Tag Archives: marriage

The feminist revolutionaries have won. Insurgents have arisen to challenge the new order. As always, they’re outlaws.

Summary:  Yesterday’s post took 2,200 words to explain a simple theory, because I took readers on a journey to “derive” the conclusions. Here’s the spoiler version, in which we “cut to the chase” — showing only the last section.

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Feminism is one of the big revolutions of our time, over-turning our concepts of romance and marriage. In response to its success, insurgents have arisen. It’s early days yet, too soon to forecast which side will win. Reviewers consider this one of the more shocking — and darker — posts of the almost 2,900 on the FM website. Post your reactions in the comments (at the original post). It’s the first of two posts today.

Settling for a beta

Feminism is a revolution, one with few or no precedents in history, now in the last stages of consolidating its victory.  We can only guess at the effects.  This post discusses one facet. I expect (guess) that as guys understand the new order, many will refuse to play. They’ll become insurgents — outlaws — from their designated role as beta males — expected to dutifully ask permission at each step of the romantic escalation (see “Feminism for Bros“), marrying a women at the end of her youth after she’s chased alphas (of whom she’ll dream), and dutifully supporting a family until and after your wife divorces you (40-50% of first marriages; higher for subsequent ones; most initiated by the wife).

Once men see the game, why would they play? An insurgency might begin, perhaps leading to a new revolution (or a counter-revolution).

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Beckett shows our future. She chooses wisely & marries Castle, but dreams at night of her alpha ex-boyfriend.

Summary:   Feminism is one of the big revolutions of our time, over-turning our concepts of romance and marriage. This series of posts uses the TV show “Castle” as a mirror in which we can see 21st century America, especially the relations between men and women. Today we look at the dark side of marriage masked by the light comedy of the Beckett-Castle dance, and what it reveals about our future. Reviewers consider this one of the more shocking (& darker) posts of the almost 2,900 on the FM website. Post your reactions in the comments.

Wild West Beckett

Beckett & Castle in “Once upon the time in the west”

Contents

  1. TV helps us see ourselves
  2. Beckett’s boyfriends
  3. Why she choose Castle
  4. Note from a woman about real men
  5. About the revolution
  6. Other posts about “Castle”
  7. For More Information about women
  8. Beckett lassoes her man

(1)  Stories help us see ourselves

“People need stories, more than bread, itself. They teach us how to live, and why. … Stories show us how to win.”
— The Master Storyteller in HBO’s “The Arabian Nights”

We watch dramas not just for entertainment, but to see our society from different perspectives, and so better understand our lives and those around us. The characters are fiction, but the situations and emotions are those of our moment in time and space. With the rapid change in gender roles during the past several generations — now accelerating — the ability of film and TV to show us different paths becomes especially valuable.

The TV show “Castle” does this well. As described in the previous chapter of this series, here we see a world in which the war of the sexes has begun to swing in women’s favor (e.g., women’s superior performance in grade school, college, and graduate programs) — and the traditional gender roles begin to invert. Kate Beckett shows one way for women to adapt their relationships to this new world. We’ll look at what the show-runners plausibly provide as her boyfriends, speculate why she choose Castle as her husband, and conclude with a real-life illustration of these dynamics.

(2)  Beckett’s boyfriends

Beckett dated several alphas before marrying Castle.

Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson, played by Victor Webster

Josh Davidson

Dr. Davidson, Beckett’s boyfriend in season 3, has it all. He’s a cardiac surgeon. He rides a motorcycle. He travels to Third World nations, providing free surgical care. See his series bio. In S04E04 he saves her life after she was shot in the heart.

We never learn Dr. Davidson’s relationship with Beckett ended. In season 5 we learn he went to the Amazon to build free clinics. As an alpha, he expects Beckett to follow him or get left behind. It would take him a few days (max) to find a new girlfriend. Beckett would dream of him during her marriage to a rich nice-guy family man beta.

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Will Sorenson

Will Sorenson (Bailey Chase)

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Will Sorenson

Sorenson is an FBI Special Agent, he was Beckett’s boyfriend in season 1. See his series bio.  As the lead agent on kidnappings, he probably has a hot hand at the FBI. He was Beckett’s boyfriend sometime in the past, before she meets Castle.

He’s another alpha. Like Davidson, he expected Beckett to follow him. That’s not something he will compromise on, and so they went their separate ways before the series begins — and again in season one. It might take him a month to get a new girlfriend.

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Tom Demming

Tom Demming (Michael Trucco)

Tom Demming

Demming is a NYPD detective working robberies (series bio).  He was Beckett’s boyfriend in season 2. She dumps him in the season finale, explaining that “was not what she was looking for.”

As a New York City cop, TV tropes require that Demming be an alpha. And so he is, with a softer side (much like Ryan and Esposito).

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(3)  Why Beckett choose Castle

We can easily imagine why Beckett married Castle. As an attractive, intelligent, strong-willed, aggressive, and high-spirited women, she it’s no surprise she has four good choices to choose from. Davidson has a good income, charisma, and good looks. He’s the alpha of the group. But he might not marry her.

