Watching the decline...

Archives: Feminism

Eating Our Own

As the Oscars continue on the road to death from taking itself way too seriously the Golden Globes, its hipper more loose moraled cousin, continues to follow it down the rabbit hole of irrelevancy. From what I saw, the well meaning and relevant protests and discussion about sexual violence, predation and under representation of women in Hollywood was a resounding success, i.e. its trending. I suppose that my mention of it would, like a dimly lit star in the night sky that mostly goes unnoticed, be a part of the chorus of discussion about the issue.

The attention brought to Women who have been harassed, stripped of power and dignity through violence or implied violence and the inequities in power in this one industry is well deserved, it is supposedly shining a light on the greater, even less empowered world below it. Women feeling constantly threatened, or conversely those who feel empowered to use that to their advantage, are all affected by this imbalance. The different approaches to this end and the varying ways individual women have reacted to the issue has left me again wondering if the multiplicity of voices, many on the same side, can be heard through the noise.

Susan Sarandon, who I respect not only as a actor but as much as one can someone they have never spoken to, a human being, is the latest victim of the reactionary left’s (words I never hoped to ever have to say) group-think.  Somehow, in 140ish characters, the twitter-verse has managed to shame her for not letting her gender dictate her conscience.

As twitter logic goes, regrettably, this is fairly benign, but as the greater trend toward vanquishing the twin dragons of balkanization of any outlying opinion and identity politics are concerned it is another example of the stoopid factor, eating your own when it comes to small differences in opinion, when we largely agree.

Its so absolutely fucking insane that because Sarandon did not follow the part line and support Hillary Clinton (her ABSOLUTE right as an individual, I might add) in the democratic primaries and then dared to support Stein (a woman?!?!?) she is somehow solely responsible for the downfall of the black dress movement and a far worse offender than any male who presided over the casting couch Hillary’s victory would have surely completely demolished.

Here are a few dumb-ass responses to her being an individual with her own voice and position (IRONY ALERT!)

– Oh and by the way, thank you Huffington Post for finally beginning to show a little backbone in calling out stupid, although subtly.

SO what was her major crime? Refusing to support a candidate that very few people were truly happy with for one who was screwed out of party support because he WASN’T a woman? Aside from not making a lick of fucking sense, its entirely counterproductive.

Shit like this pushed into leaving the Democratic Party without abandoning my liberal principals, so am I now a traitor, sexist and bigot for respecting the opinions of others who are largely in line in principal with mine?

When do we stop sniping over small differences and finally begin unifying on GP and figure out the minor shit later? Not that we should swing far in the other direction and support raving idiot’s who are clearly unfit for office simply because they are the official party candidate, but nor should we feel we have to support someone who was clearly a member of the political class, didn’t do shit for Black People yet pandered for our vote simply because she is a woman. An absolutely well qualified woman, but also a woman who allowed her own ambition to let her turn a blind eye to the obvious corruption in her own party.

A vote for Stein or Sanders WAS NOT a vote for trump, it was a vote for the soul and conscience of the Democratic party and a test that my former party failed miserably.

Sarandon is still a hero to me, not as an actor, or as an activist, but for being the target of everything wrong with the left, the lack of serious self criticism, the lack of any real ability to soul search, and the mimicking of everything the right has represented to us since college, robotic reactionary proto-facisim.

Tyranny Comes on Little Cat Feet

  • with apologies to Carl Sandburg

It’s becoming more and more apparent that we are losing our democracy of voices and opinions. Just as we seemed on the verge of becoming the ideal that we’d believed ourselves to be as Americans, that model was obliterated.  At this point it doesn’t matter who shot first, or why, but the decreasing number of us in the no mans land between the constructions of “the left” and “the right” regardless of how we lean, is troubling for democracy, and for the very survival of our country.

Tyranny doesn’t only come from the right.

I make no bones about how I lean; I make no apologies for my liberal cultural background and my progressive politics. I also do not wear that label as a bulwark against letting opposing ideas sink in, mixing with my own and changing me. This approach is my definition of what being Liberal means, being open to ideas, allowing them to mesh with my experience and trying to understand what lessons shape others. It’s a word that’s been twisted to mean inflexible and turned into an epithet, so much so that I go back and forth on whether I should call myself one anymore.

My definition of self is mine and mine alone. I know what the word means to me and also know that some of the other words I call myself are only shorthand for the complexities that I keep in those boxes.  Like anything, I think we get so wrapped up in the labels and the shorthand that we forget what the words mean.

