April 10, 2012

"I suppose it could be a coincidence that lengthy breast-feeding and attachment parenting..."

"... that interferes heavily with maintaining a career came into style right as it became passé to pressure women to downplay their ambitions for the sake of men, but it just seems highly unlikely."

A sentence, among the many sentences I read today, that I thought you might want to digest... maybe diagram.

From a short blog post made up of sentences like that, which one of those readability calculator devices puts at the 16.26 grade level. In other words: suspect obfuscation, AKA bullshit.


leslyn said...

Digest breastfeeding?

TML said...

Let's break 'er down first:

Is it a coincidence that traditional mothering that interferes with a career came into style right as it became passé to pressure women not to extend that career for the sake of men?

That's my contribution.

But why even ask a question like that? It works against itself.

Titus said...

Did anyone see Donald Driver on DWTS last night?


The body of death. Ink for days. Raw sex.

I needed a walk after that because I was tingly all over.

He is fucking gorgeous and a very good dancer.

You know he has a beautiful large black hog.

David said...

I liked one of the following sentences a lot too:

It seems that if you live in social circles where it's simple expected that you curtail your professional ambitions and do most of the domestic work so as to avoid emasculating your husband, the psychic need to create elaborate parenting theories to achieve the same result—woman at home, tied to the kitchen—simply vanishes. Strange coincidence, indeed.

That sentence makes me tingly all over, Titus. To each his own.

Maybe someday Amanda will meet a man who is not so easily emasculated. Meade, want to have lunch with her? It could be interesting.

Will Cate said...

Well, I would sum up Ms. Marcotte's column thusly: Damned if ya do, damned if ya don't.

edutcher said...

It's no coninkydink these are the same women applaud abortions.

And, although placenta eating is a bit extreme (anybody who remembers the MOVE shootouts in Philadelphia in the 80s remembers that was one of their big things), begrudging women the time and effort to raise their kids (after all, that's what au pairs are for) has been a hallmark of feminism from the start.

sydney said...

I'm trying to comprehend "attachment parenting." Doesn't all basic parenting avoid some form of attachment? Only refrigerator moms would avoid attachment, and we all know where that leads.

Econophile said...

"It seems that if you live in social circles where it's simple [sic] expected that you..."

One's social circle is a choice, more or less, no? Or are we women restricted in that arena as well?

Interesting that the Althouse blog is one of a handful of those recommended on the site.

wyo sis said...

Big sentences small understanding? Overcompensating?

David said...

The comments to Marcotte's post (mostly by women, it seems) are quite interesting, and generally thoughtful.

David said...

Parenting 101:

First you should attach, then you should detach, and then, if you did the first two well and you and your child have some luck, good things happen and you reattach in a very satisfying way.

David said...

Meade, lunch with Amanda next week, ok? Explain to her how to marry a strong woman and not be emasculated.

Maguro said...

Ah, Amanda sentences. No one could diagram them like Dennis the Peasant.

rhhardin said...

You'd think attach would come from L tangere.

Karnival said...

Two words: unreadable crap. Jesus. Navel gazing.

raptros-v76 said...

Diagramming? That won't even begin to figure out what's going on here. I say, train up a PCFG on some suitably large treebank, then try some uncertainty measures on it. Pit length-normalized probability of best parse against (Hwa 2000)'s tree entropy. Not that I'm willing to wait around that long.

traditionalguy said...

Damn. If you are using one of those meters, then I will need to put more work into free association comments.

It maybe from having a German grandfather, but I find the hardest part of communications in the "everybody cross-talks age" is that nouns are not mentioned. The entire cluster of some writer's sentences must be worked using clues like a NYT crossword puzzle.

The failure to state a noun subject for sentences is both lazy and an unnecessary secrecy.

Saint Croix said...

Marcotte once referred to anybody who defended the Duke Lacrosse players as rape-loving scum. Like a lot of feminists, she seems to have issues with men, sex, babies and human reproduction.

On the positive side, she's harder to read now.

Synova said...

She's reviewing a book she didn't read. Of course she's got to use extra convoluted constructions. (She said she doesn't know if the book covers placenta eating, and that's the sort of thing one wouldn't forget reading, if one did, in fact, read.)

