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August 25, 2009


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* How did superstar photographer Annie Leibowitz wind up $24 million in debt?

* Why are Paul Krugman and Niall Ferguson lobbing grenades at each other? (I wrote a posting about Krugman back here.)

* Thanks to Bryan for spotting this provocative look at health care in America.

* Nearly twice as many Americans are on antidepressants as was the case in the mid-'90s. (Link thanks to Razib.)

* The Primal crowd shows off their breakfasts and lunches. Read our interview with Primal guru Mark Sisson: Part One, Part Two.

* There's a website for everything.



* UPDATE: What the Western-guy love of Asian chicks looks like from the point of view of a Westernized Asian chick. (Link found thanks to Days of Broken Arrows.) The gabfest continues at Half Sigma. (Link thanks to Peter.) Yet more.

posted by Michael at August 25, 2009


* Why are Paul Krugman and Niall Ferguson lobbing grenades at each other? (I wrote a posting about Krugman back here.)

Krugman is the Richard Dawkins of economics in a way (except smarter and more credentialed.) He's decided that he's not going to simply be civil and polite and not call out liars and charlatans the way too many legitimate experts do. I think Ferguson just happened to be there to represent all the awful economics which Krugman believes got us into this mess and which will destroy the financial world if they win.

Krugman's going to call a spade a spade. When the Bush administration lied and lied and lied again, Krugman didn't meekly say, "Well, I believe they are mistaken for " as so many other liberal intellectuals did. He said, "Bush is a lying liar." When right-wing economists, after everything that happened, insist on pretending that government is always the problem and the free market is always the solution, Krugman responds not by meekly trying to explain complex theories while being shouted over by simple (and simplistic) slogans. He's going to fight back.

And you have to admit, that Felix the cat bit was either a troll or one of the stupidest intros to an article ever.

Posted by: JewishAtheist on August 25, 2009 11:14 AM

Those capybaras look adorable.

As for Asian women, there's quite a discussion going on at Half Sigma's.

Posted by: Peter on August 25, 2009 11:37 AM

Krugman is the Richard Dawkins of economics in a way except smarter...

It would just kill Dawkins to read that.

Oh well, at least Krugman and Dawkins share an entirely justified loathing of the sainted Stephen Jay Gould, a liar and charlatan in his own right (or left).

Of course, Dawkins has more than a little of the charlatan in him, too. What with his embarrassingly uninformed and sophomorically argued work of intro-level philosophy of religion, The God Delusion.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 25, 2009 12:28 PM

That winning photo from the primal breakfast collection is a riot!

The article on Annie Leibowitz is fascinating and sad. It looks as if the same values and temperaments that have brought Annie to her success would also bring her to the ruin.

Posted by: Pupu on August 25, 2009 12:50 PM

Oh, and the article on western guys with Asian women was preposterous, full of the usual delusions that only women could produce or take seriously.

Asian women are not admired or wanted by Western men because they are "submissive". Asian women are about as submissive as cyclones. Western women think that "submissive" is the only alternative to what they insist they themselves are: "strong and independent".

Oy. Western women are neither strong nor independent. What they are is vulgar, bray-voiced, humourless harridans with a chip on their shoulder and a distinct dislike of subtlety, grace, poise, class and style, to wit, the traditional feminine virtues. Naturally, a woman who is graceful, calm, soft-voiced, poised, self-possessed, in short who displays in full an unselfconscious femininity the Western woman so conspicuously lacks, would be seen as "submissive".

To someone who views relationships solely in terms of power, the only alternative to domineering, crass, self-centered, crude, grating, neurotic and distinctly unfeminine Western women (without any corresponding compensatory increase in masculine virtues like self-control, discipline, initiative, fearlessness), is of course "submissive". That there is another way to be that is neither top nor bottom, dominant nor submissive, but complementary and enormously influential precisely because of that complementarity, never occurs to them.

Asian women are feminine. It is a tribute to the secret self-loathing of so many proponents of the "strong independent" (aka crude, selfish) western woman as an ideal, that unapologetic femininity is considered something despicable. And despicable for a man to want in a woman.

