February 14, 2014

Pushback against the news that more women are "marrying down."

"If they’re marrying plumbers and electricians, while holding degrees in women’s studies, they’re marrying up in terms of income."

That's Instapundit, and even that is snarkier than it needs to be. This is America. Where is the up and the down? Why pick on women's studies? Almost any academic field might put you in a worse place than learning how to do something that people really need, and those who figure that out and learn a trade and start a business may be showing better signs of intelligence than those who go to college (who may be unthinkingly following the obvious path and trusting that the world would provide them with the thing called "a job").

Rush Limbaugh covered this story yesterday:
I can remember all the times in the 25- year history of this program where I would talk about the economic phenomenon of women marrying up.  I can't tell you how offended certain people got at that, even though it simply was an accurate depiction of what happened.  I mean, you can get mad at it all you want, but men have been, or were, the primary breadwinners for eons...

So here we are now where the Pew Center actually has a chart titled, "More women marrying down."  Educationally.  Does marrying someone with less education mean marrying down economically?  According to the Pew Research Center, not necessarily.  When they looked at the newlywed women who married someone with less education, they found that a majority of these women actually were still marrying up economically.  In 2012, only 39% of newlywed women who married a spouse dumber than she was out-earned him.  Look, it just takes less time to say "dumber" than "less educated," but you know what I mean.  Plus, let's admit, it sounds funny.
Says the man who dropped out of college (and who believes he's so smart he has to have "half my brain tied around my back just to make it fair").

The problem — and the reason for this up/down business — is that (most) Americans don't like to talk about social class. We use education as a proxy for social class, and that causes us to say and think some things that don't make sense. We don't want to sound so snobby as to say: This woman married a man who is beneath her, because he works with his hands. We have contempt for that kind of expression, but it really is what is being said.

117 comments:

Kevin Walsh said...

I WISH I had gone to trade school to become a plumber or electrician. They're unionized and make (relative) kings' ransoms, and they can't be replaced by an app or someone in India.

In fact I'd recommend that for young people in school who aren't sure what they want to do. Learn a trade and then go to college for whatever field you want to pursue. You would have something to fall back on if it doesn't work out.

Lem said...

and who believes he's so smart he has to have "half my brain tied around my back just to make it fair

Rush says that in jest... in perhaps a veiled reference to how political correctness rhetorically ties him... and all of us too.

Anglelyne said...

Rush L: Does marrying someone with less education mean marrying down economically?

It doesn't even mean marrying someone less-educated.

The Drill SGT said...

My wife the lawyer married down. I only had an MBA when we got hitched, now she has a JD, MBA and MSSE, but I still make more than she does, though her retirement plans as a Fed are better than my little 401k at least till I cash out my equity...

Inga said...

My daughter the attorney married "down", her husband's bachelors in marketing doesn't match her salary in today's economy. Maybe his future earning will surpass hers. It's all good and it doesn't matter who is the highest wage earner or the one with the advanced degree, as long as the love and respect they share is on equal footing.

Sean Gleeson said...

I think a good marriage is one in which both spouses feel that they have married up.

Bob Ellison said...

American attitudes toward class are centripetal. It's honorable to have grown up poor and black and female and all that, but it's also honorable to have gone to Harvard and got the Rhodes Scholarship and all that.

Most people are in the middle and have no serious claim to that kind of honor.

Michael K said...

Education is assumed to be an indicator of intelligence because IQ testing was banned by the government. Not legally banned but made impossible to use. This is the result. Lots of unintended consequences these days.

Bob Ellison said...

Uh, I should have said "centrifugal". Damn my high-school science teacher!

CStanley said...

I can't imagine why a woman wouldn't want to marry a man who is good with his hands.

mccullough said...

Social equality is an important value that many Americans don't believe in, judging by their actions.

What red-blooded American would watch "Downton Abbey"?

Hagar said...

"Women's studies" is education?

MadisonMan said...

They need to define 'well-educated'

SOJO said...

My cousin graduated university and now does drywall and solar installation.

She's female.

Inga said...

CStanley, haha, good one! I always said that my son in law the marketeer, sold himself well, as a package to my daughter, lol.

John said...

"The problem — and the reason for this up/down business — is that (most) Americans don't like to talk about social class."

Because most of us still believe in the American Dream. That we are not 'born' into a social class and that we can choose to transcend 'class' - or not.

When the diaper needed changing at 3:00am it didn't matter which one of us made more money - just who was better at faking being asleep.

People who marry for 'position' have debateable intentions.

Ann Althouse said...

"Rush says that in jest... in perhaps a veiled reference to how political correctness rhetorically ties him... and all of us too."

No. He is bragging that he's smart. It's just a funny way to say it. Like "talent on loan from Gawd."

Sharc said...

Which part of "in terms of income" eluded you in Instapundit's comment? And how is that qualifier snarky? Plumbers (male or female) make more than women's studies majors (male or female). Deal with it.

Ann Althouse said...

"Because most of us still believe in the American Dream. That we are not 'born' into a social class and that we can choose to transcend 'class' - or not."

