My apologies. Blogging will be sparse for the next few days, as Karen and I will be packing and then moving our household north to our Pennsylvania vacation home. We travel tomorrow, and I’m not positive that working satellite Internet access will be up and ready when we arrive.
Esther Zuckerman poses as a SWUG. My commenters are often smarter than I am. One of them, unlike me, noticed that Esther Zuckerman actually used a picture of Tina Fey to illustrate the SWUG type. The “NBC” under the photo should have been a clue. Sigh.
The Urban Dictionary provides the definition:
Senior Washed-Up Girl.
The term goes back a couple of years, but the SWUG concept only recently attracted major attention as the result of a lengthy think piece in the Yale Daily News by Raisa Bruner exploring the culture, the pros and cons, and all possible nuances of SWUGdom, its relationship to Feminism, SWUGdom as fate, as life-phase, as life-style, and as identity.
Yale definitely teaches young people how to play theme and variations on a concept, and Ms. Bruner’s piece caught the attention of one Justin Rocket Silverman (Now that is a millenial generation name!) who, writing in The Cut brought all this to the attention of the World Outside Yale.
Yale senior Raisa Bruner [is] kind of tired of the free-wheeling frat hookup culture that’s so compelling to younger students. The guys know this about women her age, she says, and so they don’t generally hit on senior girls. If she went to Sigma Nu, she’d watch her male classmates focus on that infinitely more fun classmate, the female freshman.
Bruner is a self-identified SWUG — a senior washed up girl. As she explained in a recent feature in the Yale Daily News, to be a SWUG is to embrace “the slow, wine-filled decline of female sexual empowerment as we live out our college glory days. Welcome to the world of the ladies who have given up on boys because they don’t so much empower as frustrate, satisfy as agitate.”
She and her fellow SWUGs are women who don’t bother dressing up for class, or even for fancy parties (though they might still attend them), don’t seek out meaningful (or even just sexual) relationships, spend weekends at their shared homes drinking in the company of other self-identified SWUGs, and feel utter apathy about their personal lives — all at the age of 21.
Gawker decided that all this SWUG stuff really amounted to just a pose and a demand for some attention.
Declaring “‘I don’t give a fuck’ at the right moment,” does not a “more complex person” make. Rather than embracing personal growth internally, there is a clamorous, exaggerated declaration that growing out of a social scene is the equivalent of being “washed-up” in the face of other’s halcyon days. Overall, SWUG-life appears to be a melodramatic desire to make an identity out of boredom and dissatisfaction with the collegiate social scene.
Esther Zuckerman (Y’ 12), at the Atlantic, tells us that she was already a SWUG as a junior two years ago.
I first heard about the term SWUG during my junior year when I was working at the Daily News. From what I can recall, it was described to me as having been coined by a group of girls in the senior class, and I hated it. Yale had been debating treatment of women on campus all year—the school was about to face a Title IX investigation—and the idea of calling any girls on campus “washed-up” was to me offensive and demeaning (the specific words I used in a heated Gchat conversation), even if some fellow women had used the label on themselves.
But I changed my mind on SWUGs as I sort of realized I was one. Looking back through my Gmail inbox today, I crossed into my senior year, when, for me and my friends, SWUG came to be a way we described an attitude that we already possessed. SWUG meant getting meatball subs on a snowy night. SWUGs watched an episode of New Girl twice in a row with a lot red wine. SWUGs baked brownies. In our version of SWUG, an idol might be Liz Lemon, to whom Jack Donaghy once said: “Big night, Lemon? Let me guess meatball sub extra, bottle of NyQuil, TiVo Top Chef, a little miss Bonnie Raitt, lights out.” My fellow would-be SWUGs and I listened to a lot of “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” We cared about our academics and our future careers, but when it came to our social lives in the confines of Yale, well, we, as seniors, couldn’t care less.
The whole SWUG business may have really been put on the map at Yale by a Daily News article by Chloe Drimal, published last September, titled: Profile of a SWUG.
You’ve all met one. They’re usually at penny shots promptly at 11 p.m. come Wednesday night, and are then found in Durfee’s around 1 p.m. the next day, buying every liquid they can get their hands on.
I was jealous of them when I was a freshman. They were on a nickname basis with the hottest guys at Yale and danced at the bar of DKE with their shirts off. But looking back on it, I realize the boys were trying to get with the freshmen, not the SWUGs. ...