P.S. I am aware the writer of the article has an Asian name. While I don't know her, Asian women fully assimilated to western values do not have the charm or allure of Asian women proper. They're as grating and unattractive as the white Western women they've learned how to ape. It takes more than a certain skin colour and cast of face and an Asian name, to make a woman an "Asian woman".

Posted by: PatrickH on August 25, 2009 12:51 PM

The article on Annie Leibowitz was fascinating but not so sad to me (at least, not sadness on her behalf). Her spending patterns, like those of aristocrats and royalty of old**, reflect an inability to think about the effects of their actions on others. I am more likely to shed a tear on behalf of the poor lighting company that hadn't been paid for years because Leibowitz neglected to forward their invoices onto Conde Nast.

**I just finished Claire Tomalin's biography of Samuel Pepys, which is an excellent portrait of his age. Leibowitz sounds a lot like Charles II, who was shocked to discover he had no paper on his desk one day, only to be told that the stationer, who hadn't been paid at any point in his reign (9 years in at that point) had been ruined and his business gone.

Posted by: CyndiF on August 25, 2009 1:14 PM

JA -- I think you may be confusing "righties" with "Republicans." There's some overlap, of course. On the other hand, Bush2 got some of his harshest coverage from places like LewRockwell and The American Conservative. As for Krugman, I like a lot of his criticisms. But the positive policies he advocates remind me 'way too much of the postwar know-it-all neoKeynesianism that got us into such trouble in the '70s (which led to Reagan, which eventually led to Krugman bitching about what's become of the country ...)

PatrickH -- Funny and vivid rant. I'm especially struck by today's young American gals. Physically magnificent, and (thank god) not the whiney diva-martyrs so many Boomer gals were. But has there ever been a more graceless gang of young women on the face of the planet? Hard to imagine what a guy would get out of an involvement with one of them.

Pupu, CyndiF -- No personal experience where Annie goes, but my guess is that she's a bit of an idiot savant, as many artistically talented people are. She can do that one striking thing she does, she's a maniac about it, and brilliant at it. But apart from that she can barely manage -- she's a complete illiterate and incompetent. Just a guess.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 25, 2009 1:37 PM

Michael Blowhard:

But the positive policies he advocates remind me 'way too much of the postwar know-it-all neoKeynesianism that got us into such trouble in the '70s

Much of the problem is that the two sides are apparently working with different facts. I'm arguing that it's *exactly* the kind of thing that you are doing here that Krugman has decided to start responding so forcefully and bluntly to. You are presenting a controversial (at best) opinion ("the trouble in the 70s was due to
(neo)Keynesianism") as if it were a fact.

Here's Krugman about the way the "righties" (as you put it) use the 70s in this manner:

Matthew Yglesias marvels at the extent to which stagflation in the 1970s — which was bad, but not remotely as bad as the Depression — was used to sell the idea Keynes bad, free markets good. Actually, it’s even broader than he suggests: the 70s have become an all-purpose stick with which to beat liberal policies of any kind. Thus Robert Samuelson asserts, as if it were a known fact, that the Great Society caused stagflation.

And Matt’s right: the troubles of the 70s were real, but they are an awfully thin basis for an ideological revolution. For one thing, external factors — two big oil shocks — played a major role. (That’s a contrast with our current crisis, which was entirely self-inflicted.) For another, a lot of the problem was monetary policy: if the Fed had acted more responsibly, there would have been a lot less inflation.

And what you really want to bear in mind is that the economy the New Deal created — an economy with high marginal tax rates, high minimum wages, strong unions, effectively regulated banks, and other monstrous evils — lasted from World War II until the Reagan years. Only the last 7-9 years (depends on how you handle 1980-82) were troubled; the overall record was one of economic growth and rising living standards on a scale we’ve never managed to reproduce since.

Posted by: JewishAtheist on August 25, 2009 2:17 PM

Ferguson seems a lot more civil to me than Krugman, who kind of comes off as a jerk (even if he's right). You can call bullshit on people without being a brat about it. But civility isn't highly valued anywhere these days. I wish some people would get a sense of humor.