It’s not always easy to hear through our filters, its never comfortable to be challenged, especially when that challenge comes from someone who you’ve already built a persona around.  But those problems are often the most powerful. Coming to grips with the fact that someone who comes from an entirely different background or had a very different experience in their life than you’ve had in yours yet you are still able to connect in a meaningful way is one of the most gratifying experiences you can have.

That is part of the reason it makes me so angry to see people put up walls, especially those who label themselves with monikers that define them as just the opposite. I spoke here about the Yale nonsense that happened a few years ago, and there have been numerous other newsworthy incidents, mainly on college campuses, that reflect an unwillingness to be self-reflective in the face of opposing viewpoints. The Milo incident at Berkeley or the Charles Murray incident at Middlebury college in Vermont are two big ones that spring to mind.  While I find Yiannopoulous a repugnant, showboating, self-promoting buffoon, I also found it ironic that the protestors, who became violently agitated over this clown, didn’t understand the legacy they were trampling on at that institution. Murray is also a cultural accelerant, but a more thoughtful and one who has been maligned in a way that makes me sad for the state of academic and cultural discourse.

When I look across the Millennial landscape and see the hairs-on-end sensitivity, the jumping at shadows and accusations, real or imagined, of triggered talk by folks who just haven’t caught up yet, it terrifies me to think that they will be the ones making some of the harder decisions about what speech will be allowed and what will be censored by shout down.

I’m so incredibly sick and tired of people being so offended by what they think they hear that they’ve become the monsters they, without a shred of irony, finger-point to daily. Sick of the fucking crybaby, triggered nonsense, sick of the proliferation of safe spaces as places NOT to be confronted on your bullshit instead of real and genuine refuges from psyche destroying trauma.  Let me make this clear; there is shit in this world that is so horrible, so psychically damaging, so mind-fuckingly severe, that it requires years of intense therapy to get over. Let me also make this clear, about 10% or which happens here in the United States, and about 5% is genuinely worth isolation from.

At this point a clear distinction has to be made, we all experience trauma, and unless we talk about it respectfully we never really know how difficult another’s existence is. BUT what is also true is that we’ve created a culture that condenses each of our experiences into little nuggets that cling like leeches to the identities we create for ourselves. In no way do I discount anyone’s stories of abuse, be they sexual, psychological or emotional, but when we are so deeply wrapped up in our traumas that we can’t see what someone else has gone through, see our universal personhood, we put another nail in the coffin of this grand experiment.

When we don’t dispense with our hegemonies of our experiences over other’s, when we refuse to listen, to hear what others bring to the table however flawed it might be, we lose a bit of that connectivity to each other. When we start pulling outward into the human instead of backward into an identity, into white, male, female, cis, gay, trans, straight and queer, we remember our sameness isn’t opposed to our uniqueness. When we stop the ridiculously insane push to be right all the time and be wrong at least some of the time, we gain it back.

We’ve all gotten too sensitive in all the wrong ways, instead of being sympathetic to how others may feel (which requires asking them exactly how they think and why) we hold way too tightly to our identity constructs.

I’m calling out so-called Liberals an Progressives on this as well as gender rights activists, queer theorists, and feminists, mainly because I feel allied or am a part of those loose identifications. I’ve called out the prevailing myth of white supremacy as a historical fact, women’s struggles as history and the benefits that come with being of a privileged class. My bonafides are there.

Yes, I find it amazingly ironic and annoying when ego-driven when people like Ann Coulter decry Liberal Fascism, when members of the alt-right claim their free speech is being violated, and when self-promoting attention whores like Milo Yiannopoulous and Mike Chernovich point out the hypocrisy of the left.

It’s annoying and ironic, but also, sadly, right.

 

solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short – welcome to the Hobbesian nightmare 2016 edition

No, the above way-more-educated-than-I-am, quote is not intended to describe this year’s election cycle. But it is, in my view, what many want out of it in the end.

Let me explain.

I’ve been reading excerpts and reviews of a lot of books about men lately. Many of these “books” are written by bloggers and other assorted malcontents and sold on Amazon (Amazon, who will, in fact, publish damn near anything if some of these “works” are any indication).

Some are well written and through the murk of chest-beating manliness, and to an extent even within that milieu, they offer interesting and accurate commentary on the state of manhood in these changing times. I don’t touch this subject matter directly as so many others do it so much better, but manhood is in crisis. Womanhood is as well, the changing roles and responsibilities that have defined our genders for years are upending. I charge that this is for the better, but just as with any large scale change there are bound to be those who see the bad looming greater than the good.

Occasionally, I am one of those people.

