Behavior OnLine Forums  
The gathering place for Mental Health and
Applied Behavior Science Professionals.
Become a charter member of Behavior OnLine.

Go Back   Behavior OnLine Forums > >


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old August 5th, 2010, 11:59 AM
James Brody James Brody is offline
Forum Leader
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Philadelphia area
Posts: 1,143
Arrow Old Farts, Young Studs

“Maybe the old men will manage to control their succession.” Economist, July 17th, 2010, 15.

Columnist William Raspberry told this story in the Washington Post on October 10, 2005:

“Some years ago, South Africa's game managers had to figure out what to do about the elephant herd at Kruger National Park. The herd was growing well beyond the ability of the park to sustain it.
The two-phase solution: transport some of the herd to the Pilanesberg game park and kill off some of those that were too big to transport. And so they did.
“A dozen years later, several of the transported young males (now teenagers) started attacking Pilanesberg's herd of white rhinos, an endangered species. They used their trunks to throw sticks at the rhinos, chased them over long hours and great distances, and stomped to death a tenth of the herd -- all for no discernible reason.
“Park managers decided they had no choice but to kill some of the worst juvenile offenders. They had killed five of them when someone came up with another bright idea: Bring in some of the mature males from Kruger -- there was by then the technology to transport the larger animals -- and hope that the bigger, stronger males could bring the adolescents under control.
“To the delight of the park officials, it worked. The big bulls, quickly establishing the natural hierarchy, became the dominant sexual partners of the females, and the reduction in sexual activity among the juveniles lowered their soaring testosterone levels and reduced their violent behavior.
“The new discipline, it turned out, was not just a matter of size intimidation. The young bulls actually started following the Big Daddies around, enjoying the association with the adults, yielding to their authority and learning from them proper elephant conduct. The assaults on the white rhinos ended abruptly.
“Here's the point: For reasons arguably as benign as those that led to the tragedy of Pilanesberg, America's black inner cities have been denuded of their adult men.”

(More at

Mike Gallagher alerted me to this story, or rather, a screaming caller, a black woman, “Andrea” did. She complained of racism and ignored the fact that Mr. Raspberry is a black man. Andrea, therefore, missed the point and became her own story for all of us…that is, old males not only settle young males but very possibly young females. After all, the black community is filled with single women with children and jails are filled with young black males. Could it be that black females drive out black males rather than being simply abandoned? And does that process of abandonment leave a generation of angry mothers whose screaming makes another generation of impulsive black children more apt to elope and to get in trouble by means of assault or pregnancy?

It’s possible to find similar patterns elsewhere in nature.

1) Steven Suomi tells us that young rhesus are reared first by a “matriline” of aunts and grandmothers. The guys who fight often, steal food, and attempt big leaps between tree branches have a year to settle and then are evicted by their mothers not to a jail but to a lethal jungle floor. The young guys who can manage cooperation will move next to herds of adult males who teach more lessons in maturity’s game.
2) This morning’s news clip on WNTP: JetBlue uses flight attendants but hires retired cops and fire fighters for that job. The older guys remain calm in emergencies and are better at handling people.
3) A divorced human mother is slower to remarry if she has a daughter, she does so within a year if she has a son.
4) Our Muslim friends – King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Hosni Mubarak are both ill, in their 80s, and try to arrange for the right son to take over.

Routines and traditions move from one generation to the next and the test is to use young males and their creativity but in ways that prevent their killing the rest of us. This process gives politicians – and clerics, teachers, attorneys, and grieving mothers, wives, and sisters – a puzzle to solve: when to repeat traditions and when to follow a youthful leader to new ideas? After all, we have sat and chipped the same style axe heads for two million years or carved the same log faces in an effort to prevent starvation while we all starved.

The neurologists tell us that our right frontal cortex bulges in our early development. It appears to be a “pattern maker” that first invents routines and then ships them to our left cortex, our “pattern executor.” Head injuries to youngsters are crippling if to the right side but of far less impact after we are older. Head injuries to our left are trivial when we are very young but crippling if we are older…the difference appears to be our times for innovation and our times for tracking routines. As we move through our 30s and 40s, that right side shrinks, the left grows, old folks lecture the younger and, once in a while, an Obama will defeat a McCain.

If we conservatives march behind “fairness,” we choose Mitt, Mac, Rudy, or Mike who will lead us to keep on doing what we already do and did. Or we can go for a risk-taker as we did in our last election…one not only like Obama whose right frontal area still percolates but also a risk taker who is smarter and adheres to our fundamental traditions.

On the other hand, Mitt, Rudy, Mac, and Huck feel they “deserve” their turn because they have seniority in a line. (It’s also tough when those wrinkles in your mirror tell more of exhaustion than leadership.) M, R, M, and H can also insist on carrying the torch because they did favors for so many people while waiting in line.

Good luck Mr. Ryan. Good luck Mrs. Palin. And General Petraeus, if you should have a moment….

Last edited by James Brody; August 9th, 2010 at 04:39 PM..
Reply With Quote

black culture, blacks in jail, maturation, politics, right cortex, single black women, social innovation

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:49 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright © 1995-2023 Liviant Internet LLC. All rights reserved.