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Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Mar 08, 2024 10:27 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included President Joe Biden's State of the Union address, giving up on dreams of attending an Ivy League university, going back to work in order to motivate a husband to help out more, and buying a Porsche Boxster.

The most active thread yesterday was titled, "Biden's SOTU" and posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. This thread is obviously about the State of the Union address delivered last night by President Joe Biden. Interest in this thread was surprisingly intense, pushing the thread to 44 pages already. Obviously, I haven't read all of those pages, but I have read many pages throughout the thread. Right from the beginning, Republican-leaning posters set the bar for Biden incredibly low. Based on Republican expectations, it would be surprising if Biden were even able to walk to the podium successfully. Doubts about Biden's cognitive abilities spread to more moderate and even some Democratic-leaning posters. When Biden immediately launched into a combative and forceful speech, the thread turned into a combination of straw-grasping and outright denial. "He’s literally reading from teleprompter" one poster wrote, as if any president in the modern era would attempt such a speech without a teleprompter. "The man is literally drugged" wrote another poster. "He’s slurring his words", complained a poster with what would be a repeated criticism throughout the evening. But among Democrats, many of whom had clearly not been optimistic about the speech, there was a slow realization that Biden was clearly exceeding expectations. "He sounds great. Strong and confident", wrote one poster. Another opined, "Joe came out swinging. I'm actually feeling bad for Mike Johnson", referring to the Republican Speaker of the House who spent the evening seated behind Biden making various expressions of disappointment. "Johnson does NOT look happy and I'm loving it", noted another poster. Biden is a not skilled orator of the caliber of Barack Obama or Ronald Reagan. But, if his decades of political experience have done nothing else, they have prepared him for the rough and tumble that has characterized the most recent SOTU addresses during which Republicans routinely interrupt to heckle Democratic presidents. Last year, Biden successfully maneuvered Republicans into opposing social security and Medicaid cuts. At least one DCUM poster correctly predicted that Biden would repeat this tactic. "Last year was great in part because he went off script responding to the RWNJs yelling at him. So their Speaker is telling them to shut it but they won’t", wrote this poster. Not only did the Republican heckling not get under Biden's skin or throw him off kilter, he seemed to thrive on it. Biden taunted the Republicans, ridiculed them, and challenged them to stand up for their professed values. "I think he is doing an amazing job. He's so strong. He should have been getting this message out every single day. But I really hope that people are listening to this!" wrote a poster. The bottom line is that many expected "Sleepy Joe" but they got "Dark Brandon". This caused a notable change in the Republican spin. As one poster noted, "The GOP narrative pivots from ‘President Biden is too feeble’ to ‘President Biden is too aggressive.’" There is no denying that it was a good night for Biden, summed up by one poster as "This is a campaign speech." Indeed it was, and one that, if nothing else, probably calmed a lot of Democratic nerves.

Yesterday's next most active thread was posted in the "Tweens and Teens" forum. Titled, "Letting the Ivy plan go", the original poster says that both she and her husband attended elite universities on scholarship. From a very young age, their daughter wanted to attend the original poster's Ivy alma mater. But, now that she is in high school, she is struggling with and disliking the rigorous classes necessary to obtain Ivy-caliber credentials. The original poster is torn between pushing her daughter with "tough love" or allowing her daughter to make her own choices and choose her own priorities, knowing that might close some doors for her. This thread might have been better posted in one of DCUM's education forums instead of the teens forum. I think the reaction would have been significantly different in a forum that attracted more of the Ivy-obsessed posters. In this case, however, most posters sided with allowing the girl to choose her own path. Poster after poster scoffed at the idea that the original poster's daughter had truly wanted to go to the the original poster's alma mater, suggesting instead that the original poster had planted this idea in her head. These posters claimed that this was more the original poster's desire than it was her daughter's. Many posters assured the original poster that her daughter could still succeed in school, attend college and have a happy life without attending an Ivy institution. "This is actually a growing experience for you", wrote one poster arguing that it is not necessary for the original poster's daughter to torture herself in an effort to be successful. A number of posters pointed out that even if the original poster's daughter did everything necessary to have a shot at an Ivy school, admissions are so selective that she still might not make it. Several posters, even those who attended Ivy League schools, said that they did not want to encourage their children down a path that was so likely to end in disappointment. The original poster was not happy about this response. "Damn I woke the beasts. I was hoping for helpful sane DCUM", she wrote. Apparently she was hoping for responses advising her to push her daughter, but such responses simply didn't come. Instead, there were responses such as, "Your child is an individual human, not a clone of you" or "[the original poster] just wants that prize of saying her daughter is attending that ivy." A few posters didn't exactly provide the message the original poster seemed to be seeking, but they did cast doubt on the sincerity of those claiming that they would not force their kids down a specific path. "Everyone here pretends they don’t care where their kids go to college", wrote one poster before suggesting these posters nevertheless encourage extracurricular activities and test preparation that will help their kids' college chances. As the thread continued, it became fairly wide-ranging with discussions of the hiring practices of New York City hedge funds and the obsession with football among University of Michigan alumni.

