In the short story "Silver Blaze" from "the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes," the famous dialog between Holmes and Inspector Gregory of Scotland Yard occurs:
Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
Holmes: "That was the curious incident."
Doyle's insight was that what does not happen, that by all rights should happen, tells us more, at times, than anything else. So that is with the strange case of the Duke University F-List, compiled by one Karen F. Owen, the brunette on the left in the picture above. [Whiskeys-Place has no intention of running afoul of language filters, hence the sad euphemism. While presumably all readers here are adults, and not offended by Anglo-Saxonisms, language filters are. Hence the sad, admittedly pathetic euphemisms which we beg our readers to forgive in the interests of not running afoul of automated filtering systems.]
For those not in the know, the Duke University F-List is a mock senior thesis in Powerpoint form compiled by one Duke University co-ed, Karen F. Owen, the Powerpoint slides may be found here. The co-ed in question, e-mailed the mock presentation (which she lavished some considerable time) to a number of close friends, who naturally posted it on the internet in various places where it went viral. Various commenters have hit the obvious: the wisdom of e-mailing private information in the internet age, violation of privacy (for the 13 men Owens had sex with). The dog not doing anything in the night-time is of course, any discussion on the wisdom of that amount of partners for a young woman over four years, and the larger social impact if this behavior is indeed representative of most young women in college today. And it is this non-reaction and what it tells us about our society today that is most important about this otherwise boring story.
Those seeking another site with less cut-off of the powerpoint slides may find it here. Owen reportedly has offers for a book deal, and a movie, based on her experiences, while the University mulls whatever it will do. The young men in question are meanwhile dialing their lawyers. Arguing their privacy rights have been violated, and quite probably seeking compensation from any putative book or movie deal. Yes, it is always about the money. But this is not the dog in the night-time. What is the dog in the night-time, first, is the lack of shame.
It is simply inconceivable that before Sex and the City, young women would openly brag to friends, or seek book and movie deals, detailing their amorous adventures. That was the province of a certain class of man, one whom was often regarded as "unmanly" and slightly off, and certainly possessed of scandalous attributes rendering him perhaps exciting for dinner conversation but unsuitable for much of anything else. It is possible that the inflection point goes further back, to Monica Lewinski, and her "girl-talk" with one Linda Tripp, both asking for sympathy and bragging over her relationship with father-figure and uber-powerful Bill Clinton. Or the relationship between the late Chandra Levy, and the former Congressman Gary Condit. But the cultural impact of Sex and the City cannot be denied. With re-runs at 3:30, on TBS, a whole generation of middle school girls have run home to watch it, with Samantha the favorite character. Admired for her man-eating ways, rather than pitied for her fairly pathetic, post-Cougar behavior.
It is also a significant point that this male behavior, bragging to friends over conquests, has now become acceptable among young college attending women. This is a major change in behavior, gone un-remarked. It is significant in that it removes a powerful incentive (not to appear "White Trash" aka downwardly mobile) among one's peers by adopting lower-class standards of sexuality. It was a major character point of "My Name Is Earl," that his former girlfriend played by Jamie Pressly was in fact, possessed of the same male instinct to maximize partners and brag upon it, that traditionally adolescent boys have exhibited. Thus allowing the audience to mock the "White Trash" (translation: working class White) characters that make up "My Name is Earl." Which might as well have been: "A Show for SWPL to Laugh at Lower Class Whites."
The success of the West has been on "soft" social controls over male and female behavior, particularly on sex and mate selection, to form solid, upwardly mobile, middle-class families. This has been far more successful than the Islamic harems and brutal restrictions on women, or the macho/ultra-feminine village peasant model of Latin America, or until recently that model in Asia. Indeed the rise of Japan, post-War, and South Korea, post-Korean War, and Taiwan, and Coastal China, and parts of Southeast Asia and parts of India, have been through the adoption, in different degrees of enthusiasm, of the "soft" model of control of both male and female behavior, to be aspiring to "upper class" models of restraint over one's own sexuality. High investment in one's mate, in education for their (fewer) children, high rates of thrift, saving, deferred consumption, pursuit of technical education, abjuring affairs, of general sobriety, have been a proven path to economic success for these societies, many of whom were traditionally impoverished, Korea and Japan (before the Meji Restoration) being two prime examples. Not the least of which is that soft controls don't require considerable social investment in a policing mechanism (like Muslim countries) and leave individuals with the maximum amount of initiative and freedom and self-interest aligned directly with that of society. Avoiding both a "tragedy of the commons" and a rigid social-police state consuming all extra resources.