As a wannabe writer of fiction, I push myself to imagine futures. Futures in far-flung societies and in this one advanced a few hundred days or a few thousand years. I write about the future, at least in part, due to my inability to research and my personal bias against meddling with history. I also write about the future because it’s easy to see myself there and it’s also easier to reflect a mirrored image of what we are now back at us by looking at what we will be.

I often imagine futures where the norms are different. Frontier societies that have developed strict social codes that rely on violence to keep those who would stray, in check. Societies that were founded on Hobbesian principles of centralized power (a throwback to the subject of this post)  and developed accordingly are a favorite topic of mine lately. Of course, this requires some of the dreaded “research” I despise, but only in a broad sense. I look at things like culture, the size of the society, its early development and its key figure’s personalities, location, climate, and the temperament of its neighbors.

Doing all this imagining often takes me down dual roads, one leading to a mostly civilized and safe society and another leading to industrial serfdom for most and great luxury and wealth for a few. The trick is that these futures are not necessarily aligned with what you might think their respective paths are. The road to serfdom does not necessarily come directly from the path of kings and enlightened despots, nor is the egalitarian future born solely of democracy and participation. When you look at civilizations on this planet, you come up with many paths to sometimes the same conclusion.

So back to manhood. Yes it all ties in together, just a few paragraphs more of patience I ask.

I make no apologies for being a man; no one should have to apologize for what they are by birth. No White man needs to apologize for being what he is no Black woman should be implored to beg her case for being born into herself. We are not the sole determination of our race, class, or origin; they do not FULLY define us. But we are impacted and affected by them all, we bear the burdens and the responsibilities we were born into, we inherit, however unfairly, the cultural baggage of our predecessors. We are partially the sum of our ancestors, with a dash of our present culture and a heaping helping of our perceptions of it, and finally rubbed with a coating of our environment.

There is a rub here, though. We all need to take responsibility for not only what we have personally done, but for what our culture, collectively and associatively, has fostered upon us. It isn’t a choice, it isn’t something to run away from nor run into, it just is.

I am very much an imperfect man, for all my virtues I have at least as many faults. And men in general, have much to atone for. When women reach the same pinnacle men have in this society, they too will have sins of their own. Some will be determined by their “gendered” view of the world (every woman as every man has a unique view which is determined by living as what they include, gender identity, race, cultural identity, income, the number of parents…, etc.) others are simply a consequence of increased power.

Men, right now, are the ones who should be doing the soul-searching FROM that place of power. We are forced to do it because the sands beneath us have shifted.

For some in the alt-right, this shift has taken an apocalyptic tone. As when bankers, now bereft of what defined then, defenestrated during the great depression (greatly exaggerated I know, but a great narrative device nonetheless), a largely white male population is feeling the push-back of the new world order of diminishing power by virtue of belonging to that group.

So this new narrative arises among its ranks, one of doom, gloom, and violence. Ideas that were, when their numbers and their power was greater, casually cast off as un-American, are now common in its language. Where the coded has become explicit. When Bigots, Racists, and Traditionalists have been re-branded as White Nationalists, and people like David Duke have an out-sized voice in the conversation (again).

The above headline feels like a goal.

The alt-right, the new Vikings, the explosion of men with more muscle mass than 10 Charles atlases, PUA, MGTOW, GamerGate (if there are any of these things you aren’t familiar with you should be) the harassment of feminists and their supporters, doxing in general, whether it be of the proponents or opponents of these “movements” all lead us to the above conclusion.

Hobbes uses the above to justify control of a kingly presence over everyone else; he defines civilization as the reaction to the fear of that life. That the fear of the return of a short, nasty, brutish life is what keeps people in line, but when your life was by virtue of your “race” already the above, or that it now could be, I guess part of our natural tendency is to embrace what we feel is inevitable.

Well in these guys eyes a nasty, brutish life is inevitable.

It is inevitable that the patriarchy will be toppled by hypergamy. It is inevitable that white men of every income will be “cucked” and castrated and thrown from the horse they were born atop only to be thrown into the mud with all the “sharks.”

It is inevitable, in this world, that instead of recognizing how badly fascism ends for most people, including many of those raising their fists for it, they will call for it loudly and without irony. This is where the consequences of not understanding history are dooming us to rewarm the meal and take it, salmonella and all.

Men are in a crisis state, and because we are so greatly tethered to the mythology of a country that shows 1/2 of 1% of what we are and have ever been and probably gets that at least 1/2 wrong, our country is flirting with a very dark path.

Fear, anger, hatred, yeah George, you called it, you so called it.

