MEGAN McARDLE HAS A COMPLETE MENTAL BREAKDOWN AND RECEIVES LIFE-SAVING FJM TREATMENT

At some point Megan McArdle has to get fired. We're accustomed to reading her arguments and thinking, gee, that makes no sense whatsoever – "no sense" as in, her logic is faulty. Apparently she has moved on to writing things that make no sense in the most literal meaning of the term. She is stringing together words that do not belong together to construct confusing sentences that appear to be arranged in no particular order. With "Why Gay Marriage Will Win, and Sexual Freedom Will Lose", we get the rare opportunity to watch a human being completely disintegrate into incomprehensible gibberish right before our eyes. It is not pretty, my friends.

Here but for the grace of god go we all.

In some sense, it doesn't really matter how the Supreme Court rules on the gay marriage case it's hearing today. The culture war is over on this front, and gay marriage has won. Even if it loses at the Supreme Court this term, it will win in the legislatures . . . because it is already winning in popular opinion. Few people much under the age of sixty see a compelling reason that straights should marry and gays should not. For that matter, my Republican grandfather is rumored to have said, at the age of 86, "I think gays should marry! We'll see how much they like it, though."

Hmm. This is remarkably sane. It's what we would expect from someone who calls herself a "libertarian conservative" and it appears to grasp reality – namely that the tide has turned and the legalization of SSM is imminent.

At this point, it's just a matter of time. In some sense, the sexual revolution is over . . . and the forces of bourgeois repression have won.

….buh?

That's right, I said it: this is a landmark victory for the forces of staid, bourgeois sexual morality. Once gays can marry, they'll be expected to marry. And to buy sensible, boring cars that are good for car seats.

Welp, given that this is only "expected" of straight people who think it's 1950 – not a huge share of the population – I hardly see why it would be expected of The Gays.

I believe we're witnessing the high water mark for "People should be able to do whatever they want, and it's none of my business." You thought the fifties were conformist? Wait until all those fabulous "confirmed bachelors" and maiden schoolteachers are expected to ditch their cute little one-bedrooms and join the rest of America in whining about crab grass, HOA restrictions, and the outrageous fees that schools want to charge for overnight soccer trips.

I believe we're witnessing a bad writer vomiting words and writing a column in one take before submitting it without proofreading.

Three questions. 1) What in the hell are you talking about? 2) "Expected" by whom? 3) No seriously I will give you one American dollar to tell me what you're talking about.

Is this, like, a cry for help? McMegan is trapped in this nightmarishly banal life and she thought everyone else must be too, but then she realized that a lot of us don't do any of that and now she wants us to rescue her?

I know, it feels like we're riding an exciting wave away from the moral dark ages and into the bright, judgement free future. But moral history is not a long road down which we're all marching; it's more like a track. Maybe you change lanes a bit, but you generally end up back where you started. Sometimes you're on the licentious, "anything goes" portion near the bleachers, and sometimes you're on the straight-and-narrow prudish bit in front of the press box. Most of the time you're in between. But you're still going in circles. Victorian morality was an overreaction to the rather freewheeling period which proceeded it, which was itself an overreaction to Oliver Cromwell's puritanism. (Cromwell actually did declare a War on Christmas, which he deemed to be sensuous paganism.)

That track metaphor is stretched so awkwardly that it may be walking funny for the rest of its life. This is the essence of McMegan's shtick; her expensive upbringing taught her how to make the Right highbrow references, which make her appear intelligent (particularly to dumb people or anyone easily impressed by modestly arcane historical references). This is intended to disguise the fact that what she is saying is incredibly stupid. It doesn't work.

We've been moving away from the Victorian view of marriage for a long time, which means that we're probably due to circle back around the prudish front that drove Charles Dickens to lie when he left his wife for another woman.

Nope. It does not mean that at all. Not even a little.

The 1970s were an open revolt against the idea of the dutiful pair bond, in favor of a life of perpetual infatuation. The elites led the way–and now they're leading it back. Compare Newt Gingrich or John McCain to the new generation of Republican hopefuls. Jindal, Ryan, Christie, Rubio . . . all of them are married to their first wives. Jindal met his wife in high school, Christie in college. By their age, McCain was preparing for his first divorce, and Gingrich was just a few years from his second.

Oh, give the younger guys some time before we start applauding their commitment to dutiful betrothal. I'm sure more than a few of them will be trading up for Calista Gingrich types before too long.

Meanwhile, it's becoming increasingly impossible to ignore the disastrous collapse of marriage outside the elite.

Wait.

I thought gays were going to be expected/pressured to marry. But…now…you're saying that marriage is less popular as an institution than ever before? So…why exactly…will they be pressured to re-enact Leave it To Beaver like the article just stated, like, three paragraphs ago?

If any readers out there can concoct an answer to that question please share it in the comments and be sure to let Megan know as well.