Anyways, the idea that we had something resembling a free market in finance is laughable - is that why they employ battalions of lawyers to comply with the myriad regulations and mountains of paperwork? If you think we need more of that, fine, say so, but I've heard "Laissez Faire" bandied about indisciminately lately. We've never had it, let's be real.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher on August 25, 2009 2:18 PM

All these comments should be about Goldhill's piece in The Atlantic, if I may be so annoyingly presumptuous.

He has magnificently distilled consumer-centered healthcare theorizing- which is generally too awash in Web 2.0 voodoo lingo- and distilled it into a brilliant New Journalism manifesto that should become required reading for anyone purporting to participate in the debate over healthcare reform.

Posted by: karlub on August 25, 2009 3:09 PM

The article about how a hospital supposedly killed an 83 year old man who was admitted with pneumonia was about as bad faith as you can get.

An 83 year old man without pneumonia already has an immune system that is close to failure. That is a reality of aging. Pneumonia, in this instance, is hardly a minor issue. No matter how hard the hospital tries, this old guy was virtually defenseless. Hospitals, by definition, are swamps of infection. They treat sick people in hospitals.

I stopped reading after two paragraphs. What a deliberately misleading story!

Somebody's got to be to blame, I guess.

I recently served a month long internship in a hospital. The people who work in hospitals are, well, human. Those tiny microbes that carry infection are very clever. They fly through the air and attach themselves to every available surface.

Let's see the author of this piece remember to wash his hands every time he walks in and out of a patient's room, while also checking the accuracy of dozens of medications, monitoring several IVs, cleaning up stray shit, piss and puke, dealing with relatives who demand that their father/mother be treated before everybody else, etc. The shortage of RNs means that most of them are working 12 hour shifts at least 5 days a week. The CNA cleaning up old grandad's shit is making 12 bucks an hour and working 80 hours a week just to pay her bills.

Yes, it's tragic when people die of hospital acquired infection. It also, as you will recall, the nature of humans to err.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 25, 2009 3:15 PM

And, yes, PatrickH, you are quite right about Asian women?

I'm always amazed at these articles that seem to suggest that my preference in a mate is subject to community debate and approval. Where the fuck do people get that idea?

Somehow, they do get the idea that it is their business. That's why I've got a 9 millimeter Beretta and a double barrel Winchester shotgun at my house. If the jackasses who make New York law would act like decent people and change the law, I'd probably carry my Baretta in an holster with me when I go to certain places.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 25, 2009 3:19 PM


Read it. The anecdote is a dramatic framing device. Perhaps it is in bad faith. I don't know. I do know hospital infections are the leading cause of preventable death in healthcare by a wide margin.

But again, it is a small part of the case. Read it. Seriously.

Posted by: karlub on August 25, 2009 3:58 PM

And what about us—the patients? How does a nation that might close down a business for a single illness from a suspicious hamburger tolerate the carnage inflicted by our hospitals? And not just those 100,000 deaths. In April, a Wall Street Journal story suggested that blood clots following surgery or illness, the leading cause of preventable hospital deaths in the U.S., may kill nearly 200,000 patients per year. How did Americans learn to accept hundreds of thousands of deaths from minor medical mistakes as an inevitability?

Every time I go back to that article, karlub, I am dumbfounded by its stupidity.

Blood clots following surgery... that's a very complicated issue. Diagnosing deep vein thrombosis, which is the cause of those blood clots, is a high level skill. Patients are routinely given anti-coagulants just before and immediately after surgery to prevent deep vein thrombosis. Anti-coagulants present their own risks.

Blood clots following surgery aren't usually "mistakes." They're "risks." That risk has to be balanced against the possibility that a patient might bleed to death as a result of using anti-coagulants.

The people who die from blood clots are generally the very old. Quite often, the doctor is performing an insane balancing act... administering 12 to 20 medications. The first set of medications is usually for hypertension. Then a diuretic has to be prescribed to offset the negative effects of the anti-hypertensive. Next comes an alpha blocker. All this stuff fucks with the heart, the circulatory system and the kidneys.

The writer hasn't got a clue what he's talking about. Blood clots following surgery... that's one of the most complicated issues in medicine. Once again, when it comes to this issue we're not so often talking about "mistakes." We're talking about "risks."

