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May 15, 2009

Cougar Zero

I don't generally watch TV, with the one exception of The Office, which has become a family ritual. Wednesday morning I found myself in a Doctor's waiting room, and there was a news show on the television with a feature segment on "Cougars". Graduates of the H.L. Mencken School of Old School Journalism will be pleased to know that the newsroom team really did a great job on this hard news story.

The reason for the news show on Cougars is that the trend has escalated to the point at which it reaches mainstream endorsement: the introduction of The Cougar, a television series exploiting exploring the phenomenon.

A Cougar, apparently, is a financially successful "older woman" who enjoys the company of younger men. This is apparently something to be celebrated and shown to children on Wednesday evenings - but after a show called Wife Swapping became mainstream, who's to say?

The nominal focus of the Cougar television show is a 40-year old woman, a mother of four, and a successful realtor in Arizona. Fact Check Opportunity: Are any realtors in Arizona successful right now? I wouldn't think so.

Sidebar: We put shows like this on TV, we beam them around the world, and then we wonder why Ahmadinejad (the little guy who can't figure out a necktie) thinks we're a decadent society.

Ostensibly, the cougar mindset is motivated by their own interest, and they have the means and the social acumen to acquire it. They're after what they want, and they make no apologies for it. (More on that later.)

We must point out that these putative Cougars have merely attained what some men have been accomplishing for a long time. We have a name for them, too -- lechers.

  • I don't find the age differences unsettling, and I don't care which gender is older. I do find the economic and power differences disturbing. I'm not sure that a relationship between a wealthy 40-year old with a hungry 20-something can be said to be truly a matter of choice, any more that Sally Hemings (the slave) was free to choose a relationship with Thomas Jefferson (the president and her owner). I agree with Catherine Mackinnon's assertion that consent is "free exercise of choice under conditions of equality of power"
  • Why do we support entertainments that encourage unacceptable behaviors? How do we set our families in front of shows with youngsters competing for sexual attention, how do we objectify junior, poorer people, and then act surprised at sexual harassment?

So this is a trend, it's a new vehicle for titillating television, it's sensational and applies to base instincts (so it's going to be successful), it's a way to get people to watch advertising. Check, check, check. It's sweeping the globe. It's the hot new thing. How do we Objectively come to grasp with this phenomena? How would we approach this if it were, in fact, a social situation sweeping the globe? We would take these steps: --
  • define the phenomena
  • identify the environs
  • track the pattern
  • identify Patient Zero

Defining the Age Range of 'Normal' Relationships : The Formula

There is a formula used to describe the acceptable age range for relationships in Western society. I don't know who made this formula. The specifics are that the younger person's age has to be at least half of the older person's age, plus seven. This results in the following chart of acceptable age ranges:

A relationship outside of these boundaries, with a woman as the older partner, is considered a Cougar relationship.

The Environs: Where Does The Cougar Phenomenon Happen?

I'd like to suggest this is a trend out of Hollywood, both in terms of movie industry people and movie industry products. I don't believe this happens much in Youngstown or Buffalo. You'll see this among "actual" movie people such as Demi Moore and Ashton Kuschner, and among movie characters such as Jeanine Stiffler (American Pie), Mrs. Robinson (The Graduate) and Norma Desmond (Sunset Blvd).


Patient Zero Cougar Zero

Identifying Patient Zero in an epidemiological study is the Holy Grail. Researchers believe they know who Patient Zero was for HIV/AIDS, and for the recent 2009 H1N1 Flu. Who was Cougar Zero?

Who Was Cougar Zero?

Ayn Rand (born Alisa Rosenbaum, 1905, in Russia) was a successful Hollywood script writer. She wrote stories about strong individuals within a perspective of rational egotism, or rational selfishness, and laissez-faire capitalism; her movie scripts include The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. She did not support God, religion, or social obligations. Her writing, to some extent, provides the intellectual basis of today's Libertarian Party.

Although readers enjoy her books, her beliefs fall short of philosophy. She was a Hollywood script writer with money and a circle of admirers. Considering her a philosopher (or a role model) is like hoping your children grow up to emulate Madonna or Shirley MacLain.

Rand developed a coterie of followers in New York City that called themselves The Collective. Rand and a young graduate student (25 years younger) named Nathan Blumenthal (he later changed his name to Nathaniel Branden) became close. Although they were each married to other people, Rand is said to have coordinated approval for their affair among the spouses, asserting to his wife and her husband that it was in their financial interest to support her assignations. This unconventional arrangement was completely consistent with her philosophy of economic self-interest.

Although there have certainly been Cougars throughout history, in our modern times I believe that Ayn Rand is Cougar Zero. She should be the spokesperson for Cougar Zero, canned bourbon and diet soda sold in Australia by Foster's.

I'd like to make this point: I don't disapprove of Ayn Rand because she had an affair. People make mistakes; people fall short of their beliefs. It's not that. I disapprove because this was not a mistake, but rather the arrogant, inevitable conclusion of her selfish psuedo-schlock.

Let's review the Cougar perspective and see how Ayn Rand matches up with it. Earlier I wrote,
Ostensibly, the cougar mindset is motivated by their own interest, and they have the means and the social acumen to acquire it. They're after what they want, and they make no apologies for it.

There's been a real focus on Ayn Rand and "Going John Galt" lately. I think that before anyone follows John Galt, they should take a good look at his mother.


Lady Elaine said...

This post is awesome. My sides hurt.

Anonymous said...

How can you bear to be so TYPICAL?! Sniping from the rocks at greatness you will neither achieve nor understand, seeking to devalue what you fear, accusation/judgement without accompanying substantiation. White noise.

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