Spoons & Country Dumb

quote-watch-a-man-at-play-for-an-hour-and-you-can-learn-more-about-him-than-in-talking-to-plato-84-98-39

The card game called Spoons is a family tradition. We played it from my earliest memory at all Shepard get-togethers, no matter the season or occasion, along with other card games, like Go-Fish and Old Maid, but also on occasion ‘board’ games, like Monopoly and Yatzee.

No cyber world back then, no cell phones or Gameboys or X-Boxes, lord only knows how we managed to plow through the boredom, with only things like cards!

Grandma told us that she was forced by Grandpa to leave the Ice Follies at age 17, where she clearly had an illustrious career in the make, in order to become a respectable wife to him, and honorable mother of his progeny. It was all pretty cool to me, because she was even in the papers, and I had my own aspirations of dancing back then.

Respectable women with families are not show-girls.  This was to my grandfather an automatic given.

That’s how I heard the story, when I could first understand it, wearing my favorite t-shirt that summer of about age 11, with a billboard sprawled across my still-flat chest: Anything boys can do girls can do better.

There was this grandfather, highly concerned about the respectability of his wife, and then the one who played Spoons with the family.

These were quite large gatherings, at least compared to what I knew from my mother’s side of the then-divorced families. The game of Spoons is very simple, all the players sit in a circle, 4 cards are dealt to every player, the dealer who passes the contents of the deck to the player to one side attempts to move with a high enough speed as to confuse and disorient the one picking up the discarded cards after him. The goal is 4 of a kind. If achieved, at that moment you silently strategize alone, as there are a line of spoons in the middle of the circle, enough for every player but one.  So, once you have 4 of a kind, you grab one, or, you slyly sneak one, or you wait and watch as an opportunist of sorts, or, well that’s about all the strategy I was ever able to garner from this game, besides Grandfather’s.

The strategy my grandfather played was no doubt, by any set of rules, cheating. He would collect a pile of cards next to him, feigning slowness or incompetence, and turn them over in chunks, hoping to collect pairs more quickly, then the 4s, winning the position to select the first spoon. He would play this routine regularly, but we as children would forget, it was only a time or two a year we got together, after all. But after a hand or two each time we’d remember this trick, and rail on grandpa that he was cheating, which only made him and everyone else laugh, to the end result that everyone on the floor would start using (t)his trick.

It’s a very old and simple trick after all. There’s many names for it, but in these parts they call it country dumb, that is, shrewdly playing innocent. The old tricks are the best tricks.  When we take even a cursory look at the culture we can see it clearly still works.

There’s a long precedent for this sort of player, most notably from the classic Czech work, The Good Soldier Sveik by Jaroslav Hašek, certainly the predecessor to the Hogan’s Hero’s character called Schultz, celebrated for his classic line, “I know NOTHING!”

There is always a healthy level of doubt as to whether Sveik’s actions are feigned well-executed sabotage or authentic (idiotic) enthusiasm, that’s essential in the classic fool/magician archetype.

Hasek was a comic genius . . . his message was that war is not merely cruel, unjust and obscene, but ludicrous” Sunday Times

The Good Soldier Svejk is the classic novel of the ‘little man’ fighting officialdom and bureaucracy with the only weapons available to him—passive resistance, subterfuge, native wit and dumb insolence.”

If you were a corporate or military strategist watching our family play Spoons, you might recognize this as a somewhat sophisticated case of sabotage, a sort of coup d’etat, no doubt, because when the patriarch begins to openly cheat and play dumb, you’ve just opened up the entire troupe to the same acceptable level of behavior. Cheating, it seems and many have noted, is contagious. And that’s just how it happened with our family game of Spoons as well. Aunts, uncles, cousins and parents become instant co-conspirators with youngsters of all ages plotting against them, or sometimes, on their behalf.

Is this a ‘good’ lesson to teach children, or a ‘bad’ one?

I thought of this question again when I heard this recent interview with Sarah Westall and Nick Jankel. In it they discuss a bit the importance of “trauma” in a child’s upbringing and the ways this is both under-rated and over-utilized. In my opinion they broach the cutting edge question we now face in the so-called ‘Western modernity’–obviously to bubble-wrap our children is not working, but to go back to old ways of discipline is no longer acceptable either—how can we find the most fertile middle ground?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygDhQ7dQcrk

No doubt as youth we need to be taught to not only deal with, but also to survive and then to thrive within the existing culture, but not to the point we have come now, which is blind obedience, acceptance and acquiescence, generally speaking.

