Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Men Don't Marry for Sex" (Robert Hustrulid); do most women want to be "protected"?

Author: Robert Hustrulid, M.D.

Title: “Men Don’t Marry for Sex: Overturning Assumptions on Why Men and Women Get Married

Publication: Self-published, 2014, ISBN 978-1-4675-9951-1, 76 pages, paper.
Amazon link.   Appears to be paper only; I don’t see a Kindle item.

I received this book as a review sample, after an email query.  The author is a physician, practicing internal medicine (I think in Florida, if I remember right),  which means he can certain address the physiology of sexual satisfaction in marriage – and the question of how to maintain it for decades of monogamy.  Pastors always refer to the “Song of Solomon” in the Old Testament on that question.  He says he was married with kids and then divorced, and has learned something by living alone.

The basic premise is that men marry for “love”, and that women marry to feel secure – that is, to have a man, with a psychic investment in the lineage of his own genes, to protect her and her children.  He emphasizes a point that women want to be reminded of their husband’s love repeatedly.  Men and women also process grief differently, and it’s probably best when the men pass away first.  That may all sound sexist, and there’s no real point in getting into all the catcalls one is going to hear from the Left on this matter.  I suspect that editors of The Washington Times would like this little primer.

I don’t have the temperament to “protect” women or others, or to sustain intimacy the way he describes.  He doesn’t address gay men and women (or even write as if he knows about them), and he doesn’t consider the idea that enormous personality variations naturally occur among heterosexual men and women.   (These variations include the “polarities” and cognitive axes of Paul Rosenfels’s theories (April 12, 2006 on this blog).  And in individual cases men and women can seem cognitively to process things the same way.  I’ve always thought that Mark Zuckerberg and Michelle Rhee process their respective worlds identically.  Does cognitive similarity make for a good marriage, or get in the way of it?  I think it’s probably essential. 

Actually, the booklet did give me reason to ponder the days of my own heterosexual dating (mostly in 1971).  I think that the young women in my situation did pretty much comport with what this author says.  Both would have wanted me to be comfortable with being the sole breadwinner for a while, and remain engaged.  Both would have wanted attention that I don’t give people. I'm not wired to be personally attentive to "dependents" in a way that is presented as necessary.  In the gay world (and in gay marriage), even given the polarity theory, the idea of protection and indulgence doesn’t play out the same way. 

I couldn’t find a YouTube video for the author, but here’s a video “Why Men Don’t Want to Have Kids”, by Stefan Molynuex (from Europe, maybe Switzerland), who talks about the low birth rates and “demographic winter” in Europe.

I wonder how Hustrulid would react to this.  The economic question is important.  But there’s more.  I don’t find what this commentator says happening that much in my own interactions.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

"A March for All: Selma's Voting Rights Movement"

The National Park Service Lowndes Interpretive Center on the Selma to Montgomery National Historical Trail (US  80), offers, in a small bookstore, a number of works including “A March for All: Selma’s Voting Rights Movement”, by Theresa L. Hall, published by Eastern National and the Tuskegee Institute of Alabama. Curiously, there is no ISBN. The booklet comprises 32 pages, paper.

The booklet gives the history of the March  1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights march in detail.  There were several attempts to hold demonstrations and marches which were met with police brutality and vigilantism.  There is more detail in the booklet than in the film at the center (Movies blog today), on the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.

At the time of the marches, I was living “at home” and one year from finishing my undergraduate degree at George Washington University in Washington DC.  I had become active in the university chess club and that had become important in my life.  I had heard about the murder of the three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964, but I really didn’t grasp the gravity of what was going on. No one in my culture did.  

The second picture, above is a higher definition image of the Pettus Bridge from my Nikkon camera (May 23); the similar first image is from a cheaper Cannon camera/
Back in 1964, a bad time for me, I had miss-dialed a long distance number and gotten an operator from "Selma, Alabama".  How prescient!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Vanity Fair publishes "autobiography" of Monica Lewinsky, and "biographies" of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald

Vanity Fair (Conde Nast) has two important articles in recent issues.