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 25, 2009 5:56 PM

That Goldhill article is pretty good. I haven't done much reading on the healthcare debate, my impression is that there is too much noise from the pundits and not enough signal.

ST-The author doesn't assign blame to the doctors or nurses he even says:

Like every grieving family member, I looked for someone to blame for my father’s death. But my dad’s doctors weren’t incompetent—on the contrary, his hospital physicians were smart, thoughtful, and hard-working. Nor is he dead because of indifferent nursing—without exception, his nurses were dedicated and compassionate. Nor from financial limitations—he was a Medicare patient, and the issue of expense was never once raised. There were no greedy pharmaceutical companies, evil health insurers, or other popular villains in his particular tragedy.

Posted by: I_Affe on August 25, 2009 6:11 PM


. For one thing, external factors — two big oil shocks — played a major role.

Blaming the oil shocks for the inflation of the 70's drives me bonkers. Anyone with a basic understanding of economics should no matter, yet this is myth is continuously repeated by Krugman et al.

From 1972 to 1981, total national income grew by 10.1% a year (source: ). Oil price increases cannot explain why national income went up. An oil price shock of any quantity is profit neutral across the economy. Owners of oil will get windfall profits, everyone else will have higher expenses. In order to get higher national income, you need to have an increase in the money supply.

And indeed, we find that the M2 measure of money supply grew by 9% a year during that same period ( ).

If productivity increases by 2% a year, while monetary inflation ( ie total aggregate income, M*V) increases by 10% a year, you're going to get a price level increase of ~8% a year. Which is pretty close to what happened (all these numbers are approximate).

The dollar is a fiat currency. Every note says "Federal Reserve Note" and it is illegal to print one without authorization. If the money supply increases by 10% a year, the fault lies entirely with the U.S. government.

And what you really want to bear in mind is that the economy the New Deal created — an economy with high marginal tax rates, high minimum wages, strong unions, effectively regulated banks, and other monstrous evils — lasted from World War II until the Reagan years.

If the government decides to call the financial sector too big to fail, and creates a lender of last resort, and FDIC, then it must tightly regulate the banks.

But the picking apart of the regulations was not a right wing thing. It was a centrist policy. Among the contributing factors to this crisis: creation of Fannie Mae (60's), allowing money market funds (early 70's), going off Bretton Woods (early 70's), lifting limits on bank interest rates (Carter), bailing out Continental ('84), the Greenspan put (late 90's), etc.

The far-right Mises institute was like a broken record about the perversities of the financial system. Where was Krugman? I tried searching for pre-2006 Krugman articles that complained about financial deregulation but I could not find a single one. It was mainly the academics (Krugman's social network) like Summers, Rubin, and Feldstein who were cheering on financial innovation and growing personally rich off the excess.

Also, stagnating middle class wages since 1973 are not the result of Reagan's tax cuts or free market fanaticism. Wages have stagnated even up to the top 99%. And even if you took everything from the top 1% and distributed it to the rest, wages would still be stagnating.

If you break out the increases in cost of living, you'll find that the increases are driven by a) housing prices b) health insurance prices and c) education prices. Housing prices have been driven up primarily by zoning laws and easy credit. Health and education costs have gone up because those entire sectors of the economy operate on a guild and cartel system. A guild and cartel is not a free market (despite what paid-off politicians might claim).

Posted by: Devin Finbarr on August 25, 2009 8:15 PM

The Ying Chu article is amusing. As a white man who has dated a few Asian girls, I think there are two major misconceptions in the article.

The big thing is that white guys do not necessarily have an Asian fetish. It always seemed more like Asian woman have a white person fetish. All through my life, I've noticed that when I meet an Asian girl and strike conversations with her, I'll always get more of a sparkle of attraction than from an equivalent white girl of similar looks.

The second factor is that Asian women generally are more feminine. Men are attracted to femininity. That is the nature of things. Feminism, by programming women to be more like men, has made American women less suitable as companions. American men don't have yellow fever. They have woman fever.