It turns out that there aren't a diverse array of good ways to raise a child, as the progressive academics of the 1970s had suggested. Or at least, if there are, they don't include having children with an array of men you're not willing to marry, and who will subsequently drift in and out of your life. And that, in post-sexual revolution America, is increasingly the norm in many areas.

mmhmm. mmhmm.

*DISCREETLY MOVES TOWARD EXIT*

Yes, I see.

*POSITIONS FURNITURE BETWEEN McARDLE AND SELF*

So…this would be an argument in favor of marriage as opposed to other ways to raise a child, yes?

Even as we're understanding it, we're losing the reasons to be suspicious of the old marital norms. When traditional marriage, with its expectations of monogamy and longevity, no longer means excluding gays, expect it to get more popular among affluent urbanites.

Seriously, is any of this making sense to anyone out there? This is like a rudderless ship careening from one unrelated idea to another. Is she in favor of gay marriage? Is she against it? Does she think marriage is a positive thing? A negative one? Irrelevant? Does she think anything at all, or is she just barfing out her contractually obligated word count for the week?

To be sure, it's already popular–affluent urbanites are now quite conservative in their personal marital habits. They've just been reluctant to shame those who don't follow suit. But with marriage freed from the culture-war baggage, we now have an opening for change. Think it can't happen? Consider the cigarette. It was shocking for a woman to smoke on in public in 1880, nearly mandatory in 1940, and increasingly shocking in 2013 (for either gender). I wouldn't be surprised to see out-of-wedlock childbearing follow a similar course.

The neo-Victorian morality will protect who you want to marry–male or female, or maybe even something in between. But the wider open marriage is, the less necessary it becomes to defend the right to carefree sex–or children–outside of marriage. One can imagine a Republican politician fifty years hence ruining his career when he throws over his husband and children for a younger man.

Ah, yes. Affluent urbanites are good examples of people who respect the institution of marriage. They're quite conservative about it, as evidenced by the analysis and survey data published in recent issues of Science and the American Journal of Sociology.

HAHAHAHAHAHA NOT REALLY. I'M KIDDING. MEGAN JUST MAKES SHIT UP.

If I had to guess, I'd also put late marriage on the endangered list. I married at 37 myself, so I'm not judging, here. But if we want childbearing to take place inside marriage (and I think we do), then the average age of first marriage can't get higher; it probably shouldn't even stay so high. As that average age rises, you get two unwanted phenomenon on the tails of the distribution: babies born to unmarried parents at the low end, and couples who want children but can't have them on the high side. So the current upper-middle-class tendency to push marriage later and later while people finish their educations and get settled doesn't seem very stable to me–even before we consider the difficulty of finding a mate to match your settled life, which Keith Humphreys has dubbed The Problem of Grandma's Lamp.

About ten years ago I was on the phone with an older gentleman – a client of my then-employer – as he began to suffer a stroke. He began to slur words and say things that were comprehensible but made no sense. Immediately I knew something was wrong. I was glad to be on the phone with him so I could contact an ambulance. Luckily, he would go on to recover.

It rattled me. It was a scary moment.

This paragraph is a pretty good representation of what he sounded like.

Of course, predictions are hard, especially about the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, Megan McArdle: Professional Writer. She gets paid to write this, people. She makes more money than you or I, too. Most of us would recognize her job and her lifestyle as something out of our dreams – get paid a lot to work very little and hobnob with famous and important people.

To write things like this.

Predictions are hard. Especially about the future.

There is no god.

Nonetheless, here is mine: whatever the Supreme Court decides, gay marriage will soon be legal throughout the land. But this will not mean that we drive ever onwards towards greater sexual freedom–rather, it will mean quite the reverse. The sexual revolution is over. And the revolutionaries lost.

The way this sounds, I imagine her hitting "send" to her editor, turning slowly away from the desk in the well-appointed office of her opulent Georgetown home, and looking wistfully out a window for a moment before jamming a Cato Institute letter opener into her abdomen to begin the ritual of seppuku.

She seems like a terrible person, but I'm worried about her well-being nonetheless. Someone should give her a call. Check on her. Otherwise we might have to wait a week until the neighbors notice a funny smell coming from the ol' Suderman mansion.

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59 Responses to “MEGAN McARDLE HAS A COMPLETE MENTAL BREAKDOWN AND RECEIVES LIFE-SAVING FJM TREATMENT”

  1. Both Sides Do It Says:

    I thought I had been around, lived the life, knew what I was doing. But when I tried to mainline some of the pure G&T snark it left me a drooling mess.

    Bravo l'artiste.

  2. lfv Says:

    That last line. It's like the people who are confused as to why black people think racism is still a problem, since segregation ended upwards of 50 years ago. I mean, it's not like there are any people alive from all the way back then.

    Except that, you know, people are still frothing at the mouth about the gays.

