Hoo boy. Psychology Today has already yanked Satoshi Kanazawa’s article, “Why Are Black Women Less Attractive Than Other Women?” from the web site. But there’s a screen grab of it here. (The answer is SCIENCE, by the way. REALLY REALLY EXCELLENT SCIENCE. WHICH WE ALL KNOW IS IMPARTIAL.)
If you start typing “Satoshi Kanazawa” into Google search,by the time you get to “Satoshi Kana” the third suggestion is “Satoshi Kanazawa idiot.” So.
I quoted Kanazawa a few years ago for a women’s magazine piece about why we’re obsessed with celebrities. He’d done a study that found that women who watched more prime-time dramas and sitcoms were happier with their real-life friendships than women who didn’t watch as many of those shows. He argued that the TV-watchers felt they were friends with the people on TV, thanks to the way our old-skool evolutionarily-slow-to-adapt minds work: In the ancestral environment, anyone we “knew” was a friend, so we feel we’re friends with the folks on TV. And from that, we extrapolate to our real friendships, because to us, TV is real.
I can think of a lot of other reasons a study might find TV watchers happier than non-watchers. Correlation isn’t causation. It’s possible, for instance, that TV watchers have more leisure time, which also makes them happier and more able to spend time with friends than someone working nights or caring for small children. Just one example.
My husband, who has a PhD in communication theory and research, always says, “Tell me the results you want and I’ll find you the data to back it up.” (Not that he does that. He means, “Take every study with a grain of salt until you see exactly how it’s constructed and who paid for it.” Which we knew already.) I’m wary of evolutionary psychologists in general, who seem awesome at finding data to back up their vision of the world, whether it enforces “Men are hardwired to spread their seed all over the Playboy bunnies!” or “Women are hardwired to stay home protecting their eggs!” or “Men are DESTINED to leave their old wives for younger models — they just can’t help it!” or “My friends and I totally do not find black women hot.”
(Thanks to Marianne for the tip.)