Somewhere between the name calling and the admonishments to “Google it” lies an interesting argument about the future of marriage, and it kicked off today between Amanda Marcotte and Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto. The two were battling over Marcotte’s piece in Salon analyzing a mother’s letter to the Princeton newspaper encouraging female students to look for husbands while attending college. In part, Susan Patton, a mother of two sons at Princeton, wrote to the Daily Princetonian:

Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.

Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again—you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.

Marcotte interprets the letter as evidence that casual sex on campus isn’t necessarily for young men’s benefit, but “often more a strategy young women use to delay commitments that they perceive as obstacles to their personal and career goals.” But does Mrs. Patton have a point?

Who are you going to believe? Marcotte’s mom or the statistical facts?

Marcotte claims a triumph with her statistical facts, but it wouldn’t be a victory lap without a shot at male privilege.

What? When did anyone claim that?

Retrograde gender essentialism? Could someone please translate into terms those of us who didn’t attend Princeton can understand?

Um, thanks.