Re: On my way to St. Ives, I met a septi-polygamist.

1

WAKE UP, EVERYBODY! COME HANG OUT!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:14 AM
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What seems most clear is that polygamy would be a royal pain in the ass to actually undertake

Certainly this. But, as always, you're pretty much right about everyting in your post.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:23 AM
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I choose to interpret these remarks about my eternal rightness as godsent testimony, rather than you all just humoring me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:32 AM
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What seems most clear is that polygamy would be a royal pain in the ass to actually undertake.

Speaking of royalty, it might be fun to revert to the ancient practice of sealing treaties with marriages between the heads of state involved. Every time a new country acceded to the United Nations, the EU or NATO, their president/king/queen would have to take a spouse (of the gender and orientation of their choice in these enlightened times) from the families of nearly every other head of state in the world, and send some member of their own family off in return. In a democracy this would have to be repeated every time somebody's term expired. I'm thinking here of the benefits to the travel and catering industries of having several hundred multinational hangers on trailing round after the big cheese every time they visit abroad.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:37 AM
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just humoring me

While I mostly lurk these days, I would think that I would be remembered enough to know that this is not my m.o.

One interesting this about the enforcement of anti-polygamy laws is that some of the enforcement mechanisms are almost certainly unconstitutional, but the courts bend over backwards to avoid considering this issue. It is pretty straightforwardly illegal to be married to more than one person at a time. On the other hand, when the state makes it illegal for adults to live together as a family with more than two spouses without purporting to be legally married, it almost certainly violates those adults' due process and equal protection rights. But, Big Love notwithstanding, since polygamy is something no one wants to be seen tolerating, courts want to avoid this issue. This is also why, it seems to me, the states try to find alternative (and usually quite proper) ways of attacking polygamy by attacking bad effects which often seem to be associated with some of its practitioners like statutory rape and child abuse.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:59 AM
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While I mostly lurk these days, I would think that I would be remembered enough to know that this is not my m.o.

Just teasing you. It's hard for me to fake perpetually modesty in the midst of eternal rightness.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:02 AM
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I'd just as soon juggle three chainsaws as three wives. Does that make me a misogynist?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:37 AM
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When this story broke I had a blowup argument with lolcatherine on a rooftop bar about whether the state should not have exercised more caution (I argued that Texas risked botching things by not exercising more diligence). Vindication! Except it doesn''t really feel good.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:44 AM
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I haven't seen big love, but I hear it is like the Happy Hooker story of polygamy. It is easy to imagine the Happy Hooker. It seems like it should not only be possible, but common, and really cool. But somehow real prostitution never seems to live up. Religiously based polygamy, in particular, always seems to be a step backward for women.

I want to hear from the real live polyamorists of Unfogged.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:48 AM
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If a man has a number of wives, he bothers each individual wife less frequently, so they can go about their lives normally most of the time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:50 AM
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When I took the "Big Love" quiz I discovered I was a Barb.

Urk.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:50 AM
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9: One big problem presented on the TV show is that women on the polygamous compound are not free to choose not to enter these unions. They're assigned and reassigned to men depending on the political climate of the compound. So they present the forced marriages, but they don't dwell on much unhappy repercussions of it, except for one 16 year old girl married to the compound leader.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:57 AM
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So many criticisms of the photo quality. I'm surprised the interloper managed to snap off any at all, after scaling such a tall specimen.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:08 AM
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12: Oh, hey, that is darker than I imagined.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:09 AM
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13: Wow. I'm so tired, I fully intended on commenting that on an entirely different blog. Someone shoot me.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:10 AM
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It was a fairly average comment around here. No one would have noticed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:18 AM
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To make up for my distractfulness, I will link to this from the NYT Magazine about the FLDS.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:20 AM
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The problem isn't the polygamy, the problem is the statutory rape.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:28 AM
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I'd just as soon juggle three chainsaws as three wives. Does that make me a misogynist?

It likely makes you a man with no hands.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:46 AM
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18: I'd drop "statutory" from that in many, if not most, cases.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:48 AM
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I could see doing the polygamy thing as long as it wasn't tainted by the modern western notion of love as the basis of a marriage. Arranged marriage may suck, but at least it's not as likely to be disappointing.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:48 AM
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Saws, cats, sacks, and wives, how many hands came from St. Ives?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:49 AM
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Reform Mormons.

Not a joke. JM knows which Smith founded this branch.

There was a lot of millenarianism in the XIXc US, and it was sometimes associated with progressive politics -- suffrage, anti-slavery. (It was still all crazy, of course). Mormons became conservatives fairly recently.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:50 AM
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||

I just got a spam e-mail with the subject header "Obama Sex Tape".

The text of the message was, I kid you not, "Why do all these homosexuals keep sucking my cock?"

|>


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:51 AM
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There are worse things than handlessness, obvs.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:51 AM
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The Reform Mormons allow you to smoke and drink and are happy to be called "Mormons", a term many LDSers dislike.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:53 AM
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For the Flophouse:

REORGANIZED CHURCH OF JESUS, 202- 333-6052
3526 MASSACHUSETTS AVE NW, WASHINGTON DC 20007


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:56 AM
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24: I saw that too, in a header!

