O thanks, NY Times

Married men have better health than unmarried men.  Sounds like old news, but there’s an interesting new Canadian report on how married men with a heart attack on average get to the ER faster than any other group.  What’s the NY Times article call the better health of married men?  “The Nagging Effect.” 

Married women with a heart attack do not get to the ER faster.

13 thoughts on “O thanks, NY Times

  1. There is only couple I know of (personally) that has solved the two body problem. (They’re not both in philosophy.) She can drive. He cannot (or, could not the last I checked. Maybe that’s changed now that he’s in his 40s, but that certainly was the case when he was in his late 30s). Maybe instead of “the nagging effect”, we can call it “the competent adult factor”. There were real concerns about how she was going to get to the hospital when she had her baby. My guess is that she called a cab. (Maybe he paid the driver?)

  2. Hmmm…. as a non-driver, I really *don’t* like the suggestion that non-drivers are not competent adults. In my case, it’s due to a disability. But in plenty of others it’s due to concern for the environment.

  3. And in probably even more cases, it’s due to not being able to afford a car.

    We non-drivers are plenty competent: we have to be, because we have to find other ways of getting around. And shocking as it may be to others, there *are* other ways to get around. Better ones. Better for our health and better for the environment.

  4. And, Anonymous, we are plenty capable of taking care of our loved ones. It’s really extremely insulting of you to suggest otherwise.

    OK, I’m going to stop now.

  5. As a fellow non-driver (also because of disability), I’d just like to echo what Jender has said.

  6. magicalersatz, I think I can sympathize with yours and Jender’s reaction. People can disparage behavior which actually has an important cause. E.g., someone who “thoughtlessly cancels all her classes for a semester,” may have received really bad health news. Someone who sends their chldren to public schools when they could afford a fine private one may not be being stingy at all; they may find their principles really require them to support state schools.

    In these cases of criticism, we make assumptions that are false and ignore other factors that can even show the behavior praiseworthy. I’m not sure we should assume that anonymous is doing that. She seems to know the couple and may have discussed the getting to the hospital problem with him. And she thinks he may now be driving. So I’d take her to have good reasons for thinking it isn’t disability or environmental principles that is fostering the behavior.

    In short, I don’t see her as claiming that anyone who doesn’t drive is being immaturely dependent.

  7. As a fellow non-driver, I’d like to throw my support behind “the competent adult factor.” Have a sense of humor.

  8. JJ, I think a big part of the concern that Jender and I are expressing is that there’s *nothing wrong* with being a non-driver (contra the implication of original-Anonymous’s post). It shouldn’t be that not driving is prima facie wrong, but the blameworthiness is cancellable if you have a really good reason for it (e.g., you don’t drive because of a disability). There are plenty of excellent reasons to be a non-driver, and plenty of excellent ways to get around without driving. Most people who don’t drive have a good reason for that choice – whether it’s healthy, green living, anxiety, or just plain old non-driving preference. Saying that someone doesn’t drive shouldn’t in any way compromise (even prima facie) their standing as a responsible, “competent adult”.

    And later-Anonymous (don’t know whether you’re the same as original-Anonymous): I have a sense of humor. And I can testify to Jender’s being hilarious. But when you’re disabled, you get pretty tired of arbitrary social norms (like: everyone drives!), your noncompliance with which can be difficult to navigate and annoying to (endlessly, endlessly) be asked to explain. There’s a problem with the expectation that (unless they can give you an excellent reason otherwise) everyone should drive, and it’s a symptom of a wider problem. So I don’t find the “competent adult” label funny. Despite my sense of humor.

  9. magicalersatz, I certainly didn’t mean to say that the not driving was wrong; almost everyone I know in NYC does not own a car, and I’ve love to see fewer cars where I am. I never drove for the years I lived in England, and I don’t plan to get a car when I start spending a term a year there.

    And I also do not think that anon was making that assumption. I think that for me there were (at least something like) Gricean implications. E.g., she remarked on his not driving and thus implicated that there was something remarkable about it in his case. Gvien the few bits of other information – he wasn’t even making plans to get his wife to the hospital when she was to give birth, he might learn to drive later – it sounded to me as though he didn’t drive because someone else would do it for him. Now I’m not going to judge that as a strategy in general, but it would certainly strike me as undesirable in my relationship. I have enough to do, and would be pissed off if he couldn’t run some errands once in a while.

    A comparable case: my spouse can’t cope with most of the electrical gadgets in the house. If he changes the heat setting, everything is thrown off. He doesn’t like the telephone and he continually messes up the answer machine. Making tea or coffee is just about beyond him. If he sets a clock he continually gets confused over what indicates “pm”. Obviously, there isn’t anything wrong with this. He could disapprove of gadgets, he could have a hard time hearing messages, he could be impaired in the sort of reasoning/logical abilities that setting clocks and coffee makers requires. But he is also director of an extremely high tech science center that does truly bring in millions and millions in NSF grants, which he submits electronically so he can be sure it is done right.

    Rather, in addition to his not liking gadgets that he regards as wasteful, we’ve gotten into one of those things that happen in a marriage; one spouse off-loads all his responsibility for some area on to the other. I heard anonmous’ story as like this, except the chap was even quicker off the mark and never shared doing errands.

  10. Just briefly: Perhaps I misunderstood Anonymous and JJ’s reading is correct– there were lots of ways in which this person was “not a competent adult”. But the only one given was that he didn’t drive despite his age. And that’s what we’re objecting to.

    Also worth noting: Magical Ersatz and I have enough experience with reactions to our not driving that we *don’t* see the need to assume that Anon had something else in mind in the background in order to make sense of their utterance (what’s required for an implicature). We’ve each had an adult lifetime of people questioning our competent adulthood simply because we don’t drive.

  11. There’s also the fact that when you are having a heart attack, it’s a bad idea to drive. So it helps when someone else is there. Enter spouse (who may be around more often due to greater home-based commitments?)

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