The most recent piece is the autobiographical essay by Monica Lewinsky, on p. 120 of the June 2014 issue, titled “Shame and Survival”, but called “Monica Lewinsky on the Culture of Humiliation” on the front cover.  I can certainly relate to her difficulty in finding employment.  One prospective employer wanted a Letter of Indemnification from the Clintons, because there was a 25% chance that Hillary Clinton would become president someday.  (That reminds me of the indemnification clause that book publishers make authors sign.)  That bears a certain parallel to my own life, where I avoided jobs requiring security clearances and had to stay in the world of “individual contributor”.  She mentions the suicide of Tyler Clementi, and indicates she thinks she could have helped him.  Now, there may be aspects of that tragedy we don’t know about (the personal papers on his PC have never been disclosed) that even betray a certain contempt that I sometimes feel within myself.  Her comment there seemed a bit off base.  But I think the essay is helpful as a whole. 

Lewinsy mentions the HBO documentary “Monica in Black and White” (directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato), 2002, which I don’t recall seeing right now, but I’ll check. Kenneth Starr wrote a book about the Lewinsky affair in 1998, which was quite explicit. From Public Affairs Reports, it’s titled “The Starr Report: The Findings of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr on President Clinton and the Lewinsky Affair”.  I did read this in 1999, and some of it was online.  The explicit nature of the narrative was usefl in building arguments against COPA (the Child Online Protection Act) at the time. 

The May 2014 issue of Vanity Fair, deceptive if still on the newsstands for those looking for the Monica story because the cover has a female picture, features a much longer piece “Edward Snowden: Patriot or Traitor?” by Bryan Burrough, Suzanna Andrews, and Sarah Ellison, on p. 152.       

The article is like a short book biography, and is quite detailed. I wasn’t aware that Snowden had dropped out of high school in tenth grade after mononucleosis.  On the basis of being entirely self-taught, he was able to get tech jobs in the CIA and later with NSA contractors, and be pampered in locations ranging from Switzerland to Hawaii.  He was described as a sensitive, gentle and geeky kid, but was tough enough to try to become a Special Forces recruit in the Army, but broke both legs in training. Apparently he recovered quickly and completely enough to function normally, although not stay in the Army. 

The piece describes how systems administrators work, and a bit of the physical layout of the NSA campus, and of a nearby area where many contractors work.  But the lifestyle, in his own view, was a bit like that of a James Bond character, without the guns.  (Roger Moore or Daniel Craig may be a better approximation than the original Sean Connery.)  Not everyone in clandestine services recruits nationals or arranges hits.  Some people, like the two major characters in my new novel (“Angel’s Brothers”) gather information, by floating round as attractive, likeable people.

Snowden describes his own political views as moderate, even mainstream, and he thinks he is more principled than Julian Assange. But a particular catalyst for his activity was the treatment of Bradley Manning (aka Chelsea Manning) after her leak.

The meetings with filmmakers and journalists (Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman, and then lawyer-journalist Glenn Greenwald were painstakingly arranged (most of all, in Hong Kong, as well as earlier in Greenwich Village).  Cell phones couldn’t be brought to some of them because the NSA can locate people even with turned off phones (I didn’t know that – although it is said that the NSA can also spy on people’s harddrives, even material that hasn’t been posted online anywhere, although it could look into the “Cloud” like Carbonite for backups).

 There is a subsidiary biography of Greenwald, ultimately responsible for the biggest leak.    Not only is the course of his own career interesting in its own right, but also is his decision to live in Brazil where his same-sex marriage can be recognized.  (I don’t know why he couldn’t come to the US and live in a state that recognizes it, but immigration of partners is a whole different discussion for other postings.)  The article leads to the British government’s invasion of the Guardian offices and destroying hard drives.  Could a government to that to me?  

Update: May 18

Pete Williams of NBC Meet the Press interviewed Greenwald today.  Greenwald mentioned his book "No Place to Hide"  (Metropolitan Books, 2014) and said that the NSA seemed to target people who had actually looked at leaked Wikileaks documents.  Could that include me?  He also mentioned the website "The Intercept".

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Kate Fagan: "The Reappearing Act": coming out as lesbian in women's basketball, among evangelical Christians

Author: Kate Fagan

Title: “The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians

Subtitle: “A Coming-of-Age Memoir about One Woman’s Experience as an Athlete Struggling wither Sexual Identity”

Publication: 2014, Shyhorse, 978-1-62914-205-0, 186 pages, hardcover

Amazon link:  publisher link  author link 

The author is a columnist and writer for ESPN.  I bought the book at a “signing party” and discussion at the HRC Headquarters in Washington DC on May 1 (see my GLBT blog that date). 