She's got her own thesis in any case. Liberal women get crazy-ass over uber-parenting because there is an externally imposed level of subjection that women must maintain. There must be. Because she can't imagine any other reason for this.

"One thing I do know is that the more conservative women of my acquaintance don't feel the same pressure to breast-feed until their kids are talking or to keep their kids by their side at all times, even bedtime."

One obvious reason that a conservative person might not clamber to adopt every new crazy-ass trend of uber-parenting might possibly be that this is what the word "conservative" means. Conservatives are slow-adopters.

And if you're not generally conservative, then you're probably interested in every new thing.

But that bit of human behavior isn't as interesting as imagining some nefarious invisible force trying to keep women subservient to men, a force that skips over the suitably subservient conservative woman and only afflicts the woman who attempted her own liberation.

(12.94 years of formal education to easily understand the text of my comment on first reading.)

Saint Croix said...

Marcotte's claim to fame was getting fired from the John Edwards campaign. Iowahawk mocks it here. Rude, but really funny.

Sorun said...

for the sake of men

Mmm, I'll have some sake, thanks.

Quayle said...

We used to handle large Boolean logic problem in my digital electrical engineering class.

We would apply Boolean algebraic manipulations to reduce the statements to their most basic form.

Here is Amanda Marcotte reduced to basic form:

"I think that what some people think about what some other people think, which relates to what I've previously written about, talking about the argument of those that don't consider it coincidence that some things happen after others."

"Oh, and then there's taboo which I'm really pissed about."

(One gets the feeling that most of this inside-feminism conversation is structurally and logically identical to the late night phone calls of high school girls, with the names of the talked-about girls having been replaced with the names of various feminist theory branches and sub-theories.)

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I agree with Synova.

(11.60 years of formal education to easily understand the text of my comment on first reading. Damn, formal education sucks! )

madAsHell said...

Amanda Marcotte?!? Wasn't she famous for not doing John Edwards?

Why are you giving that ding-bat a link??

Tim said...

I couldn't get past "As I recently learned when arguing that the promotion of placenta-eating demotes new mothers..."


Dear God Almighty, that's a show-stopper, folks. If these vampires live amongst us, we should just provoke a nuclear war with someone and hope the survivors can live with their heads out of their asses, unlike *us*.

G Joubert said...

Circuitous question notwithstanding, the subject is even more complicated than she posits.

Tim said...

"Amanda Marcotte?!? Wasn't she famous for not doing John Edwards?"

Chances are, John Edwards found a female in the herd even he wouldn't do.

Scott M said...

The feminine mystique is probably going to morph a number of times before feminism can finally kill it off.

No, it will continue to flail about and hurt people until womb tanks become the norm and our society is creche-raised.

Aside from that, I suppose one of their "morphs" was to inflict untold hurt on an entire generation of women that decided to be housewives.

YoungHegelian said...

Ahhh, the ever delightful Ms Marcotte, who is so clueless she published gems like:

Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?

A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.

And then is mystified that the "Right wing smear machine" rises up in protest and gets her canned from the Edwards campaign.

I can understand having anti-religious sentiments, and expressing them in crude language. But, being so fucking stupid and clueless that you don't understand why you then become untouchable by any mainstream American politician is a bit of a show stopper.

Her self-serving write-up of the incident can be found here.

Henry said...

You know you could replace "farmers market attendance" and "slow-food cooking" for "breast-feeding" and "attachment parenting" respectively and not change the meaning one bit.

Ah, the myriad afflictions of the educated upper crust woman.

Carl Vero said...

The BS will be tried in the morn, in the morn
By the common sense's glaring sun
Where the opinions clash and the women flash
To the tune of a silly pun …

Beta Rube said...

Can men do attachment parenting?

I'm pretty sure I did, but maybe not.

Henry said...

The really killer irony is found in the sentence just before the one Althouse quotes:

I'm really glad someone has written this book, even though I expect it to be rejected by people who believe labeling a behavior a "choice" exempts it from analysis or criticism.

Where in the world could the self-absorbed and the self-righteous have learned that tactic?

Synova said...

