Big Tech blocking and banning is corporal punishment for the virtual citizen.

I could and might come up with a fancier way to put it, but ultimately, it’s got traits identical to corporal punishment. It is immediate, there is no recourse or rollback possible. “Why did I get punished?”

“Because I say so!” “Because you deserve it!”

If it causes bleeding or injury, you’re told to hide that or clean it up yourself, and that, again, you should have known better than to force them to be so tough.

I’m describing a specific kind of corporal punishment environment, a working-class/lower-class kind, where frequently you don’t know why you are in fact being punished because it’s not about you doing something wrong. It’s about them taking something out on you.

Same stuff, just occurring in cyberspace, with whips or fists or birch switches of aether. Due to demographic changes I mentioned in a previous post, many of the people in charge of setting these policies come from backgrounds like that. It is their model of the world. In a cruel irony, they tend to be extremely anti-spanking, but pro-as much abusive action of this type as possible, even to the point of taking jobs directing and developing exotic new forms of instantly hurting people.

Conveniently for them, many of their fellow college-educated working class cohorts delight in aggressively literal dismissal of any noticing of how college education hasn’t made working class mores and norms go away, but has distorted them into meaner, pettier versions. At least the working class parent bitter about being fired from their job was gonna stop when the birch switch broke or their fists got tired. These working class folks will never stop hitting. Because they have turned it into a job. Because you deserve it and because they say so. And since it’s their job to corporally punish you, they will never, ever, ever get tired and a virtual switch will never break.

Will you?

In the Lion’s Den, you can put being in the PTA on your resume successfully.

You just call it “administrative director/support/liaison/etc. of a child advocacy organization” and then you get to not only count it as a resume bullet point, it even helps you secure a job in the poverty industry.

Sometimes I wish I could be a liberal.  They put a lot of energy into making their stupid systems work for them.  Some right wing dudes might laugh at it, but their wives are busy having to sell Jamberry and doTerra instead of being able to transition from SAHM of 2-4 to a 50-70kyr gig coddling antisocial men or setting up suboxone appointments for never-married mothers of one.

Fertility and family formation notes about GenX.

When all is said and done, Gen X women will have around an 86% motherhood rate, with nearly 3 children per mother average.  Boomers were at around 80% and Millennials face a motherhood rate as low as 75%, perhaps even lower.

One of the notable features of #GenX is how many of us were raised by and/or joined the #backtotheland movements and #homestead subcultures. It literally shows up in birth data from the 1980s and 1990s.

Part of those trends were mass movement to South America, a lot of cult formation, and college educated women having large families.

This is itself posted in response to this snippet from a larger blog post:

“It’s appalling to see how many women of my generation never married or had children because they were aggressively indoctrinated by every single adult in their lives to a) get a university degree and b) get a good job instead of a) getting married and b) having children. It’s no wonder that many of those women who were strong enough to shake off the indoctrination have gone on to have 4+ kids and even to homeschool them despite the open disapproval of their parents.”

Far more Gen X women will ultimately have children as a proportion of the generation than Boomers and Millennials.  Millennials may not even end up with the same raw number of mothers.  Having exactly 4, rather than 4+ kids, and homeschooling K-12 was/is a Gen X trend, but it is dwarfed by Gen X parents with 2-6 kids driving more flexible alternatives such as multi-day co-ops (some of which turned into what’s now called university model schools) and reskinning public schools to be cheap private schools (although COVID exposed the flaws with that strategy).

Gen X women got university degrees, good jobs, marriage and 2+ babies more often than anecdotes suggest.  They mostly got one of the first two and surprisingly often both of the second.  This isn’t itself much of a win, though.  The cost has been that their own kids are in fact shifted heavily towards the above degree+job but no marriage+kids.  Their kids are living the reality predicted for them and which many Boomer women ended up with.  

A Housewife Learns to Code: 1/?

The title is quite clear. To pay for some things I’d like done or even to do them myself if I can’t purchase, I have to demonstrate a small degree of coding knowledge and vocabulary. I was hoping to avoid this, being a girl and all, but there’s no way around it, I have to be able to write a few simple methods so that I can explain what I want to a contractor.