Ying Chu can poke fun all she wants, but feminism is a dead end ideology. The fertile inherit the earth. Natural selection works whether you want it to or not. In a few centuries, the 25 year old Mormon Thai girl with 10 kids will giggle as she reads in history books about those silly feminists who didn't believe in making babies.

Posted by: Devin Finbarr on August 25, 2009 9:19 PM

JA -- Oh, no, you're a full-fledged Krugman Kultist. Look, the "stagflation discredited post-WWII neo-Keynesianism" story is the standard one, not some bizarro account dreamed up by a conspiracy of righties. It may or may not be correct; Krugman's own account of the episode may or may not be correct. I'm not competent to judge. But for Krugman to dismiss the mainstream account as bizarro-rightie and to assert his own account of the '70s as The One True Story ... Well, he's demonstrating nothing but what an egomaniac (and a sly, if dishonest, debater) he is.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 25, 2009 9:23 PM

Jewish Atheist also misses an important historical fact. He writes re: the post WW2 years that "the overall record was one of economic growth and rising living standards on a scale we’ve never managed to reproduce since."

Well, of course we're not going to reproduce it. We were pretty much the only game in town after WW2. It wasn't until the seventies that Europe and Japan were competitive again. And by the 21st century there is now China, Brazil, India and other Asian beehive economies up and running. What did you expect? Shall we have another round of war to flatten the competition again?

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on August 25, 2009 9:45 PM

Er, to go against conventional wisdom for a moment, are you all so certain that "Asian" girls (whoever that may mean, as Asia includes an awful lot of territory and many ethnic groups) are really more feminine than American women?

The first independently wealthy women I ever met were from India, and btw, India's businesswomen are notorious for being both ruthless and sharp. Chinese women? They're as likely to go into business programs or engineering as anything "artsy", and they seem to be rather more likely to play the market and read the finance section of the paper than their female counterparts at Yale or even MIT. Russian women -Asian by some estimates - are often gold-diggers or otherwise have an eye to the main chance (not that I blame them), or so I hear from men who've been burnt by them. On the other hand, the best of them are rather better-educated in terms of general culture than North American women. Oh, and they also tend to be engineers rather than liberal arts majors.

I'm not trying to bad-mouth Asian women, as I don't believe any of the comments I just made are necessarily negative, except perhaps the one about Russian women. I just think that the stereotype of the ultra-feminine Asian woman, if feminine means soft, dependent, sweet-voiced, unworldly, etc., is as misleading as the idea that Asian women are generally "submissive", which I agree is nonsense.

Could you fellows explain in more detail what you mean by "feminine"? I'm not being sarcastic. I'd really like to know. Is it perhaps that Asian women haven't been as muddled by *feminist* ideology - even when they choose to become software engineers rather than housewives?

Posted by: aliasclio on August 25, 2009 11:08 PM

Ying Chu's article is suffused with ethnic studies sensibilities and is thus pretty useless. I have a lot of Asian girlfriends, primarily because of the reasons already mentioned. I wouldn't say that my friends are submissive but they don't get caught up in power struggles as often as white and black.

"Western women are neither strong nor independent."
True enduring strength is found in femininity. Unfortunately that's counterintuitive to the values of current Western culture, and it's a bit unfair to expect an average girl in her twenties (or even thirties) to figure this out on her own.

"What they are is vulgar, bray-voiced, humourless harridans with a chip on their shoulder and a distinct dislike of subtlety, grace, poise, class and style, to wit, the traditional feminine virtues."

No arguments from me save one miniature quibble. It is only a minority that actively hate the virtues you list. The rest know that they fall short here and feel lost about it. There are tons of books on Amazon marketed to American and British women promising how to teach them the elegance of French women, the charm of Audrey Hepburn, the fashion savvy of Italian women etc. Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence

"To someone who views relationships solely in terms of power, the only alternative to domineering, crass, self-centered, crude, grating, neurotic and distinctly unfeminine Western women"

How can you expect women trying to men to be other than grating and neurotic? They're trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

"(without any corresponding compensatory increase in masculine virtues like self-control, discipline, initiative, fearlessness)"

Which is of course why most women who try to masculinize themselves are rarely happy with the results. Very few women are naturally masculine and typically undertake this because men in their lives have been unreliable or abusive. Femininity is not weak but make no mistake it IS vulnerable without a masculine protector. The high cultural value that Asian cultures (at least to Western ones) place on husbands and fathers as protectors is a major reason why Asian women feel much freer to be feminine.