My guesses about what suggests an untenable coincidence to Marcotte are, first, that having fewer children naturally perverts mothering. This is why "only child" used to be an assumption of a spoiled brat. Mothers had too much time to focus down on that singular offspring. It had nothing to do with being a submissive wife or not, or adopting bizarre parenting theories. The blood thingy that left women with only a single child has been solved, so it's more likely that a mother chose to have a very small family, but wouldn't we expect the same focus of all mothering efforts on the single child?

And secondly, what I said about who is likely to adopt the newest and most shiny fad. Who is bound to know better than the last generation? Who is most likely to be excited about every new thing? Placenta eating! It's edgy and just slightly transgressive. So why not?

If you've got a number of children, using all cloth and a diaper service is absurd. You're going to buy Huggies. And you'll nurse, but not probably longer than you have to, because eventually you need sleep. And you might use a play pen. And maybe even the television and a video.

And then, because you're conservative, you'll justify all of those horrible instances of child-abuse with the notion that the child-rearing strategies of your parents worked just fine.

And you'd be right.

Rick67 said...

I tried:

"D'Arcy takes it as a given that there's a protective shield around time-intensive parenting practices to keep anyone from observing out loud that it's antithetical to feminism to demand such high levels of self-abnegation from women. She fears that anyone who breaches the taboo around pointing this out can expect to face a sea of angry people hellbent on silencing the errant observer. As I recently learned when arguing that the promotion of placenta-eating demotes new mothers to four-legged animals, these angry critics don't really have an argument, but simply believe it's out of line for a woman to criticize another's "choices."

And got a score of 19.42. That's some serious b*llsh*t from Amanda Marcotte. Is she okay?

kimsch said...


I agree. And will also contribute the fact that allowing one's children, even as babies, to learn that Mama and/or Papa won't necessarily be there immediately.

These children learn to soothe themselves and they learn patience.

They learn to entertain themselves.

My eleven-year-old son will sit in his room and play with Lego bricks or his Transformers with no TV even though it's available. He'll sit and read, or draw maps of the earth or the United States freehand just for fun.

Conservatives raise children to be independent and self-reliant, not overly dependent on others for their every need.

Lem said...

..interferes heavily.

These are big heavy babies now days.. there must be a surge in caesarean sections.. little ceasers.. Obama fundraiser.. Obamacare.. interferes heavily.

Ralph L said...

high levels of self-abnegation from women
Here I thought most women liked mothering--why else would they do it? The tax deduction?

This country will be fundamentally different when the large proportion of only children of educated people become adults. A lot dumber on average, for one thing.

John Lynch said...

Because if we have verbal prowess whatever we say must be true.

We overvalue verbal agility.

Revenant said...

I'm really thankful for the Amanda Marcotte tag. It stops me from accidentally reading the linked articles.

Titus said...

I find this post very anti woman.

As a result, I am outraged.

I believe breast feeding should last well until your teens...or even longer.

That's was tits are for.

Chip Ahoy said...

A sentence, among the many sentences I read today, that I thought you might want to digest... maybe diagram.

Flesch Reading Ease 68.07

From a short blog post made up of sentences like that, which one of those readability calculator devices puts at the 16.26 grade level. In other words: suspect obfuscation, AKA bullshit.

Flesch Reading Ease : 61.18

Chip Ahoy said...

What do you have to do to get 100? See Jane run.

Chip Ahoy said...

I like turtles

Chip Ahoy said...

Oof. Just scored the first paragraph of my last post at my own place.

Flesch Reading Ease : 56.83

I'm tempted to rewrite it with ease of reading in mind, but then there would go my voice.

Lem said...

All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.

Hemingway gets a 95.03

William said...

I'm not even a woman and lengthy breast feeding has wreaked havoc on my career.

Unknown said...

to keep anyone from observing out loud that it's antithetical to feminism to demand such high levels of self-abnegation from women.

Yet many of the feminists who hold views similar to the writer reserve their horrified observations of the self-abnegating abnegation of it all only for either mothering or marriage. Self-abnegation in other endeavors, such as immersing oneself in the feminist cause or devoting one's energies to improving the earth, are the laudable kind of self-abnegation, risking no loss of self at all, and perhaps even an enhancement of self.

One can happily self-abnegate all the livelong day to their admiring approval, so long as it does not involve either a man or children. It is not the self-sacrifice of which they disapprove and over which they fret. It's the object of it.

Lem said...

A supposition that could be a coincidence, just seems highly unlikely.

