June 17, 2006

Commemorating the Fallen in the Great Blow Job Wars of Aught-Six (by Special Guest Blogger Robert Southey)

It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar's work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round
Which he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.

Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
And with a natural sigh,
"'Tis some poor fellow's skull," said he,
"Who fell in the great victory.

"I find them in the garden,
For there's many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men," said he,
"Were slain in that great victory."

"Now tell us what 'twas all about,"
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
"Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for."

"It was the English," Kaspar cried,
"Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for
I could not well make out;
But everybody said," quoth he,
"That 'twas a famous victory.

"My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.

"With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

"They said it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

"Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won,
And our good Prince Eugene."
"Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!"
Said little Wilhelmine.
"Nay ... nay ... my little girl," quoth he,
"It was a famous victory."

"And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win."
"But what good came of it at last?"
Quoth little Peterkin.
"Why, that I cannot tell," said he,
"But 'twas a famous victory."


Posted by Ilyka at 06:42 PM | Comments (4)

May 21, 2006

I Go Berserk!

Laws, now I've seen everything.

Let's see: Apparently it's muy bueno to flip the finger to the gub'mint when they're confiscating my firearms, shutting down Christmas, or nagging me to quit smoking and eating fatty foods, but lemme make one little objection to being defined by my reproductive organs, and boom!--I'm an HYSTERICAL FEMINAZI.

Same shit, different day, huh?

You would think the Fucked Companeros would have other things to worry about, maybe unemployment or something, but what do I know? Until 'bout five minutes ago I'd forgotten Fucked Company existed. Hey, I thought it was a 90s thing. Go ahead, sue me.

And then there's this, the title of which invites a remark along the lines of "physician, heal thyself."

Call me an internet etiquette Nazi, but generally when you want to dispute what someone's written you link what they've written, and not some blockhead's distinctly ignorant paraphrase of it--unless, of course, you've got all the backbone of a jellyfish and you fear that I may presume to wipe the floor with your ass, which in fact I just may.

So let's recap, as succinctly as possible, some of the feminist blogging coverage of these CDC guidelines. That will save us having to embarrass ourselves by linking to Russell Wardlow in order to get the feminist perspective:

First you've got Jill's post, which is how I found out about the CDC guidelines, the subject of the Washington Post article Jill's responding to. (Got that?) Jill's berserk too, naturally:

Avoid cat feces and discuss fetal alcohol syndrome when you aren’t pregnant and don’t plan to be? Sure, doc, I’ll give up my pets and stop drinking because it might hurt the fetus that I’m not carrying.


Then, you've got Amanda Marcotte--or St. Amanda of Fornicatus, as she's known in some circles--and, hell, if we can't bank on Amanda to be hysterical, then, then, I just don't know, because it is an article of faith among the right-wing internet community that Amanda is always hysterical. It's like death and taxes, man, death and taxes:

The guidelines are a little less breathless with excitement over a brand new chance to control women and discriminate against us than [the Washington Post] article implies. They suggest that doctors treating women talk about health care in terms of their own health but also in regards to their reproductive future. The actual article very firmly suggests, and the WaPo skims over this point, that the big recommendation is to emphasize the importance of planning your pregnancies to women.

And the shrieking and caterwauling, she don't stop:

So the recommendation is not to scold all women between 12 and 60 never to drink or smoke or own a fucking cat. In fact, while there’s not a lot of language in the actual report condoning social control of all women as a health care initiative, there’s a whole shitload of suggestions to doctors that they discuss the importance of spacing children and preventing unplanned pregnancies. Prepregnancy visits are also encouraged, which again indicates that these guidelines are more about doctors telling women to take conception and pregnancy seriously than they are trying to imply that doctors should assume all women are equal pregnancy risk.

I mean the way she gets on the mainstream media for misrepresenting the issue and blatantly revealing its insidious biased agenda--OH, WAIT:

So why did the WaPo misrepresent this report? Hell, they don’t even mention how important birth control is to this entire project except in passing at the bottom of the article. I think it’s because it’s a political hot potato to openly admit that the two most important steps towards reducing the infant mortality rate and improving the health of newborns in general is to get health care to every woman and to empower women with the knowledge and tools they need to get pregnant only when they want to.

