Does your baby know your name? :D

So I’m talking to this chick, and she’s telling me she thinks her baby knows what her name is. The baby’s only a few months old, so there’s clearly no way this is possible.

Babies don’t come out of the box equipped with the ability to parse statements in the language of their parents. This means that it’s just as easy for the baby to select someone’s name from a bunch of gibberish which happens to be English for me to select someone’s name out of a sentence spoken in Swahili. I do not KNOW Swahili, so I would have no idea of knowing which bunch of syllables is a proper name. I wouldn’t know which words represent verbs and I wouldn’t know which words represent nouns. I’m not saying “if I were a few-months-old-baby”… I’m saying RIGHT NOW! 😀 I would have NO IDEA what someone is saying in a language that I don’t understand. The only way I would have a chance is if the name in that language is similar to a name in English, the language that *I* speak and understand. That comes from years of hearing and understanding people’s names as well as having a grasp of the English language, as well as being more than a few months old.

This is why you can teach babies any language you want. They don’t come out with abilities in English, Swahili, French… none of that. The baby learns language from whomever teaches the baby language. First of all, babies don’t understand that people are called by NAMES at all. That’s a construct. If people called each other by numbers, this same person would swear that the baby knew that that set of numbers pertained to her. 😀 Every time someone uttered those numbers in that sequence, the baby would think they were talking about her. This assumes that the baby understands numbers. This assumes that the baby understands sequences. This assumes that the baby can parse sentences. This assumes a lot of things that just aren’t true.

I’m sure women would LOVE TO BELIEVE that their children know their names the first time the doctor slaps them, hahaha but it’s just not true. Also, it assumes that people call that woman the same thing over and over. What if people call her different things in front of the baby? I’ve gone to a few places where someone foreign to American customs was not aware that Bill is another name for William. They had NO IDEA that both of those names refer to the same person. These were GROWN PEOPLE in service-industry jobs. Why is it that they had no idea it’s the same name? Because it’s not in their custom… It’s not what they grew up with. They also wouldn’t know that Chuck is a name for Charles or that Dick is a name for Richard (Dick Nixon?). Similarly, babies don’t come equipped with the understanding that when someone utters several syllables in a row, or even worse, one syllable made up of a couple of consonants and a vowel, that it’s a representation of ANYONE, including their own mothers.

If you believe this is true, feel free to record someone saying your name over and over, and see how many times your baby thinks that recording is talking about you. 😀 Maybe have someone hold your baby and have them say your name over and over and see how many times your baby looks in your direction. Better yet… have someone say your name in Swahili, since you think babies understand languages they haven’t been taught yet right off the bat! 😀

Fake it ’till you Make it! :D

~ response to Penelope Trunk’s post ~

PT: “For example, The Economist reports that men overestimate how attracted women are to them, and women underestimate how interested men are. This research comes from an article in Evolution and Human Behavior, and the conclusion is that the poor estimating is actually good for evolution, because men don’t miss opportunities to spread their DNA, and women make sure to mate with someone who will stick around.”

hahaha Biology aside, in most cases, I find both situations to be true as far as men overestimating and women underestimating. IMO that’s because of what men and women (stereotypically) approach “relationships” for in the first place. I’m not sure who said this, but I read somewhere that “men give relationships to get sex and women give sex to get relationships”. 😀 That pretty much sums it up.

Not that this never happens, but I don’t know ANY guys (who had a choice, that is) that chose their SO without being sexually attracted to her. ‘Matter of fact, I don’t know ANY guys that have ever even dated women that they weren’t sexually attracted to for one reason or another. I’m not saying these women were “hot”, but just that there was something about them that made that guy interested in having sex with her, and that’s what made her a candidate for dating, a relationship, becoming a girlfriend or a wife.

OTOH, women date men all the time that they’re not sexually attracted to. Women date men that they’re not even sure are attracted to women. Again, “stereotypically”, that’s not what they’re ‘in it’ for. They’re in it for the way they relate to him and how it is to spend time with him.

I think the over- and under-estimation is based on projection. Guys know that the main reason they would talk to a woman is that they’re attracted to her, so they project that onto her and figure she’s attracted to them BECAUSE she’s talking to them, or accepting their rap. Meanwhile, women talk to guys they like because they like their personalities and ways of being, so they project that onto the guy, and think he has a platonic interest in her… or, perhaps that he chose her based on what she said or has accomplished in life vs how she looks and how turned on he is by her.

PT: “Here’s another relationship study that makes me think of work: A good relationship hinges more on expressing joy from someone else’s good news than about how you react to their bad news. Benedict Carey writes in The New York Times that a slew of studies find that your reaction to someone’s good news is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship. So don’t brush off your spouse when she has a good day at work, and the same goes for your co-worker’s good news — express enthusisam. (Thanks, Mercedes)”

hmm. I don’t know that the two are different… responding to good news or bad news. I would think the important part would be the quality and value of the response instead of which format the information was received in.