She’s the girl who Kevin, the bartender at Toad’s, hugs when she stumbles in Wednesday night. She’ll dance like no one’s looking. She’s a SWUG. She doesn’t care. Tommy at Box 63 and Compadre at Amigos will both give her free shots on occasion; they are not doing this for freshman girls — only for SWUGs.
She’s the girl in the Zeta basement, before the Coach Reno era, who is biting into a can with her teeth to shotgun on a Sunday. Although she could never beat the Zeta boys in a shotgun, she can beat most ADPhi boys.
She’s the girl who knows the code to get into DKE. She knows the code for ADPhi. (If any single senior girl has the key to Zeta, she may want to seek help.) Facebook bores her. She uses Facebook to find out different football players’ birthdays and plugs them into an astrology website to test their compatibility. She is compatible with no one.
She’s the girl who promised she would never hook up with someone younger than her but now finds herself texting sophomore boys who unavoidably turn her down. She thinks this is funny. She thinks about getting a vibrator; she may already have a vibrator. It may be better than that sophomore boy.
She doesn’t need to walk home late at night and chance getting mugged by a New Haven local because she will just sleep on a couch in one of the frats. The late night crew at G-Heav knows to start making her an egg and cheese when they see her stumble through the door, and sometimes they will allow her to dance behind the counter and crack an egg herself. Again, they don’t do this for the young, hot, freshman girls — only SWUGs.
She’s the girl who tells her friends she is going to have a “friendship night.” When they ask what this means she explains she is going to make a guy want her and then turn him down. She gets drunk and wakes up next to the guy she was going to turn down. She knows this will go nowhere, as she has already plugged his birthday into the compatibility website, and their score was a two. She makes up a short lie about a meeting and asks him to leave her room and then goes back to bed. She doesn’t return his texts. She’s a SWUG.
She is the last one at every party, because hey — who is she going home with? She’s not afraid to dance on tables and knows the top floor of any frat always has the cleanest bathroom. She is wise. She is hot, whether the boys believe it or not. She doesn’t give a hoot. She’s single because she wants to be; her daddy told her there’s more fish in the sea. She is a SWUG, and SWUG life is pretty awesome.
Drimal’s glorification of the SWUG made her in a campus celebrity, profiled by the Yale Herald.
If anyone is not totally SWUGed out at this point, he can turn to some more discussions which appeared in the Oldest College Daily.
On a personal note, we had hook ups at Yale in my day, but we did not have either the term or the identical hook up culture. I think that, as I remember it, quite a lot of female seniors in those days had long since taken anticipated Susan Patton’s advice and were in long-term relationships with Yale men.
The SWUG concept reminds me of the characteristic resentment of ordinarily-groomed-and-dressed Yale girls toward male friends’ dates from outside Yale.
The girl from Smith staying over at Yale would arrive at breakfast nicely dressed, in full make-up, hair in perfect order, and her escort’s female Yale friends and neighbors would glower and make faces, regarding his date’s superior efforts at presentation as personal affronts.
Yale girls all tended to think dating outside Yale constituted both punishable treason and firm evidence of bad taste. I once took a date to a performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, in which my current wife was singing in the chorus, and found Karen was using every opportunity that my then girlfriend’s eyes were averted to make faces at me.
The largest US state is 66 times as populous as the smallest but it has only 18 times as many electoral votes. Wah! Boo hoo! It isn’t fair!
Some people think we ought to change everything so that votes in the electoral college come out the sane as the results of the popular vote. One way to do that would be simply to abolish history and redraw the map of the states, so that every state had approximately the same population.
It’s a spectacularly stupid idea, but it does produce an interesting new map and some very cool new states’ names.
Or could I possibly be wrong?
“In an election in which Obama won the popular vote 51%-47%, a politically neutral division of the nation into 50 equal-population states would have given Romney 58% of the electoral votes and Obama 42%. Equal-population districts work against the Obama Democratic coalition.”
OK, I’m willing to live in Shenandoah and give up plenty of history to avoid another Obama.
General James Mattis
Even the left’s favorite military reporter, Tom Ricks, has problems with the Caliban Administration removing colorful Marine General “Mad Dog” Mattis from command of Central Command.
Word on the national security street is that General James Mattis is being given the bum’s rush out of his job as commander of Central Command, and is being told to vacate his office several months earlier than planned.