"It is a tribute to the secret self-loathing of so many proponents of the "strong independent" (aka crude, selfish) western woman as an ideal, that unapologetic femininity is considered something despicable."

In itself fair enough but it fails to take into account the increase in crude, selfish (not to mention violent) behavior in men over the past fifty years. There has been a great decline in manners and civility in every segment of American society. I can't comment at all about Canada, but I believe that a lot of what men frequently attribute to feminism is simply a function of whatever makes American people pf both sexes more rude, vulgar and selfish than they used to be. You can't expect women to be exempt from such social trends.

"And despicable for a man to want in a woman."

I wouldn't say despicable but I think it's unrealistic and egotistical for a man to expect a lady if he's not a gentleman. And vice versa. I get very tired of these debates because it is usually status-whoring vulgarians who gnash their teeth about the dearth of classy men and women from whatever group or nationality (not you PatrickH but other people with similar opinions). Genuinely decent men and women who are willing to look hard for well-mannered mates (and overlook superficial values like looks and status) find them. And it certainly helps to open to quality mates regardless of race.

Americans of both sexes tend to dress poorly and feminine white women who are indifferent to money and status frequently don't take care of their appearance. So I can understand the appeal of Asian women. However I have known many Asian women (the mothers of my friends mostly) who are seethingly neurotic and obsessed with pushing their kids to the breaking point in school. And this is not assimilation because these women can barely speak English.

It is very difficult for a man to understand the masculine ethos that is promoted for young women. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead has written about a phenomenon she dubs "the girl project" where the education of girls, from pre-school on, is devoted to career success and thus emphasizes competitiveness and endurance rather than the traditional feminine arts designed to attract a husband and raise a family. Now I certainly wouldn't have been happy consigned to home economics but Asian women are not born graceful and feminine: their mothers teach it to them.

Intellectual honesty being high value for me, I often confronted flagrant political correctness in college. In graduate school I went to Japan, and that changed everything. The politeness of Japanese people made life a smooth pleasure, and my interactions with Japanese women and the uncomplicated delight they took in their femininity inspired me to relax and recover my own. I quickly became accustomed to the tactfulness of Japanese life and the immediate reciprocation of my helpful good manners. A lot of Western women love Japan (e.g. JET program participants) for these reasons. I missed my anti-PC rants hardly at all.

Upon returning to the States I realized how much easier life without attacking PC at every turn. Now sometimes life demands that I advocate for myself but there I see no reason why I, as a woman, should jostle for status in the masculine fashion you describe. And by choosing not to fight these battles I do place myself in a vulnerable position. This problem is easily solved by only associating with well-bred men because they instinctively protect feminine and respectful women, or at the very least do not try to harm or exploit them.

In short the problems of Western women that you note are real but they are a bit more complex than you're well-written rant conveys. If my brother ever asks me for romantic advice I'll recommend (simply on the basis of numbers) that he seek out a Latina or an Asian woman with a gentle, elegant heart but look for feminine women of all races.

"...those silly feminists who didn't believe in making babies."

Japan and Singapore are hardly feminist nations yet they have the lowest birthrates in the world. In Europe the uber-feminist Sweden has a higher birthrate than the more patriarchal Greece. I've followed HBD blogs for years and I've noted that despite the daringness of pioneers like Steve Sailer, Griffe du Lion etc. it is morphing into an all-purpose repository for the resentments of well-educated but dissatisfied white men. Now white men are hardly the only people to have resentments and if blacks have African American studies, women have women's studies etc. there's no reason why white American shouldn't. But as that happens HBD will cease to be the engine of truth that it set out to be.

Posted by: hello on August 25, 2009 11:39 PM

"The first set of medications is usually for hypertension. Then a diuretic has to be prescribed to offset the negative effects of the anti-hypertensive. Next comes an alpha blocker."

Diuretics and alpha blockers are both anti-hypertensive drugs. They would be used to lower blod pressure, not to counteract the effect of an anti-hypertensive medication.