You with me so far? We've got Jill saying "It's stupid to ask me to protect the fetus I'm not carrying," and then we've got Amanda saying "Wait, it's actually not the way it was reported in the press," i.e., the sort of statement which, if you banned conservative bloggers from ever making it again, would reduce the output of conservative blogs by at least 90%; and somewhere in there you've also got a followup post by Zuzu at Feministe, in equally fine crazy-hysterical form:

What I’m concerned about is that the guidelines will provide more cover for doctors who already do things like withhold effective treatments from their non-pregnant patients on the grounds that the treatments are harmful to a hypothetical fetus, even when the alternative, fetus-safe treatment does not adequately control the condition or has more severe side effects for the patient than the fetus-harming treatment.

And then--what nerve--she provides an example of exactly that scenario occurring:

I have been unable to obtain adequate medical care for my epilepsy because I am what they'd call pre-pregnant. As my neurologist puts it, I am a woman of child-bearing age. As such, they flat-out refuse to try me on any medicines other than the ones proven least likely to affect a fetus (read: the ones that are paying off my neurologist). Despite the fact that I have declared my belly a no-fetus zone.

My neurologist does not trust me to not get pregnant. My neurologist puts a potential fetus's potential health over my health.

That miserable harpy! With her SOURCING and her FACTS! Take a Valium, Zuzu; you'll never get a man like that!

As for Bitch, Ph.D., well, her blog title's never fit better. Such emotionalism:

It seems to me that the biggest news here isn't the CDC; it's the interpretation of this document in the broader context of increasingly conservative ideas that women are primarily baby-factories and mothers, rather than actual human beings whose health care matters for its own sake. Luckily the CDC (and, in my experience, most health care providers, especially in women's health) still belong to the reality-based community.

How dare she use the word "reality" in such an obviously hormone-fueled screed?

And then, of course, you have me and my potty mouth, which added bupkis to the discussion and in fact was not worth posting at all, if you think about it (which clearly I seldom do), but it did, however unwittingly, serve one purpose: It provided fresh meat to conservatives who CAN'T READ, the ones who just plug everything vaguely wimmen-related into their tiresome-but-tireless narrative of "Anything feminists object to, I automatically favor, because I am like what would happen if someone invented a robot that was specially, intentionally designed to be retarded." "Anti-intellectual" doesn't even begin to cover it. "Stupid" is inadequate. "Ignorant" is insufficient. "Lobotomized" only just barely approaches applicability.

The sweet, sweet irony is that there was plenty of material for conservatives to pick on in all this, if only that pesky "reading" activity weren't required to detect it. How 'bout the "no, no, the CDC is a GOOD bureaucracy" attitude prevalent in some of the above posts? It's not one of my pet issues, personally, but I would think a true limited-government aficionado could make hay for days outta that.

And then there's the wealth of common-cause material: Feminists think the press misrepresents important issues?--Conservatives think the press misrepresents important issues! Feminists think federal guidelines are mostly for shit?--Conservatives think federal guidelines are mostly for shit! Feminists want the feds out of their personal lives?--Conservatives want the feds out of their personal lives! Holy crumb, it's almost like you could all sit around making friendship bracelets or something.

"I still hate that you oppose same-sex marriage, but the way you point out the jerkiness of the WaPo is like awesome."

"I know, and I still hate that you abort babies, but the way you tell the federal government to mind its business really moves me."

But again, that would require laying off the pipe for a minute, you know, the pipe labeled "Almost Half the Population Voted for the Party of Death Last Election and That Makes Almost Half of my Fellow Citizens my Sworn Enemies 4Ever. Now Hit That PayPal Button, Bitches, Because You Can't Get This Kind of Meaningful Discourse Just Anywhere, and Certainly Not on 40,000 Other Blogs Exactly Like This One."

So. If the goal of Andrea and Russell was to make me think that maybe the liberals who tar all those to the right of Dennis Kucinich as unthinking backwoods reactionaries might just occasionally have a point, congratulations, dears: Goal achieved. Have yourselves a big fat hysterical cookie each. Maybe later I'll take a break from boozing it up, cleaning the cat box, and aborting yet another freakin' baby in order to bake my famous Berserker Brownies: Two cups Hysteria, one and one-third cups Outrage, three-fourths cup Shrieking Incoherence . . . .

