Monday, October 16, 2006

The Cultural Economy of Reproduction Apparently hasn't Changed

A thread on MetaFilter asks about "Middle Aged Man's dilemma: stay w/ current situation or quit to start over - current wife cannot have children." WTF is a "current wife," anyway? Oh, wait; it makes sense when you discover that she is his fourth wife. He is posting to MetaFilter looking for affirmation of something he already thinks: either encouragement to dump his "current wife" for a hot young mother of his many progeny, or to forego children (beyond the apparently estranged son he already has) because he loves and is happy with his wife. Many signs in the post indicate the former rather than the latter, particularly the part where he never says he loves his wife.

In ancient Israel, he could have just "gone in" to a slave girl and used her to crank out a few heirs. Ah, the good old days. But at least now we feel guilty about it, right? So we go to MetaFilter to make ourselves feel better about acting like misogynist fuckers. It's like group therapy: "There, there, old man. It's OK. It's Right and Natural for you, A Man, to want to have (more) children. If the woman you married (apparently knowing she wouldn't be able to have children) can't give you children, then you need to find one who can. And if your woman can't understand that, then she isn't much of a woman, is she?"

The one positive about this is that he isn't getting the response I'm betting he hoped for. They're being nicer than I am about it, giving him the benefit of the doubt that he is joking or just not thinking clearly, but they're still telling him (unanimously) the same thing I am: Get your shit straight. Personally, given especially that he writes off the son he already has, I'd be inclined to cut his balls off so that he can't have any more children.

But that's me, and I'm an extremist.

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