Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Topsy Turvy

A world turned upside down.

First up, a liberal line from a conservative pundit. Though some of you on the right side of the aisle may think "that's not conservative, that's just common sense!!" C'mon down to the Sizzle (St Simons) and try to win an election by saying "we've got to be careful about the way we develop property..." You would be called a communist and a traitor, even if you were saving money on flood insurance by switching to Geico.

Second, a scathing critique of the leadership of the left, by a liberal! Pay attention Democratically leaning voters: we're losing elections because we're pandering to special interests. Nothing truer has been said. I especially like the line "Democrats always walk right into the punch." Yup.

And the New (Old) American Family and Why a National Consensus is Important. Quick rundown of what you get and don't get when you enter the legally sanctioned and approved contract of marriage. Now, I'm not a fan of the nuclear family any more than I'm a fan of the single mother or the 'it takes a village' motif. But I was discussing this with my Pops the other day, and I couldn't beleive that he and I really have such wildly different values.

1. He followed a job away from his extended family and friends, and suffered through the inconvenience that caused. I will eventually move to a place either very, very close to my extended family or my friends or hopefully live someplace they all like to visit constantly. My future job will be based on the geography of where I live, where I live will not be based on the geography of my job. If I have kids, they will benefit from having family and friends so close.

2. I don't know what my Dad's best friends look like. My kids will never, ever have that problem.

3. Pops thinks I should just settle down with the next girl that comes along, start a family and that will calm me down. (As long as she's not obnoxiously liberal or a communist or anything...) He thinks that I should do this even if there are glaring things about the next girl that I don't like. (Like, if she doesn't have a job and doesn't cook.) He thinks I should buy a car based on impressing girls rather than economy and utility in order to expedite that process. ('Cause girls will think a guy that does that is cheap...) He thinks a man's life is only complete when it is part of a family like his, and most other men are not living up to their potential if they don't have one.

And he wonders why his generation is the first one to hit the 50% divorce rate. He blames liberals like me, 'cause my 'free love and nickely moonshine' ideals just don't jive with his definition of the 'family.'

Now, I'd love to get married and have a family. But I'd rather never get married my whole life than get married to someone I don't like, have kids I don't like with someone I don't like and get a divorce and screw up my life, her life and those kids' lives. Why? Because 1) I'm obnoxiously liberal, 2) there are a great many things I don't like and I don't mind commenting on such things out loud, 3) she ain't got to have no skills in my kitchen, but she better be ready to pay some rent, 4) I am a cheap utilitarian, unless it comes to music, football or eating out 5) I got to be good with my life and where I'm at before I make those decisions jointly.

So I thought I'd throw that article in with that commentary.


patsbrother said...

You imply that Ed’s generation was the first to hit a 50% divorce rate because of the idea that “a man’s life is only complete when it is part of a family like his.” Ed and you both contrast this idea with “’free love’ ideals that “just don’t jive with his definition of ‘family.’” YOUR ideal, essentially.

As THE ‘free love’ generation that led to your ‘ideal’, couldn’t it also stand to reason that Ed’s generation is the first to hit the 50% divorce rate because Ed’s generation DIDN’T follow Ed’s ideal?

I would point out that your parents have been married for close to thirty years and, as other adherents to Ed’s ‘ideal’, Anna and Elmore have been married for nearly forty and, at the time of Pop’s death, your grandparents had been married for fifty-six. In fact, I am ignorant as to a single divorce within the Armstrong family.

If you want to talk about why Ed’s 'ideal' is bad, perhpas you should refrain from the topic of divorce, as Ed's 'ideal' seems to be working just fine.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Bro, did you even read the post? I said all that about development and poltics and the changes in the American family and all you got out of it was something I 'implied?' I spend an awful amount of time typing things with hidden messages in 'em!

(...whispering voice...)

If you really want to hear my hidden messages, print out the page on your home computer, put it on your record player and spin it backwards. I put some choice words in that one.

Dante said...

I think your Point #1 really depends on the situation. When I was a kid, we went through a pretty awful real estate bust in Dallas. It was getting to the point that my workaholic dad was only working one or two weeks a month because he couldn't find enough work to keep him busy. After losing almost everything we had, my dad made the decision to move us to Georgia in 1987. It was a LONG way away from our family, but my dad had a job and we had food on the table.

