Japanese Prefer Virtual Girlfriends to Real Thing

In Japan, young men increasingly prefer “virtual girlfriends” to real ones. The proportion of unmarried men spiked almost ten points over the last five years; 61 percent of those men say they do not have a girlfriend, and 45 percent say they couldn’t care less about finding one:

“‘I don’t like real women,” one bloke superciliously sniffed on Japan’s 2channel, the world’s largest and most active internet bulletin board site. “They’re too picky nowadays. I’d much rather have a virtual girlfriend.”‘

Virtual girlfriends became a sensation last summer, when Japanese game-maker Konami released its second-generation of its popular Love Plus, called, aptly, Love Plus +, for the Nintendo DS gaming system. Konami skillfully arranged for an otherwise deadbeat beach resort town called Atami to host a Love Plus + holiday weekend. Players were invited to tote their virtual girlfriends, via the gaming console, to the actual resort town to cavort for a weekend in romantic bliss. The promotion wasabsurdly successful, with local resort operators reporting that it was their best weekend in decades.”

“Maybe we’re just advanced human beings,” says a Japanese friend of mine over dinner this week in Tokyo, who won’t let me use her real name. She is an attractive, 40-something editor at one of Japan’s premier fashion magazines, and she is still single. “Maybe,” she adds, ‘we’ve learned how to service ourselves.”

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New NOM Ad Attacks Ron Paul on Marriage

As Santorum surges ahead of Gingrich in Iowa in the latest CNN poll, the National Organization for Marriage (which I founded) is launching an ad blitz to let social conservatives know Ron Paul won’t fight gay marriage:

DES MOINES — The National Organization for Marriage, a leading social conservative group that is opposed to giving same-sex couples the right to marry, is striking out at Representative Ron Paul with a new television advertisement, a move intended to blunt the Texas congressman’s rise in the polls a few days before the Iowa caucuses.

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David Brooks: Marriage Decline Causes Income Inequality

Critiquing President Obama’s historical analogies (this is not the New Deal or the Progressive Era), New York Times columnist David Brooks points out the key role the decline of marriage plays in widening income inequality:

“The progressive era still had a Victorian culture, with its rectitude and restrictions. Back then, there was a moral horror at the thought of debt. No matter how bad the economic problems became, progressive-era politicians did not impose huge debt burdens on their children. That ethos is clearly gone.

In the progressive era, there was an understanding that men who impregnated women should marry them. It didn’t always work in practice, but that was the strong social norm. Today, that norm has dissolved. Forty percent of American children are born out of wedlock. This sentences the U.S. to another generation of widening inequality and slower human capital development.

One hundred years ago, we had libertarian economics but conservative values. Today we have oligarchic economics and libertarian moral values—a bad combination.”

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Children Are Spanked Less Often, Regimented More

I read this blog post by the always interesting Meg McCardle with mixed reactions. It centers around the decline of spanking and whether that’s good for children. She points out spanking has been replaced by a highly regimented regime of constant supervision with gold stars for good behavior That probably does cause children to internalize both a respect for the idea that authority is well-intentioned and an enormous sense of entitlement to a lot of time and attention from authority. Or so bosses complain.

I was never spanked, so I don’t focus on that—its’ a marker not the main thing. But I do think childhood has been diminished in some ways by the loss of freedom and initiative our upper middle class parenting methods entail. And it’s extremely hard to do this kind of parenting with more than one or two children so as a norm it actually may be dysfunction for family life in some ways.

Why We Stopped Spanking

A Santorum surge?

Rick Santorum snagged two big endorsement today, Bob Vander Plaats, who lead the fight to oust 3 Iowa judges, and Chuck Hurley, who heads the Focus on the Family affiliated Iowa Family Policy Center. Hurley hints Perry and Bachmann should step down so social conservatives can united around Santorum. Seems a long shot. But with Gingrich fading, look for Rick to do better than expected.

NOM blog

Will Voters Care About Gingrich’s Marriage?

Listening to Fox News today discuss whether anyone cares about the personal life of presidential candidates, one Fox girl said something like “Now that most people are divorced, why would they care that Gingrich is divorced?”

It made me sad she doesn’t know that most people are not divorced–probably most people in her world are divorced.

In particular the number of people who have serially married and divorced at Gingrichian levels is quite small.

The latest Census data Evaluation of the Marital Events Items on the ACS shows that “The number of men who had been married three or more times according to the 2008 ACS was 5.2% while in the 2004 SIPP it was 4.5%. The number of women who had been married three or more times according to the 2008 ACS was 5.1% while in the 2004 SIPP it was 4.2.” (See page 16).

That is somewhere between 4 and 5 percent of American women or men have married three times, depending on the data source.