The Internet greatly facilitates contact between people with complementary needs, but not all such opportunities have been realized. In the spirit of Airbnb and Uber, I’d like to suggest another.

Dual-career couples, in both academia and the corporate world, have a lot of trouble with transfers.  Finding a comparable job for the spouse, usually on short notice,  ranges from difficult to impossible.  But there’s a better way!

When our generic urban professional moves from New York to Los Angeles, we match him up with someone moving in the other direction, and they then trade spouses, families, houses, and pets. As our service expands, the possible matches get better.  Eventually we can hope to achieve decent approximate matches on spousal age and appearance, number and sex of children, pet species, etc. For maximum ease of integration, everyone acts as if nothing has changed, just as when Darrin, the husband in Bewitched, suddenly stopped being Dick York and was replaced by Dick Sargent, as if by magic.

The possibility of spousal/family upgrades surely exists,  although there would naturally be a substantial added fee.

Next big thing in the sharing economy: Strangers on a Train.







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46 Responses to Bewitched

  1. Handle says:

    What about workers who have to travel frequently or be away from their homes for long durations? Can we do this temporarily too? ‘Affair-Share’ would definitely reduce matching and transaction costs.

  2. Flinders Petrie says:

    Let’s say a Sociologist wants to trade out her partner for a Physicist. How much of an upgrade would that be? And what would be an equal trade for the Sociologist?

  3. Sandgroper says:

    I had one French friend (just to demonstrate I’m really not racist, I have actually had a number of French friends) who had a French wife. He moved to Vietnam, and traded in for a Vietnamese wife, then moved to Hong Kong and traded again for a Cantonese wife. Last I heard he had moved to Montreal, and I hate to think what might have happened.

    Another English friend (oh yes, Australians do occasionally mingle on friendly terms with the English) had an English wife in the UK, who he traded for a Singaporean Chinese wife when he moved to Singapore, then a Cantonese wife when he moved to Hong Kong, then a Thai wife when he moved to Thailand – he has now moved to Australia, and I just hate to think what might have happened to him.

    I had the sheer good luck first up to marry a northern Chinese who made it clear prior to signing the contract that she didn’t come with any trade-in policy, and was willing to travel. It’s just easier that way, and I suspect it works out cheaper.

  4. dearieme says:

    More step-parents = more sex abuse and murder. Dunnit?

    • Sandgroper says:

      Yeah. What happens with single parent families? My subjective impression is that a lot of that sort of stuff gets perpetrated by Mom’s (or Mum’s, depending on your native dialect) boyfriend, but it’s just an impression from reading the news, not representative statistics.

      • dearieme says:

        If you don’t see representative statistics it’ll be because they are too embarrassing to release.

    • JayMan says:

      How much more though, really? This keeps getting thrown about, but I’m not sure how big of a problem this really is.

      • Sandgroper says:

        Lack of data, but anecdotally part of the fuss about the Stolen Generations was that many of the kids were abused by people in their foster families. So they were taken from potentially neglected, abusive situations, and put into situations where they were less neglected, but still abused.

  5. little spoon says:

    In 90s sit coms, they used to “age” children by bringing in an actor/actress a few years older in a new season. This would let the child character hit puberty faster and therefore have their own romantic story lines faster.

    Just think. You could de-age your wife when you swtiched. And everyone would act like it was perfectly normal.

  6. Reader says:


    You should write a post responding to Agustín Fuentes’ post from yesterday:

    As someone else already noted, Agustín Fuentes (in his new book) considers himself to be the successor to Lewontin and Gould. 🙂

    • Reader says:

      Or actually, I might have misread, it is Fuentes’ “fans” who are saying he’s the successor to Lewontin and Gould.

      • Toddy Cat says:

        I’d say that he fully deserves that “honor”…

      • Sandgroper says:

        Psychologists are truly creepy – why won’t they get their hair cut? Or preferably, we could just ban them. Ban psychology. Send them off to get real jobs, working in sewage treatment plants, scraping out the sludge digestors or something, and forbid them to have contact with real normal people.

    • DrBill says:

      Can someone tell me what this paragraph means, what literature it refers to, and what correspondence it has to reality:

      In fact if you use the common level of genetic differentiation between populations used by zoologists to classify biological races (which they called subspecies) in other mammals, all humans consistently show up as just one biological race.

      • Toddy Cat says:

        It means, “Shut up, doubleplusungoodthinker! Because science!”

      • So call it something else, like sub-subspecies, but there is still a measurable difference, and sometimes the difference is important.

        You seem to be saying that dachshunds don’t exist, because dogs aren’t wolves.

      • dearieme says:

        It means “Use words the way I tell you to use ’em, and no other!”

