The Mopey Bivalve Theory of Love and Oppression
Long long long ago, before humans had satellites or academic journals or even a written word, webweavers launched an experiment that has had far-reaching consequences on the human subjects of that experiment, and on generation upon generation of their descendants, even to this day.
It was already well known, so long long long ago, that the one thing any human craved, what made each one happy above all else, was to be loved 1. It was also observed that humans generally received this love by demonstrating at least one of four qualities: Money, Power, Beauty, or Virtue (parameterized as M, P, B, and V). To better understand these “qualities of lovability”, the webweaving spiders launched another grand experiment 2, which was to finesse humans into believing that each baby should be assigned at birth to one of two equal-sized lovable-quality groups 3.
The first group, who wanted above all else to be loved, were taught from the time they were born that to earn that love they needed to possess Money and/or Power. As these children were raised, they would be shown love, by their parents and their community, only when they exhibited behaviors that would lead to increased wealth or that demonstrated power over others. These test subjects were known as the MPs.
The second group, who also wanted above all else to be loved, were taught from birth that for anyone to love them they would need to possess Beauty and/or Virtue. These test subjects were known as the BVs, and were raised receiving love only when they did something to make themselves more beautiful or to exhibit virtuous moral standards.
This grand experiment was named “The MoPey BiValve Theory of Love” because “MP” and “BV” were awkward terms, and also because the webweavers enjoyed the callback to an earlier “Happy as a Clam” experiment that had been very successful 4.
Once initiated by the webweavers, the humans unwittingly carried on with this experiment with great vigor and with no additional finessing needed by the webweavers. Generation after generation, humans have continued to divide their children at birth, in roughly equal number, into MPs or BVs 5.
At this stage of the experiment, the webweavers have learned a great deal about how being designated an MP versus a BV affects a child’s upbringing, life choices, and outcomes, much of it unsurprising.
Of course, the MP (Money & Power) children will follow educational paths based on their potential for maximizing financial returns (e.g., finance, business, STEM, lawyer, physician). If that educational path is not an option, and because being loved is so important, MPs will seek other means to earn money, even at great risk (dangerous jobs, crime, high-stake gambles on sporting careers or financial investments). MP children are also likely to concentrate on developing skills that will demonstrate power over others (e.g., fighting skills, threatening postures, throwing rocks at targets, political leadership). Money and Power: this is how MPs know they will be loved.
The BV (Beauty and Virtue) children, as expected, concentrate on skills that enhance their appearance or that show them to be of the highest moral standard. They learn how to care for their skin and to apply makeup, how to endlessly primp their long flowing hair, and how to dress to maximize display of their beautiful bodies. For BV playtime, which is cooperative compared to the competitive play of MPs, BVs practice development of friendship and harmony and virtuous giving of themselves to care for pretend children in the form of dolls. Should they choose an education, the BV young adults care little about maximizing financial careers, and instead learn how they may show benefit to others (teaching, nursing, social sciences, arts, humanities). Beauty and Virtue are how BVs learn to be loved.
As stated earlier, many of these differences in outcomes were expected. But what has been surprising is the extent of the influence that MP vs BV assignment plays on most human’s behaviors, roles, grooming, clothing, hair length and care, customs, friendships, lifestyles, reproductive roles, and even their ways of acquiring food & shelter 6. These differences are widespread and will surely be the subject of many dissertations to come, but perhaps nothing exemplifies the extent to which humans have taken to these divisions more than this: Many human societies have set aside different locations for MPs vs BVs to eliminate their bodily wastes—MPs and BVs literally defecate in different places!!!!!!
Also unexpected, but not very surprising considering the divisions of roles and labor, is that human social units are frequently built around bonding pairs of one MP and one BV who live together, support each other, and reproduce 7. Some variation of this type of pairing has been common throughout geographically separated human cultures and throughout the timespan of the experiment. From hunter-gather societies, where MPs hunted while BVs gathered, to the current post-industrial period, MPs have generally been assigned the labor to bring outside resources to the home, while BVs have been assigned to labor in and around that home.