It’s very easy later in life to point fingers at Grandpa and condemn or condone the unhealthy moral principles he was manifesting to his progeny at those cheating moments, especially considering he was clearly loving it.

Did we learn a valuable life lesson, by overcoming a certain level of ‘trauma’?  I hope that was his unconscious agenda. Because make no mistake, to learn as a child that your grandfather willingly cheats against you, and the entire family, and then laughs about it, is not an authentic happy moment in a child’s life.

I saw him differently, call it what you want, but ultimately it’s a loss of innocence, if you can bring it to consciousness. Whether conscious or not, Grandpa taught me in that moment about the real world. Whether we are 7 or 17 when that happens, is it better it happens where one has a soft place to fall, or with random strangers in a proverbial strange land?

I don’t know. I want to stress this fact, I really don’t know. This to me is a pivotal social question. Why are we not discussing it at the dinner tables and the board rooms and the political arenas is beyond me.

Is it better to learn your 60 year old grandfather would cheat against your 6 year old nephew, and embrace that as a valuable familial tradition, and then by extension to learn that is how the world actually works?

Or, would you rather learn it when you get blindsided by crooks out to steal your successful business when you finally wake up to reality at age 47?

Could it be that Trump is brilliantly playing this archetype now?

And what about all the shades of critical social gray there might be in-between that our progeny might need to learn?  Are we learning how to create a better world with these life lessons, or are we learning only how to successfully play along?

https://lithub.com/why-every-progressive-should-read-the-good-soldier-svejk/

 

sveik

 

 

The Slippery Slope of Equality

Once upon a time there was a woman who wanted to vote. She wanted to own property, and she wanted a career that was not nursing or teaching or whoring or mothering.

She was a courageous and independent woman who knew other courageous and independent women who agreed with her. They achieved the right to vote, the right to own property, and established themselves in a variety of occupations across every sector of society.

Fast forward a few generations and they became Supermoms. Mothers could do it all–have a family, have a career–just like fathers. Then the women began to complain that the housework needed to be shared, it was only fair. Machines to make the work easier and faster were invented, primarily by men, to try to satisfy these new preferences of women’s time.

Soon, women wanted to share in the glories of war along side men. They wanted to sit beside them in the boardrooms, play next to them on the golf courses, hang out in their clubs.  They modeled their hierarchies, their whims, and their habits. They wanted to smoke, to drink, to travel, to carouse, to order subordinates, to manage affairs, and to control it all, just like the men.

The laws were changed to reflect ‘equality’ between the sexes. The laws were not sufficient. Women continued to get harassed by men in the workplace, groped on the bus, humiliated with lower pay for equal work, and sometimes even physically endangered.

This angered the women tremendously and they revolted. They pointed and screeched at their male bosses and their former and current colleagues and smeared their reputations publicly and had them fired and humiliated and cursed. Just as they deserved. They demanded an end to violent, colonizing, capitalizing, age-old white male patriarchy.

The women called themselves ‘happy‘ and ‘fulfilled‘ but oddly began using anti-depressants by the millions. 

Still, they took their hard-earned and rightful positions at the head of the table in the boardrooms and backrooms and brothels.

But still, the men were not behaving!

Just like children, they started acting out even worse. They started secretly undermining the women in power. They started to rebel in closed groups. They choose in growing numbers not to get into relationships with women.  They began to consider the women dangerous. One false move and they risked losing everything in the courts of law.

Some men turned despondent, others violent, others exceptionally determined. The women decided to drug them, it was the only way.

The drugs had some unpleasant side effects. Men’s health began to decline, but women saw this as a good thing; they were more docile and less combative that way. They began to drug the boys as well. It seemed the younger they started the more predictive became the results.

Some men were incurable it seemed, so more drastic public measures had to be taken. Those who would not stop oogling women were forced to wear special goggles that limited their peripheral vision by 50%. It was considered a great achievement and sold brilliantly in the marketplace.  There were other great women’s inventions as well, like a male chastity belt, and various electric shock devices that could be used as discreetly as a tampon. 

Then one day a woman complained. “Where have all the men gone?”

