Laura Schlessinger


Wednesday, September 8, 1999

Ten Stupid Things Men Do to Mess Up Their Lives
Harperperennial Library; ISBN: 0060929448

I encountered this book at a used bookstore I habituate, picked it up but almost immediately placed it back on the shelf. However, what I had read on the dust jacket started eating on me and I returned to the shop in hopes it would still be there. It was.

Dr. Schlessinger, apparently with complete faith and absolute credulity, lists those things she believes cause men to mess-up their lives. She calls these things: “stupid.” After a short reading, it became clear to me that she has listed those traits which distinguish men from women, those attributes and sociobiological elements that make-up the quality, maleness. In short, she is telling us that to be male, that is to say, behave as a male behaves, is to be stupid.

This woman makes claim to numerous academic degrees; she studied at USC for certification as a marriage, family and child counselor. She has a radio show, syndicated, a newspaper column, ditto, and describes herself as, among other things, a powerboat enthusiast, black-belt in the martial arts, weight lifter, power walker and enthusiastic tennis player. She is married to her manager. She has obviously not read my book.

Like the queen of hearts, she has managed to create her own definition for what she would like the male of today to be. Not what he is, but what he “could be.” It’s the Marx gene raising again its ugly head. Perhaps she is not to be blamed completely. She must be in part the product of modern education, one which has conveniently avoided fact with the purpose in mind to set-right those matters which appear on the surface to be ‘wrongs.’

Oh, the shifting paradigms. But they are only illusory shifts, hopeful shifts, shifts, like political correctness, done out of a feeling of guilt whose origins are obscure. This guilt, perhaps Puritanical, surely rich with punishment and retribution as fills stuff of this kind, deluded a squawking crowd of busybodies causing it to act with madness. This cannot last; it will not. But, it has done its dirty work already. The great university from which my father--and I, a generation later--proudly called our alma mater, has slipped in prestige from halcyon heights in his--and my--day to the sad position of also-ran in many of the specialty schools, under politically-correct appointees and stumblebum leadership. The Italians say: “the fish rots first at the head.” They are right.

Ms. S begins by calling men’s penchant for chivalry, “stupid.” As she describes it, men are stupid to ‘get involved with the wrong woman, who she defines as weak, flaky, damaged, needy, desperate, stupid, untrustworthy, immature, etc. The man’s chivalrous act apparently behaves as a mechanism for saving or transforming the sad creature whom she defines. She avoids completely the convincing evidence that women choose the mate, that, for the most part, biologically and sociologically speaking, the male has little ‘real’ say in the matter. I speak in population numbers, not for individuals. Exceptions appear to exist; appearances can be illusory. Exceptions are not the point. The point is that the qualities we know as maleness are formulated from a complex combination of genetic and resultant biochemical and even sociological elements which are largely immutable. Not unalterable forever, but surely not within one or two generations. Evolutionary pressure exists; Ms. S is already holding her trident to the testes. However, with that kind of pressure, there is just as likely to be a pressure cooker reaction, the lid blowing off in the same way any Marxian utopia has failed: USSR, for a recent example, or Yugoslovia. So while it may seem stupid to Ms S and surely does to those of us who have pair-bonded with an example amongst the list above, the truth is that we did it and we are not ipso facto stupid because we did it, rather I would say, stupidity lies with she who fails to see the pattern of ‘isness’ in the repetition of such behavior. Perhaps, if the women described are on this list, one might look at biology and even at a reaction to the lunacy of feminism itself.

Next, we are stupid because we are independent and, she claims further, are “unwilling” to admit “need” for bonding and for intimacy, hiding in excesses of work, play, drink, drugs, pornography and “meaningless” sex. Whew! Not a hint of evolutionary psychology in that diatribe. Nary a slight leaning in the direction that such a condition, independence, might be in the nature of maleness, a quality that has perhaps been seminal in maintaining the advantage of the human species and prolonged its life. No hint that such intimacy she herself seems to long for, is one that is deeply associated with gender itself and that it might have a biological and biochemical explanation. Bonding is not common in any species studied. Those groups that have been touted as “bonding for life,” are, on closer scrutiny, as polygamous as the rest. Our biological roots are better seen in their pure state by viewing the nature of our relatives. Male excesses, above, are matters of rutting, deeply ingrained in the male genetic and biochemical fabric. You do not wash this out with a decade or two of popular radio psychology. This is part and parcel of the nature of maleness. What is meaningless to Ms S might be quite meaningful to the longevity of the species as a whole, providing the diversity which is required by successful species.

The work continues in this fashion. It should be highly recommended reading for future students of history as an example of the adverse effects of North American educational philosophy changes and the curriculum tweaking that happened during the years following WWII.