February 11, 2008

"I don't think I'm going to be bored enough today to read four pages of that..."

Yes, that's what I thought too, when I saw this long, long article in The Atlantic about how women should just go ahead and marry some guy because marriage is really important or some such thing. I don't even want to talk about the basic, boring proposition. I want to know how Lori Gottleib got such a lame piece of work published in The Atlantic....

I guess this is why: so everyone would link to it.

Damn, I don't even want to hit the publish button. Damn.

This reminds me of the best strategy for writing one of those most-cited law review articles. You clearly and strongly state a position that everyone else is going to disagree with. Then when they write their articles, and they need to refer to that position, you'll be the citation.

ADDED: Now, what can I say today that everyone will disagree with?


Meade said...

Why marry the donor when you can get the sperm for free?

rhhardin said...

The same trick works in mathematics.

ricpic said...

Everyone is going to disagree with? I thought women were still wed to marriage, or at least the idea(l) of marriage...even if he is a useless shlub.

George said...

You're not in the target.

The Atlantic has one of the oldest readerships of news magazines, at least as of 2004, and the readership skews more male than female.

Even worse, its circulation is only 425,000, acccd to Wiki.

Translation: It doesn't have enough readers to attract advertisers and the readers it has are dying and not buying enough stuff to grow the ad base, though they are high income people.

Solution: Attract younger, more heavily female audience--People who are climbing the consumption, brand attachment and wealth curves.

For example, last month the rag, er, mag ran a long, long gushy essay about Katie Couric by Caitlin Flanagan. And Caitlin is....you guessed it...a young wealthy mother.

rhhardin said...

Ain't got no man kickin' in the stall.

Imus's line for lonely women callers.

George said...

Oh, and if The Atlantic really wants to grow, it should publish articles with titles like

"Standing, In Fuzzy Slippers"


"Beyond King Solomon's Harlots"

But who would write such things?

rhhardin said...

An old issue of Raritan had some fine titles for you

The Japanese Buyout of England (1992 article)
The Kikuyu Cliteridectomy Controversy Again
Specificity, Classicity and Canonicity
The Metaphoricity of Urban Space
The Rhetoricity of Urban Planning
The Citycity of Las Vegas
The Opening of the SS Sturm-Abteilung Archive
A Lebenswelt Approach to the Homeless
Interculturalness as Diffusion of the Local
Wit and Self-Irony in Susan Sontag
The Failure of U.S. Policy Toward [name of country]
Godzilla and the Hulk : Deconstruction Takes on Virtual Reality
The Supposed Theft of French Ideas from German Philosophy
Communication as Fetish

_Raritan_ XI:3 Winter 1992 p.30

Of course that was for success in humanities journals. Adapt as needed.

bearing said...

I've subscribed to the Atlantic for years. The issue referred to is on my desk as I write. I've noticed the mushy feminization too -- I think "george" is spot on that they're trying to attract, well, me, or at least my demographic shadow (I am a 33-y-o married mother). Did you notice they recently added a recipe column too? (In this issue: Flourless Walnut Torte).

Response: mixed. I like Flanagan okay -- postfeminism is, um, the life I am living. The article Ann links to has been irritating me for days. The author has got to be one of the most self-absorbed women in the Western Hemisphere.

I guess if the cancellation (in the print edition) of the often-fiendishly-difficult crossword puzzle didn't drive me away, the introduction of a few squishy fluff pieces won't either.

(I still resent losing the puzzle.)

MadisonMan said...

Now, what can I say today that everyone will disagree with?

Let's take a closer look at those breasts!

AllenS said...

I'm going to disagree with your choice of one word that you used twice: damn you should have used damnit.

rdkraus said...

Now, what can I say today that everyone will disagree with?

Anything about Ron Paul.

former law student said...

What's the difference between the Atlantic and Harper's? One has much harder puzzles, I know, but which one?

ricpic said...

If memory serves Titus penned several articles for Raritan:

The Mesmericity of Hog
Bending Over for Thrust
The Big Book of Boys
The Strange Case of Gay Judy Garland Worship
Toward a Theory of Perverse Intertextuality

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maxine Weiss said...