Sorenson and Demming are good-looking, stable nice guys with good careers. They will make nice family men. And then there is Castle…

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“Castle” shows us marriage in America, a fault line between our past & future

Summary:  The TV show “Castle” shows us the mad nature of marriage in 21st C America, and suggests why we no longer work the machinery that drives our vital institutions (the alienation that social scientists describe). We no longer believe Reform requires understanding what’s happening, and clearly seeing how we want to live. Society must be built on rock, not sand. Spoilers!

“… a world-without-end bargain.”
— William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” (c. 1595)

From the season one “Castle” episode “Nanny McDead”

BECKETT: How many times have you been married, Castle?

CASTLE: Twice. .. How about you?

BECKETT: Never been. … I’m not an “if at first you don’t succeed” kind of a girl. When it comes to marriage, I’m more of a “one and done” type.

Beckett's bridal gown

Beckett is ready to go

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Contents

  1. In her marriages, Beckett is everygirl
  2. In their divorces, Castle is everyman and Beckett is everygirl
  3. A Useful Conclusion
  4. History of marriage
  5. Other posts in this series about “Castle”
  6. For More Information
  7. Tom Tomorrow gives us A Brief History of Marriage

Post your thoughts in the comments!

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(1)  In her marriages, Beckett is everygirl

We watch hit TV shows because they speak to our dreams, fears, goals, and conflicts. Romantic comedies like “Castle” focus on marriage, one of our foundational institutions. It’s a major theme of the series “Castle”, both of the main characters’ arcs and the individual episode.  How people select partners, the ceremony, marriage, divorce, and post-marriage life.

Richard Castle has married twice, a conventional middle-aged American. hoping that the third time is the charm.

Beckett has more interesting history, illustrating the several irrational elements to our social system. Married in a drunken fling while in college, she could not cope with the resulting cognitive dissonance between her logical desire for divorce and her self-image as one who marries for life. She’s everygirl.

She resolves this is a mad but human way: she ignores the marriage. That’s not as mad as it seems, since there are no central records for marriages in the US (as First World nations have). In fact the Centers for Disease Control says:

Information on the total numbers and rates of marriages and divorces at the national and State levels are published in the NCHS National Vital Statistics Reports. The collection of detailed data was suspended beginning in January 1996. Limitations in the information collected by the States as well as budgetary considerations necessitated this action.

A 15-year old Vegas marriage might easily remain secret. Background checks, even by the FBI, don’t query the marriage records of every State — and seldom investigate more than 10 years history (except the basics, such as birth and education). Beckett’s marriage appeared on the NYC computers through plot magic.

But Beckett points us to a deeper conflict in our system of marriage. One we all see, but consider too horrific too mention.

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The Court overturns two laws passed by Congress. Everybody cheers!

Summary:  This was a bad week for the Republic. No matter what your opinions about Same Sex Marriage and the Voting Rights Act, these decisions weaken us. As we become more accustomed to undemocratic solutions, our ruling elites become stronger. We become weaker.

Oracles, ruling on the basis of a document in which few people believe.

Oracles of a document in which many of us no longer believe

It {is} an axiom of eternal truth in politics that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people. They are inherently independent of all but moral law …
— Jefferson in a letter to Judge Spencer Roane, November 1819

The Supreme Court overturned two laws passed by Congress and signed by the President: the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA, signed by Clinton in 1996). Being bystanders and sheep, Americans cheered their teams’ wins and boo’d their defeat. A profoundly undemocratic institution has gained a greater role over our elected representatives no longer matters to us.

Being fools we do not realize that there are not two teams, just two factions of our ruling elites. This week the Court did their will on both verdicts. Gutting the VRA allows the GOP to continue its voter suppression projects, to keep the more unstable lower orders in line (having no property, nothing to lose, oligarchs always worry they might be mobilized against the regime).

As for the victory for gay rights, it is politically inconsequential. Our plutocrats have relearned ancient wisdom: it’s best to leave the proles to their own lives. Who they screw, their family structures, how they organize their communities — none of these things matter. Our rulers focus on the essentials of concentrating income, wealth, and power.

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Do we want to bring back traditional marriage? What is traditional marriage?

One of my co-authors pointed out that the previous post was incomplete:  Should we thank the Court as it rescues us from our bad laws? Or just bow?. It included a quote that was absurdly incorrect. Although peripheral to the point of the post, a correction is required.

It’s this from “Gay marriage and the Supreme Court’s empire“, Paul Mirengoff, Powerline, 4 March 2013:

By “traditional definition of marriage” in this context, I really mean the universal definition — one that, as far as I know, prevailed until very recently in all societies since the beginning of recorded time.