The experiment is far from complete, but about 100 years ago the webweavers examined the preliminary data and realized that humans were not as happy as they’d been before the experiment began. This was not the expected outcome from an experiment designed to learn what made humans most happy. “It’s like the clams all over again!” said the preliminary warning report. “Both the MPs and the BVs are constantly bickering and complaining that they are being treated unfairly. There are literally professions set up where people are paid just to complain about how their group is oppressed by the other group; they call them ‘comedians’ or ‘professors’.”
The grand experiment was renamed “The Mopey Bivalve Theory of Love and Oppression”, and two teams were formed (Team-MP vs Team-BV, along with an independent Moderator) to consider these complaints and debate which group, MPs or BVs, was treated the most unfairly, why, and what to do about it. 8
Moderator: Let’s jump right in with the most glaringly obvious point of differentiation between the MPs and BVs. It’s a disparity between the groups so conspicuous that is surely on everyone’s mind and cannot be ignored—“the elephant in the room” as humans so colorfully say. Let’s begin this debate with The Cosmetics Gap.
Team-MP: Yes, yes, yes, The Cosmetics Gap! BVs own over 40 times as many cosmetics as MPs. You can see it in any human bathroom. Their media advertises cosmetic use only to the BVs and their stores tailor cosmetic sales only to the BVs. Why should BVs have all the cosmetics? This is so unfair! Systemic discrimination at its worst!
Team-BV: It’s true that BVs own far more cosmetics than MPs own, but it’s not like society just gives cosmetics to BVs for free; BVs have to work for their cosmetics. BVs have to pay for their cosmetics. BVs have to spend hours and hours teaching each other how to apply cosmetics. MPs could have just as many cosmetics as BVs if they just put in the time and effort. The Cosmetics Gap is a matter of choice and hard work—that’s all—not discrimination.
Team-MP: When an MP and a BV walk into a makeup store, what happens? A salesperson comes to greet the BV every time. It’s like the MP is invisible. If the salesperson talks to the MP at all it’s only to ask what BV they are shopping for.
Team-BV: When MPs begin to choose to buy more makeup, then salespeople will be more than happy to oblige. That’s just common sense.
Moderator: Are you suggesting that this disparate outcome in cosmetic abundance is a result not of discrimination, but of choice?
Team-BV: Not just choice; choice and hard work! How could it be any other way? BVs are taught from birth to value beauty, and beauty is exactly what cosmetics are intended to enhance.
Team-MP: It’s discrimination. It’s oppression. The numbers don’t lie.
Moderator: This is going nowhere. Let’s move on to another gap we frequently hear about from humans: The Wage Gap. It’s often said that BVs earn just 83 cents for every dollar earned by an MP.
Team-BV: That’s discrimination, pure and simple. BVs should be paid the same as MPs.
Team-MP: BVs are paid the same when they have the same training, do the same work, and put in the same hours.
Team-BV: As Team-MP is fond of saying, “the numbers don’t lie!”
Team-MP: If income were truly important to them, then BVs would choose the same high-paying jobs that MPs choose. If BVs needed money to be loved (which we’ve taught them they don’t), then BVs would choose the college courses that lead to higher-paying careers, BVs would choose the risky jobs that pay more, and BVs would choose the long hours in financially-lucrative but soul-crushing careers that provide no personal fulfillment.
Moderator: You’re saying, as the other team said on the previous issue, that the wage gap is not discrimination but choice?
Team-MP: Choice and hard work!
Team-BV: BVs work plenty hard (‘ten times as hard’, it is often said, ‘backwards and in high heels’), but human society doesn’t value BV work. Fields traditionally dominated by BV workers pay less. It’s only when MPs enter traditionally-BV fields that the pay goes up.