A woman without her man is nothing

JSinger said...

I dunno. OK, it's self-absorbed, self-important and solipsistic. (The "a regular commentator for National Public Radio" should have been a tip-off.) But given how inculcated we are to be a demanding, neurotic serial dater who plows through plentiful options every week before marrying your soulmate when your sitcom gets canceled -- I don't think this particular bit of personal truth so is so preposterous.

George said...

Former law--

The Atlantic is a tree sloth on two cups of tepid coffee. (With Guy Billout.)

Harpers is a loris chewing two tablespoons of coffee. (With hipster art.)

michael farris said...

Oh .... Gahd.....

I made the mistake of starting to read the damned thing. Awful writing devoted to an awful proposition without a single substantive argument in the land. Ghastly, ghastly stuff. This passes for professional work now?

Maxine Weiss said...

Oh I see, because Ann Althouse hates an article, her readers are supposed to also.

That's how it works around here. We all need Ann Althouse to tell us what's good.

And, you'd better fall in line, or else.

Maxine Weiss said...

Gottlieb is a very popular last name around here, apparently.

rcocean said...

"Oh I see, because Ann Althouse hates an article, her readers are supposed to also.

That's how it works around here. We all need Ann Althouse to tell us what's good.And, you'd better fall in line, or else."

You have Althouse mixed up with the Republican party and Hugh Hewitt.

Chip Ahoy said...

I was trying to figure out if I was supposed to read the "that's what I thought too" link but not read the "this long, long article" link in order to comport, because today I'm feeling agreeable, when it occurred the comments here are probably better than the content at the links so I'll just leave it at that. See? Now that's a sign of maturity there.

ricpic said...

A woman ain't a thing without a man --
Without that band of gold on hand
Without that mister pillow talkin' cheek
A floppin' fish up a dry creek.

Middle Class Guy said...

Maxine Weiss said...
And, you'd better fall in line, or else.

I don’t fall in line for anybody or anything. When I left the Service, I decided I would never fall in or fall in or wait in line again.

Stephen said...

Now, what can I say today that everyone will disagree with? How about these?
1) The Archbishop of Canterbury is right about sharia law.
2) Michelle Obama wears the pants in her family.
3) We may be in a recession, but nobody I know is really worried.
4) Due to litigation, the Democrats may not have a nominee in time for the November election.
5) Britney will have a huge comeback.

ricpic said...

Agree with 2. 4 is just plain silly. 5? With the right manager and a good makeover it's possible.

Hey said...


2 and 4 seem reasonable - both will still of course generate a huge number of links.

5 - no one wants to talk about Britney, so I doubt that anything on the subject would really help drive traffic/citations.

Synova said...

I read four pages of it.

I think she was wrong about some fundamental things but it seemed to me that she was right about some fundamental things, too.

Only a bit too late to do her much good.

About the only thing I really *really* disagreed with was the implication that someone should "settle" for someone they don't want to have sex with. That's a despicable thing to do to another person.

But how many women are alone and miserable simply because they're holding out for Mr. Perfect instead of "settling" for Mr. Right or Mr. Nice Guy? Like they are Ms. Flawless Awesome? Sell me another one.

I've seen it too much among my age-peers. We weren't supposed to be doormats anymore, or live our lives for someone else... well, hello! If you're part of a couple you're going to have to go with what that person wants *whenever you can.*

There will be enough times that the situation warrants asserting your preferences without you deciding that they need to be asserted just because they're yours.

Demanding he's perfect, or demanding mind-blowing fireworks (the most cited reason I've ever heard for going back to marginally abusive jerks, FWIW) or that he be wealthy and ambitious (never understood that one... sure the money is nice, but so is having a husband married to you instead of his job) instead of asking yourself... can I *live* with this person?

There's lots of people who set off sparks. There are far fewer who would actually be tolerable on a daily basis year after year after year.

And yes... our looks go. Male and female. And yes... waiting to "settle" until your looks are something referred to in the past tense is pretty short-sighted.

