A hypnotist re: The feminist who tells women to settle.

A peculiar newsworthy item, which I will write about with the understanding that this blog post is not aimed at any of my unmarried female friends, or divorced friends, or anybody at all.  The topic, the culture around mate selection strategies, interests me.

This woman writer, who wasn’t on my radar before, but who I’ve probably heard on NPR, has a book out that advises single women who hit 30 to settle.  Marry Him:  The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, by  Lori Gottlieb.

More interestingly, she has a gruesome-funny blog article, quite catty, arguing against a rival author.  This rival apparently contacted her saying, hey, we wrote similarly-themed books; take a look at mine; she said, no thanks; Rival Author wrote Slandarous Lies about her book on Rival Blog; and drama drama drama.

But there’s a hole in her thinking that I find disconcerting. (more…)

Published in: Uncategorized on February 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm  Comments (9)  
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The Rainy Season in Cambodia

It hasn’t been too bad, all together.  But now, toward the end, we’ve gotten the tail-end of a local typhoon.  (In the States we have hurricaines; here they have typhoons.  The nature of the difference eludes me.)

I was at the bar I go to (Mary’s) when the typhoon hit.  It just started pouring.  Several of us were hanging out on the balcony.  Mary’s is a guesthouse, so I rented a room for the night.  Later, I found out that the host had made it on the house; or as the girl put it, “free for you.”

It rained so much that the river overflowed.  As of Saturday, this was the view from Mary’s:


The sanitation engineering is very basic in Siem Reap, so I don’t really want to think about what this girl is walking through.  The host on the day I took this photo said the previous night he’d pulled a leech from between his toes. (more…)

Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 10:34 pm  Comments (2)  
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more notes from Cambodia

cows chased out into traffic – Those same three cows that I wrote about before…


…apparently just hang out in this neighborhood.  They were hanging out on the other side of the road, and wandered up into one of the open stalls, like the ones you can see in the background, where vendors sell cigarettes and such.  As one of them started to nose its way into the store, a nine-year-old grabbed a stick and, waving it uncoordinatedly over her head to give herself courage, ran at the offending cow.

The cow, seeing something larger than a cat moving rapidly toward it, ran out into the road, sparking the others to do the same.  Herd animals.  A guy on a beat-up motorbike blew his horn and veered around them; he was followed by a girl on a bicycle and another motorbike.  They slowed down, but barely.  The nine-year-old and her teenage brother looked on with, “Oh, yeah,” expressions.  The little girl seemed worried she might get in trouble; the teenager clearly didn’t give a crap. 

innocent Cambodians – When I had a beer with Cody, the other American teacher at my school, who’s ex-military, he said something I didn’t mention in the longer blog post, which I think is important.

He said that he finds Cambodians to be very innocent and child-like.  I think he’s falling for the flattery they give people who they figure have more money than judgement.  And I think it’s a stupid and dangerous misconception. (more…)

Published in: on September 5, 2009 at 9:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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Problems with Face

Cultures are generally complex, and I’m not interested in rating them, in saying one is superior to the other.  But I am interested in that kind of cultural troubleshooting which is so popular in the West, and which is done by both progressives and conservatives.

And in my reading of biographies written by U.N. social workers, I’m noticing a pattern.

Something inexplicible happens, very often, when young women and girls enter into prostitution.  A little over a third of the time, I seem to notice this pattern.

The girl — I’ll stick with that term because they’re very rarely of age — is tricked or forced into sex-work.  She’s promised work as a seamstress in another village for good money, and then shipped to a brothel; or she’s abducted; or she chooses to prostitute herself because she needs money, often to pay for medical treatment for a sick parent.

Sometimes her madam, who might be an aunt or other relative, pays her monthly as a means of keeping her dependant; and then sometimes refuses to pay her at the end of the month, or doesn’t pay the agreed wage.

Sometimes, she’s just molested or raped, and it has nothing to do with money.

After that, what we’ll call the initial contact, she very often may escape the (usually exploitative) situation and return home.  Then, inexplicably, she starts looking for work as a prostitute. (more…)

Rifqa Bary’s Interview

I have a strong suspicion that this kid


is lying. And the way she hangs on that guy — who I’m guessing is Lorenz, the married conservative Christian church leader to whose household she fled and in which household she was secretly sequestered during a frantic search for her by officials and her parents — there’s something about the way she hangs on that guy I don’t like.

It is technically true that anyone who converts out of Islam (an apostate) is supposed to be killed, but it isn’t done much in the first world. I imagine that when it is done, in modern society, the motivations wouldn’t be purely theological, but it would be the culmination of a domestic dispute.

But, be that as it may, this kid is very close to being incoherent. Her hysteria looks put-on. While I think some of the social norms of Islam are a big problem for secular society — they may be actually incompatible with our version of civilization — it looks to me like she’s playing to mainstream bias against Muslims.

She may have good reason to want to get away from her parents; but it doesn’t look to me like she’s being straight about them.

Also she looks like a wingnut. I can see the parents might not be too pleased.

And, for what it’s worth, I’ve met a few people with profoundly deep faith in Christ. None of them behaved like that.

Published in: Uncategorized on August 25, 2009 at 12:07 am  Comments (1)  
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