In 1945, the Austrian physician René Spitz investigated an orphanage that took extra care to make sure its infants were not infected with disease. The children received first-class nutrition and medical care, but they were barely touched, to minimize their contact with germs. The approach was a catastrophe. Thirty-seven percent of the babies died before reaching age 2.I don't believe this. It suggests that 37% of the babies died because they were not touched? No, they were dying of something else, and "barely touched" is just an excuse.
It turns out that empathetic physical contact is essential for life. Intimate touch engages the emotions and wires the fibers of the brain together.
From googling this, I see that Spitz was a Jewish psychoanalyst student of Freud.
One unintended effect of this disenchantment is that it becomes easy to underestimate the risks inherent in any encounter. The woman who talked in an online article about her date with Aziz Ansari is being criticized because what happened to her was not like what happened to the victims of Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K. There was no workplace power dynamic and no clear violation of consent. The assumption seems to be that as long as there’s consent between adults, everything else is kosher.This is weird. Ansari is not accused of treating her coldly or neglectfully. He is accused of the opposite.
Surely that’s setting the bar amazingly low. Everything we know about touch suggests that even with full consent, the emotional quality of an encounter can have profound positive or negative effects. If Ansari did treat her coldly or neglectfully, it’s reasonable to think that the shame she felt right after was the surface effect of a deeper wound. Neglectful, dehumanizing sex is not harassment, but it’s some other form of serious harm.
The accusations against Louis C.K. did not involve any workplace power dynamic or clear violation of consent. His accusers were groupies who went to his hotel room after a comedy act, and they reported that he explicitly asked them for consent, and he refrained if they said no.
The abuse of intimacy erodes all the building blocks of agency: self-worth, resiliency and self-efficacy (the belief that you can control a situation). It is precisely someone who lives within a culture of supposedly zipless encounters who is most likely to be unable to take action when she feels uncomfortable. It’s the partner’s responsibility to be sensitive to this possibility.The slut who went home with Ansari later complained that he was just like the other men that she dated. Did that mean that she was unable to recognize her discomfort? No, that's crazy. It meant that she knew exactly what she was doing, and was consciously consenting to it.
Brooks is probably mainly known for appearing on TV representing Republicans, when in fact he denounces Donald Trump in the harshest terms. For his personal life, see this 2015 Politico story:
New York Times columnist David Brooks is getting the full Washington book party treatment Thursday night, with a fancy party to be hosted at the Kalorama mansion of his old friends Atlantic owner David Bradley and his wife. The new Brooks book, The Road to Character, extols the virtue of a noble life via the study of a handful of leaders and thinkers. However, it’s the effusive 110-word display of admiration and gratitude Brooks gives to Anne C. Snyder, his 30-year-old former New York Times research assistant, which is catching people’s attention. Brooks, easily one of the most admired conservative columnists in America, with a distinguished list of bestselling books, and a vocal critic of morality and cultural habits, devotes the opening paragraph of the “Acknowledgements” section to Snyder, gushing about the “lyricism of her prose” and the “sensitivity of her observations.” Brooks says it was Snyder’s influence that led him to write a book about “morality and inner life” and that she was a close partner in the “three years of its writing.”Yeah, it was just what you think. Politico was astute to notice this. Brooks is now married to Anne Snyder. It is funny how a mistress can persuade him to dump his wife and write a book about “morality and inner life”.
The big-thinking journalist even gives credit to Snyder for the ideas in The Road to Character, writing: “If there are any important points in this book, they probably come from Anne.” Contacted Wednesday, Brooks backpedaled a bit. “That phrase,” he said, “was probably a poor choice of words on my part. I was trying to be appreciative and lighthearted.” Yet Anne Snyder, who now lives in Houston, stands in the acknowledgements as the only person not given a specific title: Fact-checker, editor, friend, parent, or even “ex-wife.” Brooks recently divorced his wife of 28 years, Sarah Brooks, and she gets a brief nod in the very last paragraph of the Acknowledgements for the “amazing job” she has done raising the couple’s three kids. Brooks didn’t respond to a question about his relationship with Snyder, and when asked whether the columnist and Snyder had ever been in a relationship, Brooks’ publicist answered only in the present tense: “He is not in a relationship with Anne Snyder.”
I am not trying to MeToo Brooks, he is irritating with bogus research reporting and anti-American politics. One professor remarked:
We all know that New York Times columnist David Brooks deals in false statistics, he’s willing and able to get factual matters wrong, he doesn’t even fact-check his own reporting, his response when people point out his mistakes is irritation rather than thanks, he won’t run a correction even if the entire basis for one of his columns is destroyed, and he thinks that he thinks technical knowledge is like the recipes in a cookbook and can be learned by rote. A friend of facts, he’s not.