U.S. Political Extremes Are "Alarming"
Since taking the helm of The New Yorker in 1998, David Remnick has returned the magazine to its profitable glory days. A graduate of Princeton University, he began his journalistic career as a night police reporter at the Washington Post in 1982, becoming the paper's Moscow correspondent in 1988. His coverage of the Soviet Union's collapse led to his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1993 book "Lenin's Tomb." His latest book "The Bridge," is a biography of President Barack Obama. He lives in New York with his wife, Esther Fein, and their three children.
David Remnick: I think the notion that\r\n Barack Obama is a radical is preposterous. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who \r\nis quoted in my book as saying that the only radical thing, the only \r\ntrue radical thing about Barack Obama is that he’s African-American. And\r\n I think that’s true. That his politics are center/center-left, they \r\ncome out \r\nof the tradition of the Democratic Party. In many ways they are \r\ncontinuations of lines taken by the Clinton Administration. You know, \r\nlook at the healthcare bill itself. This is a more modest healthcare \r\nbill than many proposed by others. He got what he could get and he \r\nsucceeded. Look at the so-called radical nuclear arms treaty just signed\r\n with the Russians. There’s a lot of criticism on the right saying, \r\nBarack Obama is giving away our security. He is stripping us of our \r\ncapacity to project strength in the world and to protect ourselves, and \r\nin fact, the great left-winger Ronald Reagan was far more radical when \r\nit came to nuclear arms policy.
Remember, Rekjavik in the \r\nperiod,\r\n I think Gorbachev-Reagan period were those two men who were intent on \r\nreducing nuclear stockpiles to nothing. And here we’ve reduced it by a \r\nthird. I mean, the notion that Barack Obama somehow came out of a \r\nradical cauldron in Chicago and somewhere in his desk drawer, in the \r\nResolute Desk in the Oval Office is a copy of Marx and Gramsci and Lenin\r\n is just obscene. It’s ridiculous. And there are just too many elements \r\nin the media and in politics trying to stoke these fires for those \r\nabsurd notions to disappear.
Question: Will the \r\nRepublicans win in the midterm elections?
David Remnick:\r\n It’s very difficult to see. Look, I think there is a legitimate \r\nconservative opposition, as you would expect. Of course that’s going to \r\nhappen. There’s going to be a legitimate Republican opposition, there’s \r\ngoing to be battles. What concerns me is not that so much. What concerns\r\n me deeply is the outer edges of it and the nature of the outer edges of\r\n it, and the way the outer edges are provoked by certain politicians and\r\n \r\ncertain parts of the internet and television, cable television and all \r\nthe rest. And the end result of some of that kind of ugliness can be \r\nbeyond our reckoning; really beyond our reckoning. And I don’t want to \r\nbe too alarmist of it, but I remember, for example, in Israeli politics \r\nduring Yitzhak Rabin’s time, when the far right there stirred things up \r\nto such a degree that the political atmosphere in certain quarter became\r\n quite literally murderous.
So, I think we need to be very \r\ncareful about lumping everybody together in, even the Tea Party \r\nMovement. I might not agree with any of it, but the extremes of it are \r\nreally alarming.
The New Yorker editor compares the current atmosphere in the U.S. to what happened in Israel under Yitzhak Rabin: the far right stirred things up so much that the political atmosphere became, literally, murderous.
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Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"
- A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
- Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
- Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
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