Some spammers seem to be trying to make fake-news headers that grab the eye of not the general public (like your example) but political-information-rich types (i.e., "Amero officially replaces dollar" for the conspiracy theorists).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:57 AM
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25 to 24? (That is, I guess, "25 to 6 X 4"?)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 7:58 AM
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I know a number of people living in various kinds of polyamorous/open-marriage situations, and this stuff makes them very nervous. Even without the arranged marriage/forced marriage/compound mentality issues, which IMO are where the real ickiness lies, they worry about their children being taken away if someone decides they're simply too weird.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:12 AM
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Mormons became conservatives fairly recently.

I'm fairly sure that the LDS became conservatives on the specific subject of black people almost immediately after Joseph Smith's death, but I'll defer to the Unfogged experts on this.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:17 AM
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Whereas here we have Lord Bath whose eccentric ways and dozens of wifelets are regarded fondly.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:21 AM
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Fondly? He's a raving loony, and his son and heir doesn't speak to him.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:24 AM
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17: I grew up with a lot of LDS folks; one of the things that the non-LDS folks talked about was the "Mormon trampoline theory" (i.e., they all had them.) Photo 11 in the link shows that still holds true for the FLDS.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:38 AM
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polygamy would be a royal pain in the ass to actually undertake

I suspect that, similar to writing a weekly newspaper column or being married to a nymphomaniac, it would initially be quite fun but rather quickly become rather draining and inevitably a chore.

I'd be interested it trying the experiment but my wife and I have a deal - I don't fool around and she doesn't kill me. YMMV of course but it seems to work for us.

And even though it goes without saying - child exploitation and forced marriages of children - bad bad things.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:42 AM
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Are you serious, heebie? "Loony false tip"?

The only thing I knew about the FLDS and Rulon & Warren Jeffs was based on the many posts about it by Teresa Nielsen Hayden. I'm amazed that now there's finally a crackdown, the overzealous placement of the kids into foster care is causing everyone to think the FLDS is probably really not bad at all.

Here's one. Their archives are impossible to search because it seems like every commenter's decontextualized comments are archived URLs of their own, but at least I found one of the threads.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:48 AM
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34: My wife directs and choreographs many shows, including some HS musicals on occasion. They are all done with good taste. She has noticed that the Mormon girls all perk up when they get the chance to play a flirtatious character or perform a 'wild' dance. Please note I am not talking extremes here. I mean things like the HS dance scene in West Side Story.

It is pretty well known that the authoritarian (instead of authoritative) style of child raising may lead to rebellion.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:48 AM
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A friend of mine just got back from a trip out West that included a day driving around Colorado City taking pictures of polygamists' houses and flirting with a polygamist girl at the town's pizza shop. He got pretty freaked out.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:54 AM
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It is pretty well known that the authoritarian (instead of authoritative) style of child raising may lead to rebellion.

Leading to the purchase of trampolines?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:54 AM
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Aren't the trampolines one of the Mormon practices that are supposed to be kept secret?

Per my ex-wife, while the Mormon church is patriarchal and male-dominated, it isn't puritanical in the sex-is-dirty sense. It's more into marrying girls off as soon as they are ripe (whether or not they want to).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:01 AM
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I read a story which featured, briefly, a polygamous marriage of 2 girls and 1 guy. However, the primary relationship was between the two girls. If you're going to be polygamous, that's the way to go. Because 1)I'm a feminist1)Lesbians are awesome people. (observational fact) 2) private time is awesome 3) threesomes! (Do the polygamous mormons have threesomes? I suspect officially no.)


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:05 AM
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the story referenced in 41 was a fictional one, to be clear. I haven't read a nonfiction account of such a union.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:07 AM
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43

Alan Moore was in a F/F/M marriage in the 80s, when he wrote V and Watchmen. Eventually the two women dumped him and decided to be a lesbian couple. A daughter from that relationship now co-authors comics with Moore.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:10 AM
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I've heard the various polygamist groups differ on the acceptability of threesomes.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:11 AM
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Choose your polygamist group with care. You don't want to end up spending all eternity with six different women, but only one at a time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:12 AM
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41: I've met two couples triples like that. One split up after 5 years or so, no idea about the other. Also one 2 with guys 1 girl. In my limited experience, formal marriages of this sort are less common than open marriages/relationships or whatever.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:14 AM
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In general, "We are in a plural marriage because two of us aren't ready to admit that we are full time gay, so we invited someone of the opposite sex into a three way relationship" seems to be a major subset of all real world plural marriages.

Another big one is the plural relationship as a stage in getting divorced and remarried to a new partner.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:14 AM
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48

Great Watchmen references in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which I chomped to bits on the planes this weekend. Highly recommended. It's the first comic book-SF-geek/immigrant narrative, AFAIK.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:15 AM
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A plural marriage between 2 girls and 1 cup could work out.

(Link is not quite worksafe, but not claw-your-eyes-out either.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:18 AM
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There's a commune in Tennessee where plural marriage is common though not universal. Basically they were refugees from hippyism who followed a charismatic leader out of San Francisco.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:19 AM
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Another big one is the plural relationship as a stage in getting divorced and remarried to a new partner.

