It was a busy week and lots of things are brewing but I can’t talk about them yet.
I can’t stop thinking about all those children taken from the fundamentalist LDS ranch in Texas. I haven’t even read or watched very much about it, I just keep thinking about those kids. They must be so scared. They are taught the outside world is evil, this is a terrible fear they are constantly hearing about and now it’s real and right “out there.” I wonder about the older kids and if it’s too late for them to have any sort of normal life. I think about how many compounds like this one were not found.
I am also thinking about our evolution as a species – an alpha male with several females is part of our genetic heritage. So, think about it. How many communities like this one have there been? Of course, those ones in the past didn’t necessarily have the religious zealotry that this community had… has. But still, it’s a lot to turn over in one’s head. And that’s what I’ve been doing a lot this week.
Also, I think about what I learned from Robert Wright’s “The Moral Animal.” As I told Robert Wright when I met him at the TED conference a few years ago, The Moral Animal fucked me up! It was very profound, and then became the gateway book for me to read all kinds of other socio-biological types of books.
Anyway, Wright argues that enforced monogamy protects men more than women. He asks the reader to imagine a graph where every man and woman are linked as mates. Then he writes (and I would quote him, but I can’t find the book – if you can believe it I still have not re-organized my books after last year’s May 5th filming of Letting Go of God! Argh!) that you should further consider what happens when one of the males links to another female who is exclusive to him too. One man gets two women. Well, there’s a man left out. And so on. So that when a group is comprised of one male who dominates the breeding of several females, then several males are left out. And then he goes on to talk about how detrimental this can be to a society – how less violent men are who are in relationships, etc. Then he goes on to show that women, if they could take a mate that is already mated – or engage in polygamy, she is better off and the children of the first mate are also better off because they are not shunned by the second mate. I don’t it’s theoretically true that women are better off after you are wife number #4, #5, and so on, but still -- it was an amazing theory that I could understand in general and went completely against everything I thought that I thought about this subject!
So, then Wright argues that laws favoring monogamy are really for the benefit of men, those men who would be left un-mated if polygamy were allowed. And monogamy laws are good for society in general, but maybe not so much for that extra female or two a powerful male could acquire if it was lawful. But then he goes on to show that this actually happens anyway, and that rich and powerful men often take a series of wives and have two families or sometimes even three.
In any case, it made me understand polygamy in a new way, and it made me a defender of monogamy in a stronger way too.
Last night Mulan was asking me if the police didn’t sleep and stayed up all night in case something bad happened. What if something happened in the middle of the night and they were asleep? So I was explaining what the “night shift” or the “graveyard shift” was. She was wide-eyed and amazed. And I could tell she was a little bit scared and wanted to know that if something terrible happened, the police would be awake and able to help her.
I think this was because she had just gone over to our neighbors who have a 4 month old baby and she had come home on her own (one house away) and the porch light was burned out. This was her first time to approach her own door in the dark like that. (I was actually watching TV in the living room, ten feet from her, so it wasn’t all that terrifying or unsafe – believe me…) In any case, talking with her about it, seeing this fear of night and not being protected, even the little glimmer of it, made my heart break for all those kids who were taken from that LDS ranch. I mean, of course I think they should have been taken, HAD to have been taken. But they must be terrified. Oh dear, oh dear.
My last thought for this April Saturday morning – and then I have to go wrangle Mulan out of bed – is that I no longer apologize for liking Bravo TV’s “The Real Housewives of New York City.” I am mesmerized. I am totally a Bravo TV supporter at this point. And I even like the new “Step It Up” – the dance reality show. Mulan said last night, after we watched “Step It Up,” “Bravo is like the best channel ever.” That might be true right now. I have no real cable loyalty, but these shows are really impossible not to watch and then actually get sucked into – to the point where I actually know what night it’s on and look forward to it! Curses! I never thought that would happen!