Right. And that's fine. But complete the step, and don't use proxies for class, which is what we are seeing with education and the phrase "marrying up."

It's like if you think you're not talking about race, but you're using another term that is a proxy for race, if you realize that, you might want to abandon it, and if you don't, I'm going to think you're trying to dog-whistle "race."

William said...

I'm transgressive in terms of class. Give me a drop down menu. I just don't see how you measure it. I don't count people with Phd's as smarter or classier than me, but they nearly all have more patience and self discipline. I don't think having a lot of money proves it either, but the self made millionaires, anyway, generally work harder, have a certain amount of low animal cunning, and aren't the unluckiest people on the planet. But none of that makes for class or intelligence......I've known some people who were born into wealthy families. They have a kind of social ease and self assurance that you can't acquire with either wealth or education. They don't necessarily have happier lives but neither do they have to waste a lot of time affirming their worth and classiness like we who sweat the bread.

harrogate said...

"No. He is bragging that he's smart."

Exactly. I always wondered why he felt the need to do that.

The "talent on loan from Gawd" bit seems different to me somehow. Less insistence that he is talented in it, more having fun with his talent. The former, not so much.

Nonapod said...

No. He is bragging that he's smart. It's just a funny way to say it. Like "talent on loan from Gawd

I always take that stuff as him being both a bit silly and provocative. It just strikes me as something way over the top, the kind of outrageous statement that's obviously not meant to be taken completely seriously.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure he believes he's pretty damn smart. But I don't think those statements are a direct reflection of ego so much as entertainment.

Ann Althouse said...

"Which part of "in terms of income" eluded you in Instapundit's comment? And how is that qualifier snarky? Plumbers (male or female) make more than women's studies majors (male or female). Deal with it."

1. It's snarky to pick on the women's studies major as the one that supposedly goes nowhere. It may be a bad bet but there are other bad bets too. I thought he should go even further with where the bad and good bets are.

2. He's still using the word "up," defining up in terms of income, and I see that also as a proxy for social class. Yes, of course, it's easy to see that one income is higher than another. These are dollar amounts. But the "up"-ness of it is not a matter of dollar amounts. It's glib to say, let's just talk about income. Real snobbery, the snobbery that oozes from "up," is not about the dollar number.

harrogate said...

"The problem — and the reason for this up/down business — is that (most) Americans don't like to talk about social class."

That is a proverb of our national political rhetoric and one that is especially cherished by the wealthy ruling class (heh), and yet of course there is some truth in it, both historically and even now. So it is with many proverbs.

But it is becoming less and less true.

SOJO said...

I think there is an assumption that a less educated guy will be less 'gentlemanly'? I suppose that is a class marker as well. A Delta Gamma blonde friend was concerned that marrying her blonde contractor (owner ) boyfriend would be marrying 'down' simply because it was not how she pictured her life going. They both grew up in the same semi-privileged neighborhood, however, and she got over it. It worked out well.

I, otoh, never believed in that and dated a creative guy from a borderline white trash family.

This did not work out at all long term and I was forced to acknowledge that these things can matter, especially when young, because you are both working with much different assumptions and values which can lead to disappointments and perceived broken agreements.

Relationships aren't my big skill however. It was better for me to not challenge myself too much in that area. Other people find excitement in the bridging of those same gaps.

Big Mike said...

May I ask why this is news? Since women currently make up nearly 60% of the undergraduate enrollment, it stands to reason that nearly a third of the female college graduates with heterosexual leanings will marry men with less formal education. I'm surprised that the number quoted is only 21%. I think it's guaranteed to go higher.

Grimstarr said...

"Talent on loan from Gawd" and "Half my brain tied behind my back" are just tropes he uses to tweak liberals. The funny part comes when they are too dumb to realize they are being trolled and their brains start leaking out their ears as a precursor to the coming explosion. Rush is smart enough to know what he is doing and how well it works.

Shouting Thomas said...

"We" don't have these attitudes, Althouse.

Your colleagues do.

Another civil rights crusade launched for a member of Chez Althouse!

Big Joe, my lead guitar player, has been working with his hands his entire life... big machine maintenance. He's still in demand at the age of 72. He makes more money than you do. Barely finished high school.

I've been working with guys like Big Joe in the music biz my entire life. Some are married to women who have professional jobs and some are married to home makers. Doesn't seem to be a problem for anybody I know.

Likewise, my daughter is a school teacher who is married to a blue collar guy, who makes a hell of a good living working with his hands. He's a great guy. Nobody I know has a problem with this.

Your colleagues at the law school have a problem, Althouse. As with the gay problem you keep harping on, it appears that this problem largely resides in you.

If your husband makes you happy, good for you. I'm all for it. Why the need to launch another civil rights campaign? Well, I've answered that one for you quite a few times.

bandmeeting said...

Why pick on women's studies?

Well, if you've got to ask......

madAsHell said...

You have a degree in Womyn Studies, and you have a marriage recognized by the bible??

Yeah.....that never happened.

Andy Freeman said...