Here we have the confident ignorance that characterizes modern conservatism. Marriage customs vary widely throughout the history of Earth’s many cultures. From nothing — free pairings — through polygamy (usually polygyny — like the patriarchs in the Bible; rarely polyandry). With the most constant feature being that, one way or another, men in the elites get several hot women.

Also, “traditional marriage” often required no consent from the woman (or women) involved. Nor did divorce (eg, Deuteronomy 24 and the Islamic ṭalāq).  Both might even take place simultaneously, as in wife selling (see Wikipedia).

The quote is daft in another way.

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Should we thank the Court as it rescues us from our bad laws? Or just bow?

Summary:  America remains locked in a battle between Left and Right. Each fights to protect the Constitution — or the pieces of it they value. Neither cares for the it as other than a tool to advance their interests. The Constitution, torn between them, slowly withers. The American people mildly, intermittently cheer both sides — wanting what they want, ignorant and uncaring of the political processes that constitute the Republic. Today we see this tragedy play out over same sex marriage.

Oracles, ruling on the basis of a document in which few people believe.

Oracles ruling about a document in which many (most?) Americans no longer believe.

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Americans have voted for laws not allowing same sex marriage. Now opinions have changed (for the better IMO), and we can change those laws.  Acts of collective action like this,  working through our elected representatives, strengthen the Republic. We shape America, making our history, showing our power to govern ourselves. This is the natural course of evolution in a democracy.

But many prefer quicker extra-legal measures, wanting results NOW — not caring about the means. Or the consequences.  The Courts, often ready to act as priest-kings — deciders — provide a fast track for social change. As with Roe vs Wade in 1973, the likely result of Supreme Court voiding the Defense of Marriage Act (1996) will be to extend and embitter the debate and further weaken the legitimacy of the courts.

The Republic — and hence us, the people — grow weaker with each exercise of extra-constitutional power by the Courts and the Executive, no matter how well-intentioned. Eventually our leaders will take bold action, promising to give us what we want — security, prosperity, whatever — without bothering to pretend to follow the Constitution. At that point the Constitution will have died.

My guess most of us will live to see that day.

Some people on the Right look at the Courts. Today they cherish the Constitution

I agree with the following views. But the core fact of American politics today is that neither Left nor Right value the Constitution as anything other an instrument to advance their policies. Tomorrow — when looking at government oppression of Muslims, extra-legal assassination of Americans, or illegal surveillance — they might show less concern about old documents.

Gay marriage and the Supreme Court’s empire“, Paul Mirengoff, Powerline, 4 March 2013:

{N}ine glorified lawyers are about to tell us whether the traditional definition of marriage as requiring members of the opposite sex is rational and/or useful (whether the standard is “rationality” or “utility” is up for grabs in the case). By “traditional definition of marriage” in this context, I really mean the universal definition — one that, as far as I know, prevailed until very recently in all societies since the beginning of recorded time. Isn’t it odd that as few as five judges could determine that the traditional definition of this fundamental institution is irrational (or not useful), and make this judgment stick?

Supremacist Courts“, Mark Steyn, National Review, 4 March 2013:

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What’s the future of the family in America? How will that change our government?

Summary:  As the dust from the election settles, let’s not forget the powerful elements of the conservative critique of 21st C America. Here we look at one of the many forces driving the expansion of the government — the family. What might be its fate in the next few generations?

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Contents

  1. A question about the family, our government,
    and the future of America
  2. The answer: it’s toast, it’s growing, and …
  3. Allan Boom explains
  4. For More Information

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(1)  A question about the family, our government, & America

Question from Matt D, in response to Civil rights just took a step forward, the slow hard way. The right way. (about same-sex marriages):

I read your first link with quotes from de Tocqueville, and I have a question: How does your support for gay marriage square with de Tocqueville’s observation that the suppression of natural hierarchy among individuals drives societies towards centralized despotism? It is clear enough that the legitimization of same-sex marriage is not a driver of the degeneration of well-defined gender roles, which has been taking place over the last half-century. But it is the direct result of this degeneration, and helps to make it more durable.

Through the lens of de Tocqueville’s analysis, would not the blurring of male-female distinctions represent the elimination of the last natural focus of authority in the smallest and most basic unit of human organization? I won’t speculate about the observable results of this process, as that is a topic where there is much diversity of opinion. But on a purely theoretical level, using de Tocqueville’s framework, will not the man who can no longer order his family and the woman who can no longer be protected by her man be filled with a thirst for an ever-stronger and more intrusive centralized authority?

(2)  The answer: it’s toast, it’s growing, and …

Here we come to deep waters, in which the conservative viewpoint has much to say — if we can find these insights among the trash in which it hides today.

In brief, the family is toast in its current configuration. My guess is that the places where this disintegration have advanced most (eg, Scandinavia, Los Angeles) society is coasting, support by inherited cultural traditions which no longer have any foundation. My guess is that this is one of our greatest social problems, which the boomers bequeath to future generations much as the Founders did slavery. We’ve built a system that we don’t like with hopes it will all work, but no ideas as to how.

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