realitycheck(dot)ie

Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Good Man Is Hard To Find

so how's polygamy gonna work?
Slate has an article on the economic case for polygamy. It's about the new HBO show, Big Love about a man with several wives. I saw the trailer when I was in US and it looks lovely and glossy in a Desperate Housewives way.
The Slate article by Tim Hartford provides a number of examples where polygamy would be useful -
Polygyny would be the solution for states where there are large number of young men in prison -
Their (women) problem is not merely that some who would want to marry won't be able to. It's that the available men—those not in prison—suddenly have more bargaining power. Goodbye to doing the dishes and paying the rent; hello to mistresses and wham, bam, thank you ma'am. The women whose potential partners have had their ranks thinned by prison are less likely to marry, and when they do marry, are likely to marry a man less educated than they are. Meanwhile, the remaining men, finding a surfeit of marriage partners, suddenly seem in no hurry to marry. And why would they?
And polyandry would help in China -
When men are taken out of the marriage market by war or by prison, women suffer. The reverse is probably true, too: When women are taken from the marriage market, men suffer. In China, the policy of one-child families coupled with selective abortion of girls has produced "surplus" males. Such men are called "bare branches," and China could have 30 million of them by 2020. Perhaps polyandry—women with multiple husbands—would be the logical response to the situation in China. What will happen instead is that these lonely, wifeless men will end up sleeping with a relatively small number of women—prostitutes—with severe risks of sexually transmitted disease all around.

In reference to the title, I always thought that Bruce Springsteen took the title of that song (it's on Tracks) from Flannery O'Connor's collection of short stories by the same name. But when I think about it, I don't think one of my literary heroes was copying another one of my other literary heroes (note how these observations all come back to me, me, me!) O'Connor's story is a pretty horrifyingly brillant funny story which ends with a gruesome family murder. Springsteen's woman is a lovelorn single mother abandoned by her man.
I love Flannery O'Connor's precise observations, even if her stories give me the creeps.
She describes the grandmother's clothes in AGMIHTF as -
"A navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the bim and a navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print. Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady."

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