Cultural Notes


Another article on the benefits of marriage to income and stability.

Professor Bill Galston, President Clinton’s domestic policy advisor and now a senior fellow at Brookings, explained in the early 1990s that an American need only do three things to avoid living in poverty: graduate from high school, marry before having a child, and have that child after age twenty. Only 8 percent of people who do so, he reported, will be poor, while 79 percent who fail to do all three will.

So, society says, and I agree, that it’s OK to have a baby without a wedding, or a father, but economics says you better have your feet set or it’s going to hurt. I look at friends and family that have taken both routes, the poor and married ones are in much better shape than the unmarried ones. Life is more precarious for the unwed mothers, the guy can just cut out one day, or she can. I firmly believe that even a shotgun wedding that doesn’t last is better than just muddling along. Most times when a marriage falls apart there is prep time and paperwork, and certain expectations. Far more than Baby Daddy just wandering in and out of your life, either asking for or bringing some extra money.


A lot easier to get legal action on someone not paying support if it’s an ex husband. I’m talking about the ability to literally just walk out.

Having a baby after marriage rather than before is statistically better. Even when all other known factors are allowed for. Now, are the type of people who decide to do this just better planners in the first place, or does delaying those decisions make you a better planner?

Much has been made about the scourge of adult male children, a childishness that follows grown men. And despite the fact that it shouldn’t matter, the men I know who are married to the mother are more responsible than the unmarried ones. Not just with their kids, but more responsible in their lives. You don’t hear about them getting arrested, again, for drug dealing.

Even Catholics can get divorces in bad situations. I’m not going to try to judge her choices though.

This is also not intended as a slam to anyone who is not married, and there are many types of non-marriage marriage out there. I think the same thing holds for any committed couple, and sometimes a marriage certificate is just enough to keep people together through the rough times, and sometimes all you need is a promise between two people.


And on the other end of the spectrum I’ve had people ask me why I got married if neither of us wants kids. Apparently “because we love each other” isn’t a valid reason to some people.


And even then there can be a solely economic reason to. Health benefits apply to spouses, it makes a difference in some employers hiring and raises. If I had been single when I got cancer, even if I was living with someone it would have been a much bigger deal. With two people it’s harder to stumble.


As far as I’m concerned, it’s the only reason for getting married. If you want kids as well, that’s something separate, but it’s not a reason to get married.

That looks more like a correlation thing rather than a causation thing. The headline makes it seem like a causative relationship.

The goal is to be financially stable. Being married in itself doesn’t cause that goal to be met, but it’s one indicator of someone who is likely to be financially stable.


This is quite awesome.
We have some younger mothers with babies in our parliament. Not only do they get to breastfeed at work, but the speaker of the house will sometimes babysit while he’s working :smile:
Baby-friendly parliament


I don’t know. To me that seems like the opposite of awesome.


Okay, the reasons I think it’s awesome is:

  • Mothers often get shamed for breastfeeding in public. This is where laws are made, it’s highly public, and it’s normalising something that actually should be normal.
  • I can only see good things from having young mothers as representatives in parliament.
  • Anything that makes it easier for young mothers to do that representation I see as a good thing. Having the speaker of the house help babysit their babies does make it easier for them to do their jobs. They have their babies nearby where they can watch them, but they can still stand up and make speeches.

Why do you see it as the opposite of awesome?

I’m not being argumentative here, I’m genuinely interested in why you see it differently to me.


Must be nice to have a government job where you do so little you can sit there and babysit while working.

Seriously, this is setting a precedent that almost no actual business can match. Breastfeeding in public should be supported, but breastfeeding while working just won’t work in 99% of jobs. Anything but a dead easy office job just can’t allow it.

It’s grandstanding. It’s great for them, but these are also the class of people that stop driving themselves or cooking.


Interesting, I see it completely differently.
I think your estimate of 99% is a long way off. I agree that office jobs are the most likely candidates for allowing breastfeeding, and that there will be industries that it is completely impractical, but there are other industries where it could work - doctors (GPs that is) and drivers off the top of my head.
I don’t see how a breastfeeding mother is any worse in terms of time out than a smoker and we’ve been catering for smokers for a long time.
There are workplaces that are catering for new mothers by providing creches and baby care and I see this as a very positive.