Why the hurry? Pentagon insiders say that he rubbed civilian officials the wrong way—not because he went all “mad dog,” which is his public image, and the view at the White House, but rather because he pushed the civilians so hard on considering the second- and third-order consequences of military action against Iran. Some of those questions apparently were uncomfortable. Like, what do you do with Iran once the nuclear issue is resolved and it remains a foe? What do you do if Iran then develops conventional capabilities that could make it hazardous for U.S. Navy ships to operate in the Persian Gulf? He kept saying, “And then what?”
Inquiry along these lines apparently was not welcomed—at least in the CENTCOM view. The White House view, apparently, is that Mattis was too hawkish, which is not something I believe, having seen him in the field over the years. I’d call him a tough-minded realist, someone who’d rather have tea with you than shoot you, but is happy to end the conversation either way.
Presidents should feel free to boot generals anytime they want, of course—that’s our system, and one I applaud. But ousting Mattis at this time, and in this way, seems wrong for several reasons:
TIMING: If Mattis leaves in March, as now appears likely, that means there will be a new person running CENTCOM just as the confrontation season with Iran begins to heat up again.
CIVIL-MILITARY SIGNALS: The message the Obama Administration is sending, intentionally or not, is that it doesn’t like tough, smart, skeptical generals who speak candidly to their civilian superiors. In fact, that is exactly what it (and every administration) should want. Had we had more back in 2003, we might not have made the colossal mistake of invading Iraq.
SERVICE RELATIONS: The Obamites might not recognize it, but they now have dissed the two Marine generals who are culture heroes in today’s Corps: Mattis and Anthony Zinni. The Marines have long memories. I know some who are still mad at the Navy for steaming away from the Marines left on Guadalcanal. Mattis made famous in Iraq the phrase, “No better friend, no worse enemy.” The Obama White House should keep that in mind.
Donald Sensing’s sources do not agree with Ricks’.
I shot a note off to a highly-connected former Marine infantry officer I know well, with extensive experience in CENTCOM’s area of operations and who served close alongside many of the Marine generals in these kinds of key positions. He replied that while he’s no fan of Ricks, he doesn’t think Ricks is right. Specifically,
Let me absorb this. He was already at the end of his career…so now he’s fired??!! I am dubious… He was an old timer, not the future, and had already outlived his political (but not operational) relevance.
The administration says the average command in combat is 2.7 years, and March will be 2.6 for Mattis. I LOVE the general, but he does indeed have a reputation for being relentless and obtuse when questioning a plan—but shouldn’t they all be?
Blog Administration, Corrections and Retractions, Golden Eagle, Human Predation, Montreal, Natural History
There have long been rumors that eagles are not only capable of preying on lambs, but may even go so far as to take human infants when given the opportunity. Wildlife experts have consistently pooh-poohed such stories, dismissing them as folklore.
Hat tip to Bird Dog.
Update: It’s a fake.
A Montreal animation school has fessed up that the “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” on YouTube is a fake, created by three students in its three-year animation and digital design degree program.
“Both the eagle and the kid were created in 3D animation and integrated in to the film afterwards,” the school, Centre NAD, said in a statement Wednesday.
Could an eagle snatch a small child and carry him off?
This eagle is doing a decent job on an adult human being.
Out here in the very rural Virginia Piedmont, we have satellite modem as our only possible kind of Internet access. Cloud cover can shut down our satellite connection, and we have a good chance of losing power. Don’t be totally surprised if NYM goes off-line for some period of time during the current hurricane.
Max Boot reviews “Mark Owen”’s No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden.
[A]n extraordinarily high percentage of the most celebrated feats of American arms in the past decade were the work of the U.S. Special Operations Command (socom) [sic, should be “USSOCOM”[ and in particular of its most secretive component, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which is home to the Army’s Delta Force, the Navy’s seal Team Six, and other “Tier One” units. So, too, some of the most bitter losses in recent wars have been suffered by these same forces—such as the shoot-down of a Chinook transport helicopter in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, which killed thirty Americans, including seventeen seals. It was the greatest single-day loss of American lives during the entire war.
Since September 11 JSOC has become a finely honed man-hunting machine whose “operators” take down two thousand or more targets every year, with an 84 percent probability that they will get their man (or a close associate) each time—and usually with little resistance, so adept are they at using the element of stealth. (The Chinook disaster occurred because for once the Taliban knew the seals were coming—they were responding to a call for help from Army Rangers engaged in a firefight.) The bin Laden raid, the subject of this best-selling memoir by one of the seal “assaulters,” a forthcoming book by journalist Mark Bowden, and a soon-to-be-released movie, was unusual only in that it occurred in Pakistan and involved the highest of all “high value targets,” but the same tactics, techniques, and procedures have been employed to capture or to kill thousands of other terrorist leaders over the past decade.