Let’s say the good news was “I got a promotion” and the bad news was “you look fat in that dress” 😀 The quality of her response to either one can strengthen or weaken a relationship. As far as “how the day was @ work”… Women are notorious for telling men things they never asked about. 😀 It’s tough to fake interest in and enthusiasm for something you didn’t want to hear in the first place. OTOH, your advice is on-point. FAKING that interest and enthusiasm is better for your relationship than telling her to get out from in front of the television because they’re about to kick off for the second half! 😀

Destiny? Fate? Meaningless Coincidence?

So I get on a bus, today. I normally don’t get on buses, but I decided to try one today. Not just any bus, but a bus going out of state. Not like a public bus or something. I get my ticket at the bus terminal and walk to the waiting area. I get in line behind this girl/woman/young lady, whatever your favorite term is. She’s relatively attractive. I don’t know that that has anything to do with the topic other than that’s the reason I noticed her in the first place. I don’t know that that’s not the ONLY reason I’m blogging this. 😀 So the bus comes, and we’re going to the same stop. It was an express bus, so I suppose EVERYONE was going to the same stop… or maybe they weren’t… maybe there were “points beyond” that that bus was going to. I call for my ride to pick me up, and she goes about her business. Meanwhile, I’m wondering to myself what the odds are that I’m going to see her on the way back “home” (at least for me).

Amongst others, I meet up with someone that took an earlier bus from NYC. I decide to leave my plans for going back home up to whenever he decides he’s leaving. That’s not exactly a fair statement. I should say that I was working with him today, so I definitely wasn’t coming back to NYC BEFORE he was… there was just nothing saying that I had to leave when he did.

Anyway… I leave it up to him, and when he’s ready to head back, I get ready to go. Our ride has to pass by Fedex, so we end up going for the 8:30pm bus instead of the 8:00pm bus. We get dropped off, and as we’re waiting for the bus, the same chick is dropped off @ the Park N Ride by her father (which I could tell because of their conversation). So now, the question has changed from “what are the odds that we will come back together on the same bus, when there’s a bus that runs every 30 minutes from the center of the universe (New York City) to some town in the sticks in Jersey” to “What’s going on here? Destiny? Fate? Meaningless Coincidence?”

It’s true that the odds were relatively good that I would come back on the same bus she did… at least, compared to other modes of transportation like New York Subways, where you can take several different lines, or you can take buses, or you can catch a cab, or you can walk. Between 10:30am and 8:30pm, there are 20 buses, but you can cut that number in less than half, considering I wouldn’t expect someone to take a bus to Jersey just for a couple of hours, then go back home. So let’s say the odds were 1 in 6.

For someone to believe that it was Destiny or perhaps Fate that caused you to run into someone twice in the same day, you’d have to believe there was a plan or someone/something pushing you in a certain direction, and also pushing the other person. Then again, you’re not supposed to be able to escape “destiny”, so what exactly WAS your destiny in that situation? Just to be there on that day, on that time? Your actions still come down to Free Will, so even when put in a situation of potential Destiny, what happens still comes down to what you choose to do, or what’s chosen for you.

Maybe it’s not a plan, but a suggestion from ‘the powers that be’. Then again… maybe it’s Meaningless Coincidence. If it’s a suggestion, and you don’t recognize or act on that suggestion, you miss out on something potentially great for you… IF the power suggesting this to you had your best interests in mind! 😀 Similarly, if it’s Meaningless Coincidence, and you act like it’s something special, you could overreact to ‘nothing’.

So I’m thinking about this on the subway ride home from Port Authority. What just happened? Did ANYTHING happen? DOES anything EVER happen? Is it all Meaningless Coincidence?…..

I leave the subway and walk home… just in time to meet a new chick simultaneously entering my building. 😀 She’s fun, friendly and attractive, and as we bid each other ‘good night’ as I leave the elevator, I’m glad that I didn’t stop to meet the first chick, because I would have missed the second one! 😉

Sexism?

A few days ago, I became aware of a… series of comments (because it wasn’t actually a conversation or a debate) that revolved around the reasons someone would choose or hire someone else to be a spokesperson for them. I missed that conversation, entirely, so I’ll just mention my thoughts about it here, and be done with it. Specifically, it pertained to whether a woman should be chosen for the job? and if so, should it be an attractive woman? and if so, should that be the deciding factor in hiring her? To be even more specific, they were looking to hire someone to be on-air talent… not on television, but on the internet. A host of a show. “The Face” of their broadcast.

