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I don’t like to view things in stark dichotomies. While I certainly recognize the existence of plain good and undeniable evil, I think our tendency to apply these terms to every conflict in our lives — from politics to that lady in Accounting who questions my time sheet Every Damn Week — is stupid monkeythink.

But I keep stumbling over things that make me think Right and Left are now so far apart that we simply aren’t able to talk to each other. Right and wrong aside, our core beliefs are too different to find common ground.

Example. I happened to be browsing Slate earlier for some reason and I came across this. It was the most read article on the site at the time.

Go. Read it. It’s short.

Shit, dude. Three months ago. Oh, I know the guy is in a really awful position and the relationship might not survive the test, despite his best efforts. But, damn. Three months. That’s his best effort?

I especially like the suggestion that it’s not fair to his own kid. What, not fair to make him watch his dad stand by the woman he loves? Damn, man. Is this really no-big-deal discourse on the other side of the argument?

Oh, read the other one, too. It also is a doozy.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 29, 2013, 12:15 am

Also, Meghan McCain is going to have a new talk show this Summer. Ace has some fun with her.

I don’t tease Meghan any more because…ummm…she blocked me on Twitter 🙁

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: March 29, 2013, 12:32 am

That’s quite the soul mate that Douchy McDouche found: just before he was ready to swear on a stack of bibles that he’d love her forever, in sickness and in health–well, shit: he didn’t sign up for *that*, did he? Just what the hell did he think “forever” meant, anyway? Hey, I totally get the “make no sacrifices and demand none” thing, but this isn’t some chick he scrounged up at random in order to ruin his life with the burden. This is the woman he wanted to grow old with: He allegedly *loves* her. My advice to him would have been to leave her now, so he can stop lying to her about what a creep he is, and let her get on with her life without the pretense that he’s something other than an insensitive, indifferent dick. Often enough a strong relationship can’t stand up to the stress of a debilitating illness, but damn: he’s not even trying. Oh, and those other people with the teenaged kid and the sex and the swinging? You’re busted: just admit to the kid that you’re scumbags instead of the decent parents he’s always thought. Maybe he’ll shoot you in the head while you’re sleeping, instead of hunting you down through the house. There. Black and white enough for you?

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: March 29, 2013, 12:44 am

OK,I didn’t read Prudence’s reply, and I didn’t read the comments (which I can imagine are … pretty volatile). And I find the idea of writing to an advice columnist for permission to leave your disabled SO a bit odd. BUT.

I’ve watched–from a safe distance, mostly–a lot of people go through grieving/mourning (my law partner has an estates practice). And I have lost two close blood relations, and–last summer–someone I treasured as much as I have ever treasured anyone. And there is a /reason/ that once upon a time all near relations of the dead person wore black for a year. Not to express their grief (despite the fact that that is how society no doubt saw it), but as an active visual warning that there was a very high probability they would do irrational and unaccountable and downright wrong things. Yes, I know, those were deaths, this is only an illness; still, I can’t help but suspect that some of the same dynamic comes into play. Three months? Still in deep grief/fugue state. OK, yeah, I still think it is downright weird to write to an advice columnist. Point is, “downright weird” is pretty much the bass note for a lot of true grieving.

Um. Acourse, you’ll probably want to discount for the fact that I’m more-or-less a liberal, and all that.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: March 29, 2013, 12:56 am

The guy is an insufferable selfish btard. In sickness and in health is what he promised. Well she’s sick, deal with it. You can’t bail out when it gets rough.

What if HE were the sick one? Would he want her to take off? I’m sure he’d expect the woman to mother him and empty his bedpan and all the rest. Shes a woman after all.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: March 29, 2013, 1:06 am

Why were you blocked? Hopefully it was juicy. And I’m kind of surprised Meghan would even know how to block someone. She doesn’t come across as a “tech savvy” lady.

Comment from AliceH
Time: March 29, 2013, 1:58 am

–Three months? Still in deep grief/fugue state. —

Can’t Hark, that is a very thoughtful and sensitive point. I have no idea if it applies to this guy in this situation, but of course the point is… who can?