Insecurity makes this very challenging. T.W.O. has been immensely patient, but then he would be. The core neurosis to push through is that I’m terrified of messing up and failing. I *still* get panicky at *other people* typing in code samples, watching them not compile and then fixing them so that they do. There’s websites will practice work for aspiring coders and when they go red because you did something wrong, all my general sense of failure and shame spiraling comes in and I don’t want to continue.

Today was a case in point. I am documenting the methods and programs I have written so far, and it is extremely slow going because very quickly with entry-level exercises you hit the point of “this could be simplified with such and such slightly more advanced method”. Anyway I hit the first one today that I could figure out a simplification for on my own without thinking about it much. And the panic set in just at the prospect of taking my pseudocode and turning it into a full program.

So I marked it as a future project and it can be something to do when I run out of examples with more advanced methods. I’m working in Java, because it’s a common teaching language, it has a lot of useful tools, and it stacks well with Python, C# and R, which are all languages I need to be familiar with in the next year.

But lots of red is the programmer’s journey. It’s not usual for what you’re working on to easily compile the first time. It’s definitely not usual for it to seamlessly work with third party components. T.W.O. had a huge laugh when I first downloaded the development environment I use when I’m not using a plain text editor because it was buggy. He said I understood enough to code, though. This was because I googled until I hit a stackexchange link about the bug and then tried the fix. It worked, and I didn’t freak out as much when I ran into other bugs later.

But I have shifted more to the text editor because of the bugginess. This is also part of the programmer’s journey, according to more than a few.

T.W.O. and I have been reading through the OT of late.

One of the major takeaways is that where we are now is not only not novel, but slightly less awful than some of the various paths these periods of degeneracy take. This is not to say one should fall into the trap of smugness and ego comfort that “this too shall pass”, but rather that sin is all too real and only God saves. And that always, no matter how many comfortable middle class and upper middle class people make excuses for walking children through the fire for Moloch and for sacrificing to idols on the high places and try to pretend all that trash is totally Godly, there is always a true, honest remnant that survives and remains to reseed the faith century after century.

I’m not a bad Christian because I think David French’s defenses of perversion are loathsome. I’m not even a bad mother because my children have clearly defined moral lines they won’t cross despite supposed Christian people claiming having those lines makes you a bad Christian witness to liberals on social media.

I may be a bad Christian and a bad mother because my children have a moral compass, are fed, housed and clothed in the most decently constructed and lowest-chemical of all three we can afford/find, and do chores after summer camp or school. I may well be a bad Christian and a bad mother because I don’t think going along to get along is what those of us who love Him may necessarily be called to do in all circumstances right now.

I may even be a bad Christian and a bad mother because I have not worked through all the comments on my blawg or social media because I still have a bunch of hard deadlines this month. You’d be surprised, or perhaps disappointed by how many married mothers think 24/7 social media availability is “being a good witness”.

I may just plain be an awful awful person who will never ever ever be the “good” unChristian Christian liberals point to who supports all their creepy, gross evil because I’m not overcredentialed and undersocialized.

I don’t know. I do know we’re all getting to church more often and having a sense that people there love and serve God rather than Moloch or social media. I feel that we (our family) get the glorious and precious blessing of being near people who might just be part of our true, honest remnant. Grace can abound, even for the total failures at living in Clown World like me.

For righties, 50 dollars is 50 thousand when it comes to funding normal living and healthy social dynamics.

The title says it all, really. Spending fifty bucks in a month to have someone else do some dropoffs and pickups a couple times a month so you can have time to prepare homeschool curriculum or run some errands all on the same day or do a couple more labor-intensive chores without interruptions is heard by the generic average right wing, conservative, Republican, etc person as “So you’re saying I need to spend fifty thousand bucks a year on a full time nanny/cook/housekeeper/whatever”.

Fundamentally righties are against spending money at all, ever, even on a minor, incidental, occasional basis for small tasks to help structure and smooth their lives out. They are all unwittingly echoing the evil and broke Lady Susan from the Whit Stillman take on Jane Austen, Love and Friendship: “As there is an element of friendship involved, the paying of wages would be offensive to us both.”

