Friday 10 August 2012

Birds and Bees

Chewing The Cud, Part Two

All Cows Eat Grass. And of course Every Good Boy Deserve Football, or maybe Favours or Females. Or maybe some other word beginning with F, depending on how open minded your music teacher was. And while they may deserve it, most don’t get it. Every Good Boy Get Stuck In The Friend-Zone is probably more accurate. Every Good Boy Gets Ignored By Sarah Connelly As She Continues To Sleep With A Succession Of Arseholes While Sobbing On The Shoulder Of The One Person Who Would Never Hurt Her And Ignoring What Is In Front Of Her Face, is definitely so. Though I’m not sure quite what sort of stave you’d need to fit that on.

Faced with that sort of insane female logic, I’m not all that surprised that the current generation of Japanese men is apparently giving up their interest in Females’ Favours and other Fs, opting instead just to Eat Grass. You see, I’m not talking about music at all, I’m talking about Herbivorous men!

Told you it was clever.

No Homer, the whole world's not gay. Not even metrosexual, despite the increased consumption of hair gel and exfoliate. Resolutely asexual. To throw back to last time, if western women are increasingly expected to resemble real life Barbie dolls, then these guys are Ken. Fantastic grooming, great wardrobes, but there’s a distinct lack of what’s necessary to achieve fulfillment.

You’ll remember that Japanese culture is to Western culture as does are to stags; basically the same, but with enough outward differences that they can at first appear to be completely different things. In that same post, I talked about the depressing tendency for young men in the UK to get pissed up and scrap with each other as some kind of confused mating ritual. A drunken rut, or lek if you will. This kind of thing happens throughout the animal kingdom. Deer do it. Ass do it. Birds do it, bees do it, even educated...

Actually, no, not the bees. No point. The male drones have a very specific, predetermined function to perform and it’s of no benefit to them to try to push beyond the limits of their role. If they hang around long enough without upsetting the rest of the hive then a lucky few might eventually get to fuck a queen. Which is perhaps where this metaphor starts to fall down a touch.

Let’s change tack. Look at this clip. Observe those great shuddering mounds of flesh slapping repeatedly against each other; over and over as cataracts of bodily fluid gush forth from freshly opened gashes and ruptures. Hark to the pounding, grinding of bodies time and time again in visceral, primal, exultant explosions of dominance and submission until finally they collapse; groaning, heaving, spent and bloodied in the surf.

And you thought we’d finished with the porn last time.

All of that over some ladies. But at least they’ve got something to fight for. It’s an unarguable meritocracy. You get what you can take; you keep what you can hold. I’d hope that as a species we’ve risen above beating the shit out of each other as the primary way to secure sex, but there’s something to be said for a continual testing of fitness.

Or even any testing of fitness at all. It’s certainly preferable to just hanging around gathering dust. Those beachmasters are generally the oldest sea lions, because with age comes guile and wisdom. Actually, that’s not right, with experience comes guile and wisdom, if you’re capable of learning. It’s far from axiomatic that age=ability.

Yet this is what we’re left with in Japan. As so often, it feels like they’ve taken a decent idea and pushed it to the point where it becomes ridiculous. Making it past your 50th birthday in somewhere like Somalia is a genuine mark of distinction, but not here. This is one of the most developed, prosperous countries in the world. I’m certainly not saying that older people are useless or incapable of contributing, far from it, but neither does their age automatically ensure the opposite.

If your future depends on nothing more than not pissing people off and not dying. Then why would you want to take risks? Risks that are a traditional preserve of idiotic young men trying to impress women. Seriously, it’s the hormones. Young guys generally act like reckless dicks on legs because that’s how you win a mate, because that’s what the ladies like. Mother Nature knows this and compensates accordingly, ensuring that slightly more baby boys are born than baby girls. The natural wastage due to that risky behavior means that by the time a cohort reaches reproductive age the numbers will have balanced out.