      • Sandgroper says:

        I thought zoologists use ‘race’ to mean differentiation due to isolation at a lower level than the sub-species level, in which case applying it to groups of anatomically modern humans between which there has been very little gene flow for > 30,000 years (actually probably more like >45,000 years) would be correct biological usage. My daughter, who is a biologist (biochemistry and genetics) has no problem with referring to herself as ‘bi-racial’ or a ‘hybrid’. She also doesn’t mind ‘mixed’, which is just a euphemism for ‘mixed race’ anyway. She much prefers a scientifically correct term to some of the weird shit she’s copped over the years. I tried calling her a ‘fusion person’ when she was a kid, but she rejected that on the grounds that it’s an obvious attempt at a euphemism, that as a gastronomic purist she detests and looks down on ‘fusion cuisine’, and that she doesn’t scramble Western and Chinese culture, she’s literate in both as two separate, clearly distinguishable traditions.

        ‘Subspecies’ might be better applied to Neandertals or Denisovans, although some people seem to object to them being classified as ‘human’ – I have an open mind on that; interbreeding producing fertile offspring was obviously not impossible, although it looks like it was marginal – infertile male offspring, but at least a few fertile female offspring.

        What makes Fuentes think he’s qualified to talk about science anyway? Isn’t it unethical for a psychologist to try to teach people about biology, a discipline in which he appears not to be qualified? I haven’t noticed James Thompson talking about it – he talks about psychometrics, which I assume he is qualified to talk about. Human behaviour, fine, as long as it’s not delusional crap, which I don’t see is the case with Thommo, who also seems to get his hair cut decently.

    • JayMan says:

      I’d say Steve Hsu pretty much covered it.

    • Peter Connor says:

      So he is proud of being a genetic “identicalist”, crook and Witch hunter?! Awesome….

    • Reader says:

      Actually, whatever Greg may write, Agustín Fuentes has already refuted it in this cute little 1 min video he put up destroying the “myth of race”:

      • Andrew says:

        Good grief! Another in-the-box thinker.

      • Sandgroper says:

        God that is offensive.

      • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        God that is offensive.

        What is so offensive about it?

        He is simply using human nature to push his side’s view of the culture wars.

        I imagine that that is what happened during the early days of Christianity. A set of concepts that exploited an under exploited part of the human nature of some people in the Roman Empire (possibly, especially directed at women) and it went on to become a big part of the selection forces applied to humans over a large swathe of Europe and elsewhere.

        However, I wonder if Christianity means the same thing to all those converts in China as it did to the African Americans who practiced it here in the US in the earlier part of last century.

      • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        The problem that, as always with these things, he only tells half the story, if that.

        For example, yes, male and female humans are similar in behavior, but they are also different. The deepest differences probably relate to the different reproductive risks they incur and the different developmental paths. On the side of reproductive risks, short of someone sneaking another woman’s ova into their vaginas, they can be 100% certain about whose offsping they are bearing. In addition, they can be very easily abandoned by the man who got them pregnant. It seems to me that some of the differences in male and female behavior can be understood in this light. There are also racial differences as well (oops, race is only a social construct.)

        In addition, it is true that humans cooperate. They are much more cooperative than chimps are, however, what he did not say is that male humans engage in cooperation in groups of males much more frequently than female humans engage in cooperation with other human females and that the level of cooperation differs by race. (Oh, sorry, I forgot that race is only a social construct. I guess cooperation must be as well, then.)

    • Wade and others sound conspiratorial when they argue that social scientists (code word for anthropologists) as a whole are ‘covering up’ facts or evidence and repressing discussion. Though some of them do, it looks kooky and paranoid, and acts like a red rag for the ‘race deniers’. (Who aren’t merely ‘denying’ the usefulness of the categories, but also employing fallacies of reasoning and of definition, hence the pejorative of ‘denier’ becomes deserved and they should be regarded differently to those critics of racial validity whose arguments are differently reasoned.)

      Anyway I’ve never had any contact or problem with Agustín Fuentes, and he doesn’t seem too vitriolic, and I haven’t read his book. I will comment on his piece in Psychology Today, though.

      Fuentes explicitly says that “Genes matter, but they are only a small part of the whole evolutionary picture” – how then does this support his position? I will return to this further down.

      His point 3 is the kind of games with statistics John Allen Poulos wrote about. How much DNA is shared between all living humans if we discount all that shared with chimps, or the neanderthals? Clearly, then, the divergences will appear larger. This is just critical thinking when presented with statistics; there are different angles from which to look at them. And some are more informative than are others; inversely, statistics may be presented however one wants so as to support an argument.

      Point 5 is of course ignoring the evidence for backmigration into Africa supported by population genetics and other forms of evidence such as mythography etc.