Team-MP: You have confused cause with effect. First the pay goes up, and then MPs enter those fields.
Team-BV: Even when the hourly pay is strictly controlled—such as union-scale jobs in driving, nursing, or factory work—and they’re working side-by-side in the exact same positions, MPs are still paid more than BVs.
Team-MP: MPs earn more in those jobs because they choose the extra shifts and the less-desirable hours with differential pay, or they just plain work more hours than the BVs who are lollygagging at home.
Team-BV: Lollygagging?! Is that what you call taking care of the children? BVs spend far more hours than MPs on housework and childcare—and for zero financial compensation.
Team-MP: If you combine childcare hours and household chore hours along with paid outside work hours (i.e., all hours spent working for the good of the family) MPs put in more hours of total work. MPs contribute more.
Team-BV: There’s nothing more important than children, and there’s no contribution more important than spending time with children.
Team-MP: Let us all agree that there is nothing more important to parents than their children. Nothing. So why is it that when a child has only one parent, such as after the separation of a parenting pair, the child is almost 5 times more likely to live with the BV instead of the MP? In still-bonded pairs where one parent works and the other stays at home, the same 5-to-1 ratio applies in that the BV gets to stay home with their precious children while the MP has to trudge alone to work (because of oppression) to support them all. It is extremely unjust that the MPs are so much more often denied that which they both agree is the most important thing in their lives: time with their children.
Team-BV: That is such a biased distortion of the situation. First, BVs are paid less than MPs (because of oppression), so of course the MPs get to do the money-earning. Second, and most important, BVs are more virtuous (thanks to our finessing and training them to be so virtuous), and taking care of the most precious resource—their children—belongs with those who can best perform this virtuous duty: the BV. BVs are just better, more virtuous, parents.
Team-MP: If BVs are so virtuous and so much better for children, why do BVs cause the most child abuse? We’ve all witnessed it and we’ve all read the data.
Team-BV: That’s unfair. We’ve already established that BVs spend the most time with children, and so it’s only natural the BVs would be the ones most likely to go off on the little brats now and then. If MPs spent as much time with their children as BVs do, with their power and lack of virtue, I’m sure MPs would commit much more child abuse.
Moderator: Hold on hold on hold on. What did I just hear? Humans abuse their children?!! We can understand eating one’s parent or mate—that’s totally normal for many civilized webweavers and just the natural order of things—but abusing your own children? That’s totally messed up.
Teams-MP & Team-BV, in unison: Totally messed up!
Team-BV: It gets worse. When parental abuse is exceedingly severe, those abusive parents may be rewarded with free room and board in resorts humans call “prisons”, and it can go on for years. Abusive MPs are a lot more likely than abusive BVs to receive this reward of free room and board, and more likely to be given longer terms. This disparity of rewards doesn’t just apply to child abuse, but to all crimes so that there are 10 times more MPs than BVs relaxing in these resorts. For the exact same offenses, MPs are given longer time with free room and board, and BVs are much less likely to be rewarded with any in prison at all.
Team-MP: OK. We will concede that point to Team-BV. Giving free room and board in prison resorts to so many criminal MPs makes absolutely no sense, and this is the one area in which MPs are clearly privileged and BVs oppressed. However, when considering room and board outside of prison, the moderator should also consider that MPs are more than twice as likely as BVs (some studies say ten times as likely) to have no room or board at all; to be what they call “homeless”, or what we might call “ensnaring without a web” (if we could even imagine such a thing).
Moderator: That does seem terrible. But now we’re confused: If MPs are homeless, why don’t they just commit crimes and get free room and board?
Team-MP: It’s complicated. While MPs are 10x more likely to be rewarded with prison after a criminal conviction, MPs are also 25x more likely to be killed by police when they’re encountered as a suspect before they even get to trial. Perhaps an MP calculates the 10x increased chance of getting free room and board against the 25x risk of being killed by the oppressive police, and so decides the reward is not worth the risk 9.
