbert.

Gilbert actually said:

more entitled to make everything else -pause- to suffer in name of the work

She's not saying that the men are suffering. She's saying that the men are letting the wife and kids suffer.

rhhardin said...

Blinkers is her term for abstracting.

Something men do because they're happy always driving to a decision.

Women are happier adding in complexity to avoid a decision.

chr1 said...

I work in an office with a lot of women, and they just take things more personally, and seek to build and maintain relationships on a different level. I saw two of them work hard to to fire a superior b/c the superior was short with them (b/c she was busy with all of her clients, and had high standards).

What I think I'm upset about is seeking to change environments that are functioning well according to the faulty logic of gender equality. Aren't these women dried up yet?

Their reasoning isn't that good. It's usually failed writers who've taken up "the cause" to sell books, or hit the sweet spot of cultural inanity where there own imagination fails and they can feel "empowered" for a while.

Gordon Freece said...

My girlfriend read that "Eat Pray Love" thing. The author's a semi-anorexic, irreligious narcissist, was what it sounded like.

deborah said...

fls @ 11:27 for the win. Except I'd still feel compelled to strip the bed.

lemondog, bless you for understanding the universality of living hell.

deborah said...

"Women are happier adding in complexity to avoid a decision."

Thought provoking.

former law student said...

I saw two of them work hard to to fire a superior b/c the superior was short with them (b/c she was busy with all of her clients, and had high standards).

So being busy excuses rudeness? Then Obama was right to curtly request being able to eat his waffle in peace, because of his demanding campaign. Imagine the nerve of those who protested.

Synova said...

"Ann, is this not the most blatant sexism? Or have you taken a page from..."

I thought she was pointing out that it was sexism.

The Crack Emcee said...

Gordon Freece,

She renounced her NewAge cult-inspired ideas in her next book. Meanwhile, Julia Roberts claimed she's become a Hindu, after working on the movie.

Guess which of those two stories got the biggest play - without any context? And so it goes.

But - hey - you can always compliment your girlfriend on the fact she's smarter than Julia Roberts!

John said...

You are supposed to put sheets on the guest room bed?

Who knew?

The things we learn at Althouse.

For the record, I change the sheets on my bed on the first of every month whether they need it or not.

John Henry

The Crack Emcee said...

Gordon Freece,

She renounced her NewAge cult-inspired ideas in her next book. Meanwhile, Julia Roberts announced she'd become a Hindu, after working on the movie.

Guess which one of those two stories got the most play - without any context? And so it goes.

But - hey - maybe you can compliment your girlfriend on being smarter than Julia Roberts!

Note to Ann: I had to re-post this because Blogger ate it.

jamboree said...

Oh, I don't know. More or less true, except for me . I do have a natural ability to take care of others that didn't need to be taught, but I haven't done it much. I do it when I'm slacking off basically and need to look like I'm doing something.

This is NOTICED however and people bitch. If you aren't occupied with a task, others will move in with their demands. It seems you must do one or the other - focus on the outside work task or focus on taking care of others or people will bitch bitch bitch. No one seems to be happy leaving you the fuck alone.

Task work is much more like being left alone, however.

DADvocate said...

If it ever seems that men are greater than women, you must look harder — harder — until you can perceive that women are greater than men.

One things' for sure, Ann, you're great for saying that.

Flexo said...

the superior was short with them

Even if the superior had been tall with hellos, they might still have complained because she gave them "a look." What look? You know. You know what look. Huh? THAT look (stomps away pissed off).

I still don't know what the problem was with Jillzarin.

Marcia said...

rhhardin said...
"Blinkers is her term for abstracting."

Hmm. I thought it was a typo, and she meant "blinders."

In fact, I still think that makes more sense.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Marcia-

Blinkers are a piece of horse tack that prevent them from seeing to the side or back, thus keeping them focused ahead. They can also be called blinders, but blinkers is not a typo.

Synova said...

The ability to hyper-focus and shut out the world entirely is also a symptom of ADD which affects more men than women.

lucid said...

As with racial entitlements, women's days of special pleading, grievance-mongering, guilt-induction, unopposed chauvinism, and asking for special privileges with an entitled and angry air are coming to an end.

Scott said...

Women should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

Especially Synova.

The Crack Emcee said...

I, too, have seen women plotting against others (No, I'm not referring to my divorce here) and it's gross every time I see it. They go off half-cocked, with incomplete information, filling in the blanks with thier bizarre imaginings about what might be happening or what someone must be thinking because, well, that's what they're thinking.

Sick little harpies, they are.

Signed,

Yoda

Synova said...

"Women should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

Especially Synova.
"

LOL.

Marcia said...

I've been educated by Ignorance. Is this a great country or what?

I truly had never heard of having blinkers on. Could there be a regional preference?

deborah said...

I truly had never heard of having blinkers on. Could there be a regional preference?

Most probably.

Freeman Hunt said...

Experience says that human jackasses come in both sexes. We're different from donkeys in that way.

Freeman Hunt said...

The use of "blinkers" is really annoying me. I keep picturing a horse with turn signals strapped to its head, one of them blinking.

Sixty Grit said...

Blinkers is a Britishism for blinders. Perhaps the writer became an Anglophile while in university. Before she went missing. In Bond street. The British have ruined our language.

What's a "guest room"?

WV: croble - we'll just croble together some words later, then we will get some comments.

Jacq said...

The best (most things) are men because men are more likely to be as obsessed as you need to be to do the drudgery that precedes apparent genius.

This is the upside of billions of men obsessed with useless trivialities.

former law student said...

The ability to hyper-focus and shut out the world entirely is also a symptom of ADD which affects more men than women.

But it makes working in a cube farm a hell of a lot easier.

I envied one older co-worker for his ability to turn down his hearing aids and work undisturbed.

Kelly said...

I once left my blinkers on for 5 miles on the Mass Pike. It was really embarrassing, especially because I was about 35 at the time and not 75.