Christ, there was even a seriously floated theory recently that war is nothing more than male exuberance seeking an outlet by whatever means necessary. Feel free to link that up to Article 9 and extrapolate wildly in the direction of some kind of constitutional castration. I did and it’s great fun.

This could have been so, so much worse...

But that risk taking behavior isn’t necessary in Japan. In fact it’s downright counterproductive. Keep your head down and try not to get killed. Great advice in an actual war, but not conducive to a vibrant culture and economy. Not compatible with traditional ‘carnivorous’ male behavior.

In The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins talks about the welfare state essentially ensuring the end of human evolution, severing as it does the link between reproductive success and genetic fitness. Pump out as many babies as you like and the state will care for them, regardless of your ability to do so. In Japan it’s the same thing, except it’s gone so far it’s looping back on itself.

As could this

Older men hold the power in pretty much all societies (for the sake of brevity let’s assume that ‘power’ and ‘sexual attractiveness’ are interchangeable). As such, pairing up with a younger man represents something of a risk for a woman; she’s betting that he’s got enough going for him that he’ll be able to maintain her offspring further down the road. In most cultures when a woman’s studying the form book, a certain amount of aggression and risk taking are positive things. Not here though, in fact thanks to job-security and lifetime employment they’re actually negative attributes. The surest route to obtaining power is not by fighting and beating your rivals, but by ruthlessly outwaiting them.

So, if you’re a young Japanese woman looking to settle down, frankly it makes sod all difference to your offspring’s survival chances who you choose, as long as they’re not a complete fucking idiot. The seniority system and lifetime employment mean that you’ll eventually be pretty comfortable no matter what.

Sorry? What was that? Lifetime employment can’t be taken for granted anymore? Even in Japan? Funny you should mention that. It’s a good point, and thereby hangs a tale. Please join me for part three, as and when, wherein I shall attempt to demonstrate that despite everything I’ve written here I’m not some übertotalitarian Galton-worshiping eugenics freak, advocating some sort of cull for everyone past a certain age. Honestly.

Part 3 here.


  1. "Richard Dawkins talks about the welfare state essentially ensuring the end of human evolution"

    Wait, Dawkins just another effing Randroid, then? Much as I share his atheism, I could see he's a dick, but he doesn't appear small-minded enough to be a libertarian.

    I like the argument on sexual-selection in Japan. The thing about human sexual selection is that as human environments change faster than the genes of the entire population, we are forever evolved for an environment in the past. We are not even ready, genetically, for the Renaissance, but rather still for extended family hunter-gatherer groups. This is the opposite of an argument for eugenics: we can't predict the future environment to aim our evolution at, so we will produce maladaptations.

    Another way: fuck who you want, and let tomorrow sort itself out.

    1. In fairness, I've massively over-simplified his argument. Plus he doesn't (as far as I can recall), present it as a bad thing, or even really a thing at all. Just a possible effect, as the welfare state's barely been around for two generations which as you know is nothing in evolutionary terms.

      It's a trap I think I may have fallen into in this post, as well. Evolution and it's effects are morally neutral, they're not good or bad, they just are. But we've (maybe) got to a point where we can start making real strides beyond the limits it has imposed. Using it to explain how we got to this point is fine, but using it to justify where we should go from here is a whole other matter.

    2. No worries, I understood your post, I think. I do believe Japan's sexual selection for both genders has become too narrow to do its future any good, in ways we can not begin to predict. Only this: diversity supports survival, because only diversity might allow the genes to be available for a 'Black Swan Event'. If malaria become virulent and endemic all over Earth and health care failed, we'd want a high number of the population passively carrying sickle-cell anemia, whatever the cost. Which reminds me that I was musing once that if we were to send a colony to the stars, in truth or fiction, we'd want most of the colonists to be Sub-Saharan for the simple reason that it's where the vast majority of human genetic diversity lies. Hollywood will never make that movie.

    3. Please, if you feel there are holes I'd be happy for you to pick at them. I can't shake the feeling that this whole series feels a little ragged, and (opening aside) this middle bit is the part I'm least happy with. Pick away.