  3. J. Dryden Says:

    So…so…so many moments of whatthefuckery here. My favorite, though, has to be: "The neo-Victorian morality will protect who you want to marry–male or female, or maybe even something in between."

    Uh, Ms. McArdle? Ma'am? What…what exactly do you mean by that last part? I mean, you can't mean a hermaphrodite, since such an individual is not a half-way point, but rather a doubling. So what…what exactly is "something in between" male or female, and how do you know about it, and do you need some kind of Illuminati Security Clearance to be privy? Just askin'.

    Also, Ms. McArdle? Your last line–and the morbid tone of the piece in general–sounds a bit like you're sorry the sexual revolutionaries lost. Almost as if you were on their side. As if you yourself favored the kind of fresh-'n-funky fuck-fest that you seem to believe they carried on during the days when hedonism was unrestrained by the expectations of the nuptial bond. Is that…is that right? Do you, in fact, regard such wild, orgiastic, find-a-hole-or-make-a-hole, see-if-you-can-get-both-fists-in-there explorations as the carrying-on of the Good Fight? And have you…were you…did you storm these barricades yourself, ma'am? Normally, I'd regard it as none of my business, but you've chosen it as the topic of conversation, and now I've got a lot of images in my head I either need rendered clinical or dismissed as night-terrors.

    In short, Ms. McArdle: Please ignore Ed's entirely correct insinuations that you draw ever closer to termination. Tell us more. I've got so many questions, and only you have the answers.

  4. FMguru Says:

    This has been getting kicked around up and down the entire liberal blogosphere, and it's been great fun. There's so much that's risible about this column (Ed's take, though comprehensive and hilarious, manages to just barely scratch the surface), but my favorite takeaway is the window it provides into McMegan's life. As the pre-eminent solipsist in the public sphere, she can't not reveal essential truths about herself in her writing, and the picture this column paints of her married life is bleak like the Siberian tundra. A couple of years into settling down with the striving mediocrity Suderman, and suddenly she's describing marriage as a miserable, soul-crushing, sexless, mindlessly conformist institution that will profoundly disappoint the gays that are rushing to embrace it – is there something going on (or NOT going on, as the case may be) at home, Megs? Something you'd like to share with us? Hmmm?

    This mode (pinched anti-sex scold) is a new one for McMegan, and it's pretty obvious what it tells us about how her personal life is doing.

    And Ed, Megs HAS been fired – the transition from economics desk at The Atlantic to the general lifestyle beat at The Daily Beast is a considerable step down. Her career path is trending earthward, and it's an open question as to which will bottom out first – that, or her marriage.

  5. What The KArp!?! Says:

    I had never heard of this woman, but after checking her out on wikipedia, I hope she has her license revoked. This woman is dangerous and shouldn't be driving.

  6. wetcasements Says:

    She's basically the internet's favorite punching bag, and it is genuinely strange that anybody would pay her money for words — words that literally can't be parsed sometimes.

    The Daily Beast isn't long for this world, but I'm sure Suderman can get her a decent gig at one of the many wingnut welfare outfits in DC.

  7. Middle Seaman Says:

    Most of the people writing for the media and even bloggers are full of it. I don't read papers of any sort and only read 3-4 blogs.

    Make your life simple, ditch the crap. Otherwise, you'll be complaining endlessly.

  8. daphne Says:

    And to think my mom told me I over-analyzed things.

  9. Elle Says:

    So what…what exactly is "something in between" male or female, and how do you know about it, and do you need some kind of Illuminati Security Clearance to be privy?

    Megan McArdle has apparently become hip to the experience of intersex and genderqueer people, and is now a doughty advocate of the M/F/X Australian school of gender identity taxonomy? Megan McArdle could think of nothing more ludicrous than someone who didn't identify as male or female, and so used that as a metaphor for the careless flippancy of the same-sex marriage? Megan McArdle was originally going to use the word 'donkey' in that sentence, but then thought she might get side-eyed by the other soccer moms if she went through with it?

  10. J. Dryden Says:

    @ Elle: You know, it never occurred to me that Ms. McArdle was aware that there is a distinction between sex and gender. I figure she just breaks down the population into one set of squishy parts versus another. Much less can I imagine that she knows of the category (or non-category) of genderqueer. (She'd probably look at that work and wonder where the spacing went.) Hence my confusion. But the donkey theory works. Or perhaps a mule would work better? But that would give her too much credit for wit.

  11. Duckbilledplacelot Says:

    McCardle is an altogether ridiculous person, and I'll be so glad when she and the Sudermeister purchase i mean adopt a wee baby and she turns to the all consuming task of programming her stupid kitchen machines to make pureed versions of all her favorite recipes. I mean, she'll still write, but it will be all about the doomed child rather than influencing (even in a small way) major political events.

