Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Infotainment

Belle Waring:

Oi, this is so dumb and irritating that I pretty seriously considered not writing about it at all, in part because I worry the comments thread will develop a fetor of glib ev-psych nonsense. Uplift the human race, people, and surprise me with your intelligent thoughtfulness and concern for the feelings of other commenters. Who, I would like you to note, are actual human beings. Ya Rly!

Moving on, Slate has proffered for your attention an article by one Mark Regnerus, if that is his name. It is entitled thusly: “Sex is Cheap: Why Young Men Have the Upper Hand in Bed, Even When They’re Failing in Life.” I’m actually concerned that the stupid is going to burn my screen, and that readers of the article should perhaps be provided with an old-timey screensaver to avoid this.
She then goes on to destroy said article in an entertaining way. Naturally there follows glib ev-psych nonsense of positively Jenniferian horror in comments:
First, we’re going to import the concept of a “gift” into some bit of spider-behavior. Does this make any sense? Who knows! But why stop to think?

OK —stop to think—of course it makes sense. The food ‘gift’ (or resource, or whatever the hell you want to call it) has value (or rather the female expects it to). It is costly for the male to provide (he has to find it and wrap it and can’t eat it himself). The female—if she discovers she’s been tricked and there’s no food in the package—sends the male packing. If this is not an exchange of food-for-sex, then just what the hell would you call it?

Then, we’re going to reapply what we seem to have already established as spidery “gift-giving behavior” to “explain resource-exchanges!” in human sexual relations

No, we’re not. What we’re saying is that males accumulating resources of some sort (food, territory, a finely constructed nest) to attract females is seen in various species. We cannot extrapolate this to humans in any simpleminded way (humans are too complex and too weird in assorted ways for that), but this is the most common pattern, and it is one that’s not exactly unheard of in humans, isn’t it?

That obviously doesn’t imply that resources-for-sex all there is to human mating (and that if you understand spider sex then you understand human sex), but the idea that it’s purely coincidental that ‘males providing resources to females they hope to mate with’ is the most common pattern both across species and human cultures seems…pretty far-fetched, no?
How could he have forgotten about Spider-Man?

All of the foregoing, entertaining as it is, I reproduce in order to heap praise on this by Jenna Moran:
Another example from the natural world is trees and the wind. Often when a tree wants to mate with the wind it will expend considerable biological resources to generate a dead leaf “gift” which it detaches to swirl in the wind. (The opportunity cost is mostly genetic, since a single modern tree has very limited control over how fast its leaves die, but over time their mating behavior with the wind has selected more for leaves that die more quickly than they otherwise would. Note that those leaves, if they did not fall off to allow the wind to blow them around, would have helped the tree consume energy from its secondary polygamous association with the sun; blowing dead leaves around, which doesn’t actually add much directly to the wind’s survival prospects, can be looked at as a signaling behavior where the wind requires the tree to make a biological commitment to it—-”if you liked it you should have put dead leaves on it,” as it were—-in order to secure a relationship and demonstrate a certain baseline health and strength.) Afterwards, the wind or the wind’s descendants will carry the tree’s pollen or seeds this way and that—-it’s like those male spiders that will carry around the female spiders’ offspring on their back to impress potential future mates, or like a woman carrying around a hunter’s credit card on the savannah. Interestingly, though, when trees are not looking you will often see the wind carrying around the gifts of dozens of trees, blowing them about in a circle to decide which trees to have further pollen-wind-sex with in the spring. I think you can probably extrapolate this basic behavior to polygamous and monogamous relationships throughout the animal, vegetable, and elemental kingdoms.
There is a follow-up post entitled "Dear Guys Who Would Like to Make Stuff up About Sexual Relations a priori on the Basis of, Like, Spiders or Something" which is of course worth reading.

By all means explore the hot car-on-spider hentai possibilities below:

I am a totally cute and innocent little spider.  Love me!
Cars 2 hentai right here!
ORAL-SEX-ENABLING UPDATE!
Newt Gingrich hentai right here!

23 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

She spelled "if that is his REAL name" wrong.
~

fish said...

Speed McQueen is giving that spider a gift IYKWIMAITYD.

Smut Clyde said...

Puny ants! This nerve-gas... to which I am impervious... will paralyze all of you!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

unfortunately, you can't get the spider in front of McQueen, so spidey gets no lick-job.

El Manquécito said...

Of all the commentary that CT provokes autoarachnid love is probably among the more obscure.

Substance McGravitas said...

unfortunately, you can't get the spider in front of McQueen, so spidey gets no lick-job.

God, you're right, that is totally unfair. Unfortunately it requires a completely different spider without transparency/blinking-white-frame problems.

Substance McGravitas said...

Problem solved!

Substance McGravitas said...

Oh that is cute. Newt really likes it!

tigris said...

If Newt Gingrich hentai doesn't bring in the Google hits THE WORLD IS BROKED.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

All of the foregoing, entertaining as it is, I reproduce in order to heap praise on this by Jenna Moran:

That's the result when morans get a brain.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Newt really likes it!

Callista is on her way out.

Although he will have to change religions (again) to one that is accepting of autofellation.

Substance McGravitas said...

If I say I have piled up all three together...no wait, I didn't say that at all.

Kathleen said...

but the idea that it’s purely coincidental that ‘males providing resources to females they hope to mate with’ is the most common pattern both across species and human cultures seems…pretty far-fetched, no?

or put another way, the idea that it's purely coincidental that girls like pink and boys like blue, when it is the most common pattern seen across gender seems...prety far-fetched, no?

BITE ME

Kathleen said...

That's the result when morans get a brain.

perfection

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

If I say I have piled up all three together.

There is a joke to be made with spider, McQueen, Gingrich, and Human Centipede, but I am not qualified to work at that height.

Rachel said...

Reading all those self-important evo-psych postulants - "Look-at-me-with-my-master's-degree" - makes me mourn for the field of human behavioural sciences.

By the way, what means: IYKWIMAITYD?

(?"If you know what I mean and..."?)

Substance McGravitas said...

Yup, I think you do.

The thing that gets me is that they seem to produce experiments that get data...why tack on the bullshit you can never prove and just projects your own issues into the mix?

fish said...

The thing that gets me is that they seem to produce experiments that get data

This is an illusion. Like Economics.

fish said...

THIS IS NOT THE RIM JOB I MEANT!

TruculentandUnreliable said...

What I want to know is how a spider manages to wrap a gift in the first place. Wouldn't all those legs get in the way?

Substance McGravitas said...

This is an illusion. Like Economics.

Ha! You capitalized it, sheep.

One example was in one of the Crooked Timber threads, involving some crap about women and a preference for square-jawed men. Fine, sounds like a a few undergrad things I had to sit still for once in a while a long time ago, maybe it's actual data that will be useful for something. But the data then becomes a springboard into a pool of How I Think Cavemen Got Laid.

Substance McGravitas said...

Wouldn't all those legs get in the way?

And then they pull the scotch tape out and the little bows and HOLY SHIT what a mess.

vacuumslayer said...

This is a stoopid post. Listen, some guy in the comments helpfully EXPLAINED that Salon is a money-making enterprise that caters to men in their 20's, thus shutup.

Another guy also explained that while we women sure didn't find the economic model fun or romantic it was probably true (citations were not provided), so shutup.

Listen. It's been EXPLAINED. Everyone can stop quibbling now.