I got it into the hall of fame with a 41.85.. or an above 400 batting avrage.. by following the first Lady's suggestion.. loose the fat!

Carnifex said...

I have a friend, very successful. Multi-millionaire. He took a small hardware store and turned it into a global spanning retail company. As a result, he got to meet famous people, celebrities. One day, one of theses celebrities stopped by his headquarters and the women in the place were swooning. He was totally confused. He asked one of them "Who is Ted Nuggent anyway?" I got a good laugh off that.

But this brings the circle to a close when I have to ask, and I do so without "Googling", and being sincere, "Titus, who is Donald Driver? I assume he is not a farmer."

Now to the topic. What was the topic? It's not okay to have a wide vocabulary? No. It's not nice to write overly verbose sentences? This is a lawyer blog, most definitely no. Ah, I got it! If you buy a computer and shit all over the keyboard spouting liberal twaddle, you too can be a...a...well, not success, but something. Mildly Famous? Infamous? I really don't know but I guess she gets paid to do it. So does that make her a blogging whore?

I try to be as precise in my usage of words as I can be with my admitted sub-par schooling. But I never, not one time ever, thought that TRADGUY as being a language nazi. I've seen such creatures before, lurking and pouncing on the Jewish educated for grammer and typing mistakes. So "KUDOS1 TRADGUY on overcoming your genetic predisposition to being a dictator of the keyboards!!!

That last paragraph was satire. I love TRADGUY, in a never remotely homosexual, but a "guys hanging out and checking out the boobs of the waitress" kinda thing.

Oh! Here's a last gift to Titus(I'll prolly get in trouble for this). When I followed a link from "Ace of Spades" earlier today I wound up(it wasn't painful) at a site called "Big Tits Database". Lots o' "stuff" for the mammarycentric in all of us.

John Lynch said...

"Rather than bury their ambitions for men, now women must bury them for their children."

Translated to 8th grade level.

Funny how people work so hard not to be understood.

Bender said...

I guess I don't understand how being a field hand, laboring for some stranger's benefit, or how being a whore for someone, for example, as for John Edwards, is supposed to be more fulfilling than being with and helping people you love.

Whether you are a man or a womyn, very, very, very few are able to find meaning or fulfillment in a profession. Even for those who start off doing what they like to do, for the vast majority of people, ultimately it ends up being just a job, that is, just a means to getting a paycheck.

Mzz. Marcotte's pursuit of a career sure as hell hasn't made her happy. She just as bitter as the first unfortunate thing I read from her years ago.

Revenant said...

to demand such high levels of self-abnegation from women.


Abnegation is, by definition, something you do yourself. That's like saying "the autobiography he wrote about himself".

This is what happens when you reach for the thesaurus instead of just saying "to demand women give up their rights".

Alex said...

I think we could all benefit from doing some good old fashioned farm work. Getting up at 4:30AM to milk the cows, baling hay, dung all that.

London Girl said...

What Synova said. Both times.

I've noticed this a lot with women and it becomes particularly fraught when the discussion is motherhood: it's not enough to make a decision about how you are going to live your life, everybody has to agree with you. Which is mad. I would at least listen if my mother or my sister or my oldest friends came out with a reasoned criticism of my choices but some woman I met at the playground by the swings? Someone on the internet? Who gave them a vote?

I never see men doing this, and I don't think it's on them. It's predominantly female behaviour and all I can think of to say is: grow up.

As for the attachment parenting thing, Synova nails it. I've noticed that most of the second children I know are more relaxed, happy and self-contained than first children and I don't think it's despite the fact their mothers are unable to micromanage every moment of their lives, I think it's because.

Chip Ahoy said...

Oh I get it, it's like golf, kinda. Lower score means less education needed for comprehension, meaning it is written more clearly. The more erudite you get the higher your score and that is not necessarily a good thing. So I've stopped trying to get 100.

Flesch Reading Ease: 70.10

Maybe I had just rewrite that.

Flesch Reading Ease: 102.04


Flesch Reading Ease: 121.22

kevbo nobo said...

Incidentally, "AKA bullshit" would be an AWESOME name for a rock band.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

In other words, trying to understand the utterings of Amanda Marcotte is bad for one's health.