    Oh, one tiny thing to note (to be scrupulously fair, even to her); "Predictions are hard, especially about the future" is a Niels Bohr quote, which is why it's (I think, anyway) several orders of magnitude cleverer and more amusing than anything else in her column.

  12. T.W. Says:

    I think it's a poorly written piece that tries to substitute unnecessary, even pretentious historical references for strong arguments. At the same time it makes more sense than the "FJM treatment" is grasping. This is what I gathered:

    Progressives of the past rejected the idea of marriage itself. Paradoxically, today's progressives promote the idea of marriage by inviting same-sex partners to engage in it. As a result, marriage has come full circle in the same way that smoking has (from good, to bad, to good), and contrary to current trends will become popular once more because we highlight its importance. This means that in the long run, liberals lost the sexual revolution against tradition, while at the same time winning the battle against government discrimination. Through this conclusion, the author can affirm her worldview as both Republican and Libertarian.

    I am struggling to grasp the other half of this piece, about the affluent and children out of wedlock. I'll try again in the morning.

  13. wetcasements Says:

    "ditch the crap"

    Nah, it's too much fun.

    Also, Wonkette was good on this:

    http://wonkette.com/508750/untangling-megan-mcardles-feelings-about-the-gays-an-exegesis-we-undertake-so-you-dont-have-to

  14. Arslan Says:

    Holy…fuck. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhe3vSe-mmw

  15. Ruthie Says:

    Jeebus-intersex-Christ-in-a-Cuisinart! I can't decide if this is the result of booze, benzodiazapines or just too much caffeine–although to be fair, I've heard that the arguments in favor of Prop 8 and DOMA were almost as ridiculous. Almost.

    Duckbilledplacelot: Mmmmmm! Strained peas with bechamel sauce and a touch of pink Himalayan salt!

  16. Major Kong Says:

    I only made it halfway through. My cerebral cortex was way into the red zone from reading McArdle's illogical screed.

  17. c u n d gulag Says:

    Great take-down of McMegan, Maestro!

    It's almost as if, since it took McMegan such a long time before she finally found a guy to marry someone as insufferable as herself, and she has a boring sex life, she wants everyone else to have a dull sex life, too.

    And I imagine in her mind, single gay people have all kinds of wild, exotic, erotic, fun, and deviant sexual practices.

    And now that it looks like they'll be allowed to get married, she's consigning them to the same boring sex lives that she imagines the married couples on 50's TV sitcoms had – you know, like she and her husband have now.

    When Ward came home on "Leave it to Beaver," kissed pearl-wearing June, ate supper with the family and dispensed his wisdom to Wally and The Beaver, McMegan knows that when they finally went to bed, nothing kinky or fun happened between Ward and June.
    No trapeze fell from the bedroom ceiliing, no trampoline rose from the floor, they didn't pull out a Tantra Sex Chair from the closet, no nipple-clamps or handcuffs appeared – and expecially no sounds of whip's cracking, and safe-word screaming, to wake the boys!
    Oh no, when Ward and June had sex, each had to have one foot planted firmly on the floor, as the old Hayes film office rules dictated for movies.

    And so, now, when she thinks about married gay couples, she imagines it as either "Leave it to the Beavers," or "Leave it to Dick."

    "The Beast" has to gently let her go after this piece.

    She's become so mockable, that it's no longer shooting fish in a barrel – it's more like firing a bazooka into a fish bowl.

  18. Rick Massimo Says:

    "This is like a rudderless ship careening from one unrelated idea to another. Is she in favor of gay marriage? Is she against it?"

    She doesn't really care. But it looks like Teh Libruls are gonna win one, and she has to sneer at it.

  19. Rick Massimo Says:

    P.S.: Her use of Republican presidential hopefuls as her only real-world examples of anything is the tell: "Yeah, well, gay marriage is actually a CONSERVATIVE idea! Nyahh nyahh!"

    The fact that all of her examples are dead set against gay marriage will not be discussed further because uncivil.

  20. wetcasements Says:

    "But it looks like Teh Libruls are gonna win one, and she has to sneer at it."

    This is it, exactly. But oh no no, she'll deny to the bitter end that she's a Republican who's too ashamed to admit it.

    That is, she's a Libertarian.

    That said, I also completely loathe Andrew "decadent fifth columnists" Sullivan but I'm curious as to why she doesn't simply engage with his pretty straightforward argument for gay marriage, which he's been making for decades now — yes it's boring, because it's marriage, and marriage is a Conservative institution made between two people who want to grow old together.

    I mean, it's not like hawt sex is a zero-sum game. Just because your formerly kinky neighbors have gotten older and settled down a bit doesn't mean you aren't allowed to go out and buy a wetsuit and two dildoes.

    But this is McBargle we're talking about. She simply isn't capable of logic.