 

gynocentrism

Confessions of a ‘Promiscuous’ Woman

This post is dedicated to a teacher I’ve learned much from, and react to, as all diligent students should be expected to do:  Stefan Molyneux.  Thank you for your insights, indefatigable work which I continue to draw from, and your bullshit, which inspires this post.  I am your forever scapegoat and critic, a role I hope all fans might try to navigate before they place judgment.

Oh No! Women are no longer willing to embrace their role!  A direct cause of the downfall of the Roman Empire and our current civilization, according to philosopher/historian Stefan Molyneux. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh7rdCYCQ_U

The State is the enemy, women are the suckers of the State teet, that is, mothers without husbands, not the legitimate man and wife, as was meant to be by all the edicts of civilization and God himself. ‘Man and wife,’ wow, flashback!  Your “being” attached to my “role,” thanks for that, already getting the old picture, the one instilled, very diligently, by my grandfather and father.

Single-motherhood is not what I’m promoting. I agree with Stefan as far as an underlying ethic he sometimes conjures which is, men count. Oh don’t I know it! I’m a so-called crazy co-dependent with Daddy issues–dysfunctional men have flocked to me for four decades now.  The exception, my husband and personal hero,–but whatever, I’m a ‘feminist’ without children–that I might have a few right leanings is all that binds me to this latest new-right propaganda.

Apparently, according to the ‘new right’ those of us who did not follow the path of motherhood, and are now surely miserable in our declined state of sexual value, being no longer able to attract enough willing suitors to assuage our unquenchable egos, well I guess I’m just that tall man in China. You are misinformed, Stefan and devoted Conservative and Christian followers, and I think you are not only supporting, but espousing, as often as not, complete nonsense when it comes to a creating a functional society.

Let’s talk about abortion. What?! No, let’s talk about male promiscuity. What?!  Or, heavens to Betsy, let’s imagine a woman might feel inclined to stay childless. If a man would chose this path would you be as disparaging toward his choice? When a man chooses not to rise to his “social-sexual” obligations, are you as harsh on him as you are on her? Because what I see is, not at all.  He gets limitless porn in your world, I get legs crossed or, shame on me for ruining Western civilization.  I’m sure the fact that men had a growing predilection for young boys during that period had nothing to do with women’s growing dissatisfaction in their marriages.

You are in reaction. Because ‘he’ is browbeaten by the Left, you do always make apologies for his transgressions and side, always, with him. You never give the woman the benefit of the doubt you give the man. That’s reaction to Leftist bias, not a response to authentic imbalance or injustice. Not philosophy, right? Jumping on the easy old social programming bandwagon. Because of course, you’re going to need it when your daughter hits puberty in this dysfunctional world, and you are met with a serious contender.

Handy Hubby repeats, no honest enterprise ever got a union that was not deserved. The union provides protection against the unfair master as the power of promiscuity provides to the unfair sexual union. I bare the cost of our union, as a woman, more than you. If you want me to stay faithful, make my day.

How you love to leave out the co-creative dynamic. The system you are engendering is still, as in centuries past, the feminine in service to the masculine.  How’s that been working out for us so far?

I’m not saying the exaltation of the opposite as we see now pushed so savagely by the Left and the ‘New Age’ movement is the answer, not at all!

But I don’t see your deviation saving us at all from the dichotomous meme. Embrace Trump, cause women get paid better, or just cause he’s the opposite, or just cause that means we “win” and wow.  The master becomes more shallow and blinded than his student. It’s as simple as that. Well then otherwise, embrace Hillary, that’s your choice. So, I’m on the verge of vomit. The double-bind. Welcome to democracy.

Seriously, I don’t see how you’re helping that much, regression is so distasteful.

You’ve lost your objectivity, Stefan Molyneux, or I was terribly mistaken you ever had any.  If you’re serious about your mission, you’ll make some attempt to get independently-minded women on your side.  All those ‘Leave it to Beaver Moms’ you hope to find ready to fight for liberty, not your best option.  You are missing your market entirely.  They are too busy raising your perfect kids to have the time to fight the real battle and they certainly don’t have the power or left-over energy to get you to see reason through your nonsense.

Embrace those gender roles nonetheless, right into complete myopic social dysfunction, because that’s what Trump wants.  Bonding with narcissistic dysfunction will surely help your cause.

Oh good grief, am I being sarcastic and passive-aggressive?  Good God I hope so, that means I’ve learned from my masters.