Posted by Ilyka at 01:47 PM | Comments (7)

May 16, 2006

Five-Word, No-Post Post (Because Really, What Else Can I Say?)

New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

Wow, federal government--fuck YOU.

(Via Jill at Feministe, who does not suffer from such a limited vocabulary.)

UPDATE: Welcome to the denizens of Feministing.org. Visitors may want to see followups here and here (but especially that first link, which makes it clear that blogs by real feminists are kicking, traffic-wise, the flabby asses of blogs by bitter middle-aged men attempting to parody feminist blogs). How nice of me is it to offer you more grist for your mills, huh? I'd say, "Very nice!" I'm a giver! It's what I do.

Then again, maybe it's really to that second link you ought to direct your attention. That's where I use my amazing powers of Clunky Analogy to compare bad parody to 45 minutes of poo-flinging monkeys, or something. The fact that it's a clunky analogy does not detract from the fact that bad parody is a very sad thing.

Feministing.org visitors who'd like to see what actually funny web sites look like are invited to check out Something Awful, Jay Pinkerton, Jim Treacher, Hubris, or any of hundreds of other sites that bother to first scope out what they're parodying in order to parody more effectively.

Humor is an art, humor is a gift, humor is both blessing and curse, but that's no reason not to always be honing whatever skills God gave you at it. You gotta stay on your game, boys. I'm talking CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT here.

Posted by Ilyka at 02:47 PM | Comments (36)

April 19, 2006

Something I Hope We Can All Agree On (Again)*

"Goddammit, I fucking draw the line at the sexploitation of nine-year-old girls."

I do not generally issue so-called "cuss warnings"--I have this weird idea that you are all adult enough to click the "Back" button yourselves--but for this? Major cuss warning.

Not that I find it undeserved, given the subject, and not that I don't have a filthy mouth myself. And not (before anyone gets on my ass about it--though they will anyway, because intrapost disclaimers never do a damn bit of good) that I agree with every single premise in the post linked above. I don't endorse it a hunnert percent.

Then again, odds are real super-good that I agree with more of it than you think.

The subject of the post is vile, yes, but not surprising. Anyone who's read the Harlan Ellison essay entitled "Our Little Miss" could have seen this one coming.

UPDATE: It should go without saying, but you click the link included in the post linked above at your own risk.

People exaggerate too much anymore, and especially on the internet; but it's no exaggeration for me to say right now that, as a result of my foolish compulsive clicking . . . I think I'm gonna be sick.

*Because it turns out I called an entry by this very title already, unsurprisingly. "I'm crazy for recycling" sounds better than "I'm an uninspired hack," though, so that's the claim I'm staking.

Posted by Ilyka at 01:25 AM | Comments (3)

April 12, 2006

Bracing Against the Inevitable

In comments to the previous post, Darleen Click writes:

Jill just ASSUMED these guys were rapists. Hey, privileged white guys, black woman QED.

I didn't touch the Duke case from the git-go precisely because it just smacked of the worst kind of politics, but when DNA evidence came out and suddenly DNA wasn't "important" any more, then it got to me. No presumption of innocence for these guys, even when court ordered tests come back showing NO LINK to the victim. At a minimum, 44 lacrosse team members are NOT rapists, but you'd never know that listening to Nancy Grace on CNN for crissakes.

Rape is not a football game where we tout up the winners and losers in a court case and high five each other for another win for "our side".

I'm interested in justice. It's one of my hot buttons. And justice is served up to individuals, not groups.

Some of the blogsphere got rightly slapped around for the over-the-top nasty stuff said about Jill Carroll. The MSM in the Duke case needs the same kind of slapping around.

I'm doing that thing I said I don't usually like to do--promoting something out of the comments and writing a post about it. I'm not doing it to eviscerate Darleen; I'm doing it because she gave me a good jumping-off point.

I went back and looked at all the posts at Feministe to see if Jill had really "just assumed these guys were rapists." For primary-source fans, those posts are:

Gender, Class, Race, and Rape

More on the Duke Rape Case

(Even) More on the Duke Rape Case

Don't Read This.

Those Duke Boys Just Needed a Dose of Chivalry

Boys Will Be Boys

I'd have to conclude that you could certainly look at the whole mess as Jill assuming these guys were rapists. I don't see it that way. I see it as Jill assuming the victim to be credible.

