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Hunting and Gathering.

by Dear Jon
July 19, 2002

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Sort 157_Dear Jon-Hunting and Gathering. ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

Should I feel bad about burning copies of music CDs or downloading MP3 files for free from Napster-like sites? Or am I justified because record companies have been over-charging for CDs for years?

The (Occasional) Music Burglar

Dear Music,

That sounds like a question for Dr. Spin.

I do have a logical problem with your justification. If people have been willing to pay $17.99 for a cd of the latest midriff jiggling sex kitten, then it follows that $17.99 is not over-charging. This is because, unlike what you and Dr. Spin might think, these fabricated noises are not “essential” to own. They are luxury items, which means that people can live without them. On the other hand, the people who produce these luxury items cannot afford to work for free, which is why they charge for their services at rates the demand seems willing to support.

Charging premium prices for what people can live without is a function of economics. By not affording these luxuries, no one is hurt. This is not an issue of justice, but of priorities, so it follows that the theft of these luxury items cannot be justified on any grounds. This, of course, makes me sound like a curmudgeon thoroughly out-of-touch with the “ME WANT” culture of junk music.


Dear Jon,

I am thinking of joining the military, but I don't know which corps I should join. What branch of the military do you think is best and why?


Dear Ho,

Try Homeland Security. By the time Congress is through with it, it will basically be a second Coast Guard. You can sign up for the “amphibious” division: ground troops equipped with grenade launchers and Masters of Philosophy degrees who check airport luggage.


Dear Jon,

Recently, I had to step down from my "job." Since then I haven't figured out what to do with my life. My "job" was a very high-profile, high level job, so I have considered doing lecture circuits, writing my memoires, and trying to do a television talk show. But none of these seem to interest me. What makes it worse is my wife now has a "job" similar to mine, so she's working and I'm looking for stuff to do. Any suggestions?


Dear BC,

Have you considered writing for the Partial Observer? You don’t get paid except in death threats for missing deadlines, but there are other benefits which escape me at the moment, but trust me, I am having all kinds of fun.

At a deeper level it sounds to me like you have a problem with male chauvinism. Take my advice, as a guy who knows how to think sensitive like a woman, as my track record has proven to all. There is nothing wrong with your wife bringing home the bacon for you to cook. If she brings home bean sprouts instead of bacon, now that’s a problem.

Personally, I think women are more cut out for today’s work than men. In the old days, the men hunted meat and the women gathered fruit, vegetables, spices and roots in order to dress the meat in presentable fashion. Also, they slept entire tribes to a single cave. Then, both and women worked in the fields, and they slept whole families to a single bed with the donkey in the living room and chickens on the floor and nobody did any house work and you were lucky to live to the age of 30. It was only a couple hundred years ago, when men went to work in the mines and assembly lines, that women became confined to domestic duties.

Now we are post-industrial. Information is the big commodity today. Information is gathered, and assembled in multi-colored pie-charts so as to be presentable. Who is cut out for the work of gathering and presenting? Dear Jon doesn’t need to tell you.

So I say today’s economy does better with women doing the work. Men should fix things, lift things, and go hunting. In this economy, that means specifically hunting for deals. While women are gathering information to make presentable graphs, men can hunt and close great deals during a round of 18 holes, or in the locker-room after racquet-ball. It only makes sense.

So if you don’t want to write for the Partial Observer, I suggest you golf and not be such a chauvinist about your wife having a job.

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Dear Jon Letters: Tips for Dating and Mating
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