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Tuesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Nov 29, 2023 10:19 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included covid vaccination refusers, sex partners, non-selective liberal arts colleges, and what to do about an alcoholic son.

The Gaza war thread continued to be the most active thread yesterday, but just barely. Second was a topic that is perhaps even more controversial than the Israel-Palestine conflict. Titled, "Are antivaxxers all just contrarians and conspiracy theorists?" and posted in the "Off-Topic" forum, the original poster asks if there are critical thinkers among those who oppose vaccinations. It is not apparent from the original post whether the original poster is referring to those who oppose all vaccinations or those who are only against the covid vaccination. Regardless, most of the thread focuses on the covid vaccine. This, of course, is not a new topic and there is very little, if anything, new in this thread. I think there are a few obvious facts related to this topic. First, the vaccine was originally oversold, with many believing that the shots would prevent contracting and transmitting covid. That's obviously not the case, though the vaccine does appear to significantly limit both catching and spreading the disease and results in less severe illness among those who are infected. Second, there were relatively widespread side effects to the vaccine that caused suspicion, hesitation, and reluctance to get vaccination. Finally, there has been widespread campaigns, often politically-motivated and frequently based on misinformation, in opposition to the vaccines. The result is that anyone who wants to convince themselves not to get the shot can easily do so. Threads like this one demonstrate different types of vaccine opponents, Of course there are the right-wingers convinced that the vaccine is an attempt to turn them into transgender Marxists who are controlled by 5G radio signals, and the traditional granola leftists convinced that vaccines cause autism, but the covid vaccines have led to another category of vaccine-hesitant individuals. This is the "I support vaccines except for covid" group. Members of this group have a host of reasons for justifying their covid vaccine reluctance. Frequently, they claim to have "done their own research" which often consists of simply reading a few Facebook posts. The new boogyman, as several posters point out, is fear of "spike proteins" that they contend have horrendous side effects. But, I was surprised by the number of posters in this thread who are avoiding covid boosters because they claim the shot knocks them out for a day or two. If they are having that type of reaction to the vaccine, I wonder what will happen to them if they catch actual covid? Conversely, a number of posters in this thread report not having had an interest in the booster until a friend or family member fell ill with the disease. Having witnessed what they went through, these posters have either gotten or or planning to get the shot.

The next most active thread yesterday was posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. Titled, "sex partners", the original poster asks whether men in their 30s would consider entering into a serious relationship with a 28-year-old woman who has had over 60 sexual partners. I don't really expect this thread to last very much longer due to advertisers' concerns about topics dealing with sex. However, as most readers are probably aware, we recently changed how we are handling advertising on the website. We used to receive warnings about inappropriate content directly from Google. Now, we will receive such messages from a third party and, so far, have not received a single one. But, I assume that eventually this thread will be flagged. At any rate, responses to the original poster reveal a variety of attitudes about women and sex. On the one hand are posters who express a strong willingness to date a woman with the sexual history described by the original poster because they believe it demonstrates great enthusiasm for sex and, likely, significant skill. On the other hand, are posters who seem to believe that sex degrades a women and decreases her value. A poster who has the same IP address as the original poster, but may not be the original poster, put it this way, "Being in a relationship with a woman who had 60+ partners is like paying full price for a new car and receiving a rental or used car." This attitude was countered by a member of the first group who instead compared such a woman to a surgeon who has conducted 60 or more surgeries. "If you want to pay full price to be the first patient, that's your choice." Somewhere in the middle were those who suspected that having so many partners by a relatively young age might indicate mental health issues or suggest a likelihood of sexually transmitted diseases. But, if those concerns were ruled out, many of these posters had no problem with such a woman. There were also a number of posters who didn't think that this should even be a topic of converstation, especially early in a relationship. They found the entire subject to be misogynistic and to reflect outdated views of women. Ultimately, the question is probably best addressed by one of the most recent responses that said, "It’s whether [the original poster] can be with someone who had as many partners. There is no right or wrong answer. Only preferences."

Next was a thread titled, "Middle class family being bamboozled with large ‘scholarships’ from tier 5 LACs" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. Anyone who has a child approaching college age will be familiar with the constant stream of letters and postcards advertising relatively unknown liberal arts colleges. These colleges all tend to have fairly high price tags and, to be honest, I never really paid attention to them when they were sent to my sons. But, based on what the original poster says, some of them must come with big promises of scholarships. The original poster has a very cynical view of this and believes the entire phenomenon is a trick to attract students who end up wasting money or worse, taking out loans, for a degree that lacks prestige at a school that has little in the way of career resources. Right off the bat the original poster's use of the term "tier 5" is disputed as posters feel that there is no such category. The original poster then clarified that she was referring to schools that are "Non-selective, middle of nowhere, mediocre graduation rates, around 2,000 students". Moreover, the original poster apparently knows a family that is considering such colleges and wants to disuade them. She feels that even after the scholarships, the cost of the schools is still not justified. The original poster is not alone in her skepticism about scholarships. One poster says, "It's just marketing BS for ‘price negotiation’" and asks whether anyone received a "scholarship" at Best Buy on Black Friday. Other posters, however, describe circumstances in which such colleges would make sense for certain students. They argue that scholarships can bring down the costs so that they are competitive with mid-level state schools and that the environment might be better for some students. Other posters say that the schools are frequently chosen by students who are involved in sports. Another poster defended these schools by making a point that I've often felt was true. The poster says that better schools don't have better teaching, they have better students. Moreover, the prestigious schools may actually have worse teaching because the professors are often academic researchers first and teachers second. As a result, these schools can be a solid choice for those who prioritize the quality of teaching. The school's lack of prestige can be addressed by attending a good graduate school, though that idea also opened a can of worms.

The final thread at which I'll look today was posted in the "Family Relationships" forum. Titled, "Would you intervene if you adult son is an alcoholic and DIL is seeking your help?", the original poster says that her daughter-in-law has told the original poster that she intends to divorce the original poster's son because of his alcoholism and that she would like the original poster and her husband to help. It is not clear from the original post what type of help the daughter-in-law was seeking, but the original poster was not sure how to respond and, therefore, didn't. Her instinct is to stay out of it because she doesn't want to "take sides". Almost all of those responding argue that the original poster should obviously help. Many of those question why the original poster views helping her son as "taking sides". As one poster says helping "isn't taking sides, it's just refusing to continue to enable." Before the first page had finished, the original poster updated to say that she had called her son and he said that he was quitting drinking. As a result, she didn't address the divorce issue and now her daughter-in-law is angry with her. Many posters side with the daughter-in-law and understand why she is angry with the original poster. The original poster is the target of considerable criticism and accused of being both a terrible mother and terrible grandmother (her son and his wife have children). However, posters who have dealt with alcoholism or drug addiction in their families say that there is nothing families can do to "help" in these circumstances. One poster suggests the only useful course of action is to threaten to cut off all contact unless the addict agrees to treatment. This situation became increasingly complicated as the thread went on. It turns out that the original poster's husband is also an alcoholic and that she has an extremely difficult time discussing the topic of alcohol. Therefore, as she says, she neither encourages nor discourages her son's drinking but simply avoids the topic. The original poster's daughter-in-law blames her husband's problems on the original poster and her husband and, according to the original poster, her request for them to help was rude. So, there is animosity all around. Moreover, this animosity spread to posters in the thread who got into increasingly heated disputes.

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