There's a subtle difference there, but it's worth noting--because we generally don't assume rape victims to be credible, we as a society. The first thing we tend to do is look for ways to discredit her (and I say "her" because most rapes are perpetrated by men against women). Was she out late? Dressed wrong? Working in the wrong profession? Going places she shouldn't have gone?

Jill, and others who have blogged about this, are not wrong to focus on the racial makeup of the case, because it invites more, not less, opportunity to discredit the victim.

"Oh, she's playing the race card."

Which is why I find Darleen's Jill Carroll reference so interesting--because Darleen compares Ms. Carroll to the Duke University lacrosse team members, not to the unidentified rape victim. And yet, I just read this last night:

In case I'm incoherent, my main point is not that Jill Carroll was a saint or that she wasn't against the war, but only that she was a victim. Hostages are the victim and terrorists are the bad guys. In the middle of a crime, one does not attack the victim, you go after the criminal. That's all.

. . . and I was struck by the similarities.

Just not in the way Darleen was.

In the middle of a crime, one does not attack the victim, one goes after the criminal. Wow. Sounds so simple put like that.

Why can't we start doing this with rape?

What I get out of the posts about this case is a sense of bracing against the inevitable. The very first comment at the very first post on the subject at Feministe encapsulates it:

Well we know what is next don’t we. She is black and working as a stripper so she is obviously a whore and everything that happened is her own fault.

Whereas the Lacrosse are hard-working hero jocks who could not possible rape anyone.

And here's what disgusts me: The right did a shitty job of proving that commenter wrong.

So, that black woman said, “No,” eh? First, she’s in a profession where she’s expected to do tricks for clients. Second, she’s walking into a house full of young, drunken athletes, who happen to be white. Third, she called the police and complained once; then she went back, but then left. And then she went back again! That’s a peculiar way of saying “No,” it seems to me. These racist black people just want a role model victim, with mistreatment wreaked upon the weakest of the weak: the black woman. All she has to do is cry, “rape by white male!” and she rules the world.

Weak? How about “strong” – as in a strong manipulator?

But she had to have the money, right? She just has to feed those children, pay that tuition, rent, car payment, and books. She’s not on welfare, scholarship, or assistance of any kind? Well, whatever she does receive may not cover her expenses. That’s quite possible.

But, exotic dancing—and then to cry “abuse”? This may be pushing victimhood beyond reason.

There's too much to be disgusted by here, and Jill already did a fantastic job of taking this apart. But I'd like to focus on the last two paragraphs, because if you can look me in the eye and tell me most conservatives wouldn't be just as quick to demonize the woman had she been receiving government assistance--if you want to tell me conservatives don't get all up in arms about welfare mothers and the welfare state and the way the gub'mint coddles Those People all the time, then only two possibilities exist: Either we inhabit completely different dimensions, or you're full of shit.

I know that most of the conservatives I know consider FrontPage magazine the redheaded stepchild of conservatism. I see very few bloggers on the right ever source it, and there seems to be an unspoken consensus that Horowitz's enterprise suffers from a bad case of the crazy. (Side note to liberal bloggers: Most of us don't read Townhall that often, either. I think you're their biggest fans.) Nonetheless, it says something to me that we'll stay quiet about columns like this one while asking "the left" to "purge the moonbats." Something about a beam in one's eye, you know?

One difference, one very obvious difference, between Jill Carroll and the unidentified rape victim, is that in Carroll's case we had evidence immediately that a crime had occurred. We had evidence immediately regarding who committed it. We don't have that in this case, and in that sense, Darleen's point is valid: It's wrong to presume to know, in advance, who did what.

But I believe also that there are vast differences of degree between players being suspended and undergoing a criminal investigation, and a woman being called a lying, manipulative slut who deserved what happened, if anything happened; besides, she wanted it to happen, she was asking for it by working as an exotic dancer, she's clearly just using these poor, innocent boys as a meal ticket--dear God, if we're not to presume anything, then that includes not presuming she's lying. That means something may well have happened to her, and that means that now, on top of the original humiliation and degradation, conservatives have heaped on this woman additional scorn and debasement. Where the fuck are the family values in that?

In the middle of a crime, one does not attack the victim, one goes after the criminal.

That's all.