While I personally wouldn't want to leave the area I live in, if it came down to working or not working, I'd take a job elsewhere any day. I'm not just going to sit around and hope things get better in my neck of the woods while there are opportunities elsewhere. That being said, I wouldn't gallavant accross the US just for a pay raise.

Leaving family and friends is a really tough thing to do. Going from being an upper-middle-class family to near-destitue is also a tough thing to do. In the end, we turned out just fine. Even when the real estate market picked back up in TX, we decided to stay in Georgia. There was just a lot more opportunity here.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Well, that is true. Sometimes you've got to man up and do what's right to put food on the table. If you are in certain industries and professions, you have to do what you have to do and follow the work.

My Moms' Dad and my Uncle and so many men on that side of the family worked steel and construction or drive trucks all through the Gulf Coast and the whole country. They had to travel all week and follow the work. That I understand fully.

To my Aunt and Uncle on my Dad's side, they hit Afganistan, India, Nepal and all that in their tours with the Peace Corps and the State Department. That I understand as well.

These are all choices people have to make.

Now, in my Dad's case, he's an attorney and could have had a job anywhere. But working for the government is the life he chose, so when the government said go, he went.

(He adores everything about the Island, except our outrageous crime rate. He always locks the doors, even when I'm reading a book on the porch. Y'all know about them mean streets in the Sizzle?'s da hard knock life. Y'all don't hear me, do'.)

Keep in mind that I'm not making a "My values are better than my Dad's" statement. I'm explaining how they are different. What was important to him is very different than what is important to me.

Though maybe not, becuase he's told me that, wherever I end up living and starting a family, he will most likely get a condo or small house in the same town, not too far away. ('Cause he wants to be a part of the lives of those imaginary grandkids... :)

patsbrother said...

That doesn't cut it, bro. I had to say implied only because you did not say if A then B. However, the following two statements put together argue for more than just a "hidden message":

"He thinks a man's life is only complete when it is part of a family like his, and most other men are not living up to their potential if they don't have one.

"And he wonders why his generation is the first one to hit the 50% divorce rate."

Patrick Armstrong said...


Is there an echo in here? I know exactly what I wrote, kiddo. Just in case I couldn't go find what I wrote on my own blog, you have, for the sake of convenience, repeated my offending comments not once, but twice.

This must be a tactic they're teaching you up in that fancy law school of yourn: if you don't like what they say, repeat it back to them until they say something you like.

Did I stutter? Are either of those two statements untrue? I don't have to imply anything: Pops has said these things to me.

In my opinion Dad's generation was the first to hit the 50% divorce rate for any number of reasons.

So I guess I'll stop the silly string and just give you a question - answer format.

(Please note: these are all questions that have arisen from actual conversations with my father)

1. If I were to follow Dad's advice, and settle down and get married to the 'next girl that comes along' wether I liked her or not, what are the chances of that marriage ending in divorce? In a static world, not counting my personality traits that may skew the results, I'd say they are 50/50 (in other words 50%. Do you agree or disagree and why?

2. If I were to follow Dad's advice, and get married to a girl in spite of glaring things about her that I don't like, (not socks-on-the-floor variety things but she-won't-let-me-watch-football-ever-again variety things) what are the chances of that marriage ending in divorce? I say those odds are at least 60/40 for divorce, not counting my personality traits that may skew the result. Do you agree or disagree and why?

3. Should I buy a car based on how much said vehicle impresses women? What women base their soical relationships solely off the car a man drives? How does this affect the odds discussed in questions one and two?

4. If I adhered to the idea that a man's life is only worth anything as part of the nuclear family, what are my chances of engaging in behavior described in questions one, two and three? I'd say better than 65% likeley (to engage in such behavior). What, therefore, would be the odds that a relationship started under such circumstances end in divorce, not counting my personality traits that may skew the result? I say at least 55/45 (divorce). Do you agree or disagree and why?

5. What does free love and nickel moonshine have to with any of the above, in your opinion? What does liberalism have to do with any of the above, in your opinion?

Please submit your answers as a new blog post if you are able to publish on this site, or as a comment string attached to that answer post.

Good Luck!