This is an impressive achievement, given that socom [sic], despite a decade of rapid growth, still has only 4.3 percent of the active-duty strength of the U.S. armed forces (sixty thousand out of 1.4 million) and spends just 1.7 percent of the entire defense budget ($10.4 billion out of $613 billion—although the figure is higher if one includes the support provided by individual military services to their branch components such as the Army Special Operations Command). The role of Special Operations Forces (SOF) is expected to grow in the future. With the Army and the Marine Corps in the process of downsizing (current plans call for eliminating roughly 100,000 positions over the next few years), and the appetite for major military deployments diminishing after Iraq and Afghanistan, SOF is left, for better or worse, as the instrument of choice for presidents looking to exercise American hard power. “Send in the Marines” used to be the cry a hundred years ago because a Marine deployment was seen as an easy way to use force without a congressional declaration of war or undue international perturbations. SOF is viewed in much the same light today: a way to “do something” without getting mired in a major ground war.
Despite his solecism involving the military alphabet-soup acronym, Boot does a terrific scholarly job of tracing US Special Operations right back to Roger’s Rangers in the French and Indian War. He describes in detail the background of the book and its author, and discusses intelligently the unusual composition, modus operandi, and ethos of SOF teams.
Boot was well-prepared to write this review because he has just finished his own book on unconventional warfare from Antiquity to the present day, currently waiting for release in January.
Correction: My original illustration was a JSOC NATO ISAF shoulder patch, which I mistook for a cool, new JSOC insignia. Actually, they have shoulder patches of this sort featuring the flags of all the allied nations supplying troops in OD. The one I found was the flag of Portugal in OD. Hat tip to Skookumchuck (of YARGB) who caught it.
A liberal academic classmate has been giving me crap again on the class email list for letting Blogads run that “Mutually Beneficial Arrangements” ad in NYM’s right-hand column.
When the notice to review that proposed new ad came in a few months ago, I had conflicting attitudes. On libertarian grounds, I thought I ought to let it run. It did seem to constitute an amusing commentary on society’s morals today after all as well. But I really am also pretty stuffy and I was not entirely comfortable with resembling the Village Voice and lending aid and comfort to the Oldest Profession.
I actually shilly-shallied about making up my mind on that policy issue and then, lo and behold! I found that Blogads actually had it up and running without my explicitly granting permission. I looked into the whole thing, and I was amused to find that NYM readers were clicking through that ad in much, much larger numbers than usual. So I concluded that my readers were also finding amusement and food for thought in that ad.
Readership interest seemed to me to argue decisively for the libertarian side, and I refrained from eliminating the ad.
HuffPo actually did a long feature on what has become a booming business in the Age of Obama last year.
Many 20-somethings are beginning their adult lives shouldering substantial amounts of student loan debt. According to Mark Kantrowitz, who publishes the financial aid websites Fastweb.com and Finaid.org, while the average 2011 graduate finished school with about $27,200 in debt, many are straining to pay off significantly greater loans.
Enter the sugar daddy, sugar baby phenomenon. This particular dynamic preceded the economic meltdown, of course. Rich guys well past their prime have been plunking down money for thousands of years in search of a tryst or something more with women half their age—and women, willingly or not, have made themselves available. With the whole process going digital, women passing through a system of higher education that fosters indebtedness are using the anonymity of the web to sell their wares and pay down their college loans.
“Over the past few years, the number of college students using our site has exploded,” says Brandon Wade, the 41-year-old founder of Seeking Arrangement. Of the site’s approximately 800,000 members, Wade estimates that 35 percent are students. “College students are one of the biggest segments of our sugar babies and the numbers are growing all the time.” ...
Wade, who started Seeking Arrangement back in 2006, can easily identify with the Jacks of the world. He created the site for fellow high-net-worth individuals who “possess high standards but don’t have a lot of time to date the traditional way.”
Wade, whose legal name is Brandon Wey, says he changed his name to better appeal to his clientele. “They’re more familiar with Hugh Hefner than with some Asian guy from Singapore,” he explains. Wade got the idea for Seeking Arrangement more than 20 years ago, while in college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Watching from the sidelines as his beautiful dorm mates pursued significantly older, moneyed men, Wade fantasized about someday becoming one such man. After business school at MIT and stints at General Electric and Microsoft, Wade dabbled in various start-ups before finally creating his own.