Maybe “women’s basketball” is an “obvious” sport for lesbians, but most of this book would discourage that notion.  I haven’t checked yet, but I would wonder what the author would write about other sports, ranging from MLB to the Olympics.  I remember even a written test on basketball in 9th grade PE, but the author points out that overseas (when she worked in Ireland), people aren’t too interested in the life of James Naismith.

The author experienced her growing up on the women’s basketball team for the University of Colorado. But many of her friends were evangelical Christians, particularly Colorado’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  Life for college athletes offers little privacy (the coach insisted that the players rotate roommates on road trips).  That used to be true of college dorm life in general, like when I started at William and Mary in that lost semester of 1961. 

Fagan comes under a lot of pressure to share the faith of her teammates.  Inevitably, homosexuality – lesbianism – will get smoked out.  But there’s a basic question, why do people need to pray, and take the words of scripture as a source of “rules” for living.  It seems that one can interpret the Gospel, with all the parables and miracles, as providing a roadmap for dealing with life’s moral ironies and apparent paradoxes.  You can’t have innovation and improvement for “the group” without some inequality and sacrifice, so there should exist an expectation of “giving back”.  Difficult quandaries follow, like what one values in other people.  But whatever the religious creed, one ought to find some sort of rationality in the moral teachings, as a way to get to the bottom of these paradoxes.  One of the “common good” needs for the group is to reproduce itself and raise future generations.  But it’s never made sense to me that God gives free will and then turns around and makes inflexible rules as to how everyone participates in this responsibility, given the necessary diversity of nature.  The “laws” of physics, chemistry, and biology – and group psychology -- mean that diversity will happen, but certain actions, when encouraged, can lead to certain kinds of tensions over time. 

Toward the end. Fagan gradually comes out, to everyone, including her family.

The book seems relatively focused in scope (women’s basketball) when the attention of gays in big league sports is gaining traction, and big league sports adopt non-discrimination clauses.  As with the military, the tension in closed-knit situation is nothing like what the Nunn-Moskos crowd once theorized it would be.

The author said that finding a publisher for such a "specialized" area within both LGBT and sports topics was difficult, and apparently she didn't want to self-publish. 

(See also “The Game of My Life:, March 18, 2008.)

Another comparison would be Esear Tuoalo, "Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL" (Sourcebooks, 2006) and Mark Tewksburg "Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock" (Wiley, 2006). as well as Greg Louganis "Breaking the Surface"  (1995) and "The Dave Kopay Story" (1997). 

Mountain picture: Colorado Springs, CO (home of Focus on the Family) from Pikes Peak, which I visited in Aug. 1994 by rent car (Wikipedia link)

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Michael Lewis: "Flash Boys": the world of high-frequency trading on Wall Street, and the Aleynikov "self-mailing" case

Author: Michael Lewis

Title: “Flash Boys: a Wall Street Revolt

Publication: New York, Norton, 2014, ISBN 978-0-393-24466-3, 274 pages, Introduction, 8 chapters, Epilogue
Amazon link:

I did not personally appreciate the extremes to which Wall Street technologists go to gain speed advantages in high-frequency trading, and that whole job markets have built up around the practice.

Early in the book, Lewis talks about the covert projects to hardwire new faster connections across the content, and how the distance of the connections, even at the speed of light, matters. 

Toward the end, Lewis describes how dark pools, especially the new alternative trading system IEX works, and how practices to regulate abuses by large investors wind up hurting the small investor anyway (whether by SEC regulation or private good will). The growth of high frequency trading even after the financial collapse of 2008 (in a world of subprime mortgages and credit default swaps) might seem obscene to some; they certainly represent extreme capitalism. 

But the most interesting part of the narrative is the prosecution of Sergey Aleynikov, a former programmer at Goldman-Sachs.  He was arrested and at first convicted of “theft of trade secrets by emailing code to himself (or saving it in a repository) as he left the company.  He codes was almost all open source and would not have been useful to another Wall Street employer. The conviction was overturned on appeal.  The book discusses the growth of non-compete rules and of the difficulty of certain employees with changing employers at all.

When I worked in the mainframe era in 80s and 90s, it was acceptable to take printed code and test or even production results home for additional checking during support and implementations.  That would not be true today given the explosion of privacy concerns.  I once tried to pick up copies of code from NBC for my own use after I left (in 1977) and was stopped.  But times were very different then.

Update: May 6, 2014

Matt Krantz (America's Markets) has a video on USA Today "5 Things You Did Not Know About the Flash Crash" of 2010, link here.