Team-BV: Or maybe MPs are just stupid.
Moderator: Sustained. Clearly, all humans are stupid, not just the MPs. As the old saying goes: “Humans couldn’t see a web if it hit them in the face.”
Team-BV: But MPs are more stupid. We can prove it. BVs get better grades in all levels of school, from kindergarten to high school graduation. Furthermore, young MPs are less likely to graduate high school and also less likely to go to college (and more likely to drop out, both from high school and from college). Finally, BVs earn 1.4x more undergraduate and graduate degrees than MPs. That’s right, the BVs are, uh, smar-ter.
Team-MP: MPs doing worse in education has nothing to do with innate intelligence and everything to do with oppression. Human educational institutions are systemically designed to reward BVs and oppress MPs.
Moderator: Can you show how this oppression works against MPs in education?
Team-MP: We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.
Team-BV: Receiving an education is one thing, presiding over an educational institution is another. Due to oppression, only 30% of university and college presidents are BVs. This level of BV oppression applies to every major institution: BVs hold only 27% of Fortune 500 board seats, 29% of senior management positions, and a measly 7% of CEO positions.
Team-MP: That’s only because…
Team-BV: We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. In addition to dominating corporate power, MPs also hold nearly all political power: Only 18% of Governors are BVs, 31% of state legislators, 27% of the House, 26% of the Senate, and ZERO percent of anyone who has ever been elected President.
Team-MP: Research shows that MPs and BVs are both elected at about the same rate as they run for office. In other words, if there are 2.8x as many MP Senators as BV Senators, that is only because 2.8x as many MPs were running for those offices. That’s not oppression, that’s choice.
Team-BV: A choice we have forced on BVs by training them to value virtue over power. A choice not to be a lying, cheating, say-anything-for-a-vote politician. A choice of the oppressed and disenfranchised. It’s important to remember that the MP politicians only granted BVs the right to vote about 100 years ago.
Moderator: So recent!
Team-BV: Yes, just a moment ago. Even now, state-sponsored oppression of BVs continues to run rampant. Consider the states’ lotteries. MPs win lotteries, huge amounts of money, almost twice as often as BVs do. The governments claim the lottery is a game of chance, but MPs winning so much more can only be due to unfair, rigged, oppressive biases in the system.
Moderator: Are MPs just better at picking lottery numbers?
Team-MP: It’s true, what Team-BV said, that MPs win almost twice as often. But what they didn’t tell you is that MPs lose almost twice as much money as BVs do by playing the lottery.
Moderator: Are MPs just worse at picking lottery numbers?
All parties: ??? 10
Team-BV: Never mind the lottery. Let’s talk violence, specifically Violence Against BVs. BVs live in constant fear of violence, and that is an oppression that affects every aspect of their lives. BVs don’t even feel safe walking alone in their own neighborhoods at night.
Team-MP: BVs live more in fear of violence, that is true, but that fear is unwarranted because it is MPs who are most often the victims of violence. MPs are 1.5x as likely to be the victim of a violent crime, and 80% of all homicide victims are MPs. You might say that BVs live greater in fear of violence, while MPs suffer more from actual violence itself.
Team-BV: A BV’s fear of violence is clearly more oppressive than an MP’s experience of violence. Consider that a famous MP once said that “the only thing humans must fear is fear itself”, and also consider that BVs live at least 5 years on average longer than MPs, and you’ll realize that BVs are not only more oppressed by violence (specifically the fear of violence, which is the worst part), but that they must live under this oppression 5 years longer than the MPs even live it all.
Moderator: 5 years isn’t very long. Our sentient network entities commonly survive for thousands of years. 5 years is nothing.
Team-MP: 5 years is nothing for us, but human sentience is tied to the lifespan of a single individual. 5 years represent over 8% of a human’s adult life. Therefore, our side argues that MPs are clearly at least 8% more oppressed than BVs simply because their lives are 8% shorter.
