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Weekly Digest: American Gerontocracy
America's elderly elite, evangelical man shaming, mentoring, and the heroic feminine
Welcome to my weekly digest for November 3, 2023, with the best articles from around the web and a roundup of my recent writings and appearances.
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What I’ve been reading: Long Live the Post Horn! and Is Mother Dead? by Vigdis Hjorth.
More Evangelical Man Shaming
Somebody tweeted this video of Mark Driscoll berating men in their 30s who aren’t married as “very selfish and self-indulgent human beings.” The video apparently came from Driscoll’s own Instagram account.
Let’s be honest: Driscoll is certainly right about some men. And if you are in your mid-30s and not married yet, with no potential marriage on the horizon, you should do a gut check and for most people probably make some adjustments in what you are doing in life.
But this is just classic name calling of the type Mark Driscoll has long done and which evangelicals are infamous for. When I say that evangelicals need to stop the man shaming, I’m not making this up. It’s what too many of them actually do.
Any man with even a modicum of self-respect wouldn’t put up with this - and rightly not.
Best of the Web
Financial Times: Morgan Stanley makes its choice: how Ted Pick won the CEO succession race - This piece hits once again the theme I’ve written about of the necessity for mentoring and coaching to make it to the top.
He cut staff in fixed income by 25 per cent and still increased revenues, a revival that left a big impression on the bank’s board of directors. Each quarter, the trading floor would stop to listen when Pick used the speaker to run briskly through what they had got right or wrong. When it became clear that he had a chance at the top job, Pick began working with a coach to tone down his language and improve his softer skills. He also made a visible effort to engage with geopolitics. He is seen as an intense and exacting manager by people who have worked with him but also someone who generates deep loyalty. [emphasis added]
People have asked me what to do if you can’t find a mentor. One alternative (or supplement) is professional coaching. Unfortunately, this does not come cheap, so is not a realistic option for many either. I will keep working on ideas!
NY Post: Prince Harry is ‘dependent on Meghan Markle for his social life’ after burning bridges: royal expert - Meghan encouraged Harry in separating himself from his family, geographically separated him from his home and friend network, and is now apparently the controller of his social life. Were the genders reversed, this would be treated as abusive.
WSJ: Are Joint Bank Accounts the Secret to a Happy Marriage? - It seems weird to me, but my understanding is that most people who get married today never merge their finances.
Financial Times: How older women defy evolutionary logic - An interesting column speculating on why humans are one of only two, maybe three species where women experience menopause. It reminded me to repost newsletter #65 by guest writer Kennaquhair on how post-menopausal women function as a “store of knowledge and bulwark against disaster.”
WaPo: Older Americans are dominating like never before, but what comes next? - American gerontocracy
As the nation heads into an election year, American politics can look much like a gerontocracy, with the most likely presidential nominees being two men who would be octogenarians in the White House (President Biden is 80 already; former president and leading Republican candidate Donald Trump is 77). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is 81; Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) is 90; and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is 82. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) died at 90 last month, following a visibly diminished capacity that prompted widespread discussion of the role that the oldest politicians are playing at the highest levels of government.
Yet even beyond Washington, a geriatric elite also controls many other aspects of an aging society, to such an extent that in some professions there are deep concerns about how those roles will be filled in decades to come. In medicine, big business, farming, construction trades, and across much of the American economy, the workforce is getting older and older. In the leadership ranks, the elderly are increasingly staying in command, well past traditional retirement age, which can sometimes limit the positions available to younger workers from a wider variety of backgrounds.
Stephen Wolfe: What is Christian nationalism? - A definition and defense
New Content and Media Mentions
This week on my podcast, I had a very special guest, Andrew Brunson, the Presbyterian pastor who was unjustly imprisoned in Turkey for two years in what became a major international diplomatic incident. Note: There are some network issues with this recording.
Unfortunately I did not get a transcript for this.
New contents and media mentions: