Reality overtakes fiction, conservative thriller edition

T.W.O and I were working on a trilogy of conservative thrillers planned for release sometime next year.  But they were overtaken by events.  Most of the plot points we painstakingly outlined and developed over a yearish as things that would happen, like, this year happened during the election season instead, rendering the entire enterprise pointless.

We posited a narrow Trump loss radicalizing conservatives into doing something very like wikileaks.  But then wikileaks did it instead.  And also of course Trump won by a landslide.  We also posited various megachurch figures, fictionalized, deciding to go after that audience of alt-right young men starved for father figures.

We even posited what James O’Keefe III does with getting attractive young people to infiltrate left-wing and Democrat groups.

We could probably publish some variation of the original work, but there’d be little point.  It would just seem like a knockoff of current events.  Too bad for us!  Sometimes history is faster on the draw than imagination.

I must sing my joy

T.W.O. works hard to provide a roof and food for us, for our livestock and poultry, and for our household employees.  He even finds the time to lift big and post gains, when not indulging in other bagatelles.

I often feel frustrated, but it’s only because I have to complete the progression from planning 36 hours per day of work to planning merely ten.

I write about problems online because I have the resources, support and love to talk about them and occasionally make it to discussing possible solutions and strategies for coping when solutions aren’t possible or feasible.

I do what women have always done when they have that privilege.  And I rejoice in the fact that I get to be one of those women when my ancestors (of both Nordic and Negro sides, quiet as that’s kept) were often the women providing the means for other women to do so.

A lesson in false humility: Christians are allergic to healthy lifestyles

Another Christian falling prey to the idea that lifestyle-identity is great when it’s also idolatry. Going to a gym is not the only possible healthy lifestyle and the entire concept of healthy lifestyle is consumerist, not Christian. Living a life where physical activity is just part of life is the historical human norm and wealth means most people now have to spend money to live that way. But sneering at them for not adopting that particular mode of consumption (which in the case of this blogger happens to be self-serving “I work in the fitness industry”) is not exactly Christian or loving.

Instead of “working in the fitness industry” helping people near him do more physical activity in their daily lives without going to a gym would be another option. Mostly people have real obstacles to getting more physical activity, like working very long hours and/or care of others and living where it’s very difficult to do much physical stuff outside or inside. This is particularly the case with Christians, who are more likely to be caring for little kids or old people, including the men.

Anyway I reblogged this because it’s an increasingly common knife jabbed in the ribcage of Christians by (usually single, childless, responsibility-free) men. I hope to do a bit more of a post later, we’ll see.

Christianity and masculinity

The idolatry of chasing the perfect body. (h/t Coastal)

As many of you know, I work in the fitness industry. So articles like this amuse me as a Christian. Amuse me a lot. Let’s deconstruct this, shall we?

Vanity

There is a certain accomplishment in achieving your fitness goals. You’ve been working hard on that fitness program and are finally seeing the fruits of your labor. You also may start to get some attention from others who are also noticing your fitness progress. And you like it. A lot.

In our world of constant social media updates, we often view fitness-related images with arms and legs bared. Skintight clothing. Muscles bulging.

It makes sense to a degree: People are proud of their hard work. With all arguments for modesty set aside, I think that it is crucial to consider, from a biblical perspective, why we post or share these…

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Warrior babes: Must men lie even about what we find sexually attractive?

Moderate disagreement here on the idea that men don’t want physically robust wives. I don’t know that this fainting dame thing should be taken so far by anyone into traditional living. The sturdy, stocky, physically strong woman is a common enough wife-type throughout history and the idea that those husbands really weren’t sexually attracted to their strong, muscular wives who could toss hay bales and catch stray calves solo is weird.

Men want women who are less masculine than they are, that much is true. But the cute physically frail woman is a luxury good and not exactly a traditionally desired wife-type for the average man.

Warrior-woman, no, that’s taking things too far, men mostly aren’t interested in their own personal shieldmaiden. But the delicate blossom who can’t lift more than a teacup is not exactly what a lot of men want either.

Throne and Altar

Many years back, I came across a show on the TV guide channel called something like “The top ten sexiest women in sci fi”, and I decided to watch it to gain some insight on early twenty-first century cultural…oh hell, you know why I was watching it.  Anyway, “science fiction” was defined broadly to include a bunch of science fiction, fantasy, and superhero TV shows.  (In case you’re wondering, yes, ogling women is a bad thing.  Do as I say, not as I did.)

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When you can’t afford to be frugal, or unexamined assumptions conservatives have about frugal tips

Frugality and being a good steward of the household income are not impossible goals.  However, what “frugal tips” are available to housewives these days rely on a bevy of unexamined assumptions that don’t apply to an average SAHM these days.