Similar to paying attention to a tantrum-throwing child. My advice; ignore with prejudice.

"I am not as think as you drunk I am."

Flesch reading ease: 103.70

Astro said...

I scanned, but did not waste my time reading the article in depth.
As Tampa's Jack Harris would say:
"I'm certainly glad I didn't fail to enjoy missing that."

Synova said...

"Self-abnegation in other endeavors, such as immersing oneself in the feminist cause or devoting one's energies to improving the earth, are the laudable kind of self-abnegation, risking no loss of self at all, and perhaps even an enhancement of self."

Darn good point.

(And Rev gets points, too, for actually looking up the word abnegate. I looked up passe, just to double check since the context didn't confirm what I thought (rightly) was the meaning.)

Xmas said...

This counterpoints something that Ace of Spades posted yesterday. A rant on Ashley Judd blaming the "Patriarchy" for the gossip about her puffy face.

To quote: 'And why would someone be talked about simply because we know, vaguely, who they are? Well, I think it's just the childhood urge to pick out the One Who's Different and say mean things about her, to create a bond among the people saying cruel things, and to "lift" them while putting the object of their Two Minute Hate down.'

Carnifex said...

I noticed Ashley was a little puffy faced on her new show. Looking more like Winona than Naomi. It's called aging, and is strictly taboo for women for some reason. I myself enjoy cougers, and am married to one, though at our age there isn't much "cougin'" left. Naomi, as my wife does, looks a lot younger than her years, genes matter sometimes.

Not to brag but I look younger than I am also, but as I tell everyone, "The fat fills in all the wrinkles".

Salamandyr said...

I don't know. It seemed pretty easy to understand to me. It's bad writing, but I tend to write badly in a similar way, so I am not really a good judge.

I'm not sure that I agree with the point of the sentence though. It seems to me attachment parenting has more to do with smaller families, and the tendency to treat childrearing as a boutique activity rather than something you do while getting other things done.

GT said...

That sentence is horrible. It has three instances of "it," none of which seem to refer to the same thing. It has two dependent clauses beginning with "that" (with the second dependent clause depending on the first!) and another clause beginning with "but." Someone needs to get her a copy of Stunk & White!

Fernandinande said...

Feminism is the art of turning personal psychological problems into other peoples' political problems.

paul a'barge said...

Makes sense to me:
(man) Hey, if you want to get a job, have a career, put up with all the office bullshit, by all means let me be supportive. Get a job.
(woman) oh no, I don't want to have to work. I really just want to hang around the house, with my children sucking on my tits and demanding that I read to them. It's so much more rewarding.
(man) I thought as much. Can't talk now though, I have to go to work and perform the function of being the boss's whipping boy.


TML said...

"even though I expect it to be rejected by people who believe labeling a behavior a "choice" exempts it from analysis or criticism."

She's kidding, right?

Bryan Keers said...

My favorite Marcotte sentence of all time, on the fallout for Rush Limbaugh of his Sandra Fluke smear campaign, 3.7.12:

"With ordinary advertisers jumping ship from Rush Limbaugh's show in light of his charming suggestion that the use of sexual health services makes Sandra Fluke---and by association, nearly every American woman who isn't a nun or a gold star lesbian (both of whom Limbaugh probably has other nasty names for)---a "slut" and a "prostitute" who owes it to Limbaugh to make him sex tapes, Limbaugh might be in the market for some new advertisers."

When I mocked this on Slate as the unreadable garbage that it is, I was accused of being one of those anti-feminist apes who probably can't understand basic grammar anyway. It's amazing what some of Marcotte's partisans will say when their sensibilities are threatened.

Unknown said...

I found it easy to understand.

Women used to be pressured to sacrifice their life for their men. But as that form of pressure faded away, a new form showed up. Now, women are pressured to sacrifice their life for their children. And this seems too similar to be a coincidence. It suggests that anti-woman ideology never went away. Instead, the ideology just changed its tactics to seem more socially acceptable.

Agree with it or not, it's a pretty easy point, and the sentence is pretty easy to follow.

Bryan Keers said...

It is not sufficient for a professional writer to produce prose that is "easy to understand." No one is saying the sentences in question are indecipherable. The claim is that they are artless, clumsy, circuitous, and willfully obfuscating. I think this is hard to contest.