Awkward and shy, he started Seeking Arrangement in part because of his own inability to attract younger women. “To get the attention of the girl I really wanted to meet, I was kind of at the mercy of the statistics of traditional dating sites. I’d write hundreds of emails and only get one or two replies,” says Wade, who is now divorced. He says married men account for at least 40 percent of the site’s sugar daddies. Sugar babies outnumber sugar daddies by a ratio of nearly 10 to 1. Wade declined to disclose how much money he makes from the site. With more than 115,000 sugar daddies averaging $50 a month in membership fees, and some paying more to belong to the exclusive Diamond Club, it’s safe to assume Wade’s investment has more than paid off—and that’s not even including advertising revenue.
Debt-strapped college graduates weren’t included in his original business plan. But once the recession hit and more and more students were among the growing list of new site users, Wade began to target them. The company, which is headquartered in Las Vegas, now places strategic pop-up ads that appear whenever someone types “tuition help” or “financial aid” into a search engine. And over the past five years, Wade says he’s seen a 350 percent increase in college sugar baby membership—from 38,303 college sugar babies in 2007 to 179,906 college sugar babies by July of this year. The site identifies clients who might be students by the presence of a .edu email address, which the site verifies before it will allow a profile to become active. Although, it should be noted that individuals without .edu email addresses can identify as students as well.
At The Huffington Post’s request, Seeking Arrangement listed the top 20 universities attended by sugar babies on the site. They compiled the list according to the number of sugar babies who registered using their .edu email addresses or listed schools’ names on their profiles. New York University tops the list with 498 sugar babies, while UCLA comes in at No. 8 with 253, and Harvard University ranks at No. 9 with 231. The University of California at Berkeley ranks at No. 13 with 193, the University of Southern California ranks at No. 15 with 183, and Tulane University ranks at No. 20 with 163 college sugar babies. ...
“I’m honestly surprised there aren’t more college students doing this,” says Jennifer, not blinking. She’s a 23-year-old recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.
Fed up with young, unemployed men her own age, Jennifer recently began trawling for a sugar daddy to pay down about $20,000 in student loan debt. She also wouldn’t mind a clothing allowance or rent money for her studio apartment in New York’s East Village.
A week ago, she boarded a plane to Florida to spend the weekend with a 30-something banker she met on SugarDaddie.com. He told her his house was undergoing a renovation and instead drove her to a nearby hotel, where they spent the night together. ...
“I realize I’m not going to have it forever,” Jennifer says, brushing her blond, wavy hair off to one side. “While I’ve still got it, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth. I mean, maybe I’ll get swept off my feet. Really, anything could happen.”
It’s clear that the kind of materialist utilitarianism preached by today’s universities combines very effectively with whopping piles of tuition debt and hard economic times to popularize the philosophy expressed by blues singer Ruth Brown in this old number:
I’ll be working as a judge at the Morven Park Spring Horse Trials all day.
I’ll be gone hunting at Oxbow Farm (Raymond Guest’s old place) with the Blue Ridge Hunt in the morning, so blogging will be done late.
British taxpayers got to pick up the Herald’s College bill of 15,000 pounds for devising John Bercow, the new Speaker of the British House of Commons, brand new coat of arms.
I’d say that the heralds and pursuivants must have developed an actual animus toward the new Speaker.
They succeeded in persuading him that a ladder (alluding to his rise from humble origins) was a compliment, that four gold balls were alluding to his enthusiasm for lawn tennis (and not his Hebraic ancestry), and that those hideous Islamic scimitars are Saxon seax knives representing the county of Essex (where he went to a red brick university). Right, sure they are!
The motto “All Are Equal” between pink triangles with rainbow striping on the back of the scroll really devastatingly tops the whole thing off resulting in the most extraordinarily oxymoronic expression of the triumphant elevation of the spirit of leveling to established status in the hierarchical realm of heraldry. One can just imagine the guffaws emanating from the studio in the Herald’s College.
The Daily Mail
The current coat of arms of the County of Essex, I find, does feature its three seaxes drawn the same as Bercow’s, looking like Middle Eastern scimitars.
An earlier, 1611 version of the same arms is much less influenced by the Arabian Nights.
I suppose though that I must concede that Bercow’s arms does feature Essex seaxes, in at least the problematic form presumably invented by some ill-informed Victorian heraldist.