> We use education as a proxy for social class

Sometimes "we" do, but not always. (Who has higher social class - Bill "the dropout" Gates or Althouse?)

And, there are a lot of Americans who, with good reason, look down on much of the "educated class".

Perhaps "we" shouldn't use "we" without specifying exactly who is included.

gerry said...

"Women's studies" is education?

It's the dumbing down of education.

Anglelyne said...

We have contempt for that that kind of expression...

Who's this "we" you keep talking about here? Americans often claim that they don't like to talk about social class, but that's usually right before expatiating on social class in America.

We all know who our class peers are. Talking about "marrying down" sounds weird because it doesn't really apply in these contemporary "plumber marries college grad" examples. Until recently a woman with a college degree very likely was of a different class than a plumber. Now, significantly more people attend college, so it is no longer the class marker that it was.

Is the percentage of female graduates from elite universities marrying skilled tradesmen with community college degrees really going up? I doubt it, and if they did, their peers would think they'd married down, and wouldn't make any bones about saying so.

mccullough said...

SOJO,

If you never believed in social class, why refer to "borderline white trash"?

Your problem is that you believed in it unconsciously while deceiving yourself that you were egalitarian.

glenn said...

What some people, not all by any means, are contemptuous of are people who work with their hands. Just because they know how to do things that the so called smart people can't do. Any engineer in a manufacturing plat will tell you that if you want the straight dope about a problem you go out in the shop and ask the machinists or the welders. And don't get me started about the contempt I feel for somebody who can't put a washer in a faucet or adjust the hinges in a cabinet. That's real contempt.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

CStanley said...

I can't imagine why a woman wouldn't want to marry a man who is good with his hands.

This sort of palpable heteronormativity is why we must keep talking about homosexuality.

John said...

"Right. And that's fine. But complete the step, and don't use proxies for class, which is what we are seeing with education and the phrase "marrying up."

My use of 'class' is not a proxy for anything - it's literally an abbreviation for 'classification'. Classification can be ascribed to many things: wealth, knowledge, height, weight, gender, species, etc.

My point, related to marriage, is that if you enter into it worried about where you fit on any of these classification scales relative to your partner, your missing the reason to marry. People in long-term relationships (married or otherwise) move through 'classes' all the time - sometimes you weigh more, sometimes you make less money, sometimes you learn something you never knew. But through it all, your partner is a constant.

Mitch H. said...

Education as a proxy for class is fairly non-existent outside of college towns. There's no snob like a cultural Marxist or Anarchist snob. Outside of college towns, class is more closely aligned with income and family ties, varying depending on the locale - in suburbs and other new towns, leaning more heavily on income, in old towns and rural areas, leaning more heavily on social ties. I like to joke that you aren't a local in my central Pennsylvanian town until the third generation, but there are plenty of towns in these hills where it's the literal truth.

Both my father and my maternal grandfather married women with more education than they had. And both were the primary breadwinners, although my mother kept going in and out of the labor market as our fortunes waxed and waned.

Andy Freeman said...

> t may be a bad bet but there are other bad bets too.

(1) Actually, he was just using the cliche.

(2) He was being nice by not rubbing "you've got a worthless degree" in the face of people who have similarly worthless degrees.

(3) He was provoking the "can't criticize anything a progressive woman might do" reaction as part of his campaign against same.

(4) He just typed the first thing that came to mind.

Any of those a better explanation than "snark".

> I thought he should go even further with where the bad and good bets are.

Bad Reynolds - each and every post does not describe every bad decision that one might make.

rhhardin said...

and who believes he's so smart he has to have "half my brain tied around my back just to make it fair"

Just the opposite.

That's self-deprecation, by way of a larger than life persona.

That's the secret of the show's popularity, self-deprecation.

The show sucks when Rush stops doing that and goes moralizing. Then he actually believes the stuff he's saying.

TosaGuy said...

"Why pick on women's studies?"

Only Art History majors can be singled out. That is a decree from the king.

Naked Surfer said...

This really gets me.

Because Sarah Palin obviously married-up when she hitched to John McCain and McCain obviously married-down to hitch to Sarah.

I voted for McCain. But, I vomited projectile chunks several times in the voting booth because sell-out-Sarah prostituted McCain’s admirable history of attacking the religious right instead of McCain marrying down and bedding down with it.

Scott Walker obviously married down by marrying Wisconsin. Instead of marrying governorships in California or New York.

McCain should have gone queer in that election, marrying Al Franken as his running mate, thus saying to Rush what Bruce Almighty said to his loyal listeners and viewers, “back to you, fuckers!”

It could not have turned out any worse for McCain. Sex-on-skates with Franken instead of sex-on-skates with the Frankenstien Barracuda he married-down to make merry.

Shouting Thomas said...

The legal profession is snotty and snobby beyond belief.

I made my living there for 20 years in IT at the snottiest, snobbiest corporate law firm in the world. Arrogance over IQ was the common denominator.

Still, I'd say half the lawyers there were decent human beings. When I went out on trial sites, I sat down to dinner and spent the evening with plenty of Harvard and Yale trained lawyers who just wanted some companionship, and they were quite nice.