Iatrogenic infections are the result of poor hospital sanitation. That is a seperate issue from that of preexisting communicable pathogens brought into the hospital by patients or visitors.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on August 26, 2009 12:30 AM

In my 19 years living in Hong Kong -- which must be the global epicenter of white man/Chinese woman relationships -- I've met few if any white men who consciously cultivate 'yellow fever'. I certainly count myself as a non-fever type, although I've been married to the very Chinese Mrs Tall for 13 years.

But I've also met very few white men here who find it difficult to meet, date and think about marrying local women.


PatrickH has spelled out many of the reasons, and in so doing has moved forward the cause of vivid adjectives by leaps and bounds! I'm not sure I take quite as strong a view, but there's something to be said for the contrasts in voice, physical bearing and manner, and general sense of poise (an excellent word -- and a noun, even!).

I was walking down the street yesterday behind two 20-something American women. Neither was obese or obnoxious or crude (or any other caricature of Americans abroad). They looked like nice, average, educated, just-out-of-college types. But I could overhear their conversation 10 feet away on a busy street with lots of noisy traffic. Their voices were nasal and harsh. Every third or fourth word -- I swear I'm not exaggerating -- was 'like'. They swaggered. They were dressed in sloppy tank-tops, big shorts and flip-flops.

They have not a chance in hell against Hong Kong women of the same age/general demographic profile.

HK women hold themselves and move with a compact, economical grace; they generally dress well, often on low budgets; and they -- as PatrickH again put it -- are unselfconscious, at least about the fact that they're feminine. And HK women are not in any way 'submissive'. As others have indicated, that's a load of crap.

I'm a bone-deep conservative, and I love my American homeland and its people. But the truth is the truth.

Posted by: mr tall on August 26, 2009 2:27 AM

clio, the femininity of Asian women compared to Western women is no mystery: the absence of the chip on the shoulder. No evidence of the problematic relationship to femininity. The softer voice, especially when compared to the harsh braying voices of American women. None of that general sense of humourless brittle phony aggression coming off Western women masking an underlying neediness and dependency.

The femininity of Asian women does NOT consist of them not being ambitious, or money-mad, or hard-working, or interested in science or engineering. Those traits aren't unfeminine in the least.

And...grace, poise, a sense of calm (whether projected or not), dressing well, exhibiting in their persons the realization of femininity as something desirable not despicable or weak or problematic.

More than anything that's it: an unproblematic relationship with being feminine. Self-referential perhaps ...but then again, that's part of femininity too. :-)


Yes to all of what you said. The disappearance of the ideal of the gentleman from the West has coincided with the disappearance of femininity as Yang coincides with Yin. (Though I must qualify my comment by saying that it is impossible for femininity to truly disappear...more like muted, or devalued, I would say.)

Western women are braying, teeth-bared, wound-up self-obsessed energy vampires with nothing to offer men. Western "men" for their part, barely deserve to be designated as such, since to be a man means among other things, being a gentleman and a father (if not literally the latter then nonetheless an embrace and embodiment of the values of the father, the patriarch, the leader and protector of society). Western "men" have no more to offer western women than the reverse. It's no accident, as the Marxists and other occultists keep saying, that western men have failed to become men at exactly the same time that western women have had such difficulty becoming women.

Mind you, these problems are all so contra naturam that they are a) shallow, and b) temporary. Man-and-Woman runs deep, it's the first and deepest story of our lives. And They will return before long. In one sense, They have never gone away. They can't. They are Us.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 26, 2009 3:15 AM

No personal experience where Annie goes, but my guess is that she's a bit of an idiot savant, as many artistically talented people are.

There is a difference between saying they can't do anything except make art, and saying they are so obsessed with their art that they don't want to do anything else. My guess is that she is an obsessive who has put on blinders towards everything else in life, not that she lacks the general intelligence to do something else if she absolutely had to. Being an obsessive != being a savant.

Furthermore, if you are talented enough you will find many enablers for your obsessiveness. It's especially bad if you get discovered early in life and never have to rub up too closely against reality.