      As for the point that diversity supports survival, you are absolutely correct. In fact, One of the main theories for the development of sexual (as opposed to asexual) reproduction is that it increases genetic and thus diversity and organisms' resistance to parasites.

      No sexual reproduction = homogeneous populations with fatal weaknesses.

      Hmmm.... Might have to do a fourth part as well...

  2. If lifetime employment means Japanese women don't need to look for power etc in their partner, surely it applies to Western women moreso - if you know can provide for yourself, you need to look for all that shit in a man.

    I guess the big difference is that divorce is a lot more accepted in the West. Marry a guy and if it doesn't work out, leave him. In Japan, the norm is that you are stuck with him for life.

    1. Right, so that's half of part three summarised in two paragraphs right there. Now no bastard is going to read it. Thanks for that ;)

    2. I'll survive, I'm sure. If nothing else it shows I'm not completely out on a limb here.

  3. I'll play "Devil's Advocate" (so well it would seem to be my true view) the culling of those (old men) who impede the rebirth of this countries economic and political prowress.

    Culling.... in a way that leaves a low emission/carbon footprint of course.

    1. I've been saying that myself. Take Greece for example...

    2. Well, it's not like a cull is the only option. You could start by spaying all those hereditary politicians. Far more humane.

      That said, if Pocari Sweat launches a new Soylent Green flavour any time in the near future, we'll know exactly what's going on.

    3. LOL :)

      Thanks for reminding me of this gem.

      Sadly the actor was killed by his wife in a murder suicide and she was on zoloft at the time. I got a story i might tell someday that is related.

      In the meantime...Zoloft and mental meds are ....deadly for folks taking them and the folks around them

      /way off topic point

    4. Is that Chris Farley in the second bit as well? I'm a bit concerned for Mike Myers now...

  4. I got Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit and Great Big Dog Fighting Aunty when I was a child. Kind of boring though.

    Are these type of things not just Tokyo trends only? I don't see many guys like that around here. I noticed that people around here don't do arranged marriages anymore, but the way they approach things is just the same without the actual ceremony. Girls seem to wait and wait rather than dating various people and fucking seems to be more reserved for having children rather than any type of pleasure. I saw a few photos of a colleague on their honeymoon, but you would think looking at the pictures that they're two classmates on a study trip or something. Women seem to dress for other female approval rather than attracting men, I guess even if they were attracted they wouldn't say anything anyway. All a bit of a worry really.

    All subjective observations of course by a guy with blue balls, so expect some bias.

    Chris: I would have to agree with you, but instead say: Zoloft and anti-depressants as monotherapy are bad for people who don't have unipolar depression. A lot of people are misdiagnosed who actually have bipolar with not so obvious mania which results in people losing it when given the wrong medicine.

    1. All fair points (though I'd say that women dressing for other women is pretty standard the world over).

      I think, as ever, the media have got their teeth into this 'trend' and are overplaying it for all it's worth. not least because it ties in so well with the 'Weird Japan' trope overseas media love so much.

      That said, I've seen and met enough to think that, while overplayed, it's still real. Not just Tokyo, but very definitely primarily urban and middle class. I'm certainly not claiming it's universal, just a symptom of wider issues. Hopefully next week's episode will clarify stuff.

      Thanks for commenting.

    2. Yeah, totally agree with you, but then again, I saw some bloody tight jeans on male youth in Sydney before coming here who obviously couldn't eat a terrible amount to fit into them, not to mention what was happening to their poor balls. I'm talking so tight you could almost see the outline of their knob from a few meters away. Then again most people do that kind of stuff because they think their chances of having sex with someone will increase as a consequence.

      It is definitely a symptom of wider issues, I sometimes hear some really vitriolic and condescending comments coming from women about men, almost like their husbands are a pesky nephew or something and the men just kind of ignore things and keep working, a nice chat and some good loving might fix things, but then the whole communal policing through family and enforcing pre-established norms gets in the way of that. I also am aware of couples that seem to be good at communicating and so forth though too.

      Anyway looking forward to the next episode.