3 Minute Monday – Culture Wars, Obesity & Protective Men

Hi friend,

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Announcement coming soon.

I had a conversation with a friend this week about how we all become captured by culture wars.

We can call it The Culture War’s Shiny Object Cycle.

Here is how it goes:

  1. Some woke news story hits the press.
    1. “Cats suffer from racial discrimination or screwing in lightbulbs needs to be recognised as a valid sexual kink or something.”
  2. The Right Wing antibody response activates.
    1. “Look at how insane these people are. *Matt Walsh quote tweets the article and calls it obnoxious* This is the problem with our convenient, decadent, TikTok society.”
  3. This reaction causes the story to gain infinitely more traction than it ever would have done by signal boosting the original fringe-scenario into a much bigger event.
  4. The Left Wing counter-response activates.
    1. “Right wingers lose their minds over one woman with a particularly dark cat. The Daily Wire has meltdown over insignificant troll article.”
    2. In times where the original story is less insane, this includes a defence of the original article too. “Cats actually CAN experience trauma, minimising this is the REAL problem.”
  5. The Right Wing re-reaction kicks into gear.
    1. “Apparently I’m insane for pushing back against Cat Trauma. See this is the problem, if we don’t stand our ground, these blue haired idiots will take over the country”.
  6. Finally, the Touch Grass Meta-Reactionaries steam in.
    1. “The real issue is people talking about this issue. Look at how silly this whole thing is. It’s time to check out of the culture war. We should reconnect with what really matters. You should move onto the ranch next to Ryan Holiday and hammer fence posts into the ground for the rest of time.”

This cycle is banal.

It’s excruciatingly repetitive.

So why does it sustain our attention if basically every discussion follows the same cycle?

Because each story is sprinkled with just enough novelty to give it the illusion that this is a new, different event.

Which legitimates the pushback… “We’ve not seen THIS Trans Flag with People Who Suffer From A Gluten Intolerance included in it before.”

It’s like a 20th season of Lost where they’re back on an island for the 7th time and need to escape, but THIS TIME IT’S WINTER.

The Culture War’s Shiny Object Cycle does my head in.

It does my head in because I get captured by it.

I see a bank rewriting classic fairy tales into a boss-bitch remake called Fairer Tales: Princesses Doing It For Themselves and think “this is fucking dumb, where’s Douglas Murray, I need him to decimate this idea with me.”

It’s cathartic.

Calling out insane ideas written by idiots is so compelling and fun and easy to do that it’s like being a cocaine addict with Pablo Escobar as a next door neighbour.

The memes of production are whirring at maximum RPM and we’re all caught in the vortex.

It was Douglas who reminded me why I’m getting so exasperated with this cycle.

It is a distraction.

A distraction from our attention being focussed on things which are actually meaningful.

Not just meaningful in a “will you remember this when you’re dead”-way.

But in a “there’s other issues that are more important to talk about”-way too.

There’s entire American cities with fentanyl epidemics.

80% of suicides of people aged 18 to 24 are men.

I want to hear Peterson talk about dealing with finding meaning in a world stripped of all its guard rails.

I want Taleb to be writing about applying complex maths to simple life problems.

Many of the smartest people on the planet have had their attention captured arguing about whether men are men and women are women or not over the last few years.

And even more of the normal ones too.

All of our collective minds are held hostage by an endless cycle of shiny objects that aggravate both sides and makes them feel righteous for standing their ground.

I think this is a bottomless pit.

I don’t think it’s going to stop.

I will almost certainly bring up stories like these in future.

But I’m gonna try hard to focus more on stuff that matters in 50 years, not just in 50 minutes.

And probably so should you.

MODERN WISDOM

I do a podcast which has had 480 million+ downloads. You should subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

This week’s upcoming episodes:

Monday.
Tim Kennedy – scary Green Beret man tells me about the border crisis, the greatest military heroes you’ve never heard of, what it’s like to be shot, how to raise better children and much more.

Thursday.
Freya India – one of my favourite new writers on the mental health crisis of young women, antidepressant overuse, snapchat dysmorphia and TikTok Brain. Don’t miss this one.

Saturday.
Dr Phil – America’s most beloved doctor on the problem with the modern education system, why he’s pushing back against insane ideas, if America can be saved and whether inclusive language actually helps.

THINGS I’VE LEARNED

1.
Obesity is now a greater threat to global health than hunger.

A new Lancet study has found that tore than one in eight people in the world are clinically obese

The number passed one billion for the first time.

It is now the leading form of malnutrition, with the number of people considered underweight falling to below 550 million.

Being obese or underweight are forms of malnutrition because in both cases people are not getting the right nutrients, vitamins and types of calories needed to be healthy.

Experts warned that children were paying the price for inaction on obesity by global leaders, with under-18s accounting for 159 million of those who are obese.

2.
Even in 2024, women are still looking for a protective man.

“Protectiveness is a sign of masculinity, and whether or not progressive young women today will admit it, both masculinity in general—and protectiveness in particular are very attractive in a mate.

Wives who gave their husbands’ top rating for “protectiveness” were more likely to be happy in their marriages and less likely to report that divorce might be in their future.

Women also were happier in marriages where they gave their husbands high marks for masculinity.

The same study found that 74% of wives who say they are “very happy” in their marriage, also rate their husband as “very masculine.”

And nearly two-thirds (64%) of wives who say their husbands are very masculine also say that divorce is not at all likely.” — Melanie Notkin

I read a story a while ago about how a woman felt her attraction to her boyfriend fall off a cliff when he didn’t protect her during a scary altercation with a stranger on the street.

3.
Ernest Shackleton’s job advert to cross the Antarctic.

This is one of the greatest pieces of advertising in history.

Shackleton was supposedly flooded with 5000 responses, men clamouring to take their chances on the icy southern continent.

The story has been told and retold, and the quote has been riffed on to no end.

It’s a heroic harkening back to a bygone age when men were men and chased adventure.

I recently told this story on a podcast.

But I think I was wrong.

People have combed archives for decades trying to find the original.

However this advert has never been found in its original form, despite there being a reward from antarctic-circle.org for anyone who can find it.

I’ll chalk this up as an L, albeit an inspiring one.

LIFE HACK

Uber when you don’t need it.

Even though I now have a car, I’m finding it better to still Uber when parking is a nightmare at the place I’m going (downtown Austin), there’s lots of traffic, I have work to do or I just want to relax.

Living in a world with Uber is wild.

You get a private driver to collect you instantly from your house for $15 or so.

Consider using it more.

Big love,
Chris x

Try my productivity drink Neutonic.
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PS
All of you who sent nice comments or messages after the unusually touchy-feely Q&A went live on Saturday, I really appreciate you. Thank you.

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