A Short History of Immigrant Fearmongering – And a Warning

When asked whether we should adjust our immigration quotas less than 5% of Americans surveyed said the answer was yes. In another poll, When asked if we should admit 10,000 children fleeing persecution in their home country a whopping 60% flat-out said no. Most people wouldn’t be surprised by these numbers, especially if they had been counted recently. But that isn’t the case at all.

The first poll was taken in July of 1938. When asked whether we should up our immigrant quotas to accept refugees from Austria, Hungary, Germany and other European nations fleeing the rise of the Third Reich, roughly 18% said yes, 67% said no. The second poll (taken in 1939) asks whether we should accept Jewish refugee CHILDREN into the country 10,000 to be exact, and 60% polled, wanted to deny them entry into the US.

Now you could say that the United States was going through a period of Isolationism, which would be true, we were still bruised by the fallout from WW1 and our financial markets were in turmoil so we had plenty to keep us busy internally. You could use that as an excuse, if it had been the only instance of this type of fear we’d experienced, but unfortunately, it isn’t.

Ever hear the term wop? It is a highly offensive term for Italian immigrants (and later Italian-Americans in general) , generally it is thought that the term originates from an acronym without papers or without passport, but this is untrue. But what that false etymology tells us is that there was great distrust for “the other” regardless of where they came from. What about the level of distrust and fear that came along with the immigration of Irish into this country? Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York very graphically illustrates the complex relationships of both established and newly arrived immigrants and their struggles with poverty and acceptance (and how they turn on each other as they become more integrated into American society).

There is also the long resentments between Chinese and Irish immigrants as well as Japanese American internment during WW2. In the last case, immigrants who had in many cases been born American were rounded up and kept in camps simply because of their heritage.

Hell, the poor Irish were even judged on par with “Negroes” in their perceptions as shiftless, lazy and procreative. The propaganda of Irish racialism was so widespread that it appeared in mainstream publications as justification of their judgment of the Irish as “racially inferior.” The Italians went through much the same, as did the Chinese, Indian, etc. etc.

 

So, you may ask, what am I getting at here?

 

None of this recent crop of Imigrintophobia is new.

 

That, however does not mean it isn’t dangerous, terrifying and could turn into something far worse. The “white rage” race-baiting of Trump (he has a bevy of supporters on the far fringe racist right) along with the implicit pandering to anti-feminists, alpha types and assorted other MRA’s, threatens to push us right to the precipice of having our own little lily-white Talibans. Already there have been lone wolves associated loosely with these points of view, shooting up schools, movie theaters and public places. Sikhs, Jews and Blacks have been random targets of bigoted violence. Some of the perpetrators of the violence have claimed to be a part of the “Beta Uprising.”

We are potentially headed down a very dark path.

I’ve heard a few pundits claim that this too shall pass, that the bigoted generation will eventually die off and the younger, more inclusive demographic will lead us out of this. Unfortunately this political generation is different. The middle-aged, white demographic, when it isn’t (sadly, I might add, because suicide is never happy) killing itself off, is living longer, staying healthier and getting more radical.

This generation of disaffected young to middle-aged white males, also serves disproportionately in the armed services, making them potentially very dangerous under the right ideology. It’s already estimated that there are significant numbers of military and ex-military personnel who have been radicalized in white racist ideology. Radicalized. Let that sink in.

None of this is new, except all of it.

Crying Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Racism, sexism, and learning to tolerate stupidity.

After writing about the Yale protests yesterday I just wanted to make a few things clear.

  • Racism does exist on college campuses. In many ways, more openly and obviously than ever. I, for one, prefer it that way.
  • There is a HUGE difference between the systemic racism and racial hostility going on at University of Missouri A public university and Yale, an exclusive private one.
  • Just because some people may cry wolf, that doesn’t not mean that the wolves aren’t out there, hunting sheep.
  • As far as the PC flap goes I blame everyone, including myself for not speaking up when people say stupid shit and for sometimes just not knowing how to take a freaking joke.
  • I am African-American, I have friends and relations of every ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and whatever else there is I either don’t know about or don’t care to know about. That doesn’t insulate me from being an occasional prick to one or more of these groups. What it does do is give me examples of people as people first and as categories later, and what THAT does is allow me to feel like shit when I hurt a real persons feelings. Thussly I have to reexamine what I say and decide whether they are being too sensitive or I’m just being an asshole. AND all with the added bonus of having a conversation about WHY I hurt their feelings in the first place. Maybe if we associate with the rabble a little it might just help us understand why they think that way, or change our minds about why we shouldn’t try to make them.
  • I believe that people are too fucking sensitive, yep I said it.
  • I also believe that there are some assholes who will wear that excuse on their sleeve just in order to be assholes.
  • I believe in this article, and this one and this one and this one, but I don’t fully agree with any of them. It’s called thinking for oneself.