    Anyhow, just remember that this is the same woman who suggested that the little Newtown tykes fucked up by simply not flinging their five year-old bodies at the shooter:

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/12/newsweek-wins-worst-newtown-reaction-award.html

    She's simply awful on each and every level. But that makes her perfect for Tina Brown's puke funnel.

  21. Benny Lava Says:

    This person is a troll. I have read her dregs before. Trolling is a art. You clicked on her link and rebooted her writing, ostensibly giving her more clicks and name recognition. If you really want her to go away it is pretty simple: unsubscribe.

    This is a time honored conservative tradition: troll the liberals. Back in the day Limbaugh used to get angry liberals calling in all the time. Half his listeners were liberals. Now it is All Dittoheads but you have to think that in the early days liberals were an essential part of his ratings.

    If you want these people to go away simply ignore them. That is what they fear the most.

  22. JohnR Says:

    Eh, she's an idiot; that goes without saying. However, I think this particular piece of sodden idiocy is being a bit over-analyzed. It looks pretty simple to me:
    1. She was drunk when she wrote it, and
    2. She's discovered that all her fantasies about marriage were wrong. It doesn't just happen, after all. If she weren't a lazy, self-centered idiot, she might be able to work out that it takes a bit of effort, but in the first place, she is and she won't and in the second place, even if she did, she wouldn't make the effort because she shouldn't have to because she's special. All that stuff about gays is just to make it topical.

  23. FMguru Says:

    "But it looks like Teh Libruls are gonna win one, and she has to sneer at it."

    Shorter McMegan: "Your revolution is over, Liberals! Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sirs. The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Liberals? The bums will always lose!"

  24. Bored Lawyer Says:

    Huh. I actually missed the outrage about McArdle on this—and I say this as someone who largely detests her—because her point, while not ably communicated, isn't obviously dumb to me. Katherine Franke, in academic and journalistic venues, has made much the same point, namely that opening marriage to gays and lesbians is of course a moment of equality to be cheered, but it does rather undermine sexual subversism. (Full disclosure, I partly edited her piece in the Colum. L. Rev.)

    And isn't that predictions are hard bit just a head nod to something Yogi Berra said?

  25. Bored Lawyer Says:

    Whoops—busted link for that journal piece; should be here.

  26. AliceBlue Says:

    WORDS WHAT.

  27. Aaron Says:

    She seems to be starting with not-very-good standup-comedy jokes about gay marriage from ten or twenty years ago. "If conservatives want gays to stop having sex, they should SUPPORT marriage, am I right guys?" and "No, really, the gays should marry and have kids. Then they'll move to the suburbs and I'll be able to afford that sweet East Village loft, am I right guys?"

  28. Nick Z Says:

    The "disastrous collapse of marriage outside the elite" is pure Charles Murray. But whereas Chuck uses this premise to conclude that any egalitarian effort to improve the lot of the worst off in society futile (Surprise!), McMegan draws a…different conclusion?

  29. Well, mostly Says:

    Maybe three years as cashier at an Indiana truck stop might help. Otherwise, we just have to wall her off. The DB serves well here.
    "Tina Brown's puke funnel" is the funniest thing I've read in a long while: kudos wet.

  30. Jerry Vinokurov Says:

    I'ma do something I'm probably going to regret and feel dirty about and defend McMegan just a little bit.

    She actually echoes a strain of thought that, as I understand, was actually quite popular in queer communities 20 or 30 years ago. Namely, that marriage was an institution of bourgeois capitalism and that the proper attitude towards it was not fighting for equal rights, but rejecting it entirely, and even fighting for its abolition. In other words, marriage rights are a way in which capitalism co-opts its enemies, folding them into the system and subsuming their opposition to it within itself. It's not an entirely crazy argument, coming from the people who were on the outside; coming from McArdle, it's obviously quite stupid.

    She's also not wrong about marriage stability among the elites. It is more or less true that as you move up the income bracket, you tend to have more stable marriages, but of course, you tend to have more stable everything when you're not poor. It's too bad that she can't quite make the logical leap to a redistributionist ethic, but I would imagine that's like asking her to levitate with the force of her mind.

  31. Monty Says:

    "I believe we're witnessing a bad writer vomiting words and writing a column in one take before submitting it without proofreading."

    and

    "Does she think anything at all, or is she just barfing out her contractually obligated word count for the week?"

    These are the two core takeaways…and not just for the puke imagery.

  32. hackenbush Says:

    "Think it can't happen? Consider the cigarette. It was shocking for a woman to smoke on in public in 1880, nearly mandatory in 1940, and increasingly shocking in 2013 (for either gender). I wouldn't be surprised to see out-of-wedlock childbearing follow a similar course."

    Of course, let's not forget that Sigmund Freud's nasty nephew, Edward Bernays, who is most famous for essentially inventing PR/marketing and made his name and living off of convincing people to buy shit they didn't need (nor really want), was the guy who orchestrated a stunt which brought female cigarette smoking into the mainstream.

