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Monday, June 6, 2011

Evolutionary psych Weinergate

A few years ago, I wrote a review for Scientific American Mind of Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, a not very good book touting evolutionary psychology. (The review's behind a paywall, though the start of it is here.) I still think the book is overly reductionist in its view of human nature, but one assertion strikes me now as meriting more credence than I gave it at the time. That's the assertion that male politicians get caught up in sex scandals not despite their careers, but because their careers are fundamentally aimed at maximizing their reproductive fitness, i.e., attracting lots of women. The same drive that makes them successful politicians is what makes them fall. Still seems something of an overstatement, but less so as I think about it and see scandals that would be hard to explain if this evo psych tendency weren't at least a factor. All of which is to say, soon enough I expect, goodbye Anthony Weiner.

5 comments:

Denise Silber said...

I agree that we are still living with caveman-type genes and what you are describing in other terms, is in essence feeding a "rape culture". (Rape culture is a term which originated in women's studies and feminist theory, describing a culture in which rape and sexual violence against women are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or tolerate sexual violence against women. Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming and sexual objectification.)

Let me add a couple of links to your reflection about leaders: http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20073422,00.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_leadership

summerseason said...

He lives right down the block from us. Newsfolks were staking out his place. Poor Shmuck!

Kenneth Silber said...

As Donald Manes once said, the American dream is alive and well in Queens.

Steven King said...

If you're gonna tweet nasty stuff...the cows will come home.

Kenneth Silber said...

Denise, interesting. And your comment was for some reason hidden as spam, until I happened to find it in Blogger's new interface.