That makes sense. I've known a few, as noted, but none of them well enough to have a real idea of how functional the marriage was. I have known a couple of very long term, apparently very happy, open marriages though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:19 AM
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Leading to the purchase of trampolines?

rob,

Wasn't it the "Man Show" that blatantly featured 'girls on trampolines?'

Human sexual urges have a way of sneaking out even when suppressed.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:21 AM
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Today the Farm's population is growing[citation needed]

Way to be a wet blanket, Wikipedia.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:22 AM
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48: yeah that's a swell book. Lots of great nerd references.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:22 AM
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50: Hey, my first child was born at their midwifery center!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:24 AM
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my first child was born at their midwifery center!

Were they still having their "Have your child here and get a second child absolutely free" promotion?


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:25 AM
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In general, "We are in a plural marriage because two of us aren't ready to admit that we are full time gay, so we invited someone of the opposite sex into a three way relationship" seems to be a major subset of all real world plural marriages.

That would work for me as I would be joining because I wouldn't be ready for serious commitment and it's better than other roommate options. I'm looking for a new apartment now, I should post this on craigslist: "Single male available to join female couple to ease their transition into homosexuality. Comfy, clean house required."


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:30 AM
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I should post this on craigslist

Yes, you should. Report back.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:31 AM
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57: I'm certain you will do a great job of driving women into homosexuality. The ad alone with push some people over.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:38 AM
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Think of it as a public service, rob.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:40 AM
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Think of it as a public service, rob.

Especially if you blog about it. With photos.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:54 AM
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37: One imagines that trampolines are purchased 'cause they're good clean fun. But the weird part is that they all seemed to have them.

40: I grew in suburban PDX; perhaps it's an Oregon rumor.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:58 AM
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Sex on a trampoline can get quite acrobatic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:59 AM
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Requires precision aim if only one participant is bouncing, though.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:03 AM
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65

Lake Oswego? Big controversial temple?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:12 AM
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peter obviously hasn't had sex on a trampoline. Unless one participant was strapped down or something.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:12 AM
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really, really well strapped down.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:13 AM
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65: I took a tour of that temple when it opened; I didn't see any trampolines. I did see the baptismal area, though -- big statues of cows, which I thought was a little odd.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:15 AM
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64:
She did a back flip
Land on my dick
That girl tried to kill me


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:16 AM
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The trampolines are in the back rooms that gentiles never see.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:17 AM
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Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;
if you can bounce high, bounce for her too,
Till she cry "Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover,
I must have you!"


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:19 AM
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There's an Israeli novel about polygamy, Journey to the End of the Millenium, by A.B. Yehoshua.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:20 AM
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I'm amazed that now there's finally a crackdown, the overzealous placement of the kids into foster care is causing everyone to think the FLDS is probably really not bad at all.

I share your sense of amazement. Thanks for posting that link to the Teresa Nielsen Hayden post.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:21 AM
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The Mormon trampoline stereotype goes right to the top of my niche stereotype collection.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:21 AM
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37: One imagines that trampolines are purchased 'cause they're good clean fun.

Obviously. So is horseback riding.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:24 AM
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70: As I recall, I went to the tour out of my family's sheer curiosity. I was ten or so, so I don't remember the controversy -- can you fill me in?


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:29 AM
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Are you serious, heebie? "Loony false tip"?

My understanding was that the proximal tip that allowed them to raid the compound came from a woman claiming to be a 14-year old girl on the compound. She turned out to be some crackpot in Colorado with a history of phoning in made-up tips.

The Texas state officials already had their sites set on the compound for lots of good reasons, but that tip, yeah, wasn't it a loony false tip?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:37 AM
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A friend of mine invented the "campoline" which is a pup-tent on top of a trampoline. He invented the campoline in his living room and then lived in it for several months during the beta testing. At the same time, he created the "I love my country but I think we start seeing other people" slogan, now ubiquitous across the internets. Truly, a man of many talents.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:37 AM
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Does anyone think the FLDS is not so bad? I haven't heard anyone say that explicitly. Warren Jeffs himself is still in jail.

I thought all the worries were about the legality and wisdom of taking children away so indiscriminately.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:38 AM
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I mean, this was long after Warren Jeffs had been arrested and was in custody.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:38 AM
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77: Sights.


Posted by: John Emerson-W-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:40 AM
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81: Oh, LOL, did you think I meant sights? Like rifle sights? How rich. I meant websites.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 10:47 AM
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Along these lines, I unsuccessfully tried to start an Unfogged cult.

I guess it is hard to get a cult off the ground without a bunch of girls under 15.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 11:05 AM
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The problem isn't the polygamy, the problem is the statutory rape.

Yep.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 11:08 AM
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Polygamy is problematic as hell -- it creates all kinds of social externalities. It's not a coincidence that polygamy is invariably connected to patriarchal ownership of lots of younger women by wealthy older men.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 12:07 PM
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Not a coincidence, no, but you've got the causality going the wrong way.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 12:10 PM
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86 is exactly correct


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 12:28 PM
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I'll just through this out there:

Calasisters have an open invitation to the cult.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 12:32 PM
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sb throw


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 12:33 PM
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Watch out for the feisty redheaded conservative sister. She's a handful.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 12:34 PM
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85: I oppose MFF marriages, because I'm a feminist.