      “In fact if you use the common level of genetic differentiation between populations used by zoologists to classify biological races (which they called subspecies) in other mammals, all humans consistently show up as just one biological race.” – Firstly, there is no universal definition of a subspecies (or even of a species.) Then Fuentes implies that genetic distances and not gene expression define race; this contradicts the statement by Fuentes himself that genes alone are just part of the evolutionary story. He needs to drop reference to phenotype at this point, because human phenotypic diversity per genetic distances is amazing – skull shapes more different than those of elephant genera, and diversity of dental traits exceeding that of any nonhuman primate species or genus, even. At the overall phenotypic level human ‘races’ are definitively more divergent – due to their evolutionary stories – than are the ‘species’ of common chimps.

      Mind you, if human phenotypic diversity is so extraordinary compared to so is that of domesticated landraces evolved under minimal selection pressure from humans – pressures equivalent to that of culture upon us. Yet livestock landrace diversity is not divided into subspecies, ordinarily. (The exception is where the domestic form is polyphyletic due to multiple domestication events, as in cattle – maybe this is just a paralell to emerging, human cultural complexity or ‘civilisation’ since the Pleistocene, but this potential scheme wouldn’t match traditional racial concepts, anyway.)

      To be honest, something feels very nerdy and irrelevant about the whole debate, and a mountain out of a molehill is being made over the Wade book.

      Though this kind of debate is sociopolitically tinged, I feel at another level, this is about empiricism versus placing value upon more abstract definitions. If a label usefully describes something tangible, then its valid.

      • Jim says:

        “Genes matter, but they are only a small part of the whole evolutionary picture”

        This statement should probably get a prize for one of the most stupid statements ever made. It’s like saying “Gravity matters, but it’s only a small part of the physics of stars.”

  7. Sorry, got distracted by the thread. In the spirit of Douglas Adams, I think there are some who would say this has already happened.

  8. Sandgroper says:

    Musical interlude:

  9. Andrew says:

    Fuentes has performed a double-Lewontin followed by a Gouldian knot, but the fate of the Anthropologist is sealed. They criticize Wade because he is not their chosen form of the Destructor. Their Destructor is neither Wade nor the Stay Puft Marshmellow man, but Henry Louis Gates.

    See here and scroll down:

    and here:

    Jonathan Marks doesn’t dare blow a gasket over the works of HLG.

  10. Jody says:

    And not to be confused with Strangers on a Plane…

    I have on good authority that this was a beta-test of release 2.0 Greg’s app which extends the original to allow the bi-coastal professional to swap mid-flight.

  11. Wanderer says:

    Based on a face-to-face conversation I had yesterday in a bar in Germany with two people I have interacted with via the internet over many years and who are both well educated and well meaning, it seems pretty clear that the official propaganda has been enormously successful.

    They believe that:

    1. Race does not exist

    2. This thing called culture, which somehow has arisen de-novo in each group, is in control.

    • Toddy Cat says:

      Of course, Leftists can’t really win this game, because they won’t admit that some cultures are better than others at certain things, either. That’s what happens when you base your ideology on lies.

  12. anon says:

    Greg, if u are looking for a way to test your low spatial IQ for Ashkenazim theory, then I got one.

    Simply compare Jewish eminence in normal chess to Jewish eminence in blindfold chess. Blindfold chess is the most spatially intensive task known to man. The ussr banned it because it was deemed a health hazard by authorities.

  13. Patrick L. Boyle says:

    I see that they are remaking ‘Strangers on a Train’. There have been a number of TV episodes using that same title but none of them seems to have been on the original plot premise. Pity.

    A really good way to murder someone and get away with it would be useful information to have. For example I would like a way to rid the world of this Agustin Fuentes character.

    Pat Boyle

  14. The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:


    Last night on the lawn, a young man named Ramon recounted his experience of three years in bondage to methamphetamine – existing without hope, or friends, or any prospects. He saw no escape until he turned to Jesus, “Only God could save me.” Now Ramon is pleased to report he is reconciled to family and has a job.

    What accounts for the feeling of disconnection that some fell until they regain their connection with the dominant religion/mythology of their society? Could it be the 2,000+ years (don’t forget the mystery religions) of selection for compatibility with Christianity …

    Strangers on a train:

    Three people were on a train: an American Born Confused Desi, an American Born Chinese, and a white person. Do they all see the world the same way?

  15. “What accounts for the feeling of disconnection that some fell until they regain their connection with the dominant religion/mythology of their society?”

    I think the feeling of disconnection you are talking about is the normal condition of people conscious of themselves as separate beings. As Conrad wrote, ‘We live as we dream – alone.’ The feeling some people get when they become part of a religious group is the ability to forget (or to pretend) that you are not really separate.

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