Dec. 3rd, 2011 11:49 am
sephira: (Star Trek)
sephira: (Bones: Booth and Brennan)
You might have seen this article get posted around LJ with much scorn a while back: 'The Online World of Female Desire.' What confused me about the scorn is that the main premise is exactly the same as something I'd mentioned offhandedly in this old Fanfiction article, and I didn't get a single complaint about that, or even a hint from anyone that there was anything negative about the idea. 
I would put this down to the obvious fact that one is the WSJ, and one is a random Cracked piece that didn't even get a front page feature, except that the Cracked piece only got the hits it did because of being linked around on LJ and other fanfic-heavy places. Also, several of the LJ people who complained about the WSJ piece were the same people who'd messaged me complimenting the article. Did they just skip that bit?

So I got curious, and read the link. The WSJ article says:

"Whereas two-minute video clips are the most popular form of contemporary erotica for men, the most popular form for women remains the romance novel, an artifact that takes many hours to digest... All romance novels, whether written by the likes of Jane Austen, Nora Roberts or Stephenie Meyer, employ a narrative formula that follows the gradual elucidation of the hero's inner character, leading to an emotional epiphany between hero and heroine. On this journey, the heroine—and the reader—investigates the character of the hero. The goal of a romance novel's heroine is never sex for its own sake, much less impersonal sex with strangers. In addition to providing a new platform for traditional romance tales, the Web has fueled an explosion of stories written by a highly interactive community of female amateurs: a genre called "fan fiction.""
Okay, not that different to this:

"The main writers and readers of all kinds of fanfiction are women, but the ladies particularly dominate this genre. This might be due to the need of many women to experience emotional as well as visual stimuli to enjoy sex fully. Fanfic comes with emotional bonds to the characters already built-in: these have been formed during the fan's prior experience of the book/show/music/whatever.
This saves the female reader all the time she would have wasted reading a romance novel, slowly building up a 200-page bond with the characters in order to finally get to the sex. Instead, having already invested the time to read Harry Potter, the reader can immediately dive into an unlimited supply of hot Lupin/Snape action.
Which isn't to say men don't write fanfiction, It just tends to all be all about them boning a female character with the addition of "Oh yeah and we were on a spaceship or something.""
Awesome, we're in agreement. But wait. The authors, in their infinite wisdom, also give us this:
"The female cortex contains a highly developed system for finding and scrutinizing a prospective partner—a system that might be dubbed the Miss Marple Detective Agency. Agatha Christie's fictional sleuth is often dismissed as scatterbrained, but she is actually a shrewd judge of character and harbors deep knowledge of the dark side of human nature. She uses her surprising analytical acumen to solve mysteries that have stumped the police. Using similar investigative skills, the female brain evaluates all available evidence regarding a potential mate's social, emotional and physical qualities to make an all-important decision: Is he Mr. Right or Mr. Wrong? Only if Miss Marple gives her stamp of approval do physical arousal and psychological arousal harmoniously unite in the female brain."
Guys! It's the Evo Psych Good Will Theory Destructobomb Paragraph!
So I think I've come up with a plan to make sure your theory alienates as many people as possible:
1. Linguistically reduce not just an individual, but an entire group of people to a single 'brain'. Don't worry about stuff like 'the endocrine system' either. Just say 'cortex' and people will think you're smart. 
2. Even though you're talking about a part of the brain which isn't exactly known as a dark unknown ocean of irrational desire, act like everything you're talking about is completely inevitable, unconscious and unaffected by free will. It doesn't matter whether this is true or not! What matters is that people love being told they're slavering, robotic meat-sacks.
3. Throw in something about 'social and emotional qualities' in the hope that your audience hasn't actually read any fanfiction, so they'll won't be confused about what 'qualities' make Snape desirable when he's statutorily raping someone.
4. Be sure to put in a reference to 'Mr Right' somehow, because it's the end game of all female desire for anything and explains why married women don't read fanfiction or have any hobbies.

5. ???
6. Profit!
I have a theory about why the authors are being so supposedly counterproductive here: back when humans still lived on the savanna, early ancestors of homo sapiens began to alienate the vast majority of their social group by spouting off unfalsifiable bullshit about cortices. This method ensured that only the most gullible group members stuck around to listen to their theories. The low intelligence and docility of the group members that stayed around meant that it was easy for the alienaters to mate with them and pass on their genes successfully. As a result, the human cortex now possesses what I call an alienation desire structure, and I recently proved this by sticking people in an MRI and telling them that they only liked their favorite music because the steady beat reminded them of fucking and delicious berries and some shit.
sephira: (Bones: Booth and Brennan)

See, here we have another example of a really extreme and annoying subculture which can nevertheless be successfully stripped down for mainstream consumption. (Like organic food, holistic medicine, or Ayn Rand.) Like, only a couple of years back, Game was inseparable from PUAs; ie, a wildly homoerotic dick-measuring contest mostly confined to the deservedly-lonely parts of the Internet. I still read a bit on it back then, because I think human behavioral techniques are interesting. But not only was it based way too heavily on evo psych, the general attitude of the serious adherents could pretty much be summed up thus:
When men act in a way that is personally pleasurable to them, yet harmful to their long-term happiness or to society overall, it's because their genes made them do it, and also they're helplessly responding to extreme feminism.
When women act in a way that is personally pleasurable, yet harmful to their long-term happiness or to society overall, it's because they have freely chosen to be evil, evil whores.
But then as time went on, you'd see one or two normal, reasonable people mentioning it and trying to redeem the concept, and I thought 'Huh, good luck'. But then about a week ago I read this post and thought 'Hm, I really want to show this to about 15 people I know.' But I didn't, because I thought there was a chance they'd a) misinterpret and/or be offended by some of the language/concepts used, which given who the blog is run by, aren't exactly aimed at the neophyte or b) google the term in the title and end up at a page where the aim is not 'get along better with your man/woman and be happy and make the world a better place' but rather 'this is this technique you can use to manipulate a vulnerable woman so she will continue to have sex with you even though you are an emotionally abusive manchild.' And I didn't want to be responsible for that! 
Now I realize that I am probably just being impatient. Given this trajectory I'm thinking there'll be a spokesman on Oprah within a year.
(And no, I don't actually read Athol's blog, I've just skimmed a post or two when someone linked to it. Among other things, it's too graphic for me. And apparently also for the Daily Mail, since they mention but don't explain the pineapple juice thing.)
sephira: (BSG: Dance Party)
Because why the frak would the human body decide to announce that it's severely dehydrated by a) not being thirsty b) feeling nauseated and c) (eventually, sometimes) throwing up all the liquid it's got left?



sephira: (BSG: Dance Party)
Because why the frak would the human body decide to announce that it's severely dehydrated by a) not being thirsty b) feeling nauseated and c) (eventually, sometimes) throwing up all the liquid it's got left?



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