The other half refused to even speak to the lowly hired help unless forced to do so because they had to speak to you about work. Those snots were laughably preposterous in their pretensions.

You've got a problem in your profession, Althouse. It's not a societal problem.

rhhardin said...

"Like me, he married up."

Bush, at the Al Smith dinner, of Al Gore, before the 2000 election.

An interesting contrast of character in Gore's speech and Bush's, still true today.

No doubt online somewhere.

n.n said...

So much progress. So little change.

TosaGuy said...

"Why pick on women's studies?"

Only Art History majors can be singled out. That is a decree from the king.

John said...

SOJO said..."I, otoh, never believed in that and dated a creative guy from a borderline white trash family."..."Relationships aren't my big skill however. It was better for me to not challenge myself too much in that area."

A person needs to know their limits. Good for you.

Tank said...

Shouting Thomas said...

The legal profession is snotty and snobby beyond belief.

I made my living there for 20 years in IT at the snottiest, snobbiest corporate law firm in the world. Arrogance over IQ was the common denominator.

Still, I'd say half the lawyers there were decent human beings. When I went out on trial sites, I sat down to dinner and spent the evening with plenty of Harvard and Yale trained lawyers who just wanted some companionship, and they were quite nice.

The other half refused to even speak to the lowly hired help unless forced to do so because they had to speak to you about work. Those snots were laughably preposterous in their pretensions.

You've got a problem in your profession, Althouse. It's not a societal problem.


ST

Most lawyers do not work for large firms or universities. We're just trying to make a living like everyone else. The overwhelming majority of lawyers I've met over 30 years practicing are just decent guys performing a service.

Michael K said...

"Big Joe, my lead guitar player, has been working with his hands his entire life... big machine maintenance. He's still in demand at the age of 72. He makes more money than you do. Barely finished high school."

When I had to do a major job in reconstructing my hour after a landslide, the contractor who did it was a sailing friend who had made a lot of money building houses in Laguna Beach. He was a great contractor but barely literate writing out invoices and stuff like that. His wife did a bunch of it for him.

He had built a racing sailboat about 40 feet long out of laminated wood on a mold in a shed he owned. Beautiful boat. Fast and pretty. Raced it himself.

Michael K said...

That was "house after a landslide"

richard mcenroe said...

": This woman married a man who is beneath her, because he works with his hands."

Another proud progressive embrace of a Victorian prejudice,

Of course, this has already been addressed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBQ01X-1AlI

SOJO said...

@mccullough. Or I was naive and a believer in 'love' and I bumped into the issue after that experience as I moved out into the greater world. Up until that point I actually had only heard the expression from non-white friends.

Similarly, I had a very benign, yet naive view of lesbians. I saw them as totally regular girls who happened to like girls. It probably still is like that in suburban high schools.

It was only in the cities and college towns that I was suddenly dealing with the weirdness of full on bull dykes grabbing my ass uninvited, etc. which caused me to somewhat reassess.



Naked Surfer said...

“ ... the legal profession is snotty and snobby beyond belief ...”

As is approach-avoidance whoredom.

n.n said...

Tank:

lawyers I've met ... are just decent guys performing a service

That's worth noting. It is the rare occasion, typically justified by a common philosophy, that people can be judged as a class. The legal profession does not define a uniform basis or intent.

Shouting Thomas said...

@Tank

I know that.

Over the years, I've had some great friends who were small practice lawyers.

John Scott said...

That's why college professors are mostly lefties. They can't come to terms with the fact that in capitalistic society the guy that unclogs their crappers lives in the same neighborhood.

Signed,

Ex phys-ed major married to a Stanford and Duke medical school alum, that now runs the residency program in her speciality at one of the top teaching hospitals in the country.

Anglelyne said...

glenn: What some people, not all by any means, are contemptuous of are people who work with their hands.

One thing I noticed from living overseas, and which made me feel patriotic pride, was that this attitude was much rarer in the U.S. than in the other places I've lived. Most American men I know, even if "brain-workers", would be ashamed not be able to do the basic home plumbing, electrical, or mechanical work themselves - and often even the not-so-basic. (The same is true of older women, whose housewifery skills included a lot of technical know-how, including "handyman" skills with low muscle requirements.) Unfortunately, I see that changing.

Sharc said...

Ann, I get your larger point. But if Glenn had said "a sanitation worker who marries a pilot is marrying up, in terms of altitude," I'm afraid you would still see it as a snarky class statement. His own larger point is that most liberal arts degrees are not good investments, at least at current rates. "Women's studies" is just the best example.

Instapundit often remarks on the forgotten dignity of working with one's hands, particularly as contrasted with an expensive and useless liberal arts education. I think his comment actually cuts against the class snarkiness of which you are accusing him.

Michael said...

Althouse@

"Real snobbery, the snobbery that oozes from "up," is not about the dollar number."

Bingo. The real snobbery manifests in our choice of goods, our preference in music and art, the causes we select as important, the language we use and the politics we cling to.

