Friday, June 5, 2009

I got nothing to say..

Normally when people send me birthday notes I would write back a thank you note (which reminds me...gotta get on those thank you notes for the wedding). But I haven't written back to my dad. I just have nothing to say to him right now. I could talk to him about the wedding, but he probably wouldn't like that. I could talk to him about my upcoming cruise, but that would probably be throwing my marriage/awesome in-laws who are cruising with us in his face. I could tell him that I'm going to see Phish on Sunday and am really really excited, but he would probably not approve of that either (those horrible dirty hippies..damn them!). How exactly can you have a relationship with someone who disapproves of every part of your life except the school part? I'm closer with my dissertation chair it least he wanted to know how the wedding went.

In other news, apparently Obama Visited Buchenwald recently. Interesting coincidence- One of my grandfather's was a prisoner at Buchenwald, and that is where he was liberated by American troops. My other grandfather was part of the group of American troops that liberated Buchenwald. So one of my grandfather's rescued the other one!

And neither of them knew that just around 35 years later they would be hating each other because one was not orthodox (my dad's dad who is the holocaust survivor- he was/is more "traditional," my dad is a baal tshuva) and the other one (the one who was in the army) didn't like him or his son(my dad) because of that. And then my non-orthodox grandparents got insulted because my orthodox grandparents were total jerks to them when my parents got married. And then my parents did pretty much the same thing (but more extreme!) when I got married, thus completing the circle of asshattery.

On a completely unrelated topic, I love that Conan is on at 11:30 now- I used to watch him all the time in college but as I got older and had more early morning responsibilities, I just could never stay up that late***. But now I can catch at least part of it- and the best part is that it's not on cable, so I can just turn on the little crappy tv in our bedroom and put the tv on sleep and just pass out in the middle of watching it (we only have one tv with cable, in the living room, which is not good for falling asleep to cause then I have to wake up and move to the bedroom).

Kinda like I used to do in college actually. I always fell asleep to the tv in college, since the people who had the dorm room above me in college loved the late night sexing, and there were no carpets in our dorm, and the beds were made of metal...and I was good friends with the girl who lived above me and her boyfriend, so I didn't want to hear them getting it on. Later that couple got married at city hall, because the guy needed a green card to be able to work in the US (he was from Columbia and had some awesome tribal tattoos). Now that guy is married to someone else, has a kids, and is living in Columbia and running a small oil company he inherited from his dad. His ex-wife, who is Israeli-American, was the first Jewish person I knew to get married to someone not Jewish against her family's wishes- actually she might still be the only person I know like that. But since then they have gotten divorced, and now she is engaged to an Israeli Jewish guy, and the Columbian guy married a Columbian girl. Did you know that in the US there's something like a 95% racial homogamy rate- meaning that 95% of people marry someone of the same race? What's up with that?

***Do you know why teenagers stay up really late but as you get older you start going to sleep earlier? There's actually an evolutionary reason for that. See, for most of human history (and the period in which a lot of human evolution took place), humans were foragers, also known as hunter-gatherers. Humans grouped together in small nomadic tribes, and would follow the food- so they would move around as different seasons happened (and therefore different food was in season in different areas), and as animals migrated. A few times a year several tribes would meet up at central locations and exchange goods and family members, who would get married to members of other tribes. Marriage then would provide some protection to tribes, because a tribe was unlikely to attack another tribe if they had exchanged children for marriage. Several historical sociologists/anthropologists think that this is the reason marriage was created.

Moving around a lot meant that these ancient tribes didn't have very sturdy homes, and so the tribes were very cautious at night, because they could easily be attacked by animals or other tribes. So they would have the most fit and healthy members of their tribe stand watch at night- the teenagers. As a result, humans actually evolved so that teenagers would naturally stay up later at night, so that they could keep watch. This is why your kids are up all night.


  1. I'm marrying interracially! I'm white (and not Jewish) and my fiance is Chinese and from Malaysia. And we're getting married earlier than my parents would like because of immigration issues.

    My parents actually don't believe we're in an interracial relationship. They think only black/white ones are interracial.

    And my fiance's old Cantonese grandmother is delighted he's landed an "ang moh." Ang moh means white person (literally red hair) in their dialect.

  2. how about talking to your father him about him if youre not sure what to share about yourself. ask him questions about his life and then maybe he will reciprocate.