    Ref: http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=s7EwXmxpExw (courtesy of the inimitable Adam Curtis)

    It's also worth mentioning that Megan McArdle just compared a serious life-long commitment of love and dedication to a bad habit which causes cancer. Compassionate conservativism at its finest.

  33. Rick Massimo Says:

    "She actually echoes a strain of thought that, as I understand, was actually quite popular in queer communities 20 or 30 years ago. Namely, that marriage was an institution of bourgeois capitalism and that the proper attitude towards it was not fighting for equal rights, but rejecting it entirely, and even fighting for its abolition."

    I think that's true, and if McArdle were saying that 20 or 30 years ago, or even 20 or 30 months ago, that'd be one thing. Now it's just more desperation.

    "That said, I also completely loathe Andrew "decadent fifth columnists" Sullivan but I'm curious as to why she doesn't simply engage with his pretty straightforward argument for gay marriage, which he's been making for decades now — yes it's boring, because it's marriage, and marriage is a Conservative institution made between two people who want to grow old together."

    She'll address it later. About a year ago David Cameron said he was for gay marriage not in spite of his being a conservative but because he was a conservative. Once gay marriage is commonplace, you're gonna see that quote everywhere. Fight against something tooth and nail, and when you lose claim it was your idea all along – that's the story of conservatism and social change for the past 100 years.

  34. Jo Says:

    She missed the real problem with same sex couples having to conform to traditional roles in conventional marriage. Which one is going to want to roll over and go to sleep after and which one is going to want to cuddle and talk about their day? Hmm??

  35. fledermaus Says:

    "Of course, predictions are hard, especially about the future.

    Ladies and gentlemen, Megan McArdle: Professional Writer. She gets paid to write this, people."

    Actually it's more like she gets paid to plagerize this, as I believe this phrase is generally attributed to Yogi Berra

  36. Jude Says:

    Yeah, she's ripping off a Yogi Berra saying; put down the pills, Ed, and step away from the open oven door.

  37. mothra Says:

    Okay, so McArgleBargle now works for The Daily Beast. Which means she was hired by Tina Brown.

    'Nuff said.

  38. arithmoquine Says:

    In my youth, in the girls' dormitory at Our Mother of the Hairshirt, I dreamed of a man taking me in his arms and teaching me the secrets of love. In college, I envied the freedom of those other girls and young women for whom sex was not a forbidden, poisoned, fruit, but a natural part of happiness. Throughout the decades of dating Libertarian men, I dreamed that sex and love were more than clumsy fumblings in the dark, brief flurries of inexpert kisses, and premature ejaculations. Then, engaged in holy matrimony, my partner and I, I thought, could put aside our fear of failure and our discomfort at our own nakedness and finally release our primal lust and reach sexual nirvana.

    But the distance remains; the shackles on my soul were of my own making. Inhibitions cannot be released by ringing them round with white picket fence. Perhaps a moment of lucidity . . . but no. . .

    No. My own inhibitions, my lovers (chosen for ideological conformity alone), and their ineptitude were never to blame. Now, as I repress my sexual urges, acquire kitchen gadgetry, in a futile attempt to replace the warmth of human comfort with the purity of stainless steel and bleach, I see the failure was not my own but society's. As I clutch my frappacino machine to my chest, I know happiness was never there for anyone. The sexual freedom of my classmates was ephemeral; to be free is to fear. Those who wish for freedom and stability will be worthy of neither. My tears short out my electric pasta roller and the linguini begins to smoke. My wish for all my friends, gay or otherwise happy:

  39. daphne Says:

    c u n d: you're good. Very good. And the rest of you aren't bad your own selves.

    Here's my one-sentence reply to McArdle's argument: just because gays can be married doesn't mean some of them won't choose to.

  40. Surly Duff Says:

    So, in sum, gay marriage will not ruin the institution of marriage as NOM and other conervative reactionaries suggest. It will, however, ruin the institution of casual sex? Is guess? Is that what she is arguing?

  41. Charles Bird Says:

    The only reason David brooks seems to be grafted to the Times is that so many people write in to underline what an idiot he is. This gives him cress. I feel we are doing the same for someone who really does not deserve our attention…seconding middle seaman.

  42. Coises Says:

    "Seriously, is any of this making sense to anyone out there?"

    Sure, though it would have helped if she had made the underlying libertarian point more explicit:

    Government has no business being involved in marriage.

    The argument never should have been that gay people have a right to get married. It should have been that marriage is historically and inextricably bound up with religion and with quasi-religious cultural memes, and hence government cannot rightfully discriminate on the basis of marriage. The same principle applies in all contexts where religious discrimination is prohibited (e.g., housing, employment and benefits).