I myself am rife with snobbery and yet I fry my bacon and sit at a sit down desk. I often write with a fountain pen and I have high end Apple computers at my disposal. These things are selected purely for their snob factor, not for their utility.

There is no greater snobbery and class consciousness than in a university faculty. You can take that to the bank.

Shouting Thomas said...

Now, here's a story about class that might interest you, Althouse.

At one point, when Crack was bemoaning the misery of his life, I suggested that he become an LPN. I know a number of black guys who've done this, after becoming frustrated with lousy jobs. You can be out working and making a decent living in a year.

Your husband, Meade, responded that I was a racist who was motivated by a desire to see Crack, a black man, wipe shit off the asses of old white people.

I responded to Meade that my mother, a white middle class woman, became an LPN at the age of 63, and continued to work at that job until she retired involuntarily at the age of 83. And, she wiped plenty of old asses.

Who's got snotty attitudes about race and class? Might want to look within your own household.

I surprised that Meade can still taste food, what with the taste of feces in his mouth from that encounter.

John said...

@Anglelyne "Most American men I know, even if "brain-workers", would be ashamed not be able to do the basic home plumbing, electrical, or mechanical work themselves - and often even the not-so-basic. (The same is true of older women, whose housewifery skills included a lot of technical know-how, including "handyman" skills with low muscle requirements.) Unfortunately, I see that changing."

Agreed. The hairs on my neck stand up when I hear someone say they can't - or worse, won't - do basic maintenance or repair.

Now, WHY is that?:
1 - they believe it is beneath them?
2 - they are initimitated by the task?
or 3 - just lazy?

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Oh, you don't like Instapundit's snark when is it directed at the worthless "women's studies" majors?

Maybe you shouldn't accept his links then. I guess women still only "link upwards."

Tank said...

John said...

@Anglelyne "Most American men I know, even if "brain-workers", would be ashamed not be able to do the basic home plumbing, electrical, or mechanical work themselves - and often even the not-so-basic. (The same is true of older women, whose housewifery skills included a lot of technical know-how, including "handyman" skills with low muscle requirements.) Unfortunately, I see that changing."

Agreed. The hairs on my neck stand up when I hear someone say they can't - or worse, won't - do basic maintenance or repair.

Now, WHY is that?:
1 - they believe it is beneath them?
2 - they are initimitated by the task?
or 3 - just lazy?


I have an aptitude for that kind of work. But I find it boring. I work fairly long hours and devote time to charity. In my remaining time, I'd rather pay someone to do that kind of work so I can do something I enjoy. This would be answer #4.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Oh wait, I just figured out why Althouse has her panties in a bunch.

A little self conscious about lawnboy eh?

Just think how progressive you are, a professor with a juris doctor, marrying down to a guy with a degree in proper mowing technique.

Hagar said...

Your presence at an institution of higher learning for 4 or 5 years by no means is a guarantee that you have been "educated."

FedkaTheConvict said...


"Real snobbery, the snobbery that oozes from "up," is not about the dollar number."

Bingo. The real snobbery manifests in our choice of goods, our preference in music and art, the causes we select as important, the language we use and the politics we cling to.

I myself am rife with snobbery and yet I fry my bacon and sit at a sit down desk. I often write with a fountain pen and I have high end Apple computers at my disposal. These things are selected purely for their snob factor, not for their utility.

There is no greater snobbery and class consciousness than in a university faculty. You can take that to the bank."


Touché.

Fred Drinkwater said...

- One of the worst tech bosses I ever worked for was so sure that his Stanford degree was a mark of his superiority that he'd even denigrate job candidates from other schools, to their faces, during the interview.
- The best piece of advice that my dad gave me (that I did not take) was to get a "ticket" in something, like welding, while I was pursuing my other university interests. And this from a NASA research pilot and senior administrator type. (It's the attitude from the good side of Chicago, unlike ...)

elkh1 said...

Man's asset: money, success.
Woman's asset: youth, prettiness.

Whatever the statistics: pretty women marry rich powerful men.

John said...

@Tank. Touche'. That is indeed the 4th option - and I also find it necessary to rely on others when time is squeezed - or beyond my depth.

Not suggesting this is you, but I struggle with many I come in contact with who focus on 'what they enjoy' rather than what they are responsible for. It's a slippery slope between "doing what I enjoy" to "let it go to hell and have someone else fix it". Perhaps I'm viewing this more as a metaphor to the 'entitlement' society we are settling into.

Ralph Hyatt said...

Perhaps I missed it in the comments, but I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned that having a degree does not necessarily mean that you have a superior education. Or any education at all. And the Women's Studies degree is being picked on because a lot of people perceive it to be likely to be granted as a reward for parroting back the profs beliefs. Actual critical thinking and scholarship not welcome at all in such programs.

So, we have a large number of women (60% of college graduates) who are getting degrees in non-STEM programs in a job market where people with non-technical degrees are taking jobs as bartenders and waiters/waitresses and are glad to get them.

Therefore, that means that the women marrying guys with fewer years in school will quite often be working service jobs that pay considerably less than a skilled blue collar worker can make.