First World Problems – The Birth of the Acronym-American

I’ve been struggling lately with whether or not to engage in the latest version of the culture war (a term I find dubious at best) and how to do so if I choose to jump into the fray. I’ve come to believe that we are at a precarious place in our development as humans. Our cultures, mores and roles are changing rapidly, maybe, along with our environment, too rapidly.

I’m not at all against progress; I’m firmly for freedom of expression, freedom to self-determine, freedom to keep a firearm, and freedom from economic oppression. I, as an American, enjoy these at least conceptually and am well aware that many people throughout the world don’t even have these “freedoms” in the abstract. I am also aware that being privileged comes with some assumptions that make many of the issues we are dealing with in western countries, minor. Not to us, of course, but to parts of the world that view us in a less than favorable light.

So here we are fighting about the various versions of what we define as freedom. Especially troubling seeing it firsthand are the battles over gender and race, two things that we should have moved past due to the twin miracles of the Obama presidency and the best chance of having a female president we have ever managed. When I heard the joke “January 1st, the day when 40 million Racists become 40 Million sexists” I laughed, but as the possibility gets closer, the pre-reactions are getting stronger.

The emergence of the acronym-Americans, MRA, SJW, CS, and so forth, should terrify us all. Regardless of your feelings, political and/or social, the distillation of a type into a three or four letter word that encompasses the various shades should chill you to the bone. The confrontational nature of those using them should make you question the term “progress.”

What follows is a brief breakdown of the terms, a cast list if you will, of players in the new pigeon-holed play. Lets call it Birth of the Acronym-American Nation.

First the dreaded SJW or Social Justice Warrior: this (feminist) first amendment averse, angry man hater (or self-hater as the case may be) reacts with great vehemence at any perceived injustice, bristles at the fact that we celebrate Columbus day and not Stonewall day, and has an answer to anything ‘merican with un-American skepticism. If they are men, they are cuckolded beta males, if women, lesbians.

Second we have the MRA, or Men’s (Civil) Rights Activists. These hairy trolls stalk the fringes of the internet, still angry at their bitch of an ex who took not only their house but their kids as well (real or imagined), and dumped them for an ALPHA (see below) they originally started out as men with genuine complaints about a system that demonizes men and favors women in custody cases, and slowly devolved into seething balls of hate for all things “equal.”

Next we have the PUAs or Pick Up Artists, again, started out as something not quite harmless but not so harmful as noted feminist Robert Downey JR, would play one, but soon became more sinister. The Tucker Max effect, mixing privilege into the equation, and the subsequent empowerment of those formerly docile harpies known as college educated women created the modern PUA. PUAs are a curious lot, many are just out for sex, like any person young enough to still have a libido (or to have been lucky enough never to have dated an SJW) to the evolution of the SNL Roxbury Guys into metrosexual versions of Ahnold. There is a trove of literature on the subject, mostly confined to the Darwinian self-destruction of the species that results from unprotected sex with morons.

ALPHAS, Alphas are the top dogs, the best groomed, best postured, best in business, best in life men at the top of the food chain, that is, at least until some nerd builds an Iron Man suit. They excel at everything they touch and are focused, determined and often armed. They dominate simply by displaying alpha posture and either not letting anyone else speak or being so intimidatingly silent that no one dare speaks in opposition to their superior ideas. Alphas are part Stallone and part Ayn Rand, with a little fascist dictator thrown in for good measure. Many are ex-military, cops or contestants on the Apprentice, none are librarians or teachers, unless of course the subject is Gym.

Feminists, often confused with and sometimes intersecting with SJWs and pussies, are the root of all evil (the black ones are the worst, but we don’t acknowledge them, so they don’t exist, like global warming). They usurp traditional roles and take our jobs (not to be confused with illegals); they feminize men by making them get in touch with the feelings they cooked up in their evil feminazi labs just outside San Francisco. They make babies that they insist are theirs alone if they let you have them in the first place and possess the ridiculous notion that they should be in control of their own destinies. They are a part, and secret leaders in, the Liberal New World Order agenda.

#BLACKLIVESMATTER, No they don’t all lives do asshole, and if you don’t believe it I’ll fucking kill you!

Do I have to say that the above is at least partially satire?

Do I also have to say that I can identify with some aspect of every one of them and that some other parts make me want to retch?

No, I shouldn’t but unfortunately I do.

Welcome to hyphenated, acronym’d, uncomplicated, no shades America.

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