As a conservative, though, I have to say that manners and societal norms/expectations of “good” behavior used to be strong and clear enough to stand in for rationalizations of emotional reactionary desires allowing time to heal and regain ones bearings, but with that gone… guess Dear Prudence is what we have left.

Comment from EZnSF
Time: March 29, 2013, 2:19 am

Behold; The Facebook/Obama/Google world.

Life will probably become far more saner and far more enjoyable after the lights finally go out and we start from scratch.

May he be hit by a rouge little-league baseball, and have his legs amputated because of the ambulance/texting crash on the way to the hospital.

Comment from Pablo
Time: March 29, 2013, 2:28 am

My soulmate broke a heel and I dumped her because she couldn’t keep up.

Another one will come along, right?

Comment from sandman is going to resist
Time: March 29, 2013, 2:31 am

what a raging douche and two stories of f’d up scumbag human beings, barring the poor stroke victim…

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 29, 2013, 3:14 am

Dear Life,
However long you’re going to stay, make that time count

He’s a dick, but “Prudence” is a truly horrible person. Yeah, just string the poor, crippled lady along for a while. Make her think you might really stay. Then, just sneak out in the middle of the night, because you’re a selfish piece of shit. Don’t be a man about it, just slink away.

Awesome advice, “Prudence”.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 29, 2013, 3:18 am

Three months? Still in deep grief/fugue state.

Well, his feelings are important.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: March 29, 2013, 3:30 am

The main problem right now is that the left has diverged so much from reason, objective truth, and absolutes that they’re unreachable with simple logic. They reject what doesn’t fit what they wish to be true, and redefine words almost on the fly to fit their worldview. They’re able to hold directly contradictory concepts at the same time without the slightest concern. Save the whales, survival of the fittest. Smoking is evil but pot should be legalized. On and on it goes.

We can use the same words but never even speak the same language, like two trains running parallel. They’ll never, ever meet.

Comment from Timothy S. Carlson
Time: March 29, 2013, 3:31 am

Wow. What a f’ed up situation for the poor woman who had the stroke. Yes, his leaving is going to devastate her, but it’s better if he does it _now_ instead of stringing her along. If she has family or friends that he can talk to, he needs to man up and discuss the situation with them so that the woman can get the physical and emotional support she needs when he bails. The woman is probably already depressed because of her situation – the addition of him leaving may be too much for her. But he’s a self-centered jackhole and deserves to have a prosthetic device that will punch him in the nuts every five minutes for the rest of his life.

And what kind of lesson is he teaching his child? “When life gets tough – RUN AWAY!”. Nice.

Having been there / been through that (4 brain stem strokes and a series of unfortunate events worthy of a country western song) – I think she would rather the asshole leave sooner than later. She needs someone around who really cares about her and will help with her recover. She can’t have that as long as Mr. Compassionate is still in the picture.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: March 29, 2013, 4:04 am

Selfishness to the point of disgust. That’s the whole zeitgeist of the left wrapped up in one example. If Aesop were alive, it would be one of his fables. Fuck ’em. I no longer look at it as differences of opinion, it’s more like a zombie story. Just take the headshots to conserve ammo and move on. It’s of no use trying to reason with them anymore.

Comment from Oldcat
Time: March 29, 2013, 5:15 am

So he’s going to shove off because one of her *arms* doesn’t work so well? Isn’t he supposed to open up the peanut butter jar for her anyway?

It’s not even good selfishness, the guy is so empty. No soul.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: March 29, 2013, 6:14 am

Timothy S. Carlson above mentioned the device to punch that waste of human DNA in the nuts every 5 minutes. If the device is ever down for maintenance; I will gladly stand in till it gets tuned up.

In the past I have mentioned my father coming over from China, alone and 12 years old. And I have referred in passing to our unusual family history. OK, here is part of it. In the 1930’s he went back to China, because his father had arranged a marriage for him [not uncommon, and my adopted brother had an arranged marriage in this country and they have been together 40 years]. After the marriage, he came back and tried to arrange to get her smuggled in. This was exceptionally hard and Chinese women were especially banned because any children would be born citizens.