Actually, I have the same qualms as you, PGD, but I don't think it will come to that as long as the romantic ideal reigns supreme. Even in gold-digger marriages, there's a fig-leaf of monogamous love.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 2:22 PM
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Can't dig gold with a fig leaf, Minivet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 2:24 PM
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But can you pan it? Sources say perhaps!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 2:26 PM
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Can't dig gold with a fig leaf, Minivet.

Other things you can't do include picking a guitar with a baseball bat and putting clothes in a matchbox.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 2:31 PM
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94. BS. I can do both of those things.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 3:18 PM
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84 any bright ideas on how to rehabilitate the concept of polygamy, b? I ask mainly out of love for the python programming language, but also want to keep options open for mrs lovecraft and myself.


Posted by: hamlove | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:01 PM
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I guess it is hard to get a cult off the ground without a bunch of girls under 15.

It's a chicken-and-egg problem, Will. If you've already got a nubile female acolytes, what's the point in starting a cult?


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:06 PM
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||

Baby's First Internet

|>


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:13 PM
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96: Well, we're working on the gays. The dogs are next, and then maybe we can get to the polys.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:20 PM
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Seems like the politically expedient thing to do would be to give the polys political priority over the dogs, seeing as how dogs are disenfranchised (for the time being) and can't add any votes to the secular humanist/liberal/muslim/pervert coalition.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:22 PM
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Yes, but your average Joe six-pack voter really likes dogs.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:25 PM
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96: Eh, real polyamory (not crypto-monogamy with license for outside fucking/emotional involvement) is actually kind of a threat to mainstream notions and institutions of marriage in a way that gay marriage doesn't. Personally, I think this is a good thing, because marriage as it stands now is basically crap, but you can't "rehabilitate" any kind of genuine polyamory as was done for gay marriage, because the neat parallel just doesn't exist. The creepy repressive kind might end up getting cut a bit more slack in "socially conservative" circles (see: the previously noted genuinely bizarre reactions to the FLDS), but that's not the same thing.

Also, hi! How's the, uh, relentless deathmarch towards release treating you? :(


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:35 PM
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s/doesn't/isn't


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:36 PM
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Eh, real polyamory (not crypto-monogamy with license for outside fucking/emotional involvement) is actually kind of a threat to mainstream notions and institutions of marriage in a way that gay marriage doesn't. Personally, I think this is a good thing

I agree completely with this, almost made the point myself, except I reach the opposite conclusion -- it's a bad thing and a reason to oppose polygamy. Because the "normalizing polygamy will weaken monogamous marriage" argument really does hold water in a way it doesn't for gay/straight marriages. But it's a really interesting question.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:40 PM
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How does normalizing polygamy weaken monogamous marriage? I can see how, but I can't see ways that actually bother me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:44 PM
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Polyamory violates the uniqueness of butt principle.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:46 PM
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Yeah, which is why if I was the Push For Poly Acceptance Political Action Committee Chair In Charge Of Framing Issues, what I'd be pushing for is a complete seperation of the legal benefits/statuses from the religious/"romantic" relationship, and a further seperating out of the legal relationships from themselves. I mean, I know from personal experience that it's a huge pain and never fully effective for gay or non-traditional couples to try and approximate the legal status of marriage, and that is an actual argument for marriage equality, but I think that the whole "one-stop shopping for all your health insurance/legal co-parenting/inheritance/legal and medical decision making/tax benefits needs" thing is actually a pretty dumb and outmoded way of dealing with all that.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:47 PM
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105

"How does normalizing polygamy weaken monogamous marriage? I can see how, but I can't see ways that actually bother me."

It wouldn't bother you if your husband was constantly looking for another wife?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:48 PM
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Very few people that I personally know are emotionally "evolved" enough to handle polyamory. Way too much possesiveness and jealousy. But good luck with it anyway, hippies.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:48 PM
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It wouldn't bother you if your husband was constantly looking for another wife?

Sure, but that same fear gets expressed in current marriages as fear of cheating. Either way it is a violation of ground rules if one party hasn't signed on to those terms.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:52 PM
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It weakens it in the sense of, where do you draw the line at how many people can you marry? How are divorces handled? If a marriage consists of only two people, it's easy to tell when the union has split up, but in a marriage of five people, how are things adjudicated if that winds up breaking down into a triad and a couple (or two singles)? Basically, it brings in the idea of the "marriage" itself as an institution seperate from the people inside it, almost like a corporation, which obviously could have huge repercussions. Also, if there's no upper bound on how many people you can marry at one time, how is health insurance, benefits, etc, apportioned?