P.S. I didn't want to have to spell this out, but I'm not a big fan of the ad hominem around here, unless someone is such a prick as to tempt me beyond resistance. However, I'm the one who decides who's that much of a prick, because I rule with an iron fist, don't you know. So snark against Darleen on your own blog. I know you've got one. Thanks.

UPDATE: Before anyone else suggests I am making this case into a political banner, let me cite the words of a student present at Nifong's conference at Duke the other day:

"I'm angry at two groups, and the Duke lacrosse team isn't one of them," said North Carolina Central senior Shawn Cunningham, a political science/criminal justice major. "I feel sorry and pity for them.

"Who I'm angry with first of all are those who choose to blame the victim. (Applause.) The second group I'm also angry with is all these people with cameras and all these people with notebooks, because the press has disrespected this young lady. (More applause.) They have minimized my sister to a stripper and an exotic dancer. ... You don't identify her as a mother, you don't identify her as a student, you don't identify her as a woman." (Standing ovation.)

That, right there, especially (but not only!) where I have added emphasis, is my issue. Not identity politics, not collectivization, not rape culture.

I cannot possibly be any more clear on the subject and, from here on out, I'm not even going to try to be--I'm just going to assume you're either unable to read, or engaging in hackery.

I have a longstanding policy of doing my level best to ignore dishonest hacks. I can recommend it. It is very good for the pursuit, and even the occasional achievement of, serenity.

Posted by Ilyka at 10:47 AM | Comments (9)

April 11, 2006

Duke, Etc.

All I have to say about the feminist blog commentary on the rape allegations against members of the Duke lacrosse team may be found here.

It brings up for me an incidental note:

If you're incapable of comprehending and accepting that feminist blogs focus primarily on feminist issues, I suggest you simply don't read feminist blogs. It's that simple. I'm talking to all y'all thumb-sucking titty-babies out there. You know what you remind me of? Creationists who hijack usenet groups about evolutionary biology, or Scientologists who try to shut down threads for cult survivors, or child-free advocates who barge onto infertility blogs--that kind of thing. You're a damned nuisance, you don't contribute anything so advanced as actual ideas, all you do is threadjack, and holy Gott im Himmel, DO YOU PEOPLE WHINE.

And speaking of the threadjacking and the whining, I have made something for my cherished "Men and Women Are Different" commenters: Your very own blog! Here's all the info for it. Log in and change whatever you like! It's ALL yours! I'm giving it to you for a present!

Username: ReallyItsTrue
Password: theyare
Email: menandwomenaredifferent@hotmail.com
Email password: theyrenotthesame

See if you can take that baby to the top of Technorati. I'll bet if you worked hard and applied yourselves, you totally could! It's such a fresh, fertile concept and, let's face it: It just doesn't get said often enough!

Spread the news! Speak truth to power! Preach ye the gospel! Men and women are different!

There, I feel strangely tranquil all of a sudden.

AND FURTHERMORE: Ready to dismiss the charges as wholly fabricated, label the lady a worthless lying tramp, suggest she be prosecuted as such, and slam the book shut on the whole business, as some have been? Why, I do suggest you shut your ignorant pieholes there, Judgy McJudgersons!

Nifong said prosecutors were awaiting a second set of DNA results, but did not say how those differed from the tests reported Monday. Nifong added that in 75 percent to 80 percent of sexual assaults, there is no DNA evidence to analyze.

The district attorney said a rape case can built on testimony from the alleged victim and other witnesses. Nifong also said the hospital exam of the woman has led him to believe a crime occurred at the March 13 party.

According to court documents, a doctor and a specially trained nurse found the alleged victim had "signs, symptoms and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted."

Okay? Okay.

THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT: I may never know its author, but with this post, I am in love:

When you start making me (OR MY KIDS) uncomfortable, you have declared war on Culture&Tradition, and we (Americans) do not have to stand for that. So if you want to be a Transvestite or a Butchy Bitch or whatever you call it nowadays, well, you'd better get your trucker's license or a ham radio set. Need I say more?

Yes! Much, MUCH more! Keep up the good work! Start spreading the news! Number one with a bullet, baby!

I love the parenthetical clarification (Americans). That just makes the whole thing, doesn't it?

UPDATE, FINAL: More here.