So the left slices, dices and turns into an antisocial, corporatized transaction every kind of task like that and the result is bad working conditions and pay for the people involved performing the services and tasks, further social atomization and isolation and just that little bit more difficulty in building and maintaining that kind of community glue. Because that sort of incidental labor used to be very common in American society. It was looser, more casual and certainly more occasional in scope, but Americans did used to pay people to do various tasks, at even lower-middle class and poverty-class income ranges. The complicated favor trading systems still present in some poverty-heavy communities are remnants of this broader pattern.

A couple years ago I paid an art student to draw and paint with my kids for about three hours five or six times so I could clean out the garage. Righties tend to be of the view that my husband should have watched the kids, or I should have done the clean out at some mysterious time where the kids weren’t around (but also homeschool because public school is too secular and icky) or that I should have a similarly mysterious large pool of people who will just show up and help out for any amount of time for free with zero notice.

And yes, righties say that paying money for services is an impossible luxury nobody should expect to have while…paying homeschool co-op teachers. I guess there’s the exception and why it has remained the exception (and not quite as much of one as you’d think, plenty of co-ops implode over lack of people willing and able to co-op it up completely salary-free) for decades is left as an exercise for the discerning intellect.

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!

In which I respond to an unwittingly 1970s feminist right wing male comment about working mothers.

The below is a not-uncommon line of argument right wing men like to try to use regarding women working while having babies and little kids and stuff.

“- Do you really think that it’s best for our society that mothers should be encouraged to work 50 hours a week to raise the value of some RICH WHITE MEN’S company’s share price rather than spending their time with her children? If you could only pick one, would you rather your daughter found fulfillment in working to make some RICH WHITE MAN richer or in being a mother?”

The argument attempts to touch upon the common shibboleth of “rich white men” as avatars of systemic racism and economic inequality, to trigger emotional response. But it fails because, well, it’s belied by the sad reality that women currently seem to find fulfillment in doing just that (when they aren’t married to the RICH WHITE MEN anyway).

Pre-busing (to simplify a lot of regional differences), kids went off to school at 6-7 and there was zero expectation that Mom was spending all her time with them outside of school. There were also just plain more women randomly around, so the idea that mom was supposed to engage in direct play with her own kids was far less common, even among what passed for university educated urban provincials with credentials (what some call “strivers” or “social climbers” or “professional-managerial class”).

Plenty of liberal women stay home with a baby or a toddler and then it’s off to pre-k or kindergarten and they go back to making that WHITE MAN rich with zero bad feelings. Some of them even go the other way, and work through infant and toddler years and then “step back to focus on my family” by being, well, white Tiger Moms during the school-age years (when they can get Good Mom points doing things they really love like Powerpoint presentations and whitepaper writing). What we don’t have anymore is women being housewives for life. But we still have a lot of women staying home with very very small children or working super part-time.

Variously when I bring this argument up, the fact that a majority of households with kids have two earners is brought up as some kind of rebuttal, but the fact is that women, especially married women, are working mostly part-time if they are working while their kids are under 18 and where they are working full-time, it’s become like the dotcom years, with corporations providing nurseries and free food and all kinds of little homey comforts to keep them at full-time employment statistically even though they’re playing with the baby half the day in the company nursery and having the company pay for some of the cost of a nanny when the kid or kids is older.

And sure, the company can even be the government, as with a recent raining of cash down to pay for childcare costs, but only to federal employees. That will bump up your fulltime female employment numbers, and make the argument at the beginning of this post essentially “Who on earth is this weirdie talking about? He’s sure not talking about me! I have a great work-life balance!”

Many evangelicals support social justice out of poverty shame.

Altogether too many evangelicals love social justice signalling because of shame issues around having less money and not being as in the middle as they’re told by evangelical (Boomer and Silent-aged) media. Particularly the women, but in some ways the men too. So they have shame issues, but no socially acceptable outlet to discharge the shame except letting black people yell at them about tiny invisible motes of racism nobody can see, but you just know they’re there.

So evangelical women have real problems with being breadwinner moms or pressure to be MLM or monetized blogging SAHMs, and with underearning by their husbands, but nobody on the right or left will give them social approval for the shame they feel about their real and difficult problems. They can get some social media approval at least for supporting social justice and identity politics, and discharge their shame and distract themselves by hyperfocusing on imaginary problems.