Obviously, my answer is "a lot of this stuff really should not be under the aegis of marriage anymore, especially the modern romantic idea of marriage", but it's still a big thicket of stuff to sort out if that's not the ultimate solution.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:53 PM
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I suspect, for no real concrete reason, that 109 is right. A society that was accepting of polyamory (not just tolerating, not just well-if-you-want-to-sweetie) would be very different from ours. Maybe better, but I imagine getting human-beings-as-we-are-now to the point where everyone wasn't fighting off feelings of possessiveness, jealousy, etc. would probably render monogamous marriage quaint.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:55 PM
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Oooh! Could you have a daisy chain of marriages, where person B is only married to A and C, Person C is only married to B and D, and so on down the alphabet? I bet that would take unstable personalities to implement.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:56 PM
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122 sounds correct to me, but it's also the most depressing indictment of marriage I've ever heard.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:57 PM
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109: Actually, I find very few people are emotionally "evolved" enough to handle monogamy, either.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:58 PM
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How does normalizing polygamy weaken monogamous marriage? I can see how, but I can't see ways that actually bother me.

This is probably already evident from the more recent comments by Lunar Rockette, but trying to accommodate multi-partner unions in the current legal framework of "marriage" and the legal rights that are all bound up thereby will be confounding on a sheerly logistical level. A whole lot of that legal apparatus is about identifying a unique and reciprocal relationship between oneself and one other person, who becomes the primary designated person for all kinds of stuff related to you, your money, your healthcare, etc.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:58 PM
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122 is correct, but I haven't written it yet.

Marriage is basically impossible and undesirable is what I'm going to say, if you've got to run.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:59 PM
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You could do a figure 8 of marriages, if P also married H, and Z married A.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 5:59 PM
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Happiness runs in a circular motion. Love is like a little boat upon the sea.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:00 PM
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You know what's a threat to the tradition structure of marriage? Tom Brady and his penis.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:00 PM
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The exact impact is going to depend on the balance of types of polygamy you think will be popular. The loosy-goosy, let's be experimental, polyamorous hippie model is very different than the conservative patriarchal Mormon model that envisions a very stable and lasting bond except with more than two partners. Also, for the second type of model the sex balance of polygamy is going to matter a lot. Historically and traditionally, conservative polygamy has been pretty much all one man-multiple women, which can have huge social effects in drawing women off the marriage market and making marriage more difficult for low-status or low-income males.

Short answer: the loosy-goosy model could change the marriage ideal from a permanent committment to a sort of floating, revolving, community of roommates, and the conservative model could have all kinds of worse effects, it's the ideal authoritarian setup in many ways.

I have some sympathies with the loosy-goosy model, but I prefer the current situation where it's quite possible to do it on your own but it's not the cultural ideal.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:00 PM
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116 wound up even pwneder than I expected.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:00 PM
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Everyone married should die, die, die!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:01 PM
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110

"Sure, but that same fear gets expressed in current marriages as fear of cheating. Either way it is a violation of ground rules if one party hasn't signed on to those terms."

The terms available change if it is generally considered normal and acceptable for married men to be looking for more wives (or to have mistresses). As does the likelihood that the terms will be honored.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:01 PM
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See, it's not like a plumbing store where you have one bin of female butts and another bin of male butts. Each unique snowflake butt has to matched with one and only other unique snowflake butt. They're not supposed to be interchangeable.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:01 PM
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113: It happens an awful lot in practice, actually. Particularly amongst the sort of "hippies" that 109 is referencing, who are really into their own sexual openness, but have a tragic deficiency of the gay.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:02 PM
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Child rearing would be an absolute pain in the ass.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:02 PM
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SO CLOSE! If only this were horseshoes or hand grenades.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:02 PM
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The loosy-goosy, let's be experimental, polyamorous hippie model is very different than the conservative patriarchal Mormon model that envisions a very stable and lasting bond except with more than two partners.

In fact FLDS in Colorado City, YFZ Ranch, et cetera, went beyond 'stable relationships' into ultra-patriarchy where wives were actually reassigned from man to man, and sometimes shipped from the US to Canada or vice versa. This of course also required dispossession of a good fraction of the society's young men, too, who were often just kicked out without even being given a good reason. FLDS exiles


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:03 PM
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120: Tom Brady could have twenty wives if polygamy was accepted. As it is, he probably keeps more than one hot model/actress off the marriage market at a time.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:03 PM
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127: It already is, though.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:06 PM
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121: Just to be fair, there are other models, including the "basically closed, fidelitous couple-that-just-happens-to-not-be-a-couple". Amazingly enough, not every triad (or quad or etc) is just two closested gay people with a bonus connector dongle. I know, personally, a number of very stable MMF triads, several with kids, whereas both of the guys are, at most, "bisexual from the waist up", and where the female in question is either straight or only very vaguely. Some of these people use the term "polyfidelity"; a lot don't.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:07 PM
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Each of George Washington's thirty wives got her own dick.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:07 PM
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her own goddamn dick.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:08 PM
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127: that's really at the core of it too -- especially for the loosey-goosey floating bunch o' hippies.