Posted by Ilyka at 01:20 PM | Comments (16)

April 07, 2006

Let Them Eat Cake

This may be the stupidest thing I've read in awhile, and I've read a lot of stupid this week. But Ann Althouse, for sheer vapidity, you take the cake:

A classic feminist question is why must it be women's job to make men good? One answer is that men will be so horribly bad if we don't.

I'll leave the issue of whether "why must it be women's job to make men good" is really a "classic feminist question" to people better versed in feminist history than I. I'd like to focus instead on this notion that women should serve men because if we don't, "men will be so horribly bad."

(Permit me this opportunity to remind everyone that it's the so-called "gender feminists" who really hate men.)

This is Bill Cosby and the chocolate cake all over again. I can't believe we're still hearing this. Do you know what I'm talking about? It's this bit by Bill Cosby--I don't know where it's from and no longer remember where I first heard it*--where he tells the story of his wife nagging him one morning to, just for once, be the one to get up early and get the children their breakfasts so she can sleep in. For once, please God, let her be the one to sleep in on a Saturday!

So as the Cos tells it, he gets up, utterly clueless as to what his children actually eat in the mornings, or where anything is located in the kitchen, or, well, anything at all about his own offspring and the house in which they all live, and so in the end, stumped, he simply lets the children persuade him to give them chocolate cake for breakfast.

The wife gets up, sees the kids face-planted into plates of chocolate cake, and shrieks at Cosby to GO TO HIS ROOM.

"Which," Bill concludes, smirking, "is what I had wanted to do in the first place."

I don't know what Cosby's point with that story was but I'll tell you what I get out of it: When you think your man is playing dumb with you just to get out of doing his part around the house, you're probably right. See, otherwise, I have to believe Bill Cosby is too brain-damaged to find a box of Rice Krispies in his own kitchen, then perform the complex operation of decanting Krispies and milk into bowls--and while that's tempting to consider, ultimately I can't buy it.

From what I can tell of Ann's post, to be a Christina Hoff-Sommers feminist (and we all recall what I think of that oxymoron), and to be receptive to Harvey Mansfield's premise in Manliness, you must embrace doublethink in the most fervent way. You must hold, simultaneously, the idea that men are intelligent enough, driven enough, and self-sacrificing enough to put themselves on the moon; and the idea that they are incapable of exercising any of these qualities to accomplish anything that might, however meagerly, help women--whether that's doing their share of the dishes, learning to sit still in class, or eradicating rape.

You must hold, simultaneously, both the idea that men possess superior logical and analytical skills, are more rational; and the idea that men are utterly flummoxed, to the point of being no longer able to follow simple linear thought processes, when placed into that most ordinary of rooms, the kitchen.

You must hold, simultaneously, the idea that men can endure worse hardships than women, living for months under threats of dehydration, starvation, and isolation-induced hysteria; and the idea that men cannot reach "the higher ethical levels of manhood" without, you guessed it, more fucking blood, sweat, and tears from women.

It is this level of irrationality that fuels my disgust with Hoff-Sommers, Mansfield, and any other "oh no, wimmen are emasculating us!" whiner out there. And for the life of me, I cannot see what this has to do with conservatism except in the purest sense, that sense of wanting to stand athwart history, yelling "Stop!" Harvey Mansfield certainly does seem to want women to Stop. Don't you know your commitment to excellence in life is hurting men, bitches?

But notions of standing athwart history aside, the idea that it is women's responsibility to civilize men is antithetical to conservative ideals of self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and self-sacrifice. I do not understand the current conservative fascination with claiming that men are the real victims in modern life. I do understand that I have grown immune to these complaints. I do not care if men "will be so horribly bad." It is my view that too many of them already are so horribly bad.

It is further my view that ethics of accountability and responsibility demand that men fix the problems of men--not me. Or, as Hugo Schwyzer puts it:

This is complementarianism (the notion that the two sexes have predetermined, specific roles to play in human relationship) at its worst. It burdens women with the task of making men better. It liberates men from taking responsibility for taking the primary leadership role in nurturing younger men into ethical, responsible adulthood. And it implies, none too subtly, that destructive and violent men become that way because of women's failures, not because of their own personal choices as males.