Another dog in the night-time is the reaction of (the mostly female) commenters in the media.
First, we'll have a little round of applause for the girl for the following reasons: some of these dudes are pretty hot, the majority of her anecdotes are hilarious, and she's managed to have sex like Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, in a highly superficial manner that's completely devoid of emotion – we thought that was just make believe.
Many of the female commenters of course, defend the powerpoint and of course, the hook-ups themselves in scope. On Jezebel.com, the reaction was "13 is not slutty." This itself is significant. The non-reaction shows that the key point for controlling sexuality (gender peer pressure) is now gone. Thus the soft pressure no longer exists.
This can be seen in how the illegitimacy rates have changed over time for different races, which possess greater or lesser amounts of soft pressure. As Juan Williams of NPR noted in a column in the WSJ (sadly on Father's Day), the Black rate of illegitimacy has changed from 24% in the mid-1960's, to over 90% in the urban core today, and over 70% nationwide. Among Hispanics, this rate changed from 17% in 1980, to over 50% today (to be fair this is likely a function of increased immigration from Mexico as much as anything else). Charles Murray wrote:
It comes down to this: well-educated white women in moderately affluent circumstances almost never had babies without a husband, and women from middle class homes were almost as finicky about requiring a husband. At the same time, white women with no more than a high school education in low-income households were having nearly half of their babies without a husband.
And that was in a population that had an overall illegitimacy ratio of 11 percent. Today, the illegitimacy ratio for non-Latino whites is 28 percent. How do the classes break down now? As it happens, I’ve spent the last few weeks exploring that question. I’m not done, and want to save that discussion for a formal presentation in any case, but here are some tentative estimates: The illegitimacy ratio for the white underclass is probably now in the region of 70 percent. I think that the proportion for the white working class may be above 40 percent. The white middle class is approaching 20 percent—a scarily high figure when you think about all the ways that the middle class has been the spine of the nation.
The white overclass? They’re still living in the 1950s—their ratio is probably about 4 or 5 percent tops.
Now, it is possible that if most college age girls who are utterly ordinary, as it would appear that Owen is, with an average partner rate of 3.25 per year, can form a lasting bond leading to monogamous marriage and nuclear family formation. But that would be, on average, a poor bet overall. While it is nearly impossible to predict the success or failure of any individual in the marriage market, it is fairly straightforward to predict group behavior, and indeed the whole of consumer marketing, political polling, and the business of insurance and credit markets depends on relatively accurate predictions about group behavior.
Can anyone make any accurate prediction about Owen herself? No. But relatively accurate predictions can be made, about the probable success rate of large groups of women like Owen. Which in the case of nuclear family formation, the bedrock of the West's social success, is rather depressingly small. The collapse of marriage and the nuclear family in Chav Britain, as detailed by Theodore Dalrymple, in his various books including "Life at the Bottom," is a direct result of the lack of soft, social pressures to conform to an upper class ideal of sexual restraint (regardless of the reality) as a means to upward mobility.
Widespread, successful, nuclear family formation requires widespread, monogamous relationships, among peers in attractiveness and socio-economic status. The upending the sexual marketplace provides definite advantages to the Alpha male, and to the woman of average attractiveness, but at the cost of nuclear family formation and pretty much everyone else. Attractive women, must now share regular boyfriends or husbands, with the likes of Owen, with the collapse of same-gender social shaming restricting sexual access, in general. This is seen with "Client Number 9" Eliot Spitzer (his wife Silda recently noted it was her fault he turned to prostitutes half his age because she no longer sexually satisfied him), John Edwards, Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Jessie James, Antonio Villaraigosa, Gavin Newsome, New York's Governor Patterson, and more. This is the "new normal" of social behavior among the upper, and now middle and lower classes.
It is worth noting that the Duke University F-List is comprised entirely of Alpha males, successful, hunky athletes, almost all of them rated as experienced with women and knowledgeable about their sexual needs and satisfying the same. For them, sexual access is a movable smorgasbord, and one also with little commitment to very transient relationships. Assuming the picture of Owen is a fair one, it is a safe assumption to label her of about average attractiveness for the average, upper to middle class college coed. But nothing of the kind of attractiveness that in a society formed around relatively strong monogamy or at least limited amounts of partners, would enable her to compete for the monogamous attentions of Alpha males with her more beautiful peers.
