Sunday, January 22, 2012

The week, it ended

-Parchment-paper fish (cod fillet, in this case, with lemon, garlic, olive oil, dried thyme, salt, pepper) really is better. Whole fish is probably better still, but I cling to some shortcuts.

-Obedience class for dogs probably falls into the category of, humanity did just fine without it (if your dog isn't aggressive, and is affectionate with you, and knows the basic commands...), but it can't hurt. But a line must be drawn, and that will probably be at the extra $10 the trainer suggests we spend each week on some kind of "adolescent-dog" meet-up. The whole point of the class was to socialize our dog. That plus what occurs without special planning (today, she met a Westie, and might have met two supermodel Golden Retrievers, if their owner hadn't turned away; there are owners of a Yorkie who sometimes want it to meet Bisou, sometimes just need to go about their business) seems as though it ought to be enough, but if she doesn't get enough socialization, it seems, disaster might ensue. The slight problem is that she was super friendly to the trainer, and has taken to kissing the one friend of ours who'd initially, and for no real reason, frightened her. The techniques are quite useful, especially the tip about needing to "run" a dog, because walks are as good as useless as exercise to prevent naughtiness later. But I'm having trouble believing that our dog is as neurotic as all that.

"I'm like a mix of Alvy Singer and Alex Portnoy, with some George Costanza thrown in."

-But Bisou does still need walking, and that Irin Carmon - Caitlin Flanagan interview was pretty amazing. (Amber, if you haven't listened already...) It brings up so many questions. For one, why did Flanagan think "Irina" was there to represent The Youth, and not as a prolific, Harvard-educated journalist there to discuss Flanagan's recently-published book about today's young girls? Why should we care if Carmon - who does not seem to be at all of the demographic social conservatives claim was destroyed by the sexual revolution - had a high school sweetheart? "Creepy condescension" indeed.

But on a more practical level, how on earth could Carmon, 28, be expected to scour her own life story for meaningful information about Girls Today? Flanagan's idée fixe - well, aside from early-adolescent fellatio - is the great danger of Internet infiltrating the haven that is the adolescent girl's bedroom. If you're 28 now, if you had any Internet in your bedroom as a youth, it might have sounded something like this. Speaking on behalf of first-world 28-year-olds, I don't even remember if there was an Internet connection in my bedroom - a computer, yes, but if there had been Internet, I wouldn't have had any idea what to do with it.

I know that we're supposed to say, of Flanagan generally and this installment in particular, that she hits a nerve. I mean, maybe? If I'm going to rate controversial books about female adolescence that I've never read, I'm putting Amy "Tiger Mom" Chua's far, far above this, both because at least that was something new ("the hook-up culture," in 2012, really?), and because as someone who was too nerdy at 15 or whatever for either the sweethearts Flanagan advocates or the hook-up culture she denounces, with what Chua describes, I can on some level relate.

-Princeton has a Trader Joe's, but this is not something the shuttle route yet acknowledges, so it was only because we had a car for the obedience class that, after dropping of Bisou, we were able to investigate. This was not a store I'd been all that impressed by in NY. Everyone would always rave about it, and I saw the advantages, as a grad student, when it came to wine, but for the rest? If I wanted a store brand, why not 365, plus produce, at Whole Foods? Then we got the chips and salsa from "Trader José." The store now suddenly makes sense. It's everything you would want to buy at a normal supermarket, minus the excess. It takes a realist approach, doesn't fool around. Much smaller than Wegman's, so less selection, but also less time at the store. As 90% of this shuttle's ridership, I'm thinking of lobbying for an extra stop.

2 comments:

PG said...

I know that we're supposed to say, of Flanagan generally and this installment in particular, that she hits a nerve. I mean, maybe? If I'm going to rate controversial books about female adolescence that I've never read, I'm putting Amy "Tiger Mom" Chua's far, far above this, both because at least that was something new ("the hook-up culture," in 2012, really?), and because as someone who was too nerdy at 15 or whatever for either the sweethearts Flanagan advocates or the hook-up culture she denounces, with what Chua describes, I can on some level relate.

YES. Tom Wolfe was already late to the party when he wrote his lengthy essay on hookup culture and then went on about it at even greater length in his fictional attempt to describe the undergraduate culture of Southern sports-obsessed universities.

Frankly, if I look around at people whose romantic lives seem to do them and their children the most damage, and have the greatest reverberations for our society and public policy, it's the serially-divorced or never-married ones who follow the script of treating their sexuality as something to trade for a wedding ring, or at least three dates and a prom corsage. Going into hookups with your eyes wide open generally means that you're more likely to have thought about protection against disease and conception, whereas the more romantic scenarios tend to involve "Oh baby, you can trust me."

Phoebe said...

The Wolfe book, that one I did read. The topic seemed stale even then.

Agreed re: the problematic nature of too much "romance." Both because guys who treat dating as if they're always trying to impress A Female tend to be kind of dull, and because too much seriousness too soon/young leads to all kinds of social ills, from the physical lack of preparedness you mention to the likelihood that stalking/abuse will ensue. Whether we're calling it "hook-ups" (which of course, contrary to what social conservatives think, don't necessarily entail intercourse or close) or "dating," any pattern that allows the very young to meet lots of people quasi-romantically before settling down is probably a good thing.