As for your comments about government jobs and not driving / cooking, I think you are a little off there too.
Not driving is not about a “class of people”. It’s a dual purpose thing. Firstly, the people who drive them around are specifically trained to drive and avoid dangerous situations. Secondly, politicians often actually work pretty hard - they usually have reams of papers they have to process. If they can do so while they are travelling then that has to be a good thing.
I’m also pretty sure that there aren’t that many politicians in NZ who have their own cooks unless it is for official government business.


I see it as the opposite of awesome because society (in Western nations at least) already caters too much to parents IMO. And now NZ is institutionalizing it.


I have zero problems with breastfeeding at work. Enabling a larger and more representative portion of the populace to be involved in civic affairs is generally a good thing, although I don’t think that having young mothers (or any other underrepresented demographic) in government automatically equates to better governance outcomes.

I’m much squishier on the idea of watching kids while you’re supposed to be legislating or whatever your job is. I can get some things done while I’m watching my kids. But I’d never try to do it “on the clock” for an employer, and I surely would not want a doctor (to use your example) to be making my medical decisions while simultaneously keeping an eye on their kid.

Employers who can provide on-site child care and opportunities for employees to interact with their kids a bit more may be able to retain and attract talent that justifies the expense. For many types of work, it’s simply not practical.


The Facilities Manager at $OldJob told me I should just bring my dog in for “Bring your Child to Work” day.

I never had the chutzpah to do it, though.


Most jobs in the U.S. are with small businesses. If you only have half a dozen people working in the first place you can’t run a day care in the office, and having taken care of my own child there is just no way you can accomplish much of anything with a 8-16 month old with you, and the older they get the less you can get done.

I’m imagining a whole infrastructure at Parliament designed to shuttle babies back and forth and to whisk them away when they get fussy during a debate. This is literally the 1%, power wise, showing the plebes how it should be done, when there is really no way to get it done if you actually work for a living. And while you can compare it to smoking, this is a bit more than a couple extra breaks here and there. I’d wager each of those kids has a staffer or an intern assigned to them in order to avoid a complete breakdown in business.

I’m all for breastfeeding breaks, in a break room, assuming you have on site day care, but babies at your desk just wouldn’t work. Their coworkers would be picking up the slack, assuming that they weren’t spending more time with the baby than working.


And holy crap, is anyone in Hollywood having a normal relationship? And where are all the evil conservative men getting called out? How typical that the class of people that accuse everyone of being evil woman haters are the ones abusing women.

And what the hell is the deal with masturbation in front of people? That’s totally got to be a power thing, half these dudes aren’t even making them get naked.

And it’s nice to see Terry Crews and Corey Feldman get listened to finally. But wow, Charlie Sheen, that’s who he’s been not naming all these years? You’d think he would have busted that one out when Charlie went over the bend years ago.


That would be an interesting way to do handle this. Wikipedia says that the last season ended with Robin Wright’s character telling the audience, “My turn.”

In a way, it’s already actually happened. The film All the Money in the World was due to be released this month, but they’ve pulled it and hired Christopher Plummer to replace Kevin Spacey, who had a supporting role in that film. All scenes that involved Spacey are being re-shot.


I really can’t get a handle on how I feel about that too. He’s been accused of doing something that he’s sort of admitted to. But even if he has done it, which at this point I think most people agree with, does that mean he no longer exists? If the guy who works on your car gets put in prison for murder does that mean you have to stop driving the car? What about the careers of everyone else involved in this?


I think replacing scenes in unreleased movies (or burying a film that was in the editing stage) is pretty much a non-issue to me. It’s a little different to me if we’re editing things after release, like (for example) if Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was edited to replace/remove Principal Rooney.


Fair enough,

This really makes American Beauty a horrific movie for me though. I’m not even sure how he could have made it.


Here’s one.