The current sexual marketplace dynamics, as French writer Michel Houellebecq has noted, advantages women of average attractiveness. Who can have sex with men they could not under the old system of soft social pressures to limit sex to a few partners per lifetime. This explains the extraordinary support for it, among most women. Few women have the beauty of an Elin Nordgren, or the wealth and background of a Silda Spitzer (who came from a wealthy family). Or the drive of an Elizabeth Edwards or Hillary Clinton (the latter from a family considerably more wealthy than Bill Clinton's single-mother family marked by lower class income). But all can trade sex willingly with Alpha males to "share" an Alpha male.
And as Roissy notes, five minutes of Alpha beats five years of beta.
The other losers, of course, are beta males, who fifty years ago made perfectly acceptable husbands to their peers, and now are unsuitable. Because of the newly enabled access to Alpha males. At best, women who have had a parade of Alphas, find themselves losing most attractiveness, and settle, quite deliberately, for men they have no attraction to and even less respect. The phrase Kitchen Bitch of course denoting a helpful, beta husband who does chores, the cooking, taking care of the kids. All bitterly resented by their wives who find that cheap, illegal aliens can do those chores, and prefer Alpha dominantion and excitement.
Women, contrary to all sorts of misleading social messages in the media and entertainment, do not want or need men's domestic help. Labor saving devices, and cheap illegal alien labor, make that irrelevant for middle class women. Rather, they crave the wild, sexual excitement and domination they found among Alpha males they had in their youth. The do not forgive or forget the failure of the beta men they marry, for the most part, to be the dominant Alpha man they had when they were attractive. Indeed, the very beta helpfulness and niceness (rather than cocky aloofness of an Alpha, who would NEVER help around the house) of their husbands is a bitter indictment of their own fading sexual attractiveness. No wonder they hate their husbands, their husbands are a mirror of their own sexual power fading.
While many, many factors contribute to the high divorce rate, including no-fault divorce, custody of children routinely granted to women, alimony and child support, lack of social shaming, a significant factor must be the late marriages (mid 30's) to beta males who lack the Alpha A-hole dynamic that women crave. Consider women like Owen. After a near lifetime of Alpha studs, how can she be happy with a boring, beta nice guy who's main attributes are that he mirrors her in attractiveness, is a decent and reliable provider, helps around the house, and has notably less partners than she does?
Indeed, even on campuses where men are in short supply, women choose only the top men.
Indeed, there are a fair number of Mr. Lonelyhearts on campus. “Even though there’s this huge imbalance between the sexes, it still doesn’t change the fact of guys sitting around, bemoaning their single status,” said Patrick Hooper, a Georgia senior. “It’s the same as high school, but the women are even more enchanting and beautiful.”
By all accounts, this pattern continues later in life. I.E. Houellebecq's central insight that the sexual marketplace does not function by magic, or romantic notions. Like any other marketplace, it can find equilibriums that promote massive inequality and social instability. In the case of modern Western society, most average women like Owen, having a lot of sex, with a few Alpha studs, and most boring beta providers getting priced out of the marketplace.
Nowhere is this pattern stronger, than in China. With its sex imbalance, recently noted here, millions of girls have disappeared.
By 2020 it is thought there will be 50 million men who cannot find a wife. In a culture where marriage and reproduction are considered the highest moral duties the result is a social time bomb.
Kidnapping of women as brides is already common in China's countryside. In one case last year in the northern province of Shanxi, 25 women were rescued from a village where they had been sold for £3,000 a head to men who could not find wives.
The traditional preference is for male children
Experts predict that kidnappings will rise as further generations of boys grow up to find a shortage of women.
While the driving forces behind the sex imbalance in China, and the defacto sex imbalance in the US and other Western nations (i.e. lack of soft social controls on female hypergamy, Alpha hunting to the tune of "13 is not slutty") are profoundly different, in broad strokes they have the same result.
Which is destruction of the formation of a society's ability to create and sustain wealth creation. Nothing less and more.
