Am I still welcome around here? It’s been … oh about a year or so since the last time I blogged at The Point. Yes, by all means, shun me, mumble bad things about me, glare at me angrily through your monitor … I deserve all of it.
What? You didn’t realize I was gone? Because you never realized I was here in the first place? Ah … okay … I see. Well, there’s an unanticipated reality check. It’s okay; I’ll heal.
“Intriguing and frustrating”? My reactions are pretty far gone on the “frustrating” side of that balance, with very little on the “interesting” side (other than, say, “the possibilities for using such high-larious nonsense for comedic purposes are truly intriguing!”). I do agree wholeheartedly with this:
“…we told ourselves that people "back then" were somehow better/more moral than us. Bwahaha! NO THEY WEREN'T!”
Now, first, let me admit a certain impulse to agree with anything that uses both “bwahaha!” and ALL CAPS while making a point. But I’ve tried to “give it time” and calm down and make sure that I really do agree with the statement, stylistic awesomeness aside. And I do. While I admit to some romantic notions of “how people were” -- and I suspect that certain social modes from past eras were more appealing to me on the whole -- human nature has clearly remained a constant. And not just “in the mind,” per se, but I think in action as well.
Now, I think data can pretty well establish that (to pick one example) teenage pregnancy rates have not been a constant. Sure, we can say, “Oh well, those things were underreported.” Well, yeah, sure they were. But not to such a degree that we could in any way expect that a teenager in the 1940s was as sexually active as a teenager today. But human nature is human nature -- as a whole, I don’t doubt that society was as sexually immoral as it is now. In the 1940s, in the Victorian Era, in the Colonial Era, and on and on…
Perhaps what amuses me most is how seriously Konner takes himself. Por ejemplo:
“As a result, they’re not very socially or emotionally appealing or competent when they're first born, and parents often get disappointed taking their baby home from the hospital.”
I mean, we all -- right now -- should stand up at our desks and laugh uproariously at this. Until tears run down our faces. And when colleagues come over to see what is happening, the same should happen to them. Until there is such a ruckus that people from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation next door hear us and come over to see what is going on, and the chain continues until it has spread across the country and reached the unintentionally hilarious cities of the West Coast, at which point the spreading will stop (“What? I don’t get it.” “Me neither,” etc.).
What parent is disappointed because their newborn is not very socially or emotionally appealing? Perhaps this Melvin Konner guy, but precisely no one else. He just authoritatively declares things out of thin air all over this interview. It’s embarrassing.
But such embarrassments pass for truth these days, don’t they? Yes … as they always have. Even “back then.”