Education used to be a proxy for class, but that was when universities cared about providing quality educations and achieving a degree meant that you were now upwardly mobile.

And they were rare.

Now a degree may just mean you have a great deal of debt that you cannot discharge in bankruptcy.

Hagar said...

The "school of hard knocks" is the best - as it should be, when you consider the tuition cost!

B said...

...marrying down to a guy with a degree in proper mowing technique.

Anyone who reads Meade here or elsewhere would suggest that education does not necessarily correlate with erudition or knowledge base. And I don't say that because I agree with Meade all that often. Hell, as far as I know, Meade has a PHD in Astrophysics.

Anecdotally, I have earned masters in divergent engineering fields and until recently owned a tech consulting firm. One of the best if not the best consultant I had had a memory like a trap, intuitive integration skills, and a working knowledge of engineering disciplines outside his specialty that made him an envy. This fellow should have been employing me, not the other way around. His highest formal degree was an Associates in EET he got while in the service. His wife is an Oncologist.

B said...

Should also have mentioned that when I sold the firm he left engineering consulting also. He now makes a very decent living following his first love - doing hand crafted custom cabinetry for restorations.

Heather said...

"Why pick on Women Studies?" Personally, because I believe that it leaves you worse of than you were before you when to University. What you generally learn is to look for and find oppression. I changes for the worse how you see and interact with the world.

An Art History major learns to see the history of humanities search for beauty. It may not pay well but I can't say someone it worse off for studying it.

Fen said...

and who believes he's so smart he has to have "half my brain tied around my back just to make it fair").

Oh please. Its meant as a joke. Imagine someone claiming that Althouse thinks she can actually create a vortex on the internet. How stupid would find them?

Ralph Hyatt said...

In one of Heinlein's novels (Friday, I think) it is mentioned that in California legislation was passed awarding everyone a college degree because people with college degrees make more money than those without. Can't have that kind of inequality.

We haven't reached that stage, yet.

William said...

I saw pictures of the apt.in NYC that Rush put on the market. I don't knock the talent, intelligence or wealth of Rush, but in the area of home decor, at least, he lacks class.

sinz52 said...

John: "The hairs on my neck stand up when I hear someone say they can't - or worse, won't - do basic maintenance or repair."

I love to do do-it-yourself stuff.

But a lot of condominiums are just glorified apartments, where the master valves for the plumbing are located outside your unit, usually in the basement of the building. If you can't shut off the water on your own, you can't do much plumbing repair.

William said...

Why do women make a big deal out of men who are handy? I don't think women who do their own canning or roll their own pasta are such hot items.

Peter said...

"Why pick on women's studies?"

Because it's so deserving of ridicule?

Plumbers and electricians do useful work, and they might end up owning their own businesses.

A women's Studies major, if she's working (yes, I kn0w, a man could
be a women's studies major) might aspire to to employment as an affirmative action officer.

In the Soviet Union they called such "zampoli" -- political officers. Richly deserving of ridicule.

When one can get away with it, of course.

John said...

"But a lot of condominiums are just glorified apartments, where the master valves for the plumbing are located outside your unit, usually in the basement of the building. If you can't shut off the water on your own, you can't do much plumbing repair."

Hah! Just like Congress filled with attorneys to pass laws so they can perpetuate the profession, so too are condominiums built by contractors who restrict access to utilities requiring you to call a plumber! Sooo self-serving. (#sarcasm)

Left Bank of the Charles said...

My grandfather always used to brag that he was at the bottom of his high school class while my grandmother was at the top. Plus she had an actual summer of teacher training at college, whereas he went straight to the farm.

On the other hand, he was a Methodist and she was a Baptist so the question of who married up and who married down could be argued on that basis too.

Michael said...

Take some time wherever you are to visit a marina. If you are on either of the coasts or the Great Lakes all the better. Wander around and be agog at the amount of money that has gone into these boats, the billions of dollars bobbing there in the marinas. Who do you think owns those boats, including the big ones? Investment bankers? Forget it. They are owned by building contractors, plumbing suppliers, electricians They are having the last nautical laughs

Drago said...

"Why pick on women's studies?"

It takes an entirely new academic "discipline" to create bogus statistics and to entertain beliefs that are beyond stupid.

Why, did you know that missiles are shaped the way they are for the simple reason that men designed them and that resulted in a phallic shape being utilized?

No?

You didn't know that?

Well, you haven't been speaking to the right feminists and Womyn's Studies majors.

It has nothing to do with aerodynamics of course.

Aerodynamics and physics is nothing more than a social construct built to sustain the patriarchy.

If womyn had designed missiles, then they would all be vagina-shaped and instead of delivering explosive and destructive payloads they would be delivering explosive payloads of.........love.

Maybe that's why?

Drago said...

Ralph Hyatt: "Perhaps I missed it in the comments, but I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned that having a degree does not necessarily mean that you have a superior education. Or any education at all."

"Credentialed, but not necessarily educated" is what you're looking for I believe.

SGT Ted said...

He does it because it drives some leftist crazy.