There is not enough wealth and control, in the most centrally planned economy, to implement the notion in Plato's Republic of the State raising children. This effort has always failed, because of scale. Raising children, and investing a vast amount of capital, in labor and time and money, including education, and formation of an optimistic, sober, restrained, and "middle class" personality requires an immense amount of resources. The overhead of an orphanage, or other state institution for raising children simply does not scale. Far too much resources are devoted to things not directly related to producing a wealth producing new citizen, and far too few resources invested, particularly in early childhood, in producing intense bonding, emotional security, and relationship/behavior role modeling. Child care is perhaps the most labor intensive function in human society. Successful citizens require almost 24/7 child care for the first 10 years of life, and considerable investment after that. This is why Plato's Republic scheme, where the state would raise children instead of the family, has always failed. Even Sparta, eventually fell, because they had few children, and many slaves, and lacked in the end enough manpower despite their martial prowess, to defend against their Greek city-state enemies. No people invested more in Plato's idea of the state raising children, and no nation fell more quickly once they lacked enough citizens to put in arms against their enemy.
Thus the future of the West, and of China, is the end of wealth creation and indeed preservation. Wealth creation on a broad, society wide scale, has only been accomplished by having a nuclear family society. Where families on their own accord, for their own interests, invest staggering sums of capital, labor, and time in producing wealth creating men and women of the next generation. This does not happen by magic. Great sweeping love affairs do not create it, nor do defacto harems of the Muslim or the old Nineteenth Century Mormon variety. The Mormon possessions of the Utah Territory were whittled down extensively, by the larger, and more energetic and monogamous populations around them. Until Brigham Young had a revelation that monogamy was now required. For entry into the Union.
Indeed, the embrace and open-ness to technological change that characterized the West, is a function of nuclear family monogamy. Other peoples often pioneered technical advances, but the West embraced them far more fully, and extended them radically. Thus China, in the Emperor driven, non-nuclear family system of Harems and Eunuchs, came up with gunpowder, the compass, printing, rockets, and many other advances, only to see them fail to advance (because of the broad social changes they bring) while the West, far less advanced initially, had a resilient base of a nuclear family, allowing it embrace the changes brought upon by technology, and indeed push those changes ever farther and faster, because the technology gave them more advantages, and indeed only increased the strength of the nuclear family which generated, with technology advantages (printing, the telegraph and telephone, radio, railways, industrial production, public education, etc.) more and more wealth for the nuclear family, and re-inforced the whole cycle of change.
What we are now witnessing, essentially, is the end of that process that began around 1000 AD and the gradual introduction of water power technology back into Europe (the Romans had it extensively), and is now coming to the end with what amounts to a single mother society.
The declining birth rate among all Western nations (and more urbanized Muslim ones such as Algeria, Iran, and Tunisia), Japan, and Coastal China, is a function of the ongoing collapse of the nuclear family and delayed marriage, and child-birth, driven by the pursuit of Alpha men by liberated women. Increasingly, particularly among working class Whites, women are choosing to have kids by themselves, as single mothers, presumably with hot Alpha men instead of boring beta providers (who they would have married in the first place if that's what they wanted). Indeed, this message is validate by Jennifer Aniston, who opined that women do not need husbands to raise kids. The proliferation of single mother by artificial insemination (Aniston's movie, Jennifer Lopez's) shows social acceptance of this behavior in fairly wide forms. At best, the West will see a lot of Bill Clinton types created. Ambitious men on the make, ruthless as they learned in early childhood to compete for a mother's affection with the man of the moment, and often abused by the latest new man in the household. Or perhaps, the female equivalent. Needless to say, this is not the type of person to create and sustain wealth on a broad scale. At worst, the example of Chav Britain looms upon us all.
Currently, Western Society is optimized for sexual access to Alpha men by ordinary women. This optimization comes naturally at the expense of forming a nuclear family society wide. Increasingly, the phenomena of "slacker dudes" who drive such movies as "Failure to Launch" are a mere expression of ordinary beta men opting out. The supply of men who can make a leap into Alpha status, by use of "Game" (ala Roissy and Neil Strauss and many other Pick Up Artist writers and instructors) is fairly limited. About the number of average men who can practice martial arts and become proficient. In Britain, Chavs did not practice "Game" and the careful opening, posturing, and Alpha male displays. They simply short-cut by brutal but effective violence, which has been successful for them in attracting women. As Dalrymple noted, even or especially his educated, professional nurses found violent men who abused them irresistible, and the boring beta guys who made good husbands, well boring. This pattern persists until menopause. Dalrymple resists this conclusion, being an old-school social conservative who puts women on a Victorian pedestal, but this is the pattern he narrates in compelling fashion.