Next was a thread titled, "Should I go back to work to get DH to step up?" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. The original poster is a stay-at-home-mom who is married to a surgeon. They have three children and the original poster is basically responsible for everything related to childcare and home keeping. Her husband works late, goes to professional dinners, industry meetings, and other activities that take up his time. If he has any free time, he tends to spend it hanging out with friends watching or participating in sports. The original poster says that she is "beyond fed up and irritated" with her husband's lack of help around the house. Based on a friend's experience, she wonders if going back to work might motivate her husband to do more to help out. I don't think anyone thought that going back to work would be an effective strategy to motivate her husband to contribute more around the house. Several posters argued that her husband's busy schedule simply came with the territory of being a surgeon and that she shouldn't resent it. Others contended that experienced surgeons have lots of influence over their schedules and that her husband was choosing to be so busy and that not all of the activities were required. But most members of both these groups were pessimistic about the likelihood that he would change his behavior. Most of them advised the original poster to hire more household help. A few posters agreed that the original poster should go back to work, but not because it could cause her husband to help out more. Rather, it would protect her in case of divorce. Some posters thought that the original poster doesn't appreciate how good she has it and think that she should be happy in her current situation. In contrast, other posters didn't think the original poster's husband was likely to change, but they thought that the original poster could take steps such as finding hobbies or other activities that might make her life more enjoyable. One poster who is also married to a doctor who has similarly long hours described using exactly that strategy and went from contemplating divorce to hoping to remain married to her husband for the rest of her life. The original poster's situation was not confined to the wives of doctors. Posters married to men working in other professions also described being in similar situations. Most agreed that these men were working such long hours by choice rather than necessity and for every doctor or lawyer who claimed that work demands prevented them from helping more with the kids, there was another one who was splitting household chores by 50%.

The last thread that I will discuss today was posted in the "Money and Finances" forum and titled, "Should I ‘let’ my husband buy this car?" The original poster and her husband are quite wealthy. Her husband wants to buy a Porsche Boxster that will cost about $110,000. The original poster clearly is not thrilled about such a purchase, but since they can easily afford it she does not have any reason to argue against it. "Can you think of reasons to say no?", she asks. Several posters consider such a car to be a waste of money and some suggest setting certain conditions before agreeing to let him buy it. But, most posters are generally in favor. Some suggest buying used to save some money. A number of posters argue that the original poster's husband is having a midlife crisis and that a fun car is much cheaper than a mistress which several posters assume is the most likely alternative. A few posters enthusiastically support the idea with one advising the original poster to switch to a "convertible-friendly" hairstyle so that she can enjoy rides in the car as well. Several posters say that their husbands purchased expensive sports cars and they don't regret the purchases. One explained that she didn't initially understand the attraction but later came to appreciate the car. The biggest divisions in this thread are caused by attitudes toward cars, especially expensive sports cars. Some posters see them as simply status symbols or as classic indicators of a midlife crisis. But others, especially self-described "car guys" (or gals), argue that such cars are a source of considerable joy. A number of posters take issue with the specific car. There are Porsche-haters and, as a BMW driver, I was thrilled to see another make attract so much animosity for a change. But, based on this thread, if there is an award for the brand with the most obnoxious fans, it clearly goes to Tesla. There was a lot of excitement about Rivian's SUV. A friend of mine bought one of those and returned it within a month because he hated it. I would definitely stick with the Porsche. Another point of debate concerned how much influence the original poster should have over this decision. Many posters argued that since her husband made most of the money, this was mostly his decision and it shouldn't require the original poster's permission. Several posters faulted her for even assuming that she had a role in the decision. Others argued that regardless of which spouse in a marriage earns the money, it belongs to the couple and each has equal influence over how it is spent. In a similar vein, some posters argued that the original poster should allow her husband to buy the car, but that she should also feel free to spend a similar amount of money on her own toys.

Me is me says:
Mar 08, 2024 11:22 AM
If you think this was a good night for Joe, you need to wait a week for the shakeout. You are indeed in a bubble.
Avalon says:
Mar 08, 2024 01:15 PM
Katie Britt had a MUCH better night, lol.
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