129: wow, moving over toward slavery then. Doesn't surprise me, though. I was kind of getting at the exile point when I mentioned how it can affect low-income/status men.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:09 PM
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131: Yeah, but more so.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:09 PM
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127: Are you talking about the A is married to B who is married to C who isn't married to A but is married to D stuff? From my observations, it basically either defaults to monogamy or single-motherhood, or ends up with the kids sort of raising themselves amidst a larger community. Or, in the case of one particular girl I'm thinking of, informal and then formal adoption by parties not actually biologically related to her in any way, and I think only second-degree connected to her mother relationshippially.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:10 PM
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You could have two concentric circles, one with $n$ women and one with $n$ men, each of whom were married to their two adjacencies. But then, while each circle is still holding hands, they pair off wagon-spoke style from time to time. In marital bliss.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:14 PM
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137: Less complicated, more mundane. Who makes medical decisions for the kids? Hell, who decides whether it's okay if they go out for sports instead of playing music? Or whether video games are okay or TV or schoolwork? Who's financially responsible for whom? These things seem to be hard enough when it's only one or two parents, let alone three or four. And that's without thinking about divorce.

I can imagine a society where all of that is easy to solve and fully functional, but it's a society where the people have very different basic reactions.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:14 PM
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Just to be fair, there are other models, including the "basically closed, fidelitous couple-that-just-happens-to-not-be-a-couple".

yeah, when I think about this I realize I don't really know what we'd see if the doors were really open. I don't even know the full range of stuff out there today.

I sort of like our current system where monogamous marriage is clearly favored but there is all this de facto room to experiment. Nobody is going to hunt you down and arrest you if you come up with some other arrangement (unless brainwashing 14 year old girls is involved).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:16 PM
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Or you could take $n$ triples of the form grandparent-parent-child. If the first grandparent marries the second parent, and then the second child marries the third parent, etc, you could get a braiding effect when you diagrammed it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:18 PM
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I long for the day when our narrow-minded society no longer considers "symmetry" and "reciprocity" to be virtues of a marriage. Bring on uni-directional marriages! Diagram them with an arrow. You would have then have sinks and sources in your flowchart.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:20 PM
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139: For practical reasons, it almost always wound up being the mother, with possibly a male consort who might or not have been the father and/or husband involved. I can think of one case where a father who actually hadn't ever been married to the mom (who wound up married to someone else) managed to establish paternity and get some visitation and I think eventually custody as well. But that was all grandfathered from how the legal system already looks at such stuff, and yeah, you're right - it's all resting on a basis of crypto-monogamy.

I can think of a few ways to determine that kind of thing, at least in respect to kids, that wouldn't be more of the same, but they're radical to the point of making the "B thinks kids should vote!!" position look mainstream.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:23 PM
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I sort of like our current system where monogamous marriage is clearly favored but there is all this de facto room to experiment. Nobody is going to hunt you down and arrest you if you come up with some other arrangement

No; they might just beat you up, or kill you, or harass you or your children, or vandalize your property, or deny you access to your kids, or deny you access to your partner in the event of death or illness. No big whoop.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:24 PM
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144: Thank you for reminding us all that there is still room for improvement. I'm sure none of us were aware of any of that.

Now, obviously what he means is our legal system.

I would say "monogamous marriage is incentivized". a little stronger than "clearly favored".


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:25 PM
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Actually, the more I think of it, most of my answers 139 basically involve universal birth control and access to abortion. So, yeeeeeaah, not in this lifetime, alas.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:26 PM
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145.1: And my point is that the legal system isn't the only thing that matters.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:29 PM
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145: Now, obviously what he means is our legal system.

Hrm. Let's see about that, shall we?:

deny you access to your kids

Sounds like the legal system to me.

deny you access to your partner in the event of death or illness

Yep, legal system.

harass you or your children

Now, I'm sure this will draw plenty of challenges on definitional grounds, but given the way CPS, etc, is structured in the US at least, it is very easy to wind up with a situation that would very much be "harassment" (or worse) in other circumstances, but backed up by the force of law.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:31 PM
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Thanks, Rocky.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:36 PM
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Now I'm all worried that 3****'s shitty codebasehas finally driven HL to suicide. :( Even the remote team I sent out to look for him at his workplace has come up with nothing. Post, Hammikins!


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:38 PM
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I think there are pretty clear laws on the books that address getting beaten up, killed, vandalized, or harassed, and they don't have any exceptions for mom-has-a-boyfriend or dad-has-a-girlfriend.

Child protective services and family court are notoriously fucked up and random for everyone who gets caught in their clutches, even straight monogamous people. I wasn't expressing support every narrow-minded asshole in the country.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:42 PM
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I have a bias on the polyamorousness. One of my son's acquaintances was the child of a polyamorous commune (the Rajneeshees), and he was the most depressed person I've ever met -- the way things sorted themselves out, neither of his parents really wanted him much after a certain point. It was like "We're having fun, you go have fun".

It doesn't have to work out that way, but to the extent that the parents' desires are dominant, it can.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:48 PM
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Anyway, here's my real argument as to why the "room to experiment" thing is bullshit: setting up the monogamous and heteronormative ideal as the norm means making people who don't fit into it defacto second-class citizens, but it also ends up giving legal power over others to a lot of people who should not have it, just because of their genitalia/who they once fucked/an accident of birth. To make something the "default" is to give it, in practice, way too much power.

Of course, I also very even more strongly about this in re: biological parentage, so.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:56 PM
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also feel. ugh.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:56 PM
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I have a bias on the heteronormative monogamous marriage and biological parentage = ownership thing! Namely, almost every single gay, bi, trans, or otherwise queer person I know over the age of about 30 (self not included, but then, I'm only 29.)