WW-II started in China before it started elsewhere, and he received word that his wife had been killed by the Japanese. So he continued his life assuming he was a widower. In 1943, we became people under American law and he joined the Army, getting his citizenship via Patton’s Third Army. He married post-war, they had me, and got divorced. In 1950’s Kansas(!), he got custody of me and raised me as a single parent.

In 1956 we got word from family in Hong Kong. His first wife somehow had survived, and had made it out to Hong Kong, and made contact with the family. Think about it. He had built a new life, had a son. There was never any question. From the moment we heard, even though he had not seen her in 20 years; she was his wife, and he was married. Even though it was difficult, he sent money to Hong Kong to support her. When a twelve year old orphaned distant cousin escaped from the mainland and ran into her, she took him in. Because his wife had taken him in, my dad adopted him. When she had a stroke, he paid for her care. And from that day in 1956 when we heard she was alive, he began the legal fight to bring her over. It was a long, expensive, and emotionally wearing battle, that included going to war with his own sisters. But he fought it, and in 1966 she hobbled down the jetway at Denver Stapleton International Airport into her husband’s arms. A few days later, we had another marriage ceremony at our home, just to be sure.

That is the example of family honor and devotion I grew up with, and try to measure myself against. I look at that fine example of modern “manhood” in Slate and can only feel contempt.

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from AltBBrown
Time: March 29, 2013, 12:53 pm

Helluva life story, Subotai!
Sweas, if you’d stick to chicken and art links, you wouldn’t be reminding the rest of us just how phony America has become. I’m with Rush at this point – I am also, for the 1st time in my life, ashamed of my country.
Didja ever gag your way through that Mcain book, “America, you sexy…”? I tried, but after a coupla pages, the cutesy style starting on my stomach reflexes.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: March 29, 2013, 12:54 pm

Alice–I think societal norms and expectations still function that way. Thing is, I suspect that most people in the early stages of dealing with great tragedy at least think about running away, even though they may not ultimately act on those thoughts. It truly helps to have someone you can speak the thought to without fear of condemnation–getting the words out is sometimes the first step to rejecting the thought. But when you share the thought in a national forum, it is frozen in time like a fly in amber, and is the only thing that the audience can judge you by. I’m not disagreeing with any of the assessments of the man’s character offered here, since all we know about him is what he has said publicly, and it ain’t realy pretty. I just think that it also may not represent him fully, but at the same time I recognize that it was his choice to be seen this way.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 29, 2013, 1:07 pm

That’s the most kindly possible interpretation, Can’t hark. I can understand him being in that place, I can certainly understand him having those thoughts. What frightens me here is that the cultural norms have shifted so far, he’s comfortable asking the question, in public, and the answer he gets is not shock and horror but a reinforcement of his cowardice.

It’s very easy for people — all people, everywhere — to be selfish dirtbags. It’s our natural, go-to state. It takes very powerful social pressures to make us behave altruistically.

Well, scratch that. Some people are natural born good guys. They’ll do the right thing no matter what because they’re just like that. But for the rest of us, we need society to give us some clear guidance on what is or is not acceptable. Watching those norms erode is a very scary thing.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: March 29, 2013, 1:21 pm

Can’t Hark – I understand your point and I think it is a valid one. I recall that just before getting married I was very worried that I wasn’t going to deal with the responsibilities of marriage very well and that it was, generally speaking, a disaster on the horizon and I was running towards it. Better to turn around now, albeit a bit late in the day?

His response resonated with me, and perhaps gave me the courage to give through with the wedding.

“Why not? If it doesn’t work out, you can always get a divorce”

This was a thought that had never ocurred to me.

I think that in a bizarre way, knowing that I wasn’t trapped forever freed me to go forward.