It is possible to make your own curtains, to store meat in small portions, to bake your own bread, to make your own household cleaning products and to keep a price book, to name some fairly typical tips one will run across on the old intertubes with a quick google.  But frugality of these types is generally not compatible with the current domestic setups of most American housewives.  They have no spare capital for a deep freezer, or to buy meat in bulk quantities to take advantage of sales or direct-purchase opportunities.  They don’t have domestic help even on an occasional basis, so whatever they do has to be compatible with kids underfoot.  And of course kids aren’t young forever, but how can good habits be established when it’s full-tilt survival mode when they are young?  Teaching little kids to be useful or even to consider other people and obey adult rules about where and when to talk/run/etc. takes focused effort and isn’t readily done with a casual phrase here and there.  That can be the way of it only after the habitual behaviors are in place.

Thus you have a pretty major obstacle to frugality early on, even if you are “saving money on daycare”.  The other obstacle is pregnancy.  A lot of frugal tips involve large amounts of ongoing physical labor that is difficult to manage during pregnancies.  If you haven’t spent your years growing up doing that kind of labor, you are unprepared for the extent of it later in life.  You’re also out of luck if pregnancy is hard on your body.  And some women never get back to pre-pregnancy fitness/endurance levels whether it’s one kid or seven.

I come back a lot to the physical stuff because there’s a parallel unexamined assumption among conservatives (not just the male ones) that modern technology means no real physical labor is necessary for a housewife to expend.  Pregnancy is always easy and quick to recover from, barely a speed bump, nursing is also no big, not even requiring extra food or effort (except of course many women switch to formula with “many” kids precisely because they can hand a bottle off and let the older kids feed baby so they can get stuff done).  And even if all that stuff is a little bit difficult, KIDS R FREE.  There’s a weird fixation on the infant and toddler years as being super-cheap by default among conservatives and this is used to extrapolate that children are extremely cheap to raise to 18-21 years because somehow breastmilk production costs nothing (not even calories, it’s like magic) and you can just rely on an infinite supply of thrift stores with appropriate clothing and insert all the rest of the stuff you hear from conservatives about how totally cheap it is to raise infants/toddlers, so therefore have eight.  I guess they’re supposed to drink breastmilk and wear cloth diapers until they marry at 18 somehow?  It’s a quirk I never really noticed until a recent clickbait article about tradeoffs appeared on some home decor site and conservatives tore into the writer of the article for being selfish and stupid, didn’t she understand kids aren’t expensive because BREASTFEEDING and CLOTH DIAPERS?

So, let’s recap some of the unexamined assumptions conservatives dump on housewives regarding frugality:

  • Assumption of “traditional” domestic economy skills that actually date from the middle of the 20th century and rely on a pretty vast industrial infrastructure (including exploited labor by women and children in foreign lands) to be feasible as “economizing” at all.
  • Minimizing the physical risks and stresses of childbearing and nursing, as well as the physical labor that is still necessary to run an “economized” household.
  • Fixation on the early years as being so cheap that there are no real expenses added by having more and more children
  • Parallel dismissal of the importance of child spacing or domestic support in being able to have children doing chores effectively at young ages.
  • Dismissal of chaotic early years as a major obstacle to domestic tranquility and structure, while assuming that such structure is there (no need for a sitter while homeschooling, for example, because infants and toddlers and young kids will just play quietly while you instruct older children…somehow, or alternatively that older children will not resent the play of younger children who aren’t ready for academics partying in front of them because no big kid ever envied a little kid getting to play instead of write an essay or do math problems).  Without structure, frugality is hard to consistently achieve.
  • Assumption that the average housewife was educated in domestic skills by her mother, and if she was not, that she can instantly acquire these skills in a few days’ time via youtube and blogs and immediately apply them effectively.

Feel free to toss more into the comments.  The core issue with having all these assumptions is that without them, it’s nearly impossible to economize systematically.  And that means rebuying things, buying more expensive versions of whatever because you don’t have the skills or time to go with cheaper approaches, and stress spending.  But to help people who need to be more frugal, the assumptions have to be dropped and conservatives have to start looking at the actual conditions people are living under, not the idealized conditions a small percentage of conservatives manage to live under.  Here’s hoping!

Comment policy change

It’s posted on one of the permanent pages, but people never read those on any blog, so I’m posting it here, where it will take a while to drift down the list.

Comments are open.  I turned off moderation for the rest of the calendar year because I basically find it tiring to make a decision about each comment.  I don’t have the energy for extended back and forth like I was hoping I might, so better to make posts when I have some writing energy and people can have their own back and forth if they want instead of waiting days or weeks for me to sit down and decide what to do with my five or eight or sixteen comments that have piled up.

The basic posting requirement is using a name and email, I think that’s how I’ve set it up.  If being logged in to wordpress/etc overrides that, maybe I’ll tweak it, but I also may not get around to that.  I also don’t want profanity or blasphemy, but admit I am not likely to read or respond to comments going forward for days or weeks.  So I am expecting the commenters I normally get to do as they’ve always done and any new commenters that might turn up to also follow that model.

So maybe this will give me more energy to empty out my very large draft queue.