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 6:59 PM
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Rob, way back at @ 9: I almost posted before I went to work this morning, but realized I wanted to think more on the subject. But here you go.

140: Nobody is going to hunt you down and arrest you if you come up with some other arrangement

In addition to the points made in 144, "they" can also deny you the right to visit your spice (plural of spouse) in the hospital, jail or other such places, deny you a say in their medical care and treatment decisions and many other rather important areas.

As someone who has been part of a polyamorist FMF (all hetero) triad for over 15 years, I can say it's not for everyone, and it has its unique issues. My legal wife (30 years in August) set me up with the woman who became her co-wife (their term) almost 17 years ago. We are not polyfidelitous, and I have been involved with an OSO for the past six years as well. Additionally, the three of us have been enthusiastic co-parents of a dear friend's two children (who are now in their 20s), and consider them all part of the family, even though he has never been a sexual partner with any of us.

Yeah, it's work, and can indeed be a pain in the ass (actually a euphemism), but it works for us.

The negative publicity caused by the FLDS and other such slave groups continues to be a major hindrance to promoting polyamory to the general public, in no small part because it removes the female from the equation. Trying to explain to people that polyamory includes the possibility of women having multiple partners as well as men can be quite frustrating, because the bad example of part of the concept is the one that gets the media coverage.

To deal with some of the issues related to who is "family," we have had a friend who is a lawyer draft wills, powers of attorney and medical powers of attorney, along with specific statements of what treatments we are willing to undergo. These have come in handy over the past couple of years (several emergency room trips, knee surgery, partial knee replacement, stage one breast cancer).

I agree with Rockette that completely separating the civil and religious concepts of marriage would go a long way to make all varieties of consensual relationships more acceptable to the general public. The three of us had a lovely commitment ceremony at a science fiction convention two years ago with a couple hundred of our friends in attendance. It would be nice if that had brought us the benefits and perks that a ceremony between myself and either of them would have come with.


Posted by: Dr Paisley | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:05 PM
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to the extent that the parents' desires are dominant, it can.

Yes, but selfishness isn't particularly the province of poly folks. Normal straight Woebegoners can be selfish assholes too.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:08 PM
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The generic couple is pretty well tied to childraising, whereas a lot of the exotic variations don't seem to be.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:15 PM
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I have a bias on the heteronormative monogamous marriage and biological parentage = ownership thing! Namely, almost every single gay, bi, trans, or otherwise queer person I know over the age of about 30 (self not included, but then, I'm only 29.)

This...I don't know what this means. Can you rephrase this? What bias? What thing? What about almost every queer person you know?


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:29 PM
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159: "They fuck you up, your mum and dad".

Again, only counting people over about 30, but I've met very few gay/lesbian/bi folks who did not suffer at some point in their lives from the kind of arbitrary and absolute authority we give to biological parents - and almost all of the exceptions were those who quite consciously closeted themselves until they were over the age of majority and completely financially indepent, too, which is itself a harm. For most trans folks I know who're even willing to talk about their birth families, it's even more extreme.

I've been pretty lucky, and the experiences of my younger friends give me a lot of hope in this area, but I've seen waaaaay too much to be comfortable with any kind of automatic "rights" for parents, based on as arbitrary a criteria as biological relation/


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:48 PM
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What I was really talking about was, when there was a kid, someone has to be there for the kid. "Rights for parents" doesn't ring a bell at all; for me parenting is an obligation.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 8:53 PM
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I think that's kind of what Rocky's saying, John.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:06 PM
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I hadn't really thought of the poly's as flagbearers for it, but a lot of what Rockette is saying lines up with the sort of refactoring of legal status (and social acceptance, if not norms) of a lot of different relationships (not limited to romantic ones) that would be a real improvement. Much of what we have now matches up pretty poorly with how people actually live.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:12 PM
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*many people, anyway, I'm not saying the median has shifted radically. On the other hand, things are undeniably made harder for people in pretty average situations.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:14 PM
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We seem to be talking about ttwo different things. She's talking about bad traditional families, and I'm talking about kids who just get lost. She's talking about authoritarianism and abuse, and I'm talking about neglect.

My point, which I did not intend to be the end of the argument or the killer argument, was that in my experience (especially ca. 1972-1980) parents who were heavily involved in personal liberation programs (including heterosexual males, above all) seemed to lose kids.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:15 PM
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161: "Rights for parents" doesn't ring a bell at all; for me parenting is an obligation.

No, exactly; and frankly, the only way to really ensure an obligation is met is to give the power to enforce it to the person to whom such things are oblidged, or at least make sure that power is aligned completely with their interest, and not to assume that there's any way to tell ahead of time who will fulfill such obligations short of actually fullfilling them.

Just because the phrase "rights for parents" isn't used a lot, it doesn't mean it's not a huge concept with a lot of weight across most sectors of society. Not to get back into the CFS debates, but what do you think the strangely pro-FLDS stuff is coming from?

To give an example that actually has nothing at all to do with gender or gayness, I think the exception that allows the Amish to yank their kids from school in the 8th grade is complete and utter bullshit, and I also wouldn't really object to private schooling being completely absolished, and public schooling through HS or age 18 100% mandatory, and set up as a legal right of children, completely independent of what their parents "think is best".