Anyone could have been chosen to be the host of this show, yet they specifically requested an attractive female. This was called “sexism”. Definition #2 of sexism, according to m-w.com/dictionary/sexism, is “behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex”. Could choosing an attractive female to host a show foster stereotypes of a woman’s social role? Could choosing a more attractive woman who knows nothing about the topic (but is going to be fed her lines anyway, via a script) over a less attractive woman who knows a lot about the topic imply things to the viewers or people that become aware of this situation about the role of a woman in this society or what’s valued about her? I think it says more about the people looking to hire this attractive woman and their target demographic than it says about the woman herself or women in general. What could be the reason that an attractive woman was desired for the position? How about RATINGS? 😀

How about if one of the reasons… if not the ONLY reason to put on the show was to get viewers? How about if they knew that they would get MORE viewers to tune in with an attractive female spokesperson than an unattractive female or a male? What’s their incentive to go with decidedly less effective ‘bait’ when they’re fishing for viewers? Where’s the ROI?

On top of all that, it’s not like they were trying to hire her for some kind of intellectual show
like “On The Record w/ Greta Van Susteren”. 😀

All this new spokesperson has to do is study some simple introductory lines or read them from a teleprompter. She’s there to wave and smile and look good and ATTRACT viewers to watch the show, which benefits the guys that were looking to hire her in the first place. Mission accomplished. If you’re trying to do a show about lawyers, and you hire a woman that looks good and is NOT and never WAS a lawyer, you’re a fool. If you want someone to turn letters on a game show, there’s no need to hire a lawyer. 🙂

What does that say for the _content_ of a show that needs eye-candy to get viewers? hehehehe… well…… 🙂

However, like I said… I think it says more about the show and the show’s demographics than it says about women. If the show’s topic is appealing to men, then putting an attractive woman in the spotlight is only going to benefit you. Look at Harlequin….


They’re selling fantasies to women. Does Harlequin hire busted-looking, out-of-shape, unsuccessful-looking ‘Joe Average’s to model for the covers of their novels for women? NOPE! 😀 You know why? Because fewer women would BUY.THE.BOOK. They’re better off using covers that don’t imply anything about the guy’s looks at all than they are using a cover that defines the protagonist as visually unattractive.

That’s not to say that I don’t see the other side of the ‘argument’. Television’s filled with uncommonly attractive people, percentage-wise. Most places you go, people don’t actually look like that. 😀 I understand that a lot of girls and women feel pressure to attempt to make themselves look like models because they think models are the definition of good-looking, when, in fact, models are models because they fit the ONE.SIZE.OF.THE.DRESS that the designer made for the show. They hire models to fit clothes… they DON’T make the clothes to fit the models. I understand the reasons that women want to ‘fight the power’ and get more unattractive women into on-air-talent positions. However… what they’re missing is that the woman wasn’t being sought because she was a woman. They were looking for someone that would have been attractive to their target demographic… MEN. If you take away the desire to hire someone attractive, that doesn’t mean that the unattractive woman has a chance at all. She’s on the same level (if not lower) than a man now, because neither the man nor the unattractive woman is going to add to the show’s ratings. Unfortunately, even fighting the power doesn’t mean a win for the unattractive woman… it’s merely a loss for the attractive woman. And, yes… I’m aware that I’m using terms that relate to _visual_ attractiveness, because that’s the line that was drawn in this particular case.

Do I think this situation was sexist? No. It would have been sexist if what the new employee looked like wouldn’t have mattered at all to their ratings. If they were hiring a video editor, who was never going to be seen on the broadcast, choosing a more attractive and less qualified woman would have been a sexist decision, benefitting the men in the company that would rather walk in the editing suite and see an attractive woman, and hurting the bottom line, since she would be less effective at getting the job done than the less attractive woman. In the case of hiring on-air talent for a mindless hostess position, go for the gusto. Get all the ratings you can, because that’s where you’re going to get viewers, fame, advertisers, more work… whatever. If you need the new hire to actually DO SOMETHING, go with the most qualified person in the best interests of your business.

Like I said, I missed the boat on this conversation, but it ended with ZERO resolution, whatsoever. Each camp rallied around their respective positions, and no solutions came up that might have gotten a less attractive, yet more qualified female the job. In this case, its absolutely right what the women were saying, that her personality wasn’t being showcased and that she was chosen for her looks instead of her ideas and thoughts. “Someone” also said something that I found interesting and true. One of the arguments from the “good looks” side was that “sex sells”. Her response was that it wasn’t actually sex that was “selling”… it was how attractive the woman looked. I think she’s absolutely right. I don’t think a more sexual or sensual, yet visually unattractive woman would have stood a chance of being hired for this position, because she still wouldn’t have helped the ratings.

What never came up in the conversation is Human nature. Regardless of the technology, it’s still people on the other end of the line. Attractive people get more ‘stuff’ in this world. That’s how it is. Every time there’s a scientific study done, those are the results. All other things being equal, attractiveness wins the position. Even when things AREN’T equal, attractiveness wins the position. It’s valiant and respectable to fight the good fight, but until the society changes to the point where the viewers don’t care what the host / hostess / romance novel cover model looks like, their visual or physical attractiveness is going to be a tool to use to bait viewers into watching something they otherwise wouldn’t even consider taking a FIRST look at.