Having said that, we have now been together 32? years and going strong . As, for my friend, well, I like his third wife the best so far.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: March 29, 2013, 1:37 pm

Stoatie – your post appeared while I was painfully pecking my post with two fingers. I agree that we have lost all social pressures to do the right thing in the last 75 years. Unwed mother? No big deal. The whole movement to say that all cultures have equal value has been another disaster. That boils down to “there is no wrong behavior”. If your grandfather enjoyed, shall we say, the goats in the back yard, and your father picked up the fetish, it’s now a cultural tradition, and the whole town can do nothing but stand back and watch, so to speak, while dad teaches the kids. I have often thought it ironic that conservatives, so long the protectors of individual rights, have been forced to assume the mantle of protecting the rights of the collective against the anarchy of individualism.

As for Prudence, the correct advice should have been, paraphrasing Can’t Hark, ” everyone goes through this phase and your wanting to flee is normal. However having taken a vow, you need try to stick it out a little longer. Be brave, she needs you now. Maybe when things get better you can think about leaving then. Let’s wait and see. However, right now you know that she would be taking care of you, and so you owe it to her to try. We’ll talk again later and decide then”.

This would remove the “trapped forever” panic but put escape off into the indefinite futher.

Comment from Redd
Time: March 29, 2013, 4:09 pm

With Easter weekend upon us, do we dare hope for some uber cute lamby and/or chick pixs?

Comment from Can\’t hark my cry
Time: March 29, 2013, 4:25 pm

Some Vegetable 🙂

And, yes, that is absolutely the advice Dear Prudence should have provided!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 29, 2013, 4:26 pm

The few lambs around here have been rounded up and put in the barn. The weather has been appalling. Coldest March in fifty years, leading to what they predict will be a cold April.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 29, 2013, 6:20 pm

We always predicted that Global Warming™ would lead to mile-thick ice-sheets over Europe & North America.

Comment from AltBBrown
Time: March 29, 2013, 8:17 pm

And now your long range forecast from the MET model:


Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: March 29, 2013, 8:45 pm

“But I keep stumbling over things that make me think Right and Left are now so far apart that we simply aren’t able to talk to each other. Right and wrong aside, our core beliefs are too different to find common ground.”

You say that like it’s a bad thing, and it is. Just hope there’s an adult in the room, and find them real quick.

Comment from Tibby
Time: March 30, 2013, 2:49 pm

Have you seen this? Talk about your dichotomies. How can any adult think like this? I am just sick to see and hear this. Where have our collective morals gone that someone gets up and considers this reasonable in public?


Comment from dissent555
Time: March 30, 2013, 3:25 pm

For me this all comes down to the casual conflation in our culture of “love” with “sex”, sexuality in any respect, and/or just shackin’ up and havin’ a good time for the present but we’ll see if it all works out. So did he really love her or was it just about “feelings”? Let’s see, if his son was the one who had the stroke, would he be asking to just kick him to the curb too, as an unplanned inconvenience?

These people need to get a grip. Life is never planned, no matter how much planning you do. What the hell is wrong with people.

And Prudence? LOL. Apparently not!

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: April 1, 2013, 4:20 pm

AliceH wrote, “As a conservative, though, I have to say that manners and societal norms/expectations of “good” behavior used to be strong and clear enough to stand in for rationalizations of emotional reactionary desires allowing time to heal and regain ones bearings, but with that gone… guess Dear Prudence is what we have left.”

Well, we always had Dear Abby (and her sister — I’ve forgotten her stage name), and that was pretty public too. The difference between then and now: The newspaper was not as permanent, since it would probably get used for fishwrap the next day; and Abby’s advice would have been more along the lines we suggest here.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: April 2, 2013, 1:33 am

Darn, I wish WordPress included a “like” button. Yup (and you are thinking of Ann Landers), Wolfus Aurelius. Although, when I think back to “Do I need to pet to be popular?” I could weep; at the same time–it isn’t that the /problems/ have changed all that much, but our willingness to publicly admit their existence has. Not that that is necessarily a good thing. Cultural change is indifferent to our value categories, mm?

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