TMink said...

"That's a despicable thing to do to another person."

Wow, good point. And it is adespicable thing to do to yourself as well.

Good post Synova.


Richard Fagin said...

You can say, "The second amendment defines a collective right, not an individual one."

Blake said...

I bit yesterday or the day before. I entitled it "Woman Wants Unicorn, Now Almost Willing To Settle For Pony".

Her definition of "settling" seems to have been crossing "love" of the list. Apparently it's not enough to love a decent man, he has to look perfect, be wealthy, raise your vanity child, and he has to have some other undefinable quality that no other man has had. (Apparently complete harmony on all viewpoints.)

As I wrote: "And the most damning thing? Not only does she never once refer to any personal flaws she might hypothetically have, nowhere, in four pages of writing, does she talk about what any poor sap who might find her attractive might get out of a relationship with her. There's no mention of fun or sex or laughter, cooking, holidays, shared hobbies, or even sitting on the couch watching trash TV--all the things that couples and families do that bring joy to what otherwise could become a grind."

(Though as I note, it's just an article. Whether or not she believes it is a different issue. She might just be trolling.)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

1) The Archbishop of Canterbury is right about sharia law. Totally disagree

2) Michelle Obama wears the pants in her family. Actually, I agree with this. I get the impression that behind the scenes, Michelle is definitely in charge.

3) We may be in a recession, but nobody I know is really worried. I agree. We may be...may...be in a recession which is a natural and necessary part of the business cycle. And no one I know is especially worried about it. In fact. Since the first of the year, my business has been humming with people wanting to take advantage of buying opportunities.

4) Due to litigation, the Democrats may not have a nominee in time for the November election. I so don't care enough about this to agree or disagree

5) Britney will have a huge comeback. If you mean a big comeback in her post mortem made for TV movies and exploitative books, probably being written as we speak by her despicable parents, then yea....Big Comeback

I also agree wholeheartedly with Synova.

amba said...

Oh, here we go again. A decade or two ago it was Newsweek saying you had more chance of being hit by lightning, tben the whole thing about fertility dropping precipitately after 35.

These women are longing for a dream that never existed. They're looking at marriage from a self-fulfillment point of view, which is a crock. Actually, self-fulfillment is a crock. You can pursue it in and out of marriage and back in again and back out again, but it's still going to come and go from moment to moment. When you're married there are times you wish you weren't. When you're a mother you sometimes long for your freedom. When you're single you sometimes think life would be perfect if you found your soulmate. People could use a much more workmanlike attitude toward life -- to get on with what's put in front of them.

amba said...

No relation, by the way.

amba said...

Oops, I guess "get on with what's put in front of them" is kinda what she's talking about. So I got it backwards. So much for commenting on articles before reading them. But it's still true that contentment is less about the big choices you make than about the small ones of how you live with them, day by day.

Ann Althouse said...

Hi, amba. Glad to know I'm not knocking your sister or niece or something. I'm sure if this Lori Gottlieb character married some guy according to her own advice, she'd be dissatisfied with that too. What I see in your point is that it you can't figure out how to be happy with what you have, you also won't be able to figure out how to be happy with that other thing if you switched to it.

Anyway, I've been married and unmarried, and there is good and bad in both. Personally, I prefer unmarried — at least in the situation where you're not living with children -- because to the extent that it is bad, it's all your responsibility. You don't have to be pissed off or jealous or disappointed with someone else.

Lori Gottlieb has a child, so she isn't independent. I think in that situation you fantasize about having a helpmeet, having someone to take care of you. But hopes about bringing a new father into the family are not terribly realistic.

Blake said...

I can see, a man marrying a woman with a young child.

I cannot, from the article, tell why he would do it in this particular case.

Maxine Weiss said...

It's just clever wifery for the modern world.

Nothing to have a cow over.

Maxine Weiss said...

"When you're married there are times you wish you weren't."---Amba

Not Mrs. Reagan. There was never a time when Mrs. Reagan wished she weren't married.

Apparently, the dream does exist for some.