(Hugo has some emphasis in the original, but that above is mine.) Hugo also brings his faith to bear on the issue:

My Christian side cries foul as well, even more loudly. As Christians, men and women alike, we are called to become ever more and more like Christ. We all know the Epistle:

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Paul didn't write:

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. With the constant pressure and encouragement of women in my life, I became a man; I put childish ways behind me only because my mommy and my wife helped me ascend to the higher ethical levels of manhood.

Men and women alike are called to be "new creations" in Christ. As Genesis makes clear, rigid gender roles with their strict complementarianism are a holdover from the Fall, but in Christ all things are made new. To me, that has always meant that as a believer, I can never, ever, ever, ever, say "I'm just a man, I can't help being the way I am."

I guess we don't have to worry about Hugo feeding anyone chocolate cake for breakfast. But it's okay if he does, because we can bank on Hoff-Sommers, Mansfield, Ann Althouse, and all manner of "equity feminists" to excuse him for it. He can't help it! He's a guy! That makes him almost as good as mentally deficient! (But, right, it's feminists who hate men.)

I admire Hugo tremendously for putting the burden of achieving excellence where it belongs. Thanks, man, for not putting it on me or on any other woman.

We have enough to do in a day, thank you.

*Oh-ho! Here it is.

UPDATE: Althouse updates her post to note that "some hotheads" out there "don't get" her sarcasm, and in fact:

I heartily resist the notion that it is women's work to make men good.

It's good to have the clarification, but honestly, I don't think I'm the only one who didn't get the sarcasm, and that sarcasm goes curiously unmentioned even as commenters on the post react to the statement literally, beginning with the third comment in the thread:

It is comments or "questions" like these that make me absolutely dismissive of "feminists":

"A classic feminist question is why must it be women's job to make men good? One answer is that men will be so horribly bad if we don't."

Imagine the reaction if a similar but different construct was used from the other side. "A masculinist question is why it must be a man's job to make women tough. One answer is that women will be so horribly wimpy if we don't."

Followed by:

The problem Gerry, is that you have all these women crusaders on a crusade to change men who are perfectly fine as they are. The result is a continual buzzing of harrassment day-in and day-out that bleeds life of its beauty. I think the problem is that these female chauvinists have good intentions, and so are entirely oblivious to the harm they are causing in the world. They make the world a worse place for the majority of men, and we shouldn't validate their delusional perspective by presuming that men are naturally bad and need improvement.


A classic feminist question is why must it be women's job to make men good? One answer is that men will be so horribly bad if we don't.

I guess it depends on how you define "horribly bad". The PC thought seems to be that men are responsible for all that's bad in the world, war, famine, slavery, oppression, and everything else. This has been going on for a long time and if something could be done I think that it would already have been done.

Finally Ann herself jumps in:

I hope people are reading the whole article. The answer I present for the "classic question" is taken from Mansfield. It's not the feminists who say women are needed to civilize men. It's the traditionalists!

. . . but while she correctly attributes Mansfield's sentiments, I don't see a whole lotta indication that his answer is one she "heartily rejects."

So, is it me? Am I stupid? Am I just some hothead who doesn't get the sarcasm? Or is this simply the same routine every Friend of Glenn pulls when they're insulted? Because, you know, when you link an article with:

I've been ignoring that book "Manliness" by Harvy C. Mansfield, but Christina Hoff Sommers is writing about it -- in the Weekly Standard -- so I'm going to pay some attention

And that article is basically one long handjob for Mansfield, culminating in:

The world of gender studies has never before had to confront anyone quite like this solitary rogue male professor of politics. Critics will rail against his excesses and feminists will be indignant and offended. But many women will be charmed by his effrontery, and grateful for the truth and wisdom in Mansfield's elegant treatise.

Then maybe, I don't know, people would have to really fine-tune their sarcasm detectors to pick up on it?

Well, it's back to ignoring the so-called big bloggers, for me. Because I just don't get their sarcasm, for one, and for another, they never engage their critics directly, with links, because They Have Too Much Dignity for That. I'm tired of their ridiculous pretensions, the whole "We're up here; you're down there" nonsense that has turned the writing on most big blogs dry, dull, and joyless--an awful lot more like their nemesis, The Mainstream Media, than most of them prefer to admit--because that's what Glenn Reynolds likes and that's what Glenn Reynolds links. To hell with them all.

Posted by Ilyka at 12:41 PM | Comments (33)