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:15 PM
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165: I don't think you can seperate the two as neatly as you think - for example, how our current ideas of parental authority give parents license to effectively neglect or abuse one (gay) kid while treating another (straight) kid with marked preference. Obviously, I don't mean neglect and abuse in a legal, except that I actually do, in many cases I've witnessed, and in a lot of environments, the parents get away with it too, aided by general deference to "parental authority".


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:20 PM
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We really are on different pages, though. You are talking mostly about authoritarian or abusive parents, and I'm talking about unwanted kids.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:25 PM
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I don't know that the two of you are that far apart, JE, just looking at different hypotheticals. If you take a general principle that kids rights trump parents rights in some sense, you `cover' both cases. All that's left is a total lack of legal structure to define what that means in the face of the developmental aspects of childhood, and the lack, given such legal authority, of a process to do anything much about it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:30 PM
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And my point is, if you actually legally set up kids as having much more societal and legal support independent of their parents, that starts solving the problem of "unwanted".

Basically, the "problem of unwanted kids" is the problem: that you're relying on this notion of a particular couple of people "wanting" a child in order for children to be taken care of and raised properly. You can stir it up a few ways (gay adoption, adoption in general, whatever), but it's still basically relying on a biological relationship or a legally facsimile of same to do all the work. You yourself go on all the time about extended family structures and the fiction of the nuclear family, so I'm kind of baffled as to why you're not seeing the parallels.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:31 PM
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Although I did note that LR had some concrete examples of things that could practically be shifted, even if in practice it would be very difficult.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:32 PM
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(Can we just take it as given that I cannot write, type, spell, or form coherent sentences for crap? All righty then.)


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:33 PM
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My angle is that speculation about alternatives to the nuclear family tend to be oriented toward the needs of the adults, whereas if there are kids involved the equations are enormously different. And I did see a problem with that during my childraising days.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:34 PM
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173: the nuclear family as currently instituted say, in the US, is a pretty new idea and doesn't work well outside this socio-economic mileau. Some `alternatives' look more like what people have been doing for ages, others don't. I don't see any reason that if you're going to rethink the legal structures the regulate & encourage particular structures, that you couldn't rethink them with an emphasis on childrens rights.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:39 PM
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The direction of movement I've seen hasn't been in the direction of extended families.

I guess I just think that, if a family founded on the desire between two people is often unstable and unnurturing, a family founded on the more complex desires of large polyamorous groups might be worse.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:43 PM
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175: The direction of movement I've seen hasn't been in the direction of extended families.

Because you are white, straight, old, and live in Lake fucking Woebegon.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:48 PM
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if a family founded on the desire between two people

Isn't this also historically novel?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:50 PM
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And more importantly, seem more interested in arguing with the degenerate hippies in your head than actually paying attention to the examples of folks in this very thread who are living in contradiction of your judgey bullshit pre-conceptions.

... okay, now I'm trolling. But. Arrrrgh.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-28-08 9:53 PM
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No, LR, here in Lake Wobegon you do have the extended families. I am a major part of my grandnephew's life.

The hippies in my head were real hippies 1970-1980 who were talking exactly this same talk about alternatives to the family, but when the chips were down the alternative to the family they meant was one without kids, and the family they meant was a shifting bunch of miscellaneous relationships.

I grew up here and have been here for 3+ years recently, but I spent 40 years in Portland OR, where I had extensive contact with alternative lifestyles of all kinds.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-29-08 6:07 AM
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public schooling through HS or age 18 100% mandatory, and set up as a legal right of children, completely independent of what their parents "think is best"

Dear god yes.

Look, John, we get that in your personal experience you saw people using hippiedom as an excuse to be selfish fucks. Selfish fucks have always been with us. And yes, absolutely, it is possible for people to get all invested in their radical ways and lose track of the fact that kids need stability. What Rocky's trying to say (and I agree) is that the straight-up straight mom/dad/kids/picket fence family is far from the only way to provide stability to kids. And after all, there are plenty of selfish fucks in those arrangements too, which is why women so often end up sacrificing themselves to try to keep the kids together.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-29-08 11:19 AM
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I hope to take this up again some other time. It got cut off short last night because it was late, for me anyway.

The point I wanted to make was that the alternatives to the nuclear family intended to make the adults in the family happier, sexually or otherwise, and the alternatives to the family intended to make kids happier in the families they're in, are quite different and sometimes in conflict.

The people I knew weren't just hippies. They were original feminists and gay liberation people ca. 1973-1980 or so. And me. I was into it. What I found was that most people talking about alternatives to the nuclear family, which was a phrase we used a lot, basically were thinking of alternatives not involving kids. So as time went on, our friends were increasingly other people with kids, some of who were in the alternatives faction, but most of whom were in the nuclear family faction. And most of the childraising we saw was done by nuclear families, though some of them were lesbian nuclear families.

Actually, a lot of the childraising we saw was done by single parents, mostly mothers. But I saw few signs of extended families not based on traditional family relationships (aunts, grandmothers, etc.). I did see people following their needs and assuming that the kid would deal with it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-29-08 10:00 PM
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