  3. I'm sorry but can we please, please not repeat inherently untestable hypotheses about where various human traits have come from without at least a disclaimer that they are untestable.

    The thing with your grandparents is just really sad. It sounds almost like something out of a parody.

  4. I LOVE figuring things out about human "nature" by the evolutionary explanation and that teenager thing makes perfect sense to me. Like boys love to gang up and go do dangerous things- uh- at one point, that was probably what kept the tribe alive. Those boy gangs would go hunt the wooly mammoth and feed the tribe. Now they have nothing to do but get in trouble.
    I like your mind, Eden. I do.

  5. We could always see what tribal people do, to see if it's a common occurance. Personally, I think the teens stayed up late so they could mock old people, and old people woke up early so they could mock young people.

  6. It's really quite unbelievable that one grandfather would rescue the other and they would end up hating each other 35 years later. I don't think it's a parody, it's more like a Shakespearean or Greek tragedy.

  7. Joshua- they can scientifically test things such as melatonin levels, and teenagers have been found to have melatonin (natural chemical in your body that regulates sleep) that goes up much later at night than both older and younger people. The evolutionary explanations of why that is comes from anthropologists studying hunter-gatherer tribes in modern times, and looking for common patterns. The marriage exchange stuff comes from Stephanie Coontz's book "Marriage: A History", a social historian whose theories are widely accepted among family sociologists.

  8. "Did you know that in the US there's something like a 95% racial homogamy rate- meaning that 95% of people marry someone of the same race? What's up with that?"

    Well if the categories are white, black, Asian, and native American (Hispanic/Latino isn't considered a "race" now) it's not so surprising when you consider the numbers and the spatial distribution. 75% are White, 12% Black, 4% Asian, 1% Native American and Hawaiian etc. and 8% mixed race. Now many of these groups are very concentrated spatially so the opportunities for mixing are reduced and of course plenty of people prefer their own race. Given that I don't think 95% is so surprising. I'm in an "inter-racial" marriage though, my wife is Chinese.

  9. This was a really interesting post. I arrived here via Ms Moon, and am glad I stumbled upon your blog. I too often have differences with my family, while not over religion but rather my level of involvement in the family. Basically, I'm treated like a child instead of an active grown-up all because I'm NOT married. I had a huge falling out last summer with everyone and it was absolutely miserable. So in a small way, I do appreciate what you're going through. Hang in there. Sounds like you've got a good thing going in your marriage, either way! And that's the real blessing.

  10. Oh wow.....did your friend know ahead of time she was just being used???

  11. My dad totally forgot to show up to my wedding. He's a stoner though, so I guess it's to be expected. The marriage didn't last anyway.

    I'd say racial homogeneity is a mix of social pressures and social differences. I've dated a few black men. My family only approved of the one adopted by white parents, not the Rastafarian. I think it's more cultural for my mom (and latent racism for my grandma).

  12. Following up my point - if 75% of Americans are white then if there was no prejudice and the distribution of races was smooth across the country, 25% of people whites would meet would be non-white. Now actually Asians are concentrated in the SF Bay Area, San Gabriel Valley in LA etc. Blacks are concentrated in the SE and inner cities in the north etc. So the average white has little chance to meet many of these people. Let's say this effect reduces the potential number of non-whites they meet by half. Now we're down to 12% of people they meet are non-white. If preference for marrying other whites resulted in half of those potential matches not occurring we'd be down to 6% of whites marrying non-whites. Then you can run similar calculations for the other races. This shows that prejudice doesn't have to be much worse than this 50% prefer their own race to come up with abandoning Eden's statistic 95% marry within the race.

    I don't know what Australia's number - nearly 90% are white here but we don't usually think in those categories here so much.

  13. AE,

    "As a result, humans actually evolved so that teenagers would naturally stay up later at night, so that they could keep watch. This is why your kids are up all night."

    Low levels of melatonin is associated with puberty in animal studies as well as in humans. Secondary to its relationship to puberty, irregularities in the melatonin circadian rhythm may merely result as a biologically "inadvertent" side effect. It could be as evolutionary insignificant as the likes of skin acne.

    Or maybe acne evolved as a means of scaring away invaders?

    Similar melatonin shifts exist for both teenage girls and boys, yet I don't think most foraging tribes used young girls as night guards.


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