Academia is shot through with liberals who consider themselves so much "smarter" than the rest of us, simply because of their credential and political opinions. Go read the comments section at Inside Higher Ed. You will never find a better example of superiority complex tied to adherence to PC politics and credentialing in lieu of actual qualification and competence.

Women's Studies is a perfect example of political narcissism posing as scholarship and intellectualism, when in reality its sexist leftwing nonsense, created to avoid having the math requirements of an actual college level field of study, in order to graduate more affirmative action students that couldn't hack the math of the useful degrees.

As far as overweening narcissism when it comes to intellect, Rush is a piker and does it for entertainment value.

Drago said...

Ann Althouse: "No. He is bragging that he's smart.."

Sheesh.

How can you miss the mark that wide?

Amazing.

If you want to see someone who really does believe he is a genius, look to obama and/or Keith Olberman for starters.

exhelodrvr1 said...

You mean most conservatives don't like to talk about classes. Most liberals can't stop themselves from doing so.

Freeman Hunt said...

Different people evaluate class differently. In my area I see a few different scales.

First, you have the possessions people. That's straightforward enough. With them, more or nicer stuff equals higher class.

Then you have the money people. With them, more wealth, whether it's showy or not, is higher class. We have some extremely wealthy people around here, so no one aside from a handful of people can actually compete on this. Therefore, the actual competition among these is who knows or is a hanger on of the wealthiest people. I suppose it's more a who's who scale.

Then there are the education credentials people, usually semi-bright. They care about papers, generally ones from local institutions.

Then you have the intelligence people, all highly intelligent. Some have some very fancy papers, and some don't have any at all.

Then there are the community service people. Greater involvement in volunteer work means higher class with them. Lots of church people there.

I'm sure there are more scales than that, but those are the ones I can think of at this moment.

gregq said...

Why pick on Women's studies?

Because, like every other "studies" degree, it is a joke field, and it, and its participants, should be mocked at every possible opportunity.

Freeman Hunt said...

Of course Rush is serious when he says he's a genius. He is. He knows it. He comments about it in a deprecating way, but certainly he is also aware of it as fact.

Freeman Hunt said...

Another scale I thought of and forgot to type out: the autonomy scale. This is all about owning your own business. It can be big or small, but the point is in being the captain of your own ship. The greater your autonomy in your work, the higher you are on this scale.

ken in sc said...

Dory Previn, who lost her husband to Mia Farrow, once wrote a song in which she compared her educated lover to another lover who drove a truck. She liked the truck driver better. She used words that rhymed with truck in the song. I wonder who she was singing about. Although women seem to marry up, they also seem to climb in bed with the lowest sort.

I always took Rush's “Talent on loan from Gawd” as traditional Christian theology. Every thing we have is on loan from God. We are merely stewards, not owners. I think Rush's boastful exterior conceals a truly humble man. A lovable little fuzzball.

Freeman Hunt said...

The class scales specifically among mothers are, I think:
The Fashion and Home Decor Scale
The Working Professional Scale
The Fitness Scale
The Partying Scale (also divided by income)
The Morality Scale
The Family CEO Scale

Freeman Hunt said...

Sometimes being high on one scale will kill one's rating on another scale. I think most journalists are most familiar with the access to wealth and power scale, the credentials scale, and, specifically among women, the working professional scale.

John said...

"The class scales specifically among mothers are, I think:
The Fashion and Home Decor Scale
The Working Professional Scale
The Fitness Scale
The Partying Scale (also divided by income)
The Morality Scale
The Family CEO Scale


You left off The "In-the-Know" Scale - formerly known as The Gossip Scale. We all know who the "go-to" mom is in the neighborhood.

Freeman Hunt said...

John, you're right, but I think that's more of a role within those class scales.

Big Mike said...

One additional thought: plumbers, carpenters, and electricians cannot be outsourced to India or replaced by robots.

Trashhauler said...

My daughter married down because her college degree led to a high-paying job and her husband stays at home minding the three kids.

My son is a PhD audiologist doing research at a good university. His wife makes the money, though. She's a vice president of a major banking firm.

Which are happier? I ain't saying.

Trashhauler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trashhauler said...

"Says the man who dropped out of college (and who believes he's so smart he has to have 'half my brain tied around my back just to make it fair')."

I don't suppose the concepts of sarcasm and hyperbole have ever come up before?

carrie said...

I used to hear it described in liberal circles (all college graduates) that there is no status in having a college degree, but that there is a certain lack of status in not having one. They thought they were being egalitarian, and I thought they were being snobs.

lemondog said...

...because he works with his hands.

When you work with your hands you must also work with your mind.

A neighbor who by avocation is a writer but, with his wife, (both college grads) by vocation own a successful graphics design business. In addition he is enjoys renovating buildings and became junior partner with several other non-college bootstrap entrepreneurs who head a partnership that take derelict warehouses in dilapidated industrial parks, negotiate necessary loans and renovate by personally doing most of the reconstruction work.

I have nothing unadulterated admiration for those with vision who take the risk to reinvent.

John said...