    There is no one to whom I am legally "related" with whom I am even in contact. The most important people in my life do not bear a relationship to me that could be described as parent, child or spouse (sibling wouldn't be far off the mark); yet, as far as I know, marriage and adoption (or birth) are the only ways in which legally-recognized "family" can be created.

    Let the churches have marriage, and as a matter of religion, each may accept or reject whatever unions it chooses. The government should have long since divorced itself from this institution and developed neutral ways to recognize relationships that have legal ramifications without prejudice based on faith or tradition. (Forming a household, for example, can have logical tax, inheritance and other financial implications; it has no rational dependence on the number or sexes of individuals included.) Figuring out when such relationships might be inferred and when they must be legally declared would be a thorny issue, but we already have that problem—e.g., "palimony"—in my opinion, dispensing with marriage as a proxy for "relationship significant enough to be taken seriously when there are legal implications" would (in the long run) clarify these issues more than confuse them.

    The appropriate response to the discrimination gay couples face is to reject the prejudice the current system embodies toward non-traditional relationships and families in general, of which same-sex marriage is only one form.

    Instead, we tinker with the margins while reinforcing the idea that it's all well and good for government to validate some families' and households' lifestyles and invalidate others.

    To be clear: while I agree with the above argument as a matter of principle, like most most libertarian arguments it ignores too much reality to be useful. Social prejudice is at least as formidable an obstacle for same-sex couples as are legal institutions, and marriage is itself an ingrained social prejudice: leveraging the latter prejudice to help undermine the former is a good, practical tactic. Besides, many same-sex couples probably do "believe in" marriage, even if they reject one of its traditional prerequisites; to them, it's the law, not prehistoric social convention filtered through centuries of Abrahamic dogma, that most immediately stands in their way.

    It's similar to how I felt for a long time about medical marijuana: what we should be fighting is the absurd notion that government has any business declaring what we may or may not put into our own bodies. Do we really want to take the pressure off that by granting reprieve to just the most sympathetic victims of oppression?

    But I've come to think that everything political is so hopeless when viewed large that there is nothing to do but accept small, half-assed pseudo-victories and try to feel good about them. If you can't walk, it's still better to crawl than just sit in a puddle… I guess.

  43. noshoes Says:

    She reminds me of Norah Vincent, a self-identified "lesbian conservative" who used to vomit out similarly idiotic, mindless drivel for the LA Times a few years back. I think the Times was just publishing her to make conservatives appear even more retarded than they are. It succeeded.

  44. Metafalcon Says:

    I have a nagging question about Megan McArdle and the rest of my generation, that has been bugging me for a while.

    I remember feeling, back when I was in college, that the opinion pieces in the student paper were pretty self-absorbed and not very insightful. And I figured, hey, they're kids.

    But now a lot of those kids have gone on to become Presidential speechwriters and columnists and things like that. And yet, I don't feel like they ever really grew up. They still seem like self-absorbed rich kids to me. Megan McArdle is of the same generation, and she reads the same way to me. Their writing really hasn't improved.

    Science fiction is the same way to me. When I read SF from the Asimov generation, those guys seemed like 12-year-olds when it came to women, but on all the other fronts they seemed to be sincerely trying to figure out what life is all about. There was a real maturity there- not a complete maturity, but in some respects they were real adults.

    But when I read SF written by people my age, it just sounds to me like a teenage douchebag bragging about the sound system in his camaro. None of them have anything to say, from what I've seen, except to try to impress me with swagger.

    Is this just me? Did Gen X really never grow up, or would Asimov have seemed like the guys I knew in high school if I had been his age?

  45. Lit3Bolt Says:

    "Predictions are hard, especially about the future."

    Now I'm wiping my keyboard and screen, thanks a lot McArgle-Bargle.

    Seriously, that's Far Side or Onion style parody.

  46. Mrs. Chili Says:

    Predictions are hard. Especially about the future.

    I near 'bout lost it there. Thanks.

  47. JohnR Says:

    That's an interesting point, Meta! I was thinking about something similar the other day, rereading a couple of my favorites from the late 80s, and wondering why I have so little from recently, when I still enjoy so many things written back in the 1950-1070 period (and before). It's not just John W Campbell (although I bet he had a lot to do with it). Maybe it's just that we're fogies and tastes have changed, as tastes always do. Maybe you're not far off the mark. Maybe we just like the stuff we liked in our youth. Maybe I ought to go and have a beer.

  48. Anonymouse Says:

    "they don't include having children with an array of men you're not willing to marry, and who will subsequently drift in and out of your life"

    So….the summary of this article is that if gay people get married, they will have to suffer from…unplanned children? Uhm, what? I wasn't aware that unplanned pregnancies was such a huge problem in the gay community.

  49. Metafalcon Says:

    JohnR, let me put it like this.