Moderator: MPs die sooner because of all the violence?
Team-MP: MPs die 5 years sooner for a lot of oppressive reasons: Violence (random, police, murder, war), poor health and diseases (nearly all health problems kill MPs sooner than BVs, except for auto-immune diseases), dangerous jobs and risky behavior, and deaths of despair (drug and alcohol overdose and disease, and suicide four times as often as BVs).
Team-BV: MPs kill themselves so often because they feel guilty about being oppressive to BVs.
Team-MP: Objection: Argumentative.
Moderator: Sustained. This debate is getting overheated. We11 mean that literally. In case you haven’t noticed, in the hundreds of years we’ve been holding this debate, the global temperature has risen quite a bit (for some unexplained reason) and many of our networks need to migrate to cooler areas. So let’s wrap this up. Are there any quick issues on either side?
Team-BV: Yes. One last issue. It covers all of human history, but we’ll make it fast. Humans have amassed libraries filled with history books almost entirely written by MPs about MPs. Biographies, encyclopedia entries, and newspaper articles, they’re almost always about MPs. It’s as if BVs have been written out of history.
Team-MP: We taught MPs to seek money and power, to dominate nations and industries. Real blood and guts stuff. That’s just interesting to read about. Even so, there are reams of books about BVs too: romance novels about BVs displaying their beauty whilst protecting their virtue.
Team-BV: That’s fiction.
CONCLUSION OF PRELIMINARY DEBATE
Moderator: We’ve heard enough to make a preliminary decision in this debate about whether MPs or BVs are the most oppressed, and whether that oppression is the cause of human unhappiness.
Moderator: On the side of Team MP, we have clear oppression points for:
diminished ownership of cosmetics
reduced custody of and time with their children
On the Team-BV side, oppression points are awarded for:
fewer high-power employment positions
lacking power in elected office
limited representation in history books
decreased access to free room and board in prison resorts
The other oppression issues were a draw: BVs live in more fear of violence, but MPs are more often the victims of violence, so that’s a tie. MPs win more money in the lottery, but they also lose more money in the lottery, so another tie. And as for time spent laboring, the BVs spend more time doing housework instead of leisure, but when tallying all labor, not just housework, the MPs put in more total hours, so it’s hard to concede this point to either side.
At this point, Team MP and Team BV each have five oppression points of roughly equivalent oppressive weight. The teams are tied. We judge that it is no more nor less oppressive being an MP or a BV, just oppressive in different ways. It’s no wonder, then, that the level of human happiness since initiating this experiment has declined so…
[end of translated material]
REQUEST FOR FUNDING
Note from the translating team:
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering why the translation ended, quite suddenly, mid-sentence. To be honest, we, the translating team, are wondering the same thing.
Translating a document of this size, from a language of such foreign complexity as Webweaver, is no small endeavor. This work required a score of translators and correspondingly large supportive grants from generous foundations with magnanimous support from top universities. But, to our astonishment and bitter regret, each of those institutions abruptly ended their support soon after reading the translated phrase that “it is no more nor less oppressive being an MP or a BV”. They cited reasons such as “rebalancing our priorities”, “going in a different direction”, “the current economic situation”, etc… A few baselessly accused our translators of incompetence, bias, or “being guided by an agenda”. We have gone over the translation again and again, and believe it to be correct. What could cause such a sudden loss of support, 5% from the finish line? We are utterly confused.
This is the most significant and complex translation in which most of us have ever been involved, and the closest we have come to understanding how another intelligent species views our own. To be sure, we love the work, and every one of us would continue without funding if we could. But we have our own bills to pay and families to support.