Seems to me that the woman with a degree in (insert name here) Studies, or history, or English or any of a lot of other subjects is marrying up if they marry a plumber, electrician, welder, refrigeration tech or any of dozens of other fields.

She is marrying up economically in most cases.

She is also marrying up educationally in most cases. The plumber who went to a 2 year trade school then spent a couple years learning the trade has probably had a more rigorous education than the person with 6 years in most liberal arts programs.

The LA folks just need to show up in class, more or less, to get certified as being educated.

The LA folks, if they screw up, no matter how badly, nobody is likely to notice.

If the plumber, welder etc screws, people can die.

It is nice to have some LA majors around but their absence is what would be called a first world problem. Nice to have but not really necessary. Life would roll on without them much the same as before.(Though with perhaps less hand wringing in Slate and Salon)

Unlike the plumber et al.

You tell me who, in a marriage between a studies major and a plumber who is marrying up and by what measure.

John Henry

John said...

I'm old enough to recall that many women went to college to get their "MRS". Remember vividly when the bride announced during dinner that "she got her Domer!"

Those two are no longer a couple.

As I said in an earlier comment, if the marriage is based on 'marrying in either direction', good luck to you!

One more thing. Today, being Valentines Day. A day that neither my wife of 28yrs nor I recognize. Don't need a "holiday" once a year to remind us that we love each other...

Grimstarr said...

Does anyone remember the LUG phenomenon? When I was in school, some women choose to bat lesbian for four years so they didn't have the hassle of a male-female relationship. Once they graduated, they were right back to men (or at least most of those I knew were). Lesbian Until Graduation. So I guess sometimes it CAN be a choice.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


A good clue that your degree might be worthless: if your best employment opportunity with that degree is teaching others the same degree.

And if that is the case, then whomever you marry, you are marrying 'up'.

Ann Althouse said...

"Oh please. Its meant as a joke."

It's like you don't understand what a joke is. I said he was bragging. He means it as hyperbole. He absolutely thinks he's smarter than everyone else.

The part about God might reflect some humility about being blessed, but he surely believes he is blessed with phenomenal intelligence.

Trashhauler said...

"The part about God might reflect some humility about being blessed, but he surely believes he is blessed with phenomenal intelligence."

Or he might believe that his opponents generally are not so blessed - or so intelligent. And he might be correct.

Oh, his ego definitely comes into play. He shows the defiant arrogance of one told he can't be all that smart, given his past. So, he makes up for it through self study and the sheer joy which comes from showing up the smart kids.

kentuckyliz said...

I work at a community and technical college, and our technical programs will produce more graduates who immediately or eventually start a business and keep the capital produced by their labor. Many will probably be wealthier than the wage/salary slaves who let their bossman keep the capital produced by their labor. These tech grads never took econ but they are winning.

For further reading, see Thomas Stanley, the Millionaire Next Door. They are my students.

EMD said...

The flip side to this is that I am often told I "outkicked my coverage" with my wife.

Lost My Cookies said...

If you took a sample of married couples out in the boonies where I live, you wouldn't be shocked at all that women are married to men with less education. Guys here seem to get burned out after high school and can, if they are willing to get up every day and go to work, get a damn good paying job with training at eighteen or nineteen. The women tend to be teachers, nurses, accountants and about 60% of the doctors. Most of those men retire after 20 and either start at another shop or work the farm full time. The women work forever. In fact, out of the circle of my neighborhood friends, there are only two of us who make more money than their wife, and only one I can think of who has a more advanced degree than his wife. (I'd say I was equal, but she has a BS in Math and I have a BA in art.)

Big Mike said...

He absolutely thinks he's smarter than everyone else.

Let me know when he's found a closed form solution for Shroedinger's equation for Helium.

On the other hand, Trashhauler's right. He really is smarter than his adversaries.

stlcdr said...

Approximately 50% of people partake in 'women's studies'. We don't get or need a piece of paper, because we do it for the love of it.

Sometimes, though, it's a drain. But it has its good sides. And some of those sides are very good.

RecChief said...

I know quite a few men in the trades; capenters, plumbers, electricians who make six figure incomes because their skills are in demand. Their skills are in demand because so many of the school districts around here bought into the mantra of "everyone needs to go to college." and scrapped their vocational-technical programs. And the ones I know aren't unionized.

Eric said...

This woman married a man who is beneath her, because he works with his hands. We have contempt for that kind of expression, but it really is what is being said.

Is it really that, or is it just that the default assumption is people with college degrees will earn more money?

SukieTawdry said...

Michael said...
Take some time wherever you are to visit a marina. If you are on either of the coasts or the Great Lakes all the better. Wander around and be agog at the amount of money that has gone into these boats, the billions of dollars bobbing there in the marinas. Who do you think owns those boats, including the big ones? Investment bankers? Forget it. They are owned by building contractors, plumbing suppliers, electricians They are having the last nautical laughs.

Indeed. One of my favorite boats moored in the Dana Point Marina is named "Change Order No. 2."

Why pick on women's studies? Because it's so deserving of ridicule. But, you're right, he could have just said "studies" without qualifying it further as they're all equally worthless.