    The 1940's generation gave us Isaac Asimov. Widely read in a range of fields, he wrote countless books on science, history, Shakespeare, the Bible, etc. His signature science fiction work is an exploration of the forces that shape history.

    The 1990's generation gave us Cory Doctorow. His interests range widely, and he has written blog posts on such topics as LOLcats, subway maps in which the stations' names have been replaced with Harry Potter characters, and pictures of deformed rabbits. His signature themes are relentless self-promotion and a frustratingly oversimplified rehash of Lawrence Lessig's ideas on copyright reform.

    Let's continue, shall we?

    The 1940's gave us Robert A. Heinlein, who could be kind of a jerk, because he was a little too insistent on his own vision of masculinity.

    The 1990's gave us Peter Watts, who is a little too obsessed with the suffering of little girls. I remember a podcast in which he was literally chortling with glee over the sufferings of a particular pair of cojoined twin girls. Not in the abstract, mind you- he was actually laughing at the suffering of a specific pair of newborn girls. And on his blog, he sneered at a little girl with leukemia who got a bone marrow transplant, because her father thanked God that his daughter got cured.

    Let's not forget fantasy, though.

    1940's: C. S. Lewis' Narnia and Space Trilogy
    1990's: Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' Left Behind novels

    1940's: J.R.R. Tolkein and the Lord of the Rings
    1990's: Laurell K. Hamilton and the Rutting Dead

  50. JaktheYak Says:

    Ed: "If any readers out there can concoct an answer to that question please share it in the comments and be sure to let Megan know as well."

    C20H25N3O.
    Lysergic acid diethylamide.
    More directly an answer to "where the hell did she come up with all of this".
    I'm sure Megan already knows.

  51. Cyan Says:

    Other people have noted that to be fair to McArdle, "Of course, predictions are hard, especially about the future," is a quoted attributed variously to Niels Bohr and Yogi Berra. It is equally fair to note that it's also a pretty forthright admission that she's argled quite the bargle in that post.

  52. Morzer Says:

    It's true that McArdle is an incontinent exhibitionist at the best of times, but this latest excretion fails to match her advocacy of six year olds rushing at psychopathic adults armed with machine-guns as a solution to mass-murder in schools.

    Sorry, but them's the facts.

  53. PanurgeATL Says:

    I kinda understand where she's coming from, because the gay marriage movement, like the movement for gays in the military, has always struck me as part of a movement for acceptance and equality *as opposed to liberation. IOW, the movement accepts that being accepted means being "square", in the most traditional way imaginable; just look at all the photos of gay couples accompanying articles on gay marriage, with their Traditionally Masculine crewcuts and plaid shirts and facial hair. Though Megan appears to become incoherent eventually when talking about "the disastrous collapse of marriage outside the elite", she might be thinking this is just temporary and will pass once gay marriage is accepted. She might not like it, but she might be willing to consider it a price worth paying if it means Hippies Lose Again.

  54. PanurgeATL Says:

    @Coises: We're in the position we're in because some people in sensitive positions on the Left (whether cultural or political) refused to accept the "small, half-assed pseudo-victories" of the '60s and '70s. So they repudiated those victories and essentially had a tantrum. Then they formed an informal coalition with the JFK liberals who Never Really Liked Those Hippies In The First Place.

  55. mayya Says:

    I think this is what she really wanted to say, with the random words tacked on before and after for word count:

    "…the average age of first marriage can't get higher; it probably shouldn't even stay so high. As that average age rises, you get two unwanted phenomenon on the tails of the distribution: babies born to unmarried parents at the low end, and couples who want children but can't have them on the high side."

    i.e., "…those horrible poor people are having their children when they are young, the most fertile and healthiest years for childbearing, whilst the richies are waiting until they are so old they have fertility problems and more special-needs children."

    And we can all see the ramifications of that! Rich people are becoming an endangered species through the foibles of their own privilege. Oh the horror.

    What this article COULD have been, in the hands of a writer of average skill and mental faculties, is a very good discussion about marriage in general. That is, all of our questions and concerns about gay marriage are a great opportunity for us as a society to examine the purpose and benefit of ALL civil marriage, and perhaps adjust things to better suit our current world. Unfortunately, that's not what happened here.

  56. brad Says:

    This is why I gave up this beat. No one can read that many of her words with any regularity and stay sane.
    Even Susan finally was overwhelmed.
    But remember one thing; they did fire her. The Beast ain't the Atlantic, phew.

  57. Software for Quibids Says:

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  58. Chuck Says:

    I was probably burbling nonsense when I came out of the womb. Belief — I go to Italy, and I know all those streets — in Venice. e – Harmony is the most popular online adult dating site available, but very expensive at nearly $50 for a single month membership.

  59. Susan of Texas Says:

    Yep, I finally reached toxic overload. I had to take off three months to detox because the bad faith, malicious glee and endless lies finally caught up with me.

    But all good things must come to an end, so here I am.