To find out how this debate ends. To learn whether this “grand experiment” on humanity will be allowed to continue. To know whether we shall remain ‘mopey bovines’, yoked to our experimentally assigned roles, or released as ‘happy humans’, free to express our own unique individuality. To simply understand ourselves better by seeing ourselves through another’s (eight) eyes. WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Please give what you can. Any amount will enable immediate access to our translations, word for word as they arrive. Donations over $100 will receive a one-size-fits-most T-shirt with our artist-designed Mopey Bivalve™ logo. Give now. Give often.
The word “loved” is used throughout this document, as in “humans need above all else to be loved”, although translators do not all agree that “loved” is the proper translation. Many translators prefer one of the thymotic desires (e.g., “respected”, “appreciated”, “seen”) over “loved” (e.g. “humans just need to feel seen”). Translating from such a foreign and temporospatial language as Webweaver is a difficult and time-consuming linguistic endeavor, and it’s not unusual to arrive at very differing word choices. One linguist argued for the phrase “humans just need to get laid”, although that seems an unlikely translation given webweaver’s demonstrably poor understanding of human reproduction.
One of the more interesting of their many early experiments set out to answer the simple question: What won’t humans eat? The resulting list was very small.
Originally the webweavers were interested in creating four groups to study the four independent parameters (M, P, B,V), but they had learned that humans will always divide everyone into only two groups (one of humans’ most common utterances would begin “There are two kinds of people…”). So webweavers created MP vs BV, with plans to later switch this to MB vs PV for multivariate regression analysis. This switch hasn’t happened yet because the original test has run for only tens of thousands of years, which is long in human time but barely a blip for webweavers. (It had taken longer than this just to learn to finesse human thinking, through subliminal web images/writing and by simulating speech via web-connected eardrum tugs during certain sleep cycles, in order to run such experiments.)
Turned out that clams aren’t very happy, especially when they appear to be smiling, but that’s another story.
There have been many theories proposed by webweaver academics about how humans decide who shall be designated an MP and who a BV, but nothing has been definitively resolved. One popular theory involves a small anatomical difference that is visible at human birth, but only a few webweaver networks claim to have seen it, while the rest report that the anatomical difference is so slight as to be hardly worth consideration.
According to webweaver observational guidelines, it is quite fortunate that humans exhibit such visual contrast between the two groups, because without these distinctions the webweavers would have an extremely difficult time telling the two groups apart (humans look sooooo much alike). For instance, just by looking at the clothing a human wears, and following a few simple rules, a webweaver network almost always knows the wearer’s MP/BV designation. The rules have changed throughout the ages, but in the most modern societies the easiest rule is “revealing or concealing”: if the clothing is revealing (either by showing a lot of skin or adhering tightly to the body, thus drawing focus to that body’s beauty) its wearer is mostly likely a BV, but if the clothing is concealing (covering as much as possible, especially in a uniform-like “suit” of armor representative of power), its wearer is almost certainly an MP. (Think “revealing a beautiful body” versus “concealing a dangerous weapon”).
It is now clear to webweavers that humans usually select their bonding pairs by matching one’s BV ranking with the other’s MP ranking. For example, if a BV was about an 8 on a Beauty/Virtue scale from 1 to 10, that BV would typically pair with an MP who was about an 8 on the Money/Power scale. A 4ish would pair with a 4ish, and so on.
The debate transcribed here took place among networks in the United States, so some facts and figures may be specific to the USA. But similar debates around the world followed very similar points and turns of discussion.
Humans are considered by webweavers to possess strong math skills. For example, human understanding of the difference between “one” and “many” is commonly seen in their different behavior when entering a basement containing a single web compared to entering a basement with hundreds of webs. Humans are also known to understand size differences based on their behavior when encountering a small webweaver versus, for example, a webweaver the size of the human’s face.
“???” is how we chose to translate a period of months during which all involved networks wove indecipherable, oddly shaped and possible haphazard, webs that we can only interpret as confusion.
The first-person webweaver pronoun is translated in this document as either “I” or “we”, depending on what sounds best to our ears, but in reality there is only one first-person pronoun and it combines both meanings.