NWV: Study Claims Steady Decline in Marriage Rates Related to Lack of Violence

Scientists believe men who can’t physically abuse their partners less likely to commit

(Salt Lake City) – Just a year ago John Maplethorpe of Park City, Utah was engaged and committed to his fiancée, Sharon Headley, also of Park City. But today, John has broken off the engagement and the couple has gone their separate ways, despite Sharon’s protests.

“All of a sudden I just didn’t feel the same; it’s like all the passion was drained out of me. Things just felt…wrong. Unbalanced somehow,” Maplethorpe remembers, “I couldn’t lie to myself or Sharon. I just couldn’t commit to being with this one woman forever.”

Though Maplethorpe and Headley’s situation might initially look like a classic case of cold feet, their engagement break-up is part of a growing trend scientists and psychologists say goes much deeper than an inability to commit.

Dr. Thomas Lee, a social psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, explains, “We noticed this increasing pattern of behavior among young couples. They would meet, fall in love, get closer, and then commit to marriage. But before they could pull the trigger on the vows, the male would decide he simply couldn’t go through with it. And this isn’t just a few cases, it’s now happening in the majority of new engagements,”

To explain the hesitance to commit on the part of men, Dr. Lee points to Non-Functional Violence Syndrome (NFVS), “We looked at pre- and post-NFVS break-ups, and what we found was that the vast majority of post-NFVS break-ups were initiated by the male. When we interviewed subjects, the main factor wasn’t lack of love, it was a feeling that suddenly things weren’t quite right or something was missing.”

From this data, Dr. Lee’s team extrapolated that heterosexual men, who historically have been able to dominate and control their physically weaker partners with cycles of violence and abuse, no longer have that option. These men suddenly find themselves committing to a long-term relationship where control is harder to establish. Men can’t simply beat or physically intimidate their spouse like their forefathers.

Dr. Jackson Grant of Princeton’s psycho-biology department reached a similar conclusion, “Our observations pointed to the female partner’s lack of fear and dependence as the male’s primary source of discomfort about the relationship. These men only know how to function in these cycles of violence where they lash out, apologize, enter a ‘honeymoon phase’, start abusing again, and then strike out once more, each cycle further solidifying their partner’s inability to leave. The destruction of this cycle really throws these guys for a loop, psychologically speaking.”

Pre-marriage counselor Bob Jakes says these findings are probably accurate, but also speak to a man’s motivations to maintain relationships, “We’ve known for a long time that most men struggle with their capacity for love; that the utility they get out of relationships is derived instead from domination and power. So it’s not surprising to me so many are having trouble now that they are limited to emotional abuse and economic control. Those measures are a lot harder to establish and maintain, particularly as women have made a number of gains in the general direction of equality. But equality in physical violence wasn’t something most men were prepared for.”

Back in Park City, Sharon still hasn’t given up on her relationship with John, “If he needs to feel powerful to marry me, that’s fine, that’s his right as a man, I’ll give him my bank account, I’ll let him say anything he wants to me, just as long as I can be with him. A relationship is about compromise, and I love John so much I’ll do anything I have to do to make it work.”

NWV: Frustrated Bulls, Bored Spectators Mar Annual Running of the Bulls Event

Cultural Touchstone “Just Not the Same Without the Gorings” Say Locals

(Pamplona) – The gates opened in the same way they had for the past 600 years, but this year’s annual Running of the Bulls, held in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona, is being described by Bull-running experts as a marked departure from previous festivals.

“Everyone knew this year was going to be different, but no one expected this dramatic of a change.” lamented local R of the B’s historian Carlos Maya.

Witnesses present in the day’s unusually sparse crowd reported seeing such abnormalities as bulls becoming exhausted while attempting to spear flirtatious runners who were themselves attempting to spear a pretty girl in the crowd who had caught their eye or bull and man befriending one another as they crossed the finish line in unison. There were even reports of a runner chasing a terrified bull with a sharpened stick. Traditionalists were aghast.

“I’ve run in over 20 races and I’ve never seen such a sorry display of cowardice on the parts of these bulls!” exclaims Armando Del Fuego, known locally as Uno-Arm Armando.

This is the first such event held after the recent mysterious mass-cessation of violence that has afflicted the entirety of the human race. Event organizers had discussed cancelling the event outright, but in the end they decided to proceed with the run as planned.

According to Dario Pena, head of the Grande Bull Council of Navarre, the festival is about more than just bull-on-runner-violence, “We believed the tradition itself should be preserved, even with this new, lesser evento estimulante. This is an ancient and proud ritual for our people, and we do not believe that the bulls’ inability to maim their victi…the runners should impact the spirit of the celebration.”

But the crowd’s restless reaction proved this a misguided assessment, at least in terms of popular appeasement. By the time the fourth bull was mounted, tamed, and ridden across the finish by a triumphant and entirely uninjured runner, bottles were flying and the mood of the crowd had turned ugly. To circumvent a riot from breaking out, organizers wheeled in massive projection screens and ran a “Best Hits” loop from prior and more successful Runs. This seemed to quell the majority of the pent-up anger bubbling through the horrific-accident-deprived spectators.

Not all were appeased with this solution, however, “We came here for the live atmosphere, not some prerecorded nonsense,” English holidaymakers John Shirley and Tim Whitebow griped, “I assure you we will not be returning if this is the way these amateurs are running things now.”

With new challenges and an unclear path back to the bull-goring glory days of yesteryear, the future of this hallowed tradition is uncertain.

Gesticulating wildly and waving his prized matador sword, Dr. Maya concluded, “It’s really simple; you can’t have an exciting event without the potential for bloodshed!”