There is probably a non-trivial segment of the beta male population who will attempt to thug it up, particularly as blue collar and indeed, white collar jobs and opportunities disappear. Thugging it up works in attracting women. And of course, thugging it up precludes by its very nature, a stable, middle class nuclear family. This is the pattern of Chav Britain. The other pattern is of course best shown by Japan's herbivore men.
Those left out in the race for Alpha, in Japan, are turning to virtual reality girlfriends. Notably, younger, more feminine anime characters that appear in Nintendo DS games, complete with virtual reality enhancements. Pathetically, men go to "romantic" hotels in honeymoon resorts to have "week-ends" with the fantasy girlfriends, including taking pictures with the anime characters digitally inserted into the scene. Called "Love Plus" no further indictment can be made or further explanation needed of Japan's plummeting birth rate. Slate has more here, and CNN here, and clearly opting out of society in general because they cannot get much out of it is the motivation.
And that social cost is huge. The West (which includes Japan) needs almost every man and woman to devote themselves (on behalf of their children) to wealth creation and preservation. Not video games or virtual reality or a closet full of shoes, or hip-trendy jobs in media and the like. America has not seen this trend to the same degree, but it exists. The metrosexual, effiminate hipster lives in America in widespread numbers. Its not just the skinny jeans, sort of gay, sort of not, type of behavior and dress that infests Generation Y men and younger ones, it is the glorification of this behavior:
A truly revolting scene, not the least of which is the effeminate hipster audience. The West's answer to Herbivore Men. Note how few men seem to have girlfriends, in the audience, the obligatory lesbian couple, and the large amount of girls alone. No Alpha, of course, would be caught dead at such an event.
But think about it. If Owen is at all average in the amount of partners per year, and the total lack of reaction to her story suggests strongly that it is, at least in respect to partner count (again, "13 is not slutty") then between 16-32, a woman like Owen would have 3.25 partners on average, or 52 by the age of 32, when she is looking for a mate. More if she husband shops later in life. The flip side of pursuit of Alphas by women at places like Duke, is the lack of any value they bring to the picture for a beta male. Increasingly, it seems (from women's complaints about this), men in their thirties find their age peers, basically worthless for marriage. IMHO this is simply because a high-partner count woman, of limited fertility and youth, with much relationship baggage, is a bad bet for marriage. Love is out of the question, even companionship would be tinged (and beta men know it) with thinly disguised contempt for lack of being Alpha.
Beta men have on their own, valid reasons to opt out of marriage as well. No one can force either sex to get married without a social police state, which tends to be very rigid, and high-cost (all available resources devoted to enforcement not wealth creation). This describes the late Roman Empire in the West, plagued by a demographic collapse and men abandoning marriage, to the point where Emperors imposed bachelor taxes.
In order for a nuclear family to function (and any hope of a replacement level birth rate), soft social pressure upon women (and men) must constrain sexual choices. In particular, it must be thought lower class, "trashy" and yes, "slutty" for women to engage in large amounts of Alpha chasing. The lack of any dogs barking in the night-time, media commenters studiously ignoring the notch count of Owen, and failing to condemn such behavior as unwise and "trashy" is a signal that the social controls which constrained that behavior are gone. As is the formation of wealth creating and preserving nuclear families. America's future, will probably include some form of virtual girlfriends for the beta males, and thugging it up, the exact proportion to be determined by chance and social pressures. This is unlikely to change, because women overwhelmingly benefit from this ability to pursue Alphas to ridiculous levels.
Owen sent her powerpoint, to her friends, not just because she found it funny, but also to brag. About the Alphas she had, and her ability to have exciting, "tempestous" sex. Western societies are now built upon optimizing the access to Alphas by women like Owen, to the exclusion of the bedrock of the society, the nuclear family. Thus, after nearly a thousand years, the technology whose embrace empowered the West finally proves its undoing. By undermining the ability to create the next generation of Westerners. This end of course extends to societies that embraced Westernization as well, including China and Japan.
That is the depressing conclusion of the Owen Duke University F-List affair.