Posted by: Thursday on August 26, 2009 3:21 AM

Two random thoughts on Asian women who live in the west but grew up in Asia.

1. They are smaller. If the entire adult population were to be coded with two variables (height and weight), there should be no trouble making correct gender identification on 95% of those Asian women. This would not be the case for women of any other race, nor for Asian women who grew up in the west. As far as size goes, Asian women, as a group, can be generalized as looking feminine, or at least, definitively not like men.

2. English is their second language. It is hard to sound that assertive when one is not speaking her mother tongue. The only ethnic/gender group with seemingly no mental impediment in speaking English as a foreign language is the Indian male -- some of them speak fast and loud like machine guns. The assertiveness of their delivery seems negatively correlated with their language proficiency. Asian woman can be as fast and loud talking at home, but they cannot pull it off in a second language.

Posted by: Pupu on August 26, 2009 8:44 AM

There's always the fact that Asian women age much more gracefully and slowly than other women. Out in on Long Island the police are constantly busting Asian massage parlors. One interesting thing from the news reports is that the women often are startlingly old - usually over 40, in some cases over 50, and even on occasion over 60. I rather doubt that too many women of other races could continue to work as hookers in their 50's.

Posted by: Peter on August 26, 2009 10:00 AM

A comment about Pupu's point about Indian male English. I was listening to an interview with a master Canadian pickup artist who calls himself Zan. Callers were asking for advice. One of these callers was an Indian with absolutely fluent English, but a very thick Indian accent.

This was causing the young man terrible difficulties in meeting women. They couldn't understand him for one thing. His rat-at-tat talking speed was an issue. Plus, the Indian accent is an object of parody in North America...think of Apu in the Simpson's. It's not a sexy accent from a man, not the way a French or Italian accent can be.

So he was asked to try to imitate an accent, Spanish I think, to remove the offputting qualities of his Indian accent...and MAKE HIM SLOW DOWN.

He was game, did a good job, and voila! His voice acquired a charming, calmer, slower exoticism (his accent wasn't really Spanish, but it was charming).

All this to say that the harsh nasal American accent is not appealing in general, but it is particularly grating coming from a woman. What Tall said, in other words.

American women have always had a rep as shrill domineering harridans, even before feminism. The accent is a lot of the reason for that.

Smooth low soft modulated. That's the kind of voice on a woman that gets a man going. Sing-song can do it too. But not nasal. Not harsh.

Not American.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 26, 2009 10:19 AM

There's a website for everything.

Recently spotted at Slashdot:

"Linux distros are like porn on the Internet: if you can think of it, somebody's done it."

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on August 26, 2009 7:21 PM

With many thanks to PatrickH and Shouting Thomas for their cameos, I couldn't resist blogging on the whole Asian-fetish topic myself, as linked below in my byline, aka my "TinyURL" (just ask my ex-webmistresses, 'specially those who've seen me emerge from Lake Inferior, aka Lake Gitche Gumee Ya-Ya, after a cold swim - Ed.) Whether that's a promise or a threat is, after Mr. Mathis, not for me to say:

We Love You Long Time (Once We Saw the *Local* Talent) – *and* We’re Crack Shots, or, Here Come Mai Lo, Da Bride

[cross-posted to Faithb-, er, Facebook as "DSL. likes his chicks like he likes his chicken: hot, Asian - and served on a bed of rice"]

Posted by: Scott Lahti on August 27, 2009 8:01 AM

Why are Paul Krugman and Niall Ferguson lobbing grenades at each other?

Because Krugman just freakin' HATES it that Ferguson is smarter, better-looking, and sells more books than he does. Not to mention Ferguson's a better writer and has that cool accent

Posted by: Reid Farmer on August 27, 2009 1:41 PM

I don't know if Ferguson is smarter than Krugman, who is very very bright indeed. But he sure as hell is cuter.

It's interesting to speculate how many fights between male intellectuals are really dick-swinging contests about which one could score more hot chicks. Roissy would no doubt say:


But that's Roissy for you. Still, Steve Sailer says a lot of feminist critiques of society are driven by the desire of the critiquette to live in a world where women like her are seen as "hot".

My guess is, guys are just the same.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 28, 2009 10:43 AM

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